See You Again

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She was the inspiration behind the first poem of my life. Oblivious of what is going on with her and without any thought of her since I don’t know when, she appeared unexpectedly. Not in my thought, but in front of me. I thought Goa trip was over, memories of the trip were over. But they were not. It was the last phase in the journey back to home of the finally executed Goa trip, from Katraj to Nigdi. She boarded on the bus, searched for a place hastily. As she entered, I noticed she was wearing bangles, the same ones a girl wears after marriage. The same style. I thought she was married. My heart pulsated. I don’t know why. She settled down. I looked at her, and I am not sure if we exchanged glances or she remembered who I am, because I shied away as I anticipated she will turn her gaze toward me. No, it was not possible. She can’t be married. I don’t know why I was concerned about her marital status. She was my crush and I never talked to her. Not even once. What should I do? Should I talk to her or let it be the way it was?

After 12th standard, I saw her once, not once, twice, at two different bus stands. Both times, she didn’t see me. This was the third time. Again, I thought about whether to talk to her or not. I had never dared to talk to her in 12th standard, given her confrontational, sassy, and cocky nature. In addition, this indecision and chaos was result of terrible past experiences of initiating conversations. Once I initiated a conversation, I got scolded from teacher, peon, and principal. Then in another incident, I got a patronizing look from a girl, her disposition showing I am a downmarket pervert. Then I approached a girl and she turned around and walked away with a face like nothing happened. I felt like I had been misunderstood every time. This history loomed large over my capacity of decision-making when it came to the matters of the heart. This time, I feared, would not be different. I would try to say something and it might backfire. I decided to let it be the way it was. I don’t want to end up getting scolded from bus conductor, beaten up by fellow passengers, and thrown out at 11:30 pm for misunderstanding that may arise. There was no transport available besides cabs at that hour. Enough with shitty excuses, the truth was meri fatt rahi thi. Yes, meri fatt rahi thi.

The crowd was less as the bus moved forward and her conversations on the phone were audible. I learnt she attended her friend’s marriage and those bangles were for that occasion. That was the only consolation for the night. Besides that, my cowardice persisted. I didn’t talk to her. Then she descended at her stop and I did what I always did. I wrote a poetry. She was the inspiration for my first poetry and she is also the inspiration for the following poem I wrote.

तकदिरकी साजिशोंमें कही कोई राझ छुपा तो नहीं,
इत्तिफ़ाक़तले मिलने वाले मुसाफिरों की कही मंजिल एक तो नहीं..

मिलन लिखा हो तकदिरमे, तो मिलेंगे फिर इक बार इत्तिफ़ाक़तले,
पर उस दफा, मंजिल की परवाह किए बगैर, बस उस सफर की खूबसूरतीतले।

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P.S. In case, you want to read that first poem, here is the link:

https://crazytruefacts.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/quite-quietly/

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Experience Of First Marathon

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I punched in, gasping. I climbed four floors from parking to reach my office. Before starting the PC, I sat down quietly for a minute to regain my breath, greeted everyone, and started with the day. It was a routine.

Those gasps were embarrassing for me. I no longer wanted to be in that state. I played football for half an hour every day. But I did not run much because I didn’t have stamina and hated gasping. To avoid being in that state, I avoided running. Days passed by with this state.

I was scrolling through Facebook newsfeed one day and noticed a friend interested in an event. It was marathon. I commented to ask how much distance a participant needs to run. He replied there were various distances. 5 kilometers (km), 10 km, and 21 km.

The date of marathon was a month away. It was the time I decided I will run 10 km marathon. Not because I want to participate in marathon (which was in my bucket list, but never took it seriously), but to stop that gasping after little efforts. A 25 year old guy does not look good when he gasps after little efforts. I wanted to be fit, build stamina, and feel good about myself. The marathon was a reason due to which I would run every day and build stamina.

The journey had been phenomenal.

I started running from the next day. I gasped after barely 500 meters on day one and my legs began aching at thighs and calves. I increased distance every day. First few days were difficult. For the entire day, I could not walk straight due to pain in thighs and calves, and sometimes in shins. I gave up eating fast food and biscuits, and began eating healthy food only. Two boiled eggs, three bananas, and a glass of milk along with two meals. Chocolate is an exception. It is a sin to say no to chocolates. Whenever I could eat chocolate, I ate. But I tried to eat healthy.

The result was there. After two weeks, I wasn’t gasping and could run 3 kms. Not in the same speed, but I was able to cover the distance every day.

Then I sought help from my friend, who runs marathon and half marathon regularly. He guided me to run with the right technique and motivated to increase distance. When he told me the correct techniques, I realized I had been running so wrong. I used to run by landing the heel first. Landing on heels causes injuries due to shift in the center of gravity. He guided me to run with toes first, swing hands from shoulders, lean forward little, and pull legs as high as to reach butt. I was glad I could know this with two weeks remaining for the event.

