Jottings – 20/01/2017

Who am I?

Am I the son of my parents?

The brother of my sister?

A friend of those who treat me as their friend?

Who am I?

What is this intense pain?

That starts mushrooming,

Throbbing at my temples?

Why are the visions?

Of another life,

Returning to taunt me,

Haunt me again and again?

How long do I run?

Till which point do I run?

Where is my chance at redemption?

Will I ever find answers?

To the doubts that plague me?

I have not been able to be a good son!

I have failed my siblings!

I have never understood,

What my friends saw in me;

I have never been able,

To live up to their expectations.

Never have I been able to celebrate,

Their special moments,

As I sink further and further,

Into an abyss without an end,

Darkness creeps around me,

I embrace it like a welcome rug,

That comforts me!

But then I awaken,

From this endless dream.

I return to the mortal existence,

Of chasing mediocrity.

Life goes on,

And as I fail,

Yet again to dazzle,

You with my brilliance,

I continue to baffle,

You with bull.

No redemption…

 

Heart of Darkness

She sent me a message on Facebook,
Nothing complex, nothing extraordinary,
Just a photo of her wedding invitation.
She had just typed, “please come”.
I loked back at all those memories.
It was a foolish infatuation,
A Lolitaesque craze for a child??
Or was it something deeper?
At the end of the day!
What mattered was religion!
Nativity, language, caste, community!
It is a bitter truth!
I have had to swallow it.
I wish you all the very best.

No drama, no beards, no drinking binges,
Life just goes on,
From one pay-check to another.
Somewhere a part of me died.
When she called me Bhaiyya!
Does life have to be like this!
Can an adult man and woman,
Only be lovers, husband and wife,
Or brother and sister!
Does friendship have no value?
What makes people think!
That after everything!
Calling one as brother or sister!
Solves every problem in between?

What Do I Name This Idle Verse???

The darkness in my soul,
Seeks an outlet,
I have to be honest,
I never was ambitious,
My greatest flaw,
Has been to dabble,
In too many things,
And never master anything!

I write free-form,
Pretending this to be verse,
I dream of shooting movies,
I can’t even sketch a scene,
I dream of wooing someone special,
And I can’t even find courage,
To speak or express my thoughts,

I dream of making money,
By noble and honest means,
All I get to do,
Is wait for the next pay-check,
Balancing the EMIs.

I dream of being true to my dreams,
And what do I do?
I just put on a mask,
Smile like an idiot,
Join the crowd of individuals,
Who trudge away to glory,
Having sold our souls,
To the rigours of a safe job.

It is not too late, yet!
Like the sudden shower,
That kisses the gentle earth,
The child who waits,
For his mother to cuddle him,
The lonesome poet,
Who waits for his beloved’s – ‘Yes’.
There is still hope!

Don’t end up like me,
For life is running short,
Chase your dreams young men and women,
Throw caution to the winds,
Travel the country,
Dance and sing as if there was no tomorrow.
Remove that mask and be true!

True to yourself and your dreams!

Fears and Prayers

Hospitals scare me,
For someone who,
Has spent a lot of time,
In hospitals being a patient,
And being patient and attending others,
Hospitals scare me!

There is a deep sense,
Of dread within me,
I cannot put a name,
Or an emotion,
To this morbid fear,
That haunts me.

I am in awe of doctors,
Learned women and men,
With their white coats,
Stethoscopes dangling down,
Nurses attired prim and proper,
Walking up and down!

I am not scared of injections,
Bitter medicines or surgeries,
It is just the realization,
That one by one,
All those who mattered to me,
Bid me goodbye in hospitals!

As Mum and I battle,
Ghosts from the past,
And the demons of the present,
I wake up in the middle,
Of the night, a cold sweat breaking out!
I walk up to the bed!

And look at Mum,
Lost in the drug-induced sleep,
And I see her rhythmic breathing,
And catch my breath,
Pinching myself to make sure,
Everything is fine.

