How I wish I could repay you back, your effort, your toil
And for bearing my mindless nuisances wrapped in silver foil
Prayers were answered as my heart sang a happy tune
Plus you made sure that I was safe and tribune
You gave me everything still I fought you at times
And then when you made me learn that life is unruly at times
Never leave me I said you the day I went to nursery
Never did you leave me you took it so seriously
I was the one who saw my dreams in your eyes
Very good- happily you said the day I got a prize
Every now and then you still correct me
Reasons you have, excuses are mine in plenty
Sorry and thankyou are just magic words
All were lost when I had to praise your deeds
Remember your son as I touch your feet
Yes ma and paa, you did your best to make the worlds meet :)
And now as you read this fine
Read the first letters of every line
“Happy Anniversary” it is of my parents
Wishing you the best of wishes ‘ from aadi/raunak/babu ‘ :D
To the two splendid, nicest people standing there. Ma-Pa I love you :)
What will happen when her eyes shall smile?
Will they talk, inspire or stop my heart for a while?
I know none and none do I care
But you bet I shall be her pair
What will happen when we share a walk?
Would it be quiet, soulful or a brilliant cross talk?
I know none and none do I care
But I guess it shall be fair
What will happen when we fight endlessly?
An attempt to understand the other completely?
I know none and none do I care
But I know our hearts shall adhere
What will happen, if we didn't term it as love?
Shared everything but still stayed above
I know none and none do I care
But for her I shall always be there
What will happen, when love comes knocking?
Will it shout, whisper or just do a gentle tapping?
I know this and therefore I inquire
O love, tell me when you’re here…
22 December, 2004
He still remembered those words-“Your turn is next Nattu. Are you ready to do it?”. The director asked smilingly, portraying a father like smile.
Natraja or Nattu was always ready to do it. He was the most elite student of the dance academy. Being in the academy for 6 months straight, he had won many hearts with his pure dance styles. He had mastered everything from the pointed toes while doing contemporary, the rhythmic shifts of limbs during locking and poppings, the fast, subtle movements and minute expressions involved in Bharatnatyam to the ultra modern slow motion dance, he could do it all. Already regarded as a child prodigy, this 4’7” guy could do what a team of best talented dancers from all over the world couldn't.
The judges at the show bathed him with compliments every time he finished dancing. One of them called him “A pure fountain of elegance”, while the hit Bollywood actress called him “irresistibly cute, ultimate heart-throb and her dream guy” and the dance guru who bowed before him and did a hats-off with his favorite one-lined compliment.
He was special and he knew it. With such great talents nothing or no one could stand in his way of becoming a great dancer-or maybe with the great looks he had he could also become a dashing actor. A dancing sensation just at this tender age paved his way of a shining amazing future. He was all over the social media, the TV and the newspapers.
But not everybody wished the same for him. Not the two-faced director who reaped great benefits out of his brilliance. Not the secretary who ran behind the director and showed him important documents stating the TRPs. And then with a fox-like smile both entered a nearby chamber and plotted the scripts of the hit “reality show”.
He felt strange how could someone fake reality. How could someone with no talents of his own direct the future of such talented young kids? But he didn’t interfere with the proceedings, not as long as he was kept away from this malicious melodrama. Often the parents were also dragged into this. Everything was directed from the tears in their eyes, to the dispute which occurred between the judges.
He even wondered whether these parents were for real-maybe he couldn't understand since he was an orphan. Call it his own hatred for his parents who left him on the streets beside the academy, or his logical mind which influenced him to believe that often the sordid stories told on the show by parents were all fake and pseudo.
But all this really never mattered, when he was dancing he was best in the business. Maybe that’s why they give him the name- Natraja, after the great god of dance.
And today all of that would come to an end. Today was the much awaited dance finale. The show which had caught the eyes and minds of people across religion, generation and even countries was to drop its curtains today. After today there would be no show, but the name and fame of Natraja shall.
He sat in the waiting arena all painted in gold, and make-upped with shiny sparkles and the glossy silky satins. But today he felt different, maybe nervous. Nervous? Wait a minute he never knew this word. Dancing was his life; it was the air he breathed. How could someone get nervous while breathing? Something was definitely not right or maybe it was his fidgety, crafty mind making up situations and playing with his agitated intestines. He brushed aside these thoughts and stood up for his name was already called up amidst huge cheers and applauds. The last dance of this finale had to be his. All night the audience had waited for this time to come. And he was finally there on the stage, shining like the brightest of the stars. All dazzling, they waited for the music to start. The crew tried their very best to manage the crowd but felt like sheep herders sent to manage nasty bulls.
