I was walking down the memory lane
with trepidation and fear.
Jangling my pocket full of memories to peak and peer.
Long had I dithered taking the half forgotten paths,
Was spooked at the thoughts of old buried wraths.
Kept telling myself, would do it when I had the time to spare,
Alas! With time taking this road I did not dare.
The first memory I pulled out made me
smile with pure joy!
For who can ever forget the mate who shared with you her prized toy?
The next one was smooth and shiny
Because its constantly used
This friend I still call
When I am hurt or confused.
The one that I pull out of pocket now
has rough and jagged ends,
It still hurts to recall the bitter fights
With those who were supposedly friends.
Ah! I so well remember that day,
My sole claim to glory
When I was patted by my teacher
For a well told story.
Ohhh! This one I must confess
Still makes me teary eyed
Cos I was caught and reproached
That one time I had lied!
The pride this one evokes
Believe me is worthy
For I know how I completed
The long cross country.
Along with these, is a handful of sand
Each separate grain imbued,
With the fragrance of mates,
Of every shape and hue.
As I reluctantly consign each memory to my pocket
I now know they are my talisman
To be always worn like a locket.
Gone is the fear and the trepidation
I can go back in time, any time
And come back with elation
Painful memories have been given
A long overdue burial.
Happy memories and revisitation
Will now become a ritual.
I will jauntily walk down the memory lane
Jangling my pocket full of memories without any pain.
I look at my hands, hard with a few callouses,
From washing, cooking, mending and fixing.
I peer at my face, frown lines and crow’s feet,
From getting angry at kids and squinting in the sun while waiting for them.
The hair is greying, frizzy and wiry,
For worrying sick about one and all.
The waist has thickened and refuses to budge,
From eating all the leftovers and postponing exercise.
The eyesight has dimmed
From gross misuse over phone and computer.
But me thinks also from age catching up.
I am an enlarged and battered version of my youth.
But the smile remains just the same,
And so does the pigtailed girl in me.
All the changes just prove,
I have a loving family, am surrounded by friends,
There’s food on the table
And I am richer than many can claim.
Every time I failed, she said nothing
But helped to put me back on track.
Every time I fell, she picked me
And dusted off the scraps.
Every time I was laughed at, she held me
And wiped away my angry tears.
Every time I doubted myself,
‘One day you will have your place in the sun!
Don’t let others tell you, what you ought to do,
Do as your heart desires and you will shine.
Do no harm, do good and when in doubt, hold your tongue
Let others be and help them rise.
One day you will have your place in the sun.’
I believed in her belief in me.
And quietened the naysayers, the finger waggers
As well as that coward inside me who quailed quite often.
Gradually I realised my own worth and my strength,
And today as I stand tall, I can hear her smile and say,
‘One day you will have your place in the sun.’
She smoothed her skirt and patted her hair,
She smiled nervously at the jokes her friends cracked.
He was merrily dancing away,
With all the pretty girls present there.
She willed him to look her way
Just once, whichever way.
The last dance started with all the girls in a circle,
The boys moved anti clockwise in the outer circle.
As she danced with bated breath,
She knew she was next.
As he twirled each girl laughingly,
She felt herself short of breath.
They stood facing each other, their arms extended,
And…the music stopped.
The last dance had ended.
As they stood there still, looking at each other,
Time stood still, till someone nudged her.
They never met again,
No clue where the other was.
But she would attend the golden jubilee for that one last dance.
He stood in a corner,
Summoning up courage.
She was the belle of ball,
No dearth of suitors.
As she whirled past him,
Holding on to her partner’s arm,
His heart momentarily stopped.
And then the last dance was announced.
It was now or never,
For tomorrow they would all be gone.
As he moved towards her,
He saw the Casanova of the class striding ahead.
He slowed down, disheartened.
The dance started, blindly
He asked the girl standing near him.
As the dance progressed,
They changed partners.
His heart soared, he still had a chance.
But luck again eluded him.
Just when they stood facing each other,
The music stopped.
She looked at him with laughter in her eyes
And for one whole heart stopping moment
Their eyes locked.
The moment passed and they moved on.
Never did their paths cross.
But every year, he attended the reunion
Hoping to have that last dance.
Perhaps, she would be there at the golden jubilee…
बरसों पहले, कुछ दोस्तों के बीच
दो अजनबियों की मुलाकात हुई थी।
अजनबी तो वे न थे,
पर उस से पहले कभी बात न हुई थी।
उस दिन भी कोई बात न हुई थी
पर वह मुलाकात दोनों को याद रह गई।
मन में शायद कोई उमंग उठी हो,
पर दोनों में से कोई भी उस मुलाकात को आगे बढ़ाने की हिम्मत न कर सका।
बरसों बाद जब दोनों की मुलाकात फिर से अपनों के बीच हुई
तो बरबस वह बरसों पुरानी मुलाकात याद आ गई।
दोनों हैरान थे कि वक्त की मार से धुंधलाई यादों में,
वह मुलाकात ऐसे याद थी जैसे कल हुई हो।
इन बरसों में वे दोनों अपनी- अपनी राह पर बहुत आगे निकल गए।
इक मुकाम हासिल कर लिया, और जिंदगी से कोई शिकायत भी न थी
पर उस मुलाकात को याद कर यूँ जरूर लगा,
This house was a home once,
Ringing with laughter and voices,
Pattering footsteps, whispered secrets,
Boisterous debates, guttural guffaws,
Serenading songs and comforting silences.
It was the scene of serenity and tranquillity,
Of get togethers and meetings,
Of anniversaries and soirées,
Of hurried breakfasts and languid dinners,
Sunday brunches and sometimes takeaways.
A kids’ haven, a wife’s domain,
A man’s refuge and a place to retire for the old.
Welcoming and peaceful,
A place, where weary heads when laid on the pillow,
Awakened invigorated and rejuvenated.
It was bright and sunny on a cold night
Beckoning invitingly with warmth.
In summers its cool confines provided solace,
Soothing heart and mind.
The smell of baking inveigling the senses,
The freshly laundered clothes, flowers in vases,
Just like it should be
In a home.
And then, everything ended.
It is now a mere shell of itself.
Quiet, desolate and forlorn.
The kids have flown the coop
The elderly passed away.
The middle aged live listlessly
Ageing everyday, day by day.
Life moves on relentlessly
Turns homes into houses
And houses into homes in its wake.