Archive for the ‘Abstract’ Category

One at a time

November 22, 2013 6 comments
He stood at the edge of the cliff looking at the horizon melting far away in the scathing heat of this summer. There was no expression on his face, no remorse, no resentment, no sign of sadness. Where the face could successfully freeze emotions, the eyes were no different than the melting horizon in baring the fluid remains of what once was hope.

Not a lot had happened. It was never a lot. Like always, it was always the few, little things that mattered that had him see this day. There was a lake at a stone’s throw from where he stood, steeper down along the curve. “Deep” they had said; it was quite a few feet deep to gobble up at least a man or two of his size with ease. Hands in pockets, he drifted all alone steeper down along the curve. An eery calm had seemingly descended upon him. He felt nothing but void reverberating with every step in his breath. Standing at the lake’s edge, he stared hard in the water in sun’s glaring ire of a reflection. He took the keys out from his pocket. There also was a chewing gum wrapper he had neatly folded earlier that day – he always did that – he hated littering the earth with plastic filth like the others; although he never bothered much with the same filth accrued in his pockets over days & weeks. Refolding the wrapper, he flicked his fingers & sent the wrapper flying today. He rested his wallet & keys on earth and slowly, he stepped in the lake.

Unlike the surface which was burning hot, it was relatively cold below it. Neither seemed to have had any impact on him. Hot or cold, it was unimportant. Unimportant just like everything else that could ever exist. He had been searching for words to know what this meant – this unrelenting meaninglessness of living for nothing. There were words, he knew. There were always words to gracefully capture every feeling that he had ever known. And words he had found. Existential nihilism, they said so on the Internet. He smirked on having thought of these new words he had befriended over the web just a few days ago. Lost in his head, he could no longer feel the earth under his legs. He might have been just a few inches away from “deep”.

He held on to his nerves & breath for as long as he could. He had gotten pretty good at it of late. Closing his eyes, he tried to float. Swim he couldn’t – he had learnt just enough to keep kicking and stay alive. He felt the water reach for his lungs as he let out a gasp in a desperate attempt to breathe. It could be easy he thought. No more breathing and peace would be eternal. But hope is a stupid thing. “One day at a time” they had said in therapy. Take one day at a time. And why wouldn’t he not follow it today? Trying to make a dash at the shore, he struggled to find his piece of earth he could stand on. With all things forgotten, he now had his eyes nervously fixated to the shore and with more struggle, he found himself kneeling on the shore coughing water out his lungs.

He lay on his back with arms and legs stretched facing the sky. This, he thought was the moment he had truly felt alive in a long long time. This moment, he thought was it, which was his & he would never share with a soul ever. With only his own breath to hear, he smiled in peace & let his eyes shut.

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The Sock

April 1, 2013 8 comments

There was a sense of belonging here that he missed.

It was a mad frenzy of the cabs whooshing past, the hawkers howling their wares, hustle and bustle of the maddening crowd, the uncaring pace of people going about their lives and  then it was him. Being lost in the middle of nowhere, he felt most at home. Only if home meant this much of solitude. It was yesterday he had received the news.

 He was struggling, jumping with a shoe on one of his legs trying to find out where the other pair of his sock was. The tea was almost done and had he not hopped his way in the kitchen, he would have had to come back later in the evening to the task of clearing the stove of the brown filth that would have overflown. He glanced quickly into the window to check if his pick up had arrived. The cabbie had always been on time, if not before. Having one eye on the clock ticking morning minutes, he crouched under the sofa to find luck with the missing sock. “Fuck fuckety fuckin fucker!!” he winced as a blank floor stared back at him. He again hopped into the kitchen and filtered the tea in a mug. Before he could take a sip out of it, his cell rang. “Fuck!!” he cursed and thought how crazy that the cab had to come at that very instant. He reached for the cell in his pocket and took it out only to see his boss on the line. This meant bad news. “I am sorry kid. They have pulled the plug. It’s a no go.” The line was silent for almost a minute. “Umm hmm..I understand. Thanks for sticking out for me sir” he muttered. “Sure. Take care kid”. Click.

