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Sunday, May 29, 2011


Pain pricks like a thousand needles
My heart blood lies splattered
A knife has gone through the beating organ
And a sword through my spirit
I am wounded both in flesh and mind
Memories haunt me, beckon me
Shady, dark yet unbearably precious
The heart of Evil
The past bygone but ruthless
The future unseen and mysterious
Yielding to passion is way to shame
It is the Tempter’s twisted game
Can I live with a memory that suffers
And a conscience that chides every single day?
What is it in man that makes a woman love him?
And in a woman that beguiles a man?
Leaving the safe bosom of moral sanity
I dive into an abyss of darkness and passionate abandon
That sticks to me like an aura
I struggle to set myself free
Like a wild falcon whose feathers have been clipped
This is madness against sanity
Man against morality
Who will win the battle or the war for the matter?
Time heals but too slowly
Memories will fade but the scars will remain
Like a deep burn or an acid attack
My thoughts are dark and deep
My longings too strong to keep
I ride the wind and pick up a shield
But it breaks into a thousand shards
Like glasses broken by drunkards
Divine help I need
Is it there indeed?
I pass my days in gloom, agony and guilt
Hoping one day I will be removed from this filth

Sunday, May 22, 2011


People call me a loner.
I think and try to define the word “loneliness”.
What exactly do you mean by “being lonely”?
And are “loners” necessarily lonely?
I come to a conclusion: There are two types of loneliness – the loneliness without and the loneliness within.
The first type thrives on the need for company or at least companions, people around you.
I have come across people where this need is their strength while it can also become their weakness.
Many people, especially extroverts have a manic need of being in a crowd, and noise, sounds and conversation becomes a habit with them. When they are alone, they feel something is missing.
This is the loneliness dependent on exterior conditions and it can be a kind of addiction which can lead to either harm or good. Excesses can destroy while moderation can be constructive and lead to social health and vitality.
This kind of people is usually fun-loving, daring and love talking. In fact, talking fulfills their psychological, social and personality needs. They are the ones who enliven a party or a group conversation and usually take initiatives.
So if suddenly, they are deprived of their friends or associates, they are most likely going to be subjected to dejection, depression and yes, “loneliness”.
This is the loneliness without.
Now the other one, the loneliness within, is a bit complicated.
This usually happens with introverts. Have you encountered the word – “spacing out?” Well, this kind of people is alone even in a wild, raucous crowd. Have you seen the occasional person who likes to be alone as a choice? And when the whole company is in high spirits, he seems to be the silent observer or listener?
He loves solitude and maybe poetry (to add a bit of romanticism).
He may talk but there is a certain quiet and calm in him.
He usually controls his passions to a high degree.
Surrounded by people but you just feel like you are the only one existing – loneliness within.
And to bring up the question, I brought up earlier – are loners necessarily lonely?
I don’t think so.
They live in a world that has a charm of its won.
Reminds you of art, literature, jazz, solitary walks by the river, listening to the rustling of leaves and watching the butterflies.
Reminds you of creativity, ideas, romance, dreaming and an ecstasy strange and secret.
The world tends to label people and put them into compartments.
It is stifling.
Let the company-lovers enjoy their talk and their glasses of wine. And let the so-called loner dream on and create.
Loneliness is not always a handicap but fear of it certainly is.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I sit by the window watching the seasons pass by. It is summer-time now. Drops of rain beat on the roof sonorously and trickle down the eaves leaving a trail of wetness along the walls.
The skies are overcast with promising grey clouds. The rhythm of the rain drops is like a jazz song played out slowly. I hold out my hand and feel the cool drops on my palm. I try to hold the tiny, transparent beads but they elude me. They pass through my fingers as easily as light penetrating a crevice.
Reminds me of him like every other thing does.
Was it a year or a month back, or just yesterday?
I remember sitting by the sea-shore with him. He held me as I drew his name on the sand but the waves would not let the letters be. The waters came again and again washing away the sand and gravel and along with it those precious words.
Some moments freeze in time. And no matter how hard you try to exterminate them from your memory, you cannot. They hold onto you and become a part of you, like the air you breathe, the food you take and the clothes you wear.
I remember how we used to share an ice-cream cone in freezing winter. I would rub the gooey stuff onto his nose and he would ruffle my hair and laugh.
I remember playing in the rain with him, screaming like little kids as we jumped into puddles, splashing muddy water on each other.
We used to go on long rides in his car and return to “our” place and sit by the balcony watching the moon and stars cast a gigantic motif in the dark night sky, sipping glasses of wine.
But all this changed.
It changed the night I received the call.
It was a broken voice – a shattered being; a woman crying.
His wife.
I knew he had a family. He often talked about them. But without emotion.
I knew he loved them though. I could feel it. Women’s intuition, I guess.
I once saw his wife and kids’ picture in his purse.
They looked like a cozy, happy family, smiling and filled with warmth.
After the call, the phone dropped from my hands.
What was I doing?
I have been brought up in a respectable family. But many people do not know my dad loved another woman throughout his life. And my mom was a broken woman who withdrew deeper and deeper into her shell until she no longer lived, just existed.
Here, I was replicating the story with my life and I was the other woman.
The other woman.
How does it feel like being called that?
The villainess who broke up a family, the whore who shattered a home most probably for his money.
I still remember his wife crying, pleading, asking me to leave them in peace.
I decided to do that.
Next morning, I packed my bags while he was still sleeping, left an apology note and made an exit from our secret haven.
