Yesterday when my car stopped at a traffic signal, my eyes fell on a man playing with his child. The child would not have been more than 8/9 months. The man was in a pair of shorts, a faded T-shirt and slippers. He probably lived in a slum nearby. He was holding the child in his arms and pointing towards the sky. I looked in the direction of his pointed finger and saw some pigeons flying. My eyes were glued to those two unkempt figures, playing, and laughing together.
Could not help wonder that my father would have drawn my attention to birds flying in the sky when I was of a similar age, his father would have done the same, and all fathers before him. It’s the same sky, the same birds, and the same lessons that we teach to make a child aware of his/her surroundings yet when they learn one religion is better than another, one race more superior than others, a particular style of living the best way of living, all fingers point to us.
a respite from duty and
I am the convenient distraction.
old and love-less,
tattered at the edges,
a cage called marriage and
She is the wife.
You have witnessed those wrinkles form,
the pursed lips take on a menacing scowl,
and the furrow deepen between her unruly brows.
She is the bitch who serves you
abuses in a platter
with your morning tea and Sunday lunch.
She is the one you keep returning to NOT
because of guilt or a prick of conscience.
Old habits die hard they say.
She wrung out the last drop of blood
hung the heart to dry
Covered the gaping hollow with dried leaves
And waited with legs spread apart.
The pieces of your broken promises
pierced the soles of my feet.
I washed my feet, nursed the wound
to walk again
away from you.
I did not have to wake up today for I never slept.
I asked myself, “Where does it hurt?”
She answered, “Where does it not?”
I will give you a piece of the starry sky and wings to fly said he.
What will you give me in return?
The benefit of the doubt said she.
“Today when I go down to play, will you come with me?”
What will I do? You will be busy with your friends or cycling at breakneck speed.
“Just sit and watch me play”.
It’s difficult to entertain such requests especially when you are watching a Hitchcock movie on a DVD and silently thanking God for the long weekend. So I send him down with a promise that I will join him after a few minutes.
I keep my word because the minute he leaves I realise that he is not going to make such requests much longer. He is 9, will be a 5th grader soon, and is already far too independent. He must have been 5 when I last gave him a shower. He must’ve been 6 when I settled his school bag for the last time or polished his school shoes. Just a couple of weeks back he announced that I didn’t have to wake him up for school anymore. He will set the alarm and wake up on his own.
So here I am sitting on the bench and watching him play as I type. I don’t want to blink. I want to freeze time.
Finally when it broke
the shards resembled the lines on her palm
Deep furrows running across the lighter veins,
playing a game of noughts and crosses.
Moments crossed, memories crossed, feelings crossed; a whole existence summed up in a nought.
The spent moon ambles away
in search of smoky reminiscences
leaving behind its yellow speckled stub
beside an unfinished couplet.
She weaves her slithering locks
in a tight braid,
thwarting a million thoughts
that dart out their forked tongues
into the restive night.