He walked his way in the kitchen. He emptied the mug in the sink and took out a glass. There was some Blenders remaining from a few days back. He poured all of it in a lone glass and sunk some ice cubes in it. He removed his shoe with his other toe and angrily threw it off in the kitchen itself. He took a quick sip and sat the glass down on the window sill. He removed his pants and tossed them carelessly on the floor. Reaching for his laptop on the table, he went in the Pink Floyd folder and queued a song after cranking the volume to the full. He sat in his boxers and fresh white ironed shirt and tie with a sock on one leg on the window sill holding the glass in his hand. As Roger Waters began with “Remember when you were young…”, he stared out the window.

An urchin was shouting loudly selling his toy phones. Frail body, a torn and a muddy vest, khaki half pant and disheveled hair only gave an appearance that undermined his salesman skills in a humongous manner. With the sun heaving its wrath at 43 degrees, the kid stood barefoot with only the largest of smiles on his face. They had evicted him a thousand times, may be more. But he always came back. With that same smile. Going by the marks on his face and his back, one could easily make out that the kid had been beaten hard and beaten blue not a long time from now. And yet here he was. Making an honest buck selling toy phones on the street while the ‘other’ kids his age squabbled over which smart phone app was best to do the nothing which never mattered to nobody. And yet this rusty little gem of a kid would fight his pain to come sell toy phones.

 As the last of the few drops of Blenders fired his throat, he took a hard look at the kid. He made it up in his mind to go buy a toy phone. But it had to wait for today. He wouldn’t step out for a minute nor would he lower the volume in spite of what the ‘family’ crowd of the ‘society’ would say today. Pink Floyd marooned him and he fell in a slumber to only be awake the whole of that night.

Come next morning, and he was on the street, searching for his savior – the urchin. He, who defied pain, who smiled when beaten, who only knew to smile and earn his honest buck. Who fought for his survival and who inspired him to believe. To believe and to live. He went today to go buy that toy phone. There was a sense of belonging here he missed.

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December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

It was a chapel that one would have drove by on a usual summer day. Unnoticed, hidden in the whirlwind of sands painting it rusty and gold, giving it a look of barren and yet, richness – rich in memories perhaps. It stood through times one would care to remember.  The wedding had been a joyous one. The chapel wasn’t rusty then. Washed it was rather. Washed with the most unusual thunderstorm it had received  in a long time. They had joked that the roof would come down once they said those two words which were to be said when they had to be said – “I do”.  “Imagine the horror if it indeed happens. I wouldn’t mind, I am a delight in the bath” had giggled the maid of honor and winked at the bride. “My sweet slutty sis. Ain’t you a delightful bitch” sighed the bride. Delightful she was. Amd so was she cheerful, full of life, vibrant in thoughts and actions and expressions. Yet that wasn’t the best of her. The best of her was her infectious smile. It eased one’s heart to see her smile. It gave hope.

And he had said all of it, to her, that wedding day, in that chapel. “Achcha?” she said and smiled. She eluded him for the entire evening. His eyes searched for hers as he talked to the ones he wasn’t willing to talk to. He courteously obliged the ladies with the dances they demanded of him yet he ached to have her in his arms to dance with. He smiled all the smiles effortlessly and charmed all those who he didn’t wish to charm. Having had enough of her elusiveness, he approached her at the altar and requested to have her borrowed. She obliged with grace and gave her hand in his to be taken. To her surprise, he didn’t take her dancing, he didn’t offer her wine, he didn’t even offer her the sinfully soft cake dipped in cream. Instead he took her in the adjoining verandah, closed the door behind her, looked her straight in the eyes and said “Achcha?”

The kiss lasted real long. Long enough to the day they were back together, hand in hand standing in the verandah staring at the rusty old chapel thinking of all the times betwenn then and now. “You were a clever bastard” she said  with a smile. He clasped her waist by his hands, brought her closer, looked deep in the eyes he had looked all his life and said “I still am”. The kiss lasted real long.

