The boy in white shorts

He still makes castles in the sand
And visits Alice’s wonderland
In dreams or when he sleep-talks
you know that boy in white shorts

twiceuponaspace

He may be a Catcher in the rye
That you come across bye and bye
To tangle you in his thoughts
You know that boy in white shorts

At dusk, he floats in the free skies
While lying down on his back, with his eyes
That inquire in wondrous whats
You know that boy in white shorts

He loves watching fist-fights
Or playing Robinhood –the brave knight
And cooks up tales and what not
You know that boy in white shorts

He still makes castles in the sand
Often visits Alice’s wonderland
In dreams or when he sleep-talks
You know that boy in white shorts

He laughs oh so hard
That they hear it from afar
And never hushes the farts
You know that boy in white shorts

He flinches with every caning
And so despises training
But goes to school just for laughs
You know that boy in white…

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The Cemetery

I was 15 when I first saw the rays of the setting sun falling on the marble gravestone. That memory brings me back to St Stephen’s cemetery in Bandra. It’s been many years. It is still warm.

Each inscription tells a tale of love. Of passions locked. Of tears shed profusely over dead dreams. Dreams of infants that closed their eyes to the world. Or was it an intervention that saved them from its lust? It is their graves that stir the waves inside me. I catch myself marveling at those enormous eyes smiling back, as I read words written in a feeble attempt of immortality. I weep in madness over what my mind conjures up as injustice or unfairness. And then I laugh at my worldly notions of justice. Those eyes didn’t see my tears either. Tears stained in the lusts of the world and its ambitions. They are like the ocean across the cemetery, just salty waters polluted in the pursuit of beauty. So they must flow in search of an infinite redemption.

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This cemetery never depresses me. Should this death invoke all that fear? There are worse things. Like dying within someone’s heart. When you cease to exist in the thoughts, dreams and the past of a loved. When you are not remembered. When your gravestone inside their hearts does not have any inscription. No fond remembrances. The tears never shed, the goodbyes never said. Just a cold white stone of a forgotten memory. I should be scared of being a bad memory after I die inside a loving heart. That’s a bad bad death.

Carrying graves of people inside hearts is scarier than a worst nightmare. They mostly die either while pursuing happiness or plotting a betrayal. Irony that is. Some betray one for another so to feel happier, only to eventually feel more miserable than before. It’s marvelous how much we are possessive about momentary happinesses, somehow, more than our dreams. Or perhaps happiness is a rare treasure like the one Alibaba stumbled upon. Then he didn’t want to let it go. It became his chief ambition that stripped him of his joys. Like him, we don’t want to sacrifice it over anyone. So the weight of graves seems lighter, the treasure of happiness heavier while joys disappear.

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I come back here in retrospection. To see if that 15-year old is still around inside. I come back to read the inscription of a living memory of a girl who hadn’t seen the world yet. And when I do find her, it gives me joy. She helps me remember people, and the inscriptions on their graves. She leads me by the hand and makes me recall the first sun rays after the hide-and-seek of the moon or the innocence of two emotions meeting at the horizon.

You see cemeteries are not for grief. They are not reminders of losses but of existence of short-lived loves; sorrows; joys; friendships. They are pleasant memoirs of the brevity of joys. Even the setting sun returns to pay its tribute to this one inscription without fail. It’s like poetry. It bleeds yet never tells.

Cemetery should not depress. I would rather weep over those who died inside my heart. A cemetery is a tangible testimony of emotions. What better could I ask for in a passing world?     

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Touched by blood

She knew at once. She had touched the corner of his cloak in a swift movement. He had turned around, astonished.

A cool audacious breeze blew sand and brushed her curly tresses. Most people shielded their eyes. She caught the dance of the palm leaves above her. Yet her world had seized in that moment. His eyes moved in quick succession. She tightened her grip on the netted black veil that barely covered her nose and her scarlet lips. She started to turn but couldn’t resist. I must see him one last time. Amid a sea of faces, he found her acqua green eyes. He knew at last. He could see through her bare soul.

——–

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She was 21 when all the beauty in her world left her. Every single day since had she despised the wetness, the blood. The incessant flood of red liquid that often wet her under-clothes and made her eyes moist, dried her soul over the years. Yet her adolescent memories refused to mature.

She was 16 and beautiful. The scorching Arabian sun took delight in bathing her naked face, her arms. She often hopped about like a little bird on a pursuit to sing of hope and happiness. Her male playmates competed for her glance. She adorned her hair with joyous colours of green, pink, violet, yellow. How she loved wearing Red till it began to stain her every garment. Black became her protector.

