Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Chained...

There are some days
When I stare-
At those tall mighty walls
Of the prison
And wonder
About the meanings of the weird images
Painted on them by someone
Even after they escape my eyes
And the gaze of my cab's
Rear view mirror.

I think about those brick walls built by years of persistence-
And the mechanism of seized freedom of movement.

The instincts of parallelism stealthily creep within me-
And cover me with an invisible cloak;
Revealing those pointed knives that encircle everyone around me;
Unveiling the strings of restraint, that bind and blind the perceptions of my brethren.

Bewildered at their intensity;
I startle at the sharp boundaries that shrewdly chain the locomotion-
Of some within giant cemented structures;
And the rest within tangled shackles of resistance.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Quandaries in Heaven#30

Chapter 30
"Once upon a time,
The angels in paradise
Sat perplexed,
Baffled at an improper confluence.
As they stood puzzled at the dilemma,
Their Head ordered; "Abandon!"
And before the disciples could erase the blunder-
A mischievous rationalist cheated on the game.
And they abandoned,
Not the sinners
But the outcome.
But then, two divine stars descended on to the Earth,
Brought home the sinful stranger
And immersed him in an incessant rain of love;
Striving together in pursuit of a beautiful metamorphosis;
Of an orphaned soul,
That emerged out of
Quandaries in Heaven."
Sundar and Meena listened, spellbound, their eyes moist with tears of pride.
Amidst the thunderous applause of the crowd, the master of the ceremony announced.
"Now I call upon Mrs. Meena Sundar, to officially unleash the cover page of Prof. Shyam Manohar's book, "Quandaries in Heaven and to officially purchase the first copy."
A nervous Meena proceeded to the dias, and with trembling hands, asked for the mike.
"Congratulations Shyam, on your achievement. Words fall short, as I try to express my happiness. You have made us proud." She continued with a choked voice, as her gasps echoed through the microphone, "I personally feel there's a suitable person who should receive the first copy of Shyam's book and that person is definitely not me."
She gestured with her hands to someone and called out...
"Come..."
A cute little girl trotted on to the stage, with confused steps.
"Shyam's daughter.", Meena introduced the child, her eyes beaming with affection and happiness.
The compere knelt down and asked,
"Dear...What's your name?"
"Swapna..."
"And do you know what it means?"
"Yes...One who dares to dream."
The End.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Quandaries in Heaven#29

Chapter 29
Sundar and Meena.
"IN."
The door plate of their Cochin flat read.
Meena tore off the previous strip from the wall calendar.
It read 14th April, 2030.
Sundar was about to enjoy his retired life this year.
Meena's hair had shades of grey, interspersed in black, with a combination that echoed of the life's wheel philosophy of thick and thin.
On the wall, there hung a portrait of Sundar's mother, who died with her unfulfilled desire of cuddling a grandchild who would bequeath her lineage and ancestral blood. But, towards the evening of her life, she had started slowly coming into terms with their ideals.
"Meena! Did you see my cupboard keys? Where do you keep these ? Oh God...Am fed up..."
"Wait. I'm coming..."
Meena was busy making final touches to the kolam on the portico of the flat, which disguised as a courtyard on auspicious occasions. She perfectly sharpened the edges of the symmetrical patterns with the expertise of a skilled artist. Her yellow silk saree with maroon zari border blended  with the colour of the laburnums that emitted their bright yellow shades from the balcony, marking the onset of Vishu, the season of happiness and prosperity.
Meena went inside. As she passed through the verandah, a looking glass that was adorned with a golden necklace mirrored her reflection. In front of it, was a golden basin, neatly assorted with different kinds of fruits, vegetables, pulses filled in coconut shells, flowers, currency notes and coins, all emitting a sense of freshness.
Meena searched in her drawer, pulled out the keys, and told Sundar.
"See...Here it is..."
Sundar walked towards Meena to get the keys. But now, his footsteps had slowed down and his physique was no more the sturdy one as it used to be. He wore a pure white kurtha, and looked very serene and calm, as always, comfortable with his usual self. His spectacles gave him a more intellectual look.
As Meena stretched out her hands to give him the keys, Sundar looked at her face.
It was shining bright in spite of the imperfections on the skin. The kumkum on her forehead and the jasmine strings on her hair made her look like a goddess, at least for his eyes. Sundar smiled and she smiled back understandingly.
"When are we starting?"
(To be continued...)

