Tormentor

I sit with him, Ah! the pleasure
His eyes, the way he smiles
chiseled biceps!

He asks, I speak
The trauma at my heart
What is it that keeps poking me

I speak of red,
The spilled colour
The bundle of joy dead on a street

I speak of a bed
Devoid of rest
Haunted by nightmares

I speak of rooms;
Painful, brutal sounds
Electrocution

I speak, unaware
the words incoherent
the ache, constant….

My tormentor, moved to tears
I, unphased, numb
unaffected

Come Over

 

Look at the war, the turmoil
The way it affects you
A future awaits
Come over

What are you holding onto
Fear? Trauma
A bullet with your name on it?
Come over!

Tranquility awaits you
The grass is greener
Paradise,
Come over

I wondered if it was true
Far away, in exile
And yet paradise
The insistence, come over

Why quit for peace
And justice?
who would ensure that?
Bring back the golden days, come over

I stay back
Work, where others quit
Ensuring justice, brick by brick
I act rather than being a spectator
I won’t come over!

Owned?

The fault was in destiny. The day which bore her a burden forever. Cause when everyone was speculating a baby boy, out came a girl! The most common form of heartbreak once you get married. Everyone accepted her half-heartedly. The first thoughts associated with her? “She is a burden on our shoulders. To be married off someday.”

The years following her birth were not as deadly as the first day but she was still treated as a burden, constantly being reminded of it. While her brother had permissions to do anything, it was all vice versa with her. She was hindered for doing anything and everything. And the most common aphorism to follow? “You have to live with another family someday. All this would not be tolerated there. Hence be in  your limits.” Even before being married, she was bound by the idea of marriage. Her flight delayed.

All through she was taught how to do household chores. And above all, she was taught to be doctile. How she should never argue back. How she should not look anyone in the eye. How … blah blah blah. All this while she thought maybe marriage is the end to all this torment. Maybe it is not as bad as they show. Maybe …

And atlast the day did arrive. The burden was off from her parents’ shoulders. She was being married off. And she? Naive as she always was, she was dreaming. She thought her prince charming had just saved her from an unpleasant life and hereon everythibg would be smooth. Like a fairy tale. Alas! Life is no fairy tale…

With marriage came responsibilities. And soon it dawned on her that she had no help there. She alone had to manage everything. And then you could not say no to your husband. Angels will curse you all night. She wondered why was only the wife cursed? All day she toiled hard and all she got at the end was curse and displeasure? For what did she do all this then?

Gradually she realised that though she worked as hard as her husband, she had to work at home too. He won’t move as much as a spoon. While he got to rest, all she got was more work. And displeasure of in-laws too. She wondered why only a woman was supposed to work at home? Was God biased or humans? She forgot our society believes in male chauvinism.

As some more time passed she was blessed with a baby. A baby girl. All her in-laws cursed her for bearing a girl child. Blaming her for being responsible for this tragedy. But what was her fault in it? How could she know what she bore. Yet no one thought about it. And instead of celebrations there was gloom in her house. It was another tragedy for them. But not a soul remembered what she had undergone to bring the life to this world. No one acknowledged her patience or tried to share her pain. It seemed she was unwanted. Surrounded by a whole lot of relatives and still alone.

As the birth of girl was gradually accepted, life began to be normal. But when the baby would cry, it would be her job to pacify her. Even after the baby was born, she alone had to take its care. When it would cry in night, she would be awakened to pacify it. She wondered why her husband could not have changed a diaper or fed it with milk that lay nearby?

She soon resumed her job too. Now she was handling too much together. House hold work, office, a baby, in-laws and a husband. She kept wondering why she had to be subdued and doctile. She wondered why women were doomed to this fate. Why was God partial to her gender? If her husband could rest after office why could not she? Why could she not go out and enjoy? Why could she not live?  Why were all bindations imposed on women only?

She had no answers. All she knew was that it all was unjust. Whether God was partial or the society, but she deserved much better, much more. And one such day, when she was tired of asking for her rights, she broke off. She broke all her chains that didn’t let her do her choice. She flew off away that day. Cause that day she realised life could not be what people say.  And your husband cannot be God. A wife has as much rights to rest and recreation as her husband. But still women feel chocked up, exhausted and sick.

A caged bird never sings of green fields.

A bird in a case can never love it’s owner.

 

marriageb

Used To Salt!

