Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Childhood sweetheart

I have seen you as a wobbly kneed boy
As you ran behind me pulling my pigtails 
Throwing little stones far into the middle of the pond 
Seen you climb trees, taught me to ride my bicycle 

Skipping classes together, muffled giggles
Sharing lunch boxes, snatching away what was already yours 
But somewhere in the middle, we lost each other 
I moved across cities, you stayed behind 

The next time we saw each other, the boy had gone 
In place was a man, with a deep voice and scruffy voice
I felt intimidated, distant 
Drifting apart was only natural, hurting was all the more so 

Today once again, you are there by my side 
Rushing in when I needed you the most 
Holding my hands, tightening your grip
Once again, I saw a man in you 
And no, it wasn't love, it was kindness that drew me back to you 

Not just for me, but for the whole world 
Your ability to empathize with others 
Feeling their pain, making it yours 
As for love, it would come later

Creeping in between phone conversations 
And late night strolls 
Through the books exchanged 
A new story that I had begun to write, but the beginning always remains the same
A childhood sweetheart... 

Monday, May 23, 2016

The woman who worshiped Serpents

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She was the woman who worshiped serpents. Some called her a witch who practiced dark magic. Others claimed to have seen her walking naked near the serpent shrine some nights. I had seen her only from far, she looked the same now and many years earlier when I had seen her for the first time as a boy. Her skin was dusky, her flowing hair swayed with her hips, an unruly mass of oiled black curls. She was seen placing milk near the shrine at twilight, for the snakes to feed on. 

Vasugi. The woman who held mystery in her eyes and the only one who enticed me with her charms. Dark magic? I do not know. Nor do I care. In many ways, we were both misfits, sticking out like a sore thumb in a small village of like minded souls. I was married for a short while, till my wife decided to run away with an old lover. They said it was because I couldn't give her a child. Impotent. The jibes continued to follow me wherever I went. 

That night, I don't know what led me to her hut. Was it the rain that threatened to drown out my entire village that led me to seek shelter near the shrine? I like to call it destiny. There she was drenched to the bone, petting a snake that lay crawling by her feet. What happened next is still unclear to me. She got up and went, after one look at me, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Was she so arrogantly sure that I would follow her?

The inside of her hut was sparsely furnished. A tiny cot at the corner, some vessels in another. A few placed strategically to catch the rain water leaking from the thatched roof. She took my hands and placed it on her bare skin, skin that should have been cold, but was burning like fire. I traced the contours of her face, the hollow in her neck, her closed eyelids. I kissed the raindrops in her hair. 

That night, in her, I lived. In her mystique depths, I finally felt like a man. A year later, she gave birth to my daughter. With her curls and my toothy grin. We still attract looks and hushed whispers wherever we go. But I was no longer termed impotent. There were others who said that the child was not mine, but a boon that was bestowed upon her by the snakes. As for her, she turned a deaf ear to them and continued to worship the serpents, the only God that she believed in. For me, she was no longer just the woman who worshiped serpents. She was the air that I breathed. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

The writer who couldn't write

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Words. They run around on the inside of her skull. Random. Haphazard. The moment she tries to string them together in a pearl necklace of a sentence, they scatter all around. Silently. Some run under her bed, some go into hiding behind her bookshelves. She knows there is no use going hunting, they were stubborn. Much like her. They would reveal themselves only if they felt like it. 

The cursor blinks on the blank screen. She feels claustrophobic, her hands grow clammy, slick with sweat. She shuts down her laptop and tries to drown herself in her books, in the faint hope of finding some form of inspiration. But again, they escape her, the words going above her head. 

Is this the writer's curse, she wonders, that when the muse disappears, along with some memories, her words would betray her as well and leave with him too? Or was it her punishment for loving too much too soon? For now, the only option that she has in order to make a semblance of her life is to go back to where it all started. To go back home...


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Her hair is shoulder length, she wears a backless lemon-yellow dress. He's dressed a little more formally, in a full sleeved shirt. Are they on a first date? But the way he cuddles up to her, gently caressing her already smooth hair, kissing the strands, tells me otherwise. 

He clicks her picture on his phone, finding a reason to scoot over closer to her to show it to her. Are they colleagues ? Having a fling? My mind rules out the possibility that they are married. 

I wonder what the future has in store for them both. Will he be the one to do the dumping later on? Will she be the broken one nursing a broken heart or vice versa? Will there be ego clashes and betrayals in the near future? Or will they perhaps have their happily ever after? 

And the hopeless romantic in me wins, over the realist. For once.  

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