The Creaking Chair - Part II

12:12 PM

06 January 1998

I was almost enticed to skip my daily ritual,
My bath with cold water at 5 in the morning
I haven't failed for the last 63 years,but once...
Though i must accept, there were a few close calls,
once when Anne added ice cubes into the bucket..
What laugh she had at the site of my horrid face,
dripping with water,shivering,
I had rushed out of the bath to have my revenge...
12 January 1956 -
If you wish to humour yourself with the details...

Now that I mention the singular ocassion
when I did skip the routine,I must elaborate..
I doubt I had time for a diary entry that day!!
I'm sure had I even tried it,Kashish would have killed me,
She was already furious over my morning act of stupidity...

When she had been angry on me for the first time,
she had innocently added salt into my tea,for sugar..
And had stood by,watching me spue,stone faced,
but I had the best chocolate cake that afternoon...
The next time I racked her nerves,
I had to spend the night fishing...
But again she made up for it,
with the most romantic night I had in my life...
I was almost tempted to test her again,

It was as if Kamal had known my hours 
and had planned his arrival at the precise moment.
The alarm did not have its share of credit for waking me up that morning.
Her shrieks did it..
Opening my eyes I saw in horrified bewilderment
her agonised face as she screamed in her labours...

"Pradeep, He's coming..Take me to the hospital"

It must have been an involuntary wont of mine,
I rushed for the bathroom and stood frozen at the door...

"For heaven's sake, oh Idiot man!!
Don't tell me you'll bath while I writh here in labour... "

Kamal was born on 26th September 1972...

Kashish did make up for pronouncing me an Idiot..
That sorry card with the poetry she wrote is still tucked 
besides "The Trial" in the book shelf...
Though I believe it was for not allowing me the bath.. 




8:24 PM

I saw him sitting there,
he had that awe in his eyes,
it was nascent...
A bud ready to open,
bubbling with inherent inquisitiveness,
to ask,to conquer,
to learn...
A kindergarten kid,
in the kindergarten swing,
I saw him,
the origin of curiosity....

As he peeked beyond the curtain,
into the silhouette of her shadow..
To catch just a glimmer of her face,
he was already under the spell,
the cupid never saw his full face,
only an instant's meeting of eyes
was all that was needed...
The fair in some urban land,saw that day,
the origin of Love....

The limousine rolled onto the red carpet,
with glamour and paparazzi 
all around,
This seemed like a childhood dream come true,
he was still not sombre from the night's champagne,
he never could handle drinks,however light,
she had always told him...
But today was the day of celebrations,
an academy award
demanded confetti....
The world saw that day,
the origin of Success...

She sat there, 
silently weeping in the cocoon of her dreams;
the mirage was freshly broken...
What she cried was not the love lost,
but the years spent together,
the nights slept under the quilt,
the warmth of his hugs,
the hollowness of his words,
now stung...
they had finally fought...
she saw that day,
the origin of ego....

It had just been a week of seperation,
if only she had known,
his man was so weak from within
that he would break if she was gone..
Vanity had finally played its part,
that ugly brawl in the bar,
he had lost all wits,
now she still cried, in his funeral 
Someone consoled her,
she could not see the face,just voice
they say in Hinduism,
the cycle of birth and death is eternal,
you see today
the origin of a new origin....



8:20 PM

The untamed rawness of the youth
with its fervor of hot blood
rushed through his head,at those words...
I can not allow the timid feelings of love
to tether me from appealing to my dreams..
It would just be fretful care,
of the native beauty that has seen and felt
the pain of fellow maidens 
as they cried in the courtyard,
for men they loved who died in the battlefield....
Its a decision she said,you make
its you as my lover,
or you as a soldier...
now or never....

3 months since then,
He stood facing the 13th battalion...
His mate ventured too far,
now stranded alone,around enemy fire,
should he risk his self,
or should he stay behind the barracks...

The choice, he realised
he had made that fateful day 
in the farms of Punjab,
when she had cried...
the choices were always the same...
now or never...



