Friend


“Hi!!” he came to her and greeted.

“Hi” she replied back, a little cautiously.

“Are you new here? I have not seen you around” he asked. “Yes”. She gave a mono-syllabic reply. “Want me to show you around” he inquired and without waiting for a reply, picked up her bag of books in his hands and waited. An introvert that she was, she did not expect this and was a bit hesitant and a little taken aback with his brashness, but stood up never-the-less. He, just the opposite very talkative, playful and cheerful. She could not help but answer him back in a couple of syllables. It took a few moments of awkwardness but she found herself enjoying his company and allowed him to lead her everywhere.

They met the next day, and the day after and then it became a habit to seek each other out as soon as they reached the gate of their institution. Since they were also in the same class, they often sat together during the classes. Both of them were five and it was their first year of kindergarten.

Years passed, their friend circle expanded, and he became one of her numerous friends. In standard III, his father moved to another town. Her first friend got lost in the hustle bustle and business of life though she often missed him.

Economics was the subject she wanted to major in and she took admission in one of the best institutes in the capital. She had a lot on her mind, “I must get a room in the hostel, she thought to herself, else dad will never allow me to stay here so far away from home”, she was thinking, when she felt something stir.

“Hey! you new here” she heard a voice call out to her.

“Yes, Eco Honors,” She turned back and replied -tried to place the face. He looked familiar “You… aren’t you…?” she wanted to talk. She needed a friend, and hoped to find one as she had on her first day of the school.

“Hosteler?”He ignored her question

“Yes” She replied back and asked hopefully “are you in Eco too?”

“Report in the auditorium at 7 p.m tonight.

She shouldn’t have been, but she was disappointed. She desperately needed a friend in this huge campus which looked alien. She felt alone.

She gathered her skirt, kept her purse by her side and sat in a corner waiting in the auditorium.

“Hi!” he said, “Can I sit here?”

“Hi” she replied tentatively not sure what to answer.

Without waiting for her reply, he sat next to her. “Aman.” He said. “Eco Honors. And you?”

She told him her name hesitantly.

“Isn’t it funny?, I mean look at us newbies. We look just like kindergarten kids. Completely lost on the first day of college”  He continued talking, she replied to him in monosyllables at first, but soon found herself talking freely. The warmth of new friendship surrounded them as she began her first day in the college.

Someone… Somewhere


atulIt’s been over a year and I haven’t removed your number from my phone book yet. Somehow your name there is a reassurance to me. No, I don’t expect to hear from you… not anymore, but still your virtual presence allows me to go back and read all the conversations we had, the occasional plans we made and the little problems we discussed. Those problems, insurmountable then, seem so small now, so tiny…

Wonder if there is some place from where you can see what’s happening in this world. While part of me hopes that you can watch us, I also know that you will be worried sick, and frustrated at little things simply because they are not in your control and are not going the way you would want them to be. I’d rather prefer you being in a place where you can sit peacefully with your two dogs and hum the Star Wars OST.

I know you are doing that right now.

व्यथा कथा

hina
हथेली की हिना सूख जायेगी
मगर उसकी छाया
हाथों पर उभर आयेगी
हथेली लाल हो जायेगी

हिना की ठंड़क और स्पर्श की गर्मी
अहसास दिलायेगी उस तारे का
जिसे एक दिन तुमने
मेरी हथेली का फूल कहा था

तुम्हें याद है वो दिन?
जब ऊँची पहाड़ी पर चढ़ते चढ़ते
पाँव फिसला था,
और हौसला टूटा था
तब तुमने उस तारे से तुलना की थी मेरी

कहा था
स्वाति को भी चातक का
इंतज़ार करना पड़ता है
तीन मौसम

मगर चातक,
स्वाति की एक बूंद के लिये
तुम्हें भी तो तीन मौसम
प्यास सहनी पड़ती है।

The perfect fit.

As the clock struck 12, she ran home and left one of her slippers behind. She reached home and slept restless, wondering what fate has in store for her the next day which was also the first day of the new year.

The door bell rang, the next day,  Anastasia opened the door of their dilapidated castle hoping and wishing very hard for the fortunes to change. He came in, demanding to see the women of the house and a glimmer of hope crossed all their faces as they saw the shining glass slipper being placed on the floor. Anastasia tried it, so did others, even the household help.

And then Drizella tried it, and it fit her, for, after all the shoe belonged to her. The shoe which Cinderella stole and wore to Prince Charming’s ball, the shoe that slipped off her foot when she ran because it was a poor fit.

A page from my past

From
dawn to dusk
I wait patiently
for you
your call,
a message from you
perhaps, a letter?

From
dark to light
I try to dream
you beside me
your touch,
soft caress
perhaps, a kiss?

At least
your thoughts
I find always,
always close by
but still I long
for you, and
perhaps your love?

“a page from my past” Original poem dated : 20th February, 1990.

Of memories and moments

She had met him that evening, and chatted for hours that just did not seem long enough. They dug out memories, laughed at silly and goofy things they did and those that they could but did not. Amused at the flush of youth that engulfed them, they became teenagers once again.

