Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Dream

It’s high time, I told myself. High time to close my eyes shut. The dream was kind of making me hope. The feeble thing could die any moment and yet there it was breathing in my mind. I wanted to blow it off before it decided to die. But like a candle in the wind, there in the darkness of my mind it was spreading light.

Why are dreams so stubborn? Or, is it us who are stubborn? I don’t want to dream any dream. I want to live everyday as is given to me by God. But here I am dreaming yet again. It shatters most of the times. Then it takes days to collect those broken pieces and fling them away.

But it’s like that with most beautiful things in this world. The butterfly looks prettier than any angel; but its wings are weak and it dies soon. The flower sheds its petals quickly, and then it hurts to see it that way. The rainbow stays in the sky for only a while.

Yet, they all reappear.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Prayer

I don’t want to read your thoughts. In fact, I don’t want to read anybody’s thoughts. But I can read it all. On everybody’s face I can see it… The eyes pour it all for me. I try to look away. I try to act dumb.

My eyes understand it all. In the moments of laughter and joy too they tell me the story behind the smile. The eyes give it all away. I don’t want to take it. I really want to believe in the crinkles that form every time somebody smiles.

But before I come to the conclusion the conclusion hits me real hard. Suddenly the lady sitting next to me forgets gossiping about her colleague in office and looks at me.

I talk to them all. I look at them all. My eyes absorb it all. The struggle, the pain, the joy that is here to pass, the people they have lost, the people they will lose and the fear they feel of losing them; every glance tells me a story I don’t want to hear.

In the crowd, every face wears a mask. But I can see past it. The layers of emotions hidden and buried; all leave their graves and haunt me. I close my eyes and pray. I send a prayer to them. A warm current hits my gut .. as if I have taken a deep sip of wine.

I journey the dark alleys of their eyes, but there is no fear now. There is light in my eyes , there is prayer enough to bring light to all those eyes looking at me.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Colouring Book

The sea greenish book even today has the ability to somehow disturb me. I still remember this really long and huge colouring book I had when I was a kid. After a long sweaty day, here I was, umpteenth time in my life visualising the colouring book. The inanimate object knew one of my hidden traits. It just knew me too well.

The book cover housed a colony of cartoon characters, standing there together, like a family would, for a group photograph… I walked past a group of middle-aged women and took a window seat, in this sparsely crowded Thane local (train). I tried shaking my head of those thoughts and shook my head quite literally too, in the process to do so.

Some extended family had flown over 1-3 oceans that summer, visited my family and that’s how the sea greenish book had come into my life. The book was unique. It was too big. I had never seen a book like that in my glamorous hometown Mumbai ever. As any average 5-6 year old would, I too had liked the book very much. With extreme care I would turn the long pages. My tiny fingers would trace the lines that gave existence to the characters on those pages. Colourless and empty their faces looked. I coloured only 1 picture from the 150 leaves. Years flew, and the last time I opened the book, approximately 13-14 years ago, the book looked the same. Only, the uncoloured pages were uniformly coated with a pale ugly looking shade of yellow now. I didn’t do it; time did it for me.

The train halted yet again, dragging herself to reach her destination dutifully. As the train was gaining momentum, two kids jumped inside our compartment as lightly as the kittens would. They held a stack of books on their heads. Now I could see books other than the one haunting me. The duo cheerily squatted on the empty compartment floor, rested the books on the floor too. Their faces looked similar, maybe they were siblings, I told myself. It seemed as if colour black had some special interest in them and hence had smudged their round innocent faces with itself. I caught myself craning my neck to get a look at their books and eavesdrop on their conversation.

Cartoon characters merry making on the cover.. the kids casually opened few books.. They were colouring books! The kids were here to lure us into buying them. I yawned, looked at my wrist and realised that it was late again. I had promised someone that I would for once, today try to reach a little earlier. Over the years I have realised that whichever season it is, Mumbai has the longest days, all throughout the year..

The kids sat there smiling brightly, chitchatting, tiny fingers pointing at something or other on the many pages of the many books. Then the older kid, a six year old, took out a stub of crayon and grinned. The younger one pulled out a book and with his blackened fingers the older kid coloured the smiling sun in that picture all red. I realised why all the books still accompanied the duo even after spending a whole day in Mumbai local. These kids would not make good sales guys when they would grow up, I thought.

There they sat, cross-legged, colouring every picture in the book red. The small hands weren’t all that steady. Every picture was left looking like a red blob in no time. I did not want my station to come. I wished the kid in my memories could come alive and join these young artistes. But this kid girl just wouldn’t come alive. Whenever she would sit down in a corner, with the huge sea greenish book ..her parents would try to convince her to colour it. She never could. She would just nod, refuse and say she would colour it some other time when she grew up.

From the red blobs here I was again with the dull imagery of a dull dead book. Two small hands pulled me away from the ugly book. Before I could gather my thoughts, and myself there they stood, right in front of me, colouring book almost touching my nose. Oh! The kids had got up, gathered their books and of all the women in the compartment chosen me as their prospective customer. I nodded vigorously, fished out two toffees from my purse and gave it to the little artists.

Later I was left smiling to myself ; asymmetrical red blobs replaced the pale empty huge blank pages.