The Creaking Chair - Part I

10:34 PM

21 December 1997

This is just a veritable diary entry of an old man,
so if you are sneaking through
in anticipation of some covert tell tale,
I suggest you turn to the diary entry on 16 August 1953
All that you'll get here is Cognitive Content....

Its already quarter past 6 in the morning,
and in anticipation of the newspaper
I follow my regular treading on the veranda...
"Kamal !! Babuji is again outside,this early,
Make him come in, you know how susceptible he is to the cold"
I can hear bahu in her cajolery tongue,
trying to wake Kamal from his morning slumber...

When I was his age,I used to be up and running
like a steaming engine by this time.
I was in Bangalore then,
at the center of a mushrooming entrepreneurial hub..
My mornings were mainly consumed in charting out the days work
And by 7 I used to be onto the streets,
riding on dreams,
enterprisingly spirited....

"Dadaji,its cold outside,come in,
I'll get you the paper when it arrives"
Kamal's youngest son,holds my hand
almost dragging me inside the house,
with such ingenious love,
I can hardly resist....

Dressed up in his navy blue shorts,
and white shirt,
that shimmer of a freshly fallen dew upon the pasture,
the infectious vigour,
so easily pulls me back to the days,
I was so like him,
only a bit more impish...

The newspaper has the same story every day,
Its such a regular objection,since ages now,
It has almost dubbed itself as truth...
Yet for a 70 year old man,
with all the time in the world to ponder
on situations that he possibly cannot alter
A critics position is a caper.....

Stopping abruptly....Kamal's arranged for floodlights in the backyard...
Badminton on a cold night....I was a champion once....
alas! I'll only watch today.....

For the complete series, visit - http://www.ashksymphony.com/p/the-creaking-chair.html


The Negative

12:18 AM

It was a blessed chance I stumbled upon the negative,
for years was it buried in the diary..
I had little remembrance of the puerile verses
I had written in it,
The only memories still intact
were the nights the soliloquy were pend...

Someone told me the law of attraction,
'The Secret' was it where I read it?
Damn!I should have believed,
A die hard rationalist I dun believe till I endure..
2 weeks, 2 Kodachrome,
Is it any sign??

Was it years back or just days,
seems like a distant motion picture running in the backdrop...
But I must come back to where I began,
the negative...

My dream....
Often i dream of a face that smiles,
shaking me violently of my slumber,
ever so subtly does the ambiance
pass through my senses,
spreading such tranquil,
I dream again....

Good Morning....
As she ebbed closer,
whispering mischievously in my ears...

Before the first rays 
of the morning sunlight,
could dilate the pupils of my eye,
her magnetic,intoxicating scent
fills my senses,
'my morning sunlight....'

Her Eyes...
Looking into her eyes,
I'm transparent, not opaque
she looks through me,
like a thin film of 
non-existent air,
at times,
those mesmerizing eyes....

Her Smile...
I dropped a pebble on a tranquil lake,
trailing the charm of the nascent wave,
buoyantly spreading its infectious joy,
the enthralling pattern on that canvas sublime,
it reminds me,
the smile spreading on her face divine...

The click...
Arms in arm, we lay besides,
eyes locked in visions,
we could read our minds...
To capture us thus,
our pristine love,
on that morning..... 
what passionate romantic she was...

Her Dream....
She told me so,
I only quote...
entangled in intimacy,
she said her verse...

"On the beach of tranquil emotion,
where we lay across the sand,
so cold at night,biting on the bare skin,
upon which the tickle of mischief 
grows with each passing minute,
the breath getting heavy an moist 
as the moon follows its trajectory 
across the destined night...
The rain finally arrives,
entangled the two of us,
strangers fall in love...."

Signed You and Me,
The photograph....




10:36 PM

जब रूह को तोड़ के मेरी
टुकरे यूँ हज़ार ले जाते हो,
ऐ जालिम इन शब्दों को क्यों छोड़ जाते हो??

इन्हें भी जला दिया करो मेरी सांसो के साथ,
कमसे कम तेरी याद को बयां करने का कोई जरिया तो न बचे....

तो फिर मैं शायद तेरी परछाई को किसी कोने में दिल के दफना सकूँ,
इस नियत से नहीं की तुझे भुलाना है मुझे,
बल्कि इस फितरत से की तुझे खुद का एक हिस्सा बनाना है तुझे....

