Cradled To The Grave

Not that tall, not that pretty.
Slightly distorted and somewhat gritty.
That old white Plumeria tree poised on its own.
None befriended it, not a bird, not a stone.

One fine afternoon, between lunch and bunks,
we set our diabolical  eyes on it,
& declared it abode,
sprawling all over it and springing on its trunks.

Soon it ripened into much more
than just one of our dens.
The spot for new culminations,
the spot for all wild yens.

Secrets whispered into its caverns,
unrequited queries of the young minds,
as and how the complexities of the world it discerns.
Names and  & a <3 carved into the bark,
or a first few kisses in the dark.
It witnessed it all in turns.

Many summers, autumns, winters
& springs passed,
a million differennt days lapsed.
We got strewn across time & space.
But one day we all returned,
to our beloved tree embrace.

Alas! It lived no more..
Years of its eventful lifetime,
and the soul of our childhood had been
uprooted and persecuted to its core.

Our beloved tree had been cradled to its grave.
And once again to cruelty, innocence was a slave.

Dead.. & Back

Days and nights, nights and days, can always be counted. Numbered, and then filed as weeks, months and years. But time is infinite, isn’t it? Or that was what I had gathered from my 40 years of an excruciatingly tedious life. I had had experiences which rendered the impression, that even though momentarily, time did (almost) freeze at times. Moments like the first goal I ever scored, when I saw my wife walking down the aisle or when my daughter was put in my hands for the first time. At other times, time had me fooled by creating a delusion of fleeting by, like summer holidays, college days and so on. Well yes.. life has its moments. Many of them I had lived through, but to think of it.. there were yet many more to come.. or so I thought.
So I was saying, days and nights can always be reckoned, unless…
Unless.. it was during that brief span of time when I had supposed myself to be dead. Since I didn’t really have any prior experience in this regard, I had assumed that the vast chilliness that had enveloped me, was Death. The dry coldness, the floating view of myself from above, the engulfing darkness and all that introspection.. what can I say, but that I was fooled. I must admit, at first I was pretty disappointed by death’s representation before me. What about the bright white light?.. The life flashing by your eyes?.. The satisfaction of dying a man armed with the ultimate wisdom? I wasn’t even briefed if the rosy gardens of heaven or the dark alleys of hell were going to be my destination.. Or was all that just a false and theatrical manifestation of Death.
I was a little angered, but more deceived. All our lives we live in the fear of meeting its end, expecting it to be some sort of a major showdown, like the curtains falling at the conclusion of a great show. And here it was, like suddenly the lights went out and the show ended without anyone noticing.. anything but extraordinary.
With time, the feeling had started to sink in and eventually I was starting to resign to my fate. What was still perplexing was that even after being dead, I couldn’t really comprehend what being dead exactly meant. From what I had believed, allegedly being dead meant becoming numb. Wasn’t it supposed to be the great escape from every dilemma? And I had expected that at last when I would be on my deathbed, enlightenment would dawn upon me and I would gain the secret key to unlock the secrets of life and death.
But then, in this whole “being dead” episode, not much had turned out as per my expectations. Alas! Everything was the epitome of disappointment. Perhaps being dead just meant being frozen and retrospection of your life.. for like forever. So alright.. if that’s what Life.. err.. Death had to offer, then Retrospection it was.
My early recollections were pretty vague, so were my last memories. The last thing that I could recall was me and Sam in my car, having a heated row, swirling out of the control and heading for the bridge wall. ..Damn..
Now wait.. a little flashback. Sam.. wasn’t a male colleague of mine, at least the male part wasn’t true. She wasn’t the wife I had mentioned earlier either. So yeah your assessment is pretty much along the right lines. She was a rather hot.. err.. attractive female colleague of mine. And the argument wasn’t about work. We were sort of… err.. having an affair. I had contemplated it to be reasonably safe, just a fling. After all she was married too. Or so I thought.. until her husband stipulated a divorce and she wanted me to sabotage my marriage too. ..Damn.. her!! If it wasn’t for her.. I would still have been very much alive with Sarah and my Emma.. yeah that’s the wife and the daughter.
In retrospection, I wasn’t too astonished either. I had my share of vices. I loved Sarah and Emma with all my heart, but in my quest for life’s zest, I had always envisaged them as an impediment rather than my support system, and they had always taken a backseat. Fun and money craft such an alluring maze together, that I had willingly lost myself and led myself into oblivion to everything else. Perhaps this was my eye opener… Alas! Too late… I wondered how Sarah and Emma would take my demise. Perhaps they wouldn’t have missed me anymore than when I was living and relishing my life somewhere else.
A sudden bolt, at the end of what seemed like eternity, sent lightening flowing through my veins. A burning heat spread across my body. The coldness and numbness were swapped by a scorching heat and endemic pangs of pain. But amidst all that, I heard something which sounded like Mozart’s last symphony, something I had garnered no hope of banging on my ear drums ever again. It was the stealthy lub-dup of a heart, hopefully, my own. Soon every other sound faded out, and all I could hear was the pounding of my heart. My eyes flickered, and whoa.. lights, bright lights, too many of them, flooding my vision… I couldn’t make out anything. Then I heard a second noise, which made my heart skip its new found beat. It was Emma meekly calling me out in a murmur. My vision cleared and I laid sight upon her adorable face.
But there was something out of place. Sarah was nowhere to be seen. Did she find out about my secret liaison? Did she leave me? In that fraction of a second, I considered a million possibilities in my mind. And then the doctor said, “Your wife is in the other room. The internal trauma had damaged your liver. We grafted a part of your wife’s liver into you. She is doing fine now.”
I didn’t feel as proud as I should have, because in my heart I knew I didn’t deserve this. There was a speck of gratitude, a tonne of self loathing, but the focal reaction that shrouded everything else was relief.. Thank God she didn’t know.. (Yes.. the ungrateful self-indulged bastard that I was). I passed out…
Next morning I awoke with both Sarah and Emma by my side. We didn’t speak much.. I couldn’t speak much actually. But in my head, I had pledged to myself that I would leave no stone unturned to make up for the lost time, my fallacies and all the atrocities I had bestowed upon my family. I won’t squander this second chance I had been granted by fate.
The nurse handed me the newspaper.  As I turned the page, Sam stared back at me and the headlines read, “Samantha Nelson meets untimely death as car crashes on the bridge.” I could feel my colour fleeing.. My guilt smacking me hard across my discoloured face…
Sarah pressed my arm, looked into my eyes and whispered in my ears, “Don’t try to look at the rear view mirror. Look right ahead through the windshield.” Her words calmed my nerves, but I caught a glimpse of the pain in her eyes that said, “I know. I had always known.”

