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Swansong Love

Staring out of the serendipitous window sill;

beyond the roads and towards the formidable hills;

remembering the hazy times filled with laughter and coated with smiles.

Of those rambling days and sauntered miles, I wish;

to catch the dew drops of those lost times, I miss.

So Lets be strong and go;

far form the beguiling web of right and wrong;

to the hills of wish, surfeit with the cuckoo songs.

There my friend right from those hills, I will wave you;

and send my kisses like the flakes of snow;

when you gaze out from your window sill,

with a lucid mind on a starry night.

A Trek to Triund, India

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“Back up along the edge, even the smallest of them have to, the curve is too shallow, to manoeuvre”

This line sums up my recent trek to Triund, in India. Coming at a time when I am at the cusp of a change in my career, preferences and likes. It showed how even the mightiest and the smallest have their powers and limitations.

Triund is located at a height of 3000 meters above the sea level. The place is a ridge with a vast expanse of green cover during the summer months. The trek to Triund starts from Mcleaodganj and takes about 3 hrs for a new trekker to scale the stretch. The path to the top is quite rocky and becomes steeper as and when one approaches the top. The last two kilometers are particularly enervating and a pain in the ankles, literally.

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Apart from the anticipation of a mesmerizing end the trekkers are enthused all along the way by the artistically molded shapes of tall Oak and Deodar trees which makes you smile at their audacious attempt to scale the mountains and reach the top. On the way you can take rest at various snack points which sell water bottles, biscuits, chips and tea that will keep you energized all the way.

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However, as the saying goes “don’t lose heart and let the whole story unfold”. On reaching the top you are greeted by a mighty looking snow clad Dhauladhar range which looks mesmerizing and humbling at the same time. The ridge offers a 360 degree view of the mountains in the front and the city of McLeodganj down on the back side. The obscured view of the white mountains rising among the clouds fills you with awe and admiration. You see, even the high mountains can be shrouded by periods of haze which can often render them unrecognizable and unseen.

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Thoughtfully, it is not just the Dhauladhar peak but the air of the ridge that reeks of silence, giving you a chance to experience the goodness and creativity of nature that manifests into the beautiful things around but is seldom noticed. At night, the place goes pitch dark after 1930 hours with only a few mobile phones and night lamps being the only source of light. The sky dotted with numerous stars is one of the best aspects of the nights on hills. It makes you come face to face with the eternity and you wonder if raising one hand will let you to touch and pluck a few stars to take home to the plains only to be riveted by the scenery.

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After spending the night when you rise early the next day, the sky is light red with a tinge of blue on the outside, the cool air fills you with devotion for the loving nature of the creator. It happens that when we become one with the surroundings and the veil of self subsides we are able to admire the beauty surrounding us which is eternal and rejoicing.

After the sunrise we started our  downward trek with a hope to respect, love and care for each and every thing on the planet. After all the though we admired the skies dotted with stars we tend to forget about the little houses with lights that look same from the hill top, these are the projections of stars on the earth.

Looking up at the stars is longing, looking around and embracing life is love. Perception matters.

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A Whisper

The kiss of a wind,

The whiff of the oncoming storm,

Let me breathe and tell you a story in a whisper;

So as not to wake the sleeping bird.

A story about the temptation to get carried away.

Slowly and steadily in your arms.

To be flung to the far off place;

Devoid of the pain, suffering and the familiar faces

To the fallow lands strewn with the stubble.

Let me till the parched land;

For the fruit of life will sprout once again;

From the womb of the mother earth

But not to be burnt away in the summer of life.

The beauty of “Now”

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During those weekends when you feel there is nothing to do when actually you have much on your platter. However slow you want the weekends to be, how so ever early you rise or how much longer you run from your routine extra, you find that at the end of the day the
time flies past. It is like those rows of trees, those small brick houses outside the window of a train that seem to run behind at a constant pace, no matter how you crane you neck out they just go behind you and dissolve into an infinite oblivion. To do away with this feeling of running ahead of my weekends I try to slow down but in vain.

