Remember?

The last time you said goodbye and I said alright, remember that time?
The last time we saw in each other’s eyes, let those words be, and left. Remember that silence?
The last time we could have held each other and didn’t? The support we could have been and didn’t? Remember that time?

Now, I see you grieving. Wailing. Lamenting the loss you suffered. The Trauma.
But I wanna ask, “Did I not matter when I existed? When I was there? Why did you take me so for granted then?”

Now that I shed my mortal skin and am leaving for chasm, why do you call my name? Chasing a ghost? Shouting out regrets?

Would the words not work if I heard them when alive? What fun now? The purpose of this regret?

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Governed by Fear?

All of us talk of winning. Of how we want to achieve things. Dreams. We build castles. Fantasies at work. A beautiful imagination.

But when we look in our eyes, why do we find them empty? Why don’t our smiles reach our eyes? Why do our hearts feel empty?

We all dream. But we fail to realize them. We fail to work so  as to make them true. We listen to society, to people and think this won’t work. That building castles in air is a waste. Why don’t we listen to us?

We cherish our comfort zones, our images. Of how we live and what people think about us that we forget we had dreams. We think about what people would gossip about. not what our dreams on completion would look like. We focus on our position in society. Not the work that can realize our dreams.

Why is it easy to dream of a pent house. Why isn’t working for it that easy? Because our actions, our thoughts are governed by fear. What if? Maybe I lose what I have working for what I want! What if, this dream of being AVP instead of an employee costs me my health? My job? My everything?

Why do we repeat the things we have always done? They didn’t get us to our dreams. Why would they now?

Maybe we just need to take a U-turn. Drive to that crazy path we once shun because of our fears. Because we thought it was crazy. Because we cared about what the world would think. Fear. Maybe destination is not that far.

Maybe everything is waiting and we are not able to achieve it because we are fearful of extending our hand.

Is burning one’s hand not worth if that gets one to his dream?

Restlessness

Breathing heavily
Dragging my feet along
running away…

Along, I carry a heavy heart
grieving
devastated

Plethora of emotions
I cry
my tears, prayers!

Bleak hope of forever
of belongingness
depth of an ocean

I try acquiring it all
a sky full of stars,
a dream glistering

I look back,
flashes
The essence of poetry

Though only a moment
it seems forever
a dream cherished, well lit!

 

Pay Back

Whenever we see an unhappy couple, or a couple facing some problems, we hear them blaming their partner for this. “It was he who caused this”. “She is to be blamed”. Blah Blah Blah …

When we are in love, we tend to idealise the person, overlooking their negatives. But when we go on to long term commitment, their negatives start to appear prominently. They are no longer ignored but fought over. “Why are you like this?” ” Why do you do that?” “Why can’t you change?”

In such situations we tend to forget that only the other person can’t be at fault. A person has been like this for some 20-25 years and you suddenly expect them to change for you, just because you don’t like something. Why can’t we simply accept each other? The way we are?

The other thing wrong about our relations is blaming and then seeking revenge. “He did this to me, so I would act this way to repay him.” “She did such a thing. I will make her repent. She deserves it.”

Why can’t we treat our mistakes better? Why hold grudges? Why can’t we simplify things? Instead of repaying each other or making the other person regret their doings, why can’t we forget and move on? Why cause each other pain? Or are we all sadists, deriving pleasure of the pain of our loved ones? Of our partners?

The next time you think of punishing you partner in any way, think how many times you have been wrong and they simply let go, never making a fuss. Think of why you love them before thinking what they deserve.

Hearts are fragile and anger only hurts your own self!

Of Here and There

Apart from the stark contrast of culture and lack of mountains, one thing was very apparent at the new place. Wherever you look, however far you try to search there is no army man standing with  a loaded gun. This seemed so abnormal. Back home an army man could be found every 100 metres or even less but here…  She was clueless as to why. That was the first time she realised her homeland was a conflict zone. And that it was captive and yearning. All the people had a single dream. Freedom!

Adjusting to Indian society and culture was difficult. People usually asked very difficult and strange questions. Is it safe there? Have you seen terrorists? Does it blast every day? And they go on and on. That was when she knew the partial news coverage Indian media provided. For them it was merely a piece of land. For her? Kashmir! It was difficult to give them answers and bring forth the reality of Kashmir. Not because of the complexity of the conflict but because of the adamant nature of her questioners. They knew only one thing. “Mera Bharat Mahaan”. And they would not listen to a word spoken against India. Or to something that would paint India in bad light. They could not bring themselves to think or realise that India could be wrong and atrocious too.

