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wordsonwings

What cannot be said, can be penned

Month

June 2016

Playful Gods

4LEE_Lightning

The weather was ominous
As if in warning
What was to ensue
The somber clouds
Gathered to watch
The drama unfolded
The lightning struck once
Once was enough
The makeshift home
Of scrounged scavenged scrap
Immediately lit up
Like a celebration
Of poverty and pain
All the inmates
Charred to death
Even Gods have fun
At expense of the helpless

Clouds

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Washed away

I am always paranoid, of being  mugged, robbed, of ethnic riots and of natural disasters.

Mostly of natural disasters.

We abuse mother earth and take everything for granted but once in a while she turns around and just like a real angry mother she lashes out. Then her fury does not discern between the rich or the poor, the guilty or innocent. She does calm down and settle down after her outburst but it takes years to rebuild what she destroys in her fury.

Just like we abuse her abundance and generosity for years without giving a thought to other creatures much less our own fellow beings.

Sometimes mother earth dries up her bosom and we are left hunting for water far and wide, it is like a lesson to the naughty child who has spilled all his drinking water and so has to stand in the silent corner and stay thirsty.

Then there are times when she cries, she cries so much that her tears wash away everything. All life and man-made atrocities.

But who is to blame her? Mother nature? Or we the race that undoubtedly are far more superior in understanding evaluating and even emphasizing?

We are to blame her because we are way too selfish than any creature on earth and that is why we suffer the most losses.

I have been stuck in the flooded city on Mumbai in 2005 . I was on the road for three days with a friend, Survived the peril of being sucked into open manhole (whose fault?) seen sights that still keep me awake on nights it rains heavily.

In a city overcrowded with humans fighting for space, money, food, power it is always the poor and the not so rich who suffer.

Somehow though I love the rains whenever there is too much water in the streets I wonder how the homeless survive.

Water

faminefamine1famine3floodGQ-Chennai-floods-aidparis-floods

 

 

 

 

 

Anomaly

In a corner of the garden
The flower stood alone
Waiting to be noticed
It was not colorful
Nor fragrant
Deprived of the sunlight
It had still managed to bloom
Amongst the plethora of hues
It seemed like an apology
Like nature’s fool
Its head bowed humbly
As if it was a fault
To be born an anomaly
Came along a buzzy bee
And graced each flower
With a flitting visit
“Howdy” it called out
“Are you talking to me?”
The flower stuttered
Still feeling lowly
Yes, you wonderful being
Why are you not smiling?
Look at me I am colorless
And not a scent on me
But that’s why you are
So strikingly different
So celebrate and dance
Come smile with me

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Image Credit

Deprive

Swans

swans

The swans that flew in flocks
To flee the grips of oncoming winter
Embrace the sun and its warmth
And have some joyful days
They fill the sunset skies
With their black silhouettes and
The drowning range of hues
Engulfed their dark shadows

Journey

Empty Skies

He looked up shielding his eyes from the harsh sunlight.

They say the sun gives life, light and dispels darkness and gloom. But it was the clouds he seeked, one drop on his parched land.

What they did not know was that too much light can take away hope.

What did they know about gloom, they who spoke from their artificially lit homes. Their words were as artificial as their sun.

This sun was burning down all that he had sown. It had been doing that for a few years now as if mocking him for having faith. The light was in the sky but going out of his life.

Burdened by the loans taken over the years, pledging even his children as lifelong labourers he had nothing more to give.

He swung the rope onto the tree branch thinking at least it would hold till the end. He had no faith in anything. Everything had failed him and the strength of the rope was his last hope to escape the claws of the poverty, abuse, failure.

He could bear the emptiness in his stomach but the silence in his hut was deafening.

The children were too weak and feeble from being starved too long to even cry. They would sob sometimes in their sleep as if in response to the gnawing in their bellies.

They would miss him but what did he have to give to them. If he could give them one grain of food one less tear he would be worth something.

