The voice inside

I hear, I listen

To the voice inside that cries out.

The voice that has been shut,

for days, for years,.

It wants me to blurt everything out.

Wants somebody to acknowledge,

to hear, to listen.

 

It fears being alone.

It is tired talking to just me,

for a bit too long.

I find it maddening sometimes,

consoling myself,

crying myself to sleep.

Promising that everything,

will be okay.

Waking up the next day,

to the same loneliness,

that haunted it.

 

I try, to do some thing,

talk, pretend to listen,

pretend that I am fine.

Occasionally, I do not pretend.

The voice sometimes blurts it out.

I pretend, pretend that I am a winner.

Pretend I know things,

Read more to know more.

Read to convince the voice inside,

that all is well.

Try to shut it,

Because all it does is call me a loser.

 

I lay on bed, tired.

Check my mobile, read messages,

or engage in some discussion on Facebook.

To distract a bit,

To live a bit, albeit virtually.

I sleep, and,

I wake up the next day,

to the same loneliness,

that haunts it, that haunts me.

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Sense of an Ending

 

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We crave for endings, or do we? When you know things are going to end, you know the end, and you wish things to just fast forward, just get over with it. And yet sometimes in retrospect you wish if things didn’t. Just one more walk with a friend, one more hug, the sadness of ending, and the intimacy amidst it. People do meet after it, only to realize lot of things have changed. Life happens. Intimacy of those endings, lost somewhere.

But may be things are meant to be that way. Soon seems abrupt and long seems too much. All life is grappling with the sense of an ending. Parting ways, kissing good nights, death of someone close, or sometimes silently waiting for your own death. The time comes. Things end. Sometimes too soon, sometimes late. But they do.

A stroll on a beach

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Walking on a beach aimlessly, leaving some footprints, some shallow, some deep, ultimately to be washed away by the sea. I guess finding a purpose in life is a lot like strolling on a beach. We strive to create an impact, leave a footprint, in a world that has been here for millions of years and will be for millions more. Our lives in context of this world and universe and those footsteps on sea shore, both are ephemeral. So what do we choose, walk aimlessly, trying to enjoy the feet being washed by the sea every few seconds or walk leaving some footprints, deep or shallow, ultimately to be washed away by an eternal sea?

A crow in Mumbai

A crow was continuously cawing and pecking at the fibre-glass window. Madhav woke up as the crow continued pecking the window besides his bed. He banged his fist on the window in frustration of this disturbed sleep as the pecking finally stopped.  Slowly getting up from bed, eyes still closed, he sat continued to sit on bed with his back rested against the wall and head rested on the bedside window. Yawning, he lazily put covered his mouth with right palm. Slowly covered his face with both hands, rubbing his eyes, he got up, and hobbled his way across the room, opened his cream coloured wooden cupboard, put his hand in searching for his toothbrush and toothpaste. He sauntered his way across the room, into the kitchen’s wash basin, squeezed the paste out of the tube, applied it on his brush as he slowly put the brush in his mouth, brushing the front teeth first, up and down, down and up. Then the right molars, and then slowly the left molars. When he felt that his mouth was adequately covered with paste’s foam, he decided to spit it out. But as it happens with life, the decision and the act took some time, as the red froth from his mouth went down to the sink. He put his hand on the age-old tap, opened it slowly, and as the water flowed, rinsed his mouth for enough time, cleaned the basin. Then he remembered to clean his tongue, which he did, and again rinsed his mouth. Dragged his feet across the kitchen, into the only room of his apartment, opened the cupboard, neatly placed the brush and toothpaste back to their places. Finally, having made peace with getting up, he stared at the wall clock, which had its minute hand at 8 and hour hand between 7 and 8, with the second-hand ticking towards 12.

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Living in a 250 square feet one bedroom kitchen studio apartment, Madhav could recollect every single object in his apartment even in his dreams, which were his escapade from daily life. Madhav closed his eyes, to make the daily calculations of time in his head. He had to catch the 8:44 fast local train from Borivali Station to catch the bus from bus stand near Marine Lines Railway Station at 9:45 and he will reach his office by 10’o clock. His ‘The Hindu’ reading time in toilet, bathing time, what clothes to wear, what shoes to wear, what to eat, how to travel, everything will be decided as per the coach he will board from the first staircase of the last overbridge of platform number 3 at Borivali station. He had to reach at time today, not that he ever remembered being late in a long time, but then that’s how it was. He realized he did not have much time today, so he hurriedly went to toilet, and amidst the rumbling noises, read his daily dosage of The Hindu, mostly the editorial page, the rest if time and space permits, will be read in train. He decided to settle for a quick bath, showering over his balding head, came out and dressed himself in crisp plain white shirt and black cotton trousers.  Picked up his lace-less formal brown-coloured shoes and wore them. Not that they matched with what he wore, but they saved time of tying a lace. Realized that they are not polished, but anyway, if time permits, he’d find someone on the platform to get them polished. He rushed to the sofa, picking up his black office bag and set off as he locked the apartment and got down two floors. He still had twenty minutes before the train arrives at the platform. He walked briskly on the footpath, with the bag strapped to his broad shoulders, and eyes searching for the vada-pav stall that comes to his rescue in times such as these. He spotted the stall, to find a few more men like him, waiting for vada-pav, some talking on mobile while eating vada-pav, some taking the hot vada-pav with them as they rush to catch auto, taxi or train to the office, near the dustbin some crows were also relishing the half-eaten vadas. It was Mumbai, seldom will one find oneself completely alone doing something. He ordered for the Vada-pav as the hawker promptly took the order and took out a pav, applied green chilli paste inside the pav, and placed a hot-fried vada skilfully between the two layers of pav. It is like in a timeless Mumbai, time goes slowly as you wait for a vada-pav being served to you. He took it and hurried towards the station. He had to reach at first class bogie which will be parked in the middle of platform, so that it will be easier for him to get down at Marine Lines station and to climb the foot overbridge to reach the bus station and catch the bus. He just reached in time at the right place as the train was parking itself. He grabbed the door handle of first class compartment as a sea of humanity decided to flood the first-class compartment. Survival of the fittest and luckiest. He was not tall, not short, not fat, not slim, just enough, enough to squeeze through this wave and find a window seat. The train was to stand there for another ten minutes as more and more people boarded the already over-crowded train.