The TRPs had now started to climb the ladders as the mercury which pushes itself within a thermometer. The director and his secretary stood smilingly, already counting cashes in terms of TRPs.
All the lights in the stadium dimmed as the focus shifted to the child prodigy standing on the stage. With eyes closed and arms stretched and then brought to the ground, he did a final guru-namaskaram to his late father like guru, who had first found him lying at the doorsteps of the academy and promised to make him a dancing prodigy.
The feeling came again within the namaskaram as he opened his eyes shakily. Something was not right, stop this please- his inner soul shouted. But outside he was firm and confident like a rising wave which knows it shall fall. The show must go on.
As the music started so did his brilliance. The audience watched engagingly as if cast in a spell by this sorcerer. He was the definite winner, the winner of hearts and this show likewise. His rubber-like flexible body did the stunts and the intricate details with equal perfection. The storm within nattu, had now receded as if bowing down to a superior power. The power of the lord of dance -the great dancing Shiva or Natraja himself.
Within the dance, a loop was lowered on the stage with a shining white ribbon tied above. Natraja climbed on it smoothly, and performed his routine with equal perfection. The loop was hoisted along with him, steadily but slowly natraja rose above all as the world bowed to his brilliance. Caring mothers looked away from the screens as little children became ecstatic at seeing the marvel. A guy dancing at 60 feet from the ground was enough to give the audience jitters, and reasonably enough to make them feel that their money was utilized.
But just when he was about to reach the topmost point, something happened. The nut tied to the loop loosened and fell down, and now it was his and the loop’s turn to go down. Natraja looked above as if saying a final goodbye to the world and its absurd ways. “Baba I am coming”- he said as he fell down at 9.8 m/s2. The audience which was seeing all this in rapt attention left their seats in a dismay at the sudden change of events.
As Natraja came down, the TRPs shot to an all time high- more than a couple of award functions, quiz shows, and live cricket, and soccer matches put together. The video garnered around lakhs of viewers in just few moments on the Youtube. The mass media was even overflowing with sympathetic wishes and prayers.
As the world mourned for this prodigy, two people were still happy. Their plan had succeeded- Natraja their final weapon was fired at the right time. Their plans had been laid since the day they saw him, they made him an overnight sensation and harvested out the benefits at the ripe time. Everything went by as planned.
A group of young kids, rushed into the class. As they wore their ghungroos, and fastened the clips their teacher said in a firm, dominating voice- “C’mon kids settle down. We shall begin with the customary bharatnatyam first." His feet were lifelessly lying on the wheelchair’s foot rest. His lower body was paralyzed but his zeal for dancing wasn't. As he taught the students varying dance mudras wearing the ghungroos in his hand and looking carefully at each student, he relived the glory of Natraja.
As soon as the class got over, a guy in NDC uniforms appeared with sheets of documents. The teacher gave it a look, made some corrections and strolled back into the NDC office on his wheelchair.
A billboard nearby read “NDC: NATRAJA DANCE CLUB”.
Once upon a time, I had a soul-mate
we lived in our mother’s womb and shared the same fate
We shared a bond stronger than the strongest winds
and loved each other more than the loveliest of twins
I was the lazy one, he was the crafty one
together we had many situations won
The umbilical cord which we shared all right
was our lifeline, and had to be staunch and tight
Hands in hand, we strayed into unknown and roamed around
our pursuits flew above, but our lessons were firm on ground
But one night, as we were returning from a voyage
a storm came by, and sent out a deadly message
We were wet, anticipated but my brother was firm
he led from the front, and I walked behind like a bum
A river came by, all ghastly and screaming
with huge tempests and dangers appalling
only the courageous could cross it beaming
they called the river “the ultimate test of daring”
My brother led from the front, and I soon followed
he reached the other side, and I was on my way
out came the ghastly river, with a face old and furrowed
“O young soul, hand me your thoughts or I shall take you away
give me your learnt lessons, or else you shall be swallowed
I shall take your memory but you shall comfortably sway
to the other side to your brother where he currently stands bellowed”
I was left in a fix, should I trade my lessons for my love
the love we had meant a lot, but weren’t the lessons above?