While taking a bus journey, I looked around and found an old man sitting at the front seat ahead of me. He had a mobile phone in his hand that was as old as he probably. The man was in his white shirt and black pant looked about 55-60 years of age. He had a tuft of white hair on his head with a few of them protruding out of his ear.  After fidgeting with his phone for a few minutes he opened his messages and began reading them one by one. After reading each message he deleted it. This went on for quite a few messages. So out of curiosity I craned my neck to read what the messages were. The first one read “Happy retired life sir”, the second one said “We will miss you sir” and so on.

The old man had retired after 30-35 years at service. By deleting the messages he was trying to cut the chords that tied him to his past, to those years of service. We feel not looking back or doing away the memories will make us forget the past. We search for all the memories and try to weed them out one by one in a hope that this would save us from the nostalgia. But why do we want to break away or forget the past which was so good. Do we not like to remember good stuff, do we not want to be surrounded by the happy feeling of good times that make us look at the future in a hope of reliving the past. Then why was he deleting the memories.

We humans are the most dissatisfied out of all the creations of God. In childhood, we crave for good marks. Once we have marks we crave for the top position in class, once teens, we crave for a good college and then a good job. And then after all those years at service, in the twilight of our lives we crave for reliving the past. This is why the man was cutting all the chords from the past. He wanted to forget about something that he will no longer have “the daily 9-5 job.” Getting up in the morning and leaving for the job in a haste only to return late in the evening. Cursing the Mondays and looking forward to the weekends. Cursing our daily routine and waiting for the end of each month for our salary. No matter how sad or depressing this predictable life looks on paper all of us live it and most of us crave for it at the end of our careers.

Those 25 years at the job we are all runners who are running at a great speed. We run to see what is at the end of the race and once we reach the final post we long for the race. We long for someone that boss to manage us. We long for the feeling of completing our monthly targets or for that yearly bonus that gives us a free pass to “dine out”. Suddenly we find ourselves so heavily addicted to our daily routine that even the thought of slowing down fills us with gloom. We forget that this emptiness is not a curse it’s what that has been bestowed on us as a reward of all those years at work. Why do we not see it?

Are we so lost that we don’t see the light the end of the tunnel. Do we love the darkness so
much that even the thought of light scares us. Out of all the living beings, only humans walk on two legs and have the ability to choose. Then why do we choose to ignore the voice within is. Why do we fail to see the beauty of “now”?

Happy Valentine’s Day

Here it is once again. Is it because of the air or  if it is something about the month that makes boys and girls go head over heels during the month of Feb. And as always being single adds to the despondency. When you go to the market and you see little red heart shaped the “heart” hung around the shops and people buying it, what you do yes you just smirk and your mind says “yes, God saved me some bucks” and in my case God has been saving my bucks since what like college, that’s when you know the month love is here with open arms.

So what makes the month of Feb that entire special after all don’t lovers go around hand in hand the whole year. It’s not like they will only bother you with their public display of affection  and that’s the full form of PDA if , if you are wondering the first time I heard greeting-valentine-s-day-card-tree-hearts-kids-kissi-kissing-49704172that term I thought of it as some kind of mobile device that you can take with and roam around with, only during a designated time of the year. This is a month when you already know that for these 28 days or 29(god forbid if it’s a leap year) you will have to tell yourself and say “Deal with it its Feb after all” and the other months you still can’t run away from it.

