To think of, things haven’t changed much
I’m still the mirror cracked from side to side,
you still conceal those rusted gears of life beneath your blithe
The only change is that we aren’t holding hands anymore.
The only change is that you aren’t the constant in my life anymore.
And I’m probably not in yours anymore.
It does not matter.
मैं हुँ एक चौकीदार
साल के सारे दिन समान ही होंते हैं
मेरे लिए ।
हर दिन इस खेल परिसर में आता हूँ
निगरानी रखता हूँ लोगों और बच्चों पर
फिर चला जाता हूँ ।
ज्यादा सोचना नहीं पड़ता, और ज्यादा सोचना है भी नहीं।
घर पर परिवार का पेट जो भरना है
सोचने से तो भरेगा नहीं वो।
पर आज – आज कुछ हुआ
हवा में सरसराती हुई आइ एक पतंग मेरे पास
काम पर ही था मैं तब।
वह पतंग बैंगनी रंग की थी
और गोले थे उसपर पीले
– वह मेरे हाथों में आकर गिरी
या फिर वो मैं ही था जो उसको गले लगा लिया था।
कोई और मुझे देखता इस समय, तो सोचने लगा होगा
कि क्यों पकड़ कर खड़ा है, देखे जा रहा है,
इस पतंग को यह।
पर जो ख्वाब, जो यादें और जो ख्वाब यादें बन कर रह गए थे
वों तो इस दिल में उमड़ रहे थे ना।
मैं पतंग को देखता रहा, और पतंग मुझे।
और मैं खो गया अपने बचपन में
और खो गया था मेरा बचपन।
कहते हैं पतंगें उची उड़ती स्वतंत्रता हैं, आजादी हैं, सपने हैं
पर कहाँ उड़ चुकी है आज़ादी हमारे लिए
मैं और मेरे जैसों के लिए।
मैं आज़ाद नहीं हूँ अब
बस हूँ एक चौकीदार
साल के सब दिन समान होते हैं मेरे लिए।
On a winter night my thoughts
are sewing together images and words
to form a warm mosaic
of places I’d like to be at tomorrow
when instead I’d be buried under the blanket buried under the fog
Scene 1. The steam of freshly brewed espresso fills the spaces between us, while the fog obscures what is outside the café. As we converse, we can listen to the homogeneous murmur of the overcrowded building; to a middle aged man in a red sweater balancing himself as he carries his tray past the miniscule distance between our and the adjacent table; to the bevy of boots that support the nebulous figures outside, making their ways to workplaces, studios, gardens, monuments, other coffeehouses and definitely, homes.
Scene 2: As our car drives past the road in the morning, we can only make out some features of the monuments and buildings that stand on either side of us. Only a semblance of an iron fence is seen on the left, while a huge monument is towering silently on the right, its details reduced to a lurking presence. The wiper blades of the car are in furious motion, and reveal other vehicles in the distance, their red backlights accentuated in the fog. A man is tottering on the footpath.
Scene 3: With four layers of clothes including a fur coat, and a muffler separating me from the cold, I am walking on the pavement through the busy street, hands sunk in pockets, my sighs patterns of fog I can’t understand. Through the white windows of the café, I can barely make out two figures conversing adjacent to me, probably one of the myriads whose confessions, whispers, excitements, love, business, have coalesced into a collective murmur and redistributed between all of them.
The traveler is miles away from reaching the White City of Deliria, as it is called, but the dull thumping of its wooden drums is already ringing gently in his ears, as he once again lays down to rest at one of those innumerable inns with haystacks and maidens. He props his head with his arms and listens to it intently, dazed; sometimes confusing his own heartbeat with the distance reverberation. Later, in his dreams, he is holding a glass of wine and ecstatically admiring the wedding of the youngest princess of the Jungle City, and he wonders why it is called the White City of Deliria: the significance of the latter he has already known, the faint medley of faraway drums had made it clear to him long before his foot set upon the damp grounds of the city; but the White has eluded him, for this is a city of creepers and climbers and bamboo, and oases which sparkle at night, but never ever are white. And he wakes up from the ecstasy in sweat; it had been a summer night and now it is morning. He bids farewell to the innkeeper, and leaves for the city of Deliria, which he will never reach but in his dreams, each time revisiting a different event, a different place in the jungle, a different festivity; with the drums rolling; and he’ll know Deliria, but not the White, as he’d stop by to rest the night at one of those innumerable inns with haystacks and maidens.
I’d be the simplest of all men
waiting and watching the sunset
and would remember the day
when we shared this melancholy of red horizons
on the bench, with a subtle wind
running its fingers through your hair
but then it’d be night and I’d walk away.
In my dreams
I keep roaming these streets
with cobwebs in the windows
and gossamer in the sky.
There is this beetle on the wall
and it’s going to give me a sleepless tonight.
I’m certain it is not a lady
with black polka dots and red
(else I would’ve nothing to fear)
but a corrosive hardened green which creeps me out
and when it creeps on my wrist
I will be washing my hands in the sink
To ward off the fear and stink
And the rest of the night
it’s going to be a Boogeyman under my bed.
I just can’t get out this thought out of my head.
You beetle, who makes me sweat in the damp night
I’ll find you and I’ll step on you
And I’ll be strong again.