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।
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।
‘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.’
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.
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.
Sometimes I forget to be natural.
I try to act perfect.
I forget I can become vulnerable too.
I just have to accept what I feel.
Just be who I am.
Just throw away the mask.
Just turn on the true face.
I should not pretend I am fine.
If I’m sad, I don’t have to,
again, pretend I’m good.
If I’m happy, I don’t have to,
wonder how I can be happy?
Is there something wrong?
Is there something I missed?
No, no, no.
I don’t have to pretend to be normal.
I forget I have feelings,
It doesn’t demand perfection.
It’s natural to be imperfect.
It’s natural to be a human.
It will take time to pull myself together,
But denial to accept my vulnerabilities,
It will work against me.
People around me notice that.
But I notice that after it happened.
Then I realize I don’t have to do that.
I must accept my feelings,
Even though they make me vulnerable.
The crazy fact is,
Imperfections make us humans,
Trying to be perfect only make us robots,
We must choose to be a human.
‘Hey, Anvita,’ I said after gathering so much courage to talk to her.
She turned around.
‘Yes?’ Her eyebrows narrowed. ‘How do you know my name?’
‘People don’t forget the name of their first love.’
‘I was your first love?’
‘Yes. It’s obvious you don’t remember me. I never approached you. I was in fifth standard. I used to pass through your building four to five times every day on bicycle to have a glance of yours. It has been 14 years since the day you shifted. I remember that evening. You were wearing a yellow frock with black dots all over it.’ Her eyebrows raised, eyes widened, and corners of lips stretched into a slight smile. ‘The tempo loaded. And you all left. I thought I was seeing you for the last time. Turns out, I was wrong.’
‘Yes. I still have that dress with me. Yellow is my favorite color. I never throw away yellow colored clothes. You seem to tell the truth.’
‘Yes, I am.’
‘Good to know that. And nice to meet you. Bye.’
As she turned around, I called her.
‘Hey.’ She turned around, her gaze, inquisitive. ‘Is there any chance I get to know you better?’
‘Please. People don’t get to meet their first love again in their lives. I’m lucky. And I will consider myself the luckiest guy in the world if I get to know you.’
‘You’re right. But I’m afraid it’s not possible. I’m committed.’
‘No problem. It’s good to talk to you.’
And she left.
I don’t know if I should be disappointed or happy to see her. I guess I should be happy to get to see her and there is nothing to be disappointed about. The crazy fact is, it is better to gather a little courage in the moment than be in a dilemma forever.
(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)