If Only

If only it was easier done than said
If only living were appreciated rather than dead
If only one could understand what’s left unsaid
If only for once you were me instead
Perhaps life would have some meaning to it.

If only you understood what I meant
If only harsh words were left unspent
If only scoring points was not the aim
If only life was just a game
Perhaps losing and winning would not have mattered.

If only todays were lived to the fullest
If only yesterdays had no regrets
If only tomorrows could be perfect
If only we would stop and reflect
Perhaps this world would be a happier place.

If only compassion was not the sign of the weak
If only we would listen before we speak
If only we sometimes refrained from acquiesce
If only silence was not misconstrued as cowardice
Perhaps accepting our flaws would make us humane again.

If only life was easy and simple
If only  our life could be an example
If only conflict could amicably be resolved
If only all our problems could be solved
Perhaps then life would be so boring.

So let there be a wee bit of vitriol
For we can’t please one and all
But let there be level playing ground
And never stoop to conquer the crowd
For we have only one life to live.

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The Photo

I wonder if he was talking about me?
But he said he is not in touch with me!
Aren’t we connected through whatsapp now?
Of course we haven’t exchanged a word uptil now!
Does he really have my photo?
Have I changed so much that I look incognito?
Of course I am no longer as slim!
I am sure he too is not as trim!
If only he had put a DP
Placing him would have been easy.
I often wonder what would have happened
If a few words were spoken.
But why rake up all this now!
Wouldn’t it create such a row!
To create a stir at this age
With my child on the verge of marriage
What if someone guesses its me?
I am sure I’ll die of ignominy!
If my family comes to know of it
I tell you, I’ve really had it.

But actually it accelerates my heart beat a bit
Did he really mean it, when he said it.
I mean, he must have cared then
To mention it and put it in pen.
I feel my heart pounding like a teenager
Oh! if only we were teenagers!
I know it will be foolhardy to pursue this
Tomorrow I ‘ll think no more of this
But today let me wrap myself tight
In this feeling of love, alright.

The Photo Album

I was in a rush yesterday

Health insurance premium had to be paid,

Hunting for misplaced papers, 

The cupboard I did raid.

And out fell this album 

To totally disrupt my today.

Yesterday I put it away,

But I am going through it today.

It is full of bittersweet memories

Of the time we fondly call childhood.

How young we were then.

So clueless about guiles of adulthood.

We had slung our arms around each others’ shoulders

Squinting in the sun, grinning at each other

Best friends then, now occasional acquaintance

Our plans waylaid by life and none other.

I smile as l look at this one taken long ago

My then best friend with my number one enemy!

In this one I have such thick growth of hair
I wonder why I am losing it now so rapidly.

This one is an absolute gem,

My favourite teacher and I in the same frame.
Oh! this is the farewell one

We all look so grown up before we set forth to attain fame.

And this is of the memorable historical trip

I wonder where that girl in the corner is.

Now comes the picnic photo

I can’t recall the date and place this is

But the revelry is still etched in my mind.

And the fun fills my heart after all these years.

As I shut the album with a smile on my face

Out slips a photo which I can’t recall I ever took.

I sit down on the bed, memories flooding my mind.

I am not in this frame, why then do I have it with me?

I stare and stare, casting back my mind

Gosh! Did I have a crush then?

I can’t seem to recall feeling this way
Was the feeling mutual or was it just silly old me?

Did I make a fool of myself in any way?

Haven’t been in touch since we left school

I do not know the whereabouts,

Nor the profession this person undertook

However hard I try

I cannot recall ever exchanging a word!

And the whole day I have been puzzling

How come I have this photo?

Journey

Can I entice you to walk with me,
The road is long and the journey lonesome.
I have occasional company,
But am mostly all alone.
Most days are good and teach me poise
Others just go horribly wrong.
I yearn to hear someone else’s voice
To cut out the monotony of my song.
To laugh, to share…a shoulder maybe
To cry some and lean on at times.

I can be good company
I will regale you with tales untold
You might have to bear my silences too
For sorrows on this path abound.
There is no running away from this journey
For each one of us is destined to make.
If we walk together for a while,
Perchance it might new vistas unfold.
The weariness of this lonely road,
Will perhaps be reduced if you smile.

To Dad

As I hold your gnarled hand,

I think of the days when the grip was strong.

When you taught me to swing the bat,

As well as that one time you slapped me hard,

For lying was something you could never tolerate.

 

As I gaze at your wrinkled face,

I will you to open your eyes

And just this once talk to me.

You look so frail surrounded by machines

With tubes snaking around,

like a tightening noose.

I feel my breath catching in my throat

And as I choke back that sob,

You return my grip.

The light might have faded from your eyes

But they still twinkle at my sight.

You pat my hand, give a lopsided smile.

 

And I know alls right with the world

I may be on the verge of granddaddyhood

But I am not ready to bid you goodbye

You may think you are not of much use

But I think I would like you around

For a few years more.

Books

Books speak to us.
Have you noticed, how they entice?
Its the jacket that first snags your attention
Then the blurb has you rooted to the spot.
And as you reverentially open it
The sweet smell has you in its thrall!!

You must absolutely have it
you decide
As you hurry out of the store
The brown paper bag clutched to your chest
You know an exciting
journey is to begin
And till then you just cannot rest.

As you make yourself comfortable at your favourite spot
A frisson of excitement runs down your spine.
You take the first tentative step
Its as intoxicating as the first sip of wine
The words weave their magic
You are transported to a new world.

The joy and the ecstasy,
The pain and the sorrow,
The adventure and the discovery,
The intrigue  and the mystery.
As you swim with the characters
And fight their demons
You become the main character
Surmounting all odds.

After the final denouement,
As you put down the book
You are exhausted as well as
fulfilled
For this amazing ride that you took.

Then after a while the restlessness begins
You are itching for another one
For this thirst is unquenchable
You must have at least another one.
On and on continues this affair,
With books everyone must have a love affair.

कच्चा आम

आज सुबह से मैं वैसे ही जली भुनी बैठी थी
तुम्हारी बारिश ने ठंडा कर दिया।
मुझे आज जब कच्चे आम खरीदने पड़ें
सच्च कहती हूँ, तन मन में आग सी लग गई।
सारा बचपन आम, अमरूद,बेर,
जामुन तोड़ तोड़ खाये हैं
अब कहते हैं, मोल लेने पड़ेंगे!
बचपन तब कितना याद आता है
कैसे मैं करूँ ब्यान!

और फिर बारिश तो न जाने
हर साल कहाँ फुर्र हो जाती
बस उमस से ही सावन में
हर साल दो चार हो जाते हैं
किश्तियाँ तो यहाँ कहाँ,
बाल्टी की हो कर रह जातीं  हैं।
बच्चे कभी न पेड़ों पर चढ़े हैं
यहाँ पेड़ों पे चढ़ने की क्लासें लगतीं हैं!
इमारतों के इस जंगल में
सब ऊपर चढ़ने की होड़ में हैं।
इतवार की क्या बात करें
बस घर के ही हो रह जातें हैं।

इस कच्चे आम ने कमबख़्त
सारे वो ज़ख्म हरे कर दिए हैं
जिनको यादों में दफना कर
हम ज़िंदगी बनाने निकले थे।