Friday, May 26, 2006

One Who is a True Friend...

One who walks in
When the world has been
Cruel enough to walk out

One whose firm hold
Brings hopes untold
Amidst despairs so stout

One who knows
The exact dose
To cure the pains of life

One who is there
With every thing to spare
For your worth and strive

In you who believes
And a trail he leaves
In your life forever

One who smiles
To light up the miles
Even in the darkest weather

Never does he forsake
And a difference he makes
In whatever you have been

On whose shoulder you cry
And words you rely
And confess all your sin

One who never bothers
His friend's ill manners
And accepts you as you are

Corrects your wrong
And makes you strong
At times which leave you scars

One whose touch
Soothes so much
While sharing all your sorrow

Walks hand in hand
As a true friend
Towards a better tomorrow

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Last Wish

[Created in 1 hr in the English Creative Writing Competition at the M.P. Birla Smarak Kosh, in 2001, this is one of my early attempts at short story. Though my style of writing has changed over the years, I have retained the language in which I had first written it.]

Cimmerian Darkness all around
No light shown for me
I yearned for a stop somewhere
But no signal shown to me

Ebony black darkness surrounded me like a thick cloak, which my vision failed to penetrate. I never comprehended that the path would be so long, narrow and derelict. The asphyxiating environment nearly chocked me and I longed for an end to this uncanny silence. Now I wished I had not embarked upon this never-ending journey. I could endure no more and stopped.

-Hello! We are going out to watch that latest movie in town. Want to come?
-Oh! No. I am sorry.
-Hey, why not? Everyone’s-
I put down the receiver without waiting for her to finish.
-Hi! This tinkle is only to remind you of my birthday bash next Saturday.
-Please excuse me. I am very sorry but I am…I am, well, out of sorts.
-You have a week’s time. You’ll certainly recover by then, won’t you?

Being unable to find an answer I slammed down the receiver in utter despair. How could I tell him that I was at a complete loss. Life was playing a cruel joke on me. All my peers were having a gala time after the Board Examinations. But I confined myself to my own world, kept my friends at an arm’s length and shed tears of repentance. I tried to ignore the situation but those sinful moments haunted me day and night.

Darkness seemed to have faded a little. A faint light showed my path ahead. My inner soul responded and cried out ‘Mother’! I spoke out aloud, ‘I am sure you would never abandon me. Please Mother, I can bear this no more. I had put my heart and soul in my studies to fulfill your last wish, - the wish which you had nurtured in your mind since my birth. You had always wanted me to be a topper. Aren’t all those trophies in music, dance and fine arts, occupying six shelves of the living room results of your ambition, which you implemented through me? Yes, I have always kept your word. I have been excellent in everything that I have done.

Even when you wanted me to beat all the spectacled intellectuals in class, I stayed up late at night and woke up before the sun to achieve your goal. Yes, Mother, it was your ambition, not mine. I wanted life, but you refused to give it to me. You enjoyed telling every one around that I was a topper, but I felt disgusted in front of their stare mixed with bitter admiration.

Your last wish was surely a death sentence for me. Didn’t you know that there would be thousands of toppers from schools all over the state in the Final Board Examinations? But still you wanted me to top the merit list! I thought I would rebel but your cancer-stricken face prevented me. You had pinned your last bit of faith in me and left.

Mother, I know I have deceived you. I have committed a sin, which have shattered your trust. I desperately wanted to make your dream come true, but I could not gather enough confidence. I had all the world’s happiness when newspaper headlines flashed my name – but my conscience cried. My sufferings increased all the more and became too heavy to live with.

Life had given me everything and I lost all of them. I have no complaint against you, Mother, as I know that your efforts in making me a topper was the only way to fight those who sighed at your girl child. The last thing I want to do is to cry in your arms. At the end of this road, I know that I will meet you. I can see the light, which will erase all blackness. Are you there to receive me with open arms? Please, Mother, grant me my last wish.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Violence Within

We laugh we cry
But never do we try
To curb the violence within

We strike to gain
When they are in pain
Our inner selves so full of sin

Hardly we know
What it takes to sow
The seeds of labour and love

We take the wrong way
So keen to hold sway
Is being honest so tough?

We weep over the dead
Knowing what is being said
The only truth of all things

Our hearts cry ‘foul’!
In answer to our soul
That we all are violent beings.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Towards the West

My free spirits refused to stay confined after the Class X Board Examinations ended and so after three days, we boarded the Gitanjali Express anticipating a long, refreshing tour of the West India.
We stopped at Bhusaval and took a bus to Jalgaon, which was our stop for the night. Early next morning, we set out for Aurangabad, and on the way, stopped at the Buddhist rack-hewn Ajanta Caves. The isolated scrap of horseshoe shaped rocky hill rising over a ravine to a steep height of 250 feet made an ideal site for the monastic sanctuary, which dates back to the 1st and 2nd century B.C.
The architectural and sculptural excellence in these caves is surpassed by addition of a third form of art – painting, which has given Ajanta its fame. Within the frameworks of spirituality, an entire pageant of contemporary life has been vividly depicted. Our guide also pointed at the famous ‘Ajanta type’ female figures with well-carved forms, elongated eyes, attractive mien and ample adornment.

