Faqeer, Beggar

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Beneath the statue of the Old Beggar with a hundred lines sculpted on his face
I sat like art–waiting to be created,
I–who had written all the stories
Of the fires which had burned the town hall
Where the dancers would do the silent Waltz
And of the blind man–who saw everything and heard nothing
Of the women–who sang in chorus, of love which was not meant for them
Of children, who stopped playing because of the scars
Of the sculpted swan, with its ugly broken wing
I sat there like art, waiting to be drawn
I–who had heard the choir boys singing
While the Woman in the green dress had repressed a smile
And left the room–for she was torn
Because she had come from nowhere and had nowhere to go
And she slept in the dingy streets with torment under her sleeves
But I sat there like art–waiting to be designed
For once, long ago–I had lost my way in the ruined valleys-
With empty houses and unbothered streets
So beneath the statue on the Old Beggar with a hundred lines-
And an expression of solitude frozen on his face
I sat like art–waiting to be composed
For I knew all the stories, because I had written them all
Of you and me, and me and you
And I sat there like art–because
I knew of all the endings, right from the very start

Khwab-Haqiqat

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Isn’t it funny how empty spaces around us take us back to empty memories which we did not even make ourselves. And empty dreams which we see–as vivid as they can be–trying to find recluse in them. We try not to wake up. Because we are no more the warlords, the princes or the goddesses we were in our dreams when we wake up. We can no longer weave pastel shaded threads around empty spaces and call it home when we wake up. And we are never out of breath—suffocating–in our own beings when we go to sleep.

That little girl wearing a blue skirt and a yellow shirt with a pink flower on it–saw an Orange Swan and ran to her father—“Daddy! Look an Orange Swan! I Saw and Orange Swan!”. He laughed at her, “Ha ha…there are no Orange Swans–only White and Black ones darling. It is just in your imagination.”

But she had seen an Orange Swan. For it waded the purple river and spread its bright orange wings and looked at her from the side of its wistful eyes and then disappeared into the misty horizon. And she wanted to run along the river–in order to see it one more time. She never did for she never could. And that was the day the inner child in her broke and dispersed into thin vapor. And she would never see that little girl again–for she disappeared too–in a horizon which could not be seen.

And one day–she dreamed of a flower field–with grey flowers which had no scent and they were all wilting. There was a rusty ground and the stench was of death and stagnation. And she found a pond of thick blood and she took a swim in it and she drowned. After that–she never woke up again but when she finally opened her eyes–an Orange Swan was waiting for her on the end of the horizon so she ran towards it. She saw a little girl wearing a blue skirt and a yellow shirt with a pink flower on it. And they both looked at each other and laughed and rolled down the cotton hill.

They saw a tulip field and ran towards it–and they built a ladder made of tulips which descended towards the green sky which had a hundred brown clouds just floating about in it. They would live in the clouds from now on. And they laughed and climbed. Climbed and laughed. All of it until they were not two people but one which was no longer human. And as this Entity reached the clouds–it could not get in because the clouds were made of thick shiny glass. And the Entity suffered. So it sat on the tulip ladder and cried.

And lightening struck, the glass clouds shattered and the ladder broke away–and there was no hope. Everything was a neon blue and there was tumult. So the tired and sad Entity flew down and sank in the bottom of the red river. Nothing was left there in that world but a wistful looking Orange Swan.

Empty spaces become diluted into macabre nothingness and we sit on see-saws and swings and become thoughtless paintings. Orange Swans and Tulip Ladders and Glass Clouds surround us. And we suffocate in our hopes and dreams and wish we never wake up again. Empty spaces take us no where and empty memories are a torment. We become Orange Swans–gliding and wading into misty horizons which don’t exist.

