I wish I had a flying carpet
To take me to you in a jiffy
Alas! The transport system we have
Makes travelling so iffy
Expected delays and unexpected stops
I find flying so chancy
Will then visit you whenever I fancy.
Journeys are strange
Taking you to places far and near
Places that make you smile
And to those that make you shiver too!
The destination is not oft of your choice
Nor the path always paved and lined
It may be smooth and fast or bumpy and slow
Uphill one day, a long arduous walk
Once there, the feeling of euphoria
And accomplishment unbeatable.
Then on another day plunging downhill,
Deep, deep down into a dark dungeon
Holding you prisoner
Where demons feast on your festering soul
And surrendering to oblivion
Seems the only solution
But then you fight back
For, for how long can one lie in an abyss
The only way is up and out
You crawl on all fours
A step at a time
Till you are standing in the sun
Your whole being suffused with triumph!
You cannot always choose who travels with you
If you are lucky,
Like-minded companions will be there for the entire journey
Some, like a spark will brighten your path for a short while
Others in guise of love
Will leave you bleeding
And there will be those trying to suck life out of you like leeches
Choose them wisely when given a choice
Don’t be afraid to turn your back on a few
Cheerleaders and naysayers will line your path
Treat them equally.
Don’t be too focused on your destination
Enjoy the journey and stop often
It is not a race, always remember.
When you lie under the canopy of stars
And chat with the moon
Journey inwards too
You will find answers to questions
You never dared to ask
And some questions may never be answered
Fret not, life is not an exam.
When you travel light,
Without the extra baggage of expectations
This journey will truly be worth its while.
This was written recently for a dear friend’s daughter who is studying abroad. She is homesick and now, not sure if she made the right decision. Since she is close to me, mailed this is as a sort of pep talk. (armchair philosophising at its best! 😉)
I am rummaging through my box of gifts
Looking for that perfect one
One that will please one and all
One that they will truly cherish
Alas! I find not a single one
That can truly fit the bill
Having exhausted all the options
I sit here with my words as gifts
They are the only thing I can freely give
They come from a very special place
That thing that is called heart
It may be as small as a closed fist
But when open, can encompass all.
I offer my words to make you smile
To forget your worries awhile
They are there to lean on
As well as to hold your hand
To wipe away a threatening tear
Or to help you cry your heart out
Sometimes as sweet as a cake
Sometimes the welcoming bitterness of coffee
Mostly sunny and vibrant
Oft touched by moon’s soft glow
Lush in the monsoon rain that falls
But sometimes reflecting the darkened skies
They make you guffaw aloud
When they make my foot neatly land in my mouth
And also wince at my stupidity
When I am careless with them
They can be as soothing as music
As warm as a down quilt
As breezy as the light zephyr
And at times like the jacket you so love.
I do take time to carefully choose them
But I also falter at times
They can come so spontaneously
They can be well thought out
My dear friends, my words I offer humbly
To embrace you, energise you and touch you
For words are all I have.
Seems eyes always see
what the heart wants to behold
beauty and all that
The remark is personal and caustic
I can feel the constricting of my throat
Not wanting to create a scene in public
I blink away the tears and choke back the angry retort.
With a forced self-deprecating remark
And a shrug of shoulders, I laugh.
I have been trying to set things right
But the family ties that bind us as siblings,
Are the same ones that gag me tight.
As a kid I adored my older sibling,
Her every move I would ape
She was my hero, my mentor, I her underling
And she lorded over my mindscape.
As I grew older and wiser
I moved out of her shadow
Following my own heart and mind
As a result, her ego took a blow.
I could see the chinks in my idol
Though she could not accept that her understudy
Was not an understudy at all.
And that drove a wedge between us
That time has only deepened further more.
She tries to put me in my place
And pulls me back every time I try to soar.
Oh, we love each other like any sisters
But the undercurrent of jealousy refuses to go.
So, from my clothes to the way I keep house,
My visits to parents to anything and everything I do ever
The way I bring up my kids to my relation with spouse
Nothing escapes criticism or eagle-eyes of her.
It is not her words that cause me pain
Or that she does not rejoice in my success
It is the fact that my own flesh and blood
Rather seems to enjoy my troubles and distress.
And yet all said and done
Because blood does run thicker than water
To the world we present a united front
In public, at least, I agree with her.
The remark was not personal or cautic
But she turned around with her smile arctic
I had made a joke laughingly in light jest,
But she retorted icily in a tone so dulcet
Had we been younger,
I would have cuffed her ear
I am the elder child of the family
I love to remind it to her daily
She will always have to follow my footsteps,
This burden she will have to schlep
I can’t help if my persona looms large over her
I arrived in this world before her
This is the truth for what it’s worth
I’ve been given the upper hand from birth.
She mistakes my concern for interference
Fumes in anger, so palpable is her incoherence
Heavens, why should I be jealous of her!
After all she is my baby sister!
Well, I admit she has better hair and skin than me
I may have been jealous earlier, now I let it be
She has not inherited the beaked nose from father’s side
Nor the horrible ailments from both sides
So all I do is remind her of her good luck
And the fool thinks that I hate her guts!
I have to correct her when she goes wrong
After all, I have known her lifelong!
I don’t know why she takes offence
She should actually thank me instead
Well, she is my sibling young
And we have to present united front
Yes, I admit she has been luckier than me
Still, we are blood sisters, you see.
These poems were written sometime ago after conversations with two friends on the same day. One was complaining about elder sister, the other about the younger one. So two poems, two perspectives. One of them had not read these, so reposting them together.