उस मुस्कुराहट के पीछे

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जुदाई का ये आलम हमसे,
न जाने क्या क्या करवाएगा,
जब भी याद आएगी उनकी,
न जाने कितने आंसू रुलाएगा,

साथ बिताया हुआ हर लम्हा,
लबों पे मुस्कुराहट तो ले आएगा,
मगर उस मुस्कुराहट के पीछे,
न जाने कितने गम छुपाएगा।

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फसा देगी ये आँखे

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ये आँखे, फसा देगी ये आँखे एक दिन,
जुबाँ पलट जाए, पर ये अपनी जिद नहीं छोड़ती,
नियत बता देती है, सच बया कर देती है,
और अनजाने में इकरार भी कर देती है।

हमारी तकरार पे आँखे मासूमियत से बोली,
आदत है मुझे ताने सुनने की,
क्या करे, यहाँ लोगो के दिल बहक जाते है ,
और कसूर नजर को दिया जाता है।

Motherly Instinct

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Bruises on knee, thighs, and feet were covered with jeans. I took sweatshirt out from bag and wore it to cover bruises on arms. Then I called my brother out of the home, told him to inspect bike to ensure there were no leaks. He affirmed there were none. The scratches on leg guard, mud guard, and silencer were not much visible. I asked him to not tell mother anything. He agreed. As we entered home, she asked me why I was late from work. I gave an excuse of work overload as I passed without looking at her and went directly into bedroom. I needed to change as soon as possible. The jeans had blood stains and torn little at right knee.

As I was about to take the sweatshirt off, she commanded me to get back in the living room immediately. I pulled down the half pulled up part, went into the living room, and stood in front of her. She was sitting on a sofa with TV remote in her hand. I put left leg forward, turned my body sideways from right, and put right leg behind left.

“What’s wrong?” she said.

I noticed my brother, who was standing at the door, shaking his head with a sympathetic smile.

“Nothing,” I said to mother.

“Nothing?” she repeated.

Then she shot a hard look at me. I stood expressionless. But the mother is the mother. You blink and she knows what it means. She stepped toward me and peeped at my right leg.

And what followed after that was what I had feared and been trying to avoid. The outburst. Before even knowing what happened to me, she just lashed out at me. How careless, reckless I have become. How I do not care about what would have happened to her if things would have been worse, and what not. All the attempts to convince her I was alright went in vain. I just walked out into bedroom. But the outburst didn’t stop.

When she vented out everything, she came in bedroom and checked on bruises.

Later that night, she prepared a lotion of turmeric and ghee. Then she applied it on bruises. I even asked her to let me do it. Her reaction, no, let me do it, you’ve done more than enough. When she finished, she asked me to be cautious while driving. I promised.

The crazy fact is, at the end of the day, the whole world may change, but a motherly instinct will always be sharp as ever.

I Am a ‘Feel Good’ Kind of Guy

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This is who I am. A feel good kind of guy. No one comes to me for an honest opinion. They come to me when they want to feel good about themselves. Friends, colleagues, relatives, and everyone of my acquaintance. I don’t know if I radiate a positive energy or what the reason is. No one wants me to be their everything. When they are feeling sadness, frustration, or all those emotions when someone needs someone else to make them feel good about themselves, I’m the guy they approach to uplift their spirits.  Even though they have closed ones with them, they choose me. When they are feeling loneliness, unworthiness, or self-pity, they approach me to vent everything out. I don’t have problem with it, but I have a problem with what follows after.

I am a tight-lipped, reticent guy. The guy who also has issues related to self-expression, so he tries to keep his mouth shut most of the times. Even when I am angry, frustrated, or disappointed, I don’t know how to express it through words or emotions, I just keep everything inside. I have friends, but I don’t have friends to confide in. I absolutely love it when people confide in me. But I have problem to open myself up in front of others.

People vent out everything in front of me. Their issues, insecurities, and suffering. My heart bleeds when they express excruciating pain they are going through following the tragedies from their past. They tell me things they have told only few people, or no one else. Sometimes, their feelings are so raw and deep, I feel awkward while listening to them. They tell me things we must not tell anyone. Those feelings, very personal and very deep, must be kept inside. But they flow with the current of their emotions and express everything. They don’t know if I’m capable of handling it.

