To confront truths and accept them as they are. To forgive and to let go and astonish myself. To find grace in falling out of love. To rise again and walk on, to let the grass tickle my ankles and to always look out for the benevolent familiarity of the rainbow – the touch of warmth against a cold sky. And to always ache with a love for life that is at once both severe and tender. Oh, the unyielding wildness of that love!

Man dearest,

I long to see how your smile always stays in your eyes even after it vanishes from your lips and dimples. It isn’t any different from how you ache to see the world with your illimitable love that doesn’t know how not to love. How is that you are never leery of change but let it happen to you with that enviable poise?

When you talk about the African sun kissing your North American skin or of a river swelling past her own banks or of the snow sparkling in moonlight on the jagged mountains of your country, I long to bring you here to show you the prismatic monsoons of my rainforest land. A melody takes under its wings an enduring faith that lives on in me awaiting that day and a soulsong swells within me and I blush to the point of tears. How I suffer this delicious abject ache, my dimple-chinned muse. And how is it that something as nonexistent as a dream keeps our faiths intact, dearest? “Just an ocean,” you say, when I tell you how we are divided by the vastness of an ocean. Just an ocean. How the palms of my hands yearn to cup your face… to hold that infinite pleasure tenderly.

Here, the waning yellow moon is a blot, a pale thing of vagueness tonight, and the sky, a wild purple. The Earth is a soft brown song under my bare feet. The cicadas whirr frantically and the wild winds wander inebriated by bamboo fragrance. Something about all this guards my love for this world in which we live, dear heart – the gently kept secrets of such dreamy nights.

The world is swathed in the dimness of nightfall – ominous in its devastating beauty, but with the tremendous promise of a tomorrow. And I die a thousand times every single time I write you a poem or a letter.

Strangely yours,
A calm ruin of a girl

A Faraway Friend

Often, in his mind, he speaks to the authors he loves; authors whose words he consumes ravenously like a hungry child taking to food. In the breathing darkness of nights, as the moon slithers from one window to another, he lies down still on his bed in his little room, his roving eyes tracing the edges of the moonlit windows and the faraway treeline that he can see through them.
The ever-trembling stars pierced onto the fabric of the night sky makes him smile, like always, making his lips crescent like the sickle moon. He wonders if his faraway lover gazes at the same stars as he does, the one he would one day meet and kiss under the starry firmament, bringing into his otherwise calm life somewhat-mischief and sweet catastrophe. And this wonder sometimes shrinks into a sigh.
Even the softest of the zephyrs from his garden arouse tempests in the pit of his stomach. His loneliness has begun to heal and is becoming… …somewhat-solitude. His head doesn’t ache as much as it used to, even as there’s no improvement in the number of hours he sleeps. On a cloudy night, he would stare at the rosy sky for hours on end and mumble things to his beloved writers and poets in his mind, most of who are long dead. He sometimes wishes he could accompany Hemingway’s ‘Old Man’ on the sea, or go back in time and watch a smirk spreading across Proust’s face as he was penning Fragments of Italian Comedy.
He thanks all those who ever wrote, for telling everything and more than a person today ever needs, and almost thinks perpetually about how writing the same things, only differently, is an amusing, necessary sweet futility. Is there something new at all to say? Is there really anything that wasn’t said ever before? Unlikely so.
Sometimes, when words come to him like they’re meant to be inked down by him, he breaks from the dreamy indolence, almost anxiously, and scribbles them down in his notebooks. And he feels a feminine power when this rare energy invades him, making him want to birth some prose or poetry.
Overwhelmed by it, he broods over what a woman feels like when she gives birth to a child with a beating heart – another life sharing her own flesh and blood. If stolid words that become a poem or a story in a reader’s mind could make his being ache with an unbearable joy in creating art, what would it be like to be a woman whose labour pain ends in creating life?
He runs his index finger over the curves and edges of the letters on paper – the instrokes and outstrokes, the tittle crowning the letter ‘i’. He loves the softness of the letter ‘S’ that has no harsh edges. He loves the loops that complete the letter ‘B’. Sometimes, when some ink gets smeared to his fingertips, he tastes it, but doesn’t really like it. On some nights, he sees barn owls perched on a eucalyptus branch he can see through the window and he wishes that they visit him more often than they do.
And in the mornings, as he walks into the raging buzz of the city, crossing a few blocks to get to work, a cigarette in one hand and occasionally a newspaper clutched in the other, he is just another face in the crowd. And he loves and values this obscurity, this anonymity, which is why his words have never known his real name even as they make it to the reputed newspapers of his town.
Just another face in the crowd. Unassuming. Inconspicuous. Dreamy. Content.

At the confluence of the rivers Sindhu and Zanskar. Ladakh, Kashmir. September 2016.

Silence wears colours here. Sky flecked with clouds – you will hear nothing even when the wind tears one and pins it down on a snow-kissed summit. Mountains and their fierce grace. Lakes and streams hemmed to the foothills, beguiling, with their nuances of greens and blues and browns and greys. Soft luminosity of river ripples, sometimes earnestly raking up shards of sunlight spilling generously on them. This fey romance to this etherealness. The etherealness of this very world – an exhilarating conflict right before your eyes. All too quiet, all too quiet. Silence that’s so mysterious. So infinite. So timeless.

Dear Himaalaya, you are loved. Always. All ways.


For Yaśodharā

in the numinous presence of the moon
when everything on the Earth was drunk on the great, mysterious mercy of the moonlight
the night was perhaps darker in your closed eyes

an enlightened soul whom the world sings of today
whose messages of peace, whose significant truths are sung of,
was a man, that night,
a husband who left you to the agony of abandonment
a father whose heart was deaf to the wails of his newborn son

his resolution that night – one of the greatest moments in the history of mankind

perhaps not all dawns bring promises along
some bring betrayal
for how long did the taste of abandonment stir in your young blood?
what integrity and what absurd strength stopped you from poisoning young Rāhula’s innocent heart
with stories of a father who didn’t know how to stay?
how did you, dear woman, strangle your own sobs to calm your young lad’s longing for his father’s presence?

quest for great truths

wasn’t it the same land as his
in whose soil has seeped eons of ancient wisdom and extraordinary truths already?
wisdom whose origin wasn’t tainted by abandonment?

one day, he returned, didn’t he?
the master, the enlightened one, the one who lit the path of Nirvāṇa for those who followed him
the enlightened one in his saffron robes and a halo over his head and half-closed meditative eyes and a peaceful smile
and you followed him, piously,
do you know, dear woman,
that the world sings of your fidelity, too?
of your sacrifice and loyalty in following the master of many?

but some of us wonder –
did you have a choice? ever?

the world, dear woman, still suffers
desertion, betrayal, lies and war and hunger and hatred
in spite of the greatest, timeless truths discovered and spread by enlightened souls
and some of us
have been frowned upon for simply asking why
by even those who claim to be treading the path laid by the master you had once mutely followed

may they be enlightened

on a new moon night, Yaśodharā,
some of us want to tell you
that you aren’t and will not be forgotten


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