Mirrors and Shadows

Some friendships transcend time,
Some are forever bound by time
With some you click instantly
With some you need warm up time.

There are some you had connected with in childhood
And others as grown ups in all likelihood
Some have always been there…in the background
Some you choose as you move around.

Some are your gym buddies
Others the indispensable office buddies
You meet some in a cafe over a cup of coffee,
While others at home with homemade goodies.

Some friends have to share each little detail,
Others inform you of things in broader strokes.
Some have such a lot to say
Others are the listening folks.

Some prefer an evening of sun-downers
Others, a quick peck and are gone
With some time hangs heavy on hands
Whereas with others you wonder where it has gone.

Some take sabbatical, just like that
Others inform you of their non availability
Some meet in fits and bursts
Others are there for eternity.

Much has been written about the 4 am friend
I doubt one would need to talk at such an unearthly hour.
You need friends to share your joys
Though you do need a shoulder, to cry on at any hour.

But the one who bares his/her soul to you
And listens to your woes without offering quick fixes
The one whose name brings a smile to your face
Is the one you should look out for in the mixes.

Cos this is the one closest to your heart
Your mirror and your shadow who will never part.

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छुट्टी

आज मन करता है लिहाफ ओढ़ पड़ी रहूँ।
कोई कोई दिन ऐसा होता है
जब पूरी छुट्टी मनाने को जी करता है।
जब अलार्म से उठने की छुट्टी हो
देर तक बिस्तर की आगोश में पड़े रहने की छुट्टी हो,
पति की चाय की गुहार से छुट्टी,
और बच्चों की ‘आज खाने में क्या है?’ से छुट्टी,
छुट्टी नहाने धोने से और घर के कामों से,
छुट्टी बेवजह की परेशानियों से।
छुट्टी उन लबादों से जो रोज़ ओढ़ती हूँ
छुट्टी उन झूठों से जो रोज़ बोलती हूँ
जीवन की जटिलताओं से लड़ने की छुट्टी
सब की कसौटी पर खरी उतरने की होड़ से छुट्टी।
आज सोचती हूँ कि कुछ न करूँ
आज सोचती हूँ लिहाफ ओढ़ देर तक पड़ी रहूँ।

The Visitor

The heat was relentless

The children were restless

Tired of being cooped indoors

Glued to the window for a glimpse of outdoors

Their sudden shrieks shook me from slumber

It tore my feeble heart asunder.

I heaved a sigh of relief on no sight of gore

Wordlessly they pointed and moved no more.

I peered at the window and stepped back in fright

For sitting on the AC was a huge kite!

It sat there motionless in all its tawny glory

Brought back to mind a vivid memory

In one fell swoop a kite had snatched my lunch

In grade four, when I was eating with my bunch.

Since then I have nursed animosity,

I warned my kids to curb their curiosity.

 

I retreated into my cocoon

The kids wouldn’t move any soon!

They crouched fascinated near the window

With their elbows ensconced on the pillow.

The kite sat still, nary a movement

The kids gazed, savouring the moment.

Then they grew adventurous and bolder,

Quietly swiped my phone for a picture.

Went out on the sly,

But the kite was camera shy!

Then they switched on the TV

The kite fluttered down and too watched TV

‘ Ma come its dying! ‘ their voice was strangled!

The kite on the floor lay spread eagled.

I brought a bowl of water and nudged it close

The kite lay oblivious, comatose.

I splashed a mugful of cold water on it

And gingerly prodded gently with a stick.

It slowly turned its head and looked at me

I urged it to drink, my fear forgotten completely.

It looked so harmless and worn out

‘ The heat has knocked it completely out’,

Remarked my husband over my shoulder

We moved inside our hearts heavier.

‘ Ma its drinking water! ‘ came the little one’s squeak

The bowl was firmly tucked under the beak.

I ventured close and poured more water

Could swear it seemed thankful for shelter.