 

The Collection

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Pale maddening day or was it a yellow dot hidden in grey
Frigid tapestries made of rotten clay
A glass menagerie of a dead horse,
-another of snake hunting for its prey
Voices were heard–but from so far away
As if there was a thunderstorm–or perhaps it was a fray
Between fractured hearts and dismal, impatient–
-and dreadful travelers who had lost their way
The sound was perhaps music–the same one we heard yesterday
My horrid and senseless shadow followed me around today
Only to merge with the insipid reflection in the mirror–
-on the unholy wall which will fall any-day
And you–the relentless, looking for a hidden message–
-by a broken, hollow man, you too shall move away
For he is just a wisp who cannot move but only sways
A burnt moon which has nothing left to say

Home

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What is home? Do most of us have one? Do we ever stop trying to find a home? Did the young orphan try to find his home in other people or empty hotel rooms where his mistresses would come and go? Or in shadows of people he thought he knew? Or in people he met at drab restaurants? Did he ever quit finding a home? Do we ever stop? Does the tired traveler ever get to his home? Or does he keep changing train-stations? Did he lose himself in the air?

Migratory birds.

At the party, someone asked, “Have you ever found that one place which you can call home?”

Everyone had something to say. Mostly because they had been to places. Mostly because they were empty. Mostly because they had nothing to share. All of them had found homes in residues and filters of cigarettes and wines and liquor. All of them had found homes in slot machines and airports and seas and mountains. In people and love and sorrow.

What did I have to show for my home?

I do not think I am meant to be here. I have no home–so I am not meant to find it, to search for it. I had a home once–in my own self. Until I messed up and now I am not allowed back in. People never let me in–and when they did, I never felt like staying. I never had any force entries–people were always scared and intimidated and I loved it. And home is lost to me just like I am lost to home. I am not lost just not found yet. And when and if I ever am found–I will get away from the fire-escape. Because I have no shadow. Because I am a shadow of someone not supposed to be here. Because I am the tide–it comes and it goes. I had a home once–and there was silence there. Because home is a sickness. It has no cure.

The room grew quiet for a second. Then the silence faded and there was music. And I danced because I had to escape, like most people. And like most of them–I knew it all.

Ripples and Gold

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So there were talking shadows on the silver edges
Of the cold blue pier
Where she sat and looked at her other self
Which talks of the misty air
Unfrozen birds and pink clouds
And lies–too much to bear
Would she rest her head on the rising tide
Or dance around without a care?
Ripples and gold, green skies and a pink canvas
Why did her smile disappear?
Sanctuaries of laughter,  disposable worlds and flash mobs of giddy people
Yet they all cried with blue tears
Ripples and gold–
She sat on the edge of the river, on a damp railing–at the pier.

Strangers

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We are nothing more than strangers in this grand absurd world. Billions of strangers scattered away from each other, connected by threads and dots which occasionally collide with each other.  This is because we are all webbed in a complex relationship with each other–of strangeness. And often, like a crowd we gather and like a flock we fly yet we do not know each other.

We know not of the next person who stands close to us who is a stranger. And much more than them, we do not know anything about the stranger who lives in our heads. Or for that matter, we often refuse to recognize the person we see in the mirror–another stranger. Because all of us are billions of solitudes, intricately linked with everyone and no one. Transfixed into each other–outside of each other, in our bubbles.

From the womb of our own selves, we are birthed and put into the laps of other strangers and made to live in a void full of a commotion filled with others like us who are lost souls and shards of, perhaps our own selves.

She had that strange dream again that night after which she woke up rather perplexed. But she was not scared or unhappy, rather with a feeling of dry giddiness.

In the dream she stood in an eerie crowd, apparently lost or perhaps, found for the first time. The sky was a pale orange–the color it has before a storm.

She did not know who or what she was looking for. But she was wearing a long sleeveless white summer dress with small blue flowers. In this mad frenzy, she saw a tall figure standing not very far from her own self. But when she focused her gaze, the figure was not very close either.

Both their eyes met. She did not know the man at all. She did not know or recognize his face which was long, chiselled and pale. He was wearing a white buttoned shirt with white cotton pants.

His amber colored eyes carried an unknown lucid expression, a deep emotional perplexity. Her own dark blue eyes stared back at his with a brazen emptiness. They both stared at each other. Their eyes bore and dug into the souls of the other, and went beyond each other’s oblivion.