His wife said he was their sun. Just like the burning scorching sun he had burnt their lives to cinders albeit failing to provide any warmth in the dark freezing nights where the chill penetrated the bones through straw walls.

It was the time for the sun to set. They would grope for him in the darkness of their own lives.

Would their dawn ever come??

Empty Skies

Written in response to Daily Prompts: Empty

indian-farmer-drought

images (2)   farmers_4_20050704

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The door to ocean

The myths behind Hotel Taj and it being built backwards

The story goes that  that Jamsedji Tata decided to build a hotel “Worthy of Bombay”after he was refused entry to one of the city’s grand hotels of the time. Watson’s Hotel, as it was restricted to “whites only”.

Three Indian architects by the names of Siddhesh S., Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D. N. Mirza were assigned the task of designing a hotel so grand that it would not have an equal in the entire world. Khanderao Vaidya was the main architect and after his unfortunate demise while the hotel was still under construction, an English engineer, W. A. Chambers (who interestingly had designed the Watson Hotel too) took over as the head architect. Finally, the hotel was completed and inaugurated on 16 December 1903, with 7 floors and total cost of construction was £250,000 (£127 million today).

W.A. Chambers died after he finished building the hotel but there is a rumor that he committed suicide right inside the building. There is also a very childish theory behind the reason of his suicide. It is said that he wanted to build the hotel facing in the other direction than it is today. Chambers created the blueprints and went off on a trip to England. When he returned in 1903 he was shocked to find that the hotel frontage had been made in the reverse direction. He was believed to be a perfectionist and seeing the huge error in a construction that he was heading shattered him completely. So much that a few days later he walked over to the fifth floor of the building and jumped to his death from a window.

Interestingly Chambers was not the original architect of the building.

Taj-Palace-Hotel-Entrance

The Original Entrance; Source – http://oldphotosbombay.blogspot.in

Other Trivia about Hotel Taj:

  • During World War I, the Taj was converted into a 600-bed hospital.
  • Chambers’s only design contribution was to increase the size of the central dome when he took over after Vaidya’s death.
  • In 1966, the building was so run-down, the president of Hilton hotels said the old Taj will remain standing “only as long as the termites keep holding hands”
  • It was built in 1903, 21 years before the Gateway of India.

Door

The Apartment

She walked past them sitting on the stairs and could feel their eyes follow her all the way up. They had all been acting funny since she moved into the apartment yesterday. They would whisper and speak in very low tones all the while eyeing her with a mixed emotion. Whether it was pity or awe or just a weird look she could not fathom but it surely sent shivers down her spine. Even the children steered cleared when she walked past.

Not that she cared. Getting a place in the city was a humongous task in itself and being a single woman she had found it both draining and disgusting (the way people would give her ‘the look’).

It was only by chance that she had found the posting on one of the lesser known sites. The posting itself was a few months old and she was surprised the apartment was still available. One-bedroom hall kitchen was just perfect for her, she had no family and practically no friends (apart from Nisha)  she did not see herself entertaining a whole bunch of people.

The owner lived abroad and she had found the keys he had left hidden inside the frame hanging outside the apartment. She completed the formalities online and transferred the money to the account number he had specified.

She got the apartment cleaned and moved in before the owner could change his mind.

———————————————————————————

It was raining when she got out of the auto rickshaw and she was glad all the prying and snooping neighbours were at least indoors.

She had received a request from the owner, he was visiting the country and wanted to come over to see the home. It was his home so she could not put off seeing him.

She had tried to leave early from work but could not wriggle out of the last-minute meeting.

As she climbed up she wondered how long would he stay. She hurriedly hid the laundry strewn all over the place and tried to make it a bit presentable.

The bell rang and she looked once in the mirror before hurrying to open the door.

He looked younger than in the profile picture on the website.

Smiling he held out a bouquet of flowers for her, she was instantly charmed and wanted to kick herself for not picking up any snacks on the way.

She invited him inside and he flopped on the sofa.

