"An unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates
He sneezed and suddenly the world stopped in its stride
Piercing looks, like daggers drawn, aimed towards his frailty
As the stream of particles escaped his nostrils, the bazaar was aghast
Presumed a public outlaw - no jury assembled to brand him as one
He sensed many moving away at his sight, as if a leper from the middle ages
Their eyes lowered from shame at their own triviality even as they walked hurriedly away
Having lost his partner of three decades a fortnight ago he was still raw
A disease much more deadly had eaten her up from the inside
His heart still soft from the pain that her tumors had caused
“Let me take that from you Sir” the woman, her sea blue-green eyes full of compassion
She quickly moved the cart forward to a safe distance and waved him to follow
The woman had been an isle worker till last month, now suddenly a front liner
Mother Nature what kind of ailment is this I wondered
A disease that makes peoples’ pantries full but their hearts empty?
Hoarding essentials while the need of the hour is to be essentially human
Within all the gloom there are rays of hope everywhere
A policeman instead of a speed ticket gives away his protection, a nurse gives his life,
Packages, food, medicine and hope still being delivered by ordinary folks
I remain optimistic as there are still a lot many who continue to walk each other home....
I had been staring at it for some time and was getting lost in its vastness. Her hues of blue, turquoise, and grey had captured my awareness, I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence in front of me. The popular idiom "Good things come in small packages" did not apply here!
"Isn't she the loveliest you have ever seen?" I blurted "Yes" emphatically and without any hesitation. The Sun had barely risen but her glow was already illuminating the surroundings I thought. A few more moments passed before I broke away from my reverie. I looked around to see who it was that had made that comment. There was no one close by, the beach was deserted at sunrise, the holiday crowd recovering from the indulgences of the previous evening. The closest living organism, the legendary Cycads that I was told could live hundreds of years, were tens of feet away. The voice had heard had a sonorous quality to it - like a baritone of an old jazz player. It could not be the large rock that lay on the beach 20 feet away or could it? It had to be my mind playing games! I had noticed it the first day I had come to the resort adorning the Bay, the distinct hues of its sediments enhanced by the idyllic conditions. Unable to absorb such harmony in a drunken state and settling into my hammock I had thought wryly "the majestic rock smoulders in the heat while I enjoy my siesta"
"I wasn't always this polymorphic and majestic you know". Now I was truly surprised! I had conversed with animals, trees and the less conscious objects before but never with a Rock and definitely not a mind reading one! "I was part of a bigger island mountain once" it continued. I looked towards the right where a number of hills lined the horizon. "The other way" it said softly. "All the rocks you see there scattered on the beach are what humans call siblings. We were once all a part of a bigger whole. They had called it the flood of a lifetime - the waves bigger than a 100 feet had pounded us mercilessly for more than a day. Nearly half the island was submerged and many lives perished." I was spliced from all that I had ever known. My stability unhinged in a second and I was thrown into a vortex of changes I never could have imagined."
"Yet you call it the loveliest thing you have ever seen" I whispered or thought I couldn't tell anymore. "She is my mother, my lover, my saviour and my biggest tormentor. She took me away from everything I ever knew but taught me how to survive in a world that I wasn't accustomed to. Prior to that day, all I had known was solidity and the respect of people but never the real turbulence of existence. Spending 5 years in her midst, stripped me of everything I knew about my origins, my relationships, my beliefs, my very self. The wonders I saw within her depths have overawed me, her love for all within, her ability to sustain life no matter what the situation continues me to amaze every day. She crushed me with her torrents of changes but then nursed me back to health even stronger than before, the vast minerals and sediments in her belly nourishing me." "So are the marks on your belly the signs of that tumultuousness?", I inquired? "No that is the part where my heart was once". "Ohh where is it now?" I asked with a tinge of incredulity in my tone. "Look down at where the water touches my base. Do you see the shells stuck onto my lower extremities?". I had not noticed it before but I saw colonies of mollusks stuck on the base. "I am not sure I understand". "Ever since I have basked in her love, I have learnt to give more of myself away" "My heart had life giving nourishment that I never knew I had. Had I remained a mountain top I would have died without knowing its power. When my heart broke in the Ocean's depth the power that lay within me gushed out and I became a source of life too".