I say a small prayer,
And lie down on the mattress,
On the floor, chanting an incantation,
Forcing myself to go to sleep again.
This continues every night.
At times, sleep evades me.

I just sit cross-legged,
Staring into space,
Looking at the night-lamp.
The inevitable is the truth,
Life is but a gift,
And death a chance for redemption.

As visions and dreams haunt me,
I just cannot seem to come to terms,
To the brutal truth,
That I will have to bid – “Good Bye”
I am scared that it will be yet another painful
Heart-wrenching visit to the hospital!

Dear God! My only prayer to you!
If such an event,
Is pre-destined and in my destiny,
Please be kind my Creator,
Let the end be painless and peaceful!
Prayers, prayers, prayers – My Lord!!

What If????

I had a thought today,
A nagging doubt,
Fuelled my thought!

What if today?
Today was my last day,
In this mortal form.

Living this life,
On Planet Earth.
What if today was my last day?

If this poem,
Or attempt at poetry,
Would be my last piece of writing.

The meal that I shall partake tonight,
Be my Last Supper,
The “hi, hello, bye and see you!”

Are all uttered just one final time,
Never to be repeated again.
What if I never wake up tomorrow?

These are very troubling thoughts!
I have not been able to focus at work,
All through the day – death seems to envelop my thoughts!

Was this life worth living?
Did I use my talents and skills?
Did I touch any lives?

Did I make a difference as a human being?
Other than being a friend, son and brother,
What else did I achieve?

I am deeply troubled!
I do not have answers,
To many pertinent questions.

Will I meet you again friends?
Will I write again?
Will I live to die and be reborn, and live and die again!

What if today?
Today was my last day,
I wonder if I will……

The Show Must Go On

It is around 6 PM.
All the punctual staff,
Who enter on time,
Are ready to leave,
Their day has come,
To a wonderful end.
Having read and replied,
To a multitude of emails.

Others have processed,
A number of files,
Which have been sent,
To people around the world,
For translation into various languages.
Some people have focused,
All their energies,
Looking at statistics,
To determine advertising performance,
Others focus on digital advertising,
That has to be published.

Newsletters that need to be built,
Test to be sent to groups,
Before the final dispatch,
To the client mailing list.
Amidst all this; meetings,
Seem to be taking place,
With unfailing regularity.
A conference room with glass walls,
Distracts my attention and colleagues,
Seem to walk in and walk out!

I came in late today,
Thanks to a massive fault,
On the suburban train system,
Signal failure and track disruption.
My life has become a strange ritual,
Of rushing to catch trains.
Hoping they are running on time.
Sending an SMS to my superiors,
Begging for permission,
To reach a bit late.

Amidst all this hurry and worry,
A rodent has chosen to die,
It is caught in some AC duct,
That is hidden by the false ceiling,
We are being visited,
By technicians and exterminators,
The rodent is truly a devil,
Escaping all the probes and searches.
The stench of the rotting carcass,
Is sending my olfactory bulb,
Into a crazy tizzy.

The AC has been switched off,
The windows opened,
The pedestal fan swings,
From left to right,
And then right to left,
And I wonder with,
A sardonic smile,
Like the fan, I too am lost,
Without any fulcrum or purpose,
From second to second,
And day to day.

In some strange pursuit,
From one end of the metropolis,
To the other, from home to office,
And yet again from office to home,
Repeating the cycle,
All over again!
In pursuit of what?
Love, Money, Respect?
I do not know at all!
Like a robot, pre-programmed,
I am one more human,
Who sold his soul.

I sold my soul,
To adhere to the norms,
Of what this society,
Expected of me,
What my family wanted of me.
I no longer dream for myself,
Except for some visions of Mother Mary,
All that I get are nightmares!
Which have me waking up,
In a cold sweat, in spite of the AC.