Gathering strength, it fluttered wings and turned a circle

And then perched it self on little one’s bicycle.

Then it opened its wingspan and let out a cry

Gathered steam and in a flash was up in the sky

Circled once over our balcony, no longer a husk,

Then disappeared in the gathering dusk.

‘ Will it come back? ‘ ask the kids forlornly

‘ It may ‘ I answer cautiously.

I don’t want to raise their hopes

Nor dash them with my nopes.

So every day we wait for our visitor

Who perhaps has forgotten this detour.

राह की धुन

हम अपनी धुन में चलते थे

सब ओर से बेखबर

अपनी राह बनाते चलते

चाहे रास्तें हों कितने भी दुर्गम।

चलने की जिद्द थी बस,

मंजिल भी खुद तय करनी थी

घिसी पिटी सड़क पे न चलना था

पथरीला पथ था मंजूर।

 

जूनून देख ऐसा

कईयों ने साथ दिया

कोई दो कदम साथ चला

किसी ने ताली बजाई

तो किसी ने पीठ थपथपाई।

 

पर कुछ ऐसे भी थे

जो नाखुश थे इस सफर से

हर कदम पे फब्ती कसते थे

हर मोड़ पर नुक्ताचीनी करते थे।

 

पर गिला न इनसे था कोई

हर व्यक्ति अपनी सोच से सीमित है

छोटी सोच वालों से पड़ा पाला

तो समझ में आया पक्के इरादे

दूर तलक ले जाते हैं।

 

ये न हो तो पथ कंकरीला न होगा

न मुश्किलों का सामना होगा

इनकी कड़वाहट की तपिश में ही

तो अपना हौसला बुलंद  होगा।

 

इसी लिए पथ पर चुभने वाले कांटा

उतना ही श्रेयस्कर है

जितने कि छायादार घने पेड़

जो ठंडक पहुँचाते है।

Grey

When I was growing up

Blue was my favourite colour.

Perhaps I liked the ever changing shades of sky,

Or because my house was blue,

Maybe my tranquil nature gravitated towards it,

Plausibly it was a reflection of a melancholic side.

As I grew older it changed.

I started liking pastels and dull colours.

They helped me merge in the background,

And avoid attention at all cost

Maybe I chose so, keeping my complexion in mind.

But over the years have embraced,

Warm and vibrant colours.

As my confidence in self grew,

I wore bold colours with a vengeance,

As if to prove something and make a point

But more so because I felt at ease

With my mature self at last.

But now that I think I am wiser and maturer,

Grey is the colour of my preference.

I wear grey hair as a badge

Of all the years spent here,

I love grey for I realise,

I am good as well as bad.

I categorise people as grey

For evil and good resides in all.

I like grey cos after the intense heat,

Grey clouds are the harbinger of rains.

Perhaps a few years down the line

I might prefer some other colour.

For my changing taste in colours

Marks my trajectory of growth

But now on the cusp of youth and old age

Grey is definitely my colour.

स्कूल

चलो आज फिर स्कूल की पीछे वाली सीढ़ियों पर बैठते हैं
अपने अपने बस्तों से डिब्बे निकाल
खाना बाँट खाते हैं।
पुरानी यादें ताज़ा कर फिर बचपन की ओर लौटते हैं
आज फिर टीचरों से लुक्का छिप्पी खेलते हैं।
वो जो मैंने तेरी काॅपी पाँचवी में गुमाई थी
आज उसका इकरार करती हूँ
और मेरे कारण जो डाँट पड़ी
उसकी माफी चाहती हूँ।
तुम्हें याद है जब हम सातवी में थे
तेरे लिए मैं लड़ पड़ी थी उस सिरफिरी से!
ड्रामा की तैयारी के लिए जब हम गायब रहते क्लास से
वे दिन आज भी मुस्कान लाते मेरे चेहरे पे।
तुम्हारा मेरी कुर्सी को पीछे से खींचना
और धाराप्रवाह बातें करना
कितना झुंझलाती थी तब मैं
आज बहुत याद आतीं हैं बातें सब वे।
चोरी चोरी कक्षा में उपन्यास पढ़ना
और पढ़ाई का बहाना कर लाइब्रेरी में बैठना।
सच कहूँ, आज भी अफसोस नही है कम पढ़ने का
अफसोस है तो बस स्कूल खत्म होने का।
कुछ अफसोस शायद इसका भी है कि तुम से कभी बात न की
और इसका भी कि हम दोस्त न बन सके।
चलो अब दिसंबर में एक बार फिर स्कूल चलते हैं
और पीछे वाली सीढ़ियों पर बैठतेहैं।

