चलो नई कहानी लिखें

अपनी स्याही
अपने किरदार
एक कहानी हो गयी

एक से मोहबत
और एक से नफरत
क्या कहानी हो गयी

नाम किरदार का याद रहा
अपनी पहचान भूल गए
कहानी, एक सच्चाई हो गयी

किरदारों से वाह वाह
ये अब कैसी उम्मीद है
अजब बेबसी हो गयी

नए रंग की दवात ली है
नए रंगों से नए किरदार लिखेंगे
एक हसीन कहनी हो गयी

The Collapse of Trust

The working mother takes resolute steps as she heads home. The unwell infant slips into a tired sleep in the arms of his mother. The trusted arms covers the boy with the warm cloak of safety.

The tired nurse moves with bowed head. Reliving the tired day, thanking God for granting her the onerous opportunity to serve humanity. Her hands were the healing hands of God. Her eyes trace the cracks on the floor, as each thoughtful step heads to the well earned rest back home. Her family waits unaware.

The unexpected occurs. The trust on the floor they walk is broken. They fall and a life is lost. One dies in sleep and other in the agony. There are no last thoughts, no blames and regrets. Only panicked synapses that fire the vain reflexes. The hands fail to grasp a support before the ground cracks the skull. The memories are shattered. The dead bodies file no complaint. They lie there cold with the eyes staring in disbelief and terror. The mouth concocted with unsaid scream. Why?

The arms of mother failed the infant. The healing hands failed the sick. But their screams would echo in the sinful ears of the ones who failed them. The floor which they walked was trusted as were the arms of the mother or the healing hands of the nurse.

They never questioned why they must heal or why they must protect. It was their duty and they did it. It was their Dharma. They question why were they killed and Who forgot their Dharma – their Sense of Duty. It wasn’t just a bridge – it was a collapse of their trust?

The alive

The first ray hits the fabric. The spectators settle in their assigned seats.

The pixels, each of different colours, found their respective place on the fabric. Each of the pixels, programmed and intermeshed, collaborate to form pre-decided familiar shapes. The pixels dance in sync dutifully, on the directions of the maestro above. Each teaming up with other multitudes of lights to curl up the lips to smile, to shed the hanging tear from the eye and to dilate the pupils to form the illusion of wonder. As the myriads of emotion play on its surface, the fabric comes alive.

The actors played out their characters. The story is a unfathomable mystery yet. It carries within its bosom the possibilities to spawn into a humorous comedy or a grieving tragedy or the exciting odyssey. The dancing pixels fabricate emotions on the fabric which finds resonance in the hearts of the audience. The tear is surreptitiously wiped, the laughter noisily shared and the excitement chewed along with the skin beneath the nail. As the story gripped the fantasy, every subjective eye starts to live the life of each character in the tinge of its own script.

The spectators fuse into the pixel, not only seeing the dance of the shapes, but are the shape itself. Each one identifying with the feelings which warmed up the screen. Each observing mind merging with the thoughts and the intent behind each action by the flat beings on the fabric.

The story eventually frenzied into the climax. It is a moment of judgment. One of the kings have to die, the black or the white. The colours stay loyal to the light as projected by the overhead unseen beam, irrespective to the effect it had on the beholding eyes. The presence or absence of the pixels form the opposites, thus evoking love or hate in the filtered eyes. The hackles on each neck is raised and the atmosphere is charged, baying for action. The emotions are no longer, just the projection by the maestro in the projection room…they are real. They burn the neural pathways urging the physical being to act. The hero fights for the cause as does the villain. The good and the bad is coloured by the beam of light. The hero triumphs over the villain. The crowds let out the cheer. The pent up emotions escape through the cheer. But the reel still whirs. There is still some story left.

Oh no!!!

It indeed is the dreaded tragedy. It was what the spectators dreaded, but somehow expected. The director of this motion picture is known only to make tragedies. Eventually, all lighter moments are lost from memory and just the miseries are remembered. The cheer of the heroic triumph is marred by the bleeding hero, fatally wounded in the ultimate duel. The villain lies slain, but the ebb of life drains off the hero too.

The bodies on the seats responds. They feel drained too. The lips curl, the eyes shed the tear and the pupils dilate in wonder. The two being are one, the flat beings on the screen and the flesh and blood on the seats.