I started running with that technique. Again, it was too difficult to run with the right technique. The technique used by marathon runners to reach more distance with less endurance. With this technique, all the pressure was put on calves and ankles. On first day with the technique, both calves were paining enormously. I was limping next day. Though it was excruciating, I ran the next day. I reduced the distance and focused on right technique. But, both calves and ankles gave up on the day two. I was able to barely walk, let alone running. I could not run on the day three with new technique. I did not run.

On day four with the technique, the pain reduced and I could run 3 kms with right technique. The next two days, I increased the distance up to 4 km and ran with the right technique throughout with varying speeds.

Then I made a mistake. I ate Chinese food after a movie next day. The oil used to make the food made a call. I was ill. Only a week to go for a race, I could barely run 4 kms and I had to take two days off to recover fully. I regretted eating Chinese food so much. It was not a big issue, but with my overthinking, I made it. I was so worried. My friend comforted me. He told me not to worry and I could finish 10 kms on the next Sunday because of the vibe of the marathon.

I began running after two days of full rest. Again, the calves were aching. I could not walk straight. The next day was even worse. My knees began aching. It was frustrating. I had the technique right, then why was it happening?

The next day, four days left for the event, was the most painful one. I could barely walk. Still, I began to run. Calves did not stop paining, knees were weak, and shin bone began aching too. Why the shin bone now? Still, I ran 3 km. Very slowly, but ran. It was the day I realized we can endure more than we think we can.

Three days left. I don’t know what happened during the night. When I woke up, I felt very less pain. I don’t know how. But I was able to walk well. When I started running, calves were hurting, but very little. I could feel strong knees and there was less pain in shin bone. I ran 4 km with varying speeds.

The next day was great. I ran 5 km with varying speeds and right technique. There was little pain, but I managed to run. I decided to take a break a day before the event to run with fresh legs at the event.

It was the first marathon of my life. I could not fall asleep the night before. I barely slept for 2 hours and set two alarms five minutes apart.

And the morning arrived. I drove so fast that a street dog tried to chase me but gave up the thought in the next second. I reached at 5:40 am. If I wake up at this hour, I felt cold so much. But today, it was different. The cold environment was filled with enthusiasm, enchantment, and excitement.

The race timing for 21 km was 5:45 am. I noticed participants gathered at the starting point. As I reached there, a participant asked me where I got the pins to attach chest number to T-shirt. I had four, so I gave him one. I asked if wanted one more, but he refused and ran away. He was participating in 21 km. The whistle blew and 21 km race began.

The 10 km race was at 6:00 am. Before the race, they called all participants for warm up. The music played and everyone was doing Zumba by following dancers on the stage for 10 minutes. Everyone was filled with ecstasy and pumped up for the race. There were participants of all the ages. Few people were uplifting participants’ spirit. After the warm up, everyone gathered at the starting point. The whistle blew.

Everyone started patiently. I began with moderate pace and the right technique. First few kilometers were easy. I jogged with uniform speed with random thoughts running in my mind. Sometimes, few moments of the practice and pain popped in my head. Sometimes, witty bantering with friends. There were fellow runners who motivated everyone to keep running. As I moved ahead, calves began hurting a little as my feet touched the ground. After four kilometers, I slowed down as pain grew. I realized the strength in my legs was not enough. After five kilometers, the organizers sprinkled ink on our chest numbers.

As ink was sprinkled, my pace lowered. I moved ahead slowly and could see the sky getting brightened up from dark. It was the best feeling to see light emerging from the dark. The crescent moon disappeared. The sun was not visible yet, but there was light. I slowed down too much. My thighs, calves, shin bone, and groins began aching. I began using the techniques my friend told me. Whenever you feel like giving up, chase the guy running ahead or match the rhythm with other runners. I did the same. I began chasing the guy ahead.

The last two miles were the most difficult. My pace reached the lowest, but I was jogging. I felt like I was going to have abs at the end of the race. All fats burned. When I saw a board stating only one kilometer was remaining, I suddenly felt energized. I ran the last kilometer with more speed. At the finish line, dhol and tasha band was congratulating the runners for finishing what they signed up for. And it felt great to cross the finish line. Then I collected medal and snacks. To my delight, there were gulab jamuns. It was the best thing about finishing. They should have told me before about gulab jamuns. I would have finished earlier. However, my timing was 1 hour 10 minutes 13 seconds.

The organization was fabulous. The vibe was fabulous. And the experience was fabulous. I learned a lot that I would have never learned. And I will keep running even after the event is finished. I don’t want to loathe in the misery of gasping again.