I also have emotions. I feel empathy, sympathy, and sometimes bad for them. I keep everything inside. My emotions and their emotions too. I like to be alone. I am not a loner, but I need solitude and personal space. Sometimes, when I am alone, I reminisce those interactions. Those interactions which changed my perspective toward them. Then I wonder how it is possible. The guy looks so happy on outside. The world doesn’t have any idea what he is going through. The woman is cheerful and vivacious. But she bears and unbearable pain every time she breaths. Would I be able to get into their shoes and experience the same? Of course not! Then I feel like my chest is about to burst out of the weight of emotions and stories I kept inside.

Those stories range from my friends to women at work. A friend who tells me about his struggles to convince his parents to let him marry the girl he loves. A colleague who wants to run away from home and can’t bear to take responsibilities of loans he availed. A woman who doesn’t love her husband, but performs all duties of a wife. And a relative who feels loneliness even while staying with family. Different kinds of people, different backgrounds, and different stories. Each has one thing in common. The world doesn’t know what is going inside their minds.

But I do. Everything feels right to me when they are telling me. I feel valued, I feel important, and most importantly, I feel special to be the holder of their raw version. They make me feel I am important to them and they value my listening to their story. I appreciate I listen everything without judging or trying to give them any advice or expressing my opinion on whether they are right or wrong. I just listen. They tell me like they have so much to tell and no one to listen to, but me. I can see the intensity in their eyes. They want to tell everything that’s inside to someone. Just to someone.

And they choose me. I don’t know why. They think I am a harmless creature and I won’t use their secrets against them. Yes, I won’t use their secrets to publicly humiliate them when the time comes. They may insult me; I won’t say a word in return. But I know one thing–I can’t use what they told me in confidence against them. I haven’t told anyone this. I think they must have understood it through my behavior. What else could be the reason? Maybe, I am easily available to them. I don’t have many things to do in my life. I often hang out with friends. I am not an outgoing extrovert or party lover or the one who always has some travel plans for the weekend. I am an introvert who loves solitude and deep contemplation. I love to sleep or lie on bed thinking of something. I barely initiate conversations. If there is no one to talk to, I sit idle, watch something on television, or read a book. If my friend asks me to go out with him, I check my mood. If my mood permits, I go out. Else, I say no straight away. I talk less and listen more. That’s me. Yes, that is the reason. I don’t talk much or express myself eloquently whatever I am feeling at the moment. So they might have thought I am the good guy. He doesn’t judge or comment on something vulnerable. I am a good guy. When someone tells me about their deepest secrets and emotions, I try to understand them. I form an opinion about them, but not the critical one. Or a judgmental one. So yes, in a way, they are right. They come to the right guy whom they can tell everything. Without applying any filters in their minds. They vent out everything. At the end, I say nothing than take care. And we bid each other goodbye.

The problem arises after we bid goodbye. When we meet after the interaction, they treat me like I am just another guy. I don’t look at them the same way I used to. I look at them like some part of them lives inside me now. I treasure that part and it has special significance in the bonding I have with them. But the look doesn’t reciprocate from their eyes. They behave normal. Like we never had that interaction. They behave with others like they are special to them. Well, they don’t even know what I know. They don’t even care to know. They never bother to ask what is going on. Even if they ask, you don’t feel like telling them. Then why do you behave the way they are important to you. I get insecure because you behave normally with me. I never asked them the reason behind this. Maybe, they regret telling me what they told me. Or, they want to pretend everything is alright, but I remind them it’s not. I wonder if they are the same people who confided in me and now pretend like I am just another guy. This has happened over and over again. With each one who confided in me, the same story followed. They treat me like I matter the most to them when they are telling their story. After that, I don’t matter much to them. I felt like I am a human tool on whom they can dump their feelings and forget about it. I then reside in back of their mind in a position where it doesn’t matter if I am there.

