Twenty years later…

Her eyes were too bright and I knew that if I had really looked, I would have seen them glistening with brutally reined in emotions. I resisted turning around. I knew if I had paused I wouldn’t have been able to move again. So, I let my muscles move of their own accord, an almost involuntary response, taking me away fast, leaving her standing all by herself. The bright lights overhead reflected garishly against the glass that separated us, and after a while I wouldn’t have made out her silhouette even if I had looked back but I knew she hadn’t moved- she had stared at my disappearing figure, long long after I had gone away, probably unbelieving that I won’t turn back.

I wonder if she still wonders… shakes her head in disbelief that I never came back. Or being the woman I knew, does she analyze all the other ways that last conversation could have transpired? Should she have stopped me? Ran after me? I can imagine her, recreating every scenario in her head, anticipating how they could have turned out favorably… and every foray always ending with her blaming herself for my going-away.

Or may be she doesn’t think of me at all. The day I didn’t turn back, the day her unwavering heart broke, with the immense strength she possessed she cast me out completely from her mind and body. I knew that woman too.

That’s all I ever think about, if she ever thinks of me… keep me in the most private recesses of her mind, and take them out from time to time when she’s all by herself, or in our favorite places, replaying our conversations, when no one’s looking?

I saw her across the room, moving with a lady-like grace I had never seen in her before. But I recognized the movements of her hands as she talked, her laugh that crinkled her eyes. It was almost as if there weren’t twenty years and a lost lifetime separating us. As if it was only yesterday that she blew me a kiss in front of the whole world to see, promising me tomorrow, and sashayed out of the room.

And suddenly she was turning, browsing the crowded room for known faces. And I was suddenly scared. What if she saw me? What if she didn’t?

Her eyes scanned the room, and moved right over me. My heart stopped for a moment, and uncontrollably I let out a breath I hadn’t known I was holding. But it stopped mid-breath, as her head jerked back and those dark eyes widened, disbelieving and amazed. We stared at each other across a packed, bustling room for an eternity as our brains tried to catch up with our overloaded senses. And then she started towards me, years of cultivated finesse forgotten, in that child-like walk I remember so well, with a vulnerable urgency in her movements- as if she was scared I would disappear again if she looked away or wasn’t fast enough. All the years between us melted away into nothingness. And my heart started pounding frantically like we were twenty-eight again.

She stopped less than a foot from me, bracing herself against the tide of the room, and paused, her eyes intent, unfathomable and a beloved, familiar voice asked, “Coffee?”


Posted in Creations, Loss, Love, Novelette, People and Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

আরাধনা

উন্মত্ত অশান্ত দেহে, ক্ষীণ, কাতর স্বরে,
তার নাম ধরে ডাকি, আকুল মিনতি
আর সে? শুনেও শোনে না-
অধরা ঈশ্বর তিনি, দেয় না সাড়া;
মায়াবী বুঝি টেনেছে পাতালে,
কিংবা জাগিয়েছে স্বর্গ মর্ত্যে-
প্রলোভনের শাস্তি দিতে,
নীরবে সে বাঁধে তার সম্মোহন জালে।

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কবি ও লেখিকা

কবি,
ছন্দে, গানে, আর শব্দ ফাঁদে লুকিয়ে তোমার রহস্য-
আর তোমার লেখায়, তোমার কথায় আমার রইল সর্বস্ব ।
উঠবে জেগে ভাঙলে ঝড়ে?
বাঁচব আবার বসন্ত পরে?
তুমি নয়, তোমার-আমার গল্পগাথার আমি লিখব পুনশ্চ ।।


N.B. Not perfect, but still my first. A limerick. That too, in my favorite language, and about the best things in life. ~G. 🙂

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A Stone

10f78dfa9000657cc133909fd289f0c4I am tired of being
broken-hearted
From searching
for a piece of soft
in shell of hard and stone
that demands prayer
at the altar,
yet unmoving their
vacant
 stare-
it chastises, it rejects
humiliates and berates,
unmindful of mercy
or turmoil it creates;
I am angry not hurt
At fate of the turn,
jaded and burned
Of vows, faded, torn
Yet waiting,
and seeking,
and waiting-
I am tired of being
A broken heart

I want no one’s,
And take mine apart.


Image Credit
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প্রশ্ন

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কখনো খুঁজেছ কি আমাকে বাদলা দিনে
না পেয়ে কাছে, একলা মরেছ তিলে-তিলে?
এক ঘর ভর্তি মানুষ, আড্ডা হাসির ছটায়-
একবারও কি উথলে ওঠে মন, জোয়ার-ভাটা;
আমি কি পড়ি মনে, তোমার ব্যস্ত সময়ে
মনের ফাঁকে বাসা বেঁধে থাকি এক কোনায়?
বিকেলের চায়ের কাপে ভাবো কি আমার কথা,
আমাদের সুখ-দুঃখের গল্প, পুরোনো ব্যাথা?
হঠাৎ কি ব্যাকুল হয়ে ইচ্ছে করে আমাকে?
সব ছেড়ে, সব ভুলে, দৌড়ে চলে যেতে
চলে যেতে বহু দূরে, আমাকে সঙ্গে করে
দুঃসাহসিক এক অভিযানে, যেখানে আমরা একসাথে?

