उम्र का पानी…

खतरे के
निशान से ऊपर बह रहा है
उम्र का पानी…

वक़्त की बरसात है कि
थमने का नाम नहीं
ले रही…

आज दिल कर रहा था,
बच्चों की तरह रूठ ही जाऊँ,
पर…

फिर सोचा,
उम्र का तकाज़ा है,
मनायेगा कौन…

रखा करो नजदीकियां,
ज़िन्दगी का कुछ भरोसा
नहीं…

फिर मत कहना
चले भी गए
और बताया भी नहीं…

चाहे जिधर से गुज़रिये,
मीठी सी हलचल
मचा दीजिये…

उम्र का हरेक दौर मज़ेदार है,
अपनी उम्र का
मज़ा लिजिये….

*””सदा मुस्कुराते रहिये””*☺

And then there were none

The rumpled little man took a seat at the plush bar that lined the casino. He ordered tequila – the gold amber color of sunshine, and let the liquid slide down his arid throat. It burned and felt like silk at the same time. His raw nerves frazzled were a live wire sizzling with frustration. 

He yanked his last cigarette from its crushed pack. It was smashed almost flat and lit it with trembling fingers. He blew out the match. Smoke and sulphur mingled for more than a minute.

He looked around searchingly for action he couldn’t afford. Flashy fast women did not spend time with hopeless little men in ill-fitting clothes. His brown trousers were wrinkled and his fake leather loafers had holes worn through the man-made soles.

Arnold stopped eyeing the various stream of females, grunting to himself that it was their loss. He laid his last five dollars on the leather-padded bar.

“One for the road, barkeep.” He wiped the back of his hand across his nose and sniffed back a sigh.

A shot glass of golden liquid was placed in front of him and the five dollars disappeared. He tossed back the shot and he began to ruminate about what he would say to Peggy and the kids. She thought he was on a job interview. He had been so optimistic. Taking the last of their savings and flying to Las Vegas for the weekend. A private getaway, and then come back a winner. He wanted to show his wife and kids he wasn’t a loser. That he was someone other than a husband and father unemployed since the downsizing epidemic.

He had felt so lucky for hours flooding the tinkling coins through the machines, never to get the fruit of his effort. Sadly, he tucked his tail between his legs admitting defeat.

Arnold slid off the barstool with slumped shoulders and pathetic eyes, winding around the casino, oblivious to the cacophony of lost wages. He bumped his way past the crowded roulette tables and coin robbing one-arm-bandits. 

He swiped at his nose again and then thrust his hands into his baggy pockets and felt, to his surprise, the last silver dollar he had to his name. He pulled it out and rolled it between his thumb and forefinger as his other hand touched the revolving door that would exit him to the street of broken dreams. He paused a neon flash second before he turned back to look at the slot machines. Puny bloodshot eyes crinkled with a sly smile, while an adrenaline rush stained his face red with perspiration.

Arnold was beginning to feel lucky again.

Together

She lay there, just looking exquisite. And I stood a few steps away wondering what good in the world I had done, of which I had no clue to deserve her. No. I did not deserve her. I knew that. She could have had someone who was better than me in everything. Someone more intelligent, more handsome and in every way better than me, of that I am not just sure but positive.

But the one thing, the one thing which I think tipped the scales in my favour was that I am sure no one could have loved her the way I loved her. And no I do not exaggerate here though people believe I do. I loved her just the way she was- free as the wind. She wasn’t in any chains of the world and yet she was more a part of it than any other being I have ever seen.

And love her I did. And do. And always will. Because ask me what colour I love the most and I would tell you that it is the colour of her eyes when she first looked at me and I realised that she loved me too. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t need to. But that was the time when I felt that I would be overwhelmed by this feeling in my heart. The time when I felt that maybe I had a second chance at love. When I realised that heartbreak does not need to last forever.

Ask me what my favourite song is and I would tell you that it was that one song without any music in the background which she had sung herself. The one when I was down in the mud and she sent to me just to lift me up. We were hundreds of miles apart and yet in that moment it felt that she was right beside me whispering that everything is going to be all right. And sometimes that is all someone needs.

Ask me what is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I would tell you that it was when she was so sleepy that she fell asleep while talking to me on a video call. And just lay there like the most beautiful creature in the world and all I could do was look and not touch because fairies are not meant to be touched. 

Ask me what my greatest fear is and I would tell you it is the fear of losing her. To think that one day we might never be together again, that she might leave me or we might get lost in this world with things which would be beyond the illusions of control that we mere mortals have established for ourselves. The things that we believe we can control when we cannot even tell what is going to happen in the next moment let alone years into the future.

She’s like one of those ideal things they talk about in epics. The ones which you think are not possible but you admire because they set a bar for you to achieve because they are the ideals you admire. One you think that you’ll never be able to achieve but you want to try all the same. Except that she was real and she was sleeping right in front of me.

I climbed in right next to her and took in her sight. Sleeping just like she had been all those years before. Everything had changed in the world but it seemed she was the only one unaffected by the cruel wounds time inflicts on us. The only divine being in this world of men and women.

I looked at her once more, slowly kissed her cheek and then lay down to sleep. Who cares where the future will take us. All that matters is that for now, at least, she is with me, I am with her. 

The fact that we are together. That is all that matters.

A dream in a dream

Take this kiss upon the brow! 
And, in parting from you now, 
Thus much let me avow- 
You are not wrong, who deem 
That my days have been a dream; 
Yet if hope has flown away 
In a night, or in a day, 
In a vision, or in none, 
Is it therefore the less gone? 
All that we see or seem 
Is but a dream within a dream. 

I stand amid the roar 
Of a surf-tormented shore, 
And I hold within my hand 
Grains of the golden sand- 
How few! yet how they creep 
Through my fingers to the deep, 
While I weep- while I weep! 
O God! can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp? 
O God! can I not save 
One from the pitiless wave? 
Is all that we see or seem 
But a dream within a dream?

by Edgar Allan Poe

क़त्ल का इल्ज़ाम

रिहा हो गए बा-इज़्ज़त वो
मेरे क़त्ल के इल्ज़ाम से

शोख़ निगाहों को, अदालत ने,
हथियार नहीं माना

The other way

You got to BE before you can DO.
You got to DO before you can HAVE.
You got to HAVE before you can GIVE.
To be, to do, to have, to give…
is the upward spiral of life.

जब कभी भी मन उदास होता है

जब कभी भी मन उदास होता है,
तन्हा होने का अहसास होता है,

क्यों ख़ुशी पल में यू रूठ जाती है,
ऐसा क्यों अक्सर मेरे साथ होता है,

मत गिनाना ऐब किसी के भी यंहा,
आइना हर किसी के पास होता है,

तुम छुपा लो गुनाह चाहे कितने भी,
वँहा एकदिन सबका हिसाब होता है,

कैसे जाने कि कौन अपना है,
यंहा हर इक चेहरे पे नकाब होता है,