March 8, 2016

Farewell ..

I visited her house today. She didn't want to have company over. I pushed her into making me dinner. She relented, reluctantly so.

She doesn't smile anymore. Not really anyway. Her sullen eyes do most of the hospitality. They try to bridge the gap of communication.

Her lips sealed by grief so deep. Her hands clasping one another, for company, or perhaps in a sub-conscious prayer.

I saw a bit of anger in her fingers, as she impatiently tried to dial a number one too many times. Other than that, she remained at peace.

The scary kind of peace. The one you never wish for your loved ones.

She ruffled in the kitchen looking for something in the noisy drawers. When she couldn't find it, she asked me. "Do you have a lighter?"

She didn't smoke. She just wanted to switch it on. And off. Just once. and then a few times more. It pleased her. She faintly smiled.

Her apartment looked smaller than the last time. Piles of paper and two cats sitting on them. It wasn't dirty. It was just hoarded. Full.

She made dinner, her eyes fixed spookily on the stove and two pots. She was silent and I just looked around for a space to breathe in.

Had I made a mistake in getting myself invited? The view from the balcony had no answer for me. The old parenting pigeons too, flew away.

A thud in the bathroom & we both rushed. The cat, wanting to reach the cabinet, somehow hit the basin, got scared & fell. I got the cat.

She got the wet toothpaste tube that fell in the toilet bowl.

Were those tears? Is she looking at a germ infected toothpaste tube and... sobbing? Wait. No. That's crying. She is definitely crying.

"That was his paste. I never use it. I hated it. I told him. He still bought it just to annoy me." She talked to me. And to herself.

She carefully washed it with an old dried out soap, making sure none of the crease & folds on the tube get spoiled.

She looked up and sang a lullaby to herself in the mirror.

The walls whispered a sad farewell story. He had left her with many questions. And she was tired of finding answers. The mirror was broken.

The cats found a dusted spot and curled up together, purring in temporary bliss. They do not yet know the pain of losing the most loved one.

I dropped on the sofa and looked for my phone in my bag. A long due call had to be made today. If only these tears would stop.


Taale saare waqt ke saath gum ho gaye.. 
Chaabiyaan reh gayeen be-sawaal jawaabon ki tarah.. 

Jin shikaayaton par kabhi sunwaayi na hui.. 
Wo khud baithi hain kathghare mein muzrimon ki tarah..  

Khabar hai ki imaaratein deh gayeen jism ke shor se.. 
Shehar ke shehar naapaak hue hain tere iraadon ki tarah.. 

Usool se toh mohabbat bhi haraam hai doston.. 
Ishq hai to phir jiyo kaafiron ki tarah..  

Hazaar khat ke jawaab mein bas ek dilaasa aaya.. 
Abhi ek aur umr jalaao, chiraaghon ki tarah..

एक औरत ..

मैंने देखा था उस औरत को 
पुराने मंदिर के पीछे.. बंजर पेड़ के नीचे.. 
धूप से लड़ते हुए .. जूतों के ढेर से भिड़ते हुए  .. 
एक गंदे कपड़े से वो .. साफ़ जूते पोंछ रही थी.. 

थैले से झाँकती दिन भर की जमा नींद ..
और पास पड़े कम्बल में उम्र भर की ऊनींदी रातें .. 

जिस्म क्या बाक़ी था ..
एक ढाँचे पर मानो झुर्रीदार भूरी चद्दर .. 
कलाई पर धागे से बंधी .. एक आध मुट्ठी सांसें .. 
और गुदा हुआ मटमैला सा इक नाम 

मगर ज़ीस्त ज़िंदा थी अभी ..
जूते चमकाती चमकाती, खद धूल से सनी हुई वो औरत .. 
जाने क्या बुदबुदाती जाती थी.. 

मुझे दूर से उसके चेहरे की लकीरों में ..
रह रह कर एक उम्मीद नज़र आती रही थी .. 

(Photo Credit: Shailendra Chauhan)