Beginnings

IMG_20181022_170813_BokehI laugh at you when you ask,
“Isn’t it a bit weird for a year to end on a Monday?
Like an ending performing a waltz with a beginning?”
I tell you, maybe it’s always been that way.
Because beginnings are a bit unexpected,
Beginnings are kind of subtle.
Beginnings sound a lot like
Your mother’s voice on the phone,
When you are nine hundred miles
Away from home.
Beginnings sound a lot like your first laughter
After you’ve been crying for seventy two hours.
Beginnings are like the Mondays on which
A year of three hundred and sixty five days ends,
Beginnings are the days you wake up to
Despite having wished you wouldn’t have to.
Beginnings are like picking that half read book
After four years
And starting it all over again.
Beginnings are like the new favourite song
For which you stop humming the previous one.
Beginnings are like walking away,
Like breaking away,
Like no longer waiting for an old lover
To walk in through that door.
Beginnings, I tell you, are at times
As tragic as endings;
And sometimes, even more.

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Unsaid

She could’ve added melody to your discordant notes

And could’ve been the song that takes you home.

She could’ve been your certainty

When all else went astray,

Been the creased photograph

to fill your empty frame.

But so much has remained unsaid for so long-

Time sent a gust of wind,

Yet the flame of fondness was never doused.

Only your words have learned

to hold on effortlessly

To the corners of your mouth.

Anwesha

17/9/2018

Looking Back

backI never want to, and yet I look back,

I hate it so, and yet I look back,

I know not what I yearn for, I just keep looking back,

I know not who’s looking ahead, I just look back.

Long forgotten, long forgiven,

All the pictures faded away,

But it’s only me, that keep looking that way.

Well, who’d know my plight,

Who’d know why I decide

To let go of all bans,

And just desperately keep looking back…

The Madwoman

“Alright, let’s see the next one- if ten pencils cost 100 rupees, what is the cost of one pencil? Say, Mukul, rack your brains for once!” The haggard looking father tried hard to grasp his 10 year-old son’s attention. He was using the torn face of a carton to carry out the calculations. His filthy shirt almost fell off him, yet the spine chilling cold of January didn’t seem to bother him much. He was heavily engrossed in Mukul’s sums.

Mukul was least bothered about his father’s ceaseless efforts. He lay there grinning at his mother’s customers, a big bowl of puffed rice in his hands. He was in the fifth standard of the nearby government school. It was Saturday and school got over at 11.30. The sun was overhead and the quaint village by the river glistened peacefully. This was bliss and his father’s incessant questions were non-existent. Inaudible.

Mr. Chakraborty was Mukul’s mother’s customer. She was renowned for her priceless guavas, from her own tree. She felt gratified to have customers like Mr. Chakraborty who had come all the way from Kolkata. She always ensured not to disappoint them. Mukul’s father’s plight amused Mr. Chakraborty as well as his son.

“Why, Mukul? Don’t you like studying?” Mr. Chakraborty ridiculed, with a loving smile.

Arey, Dada! You don’t know him. He is grasped by all the diseases of the world simply at the name of studies. Either his stomach aches or he feels giddy, or feels too weak to even open his eyes, or any other ailment under the sun.” Mukul’s mother said complainingly.

“I haven’t asked him to do a single sum. I just asked him to watch me. Even that doesn’t satisfy him,” Mukul’s father laughed. Mr. Chakraborty noticed how clearly Mukul resembled his father. Their grins were hard to distinguish. He caught Mukul’s father pass a covert smile to his wife, a smile that radiated their love for their son in spite of all odds.

Mr. Chakraborty couldn’t help but remember his wife, Sujata. Her gentle comportment, her mild and loving ways, her ever supportive nature , the aura of beauty and humanity which always surrounded her, her infinite, inexplicable love for their son -everything flashed across his mind. But, the thought of that night lingered on. That pit, the shattered car, the dark, lonesome surroundings, her scream, his escape, her death. The days when he was convinced he could no longer go on. The emptiness that had engulfed his life, his being. Yet, his son’s innocent, loving face had given him the courage, the motivation. His son played the double-role for him from then on.

Now Sushanta, his son, was 14. On the verge of becoming a man, Sushanta loved his father dearly. He knew what his onus really was. And he lived up to it.

“That will be 30, Dada,” Mukul’s mother’s voice brought him back. Just as he was about to take out the money from his purse, he was startled by the helpless yells of a woman behind him.

“My son! Oh, my son! They have robbed me of my son! My son!” a shabbily dressed middle-aged woman with the dirtiest hair was groping around, tears streaming across her unclean face, her eyes nearly smoldering with anxiety.  Most of the villagers around were grinning knowingly.

“She’s a madwoman, dada. Don’t bother about her cries,” Mukul’s mother said, reading the puzzled expression on Mr. Chakraborty’s face, “They are only trying to test her. She lost her mind few years back, some say it was because her husband left her. They’ll return her boy soon.”

“See, I told you! She may have lost her mind, but she never lost her love for that kid,” one of the women remarked knowledgably.

“A mother’s love never dies. The world would have died if that happened,” said another.

“Even if the world goes upside down, a mother never stops loving her child,” Mukul’s father added, with the same grin on his drawn face.

The madwoman walked back with her child, holding on to him tightly, as if no force could snatch him away from her.

Mr. Chakraborty paid for the guavas and walked towards the bank of the river. Sushanta clasped his hands as they stood by the river. The river reddened as it prepared itself to devour the bright sun.

The silhouettes of the father and son stood there for a long time. Together.

Forbidden Expectations

final

And yet again, we expect what we shouldn’t,

Love whom we mustn’t,

Pray for the impossible,

And again, the broken laws are so palpable.

 

Hoping in the most hopeless moments,

Reminiscing the beginning even in the end,

Cherishing those incomplete memories,

We live on by ignoring so many vagaries.

 

All of it as futile as futile can be,

Yet there continues those euphoric dreams,

For they complete our beings,

They surpass our limitations,

And so, there lives forever the forbidden expectations.

The above sketch is by Anwesha Saha (owner of As The Ink Flows).

Unsung

Close by her walked he,

His breath too she could feel,

That unsung tune still lingered inside,

She wanted to but didn’t look beside.

 

Day dawned every dawn,

And she still lived with that song,

Inside of her, unsung it laid,

And she wished he’d just fade.

 

She kept walking, he walked too,

Every time she thought of him, she felt like a fool.

Within herself she heard a myriad of tunes,

But that one unsung, she couldn’t remove.

She walked, he walked by her side,

Never held hands, never turned beside.

To a Child

I was baffled; disappointed with life,

Didn’t expect anywhere, solace to find;

The blows were hard on me,

The extent of pain I couldn’t deem.

Walking alone, drowning into  perplexity,

Suddenly my gaze caught yours curiously.

You were frowning, struggling to get that shoe right,

Your impatience you didn’t hide.

You saw me staring, with a subtle ridicule,

But, you saw at the same time what no one could.

Though you were desperate to get the shoe right,

You looked up and gave me a smile.

Words will fall short, and I’ll be a called a fool,

If I were to tell how much I owe you.

For you made me see, for that fleeting moment,

The child within me, calm and innocent.

Maybe life won’t get any better for you or for me,

But innocently smiling we will forever be.