A Song of Parting

We avoid each other’s eyes.

The fly on the glass enchants me.

He is riveted by my earrings;

Silver little things that sparkle in sunlight,

And dance with the wind.

 

Rip the bandage,

Painful and quick!

“I can’t do this!”

I repeat the oft told lie,

“It’s not you, it’s I”.

 

He doesn’t look at me,

But beckons the waiter:

With an unsteady finger,

“Bill please –

We are done here”.

 

I don’t often write poetry, and this is a shaky attempt after a long time. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Thank you. 

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Heartfelt Words…the best gift

Damini was the friend of a friend, and I met her at his birthday party. A girl as unlike me as possible. Where I was a nerd, always poring over books and worrying about exams, she was carefree and loved playing sports. She was a wonderful sketch artist. I couldn’t draw to save my life!

Yet somehow, despite our differences and our contrasting personalities, we connected. It was like we were friends in some past life, and when we met in this life, our souls remembered each other, even if our memories didn’t. For two years, while I was still in junior college, we remained good friends. We would meet each other during vacations and after school. Her eighteenth birthday was a few months before our final board exams and bang middle during our preliminary exams. I knew that from next year onwards things wouldn’t be the same. We would move to different colleges, make new friends and lose ourselves in new activities. For a few months maybe we would call each other and talk, but too soon awkward silences would develop. When our lives would change the little link of commonality that we still had would snap. All that would remain is a sweet nostalgia for times past…

I wanted to give her something special for her birthday, something that she could look at 50 years from now, and fondly reminiscence about the bygone days.

A teenager is always short of money. We are a perpetually bankrupt species and our meagre pocket money can barely keep pace with our grandiose dreams. So buying something for her was out of the question, but I did have one thing that I could gift her — my words.

I set my pen to paper, and the words flew out weaving a tale of our friendship, of our memories, of us:

Today, as you are on the threshold of a new journey,

Let us take a short walk back down the memory lane,

Let us sniff the fragrance of our sweet friendship,

Laugh at jokes that once we had shared, shake our heads over the quarrels;

Start from our first trip together to Infinity and Inorbit,

There were just too many French fries weren’t there, and you learned I was an inexorable chocoholic,

Then let us move on to all those evenings we spent together –

Board games, friends, gossip and laughter – what more could one want,

Look at Ranbir Kapoor strumming his guitar, and then look a little further,

Six friends dancing on the road together in the twilight, oblivious to the strange gazes,

Hear the tiger’s growl, and the monkeys’ chatter, as we visit the old caves of ancient Buddhist monks,

Our jeans and T-shirts in sharp conflict to the age-old eternal statues with whom we pose,

Again four friends, journeying in history together, and I doubt whether anyone then or since has passed those silent, eternal statues with a sweeter, more carefree friendship than ours,

Picnicking in the meadow, boating in the sun, with the cool air fanning our cheeks, in a bubble of friendship,

Can there be a better summer’s day?

Look over there, can you see me, with ice-cream on my shirt (clumsy, as always),

Then to the vibrant night, with the deep rumbling of drums and loud music,

As we shake a leg on the dance floor, and I finally learn to dance Dandiya,

Two years gone by in a flash, I never heard them passing, did you?

Rude of them to leave without giving us a chance to say goodbye,

But Time has always been known for being inconsiderable to one and all,

Wherever we go in life from now, even if we part ways,

Remember me, and remember these days, as I will –

Forever Cherish These Days,

Thank You, for making them so special, thank you for being my friend,

So, here is me saluting those days, and a toast to you,

May you have a wonderful life, as sweet as ‘us’

And Happiness forever rule your path, I hope.

Since then I did indeed lose touch with her, but a couple of months earlier I met her at a college fest. We hugged and chatted for a few minutes – nothing like our long late night conversations – but just a minute before she was swallowed up by the crowd, she said, “By the way, I still have your letter…”

I am participating in the #DilKiDealOnSnapdealactivity at BlogAdda in association with SnapDeal.

Your Perfect Date…in a Crate

So…you finally wooed the girl of your dreams and are prepping up for the first date with her. Everything has to go perfect…and this what has got you flummoxed. What variables do you need to get the equation just right?

Never fear, Mancrates.com has the perfect solution for you. They are an online shopping service that exclusively ships gifts for men in a wooden crate and add a crowbar to the package for fun (women take notice. There is nothing better [or cooler] that you can get for the special men in your life. Unfortunately, they do not ship internationally yet, but one can always hope ;))  A Date Crate — a crate with everything you need to sweep your date off her feet!