I looked at him long and hard before I left. I wanted to kiss his forehead but I was scared he would wake up.
That was it.
I no longer exist for him, I am sure. I have tried to build another life alone. I can’t forget but at least I am surviving, maybe moving on.
I never regretted my decision.
The rain has stopped. Pale shards of light filter through the clearing clouds. A ray falls on my hand.
I will soon hear the cuckoos sing. I will see gaily-colored butterflies sucking honey from the blossoms in my garden. I smile slightly, open the windows wider and listen to the crickets singing their twilight song.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We were a group of four going to Shillong – me, my friend and her two sisters who were seeking admission into colleges in the capital of Meghalaya. As for me, I was going to collect my degree certificates after three long years.
From the capital, we boarded a bus to Phuentsholing early morning. It was a cake-walk. Good music on our mobiles and good conversation.
On reaching the border town, we went to Jaigoan where we did some cheap shopping but the stuff we bought was good.
It was the next day that our troubles started.
The hour long journey from Phuentsholing to Alipur had us in high spirits.
Vast expanses of green meadows, lakes and elf-like straw huts with more music and laughter had not prepared us for what was coming next.
We got general tickets from Alipur to Guwahati.
For me and my friend’s sisters, this was the first time travelling by train.
We had to wait for almost two hours for the Bramaputra Express to arrive and we learnt later that it is one of the dirtiest and slowest trains in India.
Four of us had to share seats with a married couple from Guwahati.
The heat, smell, dirt, humidity and the cramped space almost had us crying.
Food and ware vendors came in proclaiming their arrival with loud chants.
We looked different from the locals so on several occasions we were cheated off money by the vendors.
The couple we were travelling with was sweet enough to tell us that and warn us (though a tad too late).
After six long hours we finally reached Guwahati and got into a sumo where a Khasi woman and her daughter were sharing the front seats.
From there, it was torture. The two women kept blabbering into their mobiles and giggling like school girls, all the way from the sumo stand to our destination (They were talking about the daughter’s boyfriend from what we could make out).
Honking trucks, dust, noise, the chatter and weariness made me throw up. The others were also having a tough time.
Finally, when we reached Shillong, we booked into a hotel which the driver recommended – Ashutosh inn, a dingy, shady place so cramped we could hardly move about.
It was too late to look for a better hotel so we had to compromise. At night, we could hear strange sounds coming from the adjacent room.
They offered tea so sweet we could have got diabetes. Moreover, they had run out of mineral water.
It was a terrible night.
The very next morning we embarked on a search for a better hotel and though expensive, we checked into Hotel Alpine.
Then began the quest for colleges for the two girls.
We walked from pillar to post, took cabs and asked around but on day one we could only get the prospectus of two well known colleges in Shillong – St. Anthony’s and St.Edmund’s.
Dead tired, we returned to the hotel, took relaxing baths and had wine.
Day two – We went to Raid Laban College, my alma mater. We talked to and got the college prospectus from a professor there. The girls decided this was it.
They got admitted and were asked to collect their ID cards in the afternoon (which they did).
Now, I had to get my degree certificates. We waited for a couple of hours. Finally, the counter opened but when the man there checked, he said my certificates had already been collected.
I was puzzled but thought that one of my previous hostel mates must have collected my certificates on my saying so and that I must have forgotten about it.
Sure enough, when I contacted the matron of the hostel I had stayed in, she said the documents were with here (sigh of relief).
Thus, our tasks were completed.
But my friend and I were talking among ourselves that had we had one more day to stay in Shillong, it would have been ideal because we wanted to explore and do some sight-seeing.
But with our limited budget, we had to return the next day, so we did.
Early morning, it was pouring cats and dogs when we booked an Alto for Guwahati.
In Guwahati, we again bought general tickets and hired a coolie to get us seats in the train going to Alipur.
The station where we were waiting was dirty and stinky. One of my friend’s sisters almost puked.
We laughed like crazy as we posed for the camera with cotton plugs in our nose.
There were some lecherous police officers making suggestive gestures at us but luckily I did not see it (my friend told me later).
Finally, our train arrived and we had to walk till the first compartment because there was such a wild stampede for seats.
We finally got into an empty compartment but it turned out that it was reserved.
We had to explain to the ticket collector and painfully fish out a few more bucks to avail the seats.
Soon, fresh green meadows and lakes and birds made their presence felt as we took pictures of each other and the scenery, munched on “jhaal muri”, spicy “motor”, and finger chips.
We heaved a sigh of relief as our train stopped at Alipur and we took a cab. A Bhutanese guy who almost got into a fight with an Indian cabbie joined us.
It was raining when we entered Phuentsholing gate (We were overjoyed when we reached Bhutan).
We headed for the hotel we had stayed in earlier – West End with a swimming pool.
After refreshing ourselves, we took dinner and more wine.
Since we had got lucky at the BoB ATM, we decided to relax the next day at Phuentsholing after our hectic tour.
The next day, we did some more shopping at Jaigoan. But since it was a Monday, the shops were closed and we could only buy from street vendors. We bargained and haggled in the scorching sun but it was worth it.
Upon returning, my friend swam while I watched. We had fresh lime and tea and sumptuous meals.
We watched TV, conversed near the swimming pool and took walks in the twilight.
At last, at bed time we had some expensive wine and I went off to sleep immediately while the others had fun.
The next morning, we boarded a bus to the capital, laughing all the way but the bus played some really good music so we weren’t bored.
The bus driver and conductor were cracking their own corny jokes and laughing while we laughed at them from the back seats.
At 4 PM, we reached Thimphu and parted ways.
And that was how our week long trip to Shillong ended.