——

Her eyes had made a cloaked stranger stop dead in his tracks. Her Innocence had triggered his lust. She had lost track of her time. Dusk wasn’t new to her, yet her instincts warned of a new nightmare. In her pursuit to find her way home, she had wandered far off. She began to run, leaving her leather foot straps behind. Her pursuer finally outran her. In a flash, she found herself lying on the cold ground. He caught her lower garment, triumphant in pleasure. And then he let go. He was staring on his hands now. The thick blood on his palm shone in his eyes. Her stain had dowsed his fire. He cursed her and disappeared.

She had sat there all night curled up on the deserted street. She had felt ugly, dirty. It was the most intimate, soul-crushing sorrow. At dawn, Her mother found her. It was Nazareth.

——

He was called Nazarene. And today cursed for it. One of them ate from his table and betrayed him. Another who once followed him, now denied him. They had shouted Hallelujah from the same lips that spat on him today. She waited. If only she could smell his sweat from across the street or touch his torn garment one last time. And he did come wearing blood and flesh. She ran, opening the jar of water as she bent. He drank, never leaving her eyes. She saw them flowing in love still. She dreaded caressing his face for fear of wet red streams. But the crown of thorns unshackled the flood of her heart. She poured water on him and began to wash his stained, dirty cloak. They were her stains once.

It felt like yesterday when she had touched it for the first time. Just a shivering touch, and the power had left his body to dwell in hers. She was redeemed, made well of her pain. “Who was it that touched my cloak?”, he had asked. She had found her hands raise up in the air on his command. He loved her from the time she was conceived.

“Daughter your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Someone thrust her aside. She fell on her knees. A tiny piece of his cloak remained in her hand. “Fret not my daughter, I make all things new!” He lifted up the cross, stumbling. The colour that she had feared  for so many years redeemed her soul today. She saw him taking away her burden, her sins. She knew she was forgiven.

——

NOTE: This story is based on a passage from the Bible in Mark 5:25-34, commonly known as The Bleeding woman . It is an amazing tale of a woman who had an incessant blood discharge for 12 years. She had such faith that she believed that only if she could touch Jesus’ cloak, she would be healed. And yes, she was healed. It is the true story of faith and forgiveness given in The Bible.

Do check the video in the comments section that talks about the message of the Cross and Good Friday.

 

 

 

 

Two-thirty

JENNA had made them angry again. Suddenly there was silence as they all shot her a furious look. A strand of hair flung across her face, her eyes dripping of arrogance. A dab of blue ink made an erratic shape near the front pocket of her white shirt. As she looked down at her canvas shoes, her two ponytails made an awkward bent. She was pulling at the loosely hung grey tie now.

“You are sixteen for heaven’s sake. Teens don’t go home right after school. They hang out, have fun, go to movies and……” said one. “I have to be home by 2.30. It’s important,” she said. Friendship is beyond reason. Yet often how hard it is to speak your mind to friends, she thought.

“Don’t tell me you have a date with your nanny,” remarked another triggering a jeer. Jake wasn’t laughing. He looked at her gravely. Too many defeated arguments prevented another attempt, however.

“Alright guys, leave her alone. By the way, does anyone care at all that I am not coming to the park either?,” Jake made them serious for a second. They all laughed and started cycling. Jenna gave him a grateful smile.

It was 2 now. It would take her 20 minutes to get home by her bicycle. She waved her friends for the last time before turning. She was excited as always. A memory from years ago, visited her. She was five back then. The moment the auto-rickshaw stopped before her house, she would hop out, fling the gate open and would be in her mother’s arms in seconds. She would chatter endlessly. Teacher liked my handwriting today. I won the race. Neha peed in her frock. I completed the class work before everyone. After a long time, she would give her mother a last hug and they both would walk inside the house hand in hand.

‘Trin trin’ she pushed the cycle bell in excitement. She was anxious to make another such memory. Suddenly, there they stood. She regretted having picked up an argument earlier at the playground that day.

“No way. Not now!” she sighed. They looked angry. “Wait up missy. You can’t get away with this,” said a boy almost knocking her with his cycle. “Guys, we will talk about it tomorrow okay. You are taking a team argument too far. I am in a bit of a hurry,” she tried.

“Hey just because you are the Head Girl you think you can slight us?” demanded another boy.

“No I didn’t mean that. Look, it was a unanimous decision of the student body. I was only conveying it. I can take your issue up tomorrow with the school captain if you want,” she tried to pacify him.

But soon the guys surrounded her. After almost ten minutes of heated arguments, one of the guys pushed her. She fell down in an instant as her head thumped on a rock. She was bleeding now. She heard a loud burst of laughter as the boys rode away.

