Happiness

gabby-orcutt-74607

Where are you?

Are you still with me or

Have I lost you in this

maddening hustle-bustle of life?

You are still with me, at a place I don’t know about, aren’t you?

Playing hide and seek with me,

Sheepishly smiling  while standing behind a short curtain, aren’t you?

Because I can see traces of your existence.

In those hand written notes, painted pottery, colorful curtains

and deep yellow lamps hanging from the ceiling.

In that mahogany hour-glass, old type-writer and an old kettle painted deep blue.

Happiness, where are you?

 

 

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Freedom

patrick-pilz-41237

Running through those narrow streets, he crossed colored doors, low ceilings, high chimneys, rugged walls, broken windows, playing kids, long screams, far dreams, defunct carriages, rusted spears, young but worn out and old but bright faces.

As he neared the ungaurded gate of the fort, he slowed. Panting, he was out of air. Looking at the far away horizon, he could not help smiling. He started walking out of the fort gates. Calm seemed to spread over his sullen face with every step he took. As he reached the edge of the cliff just outside the fort, he stood facing the vast sea in front of him.

Like waters of a calm lake beat the shore mildly, happiness was striking his soul. He was free now. Free as an albatross.

He heard the clamour. The crackling chariots, the cobbling horses, the shouts of the king’s men, the hue and cry of ladies and children scurrying for protection, gunshots. Sooner, it was in front of him in all its glory. The formidable numbers, the fierce weapons. the bloodshot eyes, the seething rage, the fiery desire to kill. He could see them all.

For some moments, a strange silence prevailed between him and the men. And then, he jumped. He jumped from the cliff. He jumped to his freedom with both of his hands wide open.

Running through those narrow streets, he was running from his own shadow, from his inner self. He was running to freedom.

 

Last night

I woke up earlier than usual today but with a heavy head. I was completely blank about how I was feeling after the last nights’ debacle but the air seemed too heavy for me to breathe.

Getting down from the bed, I cleared the window off the curtains and opened them. The sun was up with its un-comforting armory of rays. But soon a faint whiff of the flowers kept in the adjoining balcony accompanied the seemingly harsh sun rays. Closing my eyes,  to capture the ecstasy amid the burning rays and the soothing scent, I tried not to remember you. Alas, I failed.

The breeze that had pulled in the whiff through the windows suddenly dropped. This made me open my eyes.

The eyes close, I think, to collect and keep with themselves every ecstasy they can find around them. But if they are interrupted, they lose everything they had collected till then.

Like I lost you, last night.

राहें

” ज़िन्दगी में कुछ राहें होती है जो बस कुछ दूर चलके ख़त्म हो जाती है| कुछ होती है जो ख़त्म ही नहीं होती | और कुछ होती है जिनके होने का सिर्फ एक एहसास होता है और जैसे ही तुम उस राह पर कदम बढ़ाते हो, वो कहीं खो जाती है | ”

आज सुबह उठते ही ना जाने क्यों ये ख्याल आया मुझे | मन इसी को लेकर थोड़ा विचलित सा हो रहा था तो सोचा तुमसे बात कर लेता हूँ, मन हल्का हो जाएगा | तुम्हारा मोबाइल बंद बता रहा था तो मैंने तुम्हारा लैंडलाइन नंबर मिला दिया  |  दो-तीन घंटियों के बाद जब तुमने फ़ोन उठाया तो पता नहीं क्यों, मैं कुछ बोल नहीं पाया | तुम्हारी आवाज़ सुनके ऐसा महसूस हुआ जैसे की तुम मुझसे बहुत दूर जा चुकी हो | ऐसा लगा जैसे की मैं खो चूका हूँ तुम्हे | किसी तरह इस एहसास को दबाते हुए मैं बोला, “नमस्ते, कैसे हो?”

मैं कुछ पल ठहरा लेकिन कोई जवाब नहीं आया तुम्हारी तरफ से | मुझे लगा की फ़ोन की लाइन में शायद कुछ खराबी है और मेरा ध्यान बटा लेकिन तभी, तुम बोल उठी | एक पल के लिए मेरे चेहरे पर मुस्कान तो आयी लेकिन तुम्हारे शब्द सुन कर, बिना ठहरे युहीं पलट गयी |

आवाज़ तो तुम्हारी ही थी लेकिन शब्द नए थे और तरीका अनजान था | वो एहसास जिसे में दबा कर बैठा था, सर उठा के अब मुझ पे हंस रहा था | जिस व्याकुलता को शांत करने के लिए तुमसे बात करना चाह रहा था, वो मेरे सामने तांडव कर रही थी |

शब्द मेरी जुबान पे थे लेकिन मैं उन्हें आज़ाद करने की हिम्मत नहीं कर पाया | कभी कभी कैद लफ्ज़ ही किसी को आज़ाद कर सकते है |

मैंने बस एक सांस भरी और बिना कुछ बोले ही फ़ोन रख दिया |

साथ चलते चलते हमारी राहें कब अलग हो गयी पता ही नहीं चला | क्या ये राह कभी हमारी थी? क्या वो सिर्फ एक एहसास भर ही था? नहीं, ये सिर्फ एक एहसास नहीं था | मेरे लिए तो नहीं | मैं आज भी वहीँ खड़ा हूँ जहाँ पहले था | तो फिर कहाँ भटक गए हम? और क्यों?

अब सोचता हूँ तो प्रतीत होता है की हमने अपना भविष्य खरीदने के लिए, अपना आज, कल को बेच दिया | ना ही भविष्य खरीद पाए और अपना आज भी गवां बैठे |

Accomplishments as Motivation

Do this.