She put the flowers in a vase by the window and sat down opposite him

“I like what you have done with the apartment,” he said. She blushed at the compliment. “Thank you, it was pre furnished and all I could do was to maintain all the lovely stuff you have here”.

“Yes Mona and me personally choose everything, it was going to be our home after we got married,” there was a faraway look in his eyes and he paused as if reminiscing of a happier time. She looked at him and the soft glow from the lamp made him look pensive and endearing at the same time.

She was uneasy being able to peep in his personal life in the very first meeting. She offered to make tea to lighten up the mood and to divert the conversation to more mundane topics.

But she was curious about ‘Mona’ and her landlord, was he married to Mona, what kind of person she was, and other thoughts kept buzzing in her head as she made tea.

They spoke about general things and soon before she realized it was dinner time. He would now take her leave politely she thought.

They spoke for some more time and she started to feel hungry. She pointedly looked at the clock.

He took the hint and got up. “Oh I must be infringing on your time; sorry I did not realize it was late. Actually I was to meet a friend for dinner but he can’t make it. I would be eating alone do you want to join me?” he asked.

She was about to refuse when she remembered she did not have much to do herself and her dinner would be Maggi (like most nights).

“The neighbourhood has changed a lot I may have difficulty looking for a decent restaurant. There used to be a good Lebanese joint just around the corner till it burnt down a year ago. Me and Mona were regulars there” he said

She looked out of the window and it was pouring heavily, to go hunting for a restaurant in weather like that would be crazy.

“We can order something at home maybe,” she suggested after all she did have a drawer full of take away menus.

They settled for some parathas and she placed the order. They talked as she set out the plates etc.

When the food came he insisted on paying for it. They talked more during dinner, nothing very personal but they still found a lot of things in common.

He was sharp and funny and she had not had good company for a really long time. She lapped up all the attention he was giving her and though somewhere her brain kept screaming her some strange warning about asking him to leave she let him go on.

“It’s very late I am sorry to have stayed this long,” he said suddenly looking at the clock.

She wanted him to stay, it showed on her face too. He touched her cheek with the back of his hand and in and instant they were embracing. Things progressed quickly from there on and there was no stopping them.

———————————————————————————

She woke up smiling languidly the traces of last night’s romance evident in the rumpled sheets. He was not around and she was a bit disappointed.

Then she looked at her bedside table and found the note tucked under her alarm clock.

“I am sorry to leave like that, you looked like an angel and I did not have the heart to wake you up”

She held the note to her lips and as if to capture his scent she nuzzled the pillow he had laid on.

Then she remembered it was still middle of the week and she hurriedly got about getting ready to leave for work.

Those stares again, the old man from the apartment across was coming back from his walk, he gave her ‘the weird look’ as she locked the door behind her but this time she did not bother. She even managed to smile at him which perplexed him even more.

She had just reached the stairs when she heard the old man call out “Mona?”

She stopped, turned half expecting Mona to be standing somewhere in the hallway. Had Mona found out about her and her landlord and what had transpired between them? Was she here to check on him?

She had really never gotten around to asking what happened between him and Mona. What if they still had something? What if he was married? She wanted to kick herself for not even bothering about asking him last night. She had just succumbed to his charming ways and little lost boy looks.

But when she turned she saw no one else except for the old man in the hallway. He was looking at her, “Mona” he repeated and she realized he was addressing her.

“Sheena”, she offered her hand which he did not even acknowledge. He was still gaping at her. She shook her head and continued down the stairs.

———————————————————————————

“Nisha, I am in love”, she was confiding to the only closest friend she had. “I will tell you the details later, I have to rush for another meeting but meet me in the evening at our regular coffee place and I will fill you in on the details”.

“Slow down, and tell me right from the beginning”, Nisha prompted. Sheena was so excited she hardly could contain herself. “Ok, so it all began when he dropped by………………………………………………”

After she had told Nisha all that she could possibly share without infringing on their private night she sat back and gleamed.

