Saturday, April 11, 2009


She stood there alone like a proud, unwavering reed refusing to bow down to the swirling winds of change. Her lush brown hair framed a face angelic in its austere beauty. A gentle breeze wafted by as the blood red sun prepared to bid farewell to a balmy evening. She leant her frame against the wall, as if for a moment faltering under a great burden. Her eyes closed and her face bent forward as she fell into a stupor. The rumble of the incoming train broke the spell, however, and she heaved a forlorn sigh at being greeted back on earth.

It wasn't her train. The mass of living, breathing humanity snaked its way out and thundered past. The oppressively vulgar intrusion disgusted her as always and she found herself turning away, face knotted in disapproval. The dust flew up in its wake, almost choking her with acrid surprise. She ran her fingers through her hair and looked at her watch. Her train was late. She looked up and saw him.

He walked with a slight swagger. He had seemed in an awful hurry as he ran up the stairs but the sight of an empty platform seemed to come as a pleasant surprise as he puffed out his cheeks and smiled at his good fortune. His face had a curious familiar quality that surprised her and she looked away. When she looked back, he was looking at her. His expression was neutral, almost excessively so, an inscrutable mask she found hard to penetrate. She looked away quickly and tried to go back to thinking what she had been thinking. Her mind, however, had gone blank, and she found herself turning back in his direction.

He was leaning against the railing, looking down. He sighed almost imperceptibly, and for a fleeting second looked years older. He shook his head and muttered something to himself before flicking a glance at her. She looked away again, this time determined not to return the gaze. Something was happening between the two strangers, intangible, ephemeral and strangely sad. She looked back involuntarily and for the second time their gaze locked. A hint of a smile on his lips seemed to melt her heart and she felt like dropping all inhibitions at her feet and bounding into his arms. But the roar of the train, and gushing humanity interrupted her yet again and this time when the dust had lifted, he was no longer there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


The winding road to nowhere - promising so much, and delivering so little. I keep walking. On and on. I knew not where.

The light begins to fade. The birds return home to adoring children, chirping their approval of a day's work well done. And soon all is quiet. The forest sleeps oblivious to a lonely soul.

The road keeps going. Shadows lengthen. The path is cobbled by a million fragments of light and shade. The breeze picks up, carrying with it a thousand dead leaves that speak in a mute whisper. But I'm only human and cannot understand the strange tongue.

A light in the distance fills me with a sudden elation. There lay my destination! I start running towards it, not caring which way I took. Serpentine trails that become ever fainter, lead me deeper and deeper into the forest. The light grows brighter, but I'm no closer to its source.

The ground changes character, becoming more and more rocky. The slope becomes steeper too, making it harder for me to continue. But they were petty obstacles in the face of my determination, and I press on.

I was almost there, almost at the summit of the climb. My destination could not be far. The light was so much brighter now, I could almost touch it.


All of a sudden, the ground gives way beneath my feet. In a split second the world turns upside down and I find myself hanging on for dear life.

The valley was a gaping chasm waiting to swallow me whole. And no one could save me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Vision

The road dwindled along. The light was fading fast. Soon there would be nothing more than a few smouldering streaks in the lap of the evening clouds. I quickened my step, trying to bridge the gap to my home, before the forest engulfed me.

My mind wandered. There was someone walking alongside me. Someone I knew so well. We walked together in silence - not the awkward, brittle silence that exists between strangers in an elevator, but warm, comfortable silence, like that between familiar souls.

She turned towards me and smiled. I was struck as always by the happiness she exuded from every corner of her face. Her eyes danced in glee and her lips curled in an impish grin. Seized by an impulse, I pulled her towards myself, and kissed her. A warm glow seemed to suffuse my entire being and for a second I felt free. Free of all the cares in the world, free of all the chains that weighed me down a moment ago. I had found her. And wasn't it about time?

I walked on but this time with a spring in my step. I had found my muse. But wait, there was no one beside me - an apparition had appeared and stolen my heart, but had vanished momentarily, snuffing out the straggling flame of hope in its infancy. I was deflated, forlorn - a bitter disappointment replacing the euphoria. But the vision was strong as ever.

Who was she?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

There was not a soul to be seen. A soft rustle was the sheer backdrop of a chilly evening. The light shone golden from the street lamps - the backwash, eerie and yet so beautiful. The pitch-black sky was tinged with violet at the rims, a gentle reminder of storms in the distance. Nature had rolled out her white carpet for mortals on earth. And I stood there watching and marvelling, as time stood still.

The sidewalks were treacherous - black, invisible ice ever threatening to pull out the carpet from underneath. The cars had gone missing, or perhaps immobilized by nature's soft rebuke. The air was crisp - the smell of moist earth trickling in, awakening the senses like no other. The chill had almost disappeared, leaving sweat underneath layers of winter clothing.

And there she was, stepping daintily out of the thicket, stopping midway across the street, and turning her full brown eyes upon me. I stared transfixed, unable to move lest I frighten her away. Light glinted off her dark skin and stray flakes were brushed off with a cursory shrug. She was a sight to behold!

The crisscrossing shadows were playing tricks with my eyes and suddenly I had become the primeval hunter and she, my game. In a game of cat-and-mouse, I had emerged victorious. But one look had gone straight to the heart, melting the wall of ice, and I couldn't bring myself to ring the death-knell for such a wonder. So I gazed on and on, willing the moment to last forever.


The hitherto frozen trees trembled and creaked under the weight of fallen snow. Birds awakened from peaceful slumber voiced their raucous protest. The woods had come to sudden life and shook me from my reverie, as nature welcomed me back in her midst.

But the spell had broken. She slipped away quietly from whence she came, and I walked on alone in silence.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


A faint ringing floated in from afar. I followed the sound to its source. It was the telephone.

First light hadn't broken yet. Weird hour to be calling someone I thought. I picked up.

But the phone went on ringing, and it kept getting louder. I tried to turn it off but it wouldn't. I was about to scream in frustration when I got a nudge from behind and almost on cue, blissful silence! But wait. It wasn't a phone in my hand. It was the alarm clock and my senses still swimming, I sat up in bed to another day of my mundane existence.

It was almost psychedelic - the way things floated into one another, forming a myriad of fantastic shapes. Like someone had spilled paint on an empty canvas. Light played strange tricks as it trickled into sight, waxing and waning to an unreal pulse. There was a voice in the back of my mind telling me to be up and about. But caught up in this phantasm, somewhere between reality and imagination, it loses conviction and sings along to an unheard tune, a silent symphony.

I'm back home, relaxing on the sofa, reading a novel. It was one of those thrillers, the kind that grips your attention in a wrestler's hold, and refuses to let go until you've devoured the last page. The ceiling fan was turning, but the heat refused to go away. Sweat trickles down my nose, and my arms, and my thighs, and drips off the tips of my hair. But it doesn't affect me in the least - I'm used to it. The Indian summer.

The trees outside seem paralyzed. Not a blade of grass stirs. It seems the entire city is having her siesta. Busy intersections are quiet, raucous corners empty, even the policeman dozes in a shady corner. I remember how I loved these moments of suspended animation as a child. While the city slept, the young mind would embark on adventures filled with pirates and ghosts and treasure. A mere four walls were not enough to restrict the boundless freedoms of thought.

My mind grows wistful, ever fonder of times past, and I can't resist. The train of long-forgotten thought chugs by, offering a fleeting glimpse of bitter-sweet memories. It stops in a cloud of smoke, and I get on ...

A faint ringing floats in from afar. I follow the sound to its source. It was the telephone ...