Categories: Abstract


May 22, 2012 8 comments

He found it amusing for the rains to fall from the skies in the middle of May. Cold, damp winds sweeping the wet little leaves off the roads and pavements in a whirlwind, almost immediately were followed by the sudden brashness of the heavy drops of rain. He had a presentation due the next day. On finally giving up on finding a cab to reach his place, he ran for cover under a tarpaulin strapped to two bamboo sticks and the edges of an empty bhelpuri cart. He tried feeling for the ciggerate in his pockets and out came the cancer stick soaked in water, drooping at its end & hanging its white flag of defeat to the wrath of mother earth. He reached for the lighter, and angrily rolled his thumb over its wheel to strike a light. It just wouldn’t light !! Nothing seemed to have been going right lately. Had it not been for the mind numbing banter of the intern post meeting, he could have just caught a cab in the nick of time. And if only had he met the VP instead of the intern, he might as well would have still been in the meeting, running him through the ideas he had worked on all night. The tarpaulin started sacking with the water being accumulated on the top and he could feel it touching him on his head. He punched it in fury as the water flowed effortlessly from the edges only to bounce back on his leather shoes. Beaten and defeated, he just sighed out loud, leaned against the cart and let his head sink in his palms.

It was only the laptop in her bag which made her look for cover. She had almost started enjoying getting drenched in the rains when it dawned on her that the water could seep in to her bag. Seeing a guy punch some water out from over a tarpaulin to keep it from touching his head, she ran straight towards him to seek cover. Stepping in gently as if entering his private space, she tried not to attract his attention. He heard her step in the makeshift shed and took his head out of his palms to restore his own perceived dignity in appearing manly. He could only see her from the backside. White little transparent pearls of water rolled down her nape into the sweet confines of sin factory. She had her hair tied up in a pony tail and he could faintly see her right cheek just enough to know that she was smiling. She wore a bright yellow kurti, the kind which had a deep cut in the back, and yet, what rather drew his attention was her nape and the faint sign of a smile on her cheeks, however vague it looked from where he stood. He took a few steps sideways, removed his backpack and leaned again on the cart hoping to catch a glimpse of her face. Just when had he thought he had made up his mind on being an atheist as opposed to an agnostic, he saw her face. She couldn’t resist feeling the rains in the cup of her palms. Simple, fair and ordinary arms just as anyone else’s, it was the red thread on one of them which dripped water from its knot that made it extraordinary for him. She noticed him looking at her from the corner of her eye. She turned her face towards him and smiled.

“You dont enjoy getting drenched in the rains, do you?” she said.

“Not alone, No.” He said with a humble smile and penetrating eyes.

“Thats cheesy”

“Cheesy not work for you?”

It rained for 3 hours that day. They married a year later.

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..And yet..

January 23, 2012 9 comments

Motionless and exhausted, they sat next to each other, watching the dark waves of the ocean sway to the moon’s charm. Of course a lot could have been said; both had been holding back on saying what could have been said for the fear of becoming someone else. Or worse, making the other someone else. Amidst the accustomed cacophony of the vehicles zooming past the swarm of ‘Sunday’ tourists thronging Queen’s necklace, unspoken words only enchanted the calm they had longed. Chin balanced delicately on her knees with her arms wrapped around them, her eyes seemed fixated on the moonlit waves swaying like fluid, gentle desires. He leaned backwards on an arm he stretched behind where she sat, just enough to be more close to her. The wind carried a mild chill in it which made her like him in coming close enough to let his intentions know in keeping her warm. She could have chuckled at the subtle sexual innuendo in her own thoughts, but a slim smile sufficed. A smile so feeble and tender, only he could read to blush secretly thinking it as her way of acknowledging his coming close.

They had had a good evening. No music had played. No flowers were bought. No black ties were seen. No reservation was made to share that chocolate fondue they had almost always had when they met. Instead, they’d licked on the kulfi sticks an urchin passing by had to offer in exchange for a few rupees. Walking close enough to only overwhelm at the thought of being distant like the two ends of a sea, no words were spoken. “It was a mutual, conscious decision…And it had to be taken.” was what they would tell their friends ; so had they thought. Strolling the promenade, their hands did brush against each other at occasions more than once though. And yet, no one clasped the other’s hand in their own like always.

He still remembered that smile on her face when he had clasped her hand the very first time. A smile so feeble and tender, only he could read to blush secretly thinking it as her way of acknowledging his coming close. Close they had had been for years since. Close enough for him to gently move that strand of hair on her face just so as to look at her. And yet…and yet it was a mutual, conscious decision which they had taken. That was that. The skies descended darkness on them and motionless they sat, staring into oblivion. The strand of hair remained unmoved that day.