কখনো কি আসে মাথায় এই সব উদ্ভট চিন্তা?
যখন তুমি যেন পাগল, উন্মাদ ভালোবাসায়
জানলে লোকে হাসবে, যে এমন কারুর কাটে দিনটা-
শুধু, তোমাকে ভালোবেসে আমি কিন্তু রোজ তাই!


N.B. Love doesn’t always hurt. Sometimes it is the happiness that aches too.
(Gyaan by G. 😉 )

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Implosion

It was hidden in the depths of her eyes,
The boiling rage, and the stifled cries
Dark, and demonic, they stare into night-
Shrouded in beauty, here the pain resides.

Cursed, tormented- neurons fire, innards burn
Immolation, invisible, at fate’s last turn.
The anguish ricocheted inward, the fury absorbed-
As the other smiling eyes mocked; tore and tortured.


N.B. May be there is something such as “too much crime-thrillers”? ~G. 🙂

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Catharsis XIX: I am NOT a klutz!

People are unkind. All of them. The best of them, the worst of them- every last one of them, given the slightest provocation, the merest leeway always end up being merciless and brutal. It’s that dratted, messed up, so-called human nature.

Yes, I tend to bang my head, shut doors on my fingers, trip on a flat surfaces, forget to maneuver around large obstacles, drop stuff on my foot, burn my fingers on hot surfaces, hit myself while pretending to wield swords, crash into walls and people and land squarely on my bum- but that doesn’t condone my self-proclaimed well-wishers’ behavior that includes laughing, doubled-up, and unsympathetic condemnation of my tribulations while calling me a poorly-talented joker!

The tears that sometimes well-up to my utter mortification- I wonder at their source- whether it’s the pain (I am quite used to brushing that off), or the hurt at being so uncared for. Where’s the pity, the sympathy and the kindness and the humane bedside manner when one needs it? And just because I may need it every other day, surely doesn’t mean I should be deprived of it, does it?!

It’s the bloody humans! They profess their undying, unconditional love but will laugh and laugh and laugh, clutching their stomachs, tears streaming, short of breath, laugh till it hurts- struggling to pause for breath, and as an afterthought, from years of conditioning, will try (and usually not succeed) to help you off the floor!

Now older relatives, especially parents are a little different. I assume they try but sadly, cannot dredge up a lot of sympathy right away. They simply shake their heads, after telling me what seems to them for the millionth time, to kindly watch where I am going, think before I act, and to once in a while walk the earth, with the head on the same planet and not lost in the stratosphere or above. I presume, they wonder that who does their daughter take after, it possibly couldn’t be them!

Me? I blame the average human being. I’m not a klutz. I am simply misunderstood. I am a higher being that tackles so many different, deep problems, trying to find resolutions serving a higher philosophy, pondering upon the existence of being, in concepts of multiverses, submerged in finding the very answers to life, that I don’t have time to traverse the dimensions of the mundane. Okay, I daydream, I zone out or simply don’t pay attention. But seriously, there are exciting incidents and conversations being played out in my head, at the speed of light. When did being overly imaginative become a bad thing, huh?

But who is going to explain this to others? Between their exasperated looks and uncontrolled laughter, it’s hard to reason with these people. Of course, I do get that inexplicable hankering to punch them when they do behave unkindly like this. But have I ever acted on that feeling?! No, never! And not because I am fearful that I’ll miss and hit the wall next to them. It’s because I believe in being the better human. So, I lift myself off the floor, with the grace befitting royalty, hold my head high and walk away like nothing happened. Only when I am safely locked away in the bathroom that I limp, grimacing in pain, and curse myself and the actual culprit, the floor/walls/doors.


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The Morning After: Election Night 2016

DISCLAIMER: Musings and thoughts (not an opinion article) of an immigrant (an outsider?) as the day unfolds, as the verdict sinks in. “From here on in, I may be as woefully wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who decided the time was ripe for a cheese cauldron”– but I don’t think so. I don’t mean to impose my ideas or opinions or thoughts on any one, and every one is entitled to his/her own. Disagreements/differences in opinions are better resolved when one tries to show another their perspective, instead of simply badmouthing and name-calling.


The morning was quite somehow, lackluster and missing a usual Wednesday’s bustle.

It was the morning after Election Night. Many had gone to sleep early, and had woken up to a grey, stormy morning, scared, and with the sun nowhere in sight. Many others had not managed to sleep till dawn, having lain awake, bright-eyed and wondering how they’d have the energy to tackle the next day.

The atmosphere, in general, was subdued, almost funereal, as every one quietly went about their work. A sense of exhaustion hung deep and heavy, as most struggled to maintain a look of nonchalance, while some tried to hide their tears- yet all acutely aware how the day was so different from the day before.

The boss walked by, shaking her head and smiling ruefully, ‘We will not talk about politics.’

