A Second Chance

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I looked at the glass,
It was half-full,
Or was it half-empty?
The amber-coloured liquid,
Ambrosia when taken in moderation,
A killer when it turns into an addiction.

I looked at the notepad,
A last message,
A final letter to the world,
When they found my corpse,
Another failure in this big city,
That makes a milion dreams come true.
But failed me?

The scripts that had been rejected,
The manuscripts that the publishers,
Had sent with a rejection notice,
The reminders from the banks,
Asking me to repay the loan,
Some letters from home,
Asking me to remit money,
They all lay in stacks, one atop the other.

The paper packet of rat poison,
The vendor outside the railway station,
Had promised – would be potent,
Enough to kill ten rats sir,
Very strong poison sir,
Five rupees that’s all it cost me,
What do you get for five rupees today?
Even a cutting-chai costs a tenner.
Would the packet suffice?

Would I be put out of my misery?
Would this help me?
Would this help my family?
Was suicide the answer to all questions?
This was how it was all going to end?
One more failure, one more statistic,
That the municipal records would close.
No – no – it cannot end this way.
Let me give it one more shot,
A second chance at life,
I am destined for greater things,
If not greater, at least for a life of mediocrity,
That lets me pay the bills,
And keep everyone happy.

I flushed the rat-poison down the toilet,
Put my head into a bucket of cold water,
Rinsed out all the frustration from every pore,
The newspaper from Sunday,
Had a list of vacancies,
They were hiring chowkidars,
The agency was offering Rs 10,000 a month,
Plus food and money for over time,
The star scholar from college,
The darling of the professors,
Was going to give life a second chance.

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A Letter to Our Unborn Child

I love reading poetry and have had the good fortune to attend ‘spoken word poetry sessions’ as well. A common trait that I have noticed among some remarkable women who recite brilliant verse is the topic of ‘Abortion’. It is always the man who is painted the villain, it could be a lover, an abusive husband, or the off-shoot of a dalliance that was ‘un-protected’ and now abortion is the only choice. It set me thinking. Can there not be a poem from the man’s perspective? Not as a rapist, an abusive husband, or an irresponsible lover, but as a genuinely caring husband or lover or partner.

 

Dearest child,

The seed of our love,

You will never read this,

You will never see us,

You will never know us.

We had so many plans,

Your mother and I,

If you were a baby boy,

We would have named you Moksh.

If you were a baby girl,

We would have named you Neha.

But it was not meant to be.

The gynaecologist was clear,

The reports were not conducive,

There was no assurance of a safe delivery,

And I was not prepared to lose,

Both you and your mother.

 

We spoke to each other,

Consoling each other,

The gynaec said,

It was not safe,

To attempt another delivery again.

We wondered why??

Why we had been chosen to undergo this trauma?

Neither of us had harmed anyone?

We had been true to each other.

Placed our faith in the Gods we chose to worship.

But it was not meant to be.

That fateful day when decided to set you free,

Both your mother and I,

Were in tears, but we had to set you free.

Somewhere in another dimension,

We are a happy family.

Our dear little unborn child,

I want you to know,

That both your Amma and Appa,

We love you!

Status Update

I sought pardon,

For my sins,

In lives gone by,

And this existence.

I found refuge,

In temples, mosques,

Monasteries and churches.

In mountains and caves,

In rainforests in the heart of darkness.

Rituals and ceremonies,

To appease the higher power,

Whichever name you choose to ascribe.

The tests and struggles that everyone faces!

Either makes them stronger or breaks them down.

Every single time when I hit trough bottom.

I fought, for I believed, I had a chance.

An obligation to survive, because I was accountable to my mother.

To make her world and life as happy as possible.

Today, as I observe her in a drug-induced stupor.

We fight ailments known and unknown.

I am powerless to help her,

All I can do is to take her to hospitals.

Follow medication and diets as prescribed.

Still there is no clear solution.

No proper answers, the battle,

For a good night’s sleep,

Was lost long ago!

I keep my eyes shut tight.

But the ears remain steady,

Waiting for the slightest moan or cry.

I don’t know what I have turned into.

A robot who mechanically,

Continues to go about his chores.