Mind you loving is not everyone’s cup of tea. Arreee it requires a lot of hard work. Waking up the so called “baby” from bed  that is 10 bucks wasted because a well-loved baby does not get up so easily mind you that baby requires a lot of  “love yous ” and “there for yous”. After dressing up for the office it’s now baby’s turn to call you to say “love yous and love you toos”, that’s another 10 minutes wasted. Once you reach the office and begin the tasks you get so much engrossed that you forget that its lunch hour and your baby does not eat lunch without you and you rush towards the canteen just so late that  it’s time for the baby to go and apparently she always has a busy day and yet she finds time for you. On enquiring and much pursuing it is revealed the baby was waiting for you for so long when instead what she could have done was go out with her friends, not a bad idea is what you think but what you actually say is “oooo baby sorry let me make you eat with my own hands”.  What is a lunch without a walk because lunch is not just lunch idiot it is a way to spend time with loved ones as they say. So after spending a whole 1 hour at lunch you come back to your desk only to find a message on your phone from the baby informing that you forgot to say the parting words that you always used to say and you actually wonder what is the thing you have been doing since long is “wiping your ass”. Anyhow you continue your work till the next time you look at the clock and its evening and you need to go. You have to surprise the loved one after all you know the monster “Feb” is coming. To make things worse they have these designated days teddy, chocolate, hug, propose, and kiss and Valentine’s Day and the poor guy after all the hard work thinks why did they stop at Valentine ’s Day. They should have topped it up with a make-out day.

So you see if you are a lover feel good because you have been doing a job no not just a job but two full-time jobs. And if you are not a lover cheer up and feel good because you saved yourself your hard earned bucks. And to that I wake up from this wild dream and say fuck that “I am a whole lot richer, i am gonna drink to that”. Now that I must say is a “Happy Valentine’s day” boys.
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This Independence Day let it be free

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In the realms of my hands cuddling as if its world is comprised of just the area within the cup of my hand. I came to me on a one fine morning when I was a kid, starting an unknown journey that I don’t know what would have been if not without it. After all I can’t find one instance when it was not there with me if not physically then in my thoughts. It was not long before the days passed when we were always together no matter what the weather or the place, it always came to me. The window sill where she sat while I crammed for my History exams or the treetop in the prayer grounds where it sat smiling while I collected awards and used to see it from the stage wondering would I have the same smile if it won’t be there clapping or those times when I just used to smile just at the sight of it in the morning while I waited for my school bus

I stroke its weathers gently  trying to count them as the time passes softly before she flies away to a strange little bird world. After all life is transient and no matter how much we try we have to let go of the best of things and on the other hand no matter how much we try their memories continue to make us smile halfheartedly, longingly wishing how would it have been if only it had stayed.

The rays of the sun are piercing the body now as if trying to melt the outer core and exposing the innards, the innards that have been covered by multiple layers of happiness sorrow and the toughest of them all resolution. She looks towards me with gleaming eyes, bubbling with energy and raring to go. After all new place, life and people await her. I thought only humans feel elated at the  prospects of new but here it was feeling excited about leaving the past and embracing something new. I look back at my past and see that I too have run away from people and situations but the fact was in the hindsight I knew she would be there overlooking me from somewhere behind the clouds above.

It flew spanning its small wings high in the sky circling above me getting ready for a long flight that will take it towards mountains that will be hard to scale, that will offer various hurdles and test its limits. I am skeptical about the future but my concerns wither away when I see its determination and enthusiasm.

So I smile one more time before saying adios to the bird who had been second to none and who I don’t want it to turn back to say final wishes because breaking the chains of past and unleashing the ropes of future  is what helps in the journey of life.

This independence I let it fly to somewhere………far.

Part3: The Hope

If you have not read the previous part of this series then I would suggest to click the following link and read:

https://rishabhagnihotri01.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/part2-the-winner/

