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The Power of Silence

I stepped out of the crowded train, grumbling under my breath. The night air a peculiar mix of petrichor and a stench of sweat. I whipped my bag off, it was soaking wet, trying to find the umbrella that I usually kept. I searched frantically but couldn’t find it. Before I even opened the other compartment I was rudely reminded; my brother had taken it just this morning, the anger I felt was blinding.

The drizzle turned to torrential rain, lashing against the metallic shelter; under which crowds of frantic people were now running helter-skelter. I went down the stairs and took a right, as my path opened into the night; I stood just away from the grasp of the wet ground, waiting for the rain to subside. I cursed at sour lady luck, repeatedly used an expletive that rhymed with “truck”, wishing tonight had been a little different and I wasn’t here, cranky and stuck.

As I stood there with a blank stare, muttering quietly in despair, I suddenly smelt a delicious fragrance diffused into the damp air. I looked around like a wide-eyed owl, with a confused expression and a curious scowl, and as I spotted the little sandwich shop, my stomach let out an angry growl. I sprinted towards the store my heart in a little flutter, the aroma of grilled cheese and burnt butter on the side of crusty bread was making my mouth water. Two minutes after that, I stood with two grilled sandwiches in my hand, happy that this night was finally doing something except wanting to get me mad.

Fatigued and famished from all that waiting, I was salivating as I moved in for the first bite. But then I saw something else in the night that made me stop before I could eat. In a dark corner across the street, sat a man alone, on the stone pavement just a few feet away from where I stood. He sat still with closed eyes, arms raised to the open skies, his lips moving in quiet prayer for the Gods that I couldn’t see. His clothes were riddled with gaping holes, so were his shoes with torn soles; he shivered involuntarily every time a raindrop kissed his skin with jarring cold.

I covered one sandwich with a paper plate, hoping to preserve it from the rain, as I walked carefully in his direction I could see and feel his sorry state. As I stood before him, I could hear his breathing; rugged and heavy, the words receding, fading into the sound of raindrops crashing against everything. I tapped his shoulder and he opened his eyes, registering a look of sudden surprise. I lowered the plate and he lowered his arms, his eyes dropped their gaze from the skies.

When he spotted the food, a giant plateful, he looked at the heavens and prayed, immensely grateful. He gazed at me then, all the while, his lips stretching into a smile as I looked at him and returned the gesture. I stood over him and watched him eating, savoring every tiny bite even with the rain beating furiously against his skin. The sight made my heart melt so fast, I opened my sandwich and sat next to him.

For the next 15 minutes two strangers sat; with a pact of silence, both soaked and damp. Words unspoken, the quiet unbroken, yet one of the best conversations I’ve ever had. After I finished my treat, I got off my seat and smiled at him one last time. I turned around, without a sound, and quietly walked off into the night. A heart uplifted with new found hope, body and soul thoroughly soaked, I looked back at what I’d left, and I saw him embracing his torn, old cloak. Before he faded into the dark, I saw him slowly lifting his arms; the inaudible prayer resumed in all its glory-probably tranquil whispers of our story. He sat still again in pious defiance, amid the thundering of nature’s violence; I looked up and prayed for him, hoping the Gods could hear the power of silence.

Still I Rise

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I rise!

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That i dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame,

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling i bear in the tide.

 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

 

 

A walk down the bazaar!

I walked by a chuski-wallah today
and he ran a spoon down the row
of bottles in front of him- sapphire,
emerald, ruby glinted off cheap glass,
making things look prettier than they
are, and he ran it back left, tying an
invisible noose around my wrist, and
it held me in place, peering through
the wooden planks that made up his
castle of forbidden treats and tastes.

He smiled back through, rotten teeth
bared in a weather-beaten imitation of
a welcome for an unwilling, unwarranted
visitor, and wrapped a cloth around a
block of ice, greyed and frayed with
age and use- shaving upon shaving of
feathery powder piling up under his
yellowed nails, cracked fingers prying
apart solid dreams to mould to his
own delicious mechanisms.

He looked up again, the question writ
on his face, running the spoon with
slow deliberation across the cap of each
bottle, till I nod, almost imperceptibly at
the murky brown- kaala khatta, extra masala,
and he smiles wider, approving, of what, I
don’t know, and as he pours, I walk away,
deaf to his protestations- I had promised
Ma that I’d stay away from all diseases
in the light of the exam season.

Boys and Men!

I met a little boy once, and
He had the prettiest eyes I
Had ever seen, so I told him
So in as many words, and he
Looked up at me with anger
That belied his age and said,
“Boys aren’t pretty, girls are.”
That little boy grew up just
A bit, and could create magic
With a little bit of flour, and
A lot of skill, and when I asked
Him why he never took the
Cupcakes he baked for me on
Lazy Saturday afternoons, to
School for his friends to have,
He looked at me with scorn that
Flooded his eyes, and stung
Me, only to say, “Only girls bake,
I just do it for you.” Eventually,
He grew up into a young man,
And he fell in love with a woman
Who broke his heart, and I could
Hear him sobbing at night, and
The tear stained pillows left a
Trail of his pain in the laundry
Basket, and when I asked him if
I could ease it somehow, he
Lashed out at me, and said, “Men
Don’t cry, and you know that.”, I
Kept quiet, though his pain was
Mine, for I wasn’t supposed to
Question his ideas of what a boy,
Man, son, father, husband, friend,
Lover, uncle, were supposed to
Be, but I wish I could, because I
Could see the red gashes running
Up his thighs and wrists, and I
Knew before I asked him, that he’d
Say, “You’re silly. Men don’t get sad.”