Amongst all this a news took everyone like a storm. A guy had turned a militant and was now attacking army convoys. Army and CRPF were being attacked. It seemed as if armed struggle had started afresh. Following the news of blasts and killings she came to know about the person doing all this. (A name that means “bearer of good news”). This person claimed responsibility of all the recent attacks on the Indian army and forces. He also sent a strong message to counterparts in India, “We will earn our freedom soon.”

(the name). It was stuck in her mind. She could not understand why. Later, videos and pictures of the guy, who was by now being hailed as a hero, emerged. And she got her answer. She knew this guy. Not only did she recognise him, she even had memories of him.

She vividly remembered the smile that was always on display on (his name)’s face. How he displayed empathy with everyone. His kindness was an example in the whole school. Even teachers adored him and said the level of humanity he had was exceptional. He could not harm even a fly. Today the same guy was hurling grenades at humans. Unimaginable.

(his name) had lost his father very early in his life. Bought up by his mother alone, he knew her hardships and made sure he caused her no additional headaches. He was the calmest child of his age. His siblings were an elder sister who helped run the household with her mother and a twin. He always thought he was bestowed with the best mother and sister anyone could have. And his twin was like his own shadow. Inseparable.

It was late November. The sky was dark with black clouds and light was low even during the day. It had been snowing all night and it seemed to continue the whole day. Despite being the first snow of the season there was a strange lull in the atmosphere. As if something was utterly wrong somewhere and yet nothing could be done.  That day his brother was untraceable. He searched whole of their place but he was nowhere to be seen. Mother told him that he had moved out to buy some snacks. The nearest shop was a mile away. So (his name) started walking towards the shop. All the way long streets were strangely desolate. And the army numbers were higher than usual. Sensing trouble, he hurried. As he reached the shop, he met a strange sight. The snow was no more white. It was red. Even snow had withdrawn support. On the molten red part of the snow lay his brother. Shot dead.

For months together he did not talk to anyone. Neither did he attend school. He could hardly sleep. And when he did, he woke up shouting and crying. Doctors said he was suffering from PTSD. PTSD is not so uncommon in Kashmir. Almost half of the population suffers from it. Almost everyone has seen dead bodies, heard gun shots and grenades go off. People have dreams of identification parades and gun shots. And who held those killer guns? Army.

For a long time (his name) was depressed and could not resume his daily life. Probably he could not accept the loss. How could anyone ever anticipate losing a twin. It was after a year that he could finally face the reality and resume his life. It was difficult but he did all he could. Sometimes he would break down in middle of activities. Sometimes in midst of a crowd. That seemed to be the most difficult part of his life. Only if we knew better.

It was his higher secondary school exams. The ones parents say are the way to an easy life (the most common lie though). He had studied hard and thought he could ace the exams. It was the physics exam day. He was glad for he had attempted whole of the paper satisfactorily. But as he reached home that day, a new pain was awaiting him. In his absence some army men had entered their home forcibly and tried to impose themselves on the ladies. When the ladies did not yield they took them along with. Later, their bodies were found in a nearby brook. Both of them dead.

Rapes, forced disappearances and deaths were not new to Kashmir. But when this all happens to someone first hand it is difficult to bear. That day he felt helpless. His brother had not been given justice. And when he wanted justice for his mother and sister, he was met with same fate. Post-mortem reports were altered. Rules were bent. And the killers were given a free passage along with a transfer. Justice was murdered once again. Again, like all those years when 100’s of youth were killed and no one was held responsible.

The day he realised he could not get justice in the Indian legal system did he make up his mind. He wanted to avenge the deaths. Not just of his family but of Kashmir. Of the 1000’s of martyrs who laid their lives to free it from the occupation. That day he disappeared.

She could still remember the day like it had happened yesterday. (his name) had not appeared in any other exam. Nor could anyone get him to talk or do anything. It was the onset of depression. And this later led to his disappearance. Some said he killed himself in grief. Others said he crossed over the border. But no one did anything. Moot spectators.

It had been a year since his disappearance. He had returned as suddenly as he had disappeared. His eyes still spoke of the ordeal he had met. His pain had not died away. Time did not heal his wounds. Incurable.

Yet, whenever she had conversation with her Indian class fellows they held him wrong. He was labelled a terrorist even without hearing his side of the story. News anchors shouted to establish their point. People started discussing him on national television. But they never knew what provoked him. She wanted to ask them how they would feel if their brother was out to fetch snacks and was shot at without any fault. Was it some play? Was he a wax model? A target to practice upon? She wanted to ask them if they had ever reached home and found that some army men had misbehaved with their mother and later killed her? Would they still worship their country, their army as they do now?

Her staunch Indian fellows were blindfolded by the media and their national chauvinist mentality. The truth never reached them. She wanted to tell them his truth. But then are Kashmiri students studying outside the state not killed and labelled terrorists or lodged in jails for no fault? Or even worse, they sometimes merely disappear. And quiet she kept.

