Monday, February 25, 2008

Lucky Day..

The bus was empty as i got in.Empty as in,there was no space to sit but there was no problem in standing.The conductor was in no hurry fr my ticket,and i shared his view.I leaned on a nearby seat and waited as the bus took off jerkily on its journey.I looked around the bus.The first four benches were filled by girls....not aunties,not grandmas....girls.This must be my lucky day,I thought.A day just couldn't start better than this..

The bus slowed to a still at the next stop.I watched her climb in.Every step measured carefully,head steady and eyes - deep and searching. I waited for her to notice me.She did. I smiled at her, unsure of my next step.She started walking towards me,and the bus resumed its travel.It is an art to walk on a moving bus,with potholes for company.Just as we neared each other,the bus screeched to a halt.I held on to the handles on both sides of the bus,just in time.Suddenly time stalled.

It was one of those 'Matrix' moments, when everything around you stops in midair.I could see the conductor bending forward.I could see the driver,his mouth opened to form a curse.But more importantly,I could see her.As she fell forwards,her hands on my shoulder,leaning against me.I wished time would stop here forever..

for the next few moments we blubbered around embarrassedly.A few girls had seen this and were busy giggling.She smiled at me,not knowing what else to do.I,meanwhile,felt like i just had three shots of tequila followed by a double espresso.She was still holding me by the shoulder, I don't know if i consciously went red but she realised it and hastily held on to a nearby pole.I looked at her,trying to gauge what she was thinking
but she kept looking away.

A few minutes later, a seat in the ladies portion emptied.I asked her to sit down.I just stood near her for company.It is kind of weird,standing near a pretty girl.You subconsciously feel the glare of half the aunties of the bus,and of course,you can hear the curses of the boys in the back.I stood there,silent and stupid.

The aunty beside her got down at the next stop.I wondered if i should take that seat.... It is a 'ladies' seat' after all. "Why don't you sit down?", she asked... "It's a ladies' seat.." i blurted... " Doesn't matter.You can always get up if somebody comes.". No questions...

I watched as th wind played with her hair.And every time she would tuck it behind her ear resolutely.I kept watching her till the last moment when she would realize that i was looking at her.Before she could spot me,I would turn away.I got down with her,a few stops(15 mins) before my destination. "Don't you have to go further ahead?",she asked knowingly. " Oh,I am in no hurry",I said.

We walked all the way to her building.Talking about exams,preparations,notes adn future careers.I know,that was all we talked.A distance so short,a conversation that never started.We rached her building in no time. " Thanks for coming along.", she smiled. " No mention.",

A pause...."SO then...See ya.", I said hesitantly. "See you." she courtesied.Just as she turned,she stopped."You are coming to college tomorrow,aren't you?",was the question. " a sunday.",I said. she playfully slapped her head," I forgot.Sorry.See you on Monday then..". " I grinned and said,"Ya, C U."

I watched as she ran into her building,and waited till i could hear no more of her steps>Then i turned and continued my journey.IT is my lucky day...

Itni shiddat se tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai,
Ke har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Images Of A Morning

A foggy morning...A man cleaning his Maruti800...A lone crow on a tree..A lazy dog sleepig on the street..A red bus speeding away..A green mosque sounding its azaan..Parents and children waiting for the school bus..Tea boiling on a stove...Stacks of newspaper behind a bicycle...The paanwala opening his shutters...

Vehicles speeding down an empty road...Spittles of red and gray abstract on the ground...An Indian Airlines flight flying overhead...A white bus carrying people to office...A cow in the middle of the road...A cigarette packet in a store...Puffs of dust rising from a sweeper's broom...

A dead rat..A dried gutter...A man asleep on the pavement...A drunk beggar...A singular broken chappal...Crowded platform...Even more crowded train...Creaky Foot over Bridge...starved child asleep in the lap of its mother...Bell in a Jain Temple...Cobbler busy with his work..streetfight...girl dressed in green salwar..two men pushing a handcart...a woman arguing with a clothseller...