तू तो मेरे शब्द मेरे होंठों में छोड़ जाती है,
ये कह के ये मेरी निशानी हैं,इसे संझोते रहो,
क्या बीतती है इस ASHK पे सोचा है?
ये श्याही बनके तेरे नगमे ज़माने को सुनाता रहता है,आशिक की तरह..
डर डर के बहाता है ये वो बीते पलों की प्रवाह,
कहीं कोई लहर इतनी न गहरी हो जाए,
की तेरी कोई याद,तेरी शक्शियत की कोई परछाई,
मुझसे पल भर को ही सही, पर जुदा न हो जाए....

तू जाती है तो मेरे शब्द क्यों नहीं ले जाती??
थक न जाये ये ASHK बहते बहते,
तू इसे हमेशा के लिए क्यों नहीं सुला जाती...



The Polaroid

10:53 PM

Sixteen times had I made the attempt,
I exactly counted them,
each one of them...

Not once though could i muster so much courage,
As to walk to the open drawer standing beyond where I lay,

The light had been dimmed and brought back to life,
the same number of times
The moth that had been sitting peacefully at the helm of the silent gramophone
grew restless...
The disquiet,so palpable in the turbulent air stream of the room
was a discernible warning for the peace loving creature...

As the waves of quiescence settled into uniform pattern of jitters in my mind,
They brought along,vivid scenes of some distant block of memory in me..
Each such feeling so strong,it swept delicately fragrant rhythms of soulful vision; 

A vision, that was a time which was the present;some time in my past...

And such was the charm of the music,no symphony could have ever created
Peace as sublime as a mortal can feel punctured the jitters as ruptured bubbles..
That tranquil smile spreading on my face, 
breathing shallower,
I was dreaming again....

Did i really have to be so restless,
that picture had always been in me...
So vivid I could feel every contour of the face,
The Polaroid as it lay in the drawer,
could not be a better reflection of the face,
that I saw with closed eyes,
The picture that in me resides.... 



11:44 AM

I should be a Poet,
I had thought that day...
What beautiful verse had I read,
I cannot remember...
Must have been William Wordsworth,
or was it Frost...
On a second thought I imagine,
It was She....

Blissful Night or some other tag,
I don't really recollect the phrases...
I only remember the rhythm,
music for the first time I read that day...
The cupids arrow had struck Gold,
Love at first sight....
I was enthralled...

I had never experienced more pleasure,
in the plunge...
The ocean of words,
like a shimmering tiara,
in the afterglow of my newly found love...
Even the detestable cult of flattery,
finding innumerable synonyms in my dictionary...
Reflections in my memory suggest,
i wanted to describe my inspirer,
in the nascent verses of mine...

Am i trying to describe,
the birth of the poet in me...
or am I trying to hide,
the identity of she,
imprisoned in me....
I suddenly shudder....
These questions, 
that become my boundaries,
imaginations curbed,
Its only my words that break
the tethering ropes, 
my love, my words....

Was it you I was in love with,
Or was it your words...
The princess of conspiracy,
I decode the crypt, at last....

My stories I leave unfinished,
for reasons thus...
I'm yet not a poet,
I write random words...
Falling drops of paint on the canvas
They don't Yet create a pattern,
Just reflections,like a mirror......



Whisper Of Love

11:41 PM

I would rather ask, than judge
or shall i pray, not say
my options confused,
my thoughts consumed
Wish I could look into your eyes
for answers, I can't find,
for no reason, Just for smiles...

Standing face to face,
I'm transparent, not opaque
you look through me,
like a thin film of 
non-existent air,
at times...

Another time in the sand-watch;
You are my guiding light
my destined path,
The voice that echoes
the hand, that holds on
my dreams, my life...

Wish i could express 
without saying,
looking into your eyes;
Wish you could hold me
through my fears tonight...

Whisper in my ears 
those magical words
I care,I love
we'll stay this way...

Hold my hand,
need no promises be made
A silent vow,
That you'll kiss my heart
my soul will live in you
forever, till eternity...