A few days ago, I learnt about Mancrates and their date crate project – a crate with 3-5 items that would be helpful to a man while preparing for a date. As Valentine’s Day rolls forward, here is a list of things that I think should be included in the crate:

  1. A Personal Hygiene Kit with Deodorant, Toothpaste, Shaving Cream and Razor, and Aftershave: First impressions matter. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Speaking from personal experience, I have a soft spot for guys who brush their teeth regularly. Apart from the fact that your teeth look mesmerizing when you smile, it also keeps your mouth from stinking. It is kind of a deal breaker if you are leaning in close, and all I can smell is your stinky garlic breath…or your sweaty underarms! Also, try not to belch or fart during the date.  You would think it would be common sense, but you would be shocked to know how often it happens. Personal hygiene is very important. When I discussed this post with my best friend, the first thing she suggested was “have a bath!”
  2. A White Shirt: If a little black dress is a must-have for girls, then few boys can go amiss with a white shirt…especially if paired with black or blue denims looks stunningly debonair on most guys.

    taken from Google

    taken from Google

  3. A Select Range of Chick-Lit Novels and Movies: The best way to get understand the female mind is to read a few chick-lit novels, especially ones written from a woman’s point of view. Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Can You Keep A Secret? and Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott are few of the books I would recommend. If you are not into books, maybe you can try watching some of these films instead — Runaway Bride, Princess Diaries: Royal Engagement, Monster-in-Law, Valentine’s Day, 50 First Dates, Letters to Juliet and You Have Got Mail. Chick Flicks and chick-lit are the best insights into a woman’s mind that you will ever receive. download (4)
  4. A Book of Romantic Poems and Sonnets: Maybe it is just for literature buffs like me, but I absolutely love romantic poetry and sonnets. Be it Robert Browning
Only I discern—
         Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.
Or E.E. Cummings:
I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go, you go, my dear. And whatever is done by only me…is your doing. I fear no fate…for you are my fate, I want no world cause you are my world.
Or the ever-famous lines from Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
If your date is a girl who loves literature or even only if you want to make your compliments stand apart from the hundreds she has heard before, a book of poetry is a good investment.
5. A Recipe Book for Cooking A Simple Home Cooked Meal: They say the way to a woman’s heart passes through her stomach. A simple, home cooked meal (or even simply one dish) will win the heart of any woman. She will truly appreciate the effort and the gesture.
romantic_dinner
What else do you think would be helpful before a date? (Suggestions for girls are welcome too; I being one 😛 )
[For more tips, you can also check out one of my earlier posts — What Girls Want]

Photography 101 – Bliss

Last year in November we went to Kerala on a family vacation. The state has often been called ‘God’s Own Country’ by the industrious tourism industry, but after our trip I can’t say I dispute. It is one of the most beautiful, indeed perhaps the most beautiful place, I have ever been to. While enjoying a leisurely ride on a shikara in the gorgeous backwaters, certain lines kept playing over in my mind:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
Innisfree 1
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

Innisfree 2

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Innisfree 3The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

It’s Been Too Long

With the cool evening breeze, a waft of nostalgia drifted into my room today. Fond reminiscences of my high school friends came to me, and I had a sudden desire to pen down all the memories that were crowding my mind, insisting that they be heard. This semblance at poetry was the result.

It’s been to long since I had an ice-cream with you in the cloy summer heat,
It’s been too long since the long walks home down the empty street,
It’s been too long since I laughed so hard that the nearby trees shook –
And the birds took to flight, all a-clamour,
Indignant at having their siesta disturbed.

It’s been too long since the last plate of shared pani-puri,
The last time we argued about the merits of Harry Potter over Twilight –
Like we were discussing the fate of the world!

It’s been too long since we shared songs over our phone’s Bluetooth,
Since we talked in hushed whispers under the librarian’s nose,
Since we giggled over certain words and talked about others in an awe-struck whisper,
Been too long since we discussed our futures on the playground swing!

Back then, life seemed so simple,
The future just within our reach,
All we needed was to pass the exam, and the world would be ours.
Grand dreams, solemn promises to never lose touch,
Promises fade, only memories don’t….

Been too long since I laid out the tale of my heartbreaks to you,
And you with a sympathizing air told me:
All boys are fools. You are better off alone“.

Been too long since we bunked of class,
Since riotous games, crazy dares and long hours of playing charades,
Been too long since our group studies, where we did everything but study.
The marks are inconsequential now when balanced against the memories.

The last laugh, the last cry still echo in my mind.
It’s been too long since, dear friend, we relived those memories in time.

Abstract Poems

In today’s class, our creative writing teacher had us writing poems on abstract nouns. Here are the ones I came up with:

Fear glides in the Dark,
Draped in voluminous robes of horrific blackness.
He whispers in your ear, and cackle as you shiver.

Beauty strutters in the glided halls
Dressed in shimmering gold
She looks out of the window, and pales in terror of all that she beholds.

Humanity wails in the desolate battlefield
Bathed in the blood of innocence
He weeps and weeps – a ceaseless sound beating against dead ears.

Love drowned with the Titanic.
Love bled in the graveyard with Juliet.
Love dies everyday…and lives forever.

