Bokeh

Lights in a bar making elastic rebounds
Shooting over space like a boomerang
Hitting walls and disappearing amidst the crowd
Red blue yellow lights glittering in the air
Shimmering and trembling,
Light and shadow blending into bright darkness
The swaying bodies, the blaring loudspeakers,
The stench of alcohol, sweat and cheap perfumes
And people on the floor,
Drenched in half lit embraces
Dancing, dancing madly in a drunken mess

Watchman

The watchman standing near the gates of the appartment had been there since three hours in the cold dreary winter night. The wind was picking up along the pavements and carrying dry leaves across the road. They made a shuffling noise breaking the otherwise slumbering silence of the neighbourhood.

The burly man was probably in his late fifties, his fading hairline and grey duffle coat made him look old. But he paced in front of the gate, alert and restless. He couldnt afford to stand still at one place, he might fall asleep. And walking made him feel less cold. Every now and then he would blow onto his broad palms and rub them together afraid that they would turn blue and numb.

Whenever any car approached the entrance, he would rush towards the door to examine the driver’s permission and then let him in. There was a small cabin for the watchman. It had some kind of a reguator switch inside, to pick and drop the yellow barrier fence, and each time he allowed a car to pass in, he would click the regulator and let the fence move up slowly so that the gates would open and the car could enter.

That was his job. Throughout the entire night just a couple of cars would drive up to the entrance. And until then he would pace, pausing only at the appearance of a vehicle.

What did the solitary man protecting the whole of that neighbourhood think about while pacing back and forth? Always vigilant, yet did his mind go back to his own childhood from time to time, when he used to play with marbles with the other street kids. Or perhaps he thought of the small bed in the corner of his room, that he longed to sit and rest in.

With the break of dawn, he turned off the street lamps and went inside the cabin again. He picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. As he walked out, he greeted the other watchman who would now be taking his place.

Strangers in the Night

Late at night, the station looked so desolate and empty. A handful of people stood scattered near the edges, two strangers sat on a long bench on the platform. They were waiting to catch the last train of the day.

The hooded figure on the right was sleeping and kept nodding off. The person seated on the left was feeling bored and listless. His phone was dead and he was left with nothing to do. With his head propped up on his hands above his knees, he leaned forward to watch the people around him. And he noticed the dozing form beside him.

The stranger’s chin was resting on top of her bag, while her hands were folded over it, clutching it tightly. Her hood looked like it could fall off any minute, and peeping from inside it were her heavily dishevelled brown hair. 

Just then the station clock chimed an hour, ringing loud and clear. The hood fell off and brown hair cascaded down her shoulders loosely. She woke with a start. Wiping the drool, she looked around blankly trying to get her bearings.

He stopped staring at her and looked the other way. He couldnt help but smile as he thought of how funny the whole sight was. Then he suddenly realised that the train had finally crawled into the station. He got up to leave. The girl beat him to it and she made a run for the train. As soon as the door opened she rushed in to grab a window seat. He laughed a little and followed her. She looked up at him curiously.

He smiled back at her as he sat down facing her. The doors closed again. The train started pulling out of the platform and the next station could be heard being announced inside the compartment.

An Old Book

She had found it in the Library Sale. A small book with a light jade coloured hard cover. It was a novel. An illustrated novel about the French aristocrats and those early days of the French Revolution.

However, it was the cover illustration more than the story itself that held her fascinated. There was an intricate sketch of a little girl holding a book in her hands, standing between her mother and father beneath an elaborately designed arch. It made in the classical style, most probably with pen and ink.

When she picked up the book, she felt the pages with her hands and realised it was very old. It looked fragile and as she turned through the pages delicately, she noticed wormings and sometimes, flaky white powder would stain her fingers like chalk dust. The book was shaky in its covers, the spine had come loose. But the damp smell accompanying it, gave her a sense of nostalgia and she bought the book almost on an impulse even though it had some torn pages and had become worn out with age.

She went back home and immediately sat down to treat the book. She handled it with immense care, as though she was treating the wounds of a small child. With a soft brush she first removed the mildew, then with tape she painstakingly stuck the torn pages together and fixed the cracked edges of the book. After diligently examining the book for any other remaining injuries, she kept it in the open to get some fresh air.

She was fond of such old books. She always felt for them. Their forsaken, lonely and abandoned state of misery cried out to her. Everytime she went to the Sales, she would bring home some of these books that had stayed for too long in the dark unvisited corners of the Library, and had grown sad and gloomy over the days. Her love and attention gave these books new hope, and they soon became a part of her collection, standing happily in her shelf, knowing that here was a reader who valued them.

Moonlit Town

It was a quiet dark night. And the mountains stood still against the black sky.

Pregnant with dazzling white light, the moon could be seen peeping furtively from behind them. It was a full moon night.