And what about me? What about my story, my feelings, and my emotions. I tried sometimes. I tried to express. But something came in the way due to which I have to keep everything inside. Sometimes, they didn’t have time to meet me. Sometimes, they started telling their own story from reference to me and never bothered to ask me to finish my story. I never asked them to listen to me fully, because I don’t want to interrupt their flow of emotions. It was also the moment when I feel like I have been taken for granted. I don’t matter. My emotions or my feelings or my story don’t matter to them. What do I do then? I do what I do the best. I keep everything inside. Then I say something to make them feel good about themselves or don’t say anything at all. They thank me for listening and we bid goodbye.

I still crave for more of their secrets. I am a good guy after all. I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop. When those wheels of time are stopped, I would solve their problems and give them the ideal life they always wanted to live. But I realize that there is nothing perfect in the world. We have to live with imperfections and that is how it is always going to be. We wish or we don’t. That friend has to convince his and her parents to let them marry or do as per their wishes. That colleague has to deposit money for EMI and stay with family no matter what or run away from responsibilities. That woman has to learn to love her husband and perform all duties of a wife or get a divorce. That relative has to feel lonely while staying with family or stay away from family. In all cases, the latter isn’t an option. Else, they would have availed it and they would never have to find me to tell their story.

And I… I have to live with them treating me normal or demand special treatment. I guess, I, too, don’t have the latter option.

 

 

She Gets Into My Head

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She gets into my head.
Whatever she does,
Whatever she feels,
Whatever she says,
Whatever her reactions are,
Whatever she is.

She gets into my head.
When she’s around,
I get distracted.
My attention is toward her.
I may do something else,
But think only about her.

She gets into my head.
Every small detail of her,
Significant or insignificant,
Likes and dislikes,
Everything matters to me,
I admire everything.

She gets into my head.
Even when she’s not around,
I recall our interactions,
Funny, deep, and emotional ones.
And feel good about it.
Like finding a reason to be distracted.

The crazy fact,
She gets into my head.
And she is travelling from there,
Through the road of feelings.
And I never knew,
When she got into my heart.

इन आँखोकी इनायत देखकर

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हररोज़ तो देखते थे हम एकदुसरेको,
फिर हम मुस्कुराकर देखते थे तो क्यों मुकर जाते थे,
गुफ्तगू करनेका प्रयास जबभी हम करते थे,
तो उन आँखोसे अजनबी होनेका पैगाम क्यों दे जाते थे।

तुम्हे क्या पता कितनी हिम्मत जुटाकर,
अपना मन बनाकर आपसे गुफ्तगू करने आये थे,
कितनी सारी बाते ज़ेहनमें रखकर,
धड़कते हुए दिलके साथ तुम्हारे पास आये थे।

नाम न था पता आपका, बस आँखोसे रूबरू थे,
फिरभी आपने निगाहे मिलातेही हमे पहचाना तक नहीं ,
ठुकरा दिया इस कदर की हैरान रह गए थे,
हमारी मासूम बातोंमे छुपी सच्चाईको समझा तक नहीं।

हिम्मत जुटानेवालोको ऐसे ठुकराता हे क्या कोई,
दिल्लगी करनेका ऐसा सिला देता हे क्या कोई,
वो तो आपकी आँखोमे सारा जहा दिख गया वरना,
ऐसे ठोकर खानेके बाद संभालता हे क्या कोई।

जमानेमें तो बदनाम हो ही गए है मदहोशीके लिए,
होशमें भला कैसे रह सकता है कोई उन आँखोमें झाककर,
अफ़सोस नहीं हे हमे हमारे मदहोश रेहनेके लिए,
ये बेखबर जमानाभी बहक जायेगा इन आँखोकी इनायत देखकर।

दुनिया बदलनेवालोकी हिम्मत

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दिलकी बाते जानकर, पीठ थपथपाकर,
हौसला बढ़ानेकी शायद ही किसीकी कोशिश होती हैं,
ढ़लतेे सूरजको देखकर मुँह फेरने वाली इस दुनियाको,
उसकी तड़पन कहा पता होती हैं।

हर मुश्किलका सामना करनेके लिए,
जज़्बा अटूट हो जाता हैं जब नियत साफ होती हैं,
आधी-अधूरी बात जानके नजरिया बदलतीे इस दुनियाको,
दुनिया बदलनेवालोकी हिम्मत कहा बर्दाश होती हैं।

You’re There For me, All The Time..