I feel like being in middle of a sea
Hopelessness surrounding me

I may gather strength to swim
But how can I dream to win?

The salt plasmolysis me
The sight demoralizes-

I see sharks and whales coming…
Shall I find myself screaming

I day dream of being eaten up by them
My nightmare being stuck forever…

I get adrenaline overdose
I swim… to the threshold of energy

I move further…further in
I feel somewhat relieved

And when the adrenaline normalized
I realize how far I have come

I moved away from the shore
From the dream I dreamt from core

I cry cry really loud
I scream all my pain out

I get wounded all over
And then I get used to salt!

Answered

I had asked for answers
I had questioned Him so many times
to the point of my desperation
I wanted fast, simultaneous answers.
I could not figure out my life
what was happening around
it was all chaos
and I had no knowledge
I bombarded You with questions
Your answer was silence
I asked You again and again
and Your answer never changed.
And then one day, I felt
I was relearning things
I understood my knowledge
in a different perspective.
My mind had many different thoughts,
something unconventional for me.
And I find an angel by my doorstep
Comforting and answering me.

A Ragging Incident

It all started with a simple introduction. They called it an icebreaker. “Why be ignorant about each other when we have to be together.” That was the first time we interacted with our seniors.
We were asked to introduce ourselves. Names, previous university and hometown. On the mention of hometown they asked to pinpoint the place of residence. I refused straight away. Why should some strangers know of my residence? What purpose would it serve them? What fun? But they didn’t see my point. All they understood was that I had misbehaved. Insulted the seniors. Hurt their ego.
Later that day, Her classmates displayed the first signs of trouble. Someone came in and asked who talked like that to seniors. When pursued further she revealed that seniors said it was rude to refuse revealing your address like that. Discussions on my behaviour had probably started. The feeling of unease settling in.
This incident highlighted me in the department. I could even see my classmates eyeing me thinking probably of my (muhnphat) behaviour. Faces of seniors even worse. That day I knew I was all alone.
A few days later seniors confronted me in department. Asking me how I could gather the courage to answer them like that. How could a junior survive in a campus with angry and annoyed seniors. I did not answer them for this. But I merely told them that my data is personal and I shall not share it. And if residential details were so important for our cordial relations, why wasn’t the guy first to be introduced asked to reveal his exact residential location? What was the reason for this bias? And yes, I also gathered the courage to tell them that a person is himself responsible for the safeguarding of his respect.
This all didn’t go well with them. The next thing to follow was a call at hostel. Seniors called me up to their room in hostel. They held me accountable for the humiliation they faced in front of all juniors as well as seniors. But that wasn’t my fault, was it? They tried to make me feel guilty, horrible and get me to apologize. But why should I? I was merely protecting my identity. And I have every right to decide how much of my personal data is revealed to strangers. But they were seniors. Seniors with a hurt ego and a revengeful mind.
Seniors would not have bothered me if it would have been restricted to that. But would that not be too simple a life? For the life of my miseries was destined long.
The seniors in hostel were warden’s favourites. She did as and whatever they said. But I had not anticipated what happened further. In a conspiracy with the warden they created issues for me. Everyday I had a new issue to tackle. For some consecutive weeks I was made to shift from.one room to another citing one reason or another. The warden would not even listen or understand. Tired of adjusting the luggage in a room every week I simply stopped adjusting them. All my luggage remained in my bags. In college everyone had started eyeying me. And my classmates were asked to stop talking to me by seniors. I was made to feel like an outcast. No one to talk to or ask for help.
As gradually as one could sense, isolation was taking its toll. Sometimes I found soothing in tears, on other days nothing. The most painful thing was telling my parents that i was fine and happy. Talking to them in a cheerful voice was the most difficult task.
And one day I climbed up the terrace and jumped. The world won. They had successfully killed all my courage and hope. Only light remained.

Painted in Red

They all sat together in a single room. Pin drop silence. All that could be heard was the sound of T.V. A news reporter was reading out the latest developments in the area. Developments not in the form of infrastructure or education but of situation. Of a situation that had led them to be locked up in their homes. Curfew. It had been a week that they had been locked up in their homes. First internet services were snapped and gradually all kinds of connectivity. One could not even know how a person was. No news source other than the national television. Indian television.