 

Train left at sharp 8.44 A.M, as Madhav took out The Hindu and dutifully read the newspaper, mindless of what’s happening in the train, as hundreds board and get down. Through the window, he saw someone falling off another fast train. Madhav shook his head, probably in sadness, and went back to reading his newspaper. As he heard the announcement of Charni Road station, Madhav got up, making a seat empty, just two stations before the final station, much to dismay of a standing passenger. As the train arrived at Charni Road, Madhav pushed and excused himself to the opposite door. The Marine Lines platform will be accessible through this door. Thorough planning, Madhav was rather used to this.  As the train arrived at platform, Madhav took out his head and left foot, prepared to get down as the train slowed down. He got down, turned and ran to climb the overbridge and reach the bus stand. He saw a few faces, which he knew will catch the bus he wanted to and then heaved a sigh of relief, ready for another task, boarding the bus. The bus came as he boarded it with no difficulty, found seat, showed his daily pass to conductor, got down and reached the office, in time. He looked upwards, as if to recognize God’s presence, took a deep breath and treaded to his seat.

 

Pushing their way through, almost climbing over each other, hundreds tried to get on the 5:49 Borivali Fast Local from Churchgate Station. Madhav was at right spot, all ready to barge his way into the first-class compartment. Just as the train was parking itself at Platform 3, Madhav got hold of the handle of the door, jumped in the train and scuttled to find his way to the window seat. Took out the newspaper and resumed reading from where he left off. An hour later, he got down at Borivali station and walked home in no hurry. Reaching home at 7:15, he went to bathroom, washed his hands, feet and face. He changed his clothes, wearing now a t-shirt and a half pant, and switched on the television to watch the daily debate show. He opened the cupboard, bent down, and took out a bottle of whiskey. He went to kitchen, opened the refrigerator and took out a bottle of soda, searched for a glass and made himself a drink. He then went to his regular place on the sofa and watched television, sipping his whiskey. After some time, the bell rang, a man delivered his dinner tiffin. He opened the tiffin, rice at the top, dal after that, after that cucumber-tomato salad, after that crushed brinjal for tonight, and customary three chapattis. Finishing his whiskey, he ate his dinner, neatly packed the tiffin back, went to kitchen, drank a glass full of water and decided to read a book for an hour like he did every night. Tonight, he was starting a new book titled, ‘The Stranger’, written by Albert Camus. He switched off the TV and read the book for an hour, felt a bit strange, kept the book back in the drawer, yawned, went to kitchen to drink a glass of water, and then to toilet to pee. He lazily walked back to the room, switched off the lights, increased the fan speed, removed his t-shirt, rested himself on bed, pulled on the blanket and slept.

 

A crow was continuously cawing and pecking at the fibre-glass window. Madhav woke up as the crow continued pecking the window besides his bed. He banged his fist on the window in frustration of this disturbed sleep as the pecking finally stopped.  Slowly getting up from bed, eyes still closed, he sat continued to sit on bed with his back rested against the wall and head rested on the bedside window. Yawning, he lazily put covered his mouth with right palm. Slowly covered his face with both hands, rubbing his eyes, he got up, and hobbled his way across the room, opened his cream coloured wooden cupboard, put his hand in searching for his toothbrush and toothpaste. He sauntered his way across the room, into the kitchen’s wash basin, squeezed the paste out of the tube, applied it on his brush as he slowly put the brush in his mouth, brushing the front teeth first, up and down, down and up. Then the right molars, and then slowly the left molars. When he felt that his mouth was adequately covered with paste’s foam, he decided to spit it out. But as it happens with life, the decision and the act took some time, as the red froth from his mouth went down to the sink. He put his hand on the age-old tap, opened it slowly, and as the water flowed, rinsed his mouth for enough time, cleaned the basin. Then he remembered to clean his tongue, which he did, and again rinsed his mouth. Dragged his feet across the kitchen, into the only room of his apartment, opened the cupboard, neatly placed the brush and toothpaste back to their places. Finally, having made peace with getting up, he stared at the wall clock, which had its minute hand at 8 and hour hand between 7 and 8, with the second-hand ticking towards 12.