The Train for Mundane

I sit by the window sill.
The world passes by,
Not stumbling once.
It’s as if it was born to
Walk and talk and never stop.
The cooing of the birds
Silenced by the never ending blare
Of the passers-by.

Rumbling along the crevices
Of the city untold
Undeterred, stopped by a red light or two.
The train continues its course.
A woman smiles looking at her son,
A man hastily picks up his phone.
I sit and watch it all unfurl
On my 7:01 to Luxembourg.

My day goes down
Like a mundane show
That is played with a hope to have
A visitor someday.
A life of utter brown and dull
Is what I live every day.
But I wait for my way back on the train
To look at the world alive.

Unseen in the never ending crowd
Of suited men and masked faces
I trudge back and wait for my train.
Stuck and beaten
By the things around
All I house is disdain.
My train to Luxembourg and home
Is my only track to reign.

The Vanishing Whisper

To all those stories that didn’t happen when they should have
To all those stories that have unfinished business
To all those stories that would never be written
To all those stories that would never see an end.

He loved her.
She didn’t.

He saw the sun
And the stars
In her eyes.
She didn’t care
To look him
In the eye.

He waited till
The vines of
Solitude
Strangled him.

Unbound.
He left.

The tree
Was bare
And the sky
Was bereft.

She remembered.
The glimmer
Of hope
In those eyes.
Those eyes
That she didn’t
Care
To look into.

She begged
And vowed
And cried
To no avail.

She wanted more
He didn’t.

Chimera

“Top your class Beta. Why did you score less than XYZ?”
“Put in your cent percent and ace 12th grade; your life is set.”
“Get good pointers in college, will you? Companies won’t recruit you.
Do your PG and you will get an amazing job.”
Get married, have kids and settle down now.
Welcome to the world
of worrying about them topping, acing, getting a job
and settling in life – And the pattern goes on.

STOP.
Before it’s too late. They are talking about paper wings and castles
of sand.

I got a pair of paper wings that
Will take me to Brobdingnagian heights.
They have speckles of gold over blotches of rainbow.
Oh! Such a beautiful sight.

‘Fly my girl! To the mountains.
Move boulders with all your might.
Then come to rest in the Shore Castle
And have a beautiful night.’

Patience and perseverance
Clouded my mind.
The shroud of happy times kept me
Awake all night.

Today was the day when I shall finally give
Wings to my dreams that I
Saw perpetually every night.
I wore them with pride
And carried a small smile.
Nor rain nor hail could falter
My vow to rise.

Grey clouds announced their approach.
They lurked their way through
And caged the sun from all sides.
Rain and wind gashed the earth
Quavering my stout resolve.

I looked hopefully at
My harnessed wings.
Alas! The colours were oozing their way
Towards the brown terrain.
They were nothing but a pair of muck
That mocked me.

I tore them away from my body.
It wasn’t the cold but
The Hope
Which crumbled before my eyes
That made me tremble.

‘It’s ok.
Get yourself together. I still have the
Shore Castle waiting for me
To have a beautiful night.’

I reached the shore.
The sea was high and uncouth,
Lashing the shores with
All it’s puissance.

I searched frantically for the Shore Castle.
They had promised
It shall shelter me from rage and snow
That danced
Among the mortals and bones.

I tripped and fell
Face down on the shore.
Salt and grit hit me hard;
Supervened by the ugly truth.

They lied to me and fed me
With desires, hopes and delusions.
‘You are doing all this for a beautiful tomorrow.
Envisage a happy face.’
It took me apart – One pearl at a time
From the necklace I had woven every day and every night.

They gave me wings
To fly to soaring heights.
And built castles made of sand and bright.
I didn’t know that wings of paper
Would decimate when I try
To let my dreams fly.
Nor did I realize that
Castles of sand shall disappear
When the Sea will rise
To erase the prints of yesternight.


 

The break.

It won’t let you go off easily. It’ll tear you apart. It will be a hot knife, twisting through your heart. It may seem to suffocate you. But it’s all a delusion. There are over 7 billion soul out there. You deserve so much more better. Be patient. Spread love.

You were but a dream baby.You were as real as the starsThat shone with hope in the pitch dark.You were my anchor that kept me ashore ;Amidst all the chaos and gore.You were the breath that I unknowingly took,Day in

She matters.

v

This is a short play on gender stereotype. The protagonist of the play is Sameer. The words of his Alter Ego (S)Ameer (or Ameer) are written in bold, the thoughts of his inner voice SAMEER are written in Italics and the rest is written using the normal font.

-The Beginning-

I am Sameer. Oops! (S)Ameer.

No no ; not the guy who cries watching Taare Zameen Par.

Neither the one who cannot stop thinking about the new neighbor who smiled at him yesterday. Yes, he thinks she is pretty but I think she is out of his league. Well, we will see about that later.

You must be wondering – What the hell is he talking about? Let me elucidate.