Hero breaths the last in the arms of his love. His soul rising and disappearing beyond the limits of the screen. The story ends as the pixels freeze on the face of the hero’s love, staring in helpless grief. The maestro ceases the flow of light and fabric is lifeless again.

The spectators are stupefied by the drama, still wishing the fabric to come alive. To once again see the face of their love, they stay at their respective seats reluctant to let go of the illusion. The feelings still raw keep the bonds strong. Just one last look is all that they desired.

But the ushers of the cinema are on job to move these bodies out of this world of drama. There are others waiting in line to witness the drama once again. They are eager to see the same ‘fabric’, once again, come Alive.

Woman’s Day?

The hair fell in a neat bunch on the apron, as the skilled hands of the barber, cut them to size. I knew the curling locks would be fun and fashionable, but was also aware that the norms were not what they adhered to. My hair style is for others to like. They liked it short and neat. ‘Short and neat’ was what it would be, assured the barber.

The gentle rhythmic sound of the scissors put the sleep on my heavy eyelids. I drifted between the real and the dream. The mobile phone of the barber rang. The caller tune was a catchy Bollywood song depicting the famous ritual of breaking of the ‘Matki’ – the pot full of butter tied away exclusively at a height. The pot as per the tradition is broken by an enthusiastic ‘human pyramid’ depicting the act of ‘Krishna’ – the God, to bring down the exclusive butter, for everyone’s consumption, without any prejudice. Everyone was entitled to the butter, rich or poor, girl or boy. 

The ring of the phone brought me to the real.

The barber temporarily suspended the project ‘short and neat’ to attend to the call, which seemed far more ‘urgent and important’ to him. There was no choice for me, but to overhear the conversation, as he spoke into the speaker phone louder than needed. 

It was a good news. The matrimony of his sister was fixed. 

His mother thanked God for his grace and her late husband for his wisdom which brought them this happy moment. She was happy for their father’s decision not to allow the girl to pursue her studies beyond what she had learnt at her home. The future in laws during their meeting, she said, were appreciative of the fact that the girl was brought up in the traditional manner and was not spoiled by giving her ‘unnecessary’ education. 

She affectionately added, “Beta, please do not to intervene and put a spoke in the event like you did in case of your elder sister. You know that, your insistence on educating your sister was the biggest curse.”

She went on to lament the sad fortune of his elder sister, who was yet to find a suitable family, just because every prospective bridegroom was threatened by the ‘over educated’ girl. 

The barber’s lips quivered but he didn’t utter a word.

“She is a fool” continued his mother, filling the silence with her outrage, “She still insists on continuing her work at that godforsaken school and has no interest in the household jobs. Isn’t that blasphemous”?

“She is too independent”, continued his mother, blaming his sister for her own helplessness. “…and the money she gets for the household has gone into her head. I wish I can get her married so that this demon in her mind could be destroyed. Her education is her curse, she will one day realise that”. 

The mother prophesied that one day the society will cut her wings and put his sister to her place.

The barber pushed a button and the conversation ended.

He picked up the scissor to resume his craft. The snipping of the scissors this time, followed a melancholy rhythm, betraying the thoughts in the mind that directed the hands. 

The phone rang again. He allowed the song to ring till it faded away. The exclusive butter in the high pot remained far away from the needy hands as water cannons from the crowd below brought down the valiant yet shaky pyramid of hope. 

I couldn’t stop myself from making the sympathetic enquiry on why he felt sad after hearing the happy news. He started to answer, but paused.

He picked his scissors. He assured once again, that my hair would be cut to size. He promised that when the scissors finish the work and I look myself in the mirror, I would find my hair ‘short and neat’, the way everyone likes it. 

The curls and the flowing locks were cut to size. The snipping scissors put me back to sleep. Like so many others, I also felt that the ‘real’ was not worth being ‘awake’.

The taste of the moment

The skillet of cast iron
Harness the heat
ingredient blend in proportion
spices sinking deep

Each bit done for the craving mouth
nothing goes waste
expressed on the grateful tongue
That we know as the taste

Taste lies
not in the fire
That heats

Nor in the skillet
That suffers the heat

Nor in the ingredients
That is cooked

Nor on the tongue
That tastes

Taste lies
In the moment
that bring it all together

Taste lies
in the hand that stirs
That blends the family together