Requiem to Freedom

A lustrous glass door I see,
my requiem to be free.
I gape through it, and I see beyond it.
But I don’t get its real grit.
Is it the truth or is it a lie
Or is it just a mirage, for my eyes feel dry.
I stretch my hand
and all I feel is a void.
It’s cluttered and packed yet
absolutely empty like a cheap cheap tabloid.

I close my eyes and open them again.
Rub them hard and look yet again
There the mighty gates stand,
sneering and mocking me like Devil’s hand.
I open my arms and beg thee.
To take me in and let me be free.
I don’t fathom how I am still bound
Begging to be free,
 yet by my own desires still shackled and hound.
I know not that freedom ain’t a place that lies beyond the gates.
But a state of mind
which has nothing to do with drugs, alcohol
or any princely states.

Comfortably Numb

If I could love and loose,
and escape unscathed..
If I could wander in the moonlit night’s blues..
and not be in melancholy bathed.
If I could see, but not feel.
If I could listen and not heed.
If I could hurt and then heal.
If I could be stabbed, yet not bleed.
If I could expect no reaps
even after I sow my seeds.
If my guilt couldn’t give me the creeps
when I scorn the decree of the creeds.

Then I would be what I pretend to be.. and not to the deathly hallows of life succumb.
For then I would be Comfortably Numb…

                                                                                            Image Courtesy: Deviant Art

Shakespeare In Love

Thou teacheth me to fight for what I want,
Be it justified or not.
Thou accostest for what others shan’t,
And showed me to tie the strings as well as unfasten a knot.
Thou madest me to cease being naïve,
And quit being a silly lass.
Thou teacheth me to choose myself over a world to save.
And for me thou didst kick some terrific ass.
In my joys reveled thee,
Whilst we giggled and laughed my and thy guts out.
In my sorrows who could’st more disheveled be,
Never once was there any turf for doubt.

O Fair Maiden, for everything .. I profess my undying love and gratitude for thee,
Coz’ without you I couldn’t have had my fortitude, and I wouldn’t be me.

