Hey time. Wait!! Let’s string moments together

Moments are fixed
in time
And I am fixed
in this moment
While
many of my moments
pass without me

Hey time!!
I am quitting the `now`
I am going back.
You can stay
Or you can move on
Something tell me
You will wait for me

I know, that you know me better
You have been there
in each of my moments
You know
I will be back
Back to this moment
To merge with you
To create many more moments

What would you do
Without me?
Its me
Who makes the moments
for you
And fixes them
On your Callender
So slow down
As I flip another year
Lets string the moments
Lets create life

The supreme sacrifice

The ticker scrolled out the news. It moved in an endless loop accommodating the criptic mention of the Army Jawan Killed among the many more other news, in its limited loop cycle. The news anchor smartly read out the essential details in keeping with the constraint of time of the bulletin. The names, the incident, the politics summarised the news with stark principle of brevity.

His shining shoes were worn ankle length. The laces were neatly pulled over the loops and the knot tied at the top. His attention was preoccupied, to notice the political slug fight on the news channel. He was careful to be immaculately turned out. He wore the camouflage jacket and adjusted his medals proudly as they gleamed on his chest. He wore the cap, adjusted the badge and was ready to go. He was going to lift the heaviest load today. He was to carry his martyred buddy. The pictures on the TV screen barely identified the person. The visuals were blurred to avoid discomfort to the viewers.

There was no slouch as he joined the parade. He alligned himself with other five, designated to be the pall bearers of the mortal remains. He like the rest, was there by choice. He had lost a part of him, as did rest the boys of the unit.

As the wooden coffin was lifted and placed on the shoulder, the edges pressed excruciating on the skin. The hurt was far more graver in his heart. He was the closest to the brave martyr, therefore possiblly he felt the load of his friend’s mortal remains, heavier.

He alligned his steps with the rest of the pall bearers in the soldierly conduct. The face stern and expressionless. The trickle of the tear which managed to escape his stony eyes, merged inconspicuously with beads of sweat. The buggle sounded the last post and the gathering raised their hand to salute the brave heart. As the mortal remains moved on, on its last journey, the gathering erupted with the resounding cry of JAI HIND.

The sacrifice of the brave soldier was not in vain. His passion and love for the country had multiplied in the ignited passion, in the hearts of his brothers in arms. The coffin had turned lighter. It seemed as if, the slain martyr lived on, in the heart and spirit of every gathered soldier.

The gathering dispersed. They went on to do their job. Not what they are paid for, but what they are meant for…To shed their last drop of blood for the country.

What I missed this morning

It’s another day.

The grind of the day commences as seconds turn into minutes. The timings are forced by habit. Each moment optimised to maximise comfort and safe living. Safety was built through certainty, by sticking to the practiced routine.

This day was no different. The countdown began as I pulled the car out of the garage. The gears of the life were put in motion. There wasn’t any change possible from the set routine. It was familiar and safe. The start and travel time were synchronised with the time to reach destination with programmed precision.

The traffic light turned red at an unfortunate coincidence of space and time. An aberration from the planned scenario was not a welcome occurance. The countdown of 100 seconds to the next green window, emphasised the deformation of the perfect plan. The stress of not maintaining the imaginary milestones was rising.

The gulmohar trees had turned flaming red. The morning sun reflecting the colour for every observant eye. The spectacle was missed in the revving of the engine as the countdown moved to the single digit. As the numbers flashed, keeping in time with the final three counts, the waiting mass pulsated with anticipation.

With practised ease and tenacity, I broke through the mass of slow-starters to surge on the free road ahead. The clock had to be chased for normalcy to be restored. With eyes on the moving hands of the clock, the accelerator pedal was stamped to the floor.

The speed turned the pedestrians on the side of the road into a blur. However, today as the car slowed down to negotiate an unforgivingly steep speed breaker, the blur crystallised to reveal a walking human figure. The familiarity trap snapped close as the coordinated glance made the eyes meet. Brief though it was, the impression was complete. The hurry in the steps of the nameless human figure belied the anxiety related to the consequential financial loss due to the biometric attendance.

I knew he was one of the employees at my office. He was one of the many nameless faces in the organisation, we fail to notice. The nameless face whose per-functionary greetings are met with preoccupied mumble. The form became smaller in the rear view mirror, but remained in the conscience.

Reason could not resolve the dilemma of stopping or ignoring. The rational mind felt that ‘stopping now’ was not a reasonable option. The difficulty of a U-turn was cited as an argument to defend the recommended ‘ignore’ option. The conflict within grew in a crescendo. The reason may not have been rational, but turned out to be more compulsive. The flashing indicators of the car, indicated my intent of turning around. The decision contrary to the rational, was made.

The rest happened without actual occurrence of the exaggerated scenerios of the worrying mind. I pulled over and asked the nameless being to hop in. The disbelief and happiness of the unexpected help, created an unrecognisable expression, as he gratefully moved in.

The initial awkward silence was broken by me to ask some regular conversational start lines. Where are you staying? Who all in family?….And as the conversation moved on, he revealed his life. The responsibility of the aging parents, smaller dependant siblings and the pressure of unfulfilled expectation seemed like the usual story. However, the reality struck me with realisation that, it may be the usual story, but it was his story, real… in flesh and bones. He was living it, not reading about it. The boundaries of hierarchy, status and social identities were temporarily subsumed, as we shared each other’s life.

We arrived at our destination just in time. The hierarchy and the status rushed in to state the reality, bringing in the anxieties and rush. He rushed to press his thumb on the programmed intelligence on the red pad of the biometric gadget. He was in time. The money was saved. More importantly, one of the many small aspirations, survived its possible compromising death.

Today in the ‘ticks’ of the time and the ‘rush’ of the clock, I was aware of a unique story that ran parallel to my selfish story. Today the parallel lines that were kept apart by the social separators, travelled together for a brief but profound, time and distance.

I forgot to ask him his name as he merged into the multitudes of the mass, losing his identity in the social class. But then, what’s in the name!!! I had touched a life and for some brief moment we were one life.

It was another day. I noticed the flaming red flowers of the Gulmohor tree. They were the rays of the Sun.

Who Cares… Who’s Real?

We heard Laila o Laila
play on the FM.
As the drums
did the rolls
Me and my daughter
play our ‘guess who’ game.

“Do you know…
Who is the drummer?”,
I ask.
“I don’t know”,
she says
“It’s ‘Amjad Khan’
I answer, to score a point.

But she says
that’s only in the movie
Who was the Real drummer?
I said…
Who cares!!!
… Who’s Real??