But if you are just like me and dont giv a fuck, well then go on 🙂

They ran with all their might. Initially the power, pace and the will is comparable.The tenacity of droplets rushing down the sides of the cold glass withers  as the distance increases. The trail left behind the drops contains just too much water to make the flow lose its pace. Her legs begin to ache after a few well run meters and the beads of perspiration clog her vision. The destination blurs and she opens her mouth to take in a gush of air that is a last ditch attempt to gather some momentum hoping to last for just a few more miles. He is amazed at this sudden determination shown by his competitor. He has been winning these races since as far his memory goes. Right when they used to run for the chocolate offered as a bait by the father. Today neither the father nor the chocolate remains but for him winning is his legacy. Something he offers as a tribute to his father. Prospects of losing today to his sister are profound and if it is true he will not entirely be sad. At last after a few attempts at trying to make it to the finish line she gives up and she stops. Bended and holding her knees she gasps and looks at her brother who will hit the sea any time from now. The brother who will win one more time and the brother who will be the receiver of one more chocolate and ultimately the brother who will be celebrated by her father.  She raises her head towards the heavens and looks with longing eyes which say “Not even once God!”. She cries and calls him from behind. “You always start ahead. This is not fair”, she says in exasperation. “If you don’t stop I will, go back to home”, saying this she sits on the sand and looks at his reaction. She reprimands herself for being such a whiner. If As he losses the sound of footsteps behind him he knows he is going to win. Winning one more of these races is not such a big feat for him than the legacy which he revers. He hears faint cries of his sister. The prospects of spending a lonely evening by the sea was an idea enough to scare him and lose his sight of the finish line so he turns and looks at the figure sitting on the sand with her head in her palms. He sees the exasperation and the dejection in her eyes. For him, winning was no more an act of defeating your competitors anymore and if that competitor happens to be his sister than it is all the more irrelevant. The idea of having his sister win races of life was not too far- fetched. He stops and retreats. After all  the last words that his mother said to him were “Whatever happens, You don’t give up on your sister”. So he returns to his sister with the determination to make her win races and competitions, to keep all the little that is left at stake. He sits beside her and looks in her eyes moist eyes. He wipes  the small tear on her cheek and says “You know tears are special”. “Hah funny, now you will philosophize the tears too”, She smirks as she knows what is coming is one more of her brother’s weird analogies. “Yes after all that’s what I do best”, says he haughtily. “Yeah go on come out with it. The analogy”, said she appearing to be disinterested yet lending an ear. “They are special because they always create their own path”, he said “Now don’t start with the be a self-made person shit, I have heard it many times” “No there is more, the peculiar thing is that those paths or trails dry or are wiped off so that no more tears can follow suit.  The bottom-line is more tears new paths. So what I want you to do is create new paths and wipe away those trails”, he said and he knew he was bang on the point. “That was new. Lets see how many tears can create new paths now”, said she. They both laughed at the moral that seemed too simple and well cheeky but they both understood the meaning clearly. They sat there for sometime chatting and looking at the setting sun. But that was 10 years back when “hoping for the best “was just what they clinged on to…..

Part2: The Winner

If you have not read the previous part of this series then I would suggest to click the following link and read:

https://rishabhagnihotri01.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/part1-the-innocence/

But if you are just like me and dont giv a fuck, well then go on 🙂

“Let’s race and see who touches the water first”, said Ram as he turned back to look at her.

“No” she screamed “You started first” and then stopped running. He still ran with all his might hoping and now determined to win the race.  He felt jovial and was full with the anticipation of the win that was about to come his way. He was closing in on the beach, at his destination. He looked back one more time only to make sure that the distance was enough between him and the little sister who was now sitting on the sand with her head in her hands and legs folded upto the chin. The waves of the success are too strong to be stopped by the tiny pebbles of tears. The rush of achievement can even break the chains of resilience. Winners are seldom dithered by the dejection of the losers.

He looked ahead once again and raced as has as he could until the blue water touched his feet and a gust of wind felt through his hair. He spread his hands to acknowledge the wind and screamed at it to come fast because success apparently is an incomplete feeling. It gives happiness only when someone appreciates or “If someone loses”.

But that was 15 years back and winning was his motive, the sole motive…

Part1: The Innocence

“Who wants to go for a swim”, said Father.

“I will”, said the boy already down to his blue beach undies.

“But don’t go too far into the sea”, remarked mom passing an order in the guise of a suggestion.