                                                                                                               Image Courtesy: Deviant Art

A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream

Perched on heaven’s rooftop, staring down upon tiny flicks of shimmering light underneath, on the balcony of paradise, savouring the sweet smell of the summer breeze.. I was with you.. Was I dreaming with open eyes? We were so high up surrounded by nothing but nothingness.. not a hollow, not a void.. an abyss of the summer night sky. And I was with you. The night sky was clearing up, giving way to sneaking & peeking stars. They didn’t seem too far way anymore.
I looked into your lustrous eyes and thought.. if you smile at me.. it’s a dream. And you cast your mesmerizing smile at me. I slipped my hand into yours and thought.. if you grasp my hand back.. it’s a dream. And then you locked your fingers around mine and pacified my blatantly beating heart. I came closer to you and thought.. if you lock me in.. it’s a dream. And then you wrapped yourself around me, spread your warmth through my veins. I let out a silent sigh and thought.. if you kiss my neck.. it’s a dream. And then you arched your mighty self to brush my neck with your lips and made my insides shriek in silence. I ran my hand down your back and thought.. if you engulf in me.. it’s a dream. And then you snuggled into me seeking liberation.  It was moving too fast, my heart was racing and the night was pacing. I thought.. if this goes on forever.. it’s a dream and crossed my fingers.
Paradise shook and the spinning world jerked to a stop. Blinding final rays of the setting sun pervaded my vision. And before I could say goodbye, you were gone. Forsaken in a train, reaffirming my sweet dream. I looked out of the window and caught a glimpse of a magnificent edifice, enchanting in the dusk light, rising unto heaven. I glanced up trying to gauge its crest, and just as far as my vision could reach, there was the balcony of paradise.
And there.. perched on heaven’s rooftop, staring down upon tiny flicks of shimmering light underneath, standing on the balcony of paradise, savoring the sweet smell of the summer breeze.. were two white doves.... living my dream. 

The Night Clara Actually Died

It was a pleasant autumn Sunday. The Church courtyard was teeming with low whispers. But it wasn’t just any other post-Mass gathering. It was the funeral of Clara Marie Amherst. Dressed in rich white satin, embellished with pink Daffodils, the gentle serenity of her face defied her sorrowful plight. The Embalmer had done a remarkable job. It was only the presence of the two policemen, which reminded the grievers of the bizarre circumstances under which the incident had occurred.
Clara, looked the prettiest she ever had ever looked in her life (huh.. irony), off on an enchanting journey like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in the 3rd book on the 2nd row of her bookshelf. No trace of trauma, hemorrhage or even a bruise, which could have led to the untimely and unexpected demise. Who would have believed that on Friday night she walked out of her window on the 4th floor… Today she looked like the perfect manifestation of the 12 wonderful years of her life.
Saturday was busy with the officers interrogating the Amhersts, school friends, teachers, doctor or anyone they could set eye on to confirm that there was no possibility of any domestic clamor, depression, issues coping with school or even a mild case of parasomnia. The cops were still not convinced that it could have been the rebellion of a perfectly normal 12 year old. But they had to reluctantly step aside.
Family, friends and foes all clad in the devil’s colour gathered solemnly around the intricately carved coffin to pay their last homage, take a last look or just to make a social appearance on Sunday morning. The mourners crossed their chests and bowed their heads to join in prayer for her soul to rest in peace. As Father Walters requested each one to remember Clara fondly as she parted ways, each one of the lamenters conjured up intermingled spectra of memories.
Robin and Jane Amherst tried to reminisce their daughter’s pristine semblance and the good times they had spent together. As far as the shackles of their memory could reach, all they could recall was a baby Clara. Suddenly a heart wrenching realization dawned upon them.. they were missing a couple of years. The last years had been rough on their marriage. Since that day 4 yrs ago, when they had moved here, they had been engrossed in their petty vendettas. While they were bickering and brawling over who takes the trash out, who forgot milk and who had an affair, they forgot to kiss their daughter goodnight, read her a bed time story or take her out to the park. Their heart was gripped by an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse. If only they had… maybe Clara would have lived to see High School Graduation, have a beer, drive a car or kiss a guy. Maybe if they had done things differently, today would have been different.
In a far corner stooping over an old Willow tree was Stevie, the neighbourhood bully and a senior from school. With invocations flooding the air, that insolent bastard couldn’t refrain from recalling his last and only memory of Clara. A chilly autumn afternoon.. the school football ground.. a whining, wailing and bleeding Clara.. a smug Stevie and his swanky patrons.. implacable laughter and ruthless mirth. Next morning the amusing tale of Clara’s mortification was propagated throughout school. It was barely a month ago. He pondered silently, if that embarrassment had killed her. Maybe if he had done things differently, today would have been different.
Athwart the casket, a tearful Dan clutched a pink Daffodil trying to reminisce his late girl friend. On prom night, he fancied Esther, the new girl in school, over Clara. Clara had not bellowed or cried, not even a sniffle, but her somber eyes had haunted him for a while. Now he could not help but contemplate if his blow had hit her too hard. Maybe if they had done things differently, today would have been different.
Emily had known Clara since their mothers strolled them in the park together. She had been Clara’s best friend ever since.. from sculpting sand castles at the beach to erecting tree houses in the garden, from appraising their mother’s jewellery to giggling about their latest crush. Today Emily stood by her best friend’s corpse, bowed head and shameful eyes, recalling the last time she had spoken to her. Shadowing Clara had also ushered Emily into social invisibility. So a contingency to jump into the ‘Queen B’ bandwagon had seemed more than just alluring. She had expected it would turn into a windfall for Clara too. But it wasn’t until it was too late that she realized the agenda was purely vindictive. Holding back tears was getting more and more formidable. Maybe if she had done things differently, today would have been different.
Whilst family, friends and foes laid Clara to rest with teeming eyes, ‘Death’ wondered to itself, if Clara had actually died on Friday night, or did she gently succumb to the atrocities of life, dying an infinitesimal death everyday, just inconspicuous to the oblivious world around her.
In life.. she got Ignorance, but not Acceptance. In death.. she got Regrets, but not Apologies. While family, friends and foes wallowed in regret, Father Walters lodged the gravestone in place, tastefully yet sneeringly inscribed with :