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December 15, 2011 8 comments

अर्धवट तुटून पडलेली ती हिर्वटलेली भिंत, केशरी-तपकिरी पानांचा तो एकेकाळी छोट्टासा असणारा अवाढव्य ढिगारा, विसरलेल्या आठवणींना कोंडून ठेवणारे ते जुनाट से झालेले दार, अध्न मध्न हलक्या मंद वाऱ्याने आपटत वाजणारी ती लाकड़ी खिड़की, वर्षांपासून धूळ खात पडलेली ती फाटकी पतंग, गच्चीवर जुन्या कुलर चे  गंज्लेले त्या जाळ्या,    एकेकाळी प्रसन्न असणारं ते उन्हात एक्ट स उभं आम्ब्याच झाड, मातीने झाक्लेली ती नाहीशी झालेली पाउलवाट आणि त्याच्या अखेरी मान राखत अजुनही उभी ती दोन मजलि इमारत. पण लहानपण पासून सर्वेच त्या जागेला “वाडा” म्हणत. वरच्या खालच्या जिन्यांवर मोजून सहा कुटुंब राहत असे आजीने कधीकाळी सांगितले होते.  घरांच्या दारान मधील अंतर पाहून असे वाटे कि गेली कित्येक वर्ष ती सगळी कुटुंब सोबतच असावीत. सण, लग्न, वाढदिवस, वर्षगाठी – आणि अश्याच कित्येक तरी आठवणी सगळ्यांच्या एकाच, पण तरीही खाजगी असाव्यात.

दिवाळीत निरनिराळ्या रांगोळ्या बनव्ण्यारा त्या लहान सहान छकुड्या आणि त्यांच्या उत्साहात भर पाडत त्यांच्या आया, चिवडा लाडू चकल्या आणि आंबट गोड लागणारे ते डब्यात ठेवलेले फरसाण लपून खाणारी चिमुकली कार्टी,  वहीचे कागद फाडून, वडलांचे फटके खाऊन, जिद्दीने बनविलेले ते आकाश कंदील, मग त्यावर रंग नसल्यामुळे आईचा ओरडा खात तिखट हळद पाण्यात घासू घासू त्यास लाऊन प्रदर्शनास बाहेर लावणारे तीच थोर्ल्यांची टोळी, आणि जास्त फटाके नसले तरी देखील मातीच्या त्या किल्ल्यांमध्ये दिवे लाऊन आनंद साजरा करणारी वाड्यातली मंडळी सहजच डोळ्यांसमोर दिसते. तेव्हा तुळशी विवाहाच्या आनंदात लहानांची उडी मारत मारत ज्येष्ठ  मंडळींना  “आजोबा तुळशीचे लग्न झाले” अशी बातमी पोहचविणे सुद्धा आजीच्या शब्दांतूनच  बघता येते.

डाकवाला कधी आपल्या दिशेने येतोय एवढेच बघत बसत तासं तास घालविणारी ती पोट्टी नेहमी त्याच्या कडन सायकल ची एक चक्कर मागायला कधीच चुकत नसे. बेल बॉटम घालून हातात आठ आणे घेऊन मोठ्या थाटात stall च्या तिकिटात सुदामा टाकीज मध्ये सिनेमा बघणारी ती मुलींची टोळी आणि “त्यात तुझी आई आणि मावशी” असे सांगून आजी आईला आजसुद्धा चक्क लाजवीते. जवळ झेंडा चौकातले ते गजानन महाराजांचे देऊळ, त्याच्यात आजीचे असंख्य असणारे ते सखी ( पारायण मंडळी, कीर्तन मंडळी, पालखी सदस्य, गुरुवारचा  नैवेद्य करणारी मंडळी) आणि आणखी समोर असलेले लक्ष्मी नारायणाचे देऊळ आणि तिथल्या आणखी सखी सई संध्याकाळी नित्य नेमाने भेटत. परत येतांना विदर्भ बुक डेपो मध्ये डोकाऊन समर्थ रामदासांची पोथी किवा दासबोध किवा असे काही चाळत चाळत घरच्या दिशेने यायचे. येतांना मात्र जोशी मंगल कार्यालय जवळ असणाऱ्या भाजीवाल्या कडून भरताची वांगी, कोबी, एखाद जुडी मेथी, पालक, कोथिंबीर, मिरच्या आणि मुख्य म्हणजे बीड्याची पान असा बाजार करत यायचं.