The issue with being dependent on Indian media was their non-reliability. They would never showcase the truth. They did cover the militant army encounters. They rejoiced on militant deaths. They showed their disapproval of people joining funeral of militants. But they never digged down to understand why an 18 year old would shun his studies and take up arms. They showed the angry mobs protesting on streets but could never gather the courage to bring forth the reason for their anger and anguish.

But right now they did not really have an option. They had no other source. The unrest was triggered by an encounter. And people had poured in thousands on streets for his funeral. Along with the prayers there was one thing that reverberated in the air that day. “Hum kya chahte? Azaadi!” This word, “Azaadi”, had compelled the forces to disperse the procession. Means used? Tear gas shells, pellets, rubber and even live bullets. That day a dozen more boys were killed. And hundreds others injured.

Tear gas shells are frequently used for mob dispersal. The proper usage? To be shot at an upward or downward angle of 45 degrees. But in this part of the world, tear gas shells were shot at 90 degrees. Right above the waist.  As if they were aiming it at people so as to cause injury and panic. More than tears by a gas, a mob can be dispersed by the realisation that a participant is hit by a canister and needs medical attention. From protests their attention gets diverted to calling an ambulance or arranging a vehicle and driving the person to care and safety. Similarly pellet guns are classified as non-lethal. On being shot they shoot out small balls ranging from 300-30. In most parts of the world they merely shoot 30 pellets at a time. But we live in an exception. 300 pellets are released from one shot and they are not as non-lethal as claimed by the security agents and the governing bodies.

Pellet guns did not merely cause death. In majority of the cases it caused something graver. It caused the death of dreams and hopes. Ideally they should have been shot below waist area. Instead every injured person with pellets was hit above waist. Most of them hit in head and eyes. Some wounds recoverable, others not so. The worst sorts of injuries were in eyes. And even worse the news that they had lost eye sight.

What was moving was an interview of a journalist with one similar patient. He had been operated upon but recovery of his eyesight was unachievable. When he was asked about his dreams, he said, “ Earlier I had but now everything is black. Nothing is left.” And tears had started gushing out of his eyes. Gloom. It was not merely the loss of eyesight. It was not merely a genocide. It was not a mere mob dispersing technique. It was intentional breaking of dreams, lives and souls. How could a democracy do this to its own people (and an integral part)?

The answer was more political than human. A solution which no one was ready to implement. Egos’ and personal motives stood higher than humanity. And the streets of Kashmir were forever painted red.

 

Beyond…

She could see beyond that paint
Beyond that smile that was feigned

Beyond that fair blushed face
Their true colours lay barren

Spending time around, she knew
There was none to call own

Amongst claims of being close
Care was the easiest thing to feign

Beyond conversations she could see
The slight changes of expressions

And though they claimed friendship
They frowned on mention of needs

They did what people call care
Only that it wasn’t real

They were all messy portraits
Crafty, painted, lifeless…

And she knew they would break
Her heart the day she trusted!

After Departure

He could see his mother in kitchen
And yelled to her, “I won’t eat.”
She insisted, he did not yield
Leaving home in haste.

He could see his sister with a pillow
And knew they would be fighting soon
He snatching her favourite toy
She reciprocating, “I hate you”

He could see his brother’s new bat
The reason he now envied him
And how they sneaked out together
To play in that rain!

He could see his dad’s grin
He displaying his sports trophy
That warm hug following
And scolding on grades.

But now walls seemed splashed by red
A teacher in front set ablaze
He could see his lifeless friends
And a gun pointing at his head!

He could hear his mother wail
His sister probably dumbstruck
He felt his brother lift him up
The final journey embarked.

Pained

Oh! Look my son is back home
Did I not say he would come?
He loves me more than anyone else
How could he abandon.

Come my son, you must be hungry
Toiling through the day, thirsty
Let me serve you some food to eat
Drink some water, thirst’s defeat

But why are you so silent today
Has it been too hectic day
Did you not enjoy the stuff
Or was all the work a handcuff

Look, we have many guests too
Everybody came in to see you
Won’t you talk to them even?
Would you be that rude?

Someone suddenly said, “Let go off him, sister
He was hit by a canister
His soul departed that moment
He will reside in Jannah, be content”

She replied in an angry voice
He is with me, my rejoice
And how dare you call him dead,
Don’t touch him, he’s my blood

He would not go anywhere
Like this he can’t leave me in despair
He promised he would stay by me
Then how can his early his soul flee?