She caught herself unawares that night, thinking of the time long past… a time when no care in the world existed, nor mattered except the matters of the heart. The time when she fell in love for the first time. The time when she was touched tenderly, kissed for the very first time, and caressed lovingly. The moments that were frozen in time.

And then she looked by her side, towards the love of her life, her best friend, her lover and her biggest strength. Somehow things did not feel out-of-place.. the moments then and the moments now kind of existed in congruence. Both men were by her side at different times and both made her more beautiful, made her the woman she was, and she is. She silently thanked both of them for being the people they are. One a dear friend, and another her soul mate.

Don’t say goodbye

Atul Chitnis
Atul Chitnis.
20th Feb 1962 – 3rd June 2013

My friend,
today you are
in a better place
where pain
does not exist,
and I see you
happy.

Your body has left us
but your love,
the bond we shared
lives within me
and within
everyone you loved
so dearly.

When I look
at the rainbow
I reach you
as you watch
the sun rise
from your hidden
balcony.

I talk to you
at night
when the stars shine.
The flowers
in my garden
and, yours
bloom.

I will miss you
but I know
whenever I want
to talk you will
reach out to me
through the words
you’ve left behind.

My friend,
you are in my heart
while I am alive,
and you will
continue to live
in my heart
even when I cease to.

वीरानी

अब न रहा वो साज़ जो सात सुर बजायेगा
टूट के निकलते हैं अल्फाज़ जुबाँ से
मीठी बातों से अब ये दिल न बहल पायेगा
पुराने किस्सों की मत करो बातें मुझसे
दर्द जो छिपा रक्खा था, फिर उभर आयेगा
मत दोहराओ चाँद के, तारों का किस्से
जख्म अभी सूखा नहीं है; छेड़ोगे तो तड़प जायेगा
इस वीराने में कौन रहता है, क्यूँ रहता है
किसे पड़ी है, कोई क्यूँ यहाँ आयेगा

–स्वाति

अब तो कोई आयेगा

crow
घर की देवढी पर बैठी मैं
कजरारे नैनों से ताकूं
सारे रस्ते सगरी बस्ती
सब सोते हैं, बस मैं जागूँ

भोर भये मैं देखूँ सूरज
शाम ढले मैं तारे बांचूँ
क्या आओगे आप सवेरे
या शाम चंदा के संग
आँचल थामे ये बाट निहारूँ

सूने आँगन धूप खिली फिर
फूल सजे बगिया में मेरी
छत पर बैठा कागा बोले
अब तो कोई आयेगा…

 

Photo by Tarique Sani

15 years of motherhood

One of the best thing that has happened to me has been motherhood. I so vividly remember the day Aasim was born, it seems it all happend just yesterday. As a child came to us with clever one liners and sometimes very weird questions  (he still does sometimes) and some of the things that he said and did I have documented in my journal. It has been 15 years and our son has been the best any parent could hope for. May you get happiness

One.

The year was 1991, early June. We wanted to feel alive, what better way than go hang-gliding? He would pick me up at 4.30 AM and we would ride on his bike to the outskirts of the city to this adventure camp where we learnt hang-gliding. Years have passed us by but every time I think of those days, I still get goose pimples – and hang gliding was just one of the things we did.

Fly
Fly

 

Fly;
to touch the clouds
feel the deep blue sky.
Fly;
and find the world beneath
conquered.
Fly;
and discover
the power of wings:
Your Wings!!
Fly;
to tame the wild wind
feel the power
and be one!!

नील कमल

नील कमल

वो बूंद जो
बादलों में खेलती थी
आज तपती धरा की आग़ोश में
समाने को बेचैन हो उठी
पर फिर जब नील कमल
को इठलाते देखा
तो उसी की हो चली
डूब गयी
खो गयी
सो गयी

— स्वाति

एक ग़ज़ल

छोटी सी इक रात की ये मुख्तसर मुलाक़ात
सितारे बिखरें हैं ज़मीं पे, मेरे घर में है काइनात

रेशम के दुपट्टे से उसने यूँ लपेटे उँगलियों के तार
किसी पुराने आशिक से मानों आज है मुलाक़ात

रोज़ ही मिला करते थे जब मुफलिसी के दिन थे
अब अच्छा वक्त है दोस्तों मग़र मस्रूफ दिन-रात

बड़ी बेतकल्लुफी से रहते थे कभी वो दिल में मेरे
हाल-ए-दिल पूछते हैं अब ये कैसे हो गये हालात

अपने दामन को समेटे रखने की आदत थी जिन्हें
सारे मोहल्ले में बाँटते फिरते है आज वो ख़ैरात

— स्वाति

अकेली पंक्तियाँ

एक अकेला कोना
भी नहीं मिलता
इस बड़े से घर में
जहाँ जा कर मैं
कुछ मन हलका करूँ
नमकीन आसुँओ से
अपनी बात कहूँ
और खुद से ही
शिकायत कर पाऊँ…

ये घर
मेरा ही तो है
जो खुशियों से
इतना भरा है
कि दुख अपने आप को
अक्सर अकेला पाता है
गले तक आ कर
फिर निग़ल लिया
जाता है।