Trust Is Beautiful

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Those conversations,
those comfortable silences,
and those rides.

Opening up true selves,
and sharing some funny yet weird stories,
while finding a way through traffic.

There was no judgmental attitude,
no ego, no holding back.

Even if someone knows,
the other person is talking trash,
the trash was listened carefully and attentively.
Sometimes, even responded with more trash.

The trash used to build up and at a point,
both burst out of laughter.

While riding, some moments were breathtaking,
as the crash seemed inevitable,
but somehow it didn’t happen.
Even when it was told to ride safely,
it wasn’t given much attention to.

And though it wasn’t given much attention,
the pillow rider didn’t leave in between.

Because those conversations,
happening during ride built up trust.

Trust, that no matter how roughly the person drives,
I’m reaching home safely.

Trust, that no one is going to judge,
when the other opens up.

Trust, that no one will try to rationalize,
when the other is talking trash.

And the crazy fact,
That trust made those silences during rides comfortable.

Those silences were beautiful.
Those rides were beautiful.
That comfort was beautiful.
And the trust, it’s always beautiful.

Unknown Corners Of Someone’s Heart

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‘I can’t give up on her. I just can’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because she opened up some corners of her heart to me that she didn’t even know existed. And I didn’t even know if I was worthy of such privilege. Yet, she did open up.’

‘How could she not know? It was her heart after all.’

‘Because her heart was wounded. She never tried to explore, never tried to heal. She just left it the way it was after the war.’

‘Did she win the war?’

‘No, she lost.’

‘If she found and opened up those corners, you never know, they might heal those wounds. She might be on the path of recovery.’

‘Maybe. And if they are, it would be great. The best thing in the world.’

‘Sounds like, you must be someone special as she chose you to open up to.’

‘No, I was an ordinary guy. Mr. Nobody. But she made me special by opening up to me. The crazy fact, what a privilege it is to explore the unknown corners of someone’s heart!’

Her Womb Promised Her

 

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Her father forced her to marry against her wishes. Her boyfriend promised he would come to ask for her hand, but never showed up. Her husband loved her, but she couldn’t love him back. Though she never backed off from vows she made to him during wedding. But still, she couldn’t love him the way she could.

All important men in her life contributed to her misery. She couldn’t get over attachments she had to them. Her heart always bled for each one of them.

But when she saw those gleaming eyes radiating innocence, those tiny fingers holding her finger, that cheerful smile showing two front teeth, and those chubby pink chicks, she knew, she had found a man who is rightfully hers. No power in the world can deprive her of that little marvel.

When she looked into his eyes and he looked into hers, she thought all the misery she endured and still endures is worthwhile. That little creature became the center of her life. The only wonder of the world. He was everything she thinks he was. The one man on whom she can bestow all the love she reserved in the pieces of her broken heart. The one man who will never make her feel miserable about herself. The crazy fact, her womb promised her that, each day, for nine months.

आसूओमें शरीक ना हुए तो बात क्या

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शिकायत हमे उस मुकद्दरसे नहीं,
जो हमसे उन्हें जुदा कर गया,
शिकायत हमे उस लम्हे से है,
जो आखरी अलविदे के वक़्त थम नहीं गया |

वो मुस्कुराहटे, वो तकरारे, वो मीठी बाते,
वो यादे, दर्द देती हे जर्रे जर्रे से,
बिछडनेसे कुछ अंश निकल गया हमारे अंदरसे,
तो आजकल हम रहते है सहमे सहमे से |

आसू ना बहे, पागल ना हुए,
चंद दिनों का सफ़र सदियो की तरह ना लगे तो बात क्या,
और उन आसूओमें सदियों का सफ़र सिमट कर,
हम उसमें शरीक ना हुए तो बात क्या |

Because You Are… Irreplaceable

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It doesn’t matter how far you go,
you are always going to be,
In my mind, in my heart, and in my soul.
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

I think, no, I know, for sure,
you have been imbibed in my soul.
Not For a day or a year, but forever.
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

That’s why, wherever you go,
I always find you around me.
The same girl, the same innocence.
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

I have imaginary conversations with you,
I replay our conversations,
And I just smile at myself.
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

Whenever I feel like sharing something,
Something deep, something special with someone,
I think of you, and only you,
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

But you are not there,
So I keep everything inside,
And it stays there forever,
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

The crazy fact,
I don’t even share special moments,
Because the special person is gone,
I try to think of someone else, but I can’t.
Because you are… Irreplaceable.