That day I stayed on that beach for hours admiring the Ocean and that rock that realized its potential and became a sustainer of life just like the Ocean it revered...
“Locker mein valuables rakh deejiye” says a soft voice of a sturdy yet polite IPS Officer
Our bodies get frisked by the men in uniform, while the heat beats us down
We crawl towards the ride that will take us to the most spectacular Mausoleum ever built
A brief ride on the rickety bus but enough time to strike conversations with strangers
A tourist from Japan, some Environmental students from Boston, a couple from Israel
All eager because this event only happens for five times a month on full moonlit nights
The streets are now deserted compared to what we witnessed in the day
Motorists at the late hour still honk by, driven perhaps by an urge to be noticed
Clouds begin to envelop the moon and with it some hopes begin to fade
The bus stops and we head to the Chowki manned in the night by the men in camouflage
We get frisked again and are escorted into the compound by the retinue of men in uniform
The eerie quietness a stark contrast to the madness we witnessed a few hours before
the quietude broken rhythmically by the boots of the soldiers
When you see it in the day you are mesmerized by its beauty
In the dark you are stunned by its ghostly perfection
The moon isn’t able to break free from the clouds but it does not matter as magnificence cannot be concealed
The dome glows, the minarets frame the wonder and the square plinth showcase its strength
We are so awestruck that we cannot stand and slowly trudge backwards and settle down onto the steps
Our eyes truly a window that connects this rocky brilliance to our souls
Its time and the loud whistle signals the end of our viewing of the grave of Mumtaz
As I gather myself I hear a sniffle or two and notice my own tears that have escaped
They are a silent homage to the epitome of longing built with marble....
“You've been living underground
Eating from a can
You've been running away
From what you don't understand
I check the wicked device again, hoping it’s her who has been moved to write
“It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways”
I miss a few beats as I see the lines in bold - a response at last
“She's the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child, yeah”
I act all grown up but really am a teenage boy who has been kissed for the first time
“One day you'll look back
And when you see
Where you were held
How by this love
While you could stand there”
It’s been months and years but seems like yesterday when we chatted endlessly on things trivial and significant
“It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways”
Never could I control the Universe so I surrendered to its will and she found herself at the same conclusion
“Move, move, move, move
She moves with it
She moves me like
Lift my days and light up my nights
it moves in mysterious ways....
I sang when the hot summer sun scorched the earth
I danced when the snow flakes gently adorned the trees
I sang when it was autumn and time to let the withered go
I danced when it rained and life erupted yet again
I danced when I saved the "birdlings" that hatched within the wreath on the door
I sang when I ran over a deer that came hurriedly down the highway floor
I danced when my children, born to my siblings, tied the knot
I sang when I lost dear ones to illnesses, decay and death
I danced when I met long lost friends many decades later
I sang when friends I had known for decades stopped being in touch
I danced when business grew without making an effort
I sang when opportunities escaped my grasp even after doing the utmost
I danced when I did not touch a drop of alcohol for months
I sang when I drank to celebrate an event that meant something worth breaking my resolve for
I sang when the doctor told me I was dying
I danced when she told me I would live a good quality life
“You sound like a frog” a canary once told me as I had struggled to croon
Now I sing rapturously in her praise without malice or rancor
I have found my voice again and my feet want to move to a familiar tune
All I want to ask her is “Will you dance with me again”?
After months of inactivity the mind stirs, impregnated with possibilities
I don’t know what her return implies or even if it’s a return
The impasse maybe broken, a way forward not yet deciphered
I wait for her next move and imagine our conversation
She asks me how was New York, where do I even begin?
It’s a city of millions where everyone walks alone
The drivers follow rules yet the traffic is on the brink
I am the only one strolling wherein everyone here walks with a purpose!
When you are thirsty there are a hundred places to drink but don’t expect free water anywhere
A thousand restaurants dot the square with options so many that confusion in your palate ensues
The best food invariably is by the roadside cart standing in the filth and manned by the refugees
Churning out long lost Mid Eastern, Oriental and Latin recipes and aptly called street cuisine
New York is a place where you can make love to a woman from the remotest part of the world
Don’t expect her to be exclusive though, in the Big Apple no one has time for such triviality
The constant on the move mentality translates into the way New Yorkers eat, pray and date
Detachment, living in the moment, not worrying about what comes next makes it a modern spiritual state!