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Quandaries in Heaven#28

Chapter 28
After two days, Sundar was shifted to the ward. Slowly, he started taking little steps with Meena's help and tried hard to restore his stronger self.
Shyam had taken care of the insurance claims and the car repairs work. Ahmed's presence proved to be a real boon. Meena was sewing back the torn pieces of herself with great effort. She had informed her parents and mother in law about the mishap, though in a very diluted way and reassured them that everything is fine.
She was cutting some fruits to give Sundar, when her phone rang.
"Yes. Nita."
"How are you? What did the doctor say?"
"He is waiting for the scan report to come. He does provide hope that things are falling back to place."
"Did you ask him about the idea of shifting him to a hospital here? How long can you manage there alone?"
"Yeah. He suggests waiting for few more days till he could confirm the travel option. Anyway, Shyam and his friends are here. "
"Meena...Please don't hesitate to call me if you require anything. Then, as you suggested I went to PNB today and closed that FD of yours and transferred the amount to your savings account."
"Who was on the counter? Did she ask anything?"
"No..That Subha madam was there. I told her Sundar is hospitalised. She seemed very concerned. She quickly did it for me."
"Mm..."
"Did you have something?"
"Yeah.."
"What did you have?"
"Err...idly and sambhar.."
"Shut up. Go and have something. If you can't make up a perfect lie, why do you even attempt it?"
Meena smiled..
"Okay bye..."
"Bye...Take care...And go and eat something for God's sake!"
Meena looked at Sundar. He was sleeping. His stubbled face looked fatigued.
She kept aside the little bowl of fruits and came out of the room. She lazed around the ward, that smelled of sickness and complaints and wails and medicines.
Shyam and Ahmed were coming back from the hospital office room, located in the opposite block.
"Hi. Meena. The insurance claim process is almost through. A little more paper work to be done." Shyam remarked.
Meena nodded.
"Shyam!I shall get these papers photocopied and come. Do you want anything from the store?" Ahmed asked.
"No..."
Meena was continuing her stroll on the verandah. Shyam peeped into the room, made sure Sundar was comfortable and asleep. He reconfirmed the presence of duty staff in the opposite nurses' station and followed Meena.
"Meena! Meena!"
She turned back.
"Wait. I'm coming."
She waited.
"Actually, I wanted to talk to you. It's something serious."
"Mm...Tell me."
"Meena...Actually...I don't know how to tell you this...I know how much you have done for me. But the thing is..."
Meena raised her eyebrows..."Yes. Tell me.."
"No... Nothing...It's some crazy idea. Okay. Leave it."
"Mm... alright then..." Meena replied and started walking forward.
Shyam expected her to press him further to reveal what he was trying to say. But she seemed to be least interested.
Shyam felt disappointed. He stood there and looked outside the dusty window. There was a pond covered with weeds. He instantly drew a parallel to his crooked mind. He felt worthless and was on the verge of hating himself, when someone touched his shoulder.
"I forgot to tell you one thing, Shyam."
"Yes, Meena."
"I have asked Amma to get someone to clean up your room. We'll remove the unwanted stuff and revamp it a bit. In fact, our Cochin flat's ambience is not that bad right?"
Meena hid a silent smile as Shyam's eyes welled up with happy tears.
(To be continued...)

Monday, 27 November 2017

Quandaries in Heaven#27

Chapter 27
"Two veg meals.", Shyam extended a hundred rupee note in the canteen counter of the hospital. It was 2 pm and the mess experienced heavy rush, being the peak lunch hour. Worried faces, tired ones, frustrated ones and eyes tired of tears and sleeplessness walked about, finishing off their plates ritualistically, proving the true meaning of eating for pure survival.
Shyam found an empty table that had a ceiling fan just above it for him and Meena. He couldn't bring up a conversation, rather he intentionally avoided it, and strived to finish the meal and get off as soon as possible.
Meena couldn't eat. She uninterestingly mixed the rice with the curry and meddled with it, unable to relish it. Her eyes were fixed on a distant corner and were lost in a sea of thoughts. She looked helpless and utterly disturbed.
Shyam had no option but to start talking to her. She had to eat something. She'll faint.
"Meena."
She looked up. But Shyam found that her eyes didn't speak to him, the way they did in the morning. They were constantly trying to escape; to run away from something.
"Eat something."
"Mm..."
"Sundar spoke to you?"
"No..."
"Please don't go down, Meena. We'll handle this. He'll be shifted to the ward soon."
Meena didn't respond. Shyam understood that there's something else. He hoped against hope that his fears don't get a chance to materialize.
"Meena...Is there anything else? I know you're worried with Sundar's health. But I just wanted to know if..."
Meena couldn't control any longer. Her blood was fuming.
"What do you want to know???" She yelled, least bothered about the surroundings.
She continued..."That am sick of all the drama you are putting me through!!!"
Shyam shook lightly, as if in alarm. He didn't expect Meena to burst out like this.
Her eyes were red.
"Yes Shyam. I'm just a sponsor. A mere sponsor. And I don't dare to ever think of owning you."
"M...Meena..."
"These are your own words... You thought I wouldn't notice it?"
Shyam was devastated.
Meena stood up and started walking away, her anger vibrating in her footsteps.
Shyam couldn't control his emotions. He felt guilty and hated himself for what he did. But could he ever explain her the trauma he went through when she decided almost by herself, to send him to Bangalore!
Meena was back to the visitor's hall when Shyam came and joined her near her seat. He attempted to start speaking, but didn't have the courage to fathom an eye contact with her.
He looked down the floor, and the only words he could make himself to utter were,
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry Meena."
His voice choked.
Meena's heart didn't melt.
She didn't respond.
She couldn't just take it.
She closed her eyes and held her palms over her face and wiped over her temple.
As she closed her eyes, few words flashed on to her mind...The words she heard her teacher recite, during an English class...She felt as though Khalil Gibran wrote this for Meena's like her...
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. "
(To be continued...)

A Simple Message...

A Simple Message...