Posted in Fiction

Yawns

You’ve all heard the story of big old Yawn, haven’t ya?

No??!

Well, well then.. gather around.

I’d start the story off by saying ‘Once upon a time, there lived a big old Yawn..’, but of course, it wouldn’t really be true, cuz they are all still alive. On yes, very much. Anyhow, I guess I should stick to convention.

Once upon a time, there lived a big old Yawn. He didn’t look like much, just like all of ’em other Yawns.. a thick grey mouthstache and a pair of ’em blue spectacles I suppose.. truth is, no one really knows what Yawns actually look like. We fall asleep way before we get a good look!

So, you know what Yawns do don’t ya. They are the helpers of Sandman, of course. Like Santa’s little elves. But then, Santa has only gotta work once in a year. It’s not an easy job going around putting little kids to sleep EVERY DAY, ya know.

Especially those little rascal toddlers that never go to sleep. But of course, there is no kid out there that Yawns cannot take care of. First, they take a massive breath in.. and with that they draw in all the tired energy from the kiddos.. and the kiddos feel all light and cool all at once. And then, before they know what hit them, they are literally blown over and away by a long loud yawn – a magical breeze that draws your eyes shut before you know it.. and as it washes over their tiny bodies, they get find themselves in the tales of secret Neverland that the rest of us adults never get to go to anymore..

Hmm..

Okay now, where was I? Ah yes, big man Yawn.. well you see, he..

Hello?

Hehe. Oh my darling sweet things, looks like the Yawns have done their magic already.

Nighty night, y’all. Guess that tale is for another night..

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Posted in Verses

The Line

To love or not

To hate or not

To run or not

To stay or not

Change beckons with an empty hand,

And I falter, as I pre-meditate,

I seek to run

Break out

Of this mould of regularity

That constrains,

Chains,

Every day a known step

In a toxic vicious cycle,

And yet, run.. where?

I lie still, as the darkness

Drives in and out

Of my heart

And my head,

Clouding over all thought.

Release and relapse,

Both choke me in my skin

And I falter

In my steps,

Not knowing

Whether to run

Or stay

Where to run

Where to stay

Whether to love

Or to hate

Who to love?

Who to hate??

.

Till I falter and fall

Along the line of life and death.

Posted in Anecdotes

Call of Duty

I woke to the sound of my phone ringing. It was TR calling. I briefly checked the time before holding the phone to my ear, baffled at why he’d ring me up at 7 on a work day.

“Yes??”, I asked, not bothering to mask the grogginess in my voice.

“Dr S’s mother died”

I shot upright on the bed, all traces of sleep gone.

“What.. how.. who told you??”

“Dr P messaged me. He felt we should know, since we are close to her. She is already on her way to the airport.”

I stared at the wall and blinked. Slapped myself and shook my head to make sure it wasn’t a nightmare.

“God, I’m a horrible person T.. I know I should be thinking about her mom.. but, damn.. my thesis!!”

Dr S is my ‘guide’, the official mentor under whom I work on my postgraduate dissertation. Which is due for submission in a week. She and I were supposed to work together on the final draft over the weekend, and now all the plans suddenly seemed to dissipate.

“Are you crazy?!”, I came to, hearing T shouting at me. “She will be back in a few days, don’t worry about that..”

“But it’s her mother! Do people get back to work so soon? She must be shattered!”

“I’m sure it’ll be okay.. don’t worry. Now get ready soon, the lecture is at 8.30.”

The phone clicked. I blinked again and put my head in my hands, still unnerved at the thought of missing the deadline.

The I picked up the phone and sent a short text to Dr S. Heard the news. Hope you’re alright. Take care.

I was still staring at the wall when the phone rang again. It was Dr S.

“I just wanted to tell you a few things before I left..”

I listened in disbelief as she went over details of corrections, instructions on the changes that needed to be made, and told me to collect the manuscript from their home that she had entrusted to her husband before leaving. All this, on the way to her mother’s funeral.

We hear about professionalism, how some people are dedicated, that trait of working ‘beyond the call of duty’.. We admire them yes, and leave it at that. But there are some rare instances when we come across such people, and are touched to the core by how empathetic they are, how they put the team or those who depend on them before themselves; that someone would put their responsibilities first even at times of personal distress.. and it is those instances that inspire us to be better versions of ourselves as well.

This time, when I hung up the phone, I had tears in my eyes.

Posted in Verses

Nomophobia

Perhaps nomophobia

Is not only about addiction

Or obsession;

Perhaps what defines my irresistible urge

That compulsion

To unlock and stare

At a screen that offers

No respite

Is not really about the chats

Or the calls

Downloads

Other worlds

Or the swipes left and right;

And the panic attacks not about

The fear of missing on a vital

Piece of social life

Or cyber strife

But just…

Well,

What if I say

All I care about

Is not what meets my gaze

On the glaring screen

But what does not –

What if the solace I find

In technology

Is this new paradigm,

This capacity,

Of passing people without really

Looking at them,

Smiling at them,

Yes, the little black contraption

Gives me the power

To pretend

To be like everyone else –

Self-absorbed,

Busy with many private lives

Except those lives are all

In my head,

And not the phone.

.

And so as I spy

Around the corner

Someone new yet familiar,

An old acquaintance,

A nameless face,

I pick on the phone

And walk on

Seemingly oblivious.

No awkward smiles

No lopsided glances,

No irrelevant greetings,

No small talk!

.

I sign in peace

As I clutch my phone

And hurry on –

A normal adult being.

Posted in Anecdotes

Breath

I veered my scooter towards the left, entering the street on which my apartment stands. Two middle aged women who were playing badminton on the road moved to let me pass. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a boy, aged around 15, sitting alone by the side of the lane, gripping a cigarette between his lips and trying to strike a match. I counted one, two unsuccessful tries by the time I crossed him.

In my head, I saw myself turning my scooter around and riding towards him, stopping right next to him. He would relax his hands and look up at me, questioningly. I would pause, hesitating for a moment to decide how best to convey what I wanted to, to the young stranger before me.

“You know”, I’d say, “Each breath that we take for granted, that moves in and out of us unseen, may not always remain so. I’ve seen people struggling every second of the day, every single gasp a test of persistence, of never ending pain. I do not know you. I do not know whether this is your first cigarette. All I know is that, with each puff you take, it gets more difficult to quit. Have you heard of marijuana? Cocaine? Heroin? What you hold is more addictive than them all. Before you strike that match a third time, please think whether you need to.”

Perhaps he’d stare at me like I’m deranged. Maybe he would ask me to go to hell. Or stand up quietly and leave. The next time he reaches for a cigarette, maybe he’d think of what I said. Or maybe he won’t.

I would never know how the story ended.

Because it never began.

I got into the lift in the parking lot. As the doors closed, I felt the thought dying slowly inside me, even as the flame must have leapt in between his fingers.

Image courtsey: Amigo SV

Posted in Verses

Textbooks

I wish textbooks would sprout wings

And breathe fire

That the fine print would twirl

Waltzing their way to me

And let me hear

Not silence

But tempestuous battle cries

Invigorating the very sense of my self

From skin to bone, through flesh and blood,

So that I may glance and take it all in

With bated breath;

Words lining up, marching on

And dare not stop till the end of war..

I wish textbooks would take me far

And keep me there, keen and bright,

But alas, they pick up the hum of the night

Unbroken lullabies that bid my eyelids

To meet and never part,

As I leave to seek the dragons and battles

In my dreams.