As my heart pounded with fear, I knew I had to stand undaunted
a decision had to be taken, firm, unbiased and unafraid
Standing there among the tempests, holding my chord
I roared my answer to the river god
“O mighty god, I bow before your presence
but I shall not bow before your worthless pretence
I shall preserve my thoughts and cherish them forever
and I shall wait till the tempests get over
I will see whether your powers or my love is rugged
wait on the other side and not let a single tear shed
And so I waited, a wait like eternity
that could shame even oblivion or destiny
I braved the storm and its huge lashes
for days continuously, the battles endless
But all the while the cord stayed capable
stretched across the river as I felt it was viable
I was filled with agony, which made me blunt
but I re-learnt the lessons taught in the hunt
And that day finally came, the water receded
as I followed the cord feeling happy and blessed
I reached the other side, and found the cord tied to a rock
Beside lay my dead brother, we were no longer birds of a flock
Tears didn’t come for I had promised the rain god
The faith was still alive, although destiny had flawed
The cord which I held so dearly, slipped below
and I found a note from my brother saying “Hello”
Brother as you read this, I want you to know
our mother shall be proud, since you gave fate a blow
The cord which we shared is now broken
but the love which we shared was unspoken
Alas, I couldn’t see you outside
but I shall stay forever inside
And what else I can say you
Adieu, adieu, adieu !
A tear was shed, as I opened my eyes
eyes to the world outside.
As I heaved out a cry, and my breath reached a limit
the nurse gave a smile and put me in a unit.
The world outside rejoiced at my birth
while I cried at my brother’s death!
“He loved his wife, didn’t he? Bought her those diamond necklaces, financed those kitty parties, gifted those Chanels & Louis Vuittons”
“He loved his friend, didn’t he? Apparently that guy was his best friend, he gave him the money when his company went bankrupt, also made him his best man at the wedding”
However the love shared was mutual. So what if they loved each other even more and ran away together, leaving behind him and his loneliness.
He had spent a month laying in his small black hole-his secretary’s 1bhk apartment. Back in the time he had signed many multi-million deals, won over his opponents and made lots of money. But here he was all desolate, lying in the corner with dense fumes of weed filing the room along with a month’s supplies of beer, cigarettes, and pizzas.
Like a weary traveller in the desert, he had lost all hope of ever making it up to the water called life. Life to him was unjust, unscrupulous, and undeserved. Not only money but he had lost his zeal for living.
But then he had a thought what if he took life by its throat. What if he transforms himself into a malignant boxer knocking life rather than a weary, lost traveller?
He was going to do it. He chipped away the curtains opened the windows, made an outlet for the fumes. Washed, shaved and done with the brooming. He switched on his tv (he didn’t even realize he had one tv) scanned for the business channel and went up to the kitchen stove area to make some tea.
The screen buzzed and showed diff programs-“learn to cook in 3 weeks”,”778-243-458, here’s the 1 million lottery ticket selected ”, “and that’s how the snake attacks its prey…” and so it went on as he continued with his tea.
In the evening, he wrote an entry into his journal. Made his “to-be” list, did some meditation, spoke to his parents and then cooked some pudding.He spoke to Riya, the girl her parents had selected from a matrimonial site, the same girl whom he had once shunned. He ate a satisfied meal and made his bed. He slept like a little child, one who had just begun to live and cherished the gift called “life”.
“As he slept away, a nearby newspaper flipped over and out came a lottery ticket with the no. 778-243-458.”
P.S. : that is LIFE-magical, just and unexpected.
“Lofty, grand purplish mountains with shades of smooth bold strokes of brown touched the bluish sky as different hues of color green made the dense undergrowth covering the areas closer to the base of the mountain. Within the undergrowth one could see a clearing occupied by a set of parallel rails on which ran a train with a red engine and blue coaches. As the train was nearing its halt one could see groups of differently colored villagers stacked with luggage”
And so the painting described itself. I could already feel the pulse, the enthusiasm of a 9 yr old getting ready for his Sunday weekly drawing classes. How I loved them and my teachers and friends over there. The feeling of reaching first, occupying your favorite seat and patiently waiting for the teacher to throw the topic was incomparable. I just loved the 2 hrs I spent there, creating the sketches and playing with colors as we used away papers of our drawing book desperately trying to have the best stroke and shade. And once I was done I ran to the teacher got it signed, made sure I got a good remark from him, and ran straight to my home which was 4 blocks away. I so wanted to show my painting to my didi and ma that I used to run to home with the book opened in my hands so that the paint could dry on the way. As I hurriedly made my way all hippy and happy I was stopped by passing by people who saw and exclaimed in appreciation without fail and I was like- ‘thankyou but leave me I need to run to my home, don’t waste my time’ :P
Drawing to me was like food which fed the weekly hunger of creativity in me.
And now after 11 yrs since that day, I was here deeply engrossed in my once so much cherished drawing book which I incidentally found lying in my old cupboard. Somewhere between those pages I remembered this conversation which took place between the then me and an equally little girl, Megha(strange I still remember her name) who was having her very first class in the drawing class.