 

Biased Children?

All through our childhood we see our mothers work feverently for us. Even a moment’s rest seems a luxury for them. And yet, when we gain enough strength to replay them we choose, instead, to neglect.

All through we tend to see the duties of our parents towards us but never do they work for their rights. Are our parents not entitled to our care and love in their years of down?

But instead, we tend to make them work even more. In most of the households, parents are treated as servants and maids. Maybe this is the only reason they are kept at home. Unpaid and trusted labour. Does none realise that we are doing them injustice?

In  a bid to please our wives and not let them get burdened by household chores and children, we tend to thrust work onto our parents. Thinking they have served us before and would do so forever. But are we not taking them too lightly?

Do we not realise that same situation might reciprocate on us? The child we cherish today might employ the same propaganda. Tomorrow he might, as well, treat us as mere unpaid servants!

They say prayer of a broken heart is considered immediately. Do we wish to bring wrath upon us by treating our parents ill?

They are entitled to respect and care as much as our partners and children deserve. Then why this bias?

 

Priorities

She cried, bewildered
where had the child gone?
But where had she been when
the soul was alone at home
trying not to be afraid
future can hold unknowns!

She looked around for her child
but it was long gone
Where was she when it cried
hungry and so tired
figuring out how to cook,
seeking mother in distress?

She asked, “Why it left early
Was it not too young to die?”
Where was she when he wanted to play
and was shooed away?
made to feel like unwanted
a burden onto the family?

She pleaded them to let it be
and not take it away from her
Where was she when it cried for her
seeking her affection and protection.
When all it desired was her
and she busy with other!

She looked around in despair
It had waited for her hopelessly
She seeks when it no more was
It sought when ignored so hard
And as it parted that fateful day
one lost life and other hope!

His Happiness

Years before, a random Sunday
cold and warm mixed together
A question he held in eyes
an embrace his answer

A shell was then kissed on
a partial face of kisser
they hung together from his pocket
the start of a journey.

Years later, still together
they struggle to be happy
on one thing or another
there is discord or agony

They promise each day to be good
and not be upset on little things
a day passes by happy
and next comes as doom!

However explanations they may give
or how hard they may try
from all that had happened
there was one logical end

Neither could he live without
not be happy in her absence
There was something that must be done
something to end all his pain…

And she kept wondering, how
she had been so unlucky
like Midas she for him,
touching his happiness to gloom

Of her he thought as happiness
and it turned just the opposite
The person he cherished as sunlight
was only rain and thunderstorm!

Unspoken and Unresolved!

He said, “I am frustrated. I can’t take it any longer. I call it off.” This came from him after remaining tight-lipped for two days. This separation was killing him inside. Heart broken. She had been pained too. In ways different from him.

There had been some huge miscommunication in their relation. The things that should have beautified it were intoxicating it. They were not able to synchronise properly. They loved each other but were not compatible with each other. Something was missing in their relation.

Their different upbringing and values were messing with each other. He had always been restricted in life. Bound by the responsibility of being eldest. He never had choices in life. He could have changed his ways now. He was no more bound. But he chose not to. Unreasonable. He feared losing his identity. Maybe he could no longer be able to relate to self. Or maybe he did not want to move out of his comfort zone. Inert. He could not see why he needed the change. Probably he did not want to grow at all.

She, on the other hand, had always been liberal. She had had all the freedom one could have. She was the apple of everyone’s eye. Pampered. Being youngest, she never really grew up. The kid inside her would show up every now and then. But she was mature too. More than what is expected of her age. Sensible. Being youngest was an advantage. Everyone felt she was too young to understand. So she was never locked out when serious matters were discussed. And secretly, she understood all.

He seemed to have no dreams. All he wanted was a job so he may take the burden off his father’s shoulders. She wanted to fly. Dreamt of everything one could imagine. He was timid. Cautious of what he did in public view. What he said or what questions he asked. Most of the times he did not. She did not give a damn about the world. It was her life and she would choose what she wanted. She would ask all such questions others felt were silly or were afraid to ask. Alive. And then one day they stumbled into one another.

Everyone knew they loved each other, even before they knew. Everyone could see that in his eyes. The way he looked at her, cared for her. And the way she desired his attention. Before they knew, they were in a relation. Everything was beautiful.

Then what went wrong? What happened that they had to part ways? Even they could not answer this. Somehow differences took toll of their relation. They did not know what acted as poison. But it seemed to be the end. There was nothing left. Over.

Maybe they should have talked out their differences. Left their egos aside. They should have learnt what the other one likes. Instead of being uncomfortable in what the other person likes, they could have shown positives to their partners. They did not bother. They should have smoothened out the creases but they were too negligent. Has any relation sustained blame? They should have acted mature! They should have valued their love. Bruised.