कळत नकळत, दिवस, दिवसांचे महिने आणि महिन्यांचे वर्ष त्या रोजच्या गोष्टींची फक्त एक गोड, अविस्मरणीय आठवण होऊन गेले. बेहेरे काकुंच “नरड भरे पर्यंत खाऊन घ्या लेकांनो, मग जर भूक भूक केली तर गाल रंगाऊन काढेल” हे बोलण, पोकळ्या भिंतांमध्ये हरवून गेल. त्या चिल्लर पार्टीची उन्हाळ्यातली सावली असलेली ती विहीर एकटेपणाने “भरून” गेली. गेल्या त्या पारायण कीर्तनाच्या मंडळी आता रेशीम बागेत राहायला, आणि एकटे पडले हाती चिलीम घेउनी, संत आमुचे ते गजानन. डाकवाल्याचा मुक्काम पोष्ट आता सापडत नाही आणि हरवल्या त्या गोंगाटात सायकल च्या सुमधुर घंट्या. म्हणे प्रगती झाली. कुटुंब सर्वे नागपुरात बिखरले. आजोबांनी मात्र बाजूचीच जमीन घेऊन घर बांधले. येतात कधी, कुणी आठवण काढत भेटण्यास आजीला. मग निघतो पाटाखालन तो आठवणींचा गोल डबा. निघतात बिड्याची पान, अडकित्ता, ओलसर सुपारी, लवंगा आणि थोडा चुना. कधी लग्नाच्या पत्रिका, कधी नातवंडांची बातमी तर कधी दिवाळी चा तो आंबट गोड फराळ आणि करंज्या, कारणे कधीही कमी पडत नाही परत यायला.  बोलतात बरेच बदलले.

जणू सगळेच बदलले. रस्ते, रहदारी, ईमारती. लोकही. पण नाही बदलला फारसा तो वाडा. शांतपणे उभा राहून पाहतो तो आजू बाजूचे बदल. टाकून दिलेल्या त्या अचेत गोष्टीन मुळे अजूनही जिवंत असणारा तो स्थिर सा वाडा . आजही वाट बघतो त्या गेलेल्या वेळेची. आणि वाट बघतात ते जुने कुटुंब, वाड्यात्न येणाऱ्या रुपयाची.

Categories: Abstract Tags: ,

..It was time..

October 3, 2011 2 comments

She glanced at the watch hanging on the wall. It was time. Or was it? Raindrops tearing the silence of the dead summer’s noon reminded her of the tears she had seen on his face then. Boyish face. His hair kept shadowing those hollow eyes which begged her not to let him go. He never was the one to emote his feelings. Lips set straight, firm jaw as was all the times, hands left loose hanging in defeat, sweat beads on palms, and a lowered chin. But his eyes drew her attention. The usually hopeful, if not cheery, content in misconstruing her empathy for solace, and hollow, were not the same then. They conveyed an island of lost hope. Barren. Bare. Hollow. Eyes that saw her shallow love right through. And yet they pleaded for her to stop him. Tears surfaced on his face without a sigh or visible despair. For every tear she saw, her heart wrenched in agony shouting a million muted cries. Yet he had to go. He was meant to go. And so he went.

It was time. Clouds thundered and raindrops broke a roof tile that summer noon. The clock chimed. In vain. Mellowed. He stepped out of the jeep. She ran to the entrance, undaunted by the fears of rejection. Hope gleaming in eyes. Tears surfaced on her eyes like pearls shimmering hope. He saw her in her eyes. It had been long. Indeed long. May be a decade. May be less. But it sure was long. His jaw was firm. Lips straight. She couldn’t read his eyes though. They were ambiguous, uncertain. Her hope was dimming. And then, and then a small curve appeared. His lips moved. In a smile. She bit hers as raindrops shadowed her tears of joy. She smiled and waved her hand. He stood smiling and gently waved his. It was time. They met.

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