April is the Cruellest Month

April is the cruellest month,
So said the Fool.
When old feelings start unraveling
From a long forgotten spool.

With parched lips I bid goodbye
To every illusion held dear.
My voice was gone, I had no voice
My eyes were dry. No tears.

I remember that April day
In that room that’s up the stairs
Where we made so many promises
That were broken without fanfare.

I remember the kisses
As you bruised my lips
And I in turn had drank you
In those oh-so-sinful sips.

That fateful April night I found
My kingdom in your bed.
But when I looked into your eyes
I found something else instead.

Waves of heat washed over me
As I tossed and turned in sweat
My mind a blur of could-have-beens
A pocketful of regrets.

Well, now you’re gone,
And here I must remain.
I no longer look for you
In my wreaths of daisy chains.

I tried my hand at needlework
Stitching broken bits of my heart
A button here, a pattern there
A patchwork piece of art.

And a bit of you I kept with me
Packed with infinite care
In a wooden box of memories
Sealed with a little prayer.

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Of Rain, Poetry and Trees: The Trip to Little Sparta

Little Sparta

From time to time, I miss Edinburgh. From time to time, I get ridiculously strong hankerings to walk down those cobbled streets, in and out of Pollock Halls. 2012 summer had been a momentous one for me. My first trip, all alone, all the way to Scotland, for summer school. And every moment of it had been beautiful. Remarkable place, even more remarkable people. And memories that will last a lifetime.

Of the many social programs that had been arranged for us, one was a trip to this little place, named, funnily, Little Sparta- a garden in Dunsyre. It was a rainy day, I remember. 11th July, 2012, the date.  After a tiring night of finishing a paper on Woolf, I had gotten up excitedly, only to get paranoid at seeing the dull grey sky, promising a complete wash out of a day. There were no classes scheduled, and it would have been a shame had we not gone out. What is amazing is how everyone unanimously decided to brave the weather and set out for the drive. Time was so precious to us, every little gathering, every trip planned was special. It was only a matter of a week that we would all go out separate ways.

So we set out. In a small-ish bus. About 12 of us. Roland, Meg, Christina, Martina, Moon, Soumi, Sinjita, Ola, and a few others whose names I cannot remember for the life of me. Umbrellas in tow, and packets of Walkers Salt & Vinegar to keep us company.The drive was a long and lovely one. A happy group of people, singing happy songs. When we finally reached, we were greeted by a LOT of mud. And I remember, Moon was wearing high heels. Yes, she was very uncomfortable. But she did a swell job wading through it!

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And, there were a LOT of cows. Lots and lots of cows all around us. Feeding on the grass nonchalantly. Not really giving a damn about us. Some occasionally looking up at us. Waddling away to feed some more. While most of us were gushing about how bloody cute they looked, there were one or two talking longingly of burgers and steaks. *shudder shudder*

Well, I love cows. They are gentle, bovine beings.

Anyhow, we battled the mud and slush and walked up the long pathway to enter Little Sparta. And that is precisely when it started raining. Not heavy rain, but a steady, persistent kind. My camera had stopped working the day I had arrived in Edinburgh. So I gingerly patted my trusty iPhone, muttering prayers that it doesn’t give up on me as well. We picked up bright orange umbrellas and set out to explore the place. No point wasting whatever time we had. And it truly was beautiful. Picture book kind of beautiful. The rain gave it a touch of the mysterious. The winding pebbled pathways leading into groves of trees whose names I did not know. Would never know. Little lakes and lush green fields. And grass that grew so incredibly high. It was beautiful.

I’ll post some photos I had managed to take, despite the rain.

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Enchanting, is what it was. Like a secret place that is tucked away As safely, somewhere very far away. Like a kind of Wonderland. sparta1

As we made our way through the woods, I had expected elves to spring out. But they didn’t. Maybe they just didn’t like us too much. Just like the cows. They like their privacy I suppose.
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That little boat in the lake. I remember just standing and staring at it for a long, long time. And somehow that moment, as I stood in that rainsoaked landscape, I felt overwhelmed. There was nowhere I would rather be.

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There was this one area, beyond the lake, on the other side, which was filled with large blocks of stones, with words etched on them.It was quite prophetic, but even more poetic. It read: “The present order is the disorder of the future”
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It was a day spent midst concrete poetry and sculptures- a perfect blend of art and architecture. Of nameless flowers, grassy paths and puddles of water. Of a little boat in a lake. And a deep sense of loss and remembrance. I shall go back some day. And I hope it rains then as well.

Train roll on…

I love traveling. I love the idea of traveling. I like making elaborate plans and poring over every possible website or book I can lay my hands on to virtually and vicariously be at that precise moment wherever it is that I want to go to. I am pretty sure I drive my partner insane with the fussing and obsessive twitching and frequent arguments about where to stay and what to do and what to do after that. And after that. I love journeys as much as the destination.

I love train stations. I have mostly traveled from Howrah station. As a kid I used to hate them and how dirty they were and lined with urchins and shady looking men. Hated the smell, the garbage, the cry of hawkers. Hated being tagged along on family vacations to Puri or Delhi or Rajasthan or wherever. The station has not changed much. Fellow travelers have. Perceptions have. I have grown to love train journeys. All the stations the train stops in. All of them have so many stories to tell, stories to conceal, stories you get to live for whatever time the train stops at the station. The arrivals, the departures, the porters precariously carrying a ridiculous number of suitcases and now, fancier luggage, on their heads. And the arguments that follow about how much they should charge. Most people are of the opinion that they are being duped of their hard earned money, right? Right.

I love the energy, the smell of hot, spicy, sweet tea brewing in the little tea stalls, the maatir bhaar in which they are served. (I don’t like plastic cups) The friendly dogs that demand to be fed biscuits. I like browsing through the book stalls and buying random magazines and books. As a kid, I would usually buy Chacha Chowdhury, now I buy novels that I don’t remember the names of. The last one I bought was probably Veronica Decides to Die. I like the big, ominous clock on the platform in Howrah station. Countless arrivals. Even more departures. People love leaving the city more these days and migrate to whatever qualifies as a bigger, better, more prosperous utopia.