A Christmas Miracle

Christmas holds a warm place in my heart because of the tradition from the school days. I went to a Christian school (people’s words not mine) and every year students take part in the Christmas play which is basically staging the nativity scene. It was followed a long Christmas vacation. One time I essayed the role of a sheep and boy wasn’t I happy to be an animal on stage. Happiness didn’t cost much then. Those were good times.

One never has to go too far to look for a miracle. A stranger helped me meet Ruskin Bond which was my very own Christmas miracle. I could never have imagined meeting him in my wildest dreams that too here in my hometown.  It was  a few days before Christmas and just like any other cold winter day. Somehow even old crusty me can’t call what happened a coincidence.

When I found out Mr Bond would be gracing a literary festival in the city I asked my sister to ask her friend who studied in the institution which was organizing it to inquire about the system of entry of non-school students. Her friend told her to tell me to gatecrash the event because it isn’t that big a deal. Let me tell you it was a big deal. Clearly her friend doesn’t read many books. The guard at the door wasn’t budging if you weren’t in a uniform or didn’t have a pass. I asked on the festival’s online page and wrote an email asking if there’s a way for people like us to meet and greet (their phrase) Ruskin Bond but there was no response. So I just decided to land up at the venue which was quite unlike me. It was at the other end of the city but I was by my parents told to give it a try in spite of my illness, and I did just that.

Why would a stranger, who has never seen you before in her life, cared if you meet (or didn’t meet) Mr Ruskin Bond. And what are the odds that the stranger was dressed like you and lived in the same locality as you. And someone who wore the adjective bookish like a badge of honour. It was like at first sight. She was wearing a kurti in the same shade of green I was, it was the same length as mine and we had the same hair style even. Had I been plump like I’m now and not leaner like I was then, we really would have looked like two peas in a pod. (I just wanted to use the phrase.) Not believable? But then truth is stranger than fiction. The similarities end here. Unlike garrulous me she prefers silence.

She helped me realize my lifelong dream of seeing Ruskin Bond in flesh and blood with my very own eyes. Had I reached a minute before or a minute later, our paths wouldn’t have crossed. Should I call it destiny, fate, coincidence, serendipity or just my luck? I could have been a serial bomber for all she knew, wanting to go inside the venue to blow it up into smithereens but didn’t have a pass (obviously). Perhaps she could see in me the same thing which had brought her there, a love for the written word and the worlds created by Mr Bond and a fervent desire to hear the man whose words were synonymous with our childhood. Any interaction was the cherry on top of a richly iced cake. At the last minute when he was leaving I was egged on my another young friend to go and get my book signed. And that’s how I spoke two sentences to him. I wasn’t going because everywhere he was surrounnded by hordes of school students or posing for group photographs.  Mr Ruskin Bond exudes warmth and generosity. He actually had twinkling eyes that we read about in books. Larger than life yet down to earth. Yes I’m gushing. I was over the moon.

This holiday season spread good cheer, it is infectious. And when you feel too lonely, remember solitude and loneliness are two sides of the same coin.

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Silence

People say words hurt. I say silences hurt more. Long empty silences devoid of any gesture or sign, their capacity for hurt and damage is far reaching and many pronged, like an instrument designed for torture. Silence is invisible, so is the damage it causes.  They come out of nowhere, hit you with soundless bullets and the soundless scream that emerges can be heard by no one, as if in vacuum (Sound needs a medium to travel, it’s basic physics!).

Some silences are easy like the warmth of solitude. But too much of it and you risk becoming melancholic. What once lit up your being will now begin to choke you. Some silences are uneasy and gloomy like the loneliness imposed on you by the absence of a loved one or a long stay at home cut off from the world due to illness. But the thing is, they are interconvertible. One moment you are basking in solitude, and in the next, you are lonely. You might be out with friends and loneliness might descend on you without any preamble, far away from the company of friends, silence weighing heavily on your mind. Solitude can be found in the midst of people. You are in a bubble surveying what is happening without taking part, happy to just be an observer and a little while later you are somewhere else altogether.

The annoying bee like buzzing of thoughts has lessened with time. It is now the pleasant whir of a summer fan, not the onslaught of waves, lashing and battering rocks repeatedly. Now I am embracing the silence(s) instead of fighting it (beats the restlessness any day). One of the many effects of growing older (or is it growing up?) I guess.

Youth is not wasted on the Young

When I was young
I believed in happy endings.
When I was young
I believed in the goodness of  people.
When I was young
I was idealistic enough to make the world a better place.
When I was young
I believed that love conquers all.
When I was young
I believed that a fantastic tomorrow awaited me.
When I was young
I believed that ideas could change the world.
 