There was a growing longing in his eyes which could be deciphered from far and in hers, an ever evolving hunger. She seemed to be standing in a euphoric trance while he was clearly enthralled because his shadow in the pale sun grew. His eyes carried the looks of a very known but forgotten delirious desire while hers stood pale in contrast. His eyes had depth, while hers had pain.

And in that moment, there was enigma and there was ecstasy. And there was heat–for she felt it brush against her face, her body and her soul. And she could taste it on her tongue. And with her nose, she could smell this passionate heat. And she could hear a chorus of divine beings singing somewhere. And she could see him–close yet far.

And there they were–two strangers, stuck in a vortex of time which seemed to be dilating. They could not move ahead, nor remember anymore the meaning of anything. They were both strangers-stuck in a dream which seemed to be shared. They were lost for there was no thought anymore and words became silent and devoid of meaning or sound. The moment seemed frozen

He smiled from afar and the smile hit her like lightening–suddenly! She smiled back and he, for some reason, seemed puzzled. And they both looked at each other—as if inquiring about the other in silence and from no one, exploring the naked souls which were clearly visible, as if quizzing the other, as if feeling the momentary suspended bodies of the other.

She felt a rush, a passion, a tug and in the dream she felt her heart beat–all at the same time.

It seemed like they were both involved in a question less, motionless and disembodied physical touch of the other–an out of body intercourse! Or perhaps it was something else. Something which was much more alive, much more real, more vigorous. It kept on going for a time unknown.

Suddenly the crowd grew and there was a lot of push and pull. Someone pushed her and she was startled, the spell was broken. She had to balance herself at the edge of the road and she had broken eye contact with her Stranger. When she looked back up, he was gone.

Now her longing eyes searched for him. That is when she was suddenly hit was a morbid, dismal realization that he was a Stranger–the crowd was full of them. And among them all–they were two solitudes who had perhaps met–from a distance.

The feelings– were now thawed. The heart went back to being frozen–unheard of. A cold sigh escaped out of her mouth–a warm breath into the cold, placid and haunted frenzy. Everyone seemed to be engulfed in a sea of emptiness and they all suffocated without knowing. It was an asphyxia. Everyone stared at the road–she was still searching and she could see the outline of the horizon and a man walking away from the sun. Wearing a white shirt and white pants.

And she suddenly woke up.

 

 

 

Saya–Shadow

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We often become overcome by sunlight which emanates from within our cold core and exhumes us and turns into an inextinguishable fire which then spreads out. There is no way around it. If we let it burn, it burns everything. If we embrace it, it overtakes us. If we let it go–it eventually becomes faint and fizzles out. It is like a forlorn shadow which follows us around.

Of this, like most people we meet in our lives–who are meant to stay and meant to leave, there is no tangible memory. They become ghosts which follow us and haunt us like shadows, sometimes to entangle with our bodies and often, just as parts outside of us–trying to fill us and make us whole. But they never will and they never can. Because they are shadows, incomplete.

And we–all of us, are defected. In that, we have one main defect; we are missing from ourselves. We are absent from ourselves. And every time we try to catch our own fleeting shadow–we fail.

And we often sit around in odd places where no one knows us–thinking to ourselves that maybe serendipity will come through and maybe we will see someone or something who can take a look at the turmoil that we are and see the nakedness of our being and appreciate it. But it never happens. And if it happens, we suddenly grab hold of ourselves and draw the curtains back–because no one actually wants to be seen. No one actually wants to be felt. No one actually wants to be touched.

And like shadows–we follow ourselves into the great mists of yesterday, today and tomorrow. And like shadows we sometimes fade mid-way. Just like the people who come and go from the busy trapdoors of our lives.

But the truth is, we cannot have shadows without ourselves. And whether they are elongated or shortened or dark or light or in front of us or behind us—they are there, unwilling to leave us, as we are, reluctant to let go of them.

We are all, in a very requited way, attached with our shadows!