Down the Memory Lane

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! Lacking courage

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 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.

When Beauty Fades…

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.

My Place in the Sun

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,
she reminded,
‘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.’

The Last Dance 2

Another take

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.

The 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…

वो मुलाकात

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,

No One Comes Here Any Longer

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
And strangely,

Turns homes into houses

And houses into homes in its wake.