Groups of students...roadside vendors making dishes...Yellow building...watchman adjusting his cap...vast corridors ... an empty classroom... rows of benches... a red bag ... a blue pen on a long notebook... Strange thoughts flowing out in recognised words.... an experiment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Untitled Poem..

Words lost under a twisted tongue
A mouth that refuses to open
Yet the conversation goes on
with what her eyes have spoken.

The wind whispers in her ears
Carelessly, he ruffles her hair
How my heart rages and sears
To see him put his mout there.

A single studded bangle clinks
On the wrist of her slender hand
How lucky the bangle is, i think,
To be entangled so,in her hand

No face ever looked so clear
No body ever felt so far
I was just so near
As the crow to the star.

Then she waved her hand
waiting for me to say goodbye
Rooted to the ground,i stand
But....I never even said Hi.

And so she left unanswered
The world grew darker
O what would i give to be heard,
To speak,open my heart to her.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snakes and Ladders

It was my neice's 2nd year of life,So we brought it in with a grand bash.Being the only grandkid in the family (curent),she gets what i won't if i grovel at my dad's feet.After the day was done,I dropped off at my cousin's house to stay.As we were unpacking and taking out the trash,there emerged from the bag one,shiny wrapped up gift that somebody had obviously not taken home.We looked at it like little kids at a christmas present ( though we knew what was in it)

We opened it impatiently.Out came a board,painted in bright new primary colours of red,yellow,green and blue.Snakes crawled all over the bold numerals.A few misplaced ladders here and there,and a passage to a new dimension opened to us.We slit the side to let gush out a barrage of little coins.And of course,the most important piece of the game.......THE DICE...

We grinned like stupid school children at each other.The game began,at 12.When the world prepared to go into the recesses of slumber,we awoke to a pathway that led us deep into hallways that we had lost our way to.We ran up those ladders that revealed to us the joys of a forgotten childhood.We fell , bitten by the snakes of reality that would not allow us to forget responsibility.But we began again, fearless like little children.... laughing boisterously,shamelessly,like we never would.I thought i had forgotten the ways of this world.How we used to try and keep the dice with us for the maximum time so that it would favor us, and how we chanted the names of gods and uttered stupid incantations when in trouble.How every missed turn and stolen move warranted a fight...and how we always forgave the past to broker peace over a board game..

Snake and Ladder,Ludo,Businessmove, that define summer vacations for every kid my age.Playstations were alien to us.Summer mornings were for cricket and afternoons for a board game on staircase of the host's building.HOw school was the scariest place to be in the night...excuses made up on the spur of the moment to skip school,the homeworks that could never be completed,they just had to be done on the last bench during some other teacher's period(lectures).The first time of detention,the first caning,days of white uniforms and canvas shoes......Had i forgotten all this??

We exchanged anecdotes from our lives,like grandfathers sitting on a park bench in the evening.When did we ever grow old?? How i remember those days clearly now,like the clear horizon after the parting of the mist....MY school, those little compositions that laid foundation,those brown book covers,my first geometry box.Memories that burst through like the vomit after a bad booze.They just wouldn't stay in.MY first day at school,the forgotten book - destined to be forgotten,a strict teacher,a punishment meted..........a wet pant and an embarassment for the rest of my life.I laugh now,but i remember not going to school for the next 3 days.We rolled on the bed laughing,tears flowing out,unwiped and unchecked;carrying with them a tinge of sorrow for the lost days mixed irretreivably within the happiness that caused them.I remembered Kamala Das' lines
" The real tragedy of life
Is not Death.
But growing up "

My uncle,who past sixty,prefers a little peace at night came out grumbling.He stood at the doorway for a while,then himself smiled at the sight of 3 full grown men grappling for the dice with each other over a game of ludo. " BOys...." he said

Really what keeps us apart
At the end of years is unshared childhood
R Parthasarthy