इन्तहा की हद क्या है

3:22 PM

एक गुलाब को अपने होंठो की नमी पे सम्हालो,
पलकों को एक दूजे से मिला दो, 
सांसों को उसके खयालो में समां जाने दो...
अब उस पंखुड़ी को अपने से दूर करने की कोशिश करो,
पर आंख न खोलना,
होंठों लो एक दूजे से जुदा न करना,
सांसो की लए न बढ़ाना,
"वो लम्हा इन्तहा की हद है"

समंदर के किनारे बैठ के,
लहरों को पत्थर से टकराके भी गाते सुनो,
उस एक पल के लिए उसकी यादों को दूर जाने दो,
फिर जब वो लहर समंदर में कही खोने वाली हो,
उस लम्हा, उसका चेहरा आँखों में उतारो,
"वो पल इन्तहा की हद है"

एक शायर की शायरी पढो,
और फिर उसके शब्दों की गहराई उसी की जुबानी सुनो,
जिन शब्दों में उसकी रुदाली 
उसकी आँखों में झलक आये,
उन शब्दों में अपनी ज़िन्दगी के किसी पल को रख दो 
फिर उस पल की बेचैनी को जियो,
"ये इन्तहा की हद है"

किसी गवैये को वो गीत गाने को कहो,
जिससे वो अपने रूठे महबूब को मनाता हो,
फिर उस गीत में उन पंक्तियों में 
जहाँ उसने तारीफ की हो उनकी अदा की,
उस लम्हे में उनकी अदा को यद् करो,
"वो लम्हा इन्तहा की हद है"

एक सुबह सूरज के साथ उठो,
ठंडी हवा को सीने से लगाओ
खूब हसो, खूब खिलखिलाओ,
दिन भर हर किसी का दिल जीत जाओ,
और रात को इतना थक जाओ की जब सोने औ,
तो किसी ऐसे की चाहत पो,
जिसके सामने मुखौटा न लगाओ,
जब उसे न पाओ,
"वो आँखों की नमी इन्तहा की हद है"

बचपन का सबसे पसंदीदा खेल 
एक दिन बगीचे में बच्चो  के साथ खेल आओ,
कुछ पल की ख़ुशी उनसे हार के पाओ,
फिर जब ज़िन्दगी की दौड़ में शामिल हो तो,
इन पलों को यद् करो,
"वो यादें इन्तहा की हद है"

हर लम्हा किसी को यादों में बसाओ,
फिर एकदम से यादों से रुसवा हो जाओ,
जो तलब सीने में जागेगी 
फिर यादो में समाने की,
"वो इन्तहा की हद है"

मैं और क्या समझाउं इन्तहा की हद तुम्हे,
कभी किसी को अपना मान लो, 
उस अपने पे अपनी हर ख़ुशी कुर्बान कर दो,
फिर जब वो मुस्कुराये,
तो दूर से उसकी हसी को देखो,
पर पास न जा पाओ,
किसी से सची मोहब्बत कर जाओ,
"वो इबादत इन्तहा की हद है"



The Sunday Newspaper Read.....

10:46 PM

He came home,
8 in the evening...
played basketball, 
shortest of the lot..
It was the same scene,
so obscene,
it had lately become a routine...

God give him strength,
before evil breaks into his head...

The man had a fluffy body,fat face
must have drunk beer,
till his stomach ached..
Bruises on his cheek,
a brawl in the bar maybe,
is what the boy conceived..

The hand that had fallen swiftly,
on his sight,
had a metal bar,
did he dare strike???
Full of terror,
She was huddled in that corner,
The single drop of blood on her split lip,
shone brightly across her face,
white in fear...

what fate!!!
The boy shouldn't have cared....

"My Jordan's back home,
give him some cookies,
Oh mother of his";
how quickly did she wipe her tears,
that beautiful smile he loved the most,
how much it hides,
he now realised...

She limbed across, 
the iron was hot,
He swore,
if the man had laughed...
As she brought her water,
he saw her eyes,
those tears that had dried....

He was full of rage,
evil had finally arrived....

Sunday morning newspaper read,
"12 year old shoots father"
who's guilty, 
you are the judge......


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