My employers have been patient.

Helping in anyway possible.

Friends, a handful, call or message.

Fragments of a family scattered around the world.

A few good souls still keep in touch.

What lies next? I don’t know,

The charade of positivity,

Of hope and good things,

All remain mere masks.

I hope I find answers.

I hope things change, for the better.

I have just one reason left,

To continue this struggle.

As that reason too, disintegrates,

Bit-by-bit, cell-by-cell.

The tunnel of darkness,

Seems to beckon me.

If tomorrow comes.

We shall meet again.

Everyone Leaves

Eventually, we bid goodbye,

To friends, family, loved ones,

Treasured possessions, jobs, colleagues,

Books, pets, memories,

We bid goodbye!

The parting at times, is pleasant!

Most often it is extremely bitter!

Eventually it all boils down,

To one pertinent question.

Did you make a positive difference,

In anybody’s life, with your words and deeds?

Did you just take,

Without sharing and giving?

Everyone leaves,

One day or the other,

Everyone leaves us!

Someday we will also leave,

Everyone else, leaving memories,

Of times well-spent and of angry spats.

Eventually we all bid goodbye to each other!

 

Of Questions and Answers!

Where are the answers?
My questions,
Do they even reach you?
My prayers – do they,
Have any conceivable value?
Is not the price,
That I continue to pay,
Every passing moment,
Sufficient proof,
Of my loyalty to you?

The clock continues,
To do its duty.
It ticks, every second,
Joining hands to make a minute.
The minutes turn into hours,
The hours into day and night.
But I remain clueless,
Without any answers!

Gently the light,
Of the setting sun,
Seems to caress,
The gaps between,
The curtains, twilight is upon us.
We seem to have nothing,
Constructive to do,
Destruction, death, illness and rot,
Of the body and the soul,
That’s all that remains.

Of people, busy in their,
Own little cocoons,
Glued to the notifications,
That pop in and out,
Glowing in coloured hues,
On their smartphones.
In this mad-rush of humanity,
Somewhere, someone, has the answers,
To all my questions!!!

Rains, tears, times, friendships lost!

How a year changes things?
Friends no longer friends,
Blocked, banned, ignored,
Wiped, scorned and deleted.
It pains me to no end,

Why? Why? Why would I,
Invest so much in a friendship,
Emotions, love, respect, time.
And why is it that people,
Can get so easily influenced,
And judge me with such remarkable ease!

We all pay for our sins,
I fully agree to the theory,
But where is that I went wrong?
At least give me a clear answer,
Tell me why my friendship,
Is no longer of consequence,
In any way to you!

Don’t I even owe the courtesy,
Of at least knowing,
What is it that I said,
Or I did, sparked of anger,
Such intense and heated,
That I do not even,
Merit worthiness of a reply,
From you!! I have no answers.

I continue to be losing people,
One after the other,
The ones that I have trusted,
The most – have always,
Managed to let me down,
The most, without fail.
I look at myself,
And wonder, with so many losses,
Well – It is I who am to blame.

Yes, that is the only answer.
Clear as sunshine,
I am the one who is flawed,
I do not deserve,
Your friendship,
Or of others, who worship you.
For I am a negative influence,
Who preys on unsuspecting minds.
So it is best for me to just shut up.
And smile, and pretend that – “All is Well”.

 

The Butterfly and the Poet

Where did this journey start?
Well the scribbles on the wall,
When I was just a toddler,
Growing into the kid,
Who ate the chalk,
With which he was supposed to write!
That’s the one – I believe!

One writes as it is a part of life.
The emotions bottled up within,
Need to find an outlet,
Gratification by others plays a small part.
The writer writes,
For he is like the butterfly in love,
That knows it has a short life span,
But is still madly in love!

The poet writes,
Knowing he is a failure,
A dejected, rejected, forlorn,
Individual, seeking comfort,
In memories of a love,
That never was,
Friends who have long ago,
Forgotten him and gone on,
To achieve success and glory.

The poet sits,
Looking at the notebook,
The fountain pen,
No longer oozes ink,
Just blood…
Life goes on..

We write, because we need to write!