Friday, April 22, 2011


What do I make off
The big bunch of keys
You carry around?

Do you have riches
You hide behind
Doors aplenty?

Or secrets you dread
Will spill over
Lest you lock them?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Heaven And Earth

The wind was gentle but persuasive. The curls of her hair gave up their obstinacy within moments of the breeze touching her face. They fluttered ever so slightly, parting away the gentle clouds covering her ears. The face in the window that the city now beheld was holding a smile beneath. From the second floor of her building, from a narrow window that overlooked a busy street, she surveyed a throbbing slice of the metropolis. The world was playing out its own agenda. Vendors were busy trying to sell their wares with a mind cast back to their hungry families. Kids were playing a game of cricket with a chair as a make shift stump, and with little license to hit on anywhere other than a straight line. The honking of cars was less indicative of an urge to move on, but more suggestive of carrying on a mild conversation in blaring tones.

She saw all this and smiled. She scanned the street with her eyes but took care not to tilt her head to the left. She did not want to let him know that she had seen him. He, of the wiry frame, the thick glasses, and the intense expression, was present as usual. The sun could have set its clock looking at him. Never once did he pick another place. Always seated at the base of the old tree that people did not allow to be cut due to quasi-religious sentiments, always sipping a cup of steaming tea from the chai-wallah he so thoroughly patronized, always sketching away furiously on a piece of paper, always the observer of life’s little accidents. He, on the other hand, did not shy away from a tryst. He knew that fifty feet away, his muse had shown her face. She, off the delicate expression and the large rounded ear-rings. For months now, this wordless exchange had continued. She would come and silently observe the world beneath her, ignoring her co-observer of worlds. He would ignore the rest of her world and set his sights on her. His hands would furiously animate his expression of admiration on paper. The collection of portraits he made of her were enough to publish a book.

He made no attempt to hide his love, but kept a respectful distance. An artist’s hardest quest is that for a muse, and nothing would be worse than handing over the reality back to an illusion. The delicate balance could not be disturbed. And so the fifty feet were never bridged by him, though he harbored a fleeting hope that some day she would turn around and see him, that some day she would descend from her private heaven and meet him.

She spent her routine thirty minutes at the window. She knew his rhythms, knew how much time he needed to draw a new version of her, and she gave him that time. She wondered what it would take for him to venture forth, to walk those fifty steps, to leave the world for a while and join her in her isolation. She dared to dream the dream and castigated herself immediately. Nothing would be worse than handing over the illusion to a reality. She turned back, scanned around her heaven, and with gentle arms, pushed her wheelchair back into the house.