Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Poet...The Dreamer

questionsquestions (Photo credit: lovelornpoets)
The poet stood in the middle of the street
And hummed in slow tunes
His voice rising and falling
Through the dins of the  afternoon,
Even as his words trickled on
Like scattered gold dust
It created a mosaic in the underground
Where a sky rose anew
Where a sweet wind blew
It created new dreams and a new dawn
Built on the whispers of an old song
'Hear me, stay awhile', he cried
Even as passers by shrugged him off
His words were smoke
Snaking their way up to the sky
Filtering through the souls of dead people
And people that were about to die
Then he sat down and started singing
With every sound and word ringing
In his ear, drowning other sounds
Till the whole world was silent
Not the drone of cars
Not the sound of whores
Not the violent screams
Not even dead and dying dreams
It was just him
And his words
Filtered through a dreaming soul. 
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why I Stopped Watching the Television

I hate television. I despise that little inventsion of a tin box filled with moving pictures that keeps you drooling in front of the screens like taxonomed no brainers. I hate that. I prefer the movies. That grandiose art of creating stories, giving flesh and bone and blood to characters. To make them smile, laugh,cry and feel with every passing turn of the story. This is far more glorious. Don't think that i am just making things up. Well, i am so what.

My first glimpse of the television was as a 6 year old. I was in my tiny half pants while my neighbourhood kid stood in front of me preening how his dad had just bought a television. The green monster within my heart was raging, burning like never before. That was my first pang of jealousy. And kids can be impish when they are jealous. I wished his television would crash and burn by some clumsy delivery people. But alas! Those days workers were far more capable. But soon i was hooked. Line and Sinker.Everyday my mom had to scream a hundred times and then drag me from front of their Tv sets to dinner. Sometimes the scene i would create would make the Aunty cringe and say, "jaane do na. Yahin kha lega.' Then i would sit and flash a grin so triumphant, it would result in a thrashing when i get home. My mom hates being trumped. Especially by a 6 year old imp.

It arrived at my home when i was in my 3rd standard. A pitiful videocon set piece, a second hand purchase. The television slowly gripped me by the brains. I stopped going out to play. I stopped socialising. From school straight home, and in front of the television set. Nothing could budge me from my favorite position. He-man visited me. I stood toe to toe with Ming the Merciless. Shazam became my war cry.

Then I grew up. Slowly, my tastes changed. I was there when the first serials started on that dreary channel called DD. My sundays began with a conchshell and a booming voice which said 'yada yada hi dharmasya'. I followed BR Chopra's Mahabharata with such fervor that my parents mistook it for religiosity. Then came Ramayana, and my father almost feared that I might join the RSS.

I entered college with the accompaniment of the transforming television scene. There were a million channels now. Each plotting a dozen serials. Each serial lasting decades long. I could not bear it. I was now addicted. I could not get enough of Movies on the telly.

And then we purchased a computer...

Incomplete poem

St. ForestImage by Vainsang via Flickr

 Memories are strange things.
They take you to places you know,
and show you different things.
Sometimes when i lie awake at night,
wondering about the course of my life,
i see my birth flash in front of me,
i see the way i died.
I remember people and faces,
some complete, some in traces
Memories which sometimes heal
At times they leave you numb
At times, they are too deep to feel
Like old long lost friends
 Meeting suddenly around the bend
With an awkward smile
Awkward unfinished conversations
That lasted a while.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Teamaker

Cup of tea?Cup of tea? (Photo credit: trekkyandy)

I see him everyday. He sits there brewing his tea all day, while customers flit in and out of his little store. Its a walk from my home. Right next to the railway station where crowds mill in and out of their own occupational frenzy. This little man, keeps serving hot, spicy ginger tea. Day in and Day out. His smile is infectious. He gives me a little wave when he sees me walk past his shanty. That is invite enough for a cup of tea. 

'Kaam se jaldi aa gaye?' he questions handing me my first cup 

I just nod. For someone employed in an occupation of words, speaking can become a task after a day at work. When days and hours lead to nothing, and life, somehow, feels empty. All I am looking forward to is wordless silence. 

I just hold my cutting in my hand, and the burning embers of another stick in another and stare wordlessly into space. Sometimes i wonder if he wonders about me. If he thinks i am weird and talks about me to other customers. I have known barbers share information about dandruff. Maybe, he does. But he wouldn't show. 

I watch as he pours out cup after cup from that tarnished steel kettle of his. Held by its handle, it has the mark of a thousand burns on the burner. He smiles at me as i hand over the cup. 

There are others that walk in to sit on the tired benches. Flip through the newspaper, or listen to some gossip. He smiles and joins in conversations effortlessly. Everyone talking about their problems. Things they have, things they do not. And witnessing all this, is a lowly tea maker. He does not complain. He does not whine. Just makes tea and goes on. 

He returns my change and says 'Meri bacchi kal class me first aayi'. I nod and say 'Badhiya hai. Congratulation bolna use.' He nods embarassingly. 'Bahut acchi padhti hai. Kucch banegi'. He says. 

There. Steaming with the Assamese green, boiled with the milk is hope. Dreams steamed in a cup of hope with the fumes of the future rising forever. And I can see his reason for standing in front of the burning fire. I can see the comfort for the callouses in his fingers and the burns he has suffered through. 

And i see what he has that i don't. Hope. That never ending fountain of strength. 

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