‘Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, 
the fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior 
are the children of one's youth.

Blessed is the man
 who fills his quiver with them!

He shall not be put to shame 
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.’
(Psalm 127:3)

Half Of My Heart

Half of my heart’s full of imagination,
half of it holds on to the truth.
Half of my heart loves to rock the boat,
and the other half sails it smooth.

Half of my heart never knows what to do,
while the other half is always prepared.
Half of my heart cherishes everything too much,
and half of it never dared.

Half of my heart leaps for the moon,
and half of it waits to catch it when it falls.
Half of my heart wanders in the apple orchards,
while half of it ravages the malls.

Half of my heart loves to snuggle and cuddle,
while the world curses the rainy & stormy day. 
But the other half pines for the sun,  
and the sand & sea at the bay.

Half of my heart’s sensible and poised,
half of it is crazy and wild.
Half of my heart is like a whimsical teenager,
While the other half is like the mother of a child.

Half of my heart senses you want me too,
but half of it still thinks it’s too good a dream.
Half of my heart..
believes  there is a transcendent connection,
while the other half is thinking of..
strawberries and whipped cream.

The only thing both halves know,
The only thing that is true..
As long as the Sahara is enveloped in Sand,
And the poles capped by snow,
I can’t stop lovin you <3


 (Semi-plagiarized (read inspired) from ‘Half Of My Heart’ by John Mayer & Taylor Swift )

Forbidden Love

Why is it the ‘forbidden fruit’ that tempts my heart the most? Psychologically it can be explained.. but I don’t need an explanation. Maybe I need an intellectual intervention, where my brain smacks my heart and sets it right. Unfortunately, I am much of a biologist to realise that the heart is only a pseudo star-crossed scapegoat defamed invariably over time for actions never done. While in reality the evil-brain and its conniving partners in crime, the wretched hormones and neurotransmitters, drive the whole forbidden-craze enchilada. The brain is the real puppet master, the real brains behind this entire vendetta. But whom do I delegate to smack my delirious, impetuous and whimsical brain into place. So the question actually is why is it the ‘forbidden fruit’ that tempts my brain the most? Why is it that I can’t take my mind off it? Why is it that my mind hankers for what I can’t see.. what I can’t touch?
Right now.. I really really and really want a JD. And ‘right now’ is the only only and only time when I can’t have it. All these days when it was sitting right there in the corner of my room, staring me in the eye, I ignored it and took it for granted.
And yeah, you, with the pretty little Bailey’s bottle in your hand don’t mock me and point it at the webcam. As it is.. fate already mocks me. 
PS: As you may notice this is all about the ‘Forbidden’ part of the title and the ‘Love’ part was just to seek some inquisitive attention. Now perhaps I am getting ASB issues too along with other mental conditions :P

The Walk Of Shame

One fine evening, Lisa met her ‘prince’.
Honest expression of love, was his evince.
He descended at her door-step, like a divine sign.
In his black shiny car,
With chocolates, flowers and wine.