Sameer calls me his alter ego. I prefer to call myself the real him. Not the guy who touches his parent’s feet in the morning (They make him do that!). But the guy who smirks at the passer buys when they ogle at him. Well, he is kind of good looking . I am the badass, nonchalant and the aloof part of him. And come what may, I don’t let the sheer prattle get to him.

The other day, Sameer heard some crap about Feminism.

Yeah, that word is being used more times than Indian soap actresses cry. Most women are like, “I need feminism because I want justice”.

And they are the ones who expect men to open the car door for them. Now THAT is a gentleman’s gesture. Have you ever seen a woman doing that for a man? Or do we have a separate line at the security check? Or reserved seats in the bus?

No. And the ladies will elegantly claim those advantages and still want ‘equality’. Don’t listen to that bullshit Sameer.

Shushhh! Stop Ameer. Enough is enough. If you can’t help, at least don’t poison Sameer’s mind with your witless words. You all! Don’t mind him. Ameer is a spoilt brat who thinks he can have the best of all the worlds without moving his butt from the sofa.

I am SAMEER.

This world is consumed by so much of negativity that Sameer sometimes finds it difficult to tune it out. That’s when my voice (kind of distant) keeps him sane.

I am the one he comes to when he feels guilty, sad or frightened. He almost lost his best friend because his ego had gotten the better of him.

My voice helps him get up every day with a smile on his face.

Scene I

(Enters Mother. She finds Sameer watching Suits.)

Mother: I am making dinner Sameer. Make the salad, will you?

Ignore her Sameer. Your mother sits home every day. If you help her cook and clean, she will be dead bored in her own home because she will not have anything else to do.

Go Sameer. You are done with this episode anyway. She looks tired.

Sameer: I just came home Mother. Ask Ashna to help you.

(Sameer’s father is watching the cricket match)

Father: Ashna is working on her project Sameer. Your Mother needs your help.

Him too? Tell him to switch off his match and help Mother. And Ashna is the one who needs to learn all this.

For once, I agree. He should be helping too. Mother is cooking for the guests.

And no Sameer. Ashna has a company of her own to run. She doesn’t NEED to learn anything. She already knows it all. I am sure she can afford a maid when she has a house of her own.

Sameer: There you go. I have closed my laptop. I have a submission too. Mother I don’t even know how to cut the vegetables. Ashna can do her presentation tomorrow. It’s a Sunday anyway. It won’t be due till Monday.

Good. Now we get some much needed silence. It’s the season finale for god’s sake!

SAMEER silent.

(Ashna enters the drawing room.)

Ashna: I’ll help Mother.

Scene II

(Two years have passed and Ashna is married to a successful businessman. Mother, Father and Sameer have reached Ashna’s home for dinner. Ashna’s husband opens the door. He is wearing an apron.)

Husband : Hello Aunty. Hello Uncle. Hi Sameer. Ashna is working late today. Come on in. Make yourself comfortable.

Wow. Ashna seems to have married a lady. *sniggers*

(Ashna’s Mother-in-law enters.)

Mother-in-law: Welcome. Please come in.

Husband (smiling): I am making spaghetti for dinner. I hope you all don’t mind. The maid is on leave and Ashna had an important meeting. So I have the kitchen all to myself.

Mother-in-law: I told him to let me cook. But he won’t let me enter the kitchen.

(Ashna’s family is confused)

Mother-in-law: We have  divided the household duties among us as the maid is out of town. Mondays and Tuesdays are mine, my son manages the house on the next three day. Ashna takes care of the chores on the weekends.

Mother: I am sorry. I’ll talk to Ashna. She seems to be so engrossed in her business that she is ignoring her duties as your daughter-in-law. You shouldn’t be working at this age.

Mother-in-law: Oh you are taking me all wrong. This was my Son’s idea. Your daughter was completely against me or him working. Like always, she wanted to take all the responsibility on her shoulder. 

I was telling you. Ashna has married a wack job.

SAMEER perks up.

Husband (to Sameer) : You look perplexed. What happened?

Sameer: You know how to cook? All I can make is Maggi when Mother’s out of town.

Husband: No offence but what will you do once you move out of the house? Or get married and have your own house?

Sameer: What do you mean? I will have a maid of course. And I am positive my wife will know how to cook and clean for sure.

Husband: Do you want a woman who you respect and love or a cleaning lady to do your daily chores?

Sameer: Ummm…

Husband (continues): I and Ashna, we both have a job. And frankly, she is so much better at it than I am. I make sure none of these trivial issues come between her and her success. After Father passed away, Mother took amazing care of me and the house. She used to go to work, come home, cook, clean, help me with my studies. It used to drain her out. Yet, she never lost that beautiful smile of hers.

Mother-in-law (smiling): I remember one of the days when work kept me at the office till late. I rushed home thinking that my son must be hungry. I was surprised to find salad, curry and half burnt rotis ready at the dinner table. He asked me to sit down, gave me a glass of water. I had the most satiating dinner that night.