Taken For Granted, Once Again

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I waited. Counting each second, feeling each breath, listening every sound, and watching every thought. The stomach twisting with hunger, tears dripping with memories, and body shrinking with cold. The hope and anticipation running through every vein. Every heartbeat telling me, she will come. We were meeting after a decade. All the chaos, all the anxiety, all the turbulence, and all the thoughts, about just one thing. When will she come?

But she must had been there. An hour passed since the time we decided to meet. How could not she come on time? Wasn’t she excited to see me?

The impatience growing inside me, those memories replaying in my head, and the recollection of suffering I endured were making me restless. I thought she must have been stuck somewhere. So I started the bike and traced along the path from where she was supposed to come. My eyes craved for a glance of her and she kept them craving.

I returned to the place. I sat there for one more hour. At last, I realized, I accepted, she is not coming. I swirled the chocolate on the road, threw the gift in dustbin, and rushed to restroom to wipe away tears. I looked into the mirror. I could literally tell the difference between my tears and water splashed on my face. I had to wash four to five times. They were tears of unfairness. First, I had to endure the suffering of separation. And now, I had to endure the emptiness. Still, tears didn’t stop. How could they? The crazy fact is, I had been taken for granted. Once again.

In One Sided Love

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‘Where are you going?’

‘Why do you want to know?’

‘Just tell me.’

‘I’m not telling you. Why should I?’

‘Why not? Tell me.’

‘You know, you insisting me tells me a lot about what you feel about me.’

‘Is it? Tell me then.’

‘Yeah, I will tell you. Else you’ll insist on that too.’

‘Cut the crap and tell me.’

‘You’re into me. You are insecure if I’m going to meet someone else. The way you look at me, the kind of names you have given me, and you listen to all my crap. Now, you behave like you have gained rights to know everything about me. And if I hide something from you, you can’t take it. You got to know. You become restless and restlessness leads to desperation to know what I’m hiding.’

‘Yes, that’s true.’

‘But I’m not getting one thing. If you don’t want me to hide something from you, why did you hide this from me?’

‘Because that’s what happens in one sided love. You can’t open up. I have seen that. You don’t look at me the way I look at you, you don’t give me names, and what’s happening with me matters very less to you. I know, you don’t feel the same way I feel about you. And that’s perfectly alright. I’m fortunate that you brought it up. Else I don’t know if I would have told you what I feel about you. And I couldn’t think of any better way to make this happen. The crazy fact, what a privilege it is to be in love with such person who doesn’t love you back, but make things happen for you in the most unexpected yet beautiful ways!’

She Was The One

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“Do you know? I was driving through a narrow lane. Then, I saw a car taking turn and approaching toward me. The lane was narrow, only to let two bikes pass. But the car was sped toward me and I didn’t know what to do. As it approached, I was getting really scared. What am I gonna do? I thought I was about to crash into it. It came closer, when we were about to bump, I went to extreme left, then shifted my handle hastily to left and avoided it from crashing into its mirror. I was an inch closer to wall. I thought I might crash into wall, but I maintained my balance till the car passed and I was safe. I don’t know who was driving the car. That lunatic, pompous jackass! He thought he was driving car means he can get away. What about me? It doesn’t matter if I am safe.”

I rested both of my elbows on the table, putting chin on palms of both hands, and looking at her.

“Are you listening? Do you understand anything? What just happened?” she said.

“No, I didn’t understand anything,” I said. “But I just understood one thing. Your voice is very unique.”

She just gave me a hard look.

“What? No reaction?” I said.

“What do you expect?” she asked.

“You know, I decided this. I knew your voice is very unique. But I thought, I won’t tell you directly. I will tell you when I’ll listen to you, but pretend I didn’t listen to you or understand a word you said. That’s why I looked at you poker faced. Then you are so high of emotions while telling a story about yourself and suddenly I drop a compliment like that to catch you off guard and surprise you. I thought, this is the part where I flirt with you and you blush. And then I pretend like nothing I said was meant to be taken that way, I was just outlining a fact. But it seems, I am very bad at it.”

She shot a hard look again and burst into laughter. Putting her hand onto her mouth, she tried to control it. I was just looking at her, embarrassed. She stopped laughing, looked at me, and again burst into laughter. There I saw. Her eyelids turned downward, her cheeks turned pink, and her laugh ending into a closed mouth smile.

“Now, you are blushing. There you are.”

“Yes, I am. But what’s wrong with you.”

I stared at her. “You know what’s wrong with me.”

We were looking at each other. That moment was the moment when I wanted the moment to stop right there. Just an eye to eye, like the eternity lost, the universe stopped, and the millenniums passed.

And there she knew what was wrong with me.

“Do you want me to spell it out for you?” I asked.

“No need,” she said.

The crazy fact, that was the moment I realized, nothing was wrong with me. I was in my full senses when I fell in love. She was the one.