1st March 2014: Tryst With Edgar Allan Poe

Today, by chance, I happened to find myself in the college library, with quite a considerable amount of time on my hand. While browsing through the literature section for books to read, I came across a fat volume titled: The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Now I had of course previously heard of Edgar Allan Poe, vaguely, as a writer of Gothic Romanticism, of macabre tales and dark poems. But this was the first time I had read (apart from a short story I had previously read for class – and which pretty much fell into the established and commonly accepted norm of his stories) any of his works. And was I fascinated!! Here are some of the poems I read and loved by Edgar Allan Poe:

To Octavia

5211782unrequited_love_by_captain_curly_d31j2u1When wit, and wine, and friends have met
And laughter crowns the festive hour
In vain I struggle to forget
Still does my heart confess thy power
And fondly turn to thee!

But Octavia, do not strive to rob
My heart of all that soothes its pain
The mournful hope that every throb
Will make it break for thee!

It took me a minute to understand the last two lines, but when I did I was kept marveling at the sheer beauty of them. The original poem was written to Octavia Walton, daughter of George Walton, Secretary of West Florida under Governor William P. Duval. The poem manages to convey despite its brevity, a deluge of emotions. The narrator says how even in the most lively company of friends, and no matter how entertaining the conversation, his thoughts only turn to her, to Octavia, the girl he loves. He is fighting a losing battle with his heart, as he struggles to forget his Lady Love (who though it is not explicitly stated in the poem, must have turned down his proposal). The only hope the poet has is someday his heart will break, as he will realize that she is unattainable. It is only after this realization – no matter how painful – that he can never have her, strikes him, that he will be able to continue with his life. Because till then, he hopes (though he knows it to be in vain) that she will someday return his love, and that keeps him tied to her and her memories.

Lost and/or unattainable Love is a common theme in many of his poems. Here are two more that struck my fancy. The first one is only of two lines, and yet the couplet is one of my personal favorites.

Deep In Earth

1328790080_Love GraveDeep in earth my love is lying
    And I must weep alone.

Poe wrote this poem, I later learnt, courtesy of Google, in 1847 – the year of his wife’s death. In the poem he talks about the loneliness and grief he feels at her death.

The other poem, is not autobiographical, but the theme it discusses is similar to the previous poem – the loss of a loved one. It is one of the few poems written by Poe in a woman’s voice.

Bridal Ballad

beautiful-chinese-bride-white-wedding-dressThe ring is on my hand,
 And the wreath is on my brow;
Satins and jewels grand
Are all at my command,
 And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;
 But, when first he breathed his vow
I felt my bosom swell—
For the words rang as a knell,
And the voice seemed his who fell
In the battle down the dell,
 And who is happy now.

But he spoke to re-assure me,
 And he kissed my pallid brow
While a reverie came o’er me,
And to the church-yard bore me,
And I sighed to him before me,
Thinking him dead D’Elormie,
 “Oh, I am happy now!”

And thus the words were spoken,
 And this the plighted vow,
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken
Behold the golden token
 That proves me happy now!

Would God I could awaken!
 For I dream I know not now,
And my soul is sorely shaken
Lest an evil step be taken,—
Lest the dead who is forsaken
 May not be happy now.

The poem is narrated by a newly-married bride, whose first love died in a battle. Her husband loves him, but she is unable to forget her earlier lover. He is rich and showers her with jewels and silk garments. And she tries to be happy and grateful for these gifts, explicitly crying out And I am happy now. However the very fact that she has to clarify on this point, repeatedly state it shows that she is not. She is just trying to fool the readers, and herself, into believing that she is happy. She confesses, that the only reason she accepted her husband’s proposal is because his voice reminded her of ‘dead D’Elormie’ her first love. She manages to partly convince herself that D’Elormie is happy now, and at peace; and thus in a stupor she goes through the marriage rituals. But even when she is taking her wedding vows, it is dead D’Elormie whom she imagines to be standing in front of her, and in this way she gets married. After the marriage when she returns to reality her heart is broken. But that is not what bothers her. What bothers her is that she has broken her promise to both men. She broke her promise to D’Elormie to love him forever, and she broke her wedding vows to her husband. But again she points to her golden wedding ring, and declares herself to be evidence of her happiness, since newly-wed brides are happy on their marriage day. The poem ends with a dream (or nightmare) of the bride, which shakes her soul, as she is made to consider the possibility that her dead lover may be unhappy by her betrayal to him, and thus he cannot rest in peace. The guilt and inner turmoil of the bride’s conflicting emotions underline most of the poem.I will conclude this post with a stanza from Poe’s poem ‘Alone’:

Sunset_Alone_by_ibadurrahman1From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov’d — I lov’d alone —

The poem simply describes the lonely childhood of the poet, as he was different from all his peers, in his thoughts, feelings and passions. Yet at the same time it celebrates his own individuality and uniqueness. And isn’t that what Life is all about – being one with the crowd, while maintaining our own uniqueness. We are just one strand of colour in the rainbow of society. Not alike to anyone around us, yet made beautiful by their presence.

Images taken from Google