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richasmukherjee.com

love, laughter, pain, joy, life and its lessons, one word at a time

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Poetry

An itch to remember

EE

 

Word count: 597

I have never prescribed to the popular theory of the ‘onset of weariness’ with respect to your spouse as the years go by. All the jokes about the ‘7 year itch’ and ‘Shaadi ka laddoo’ etc elicited a few appropriate and perfunctory titters at best, but their meaning was pretty much lost on me. Why? Because when you fall in love with your best friend, your soul mate, your brother from another mother, your 4 am friend, your gossipy girlfriend, all rolled into one and marry them, it leaves very little space for complaints about spending too many years with them. There, I’ve placed a cliche of my own before you now, possibly as soggy as the Parle- G biscuit you dunked into your tea this morning but I really am being sincere. No matter how much we fight over the most inane things, call each other names like children despite being parents and drive each other up the wall, that love, that oozey gooey brownie kind of love that sticks to the roof of your mouth always lingers.

Of-course being so in love with your hubby doesn’t solve many other worldly issues such as gifts. Yes they are a token, yes, you keep giving each other things through the year so how does one day matter etc but who doesn’t love finding the perfect gift. Seeing a flicker of surprise, happiness and appreciation is something every gifter craves innit?! I was one of this tribe, sitting on the eve of our 7th year of marriage (yes, the ironical significance of this ‘itchy’ year is not lost on me) wondering what on earth I could buy my husband that would make his day truly special. There was a romantic dinner planned but what else could I buy to bombard him with my love?!

Like a possessed Juliet, I made some time and ran to the mall and a few stand alone stores, sifting through everything from practical to romantic gifts, from chaddis, to perfumes to watches to desperate measures like spa vouchers. It was all done and dusted (well, except the spa vouchers of course) nothing appealed to me and after 4 hours of driving myself nuts I was sitting dejected, at a coffee shop, lost and licking my wounds of defeat.

My mind was wandering but my anxious social media seeking fingers went from one post to another till I landed up staring at a poem. ‘I carry your heart’ by E E Cummings. I sat at that coffee shop for a long time, savouring every word, feeling happy and nostalgic and melancholy and grateful, all at once. That poem took me through my own journey, making me remember how we had we met, how we fought to be with each other, how we had made so many precious memories together and how we would make so many more in the years to come. On that eve of our anniversary, I sat in that coffee shop and had a pre-celebration all of my own. Of-course, once I pulled myself out of my trance, I rushed to a late night service where I printed this poem out and gifted it to my husband over our special anniversary dinner. That is the thing about words. They made the stoic, warrior-hearted husband’s eyes moisten up and reach for my hand and he held on to it through dinner. That poem and that evening are still emblazoned in my memory. The day I found those words. Rather, the day that they found me.

THIS POST IS WRITTEN FOR NOVEMBERSCHILD IN ASSOCIATION WITH KALAMPEDIA – QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE”

the art of being fine

I guess I’m fine

I’m always fine

When your warm hand slipped out of mine after an entire life of holding on and became cold, when I didn’t want to live anymore, they told me, don’t be like this

You’ll be fine soon they said, so I was fine

I think it’s been so long since you’ve gone that I should feel fine all the time. But to be honest, everything feels lacking, a bit sub-par

I eat all the same things we used to but all of it tastes a little bit different you know, like its missing some salt

When I look up at the sky, I sometimes see your face in an odd shaped cloud floating by. That does make me feel better for a while

No matter how many times I make your side of the bed, it never seems right. I think I mess it up myself, just so that it can look like you’ve slept in it

I try to keep myself busy but ever so often, silly things, little things flood my head with you,

A smile I see yours in, someone slurping tea like you did, a nervous hand tapping a table that used to drive me insane

Once I had to berate myself quite severely, when I saw your rusted razor and I cried for days

Don’t worry I’m better now

I have to feel better don’t I? There’s no choice

I try and go for long walks but lately I’ve been forgetting the way back home so I try not going too far

I go to parties but I feel even lonelier sitting all by myself in a corner of the room

I can understand. I don’t blame them. I don’t hear too well and have nothing much to talk about either

So you see? I’m living my life. It’s not much of a life without you, but I live it.

I always lay out an extra plate for you, every-day. It looks empty, just as I feel inside, but I know that one day we will hold hands again

And then I shall truly, truly be fine

There’s today


Life is a constant and unrelenting pursuit.

Of dreams, of destinations, of meaning , of purpose.

What am I doing? How can I do this better? Is this enough?

I sometimes think no one is happy with where they are.

It’s like being on a train journey, always anxious, in anticipation of the next stop
.

Instead of enjoying that mild sedatory rocking motion, that numbing of the nose while sticking it out of the window in the cold nippy night, fighting sleep to crack that murder mystery you’ve carried along as a perfect companion.

Who says striving is bad?

It has tremendous power.It powers us to do more, to do better,to not give up.

But if God intended us to be constant strivers, he would have delivered us as robots.

It’s our imperfections, our pace, our need to slow down that makes us real.

Tomorrow is great but today is amazing.

That picture looks great but put down that camera and let your eyes behold real beauty.

You might not have finished 3 lucrative assignments but you finished that little dollhouse project today.

You never made it for the fancy holiday your friends are on, but you had a piping hot cup of coffee watching the sun set with your head resting against the only shoulder that matters.

You’ll never make everyone happy.

You’ll never have everything to desire.

You’ll never make all your dreams come true.

But look around, take a deep breath, and know that today, you’re already part of an amazing one.

Drive

 

When was the last time you took a drive?