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‘Please don’t say anything, just… Walk along.’

‘You’re saying, we should walk on this beach quietly? See this beautiful tint the sun had spread upon the sky while going down, feel this cool wind fondling our hair, and this touch of soft sand sending goosebumps into our bodies through our bare feet. And above all, we are holding each other’s hand. How romantic is this! And you want me walk quietly?’

‘Yes, you’re right. Everything is romantic. I’m asking you to walk along quietly because… Because I want to feel someone is there for me all the time. Someone is there no matter what is happening to me, good or bad, how I am, happy or sad, healthy or sick, how I look, handsome or ugly, who I am, mature or childish, sensible or irrational, successful or failure, I don’t know. I just want you to be there. I want to feel this when I am holding​ your hand and you’re saying nothing. But assuring me with the touch of your hand that you are and will always be there for me. The crazy fact is, I just want to feel that emotion.. You are there… For me, all the time.’

Who Left That Window Ajar

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I don’t know who left that window ajar. I stepped into his room to gather his clothes, but my gaze diverted toward the rays of sunlight infiltrating into the room. I opened the window and peered into the sky. A tint of yellow and blue spread across it. A cool breeze of the evening caressed my body. A kid is chasing another kid on the street ecstatically​, both of them filled with delight.

Everything is supposed to make me feel blithesome. No, it failed. When this heavy heart has to drift an unfathomable sorrow for the rest of the life and all attempts to run toward gayety go in vain, the turbulent riot inside becomes unstoppable, sometimes unbearable. Who can obliterate his fond, bitter memories? I remember my tumultuous wail of pain howling inside these four walls a year ago on the same day. 

My life ceased at that moment when I realized the blood won’t circulate anymore into his veins, he won’t respond to my call, he won’t see anything, and his heart won’t beat anymore. He was 27. That appealing call from a stranger that night gave me ineffable sensations​. I rushed to the hospital and doctor conveyed that the fate deprived me of the best person in the world.

Everyone reassured that my life isn’t over. I can’t change what happened, but I must not lose hope. I think he wants the same. That’s why he left this window ajar. So he could say hi to me through this breeze and instill a ray of hope through these rays entering through the slit. These clothes absorbed all the love he had and now they are permeating it in the air I am breathing into. I can try to convince myself all I want. The crazy fact is, two people demised that day. A son and… a mother.

The Twist Of The Fate

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Her supercilious demeanor, impenetrable eyes, quick wit, and bewitching countenance bore an aura of a girl whose loftiness would put the place on fire if evoked. She was the girl whom no one dared to mess with. I knew my reticent, tight-lipped behavior would complement hers. I extemporized my feelings when I approached her. I quavered a little, but she clearly heard my subdued impassioned murmur. I guess it was because a warmth flowed through my speech. The vague expression was comprehensible to her through my incomprehensible words. But her sharp gaze was dawned on me as if it was preparing itself to tear up my heart.

Finally, I muttered last words, ‘Will you go on a date with me?’

I alerted my cheeks to hold weight of tears as her gaze sharpened. My obscure expression made no impact than offending her, it seemed. But I was wrong. She said yes. I was hit by a thunderbolt with her assent.

I asked her, this time articulating my thoughts. ‘Why did you agree? I wasn’t even confident, or expressive. And for a girl of your caliber, I don’t stand a chance. Then why?’

She replied in a courteous, yet confident manner, ‘For the same reason you approached me. You have a tender curiosity to know how I became who I am today. Similarly, you have your side of story too. I want to know what made you an inarticulate, lowly person. Circumstances, experiences, to summarize, stories shape the character of a person. I want to know your story.’

Then she promised to meet me and I looked at her stone-faced as she walked away.

The crazy fact is, the fate takes twists when we take chances.