Live to Write - Write to Live

For years now, I have been creating a list of accomplishments for the past year. I used to do it around my birthday, but in the last few years I’ve done it at the end of one calendar year before I set my goals for the next year.

I’ve already written about my goals for 2017, but I wanted to write a little more about my list of accomplishments because it’s been an incredibly useful tool.

I’m also facilitating a Goals Group for 2017, and the first assignment I gave the group was to make a list of 50 accomplishments from 2016. Yes, 50! It sounds daunting, but they did it. (You can, too.)

When you decide to write a list of 50 accomplishments, you start out with the obvious ones: “Posted x blog posts,” for example, or “won NaNo.”

But when you get down to #20…

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On your graduation day!

gday

Dear,

There are only a few days in one’s life when you are boundlessly happy, proud and excited and teary-eyed, all at the same time. Tomorrow is one such day, I guess. You might not realize it but nobody will ever be happier and prouder than us when we see you at stage. Not the perfect analogy, but the feeling is very similar to that when a gardener looks at his flourishing garden.

Tomorrow,

It might not seem to you to be a great achievement but at-least for a day, tomorrow, do not belittle it. Feel proud about it.

While you wait in the hall, listening to the names of your friends being called, notice the smile on their faces, the happiness in their eyes. And when they call out yours, look out for us. We would be waving at you.

Meet your friends. Hug them. Throw your graduation uttariyas in the air. Get clicked. Click photos.Walk through the time you have spent here and collect everything that makes you smile. Become aware of the mistakes you made and be thankful for the times that tested you or you would have never come to know of your strengths.

Meet your professor.

Be with us for sometime, before you go off with your friends again. And before you leave, give us your best smile, the best of all, when I say,

“Say cheese!”

And today,

Smile, because tomorrow is your day. Smile, because you graduate tomorrow!

A smile that died

asmilethatdied

It was hot inside the room. The AC was broken and the fan was reeking as if counting its own few last breaths. The still air in the room was suffocating me but everyone else seemed to be dead-sleep. I was lying on my bed, going through everything that had happened that day. It was then that I heard a distant horn-blow of a train.

The Palakkad railway station was just 50 m away from our hotel. And something about it had pulled me when we had checked-in earlier that day. I should go for an aimless walk to the railway station, it occurred to me.

I walked out of my hotel room then. As I walked down the alley of the hotel, I saw two guys talking. First, stone-faced with dark-eyes, looking straight into the other guy. Second, bespectacled, carrying strong expressions on his face. They were too occupied by anger, I suppose, to have noticed me pass by them. I took the stairs instead of the lift and I could find some boys sitting around the steps, some standing in the alley holding a glass of alcohol in hand, talking. That reminded me of my days during college, scraping off some long-buried mis-happenings.

As I reached the glass doors of the hotel couple of floors down, I could see nothing outside. I stood there to get accustomed to the darkness and while I waited, I could hear the guys I had passed earlier. They were shouting now. Both of them. It was the anger talking.

As I stepped out, a sudden pang of chilly wind pierced my skin, sending out shivers all along my spine.

“I should’ve gotten my jacket”, sliding my hands in the pockets of my jeans, I murmured and headed out to the railway station.

“The train has left the earlier station. It should be here in next 15 mins”, I heard someone speak as I reached the platform.

I kept walking on the main platform, taking in all those varied sounds and emotions and without any second thought, went on to walk on the rails. The edgy, crushed stones made noise as I walked over them. The famous Palakkad winds were caressing my face and I was flipping from stones to rails and back.

After 10 mins, I saw the flickering lights of an engine far away. Sounds of metals clanking slithered through the rails and a series of horn-blows followed. I realized that I was walking on the rails on which the train was chugging and hence I moved away. At the same time, I heard a faint shout from ahead of me but didn’t find anyone around. Deeming the shout as coming from one of the houses nearby,  I sat down at the edge of one of the rails.

When I looked up towards the platform after I settled, strangely enough, I saw a guy walking on the rails. I got curious and kept looking at the guy. As he passed an overhead lamp along the rails, I got a shimmered glance at him. What I saw made me tremble.

The guy looked exactly like me.

“Am I dreaming? How is that even possible? Am I hallucinating?”, I was fighting with myself. I rubbed my eyes vigorously and then looked at him again. He was there, still walking on the rails, flipping from stones to rails and back. Just the way I was walking few moments back. It took me some time to realize, to my horror, that he was walking on the rails on which the train was coming. Not knowing what to do, I stood up frantically. I was breathing heavily at this point of time.

I heard the series of horn-blows again. The train was closer now but was still very aggressive. It occurred to me that the guy would realize the impending danger and move away as I had done.

But he didn’t. I felt the ground below me slipping away.

“Hey, woa”, I shouted at the top of my voice and ran towards him with a kick. I was looking at the train and then looking at him. I could hear the rattles of the train now.

Train, him. Train, him.

“Why is he not moving away from the track? What does he have on his mind? Is he crazy? What is wrong with him? Why is he not looking at me?”, I blabbered.

“Hey, woa. Get away from the track.”

I was shivering with fear but I kept shouting and running towards him. I heard horn-blows more frequently now and the intensity of those blows wrapped me with fear.

Suddenly, he stopped. He stopped walking and looked up. I stopped running but scurried towards him. Those edgy, crushed stones didn’t matter.

“Hey, woa. Get away from that track. Can’t you see the train coming? Get away lad.”, I shouted, addressing him. I could now see him clearly, very clearly. I was just a track away from him now.

He looked at me and smiled.

The train blared the horns again. The horns, this time, shook me from within. I shouted again. For one last time.

Something that I can not forget even today is the smile on his face. A smile that was mine. A smile that died with him.

 

 

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