“Yes Mother”, echoed both father and son and ran towards the sea that seemed to welcome them with open arms. The blue waters shone like pearl in the late afternoon sunlight. Somewhere a ship sounded an alarm signifying the return of the fishermen with their catch for the day. Mother spread a bedsheet on the sand and after putting all the eatables on one side she looked at the two enjoying in the sea, she wanted to capture this moment in her eyes, this was priceless, this was uncorrupted. Her daughter sat beside her on the sand in her little frock making castles in the sand. She was quiet as the sea and thoughtful as a mountain. She would do something good thought her mother. With these thoughts in mind she lay down and looked at the cloudy sky. The weather  made her hum a soft tune “If I had a choice, I would”, beautiful lines that defined this moment. She did not know when she slept and by the time she woke up the father son duo was back from the sea. They both were drenched with water and were hungry. But before food she gave them a towel and fresh clothes to put on. Ram sat behind his sister Rita who was looking at the sea, expressionless. Seeing this, father gave them a plastic black ball to play with. Rita took the ball and threw it with all her might towards the sea. The ball fell into the water and danced on the waves as if it was shaking a leg to the melodious song sung by the white foamy waves. They went and picked up the ball. They took turns to throw the ball into the sea as far as they could. Rita laughed everytime the ball danced on the waves before hitting the shore. The entire process of the ball fighting against the waves and ultimately giving up and hitting the shore was enough to make her giggle. Her brother was the storehouse of energy for her the ultimate winner and protector. To see him struggling to throw the ball against the strong winds was surprising and a source of amazement for her. No matter how high or how far he threw the ball always returned back to the shore.

“Bhaiya, Will it always return back to us , no matter how far we throw?” She asks.

“Maybe Rita , it looks like yes”, and shrugged at the silly question.

They went back to their mother who was calling them to eat something. After a fun day at the beach the family retreated back to their abode. Father holding the girl on his shoulders and the mother holding onto the son. The sun was packing to leave the horizon and the waves were dancing to welcome the night.

But that was 20 years back and life had not thrown much at them…….

Elusion

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Swiftly and slowly it comes down from the skies, trying to figure out a way to its destination. Weird it is how we always try to go to the top whereas it is determined to touch the ground. It tries to sway a little as if buying time before reaching the destination It reminds me of something that still eludes me. Something that every now and then approaches me in disguise and before I could hold it, have it and feel it, it vanishes as the early morning purple that precedes the yellow that sets in welcoming the golden sun.

It is frail and short and guided by wind. I see it struggling against the breeze so I put out my hand to hold it with an intention to protect it and care for it just then it glides sways the other way and escape my hold. I close my fist thinking I have caught it. But as always it deceives my anticipation and expectations. I eye it closely this time determined to hold it with an act that is more out of fear of failure than the protective instinct. This time the touch is soft and velvet I smile knowing I have caught it. With a feeling of win I open my fist to see and look at my achievement.

I find it crumpled under the confines of my fist. It now looked fragile and afraid. It is white and gets darker near the core as if hiding things in its heart. Maybe the secret of longing eyes and secretive smiles that it encounters in its journey is held in its core. On viewing it more closely I find it comes from a far off place and from an unknown bird that I did not know of before, the guilt sets in.

The breeze grows stronger with each passing second. It begins to flutter on my palm as if trying to take a flight and making one more of those umpteen attempts to travel far and wide before touching its Ithaca, the ground.

I resent ultimately understanding that it is never mine. Its beauty is coupled with the air it flies in, the terraces it land upon and the million palms that try to hold it. I smile at my fate. I open my palm more and more and more until the fingers straighten, to help it take off. It takes off with the help of the wind and goes far and goes wide as if smiling at deceiving me once again. I eye it as far as I can until it goes beyond my reach. I know one day at some point of life when I am sitting at the terrace brooding over the present and future it will come and sit in my lap reminding of something from the past but this time I will not hold but let it fly, maybe I will help it fly.

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