She walked in with a transparent white bag with a picture of Barbie drawn with white on it. A pink dress and an equally pink cherry face she had. One could see the sets of paint boxes, brushes and a drawing book kept inside the see-through bag carefully tucked on her back. Looking all confused she walked in with her small pink pumshoes. The teacher asked her whereabouts and made her sit a bench away from me. Me and my friends were all conscious about the new member of the class, as we all waited for the teacher to give us the topic.
“Ok students todays class will be performed in groups of two. You will all form groups with students sitting on the bench next to you”
Wait a minute, this was unexpected. A group task and that too on a day when my best classmate friend,sid had still not arrived. And besides I didn’t even know this new girl sitting on my friends place.
As the whole class clapped and joyously made groups, I was the only one not happy to have sidd around. To make matters worse for the 9yr old in me the teacher said-
“And todays topic shall be decided by your partner, which means you will have to draw what you partner asks you too”
Even more clappings and even more sordid expressions arose in me.
I rose from my bench and got seated beside her.
“Hi, I am Aditya”
“I am Megha”
“You know you are sitting on sidd’s place, my best buddy. Better not sit here from the next class. I excuse you for today since you’re new and also because sidd is absent”
She smiles… doesn’t reply. I feel a bit bad for my straight-cut rudeness.
“Anyways you heard the teacher right. So let’s exchange our books. Here’s mine. Take-“
She obeyed me like a student does to a teacher. She took out her new copy all smelling of fresh white crispy pages and handed over to me.
“Don’t wory soon you will get accustomed and maybe you will have good friends like me and sidd are”
the 9 yr old in me tried the best to console this new being.
“So what would you have me draw”
In my heart I was saying, desperately wishing she doesn’t ask me to draw her face. I seriously couldn’t draw any face, leave aside that beautiful pink face, I knew I couldn’t. The best I would then do would be to paint the sheet a light pink with a red dot at the centre symbolizing her nose.
“Hmmm…. Paint me a rose, will you?”
She said with a cute little smile. A smile one could die for.
“A Rose, a Red Rose”
I turned around and saw nobody hear this. My prying eyes found no book with a flower on it. All I could see was sceneries, vases, and parks.
“Ohkay… I will give it a try. I wont promise a perfect one but still I would try my best.”
She replied with a smile(yeah the one you could die for ;) )
“And what would you have me draw? “
She asked quizzically with a concerned look. I tried to be a bit lenient seeing the concerned look. Comforting her I said -
“draw anything you wish. I wont mind. Its your first class. Take it easy”
And she once again replied with a smile. :)
I picked up my tools-The brushes, the paint box and the best sharpened pencils. A rough sketch was made within a bit of time finalizing all the colors and shades. I then drew the final pencil sketch, looked it at from a distance appreciated myself and took out the paint box. At this juncture I gave a look to my new partner, all the while she had patiently seen all the technicalities done by me. Not that I didn’t like it but I wanted none to see my painting until it was ready. You see all great painters had their own little methods of superstitions. So I said
“Why don’t you draw too. You haven’t drawn anything yet on my copy”
By now she was more open and did reply with words rather than a mere smile.
“I will don’t you worry. I will finish before you. You’ll see.”
And so I went on with the painting part. Carefully painting each strand of the rose. The delicately coloured small green leaves of the rose which rest below the bud and the small brown thorns below it. The swirl at the top of the bud was the hardest part, as I used shades of red, maroon and black in it.
By the time I was done, not only megha but the whole class was done. I looked up giving the final stroke. Appreciated myself and aptly showed it to megha. She exclaimed with a smile. A pure, ecstatic moment of joy was what I got as a payment.
“You like it? “
“Ofcourse I do, I didn’t know you could really draw so well”
“My parents would never believe me if i showed them this. Such a nice painting on the very first day”
“Well even my parents wont believe me when I show them what you’ve drawn for me. I am sure “. I chuckled I knew her drawing was a definite bad :P
I took my book from her and without seeing flipped it over in the bag. For me my todays painting was done for someone else in someone else’s book.
I bid a goodbye to all my friends, received a pat on the back from the teacher and ran home straight.
That night as I lay on my bed, and quickly rewind-played the whole episode in my mind, I was startled. I had still not seen her painting drawn for me. I jumped out of the bed, made way into my study room,lit the lamp, took out the drawing-book and flipped over the pages.
In the very last page I could see a painting. As soon as I saw it I chuckled and saw the painting more minutely than the previous times. Sure enough the picture wasn’t superb, but it had something magical and interactive in it. I could almost see her face and the expressions put down into the painting.
P.S.:It had 3 stickmen, figures representing people. Two of them were guys, hands in necks walking away laughingly, while in the corner sat a girl with a red rose. The figures were aptly labeled- adi,sidd and Megha.