Slowly, inch by inch the white glowing ball crawled up towards the sky, lighting the shadowed mountains beneath and pouring moonlight all over the town below. Roads washed in moonlight, trees covered with the silver light and little houses with snow white terraces.

Dew-drenched leaves glistened in the soft light. Some birds mistook it for the breaking of dawn and started chirping. Wind shifted the shadows on the lanes as the clouds played with the moon above.

The place seemed to be waiting for something with bated breath. It was enchanting and solemn at the same time. The penetrating silence in the air made the moonlit town hauntingly beautiful.

Water

Water has a strange beauty in itself. Tangible yet elusive. Wave after wave, it will crash on the shore and pull the sand away from below. Beneath your feet, you would feel the sand shifting, the water tugging and swallowing it in.

I remember it clearly.. it was a bright afternoon. And the water was warm on the surface. Just lukewarm.

Inside, in the depths, it was cold. Cold and still. Almost stagnant.
Further down, it was dark and numb. But I could feel the water around me growing heavier.
I had tried pushing myself deeper and deeper. Watched the sunlight reflecting on the water above me, slowly fade away among the ripples.
And then I waited.

I dont know what I was waiting for. But I stayed there, looking at the dark seaweeds through my goggles and hearing the water moving beside me. Invisible waves hitting my body. Like damp wind. And slipping past.

It would have been barely a few minutes. But it had felt a long time. Infinite to measurement.
I could feel my legs kicking softly inside the water, yet there was no sound. It felt like water hitting water. The movements of my body felt fluid.

And then I had let go. As I shot up towards the sun, the sky, the air. I felt the emotions battling inside my mind, trying to take control. Breaking through the water surface, I looked up at the world above me. And gasped for the fresh blowing wind. The sun glared down at me while I smiled back at it.

Water was streaming down my face, there were seaweeds stuck in my hair. My goggles had become foggy. But the warm breeze felt amazing on my cold skin.

And it was then that I knew. What it feels like to be alive.

A Story to Tell

Each brick on that wall has a story –
Every cloud floating on the sky has a story –
Scattered pebbles by the sea shore have a story –
A story to tell
Waiting for you
To unearth, and to hear

Times when you sit alone in the dark
Or when you stand by yourself at dawn,
They watch you as you live by –
Unaware Unperceived Inconspicuous

They want you to see them
To hear them, and
To know them, like they know you.

Sometimes, just a few minutes,
Close your eyes to listen to their murmurs
Open your mind to acknowledge them
And feel them, with the entirety of your soul
Because-
They will be there, even when you are lonely.
Forever waiting for you,
Beside you and all around you.
With a story to tell you.

Pressure Cooker

The whistle of the pressure cooker
Goes on and on..
Wailing like a child in the distant,
Wailing in complain of the building up pressure inside of it.

When the tiny little outlet gets plugged,
The whistle dies at the lips of the cooker.
Up and down shivers it’s lid,
While the gas underneath –
glows orange bright.

Still, it’s kept covered.
Still, it’s left on the stove.
Still, the steam is held suppressed.

Feverish and trembling,
The cooker starts shaking..
Nomore can it whistle,
But instead, screaming in agony
As the hot steam burns it alive.

Then suddenly, it blasts.

Out flies the lid of the cooker,
Wrenched apart by an ungodly force;
Smashing against the opposite wall,
It breaks down on the floor.

Foaming at its mouth,
The cooker spurts pieces of boiled potato and rice globs
While streams of water bleed down it’s sides.

Destroyed by the heat.
Killed by the pressure.
There lies our dead cooker.
Amidst the rice, water and potatoes,
Upon those plain white tiles.

A dream deferred

When you look at someone living the life of your dream, the life that you had always wanted to live, the dream that had made you toil through those years of unappreciated labour.. when you watch another person living it, while you are standing in the corner hiding amidst the darkness and silently watching them; laugh and drink and being happy.. then momentarily you wish you were that person.

But then.. you scratch your head and look down at the ground, at the small gap in between your shoes.. and you smile stupidly to yourself.

Lifting your head up, you glance at them once more before turning to leave that place. And to never look back again.

Morning Walk

He was walking through the field. Alone.

The day was slowly breaking out, the sun still hidden behind translucent pink and orange clouds. White sky. Yellow morning. And a light breeze caressing his face.

He closed his eyes and savored the blowing wind. It was tender and moist. Almost tangible.

He had been walking bare feet. His steps fell softly on the damp earth. The grass beneath, tickled him and he felt his toes curling up with pleasure.

He sat down on an impulse. Amidst the wet grass. Smiling at the field surrounding him.

He was thinking about his wife. And that special taste of her coffee. Nobody believed him, but it was true, the coffee did taste sweeter when she brewed it for him. Or perhaps, he was being irrational. Anyways, did it matter?

He sat lost in his reveries, oblivious to the rest of the world.

A butterfly fluttered close to him. It smelt of dew drops and wild flowers. Sprinkling a little more happiness on him, it disappeared among the grass again.