Extravaganza at it’s best.
Alluring eyes, charming smile,
One-of-a-kind conquest.
Food, violins and a velvet casket.
Embellished with a brimming pocket.

A common friend had set them up.
It was just a first date, she better buckle-up.
Blind date, she thought ‘O, What The Hell’
You never know,
It might just cast the spell.

She reckoned he too shared her zeal.
Thus when it was time to
Kiss goodbye or seal the deal,
‘The rules of the game’ were put on amend.
As the eventful evening came to an end.

One fine evening, Lisa met her ‘prince’.
Next morning,
 He wrecked and savagely frayed her heart,
At her inanity, she could only curse and wince,
Gather her clothes and head towards the start.

Smeared mascara and ruffled hair.
The ‘prince’ missed in his manly flare,
While she let herself out with a delusive smile.
A little drop of tear in the corner of her eye.

As she walked home in that dreary morning light,
She thought to herself, on her morbid plight,
‘I sought Love, oh I am so lame’
‘My name will go down the fool’s hall of fame’
‘Love is nothing but a deceitful name’
‘And I suck at this pathetic game’
‘Thus here I am, walking
The Walk of Shame.’

Image Courtesy: Deviant Art & The Shadow Girl

Impulsive??.. Or Insane??

Have you ever felt an impulsive force throbbing through your veins, a force that harbors the power to make you do anything? Have you ever stood at the edge of a cliff and felt fear being overtaken by a rush of adrenalin, a rush that makes you want to jump off just to feel the wind hiss in your ears? Have you ever driven your bike so fast that you could see nothing at all but a whirl of blur all around you, and watery-eyed you gloat at your luck?
Today, just leaning on my mundane office desk or laying on my morose bed, I feel something akin. There is a constitutively active smirk on my face and a self-threatening menace in my eyes. There is not a single adjective in the English dictionary that can describe how I exactly feel ‘just about now’.  Lately my mood and state of mind have been as unpredictable and varied as the American weather (so that explains the just-about-now comment).
I feel like a soldier to going to his first battle, or a young bird dashing for its first flight, or when the first time you ride your bicycle all by yourself. I know I am gonna crash into the ground any minute and send mud soaring at your faces (my pretty onlookers :P), but I don’t give a rat’s a**. So for now, I have braced myself and I am soaring high.. yes high above the clouds (and no I am not high on anything :P)
All I care about right now, is my flight. And it is like I have set off a time bomb in my head, which keeps on ticking endlessly. I have unharnessed an eternal wait. A wait at the end of which I silently smile to myself, but then post-smile, the wait starts yet again. Not the anxious wait, but a bittersweet sensation in my gut. Like when you wake up in the morning few minutes before you should, and lay in your bed, eyes closed, hearing the soft rhythm of the ticking clock and waiting for the alarm to shatter the halcyon morning lull. And yeah.. I feel baby butterflies forming in my stomach every now and then.
Refreshing web-pages a thousand times in a minute, checking emails every minute, attacking the keyboard to ramble on about random stuff like this and chewing my pen to its death.. What’s up with the world? Is it just me.. or is the whole world spinning out of control? Am I just being impulsive or am I insane..?

And yeah.. I AM actually pretty high on the song ‘Jiye Kyun’. It (de)activates my brain and leads me to a trance state :P
♪♪ ♪♪ Na aaye ho, na aaoge, na phone pe bulaoge..
Na shaam ki karaari chai, labon se yun pilaoge..
Na aaye ho, na aaoge, na din dhale sataoge..
Na raat ki nashili bye, se neendh mein jagaoge..
Gaye tum gaye ho kyun, yeh raat baaki hai..
Gaye tum gaye ho kyun, saath baaki hai..
Gaye tum gaye hum, tham gaye har baat baaki hai
Gaye kyun toh, jiyein kyun.
Na aaye ho, na aaoge, na dooriyaan dhikhaoge..
Na thaam ke woh josh mein yun hosh se udaoge..
Na aaye ho, na aaoge, na jhoot se sunaoge..
Na rooth ke sihane mein, remote ko chupaoge..
Gaye tum gaye ho kyun, yeh raat baaki hai
Gaye tum gaye ho kyun, saath baaki hai
Gaye tum gaye hum tham gaye, har baat baaki hai
Gaye kyun toh, jiyein kyun. ♪♪ ♪♪