This Is What You Need To Know About Dating A Successful Woman

It probably wasn’t the fact that she’s pretty that attracted you. Hell, she might not even be conventionally attractive. It’s almost confusing for you too, because you’re used to running after pretty little things. Suddenly, you’re struck by something more. You’re struck by her aura. It’s one of competence and capability. She might be a mess, but she’s a very precise sort of chaos. She knows what’s going on, and she’s not afraid of getting what she wants. She has an air of ability that stems from being able to simply understand the world around her.

You’re drawn to her because she represents so much that you want in your life- focus, stability, skill, and passion. She’s what you want, and what you want to be. She’s your goal, your ideal, and at the same time, your competition.

But a flipside exists.

She’s mercurial because her moods are directly impacts by her work. She’s lovelorn, and demands your attention at times because she’s usually too busy to build bridges. At other times, she retreats, because she’s incapable of providing you companionship. You’ll resent her on some days because she’s ALWAYS doing something enviable, something terrifically difficult. You can’t fathom how she does it.

But she does.

You can’t fathom why she loves you.

But she does.

You can see how much effort it takes for her to consciously put aside her constant hunger for more to reach a point of stability with you, and you wonder why. You wonder, because you know she could do better, and she could do brighter.

She still sticks around, because she knows you’re an investment, and she knows how to make great ones.

She lets you into her most private spaces, the ones she’s used to automatically guarding because of how many people who like to see her fail. You’ll see her loneliness, and all that she’s been forced to let go. You’ll learn to read her body like the many manuals she tends to disregard because she always feels she knows better.

You’ll learn how she automatically considers the balance between the both of you a competition, and then realizes it isn’t. You’ll figure out how to deal with the inertia of being with her, and the jolts and shocks you’ll have to ride over will soon become familiar to you. You’ll know how to avoid them.
This may sound like a lot of work, and rather thankless in nature too, but you’ll realize that she’s brilliant for a reason. She’ll give her all to you, and then some more. You’ll be her priority on every step of the way. She’ll love you like she loves herself, and that’s a lot of love right there.

More importantly, she’ll respect you, and force you to rise to a level where you respect yourself. She’s someone who takes incredible pride in whatever she does, and your relationship will be her first priority because it’s a choice she made, and decided to stick by.

Respect that. Respect the fact that a woman who could climb heights you can’t even imagine wishes to scale them with you. Respect the fact that she pushes you, because she wants you in step with her, not inferior in any way.

But most of all, respect the fact that she’s investing all the acumen and she’s accumulated over the years in your relationship. You have the best of the lot. Don’t ever waste it.

Try your best to be with a successful woman, and give to her as much as she gives to you. Good investments never go wasted!

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The Perfect Man!

I’m sure that when I came into this world, your face was shining with glee,

You were selfless enough to stand aside, to let Mom have the first sight of me.

Since then you haven’t stopped sacrificing, you did everything to keep me going,

From being a toddler, to girl, to woman; you silently filled all the gaps that were showing.

You gave me every little pleasure I know, and you found happiness in every squeal,

You trusted me to sit on your lap and drive, when I could barely hold the steering wheel.

You were always there- my strongest protector, the first and most trusted line of my defence,

You raised me carefully with everything good, and the bad you meticulously cleansed.

Of all the times I was found begging for support, you blindly offered to be my staff,

You did silly things (like rub your stubble on my face), just about anything to see me laugh.

You lay the whole world right at my feet, and made it so embarrassingly simple to walk,

Your gentle yet strong presence always around me, quietly negated life’s infinite shocks.

You surrendered your life all to my cause, attached yourself to everything within my sights,

No wonder I loved being Daddy’s little girl, (not just because you took my side in fights.)

You’ve been an inspiration and a hero too, rescuing me every time when I sat down and cried,

Brothers, boyfriends or husband for that matter, can’t match your greatness if they tried.

You groomed me for life’s bigger stage, and you did it relentlessly without a single pause,

You watched me perform from behind the scenes, even when YOU deserved all the applause,

God knows the million times when I fell; you managed to make me fight another day,

You were there on all the big occasions, to hold me steady whenever I would sway.

There was nothing else I could’ve asked from life, you mapped everything out before I knew it,

You made sure no opportunity slipped me by, even if I was naive and stupidly threw it.

You won this woman’s heart, right from the start, in a way that will never again be won,

With all that you’ve ever done for me Dad, you left God’s wildest expectations stunned.

I love you for all the uncompromising love, which flows from your blood and every bone,

Thank you for giving me all this happiness, even before you thought of your own.