यादें

काॅपी के इक कोने में जब लिखा था तुम्हारा नाम
सोचा न था बरसों बाद होगी यूँ मुलाकात
न वह काॅपी ही रही, न वह हसरतें
पर चाहत की वह बात आज भी याद है मुझे
आज सामने तुम्हें पाकर हो रहा हूँ मैं हैरान
बचपन के अल्हड़पन पर आ गई मुस्कान
छोड़ आए थे जिन्हें पीछे हम
आज वही सारे यार खड़े हैं हाथ थामे।

बेनाम

बड़ी मुश्किल में फँसा ली मैंने अपनी जान
एक ख्वाब जो बुना था, उसे हकीकत रहें हैं सब मान।
जो है ही नही, कैसे उसे दूँ कोई नाम
कैसी है यह मुसीबत मेरे भगवान!
अगर ऐसे ही किसी का नाम लूँ और बुरा मान जाए वो?
और जिनके नाम छोड़ दिए गर खफ़ा हो गए वो?
न बाबा! बेनाम आशिक ही ठीक है
तुम सब सोचो यह है कि वो है
मैं मन ही मन हंस कर इस परिहास का मजा़ लूँगी
पर जो है ही नही भला उसका नाम कैसे लूँगी?

To be a BOXAN

Oh! Just the thought of GJC makes me smile
And take a breather from all that I am doing.
I go back down the memory lane
Which not only warms the cockles of my heart
But sends a delicious thrill down my spine.
Revisiting my old school building
Which may seem ordinary to some
Fills me with awe and an indescribable feeling
That perhaps non Xaverians cannot comprehend.
Believe me it was more magical than Hogwarts
For it wrought magic in real!
From shy, gawky and bumbling kids
We were transformed into
confident and assured teenagers.
The classrooms, the corridors, the labs
They echo with past chatter and laughter.
It was not just a building, our hearts resided there.
Who can forget the teachers, who put their heart and soul
They taught us with great passion
That passion surpassed by none,
It turned us into competent, intelligent beings,
Their greatest contribution to society.
The sports facility that our school boasted
No other school can match that ever
It was a great leveller
For performers and non performers alike.
They talk of holistic education these days
We were imparted that long ago without any fanfare.
And who can forget the library
Which fostered reading and an enquiring mind.
Those days of whispered conversations
And reverential handling of encyclopedias.
The bus rides we took every day or the walk to school
Are all an integral part of the memories of dear beloved school.
The classmates we lost touch with
after passing out
Are again back in the circle with the help of social media
You realise since they have seen your warts
There is no need to pretend to be what you are actually not.
They are the ones who have wiped your tears,
Held your hand, shielded from scoldings
And bandaided your broken heart.
You laughed with them and often played pranks
Not to forget the million secrets you shared.
Or maybe been a mute spectator or a distant admirer
But what fun it is to be with them
And know you will not be judged at all.
But of course you have always wanted to know
The whereabouts of your secret crush
That handsome senior with studious looks
That pretty junior who blazed a trail on the field
You often wondered if you would ever meet.
So now is the opportunity to go back in time
Revisit your beloved school, old teachers, schoolmates and the like,
One more time and take back memories to last this lifetime.