Sand in My Shoes

I remember the evening when we sat on the beach,
Waiting to see the sun set into the seas,
Staying there long after that,
Listening to the rumbling of the waves,
The foaming of it from black to white,
As it touched our feet, you retracting.

I remember you resting blithely on my shoulder,
Humming a tune that I will never forget,
The smell of wet sand, the sea, the saltiness,
The breeze, and all the joys it brought with it,
Earphones plugged in one ear of ours,
Your hair sweeping against my face.

I remember you speaking nonchalantly,
I lost in you, scarcely hearing what you had to say,
You were drowned in your whisky,
And once came this close to kissing me,
But then I turned my head,
And the peck fell on my arm.

We walked on the wet sand, creating footprints,
Sometimes tiptoeing to make children feet,
You sketched out our names in the wet sand,
And stood in front to guard it against the waves,
But the waves did come and wash it away,
And you came back, dripping and laughing.

Was I drunk too? I don’t remember,
But we trudged our way back through the sand,
My shoes were loose, and the sand seeped in,
Making slight bruises on my feet.
I carried you on my back, you were too drunk,
Until we reached the end of the beach.

Sand in my shoes, today they fall off,
I’ve washed them so that they no more remind me,
Of that evening when we promised to each other,
So many things that will never be kept,
But sometimes when I think of happiness that used to be,
I remember the evening when we sat on the beach.

The Unsaid

Beneath the wry smiles,
That lights up your face,
There is something unsaid,
That you’ve kept secret.
Beneath those blue eyes,
That never get moist,
There is something unsaid,
That you’ve never shed.
When no one’s around,
No one but me,
You’ve tried wearing masks,
I’ve often seen you thus.
You’ve tried to hide it,
And still let it out,
What do you want,
Whom do you love.
Don’t misinterpret me,
Today I might be still,
But deep down in my heart,
You know my will.
Beneath my jokes,
Beneath all the fun,
There is something unsaid,
Which only I know.
For when the sun sets,
For when the moon is up,
No one sees in the dark,
How your hands are cupped.
You muffle into them,
Cry a little sometimes,
Think about the past,
Think about the present.
Broken words,
Incomplete thoughts,
Incoherent talks,
Nostalgic sniffs,
I’ve heard them all,
I’ve seen them all,
Inside that heart of yours,
There is a lot unsaid.
You’ve smiled so much,
I wonder how much is true,
Won’t you tell me why,
You do this to yourself?
I’ve seen your hands,
I’ve seen the wounds,
How was your past?
Don’t you think I care?
Today I might be quiet,
Because others pry,
But when we are alone,
I will ask you why.
Will you tell me the truth then,
Or weave up another lie,
To keep from me everything,
Everything that is unsaid?

The Night We Cried

Do you remember the night we cried,
When I was lonely and afraid of the night,
When I wished someone was close to my heart?
No, you don’t ’cause that night never came,
‘Cause you weren’t with me then when I needed you,
You aren’t with me now, no you aren’t.
Do you remember the day we laughed,
When I felt your cry and I wiped your tear,
No you don’t ’cause you have other things,
To remember, to smile about, to laugh, to enjoy.
I haven’t slept, and do you know that,
No, ’cause you were sleeping with someone else,
I haven’t eaten, and do you know that,
No, ’cause someone else ate away what was mine,
I haven’t cried, and do you know that,
No, ’cause my tears have dried out forever,
I haven’t laughed, and do you know that,
Yes, for you stole my laughter forever.
Do you know why I write this today,
It’s ’cause I’m sure you’ll never read it once,
It’s ’cause you don’t know whether I even live,
It’s ’cause you don’t know I love you still.

To Myself

Winds have come and they have gone,
Taken with them dust to her land,
And they have worked hard to break,
Each of my dreams, the castles of sand.
Yet I have decided to forget the past,
Bury everything and move ahead,
And the strength that this has given me,
Has increased and rendered my past dead.
I wish that when one fine morning,
I look back and see what I did in the past,
Things that I have done do make me smile,
And its happiness would with me last.
I wish I could say proudly to myself,
That as long as I lived it was without you,
And even as I die a smile lingered,
On my face, and on your face too.
They speak of shedding tears in happiness,
I’d speak of smiling when in grief,
You’d think of the times we shared a smile,
A time that was happy, albeit brief.
Today when I speak I am still happy,
And when you’d read this I’d be happy still,
Smile to yourself as I tell you this,
The space you left in me, no one can fill.

Wintry Fragrances

Sunshine kisses the floors of my house, mosaic floors, painted luminously with red, blue and green stones, and my feet get a degree warmer. I sit in the verandah, on a chair which we had bought some nine years from now, that day I was so happy we had new chairs; now they lie there, gathering dust, unless I go there, take the pains of dusting it, and sit on it. Two kids, one of nine, and the other, I think of nine as well, play badminton. They play it really bad, and they never touch the shuttle-cock. They are happy still.

There, on the road, a mother takes her child on a walk in the perambulator. The baby sits up and looks out, and raises its hands signaling to the mother to take it in her arms, while the mother, oblivious of all this, keeps walking, talking to one of her friends on the phone. A van comes in, and a thousand schoolchildren get down, shouting, happy for the fact that today was their last school day; it’s winter vacations from tomorrow. As I sit, a mynah comes and sits in the verandah, but as soon as I move a bit, it flies away, and goes and sits on the window sill of our neighbor, the fat but kind Mr. Abdullah.

Through the opposite window, she, smiles at me. She is inside a blanket, and she refuses to get down when her mother comes in. The mother sees me looking at her, and then comes to the window. I feel a bit awkward, but then she doesn’t say anything. She only draws the curtains and returns. Inside, I hear her scolding her for making friends with a boy like me. As her mother leaves, she comes, draws the curtains aside, smiles at me and signals me to leave, then draws the curtains back. Someone in the adjacent room rings bells. He pretends to the world he is a pious man, and yesterday evening, I saw him molest a girl.

The paper boy comes. He is very regular in his business. He takes a newspaper, folds it into a cylinder, then halves it like a boomerang; and there, he throws it. He throws it accurately enough to land into the balcony of the fifth floor Mr. Karim, who can shout at petty things like someone sitting on his scooter. The song playing in my walkman changes. It now plays a song by Mehdi Hassan, and it reminds me of the day when I first heard that song. It was the day when she had last talked to me properly. Then something happened, and I still do not know what it was that happened.

The fragrance of winter kisses me, it lingers around my soul, and asks me to come back to where I had left it alone. It asks me to go back to the winter years ago, when I jumped and laughed and shouted in happiness. I smile at it wryly, smelling it all the time, and promise it that I will fulfill its wish soon, very soon.