Cocooned in our social media of choice, which we thought were our vehicle, our voice, but of course, now we know better… Cocooned in our social media bubble, we rant, we rage, we apportion blame, argue and in the end, we try to make sense and struggle for the silver lining.

What will happen to me? A gay, a lesbian, a bisexual, a person of color, Mexicans, a man with a beard, a woman with a scarf, a Muslim, disabled, a woman, an immigrant, an endangered animal, the environment, a tax-paying citizen, a liberal, the middle-class… The question echoes, across and beyond, what will happen to me?

What happens next? What happens to the country? What happens to its people, to the people of the world? These are just a few things that only time can answer. Meanwhile, you hope, even while you despair, fear and are besieged with uncertainty and doubt.

After 1928, this was the first time the President, the House and the Senate, all belonged to the Republican party. As of November 9, 2016, Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. The inconceivable, the ludicrous, the unfathomable was the reality now.

The great country stood divided, yet staunch in their own choices, refusing to meet eye-to eye, to come to an understanding. It happened even as Secretary Hilary Clinton in her concession speech tells the people to unite behind our President; even as President Barack Obama reminds us, the sun will rise again the next morning (asks to stand with the man who had, and his supporters, had said about Obama, he ain’t our President!).

But the cruel reality was still hard to digest, protestors took to the streets, to Twitter, Facebook while many others rejoiced in their majority. The day was rife with wild speculations – corrupt DNC, bigots and misogynist voters (can women be misogynists as well?), the results would be different if it was Bernie Sanders running against Trump, absent voters or voters voting independent parties, ill-informed public, email scams, the corrupt Clintons, the accused Clintons, James Comey’s last minute stunt, rigged systems- the list was ever-growing, but everything was only just conjecture and theories of minds that were fighting to grasp the extent of what had just taken place. The unthinkable had just happened.

Many establishments closed early. People, somber and introspective, were leaving work early. Many, with or without voting rights in the country, were careful about their words, their opinions (the IQ at our workplace, in our state even, is much higher than the general public, someone said, but still wasn’t sure if that was reason enough to make our upset known). The computer screens were flooded with opinion articles trying to make sense of what had transpired, of what the people had wanted, on how President Trump was going to ‘make America great again’. U.S. Presidential Election 2016 would go down in the history books as one the most studied political outcome/maneuver for a long, long time.

Meanwhile, the rest of us, along with the rest of the world, wait and watch. Wait with bated breath, hoping deep inside, that the other half knew what they had done, whom they had handed the baton of the country to; and hope against hope that they were not just the uneducated, the ill-informed, hate-mongers or the white supremacists (who believe that America belongs to the white people) who had done so. But when a message, a campaign of fear, of hate, of divisiveness, of blatant lies, of directionless and empty promises, a campaign stripped of respect and dignity wins the presidential race- hopefully, the other side also understands where the terror stems from.

In all the cacophony, we hold on to the hope- that the sun will rise again, and America will still be great, that it will not go down easy, that it will still be the Land of Freedom for all those who made it their home, the land of opportunities for all those who dreamed, for all those whom the United States of America embraced wholeheartedly irrespective of every difference, of every small thing that separated or divided us.


N.B. Among other things, India is coming to terms with the banning of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and issuance of new ₹500 and ₹2000 notes- brilliant and bold or catastrophic? I feel I cannot comment, being away from the heart and nerve of my nation. But all in all, November 8-9, 2016 goes down as a tremendous day in history.

Posted in Observer, Reviews, Society, The Other Side of the River | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

না-বলা কথা

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. একদিন বুকে টেনে নাও, বল, ভালোবাসো
. পরদিন, দূরে ঠেলে দাও, যেন অজ্ঞাত;
. কখনো উষ্ণ চুম্বনে,অশেষ আলিঙ্গনে,
.                          ভরে দাও আমার ঝুলি-
. আর কখনো হঠাৎ, না-থাকার উদাসীন দৃষ্টি,
.                          তোমার নীরব, কাতর ভঙ্গি।
. কেন আমাকে দেখলে তোমার হাসি যায় উবে?
. যে হাসি এক কালে ছিল আমার পৃথিবী জুড়ে;
. শুধু মাত্র অভ্যেস যেন, দুজনের কথা বলা
.                          এক দৈনিক নিয়ম মানা-
. সেই যে কথা করত রাতকে দিন, শীতকে গ্রীষ্ম
.                          সে এক অন্য গল্পগাথা।

. তুমি কি আমায় ভুলে গেলে?
. পুরোনো ভুলের দাম মিটিয়ে নিলে?
. তাই কি তুমি পাশে থেকেও রইলে দূরে-
. সময় শেষের আগেই পর হলে?


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Envy for the Never

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It’s a mere little crack, somewhere close.
You don’t know how deep, how far it goes.
It pulls, moans, stretching as you breathe-
Infringing cold, like daggers unsheathe.
The blue of the chill congeals and spreads,
In thin, green veins, from extremes, inwards;
The blood rushes hot, struggling, gasping life
Red tears, dripping from the gap, battle to survive.
Shadows take over, blind, every thing comes crashing-
But in stubborn hope, that dying thing, goes on beating.


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