This should have been a simple poem,
At the most 20 lines,
But this is the problem that plagues me.
No focus, no purpose, no pattern,
Or design – even in what I write.
A day at the office,
As usual as always,
Perhaps this is the only,
Short span, when I can keep,
My crazy mind free of worries.
For the work and tasks,
Assigned to me,
Will keep me occupied!

It is 6:15 PM now,
I started writing this poem,
At just about 6 PM.
In 15 minutes,
I have tried to cover,
The anguish that many of us-
Lost souls or souls who have sold,
Their souls in the pursuit of excellence.
What is it that lies ahead?
Where does this path take me?

At the end,
There is just one line,
There have been many,
Many such souls before me,
And there will be yet,
Many more souls hereafter.

84fd2-taxidriver

Like Travis Bickle,
I look at the crowded streets,
The empty souls,
Disguised with mirth.
All fighting their,
Very own battles.

This too is a phase,
Wherever I go,
This phase shall rear up its head.
This is the Game of Life,
We are all players,
The show has to go on!

The Perfumer’s Poem

Have you travelled all alone,
With just a basic kit-bag,
Seeking peace, calm and quiet,
Away from the maddening pursuit,
Of bonuses, salaries, congratulatory emails,
And all those celebratory team-lunches?

Boarding a bus from the terminal,
Late one night after a maddening week.
I knew not the destination.
It was a relatively less crowded bus,
With some other state’s vehicle registration number.
Inviting me to board the bus.

There was a distinct smell of grapes,
When the conductor asked me for tickets.
He smiled; I smiled – we both knew,
He had consumed a peg to keep him steady!
I paid for my ticket, I said ‘last stop.’
He smiled again and gave me the ticket.

I stared at the motley crowd within the bus.
Newly wed couple right at the end,
All smiles and content headed for a honeymoon.
The middle-aged couple headed for a pilgrimage.
Some more people who seemed lost in their world.
The sisters from some church dressed,
In an ash-colured dress holding the rosary.

The bus cut through the traffic,
Leaving the madness of the city,
Fighting with space on the roads,
Evading cabs taking the IT crowd home duty.
Lorries transporting vegetables and fruits,
Other buses headed to other destinations.

As the darkness of the night,
Enveloped me in a safe hug,
I slept, wondering where this bus,
Would take me to?
I woke up after a few hours,
It was early morning.

I looked out of the window,
The smell of the hills,
Herbal mist with a dash,
Of citrus and tea-leaves,
I was happy heading into the hills.
The bus stopped at a point.

A small stream in the background,
A small hotel up-front,
Tea; pooris and aloo-subzi and jalebis.
There was a wait for a while,
Then the journey resumed,
The bus climbed into the mountains.

The countryside was picturesque.
I refrained from clicking pictures,
Just soaking up the beauty,
Of Mother Nature in its glory.
Finally we reached our destination.
Pushpagiri – a place in the mountains.

An abode of Lord Shiva.
It was a pilgrimage of sorts,
A redemption for the atheist,
Who seeked perfection in work,
Answers to troubling questions.
And a purpose in life.

The temple bells rung clear and calm,
The fragrance Of the incense and the flowers,
The stream that babbled away,
The wind that had the slightest
Hint of pine-cones from the trees,
That grew further up in the mountains.

I was at peace absolute peace!
This was indeed a journey,
A strange and necessary journey,
That I had to make.

This post masquerading as verse has been written for the ‘Inspire a Fragrance’ competition organised by Godrej and Indiblogger. The fragrances that I would like to capture and make a part of the range of fresheners and purifiers made by Godrej Aer are:

1 – The fragrance of freshly pressed grapes a fruity wine-like aroma.
2 – The fragrance of various aromatic oils – lavender, rosemary, thyme, patchouli all rolled into one.
3 – The fragrance of saffron and milk that one gets when eating some special Indian sweets (kesar rasamalai)
4 – The fragrance of flowers and incense sticks – the fragrance one gets in the sanctum sanctorum of a temple after the first aarti/puja of the day.
5 – The fragrance of green tea and pine woods!

So what fragrances would you like 🙂