He woke up from a deep slumber
He coughed, he wheezed and then he finally breathed
A whiff of freedom, an inhalation of possibilities
37 years had elapsed within a blink of an eye
He looked around in the city of 3500
Could not find an awakened being
Everyone attached to the system that kept them alive enough
Promising them a bright future while it sucked them dry
He waited patiently, hoping someone would stir
The World they lived in was breaking down on a tear
The omens were everywhere if one cared to look
He pleaded in person and cajoled them in his prayers
Not one seemed to understand the predicament they were in
Misery was all around mocking and taunting them to rise and slay its offsprings
For indifference was her progeny and inequality were her heir
He ran around like a madman extolling them asunder, praying silently
He cried “Let me get into my pod so I can go back to sleep”
Once awoken its never easy as the spirits haunt you
So brick by by brick he started to build plans for things he wanted
One day he saw her, the most beautiful of them all
Kei - a woman dripping with inspiration and beauty
Ingenuous, concerned, a fearless independent mind
Cupid struck and he fell head over heels
Their union was brief, fleeting moments in the ocean of eternity
The impression on him however was everlasting
Her sweet breath staying with him like the mountain breeze
He thinks, he builds, he uses his skills
He slowly reconstructs his universe by the strength of his will
He no longer worries on who stays or leaves
All he wants is to be, and see her again before he sleeps.
Why would you ignore me? Why would you not respond to my pleas?
I wait for your arrival like a shipwrecked floating in the Seas
I dare not ask, but are you not in love with my mind anymore?
Your silence in answering my questions, I will not consider it abrogating, the opposite not an affirmation.
Many moons ago you asked me what I missed about you and I had blurted incoherence
Here is my attempt to undo the misconduct, so as to not be remembered by my naivety
I miss the hours we spent rolling around in topics - raw, bold or venerable
When the libations released us from societal rules, your words freely interlaced with mine
Copulating with ideas, we exerted philosophically to enrich our mundane lives!
We constructed scenarios, our souls explored what could be possible, and together we soared
Our consciousness, a union wherein each gave more than one received
Having each other fleetingly, we begrudgingly yielded to an essential for our Self
It's been months and weeks - life without you is banal, and dare I say prosperous
A semblance of familial peace has been gained with forced quietude and tolerance
A sense of unease, however pervades - the Void kept at bay, barely at the precipice.
I long to bask in your intuitive glow Kei - my mind is, but a dark cavern without your light
It sees no purpose in creating nuggets when it does not have you, to chisel and shape into refinement
What good is a gold mine when there is no one brave to enter and explore?
Ya Firdaus Barruhe Zamanast
The horrors of a child transmuted into a political storm,
A nestled valley where apparently Gods live, now unsettled,
The stage is set to make a mockery of civil governance.
We write petitions, post messages and hashtags, plead for justice,
Doing whatever we can to lessen the burden on our spirits,
Our collective conscience shredded by the unfathomable depravity of men!
Her family leaves for the hills, to get away from this evil Circus,
This mountainous path they have taken many a time, mostly in wonder and joy,
This time its long and arduous, almost treacherous.
Far from the heavens she watches the orchestrated maelstrom,
Snuggled in the embrace of the Creator, she is now finally secure,
Yet, her cries for help will forever haunt the Valley of the Gods
How does one even mourn for an eight year old angel?
She dances around me when I least expect it
She teases me with her smile whilst I sit unresponsive
Her flaming hair, her fiery eyes could burn an Oak in a trice
Her seduction is endless, her beauty ethereal
She coaxes, she cajoles, she soothes, she tempts
She comes at her discretion, leaves on a whim
She promises you the world if you care to grab it
She can do this even though she is from far beyond
She wants not the material nor the active
She wants no power and no wealth
She respects no feelings or emotions
She desires nothing less than your soul
I caught perfection, but then I let her go
She vanished, leaving her essence behind
Stoically I simmer in her fragrance...
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