“Hey what the hell? Jenna!!!!!” Jake appeared from nowhere, left his bicycle on the road and ran towards her.

“I am fine Jake, no worries. I have to get home.” She managed to get up. There was blood all over her face.

“Look at you Jenna. Let’s go get you a dressing first,” he insisted.

“No I promise I will get it dressed at home. Miss DeCosta shall do it for me,” replied Jenna.

“What is with you girl?” said Jake as he poured the water bottle on her wound. But Jenna wouldn’t budge. So Jake insisted on accompanying her home to ensure she was safe. After a few minutes of cycling, Jake noticed Jenna checking her watch. She seemed to have completely forgotten about the scratch on her forehead. And just like that, she was gone, striding away.

“Hell I am late. Miss Decosta!” she shouted the moment she got home. The nanny ran out, startled to see the blood on her face. “Oh my God! Are you alright my child?” Miss Decosta started wiping Jenna’s face with her scarf.

Jenna glanced at her watch in despair. It was 2.40 pm. “Hell. No, no, no!” She hurried inside but was stopped by Miss Decosta. She heard a familiar voice from the gate. “Jenna!” She turned around and ran towards the voice.

Inches away in the bushes, Jake almost started but checked himself. He leaned on his bike and tried to make sense of what was happening.

In an instant Jenna gathered him in his arms. She felt his tiny hands at the back of her head as she bent down to hug her six-year old brother Timmy. In the next few minutes, she patiently heard. The rick guy was late today Jenna. Teacher gave me five on five in Math test! Karim pushed me in the playground. Look, I got a wound! But before he gave her his signature last hug, he noticed her face. “Why are you crying Jenna? What happened to your face?”

“Oh nothing. A very mean guy pushed me today,” she said remembering her promise to never lie to him. “So was he like Karim? And didn’t you hit him back? Can I hit him for you Jenna?…….”. Jenna just hugged him tightly, thankful. Timmy would never miss this hug, she told herself. He would always know that he had someone to go to, someone anxious to give him a warm hug, someone who would listen to his chatter. And that someone would always be on time, she promised herself.

Jake had watery eyes by now. He recalled each time Jenna had refused to go for a movie or a volleyball match or a play rehearsal. She even missed the seniors’ farewell last year. He had met a new Jenna today. After waving to Miss DeCosta, he strode away. As he pedaled his bike, he realized there was no one waiting for him at home. Both his parents had careers. But Jenna’s mother, she had started working when Jenna’s dad died.

A picture kept flashing before his eyes. A picture of Jenna and Timmy across the window. She feeding him through a spoon, he wiping her tears.

Of drizzles and downpours

Same old concept. I just had to get it out of my system!

twiceuponaspace

He saw her as Athena inside Parthenon that stands on a rock smugly looking down. She was the symbol of reign, a protector, a force still unfathomable to human. The temple illuminated his world as he lifted up his eyes. His feet froze in praise. She was the Aphrodite of his nights that blessed him with ethereal dreams. Every morning he found himself lying down on the footstool of her memories. He was a composer.
Tonight as they sat opposite each other on the floor, the glass house gleamed in moonlight. The crew was asleep in fatigue. They were performing at the opera next day. As she ran her fingers inside her tresses, he looked in reverence. “I want to play your song on speaker phone and watch your face,” he had prayed once. Tonight it was granted. He found her staring back at him in amusement. He craved for…

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Old Mays

twiceuponaspace

Be a futile quest, know no aim nor rest
Or be an enquiry in oblivion, a heart’s cry in vain

Let it fade on the horizon, and find it’s own hymn
And scatter in sands, or sing deep in lands

Dwell in minutes that tickle, in words so fickle
Let a memory be born, let an image dawn

Long far and wide, and long deep in tides
Not pretend and connive, or in lies thrive

Come into me or walk away forever, bind it anew or once sever
Be a memory that gleams, so content in its sheen

Dissipate like the dew, only to be born anew
Let me be that leaf above, that withers soon in love

Drift away like morning rays, only to return to old Mays
Entangle in embrace, of memories, of dew, of haze

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Insatiable

twiceuponaspace

She imagines amid the dark clouds

that hover on her mountains of sorrow

to be a beauty, not the beholder

Her agony rains, and downpours

in cold seas and cutting waves

And drops a drought in her soul

There’s a nectar that flows

in a stream nearby

and leaves her eternally thirsty

She imagines while lying

on a meadow, looking up at the sky

to be the protagonist, not the creator

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