In the evening, we reached Aurangabad, a flourishing trade center in Maharashtra. We visited the state Textile Emporium to see the much-heard himroo and paithan handicrafts, which have typical ‘carpet of flowers’ design. But they cost the sky and we bought only a piece of stole, so that we could take back an example of the intricate design.

Next morning we were off to visit the Ellora Caves, located 28 km away from the city. The excavations on a sloping hillside spread from north to south, revealing most beautifully, the point of contrast among the three religions, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism or more precisely, Brahmanism. While returning, we visited the Daulatabad Fort, a famous medieval landscape. Built by Raja Bhillamraj of Jadav dynasty in 1187 A.D., this old citadel is known for its brilliant fortifications, which made it almost inaccessible by enemies. Seeing the wide moat all around it, extremely smooth walls, heavy iron gates with elephant spikes and pitch-dark passages, we all agreed to what Travernier had said – “This fortress is one of the most powerful in my eyes”.

Bibi-ka-Maqbara, built by Aurangzeb in memory of his wife Rabia-ud-Durrani, is a poor imitation of the grand Taj Mahal of Agra. Erected by Prince Azam Shah in 1678, it stands in the middle of a spacious and formally planned garden, with axial ponds, fountains, and water channels, defined by stone screens and lined with broad pathways.

Our nest stop was Mahabaleswar, a hill station on the Western Ghats. After the sultry heat, here was our chance to cool off. One whole day was spent in visiting the famous Pratapgarh Fort of Shivaji. Legend has it that where the flag flies is where Shivaji killed Afzal Khan using the claws of a tiger. It is very well maintained by the Government and even today, a priest performs daily puja in the Temple of Goddess Bhabani.
We shuddered when the guide informed us of the punishment point of the fort. The wrongdoer would be hurled down from the fort, located in Raigarh Jilla and his body would be found at Satara Jilla, some 900 feet below!

Now was the time to move towards Goa for which I had been waiting right from the beginning of the tour. The thirteen-hour bus journey left us exhausted as we entered Panjim late in the evening. Next day, we were off to enjoy ourselves at the world famous beaches with lovely names as Mira Mar, Dona Paula, Anjuna, Kalangute and Kowa. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed as we cruised the Mandavi River in the luxury steamer ‘Santa Monica’, where the vibrant culture of Goa was presented before us through songs and dance items. St. Francis Cathedral was visited next morning where the body of St. Francis Xavier is still preserved. In the evening, we headed towards Mumbai by the Konkan Kanya Express, which took us through numerous tunnels in the Ghats and we entered Dadar at dawn.

The Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Taraporawala Aquarium, Hanging Garden, Boot House and the Iskon Temple were visited that day. Next, we went to the famous Haji Ali Mosque and Gateway of India. From the Gateway, we took a steamer to the Elephanta Caves, which are famous for wonderful sculpture of Shiva-Parvati. Situated in the Gharapuri Island and dating back till 600 A.D., it houses the famous trinity – that of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
A stroll down the Juhu beach and the Fashion Street completed our Mumbai sightseeing.
Just as all good things end, our trip to the western part of the country also came to a halt after fifteen days. The trip gave us a glimpse of ancient art forms hidden inside caves, formidable fortresses describing history, picturesque hills, exquisite beaches and a bustling metropolis all at the same time. Now, when I pen down those days, I cannot but echo these lines of Derozio -

Yes; there are in the backward past
Soft hours to which we turn-
Hours which, at distance, mildly shine,
Shine on, but never burn.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Broken Promise

This has been one of the few verse poems that I have created...Composed just after reading 'Great Expectations' when I was greatly moved by the character of Miss Havisham...You might find her traces here...

The air was filled with a melodious tune
And the dark walls showed flickering of many flames
I entered the parlour, quietly, my heart beating fast!
And there he sat, with his violin, waiting for me
I looked into his eyes, which spoke of love eternal
As I felt a shiver through my spines
We had just exchanged vows till death do us part
And I looked forward to our first night together
The fire crackled noisily as I pushed in more woods
Hiding my flushed face from him
He held my hands to his lips
Whispering sweet nothings into me
Promises of forever love----which I yearned for so long
Praises for my blue eyes and black hair,
Soft voice and red lips----and then my heart ached.

A sudden gush of cold wind intruded into my thoughts
I shivered as I turned -- no one’s there
I stood alone in the dark room in eerie silence
I strained my tired ears--- no tune was heard
I looked beyond the Cimmerian darkness
The mirror in front revealed an old maid
Grey hair, lined face, trembling lips and a desperate look
I shut my eyes in terror---memories
Of the man shook me from inside
The man who promised but never kept it!