Just sat in the car, unclutched all your thoughts and accelerated far away from whatever is holding you back or towards whatever you want

The headlights come on, clearing your mind and the path ahead, showing you where you’re heading

The seat belt clicks you back into reality but as you pull out of the garage, you feel unfettered, free

Is it necessary to know where you’re going? Sometimes

Will you always know where you’ll end up? No

But does it matter?

The blinking street lights zip past like orderly, well behaved fireflies

Suddenly there is no traffic and you are left soldiering alone, against the inky black sky

Enjoying the solitude, enjoying the nothingness, enveloped in nothing but a nippy breeze

As you stick your hand out to tame the wind and try to grab fistfuls of it, your hand keeps flailing around, almost merry

And it’s a loss of control that feels amazing

Your hair, pulled away from your face is the only thing looking back, taking notes

While you blaze ahead, liberated, anxieties annihilated

Feeling like you’re infinite

An heirloom

 

I owe you so much little one
I’ve tried to repay this debt in tears, patience, lessons, hugs and kisses
But there is so much more I want to show you before this world implodes and consumes itself
A million crimson sunsets, where you can just hear that slight thud when the horizon gets greedy and gobbles up the fiery spheres
Beautiful rivers that carry hopes and goods and people, up and down, like the tides of life
Mute verdure mountains awash with the beauty of simplicity
Kind people who help everyone in their paths like gentle streams rearranging pebbles along their way
Gestures that are laden with hope and happiness, not reciprocity
Long drives taking us to new places, new people, new experiences and sometimes to nowhere
This basket that I’m weaving for you is full of small, simple, happy things
I’ll cover them all with a blanket of hope as I pass them on to you
I know you will look back and wonder what there is left to love in a world packed to the brim with hate, violence, blood and sorrow
But that is when I want you to sit with this little basket and see the wondrous world that was, and still could be, through my eyes

Static


The axis of just about everyone’s personal universe is balanced on something precarious and unpredictable.What will he think? What will she think? Will I look stupid? What will they think if I fail?

This brotherhood of apprehensions comes in a thick book full of myriad shade cards.

One more debilitating than the other, leading to paralysis.

Of intent, actions, determination and resolve.

It’s that same look you see on a child’s face, tapping his bat nervously, waiting for the ball to come in the backdrop of a sea of expectant faces.

Behind stooped shoulders and a quivering mouth, desperate to answer a lingering questioned scribbled and left unanswered on a blackboard.

In an unfinished joke that withers away on unsure lips.

On the beads of perspiration dripping down throbbing temples, which were full of a speech, now frozen, having already predicted failure and judgement.

All they really need to do is see nothing, assume nothing, hear nothing, but the sound of their own voices.

They are the masters of their destinies.

Opinions and tags are like transient ash from a withering campfire.

Long after the ash, fire and heat are gone, what will remain are the coals and pebbles of their determination.

Determined

It flickers, dances, now you see it, then you don’t

Playing hide and seek like a twinkling star

But it’s there.Sitting at the end of that road, that tunnel, that journey

Egging you to try, to fight, to walk, then run towards it

It keeps you warm in the biting cold

It sheaths and shields your passions in the blinding rain

It is baked and stoked on the coals of your determination

It is carved by your shaking but stable hands full of clay and doubt

But it will take shape 

Morphing into people, faces, destinations or dreams

The journey between where you are and where you want to be

I can see you so clearly that it seems you were made for my sight

I can feel you in every pore of my body

My knees might buckle I will still crawl to you

My hands might shiver but my elbows will renew

With every fibre of my body withering and washing away

I will conquer, vanquish , I will have my way.

I want my money back

I would feel cheated for my money.

If I had paid good money, to buy silence.

Post purchase dissonance for sure.

I would rip open the package it was delivered in, but gently, aren’t all wrapping papers engineered to shout and crackle?

I would expect a whole day’s worth of deafening silence but I’d be in for a shock.

The early morning solace, pounded by the unrelenting waves of unfinished conversations playing back from last night.

The quiet coffee lull, shattered by the newspaper screeching its warnings about the world gone mad.

A long run up the hill, without a soul in sight, would fill my head with the noise of aborted work and the instructions I never uttered.

No one plays cassettes or tapes anymore but there is a broken down tape recorder in my head that is always powered up and replaying memories and songs I have long muted.

Try stuffing your ears with cotton and your head with reverberate with the echoes of your own thoughts.

That fellow commuter,listening to music on his earphones, will still, egged on by an incensed sense of politeness, murmur pleasantries while craving his own quietude.

Makes me wonder if it’s more polite to be quiet than to break someone’s quiet.

Did you know that even the sun sets with a slight thud? Everyone’s a talker I tell you.

And don’t even get me started about bedtime orchestras.

Those crickets are my sworn enemies.

If I was really delivered that package, I would send it right back!

Thread by thread


Tricks, emotions, tears, joy and trepidation.

Relationships are like that unpredictable blanket, sometimes too territorial and snug, making you sweat, sometimes not as indulgent, leaving your toes peeping out in the unwelcome cold.

Every fibre woven with memories, music, melancholy.

Infused with a familiar smell of warmth and familiarity,some parts soaked in helpless tears.

Sprinkled with stains of cozy coffees, tinkling laughter and aimless conversations.

Strong and unyielding in portions, threadbare in others.

Tug a string too far and line upon line will unravel.

Tangled, twisted, knotted, but they will still make sense to you.

A wrap too strong and you feel suffocated.

With the rigours and vicissitudes of life, the patterns fade, the lines blur.

But on the most directionless of days, and the darkest of nights, they will land softly on your weathered shoulders.

To lift your chin, to wipe a tear, to kiss a lip, to tell you that tomorrow is another day.

To tell you, stay warm, I’m here with you tonight.

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