Husband: And the curry tasted like sea water. She still scraped the bowl and had it all. From that day, I resolved to keep her and my future wife happy. By happy, I don’t mean I will work hours to feed them and buy them stuff. I will be their equal and share every responsibility. I wanted to build a home that had equal amount of sweat and money from both of us.

Blah blah blah. I think he watches the saas bahu dramas too. Ignore him Sameer. Aren’t you hungry?

(Ashna enters the home. She hugs her parents. Pleasantries are exchanged. The spaghetti turn out to be perfect. Mother, Father and Sameer leave.)

Scene III

(Father is driving the car. Mother and Sameer sit silently. But Sameer’s mind is in turbulence. Ashna’s husband’s words have left a deep impact on him.)

Seriously dude? You are worrying about what he had to say. I mean, ok you have to respect him and everything. But cooking in an apron is just so weird. You just relax man.

Do you see my point? All those years passed when your mother managed the house. You disapproved of Father sitting and not lending a helping hand. But you never took it upon yourself to change it. You ignored me for so long that my voice was becoming nothing but a distant memory.

We were all born equals. We don’t have a ‘To-do list’ branded on our bodies.

Exactly. We were born equals. But woman expect you to make a move.

She will flirt with you but expect you to ask her out. She wants you to pay for dinners and movies. She wants all the perks of being a girl. On the top of that, you have to do the household chores too? If you cry, people are like, ‘Be a man. Don’t cry.’

And now they talk about equality? Nayy. Don’t listen to him.

First of all, not everyone is like that. Most of the girls you dated have spent equal amount of money, time and tears as you have.

You should talk to her about this. Tell her what you feel. You will be surprised to see her agreeing to almost every word you utter.

I am sure you want a woman who is independent, confident and respects you and not a woman who is bound by duties to the extend where she is frustrated. It will ruin your relationship.

What’s the joy in walking all alone when you can walk hand-in-hand together?

(Car comes to a halt. All of them enter the house. Sameer hugs his mother.)

Sameer: I have never acknowledged you Mother. Years have passed and there hasn’t been a day when you have put your needs before mine. I am sorry. You have put in your everything to make this house a home. Teach me how to cook will you? *grins* Father, lets will be students together, shall we?

Father (tears in his eyes): Mother! Will you take me as a student too?

Mother (teary eyed, smiling at Father): Of course. (to Sameer) I am so proud of Ashna and you. You both have grown to be such beautiful souls. I am blessed.

SAMEER : Ata boy!

Ameer is silent.

-The End-

Gender prejudices are seen everyday. A woman is supposed to know and do the chores , even if she is studying or working. This is so deeply rooted in our minds that we tend to ignore it most of the times.

It starts when a  three year old child is asked not to cry because it is something that girls do. And the process continues. Most of us see our mothers cooking, doing laundry or getting up early and seeing us off to school. We think, it is how it is supposed to be and go with the flow.

Not anymore. Lets #ShareTheLoad .

Let us start from our homes. The problem has to be annihilated from the root. Help your mothers and wives with the daily chores. Teach the art of homemaking to your sons as well as your daughters. Don’t let this issue be ephemeral.

Let us all raise our voices and ask #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob?

Why just HER?
Why NOT HIM too?

This beautiful video will throw some light on the issue.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.

 

Battling Minds – a melancholic strain

FUNDAMENTAL (3)

During the last three years in Rachana (School) I kind of discovered my passion to write. Also these were the years when we were introduced to the works of Shakespeare and Frost. It introduced me to myriad of new words wanting me to use them all in my poems. So here goes one such attempt in standard 10th in the memory of my first pet, a turtle called Gicoo.

 

Thunderstorms blew with full might,
Breaking the silence of the night.
The sea was scowling and shrieking,
The waves were raging white.

The shore had grown fatal.
The sky stood raging dark.
The wind grew wilder and wilder,
And the night turned drearier and dreairer.

The anguish in my heart was unbearable,
The bond was completely unbreakable,
I stood on the sandy shore,
With tears streaming down my eyes.

My heart wept like the drizzle,
My knees touched the shore,
The loss was forever,
And the gone would never come back.

I trampled over the sandy shore,
The sore in my heart prevailed.
I was dismayed by the incident,
Which left me grieving and bereft.

What hurt, was that winsome face;
Those beautiful serene eyes.
Which were now, nothing
But a dissipating memory.
What remained was a lonely heart,
The lamented in agony and distress.

Those memories flowed back to me,
Those happy moments at the glen,
Those sweet moments together,
Left me bemoaning in solitude.

The dawn broke and the sun rose,
The birds chirped with zeal,
The sky stood blue and divine,
The sea was vast and calm.

I curbed my agony and solitude,
Fought the feeling of dissolution,
Conquered my bereft heart, and
Wiped away those tears.

With the first blessing of the sun,
And the first swish of the breeze,
I began my life anew and afresh,
With ecstasy, enrapture and enthrall.