Wednesday, August 31, 2011

She defined it

The morning rush of patients was over; monitoring vitals, sending laboratory investigations, prescribing medicines and all the relatively small yet hectic duties that internship brought were done with for the day. The patients were in their beds and that provided her some rare quiet moments. She pored over the books that would enable her to cross yet another threshold of her medical career, a postgraduate degree. She concentrated on the questions, mentally eliminating choices and zeroing on a single answer. Confidence surged and ebbed with every guess.

Two hours passed by. Apart from a casual chat with the nurse on duty, there was nothing to interrupt her studies. Few seniors came by later in the evening, and she updated them about any changes in the patients' conditions. Her duties lessened and she closed her book and waited for nine pm when she could finally go home. Everything seemed dull. She looked at the clock, the minute hand mockingly refused to budge even after what seemed like an eon.

Then he walked in, a confident stride. He had come for his evening shift. Suddenly she became aware of how heavy and awkward her hands felt; and not knowing what to do with them she picked up the book in front of her. Emoting a bilaterally equivalent expression became impossible and she was stuck with the right side of her face trying a hesitant smile, while the left eyelid drooped and the nostril flared. She took in furtive glimpses of him without being too obvious. She was acutely aware of the fact that he stood a few inches away from her and that was her cue to freeze. The simple task of handing over a patient file to him made her sweat glands go into an overdrive. He was totally oblivious of what his presence was doing to her, he probably didn't even notice that she existed. Time seemed to gallop now, and soon it was time for her to go home. She cursed this relativity of time!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

4am Haiku


A lone maple leaf,
Orange in a sea of grey,
He caught my eye.








I wait for the sun,
My room will glow orange,
Like the brewing tea.





Long winter night,
A tear soaked pillow,
Dry by morning.








An empty inbox,
With a thousand mails;
 I wait yet again.








To a day in June,
Wind back all the clocks,
He sat beside me.









A withering past,
Turns a fresh page of life, 
I draw a rainbow.







Pine tree woodlet,
A home in the hills,
Love has an address.







A sunlit fjord,
Eyes alight with laughter;
Many drowned.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letters

I beg anyone who has ever been in love to remember how one usually hurries home after dropping the letter in the box, rapidly gets into bed and pulls up their quilt in full conviction that as soon as one wakes up in the morning, one will be overwhelmed with memories of the previous day and look with rapture at the window, where the daylight will be eagerly making its way through the folds of the curtain.”

~Anton Chekhov

I read and re-read these words written a century and half ago, and marveled at their relevance even in the age of BBM, emails and tweets. I had clicked the ‘send’ button in Gmail, instead of dropping a letter in the postbox, but I felt equally overwhelmed by delightful anticipation on sending a letter to the one I love.

The Chekhov quote reminded me of those days of taking out time to pen a long, hand-written letter. I had not received such a letter for more than a decade. Email is the more available, more convenient option. So is a facebook wall and SMS. And there’s always the phone.

But how I miss writing long letters! I am terrible at making small talk, and overcompensate for it by writing long mails. That’s the most important reason I write. I can give some form to my thoughts and feelings, which become blurred in course of a conversation.

If and when I get married, I would want my husband to write letters to me. And patiently read my long letters. Even when we are living in the same house. It sounds silly, and probably is so, but I always want to experience the intimacy and the pleasure of exchanging hand-written letters.

During my childhood, summer vacations always brought letters from friends, cousins and pen pals. Pen-pals. Yes, I had a few. Just the very idea of communicating with a faceless person, who was from a different culture and country, and comparing notes with them during the growing up years was very exciting to me.

But as it happens to most things as time goes by, the child-like enthusiasm to write to a pen-pal faded away, and so did the pen-pal. I didn’t care anymore about sitting down cross-legged on my bed with the pen and letter pad on my lap and writing to a friend I had never met about my experiences in school and the books I had read in a scraggly script, oblivious to the rest of the world for a blissful hour. My parents got a telephone connection one summer and the new thrill was talking to my best friend every few hours about how many pages of history homework I completed, the latest songs we heard, and gossiped about how the new girl in class was such a big gossip. It was again the more available and more convenient option to communicate. Why waste time writing letters and waiting for days to receive a reply when I can just pick up the phone and talk? Letters faded away from my life. And I didn’t even feel their absence.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Evenings


As the starry sky slowly shelters us,
I want the moonbeams to shine on you;
Reminding you of a love in utopia.

Thoughts fleet across the evening sky,
Like fireflies, aglow with love;
I wonder whether you think of me too.

An echo of you saying my name,
A shared laugh, a walk with you;
Nostalgia thrives, and I'm near you again.

Giving up on hope is never easy,
I surrender to its futility;
Even love seems near in this evening air.

I watch the evening drift into night;
Ending this indefinite wait, come,
Just hold my hand; words can come later.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

That Old Diary




There's something about opening an old diary with its moth-eaten faded brown jacket; leafing through the smooth yellowed pages and breathing in the faint odor of memories cocooned over years. The writing is familiar but the words seem to tell about long-forgotten stories, and I feel guilty about prying into my own thoughts, as if delving into the mind of another person.

Memory can be a tricky thing and we modify, glorify or amplify it over the years. But the old diary quietly holds onto our real memories, good and bad, unchanged over the years. Few instances seem so new I wonder whether it actually happened to me. And some feelings are so out of sync with what I feel now I am left wondering whether I had actually imagined those feelings! It its like reading fiction.

Sometimes I feel sad reading the innermost child-like thoughts of a younger version of me; unsullied by grief or mistakes, blissfully ignorant of the harsher lessons of life awaiting her. I feel elated at her joys, want to comfort her when she had a bad day, encourage her, warn her about wrong judgments and protect her.

To get to the end is exhausting; it's like living many lives. There's a sense of wonder that it's me all along; all those experiences, all those thoughts shaped by what life had to offer and how I tackled it. It's still me who had loved so passionately, laughed so heartily, worked so hard, wept so quietly and felt so much over the years. That's how I came into being.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vulnerability

A brown shirt,
Laugh lines,
Impish gaze,
Beautiful hands,
The way my heart stopped,
A much loved voice,
Vivid images,
Memories nonetheless.

Took a chance,
Said out loud;
Vulnerability exposed,
Bruised and abused.
Numbness prevailed,
Hope died a slow death.
Past lessons reviewed,
Same mistake, yet again.

Fell in love,
Gave my heart;
Unasked for,
Unwanted, a pesky burden,
Tossed away ever so far.
Cumulative hurt,
Bottled away again,
As busy life awaits.

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