When I was young
I believed  that everything happened for a reason.
When I was young
I believed that the universe gave you what you deserved.
(Now I know that the universe thrives on chaos and works according to its own structure with no one at the helm to control it.)
When I was young
I believed in a higher power.
(Now nature has taken this place and rightly so.)
When I was young
I chased happiness even if those moments were fleeting. 
 
When I was young
The rose tinted glasses were my constant companion.
When I was young
I saw the universe in black and white but there are were colours aplenty in my life.
 
When I was young 
I believed in impossible things  because I didn’t know that they were not possible.
When I was young
The possibilities were endless like the vast expanse of the blue sky.
When I was young
I just lived my life going with the flow.
(I was free from the analyses or a cynical view of the world.)

Where’s the moon

 
Whenever I see the moon, especially the full moon I’m reminded of the poem Silver by Sir Walter de la Mare.  It was one of the early poems I remember reciting and loving. Mrs. Irene Kapoor( I. Kapoor miss to us), our English teacher had interpreted it so nicely.

I felt the poet in me stirring and  came up with this. I have decided I will post my poems however idiotic they might be. After all I have got only  this life to live, so I might as well live without any inhibitions. Better to be embarrassed and laughed at  than to live out my days as a coward. I might as well get on with it. Cheers !
 
The moon is full and bright,
I look at it wistfully
with dreams in my eyes.
 
I wish I could stare into the eyes of a loved one,
and see the moon light reflected in its shadowy depths.
 
The yellow moon with grey scars on its face,
vibrating and pulsating like a living thing,
reminding me of my heart pumping along for dear life.
 
Overflowing with feelings,
with joys and sorrows,
radiating and shining forth,
showing others silvery light,
itself burning bright.
 
Ah the moon’s bright tonight,
so bright it hurts my eyes.
Tears spring forth free and fast,
it’s so heartbreakingly beautiful,
 that I cry.

Notes of the diary on the diarist

What does she keep scribbling in me all the times?Not that I’m complaining(in fact I love it) I’m always there for her,after all that’s my job.Though the world considers us to have no feelings(being inanimate and all) I feel every stab of pain and every whoop of happiness by the words she chooses to write in me.

I like it when she takes her time and writes lovingly in me caressing the pages and feeling each and every word.The cool handwriting,the light slant of the pen shows me that she’s happy and good memories are being recorded.When the writing is irregular and sloppy and too much pressure is put on my delicate pages and its more scribbling than writing, I know she’s troubled and something bad has happened,which she is letting out of her system the only way she can.I feel sad when she gets like this but I’m relieved that she has me to help her get through any trying time in her life.She goes on and on for pages and pages and I know the end is near when her grip is not that hard and she writes at a slower pace, steadily empty of all negativity and almost always ending on a hopeful note.That’s one of the things I like best about her.She will start out a cynic and end a dreamer which is the only thing definite about her.All other things keep changing.She’s really mutable.A human yo yo would be more apt.One day she’s on cloud nine and the next day she’s down in the dumps,both because of the very same incident.What changes, then, is her perspective which is inextricably linked with her mood,the prism through which she views things and which colours everything.I really wish she’d be more optimistic and also more pragmatic.I worry about her but I know as long as she writes she will be just fine because that is the way she deals.

I wish she would write about her good days more.Not that there aren’t many good days but that she writes very few sentences about them(in comparison to the bad days) and ends them very soon.I wish I could change that.Not because I want to hear about good things more,I  just want her to have vivid memories of good things so that she can go back to them later and relive them.They will be her guiding light,her beacon,her light at the end of the tunnel or her silver lining,whatever you choose to call it, in the tough dark times and bleak moments.And of course it is the only thing that’s worth its weight in platinum  when warm feelings of nostalgia envelope her.

More on her idiosyncrasies later.

Beckoning me home

Far from the madding crowd I will go.

Away from the whispers of not being enough.
Away from the life I had never wanted in the first place
 chaotic, hectic and competitive.
To a place where peace reigns supreme.
Where people are merry.
Where roses bloom.
Where creepers and vines grow over buildings.
Where there’s freshness in the air
 even if the spring has long gone.
Where nobody thinks I’m lonely or alone ,
when I ‘m taking a walk by myself.
Where taking a walk outside is more than a walk, 
a solitary pleasure.
Where idyllic lands roll by 
when I’m out and about on my bicycle.
Where I can sit outside for hours 
 watching the moon shine with all its glory,
 stars twinkling as if they have a mischievous agenda.
Where the sweet wind billowing my clothes
 is an everyday occurrence.
Where smiling costs nothing at all 
just moving your face muscles in gay abandon.
Ah, I have found that place 
and it’s calling out to me,
ready to wash me in its warm embrace.
It’s good old home.