“But have you asked him about how he feels? got any details on him, checked if he is engaged, married has a girlfriend already?” Nisha asked.

“I think he is in love with me as much as I am with him” Sheena replied. There was absolutely no doubt in her mind.

“I will ask him when I meet him tomorrow evening, then he is flying out and will return soon, he promised” she replied and thereafter entered a state of dreamy anticipation.

Nisha saw the faraway look in her eyes and tugged at her. “Ok, let’s go, I guess it’s up to me to check on him then, you seem to be totally hypnotized and are in no state to think logically”

———————————————————————————

“Do you really have to go?” She asked him, her heart-strings tugging at the tear dams which threatened to overflow through her eyes. “Yes” he replied. He looked at her and turned his face.

She hugged him from behind and felt as if someone was taking her soul out of her body. It was but a couple of days that they had spent together but it felt like eternity. She was breaking at the thought of him leaving but she hoped he would return. After all he felt the same way she did, didn’t he?

His flight was very late at night so going to the airport was not an option. He had told her not to come down to see him off as it would be difficult for him to leave, so she said goodbye at the apartment door.

Sobbing she fell asleep. The message she received on her phone went unnoticed……………

———————————————————————————

The buzz was in her head, it was continuous and it kept getting louder. Her head was splitting in two and she could not fathom why the buzzing did not stop. Then still groggy from uneasy slumber she realized her door bell was ringing. It was 6.30 am what an ungodly hour on a Sunday for someone to wake her up.

She stumbled out of her bed and open the door.

Nisha stood there, from the looks of her it was evident she had not slept all night too. She was frantic and started looking for something as soon as Sheena let her in.

“Where is he? Did he leave anything? Did you see him leave last night?” Nisha bombarded her with questions which refused to penetrate through her haziness.

“What? Who? What are you talking about?” Sheena asked sitting down on the sofa.

“Sheena, I have to tell you this, please brace yourself” Nisha announced ominously.

———————————————————————————

Sheena could not for the life of her understand why Nisha was hugging her so tight and murmuring “Oh God you are alright; thank God you are alright.”

“I was not sure if he was right for you, you are so naïve and it was up to me to check out if he really was the man he said to be, so I was checking his background from the net. “

Then she put out some computer printouts in front of her. They were news reports with pictures of a burning restaurant. Suddenly one picture jumped at her. It was him and her. The new report read.

“This couple known to frequent the Lebanese Restaurant were among the unfortunate 20 customers who could not escape the restaurant in time. Engaged to be married Manish and Mona were celebrating their last few days of bachelorhood with some friends when the fire broke out. None of them survived. Mona was declared dead on arrival with 90 degree burns, Manish was in coma for a week but never regained consciousness”

The message on her phone said, “I had to just see if you were alright, I will always love you. Manish”.

Apartment

 

City of Hope

destitute

 

Somber by the twilight
Bathed in purple glow
A few minutes of drizzle
And then a lighted row
I walked in a muted mood
My thoughts deeply embedded
In the situation at work
I saw him out of the corner
A dark scary silhouette
And hugged myself reassuringly
He came a bit closer and
As I was about to scream
He thrust my purse in my face
“You dropped this while walking”
I was taken totally aback
For he had broken my assumption
And was totally stumped
At his kind consideration
His eyes looked sunken deep
And his bones were bare
The shirt on his back was
Probably all he had
I thanked him profusely
And he shook his head
And all I could hear was
Buy me some bread
I walked him to the nearest
Cart I could find, and fed
Him that just one time
But when I walk alone
I know there is still
Hope for the city
As long as there are
People who are kind

City

Open Window

A broken vase, scattered pieces across the floor
Strewn around, a painful reminder of something
That was once beautiful and valuable
Now just a meaningless mess of glass
On the mantel piece a proud possession
Standing amidst odd collection
But standing with its head high and body upright
Defying winds strong from the open window of life
But alas how long, it had to surrender
A gust brought it down to the floor
And with a clatter it all ended

open window

Open

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