Enigma called Life

Whatever the heart says and the head endorses

An open letter to the heart-broken soul

You wanted it to go on till eternity. But it didn’t. Somewhere deep down in the chest, there is a pain. A pain so excruciating that you can’t even realize where it is. It has become a part of you. Your love has left you for one reason or another. You have lost your soul-mate. There is a feeling of emptiness. Complete vacuum. A feeling of losing a part of yourself has engulfed you. You feel weak internally.

Sometimes you cry for hours. Sometimes tears don’t well up in the eyes. Just your soul cries. People are around you. Friends, family, people who matter. But you are alone. You smile. You laugh. But the smiles, the laughs are hollow. You do it just for the people to think that you are taking things in your stride. To let them know that you are moving on. You are fine. But you know that you are not fine. You are broken deep within.

So how does the life move on? What options are you left with? You can’t imagine life without that one person. The person who was everything to you. Your happiness, your sorrows, your smiles, your strength. For the first time in your life, you had found yourself. Love had made you discover the true joy of being you. You want it back. But you know you can’t.

Your love is happy somewhere else. Maybe it is time for you to be happy. No one can take away your memories. Not even the one who was the other half of the memories. You always wanted the best for your love. Maybe the best has happened. Yes, you feel bad for yourself. There is nothing but pain. Eventually, this pain would wither away. You will be only left with memories. They don’t hurt you. Your thoughts of the future make you cry. Let go of the future. It was just imaginary which you dreamt about. The past was real. It is gone now. Be happy about it. You have a new future to carve.

Be brave. Go to that favourite restaurant. Eat that special sandwich.  It still tastes the same. The walk down the river is still beautiful. Life has not broken up with you. There is so much to discover about the world. There is so much you don’t know about yourself. This is the time. The time to fall in love once again. Fall in love with yourself. This is the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to you. No one should ever be allowed to take you away from you. The most important person to you in the entire universe is you.

When you fall down, you don’t need to rise back immediately. Sit back and relax. Because once you get up, you won’t have time to relax. Being single has its advantages. You can now pursue everything which you ever wanted to do in life. It would not only keep you distracted, but it will also make you enjoy life again. Having failed in love once doesn’t mean you can’t be in a relationship. You just have to be honest with yourself. You can’t forget the past, but you can always give your hundred percent to your present. Your break up should not break you. After all, there is a life to be lived. A life to be cherished. No one else will do it for you. You have to live it by yourself. So, smile and rise again.

Torn Shoe – A messed up interview (Part 2/4)

‘Please. No. Not now!’ The frustration could not be contained seeing the phone ringing. It was him. The villain of her life.

“Yes boss?” She tried to sound composed.

“No, I did not close the discussions. I will follow it up tomorrow”

……. “Today?… I can’t………. I have some important personal work……..Yes, I know….. I am putting in effort…….I could not avoid…. I am not arguing….. But….” Every word of her was bordering frustration.

The line was disconnected. Silence. Relief. Hatred. Anger. Anxiety. She was a blend of emotions at that moment.

‘The day will come when I will get the better of you. And that day, you will beg for mercy.’

‘Get out of your dreams Madam. You simply can’t do anything.’

Her thoughts were running from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Something was giving a nagging sensation in her head. ‘Oh! It is the torn shoe’. If an exhausted appearance after the day’s turmoil called work was not enough, she had to deal with a torn shoe accompanying her to the interview. And why on earth did she wear a semi-casual outfit for work today? ‘Yes! You had planned to take half day off, come back home, freshen up and appear for the interview. Great planning. Are you insane? Don’t you know that office is the socially accepted legally recognized version of the proverbial crime world? You just can’t get out of it as per your liking.’

Now she has to rush for the interview. An interview which was a gateway to freedom. Freedom from the demon himself and his adorable witch. ‘Ah! That witch. Yes, now I get it. My torn shoe. Thanks to the witchcraft. A fortnight full of sleepless nights, deciphering huge pile of data and collecting insider information through contacts had resulted in the baby – the presentation. It was done for the biggest client of the company till date and it would have been presented in the presence of the CEO. What does the demon say, “Umm, It is kind of alright. My lovely little witch here, who is actually parallel to you in the hierarchy, but since she is having an illegitimate affair with me, will be giving the presentation to receive accolades and promotion,” OK! Exaggerated a little. The meaning was same but words of the boss were different. “They are very important client to us. I think someone more experienced should do the presentation.” Oh yes? Six months extra is more experienced?’ Her thoughts were raging inside. She remembered how she had stomped her foot after both the demon and witch had turned their back. She didn’t realize that the strap of her shoe was caught in a screw protruding from the leg of the chair.

“Madam! Are you sleeping or what?” The crude voice was back in business.

They had reached. The Phoenix hotel. She took a deep breath, tried to calm her nerves and got down from the cab. Thanks to modern technology, she did not need to turn back to face the driver. The payment would be done automatically. She looked down one more time and said her mental prayers.

As usual, the receptionist had to be elegantly dressed smiling nymph. Seeing the receptionist, she could feel her state of being overly self-conscious getting accentuated. ‘Why can’t receptionists have bad days? Even better, why can’t they be ugly?’

The receptionist gave her the directions to her destination. She wore a fake smile and turned around to find a notice board glaring in her face.

‘KNB and Xenon International welcome the delegates to vendor partner meet.’

Thunderbolt struck. How she wished she was Sita so that mother earth would take her within. On second thoughts, not coming here would have been enough. Out of thousands of hotels in the city, this had to be it?

KNB were the vendors with whom she had to carry on the discussions about which her boss had called. That is not the end of the story.

Xenon International was the company her boss worked for. And yes, she was working under her boss. Exactly. She worked for Xenon International.

She was in a soup. Her heartbeat was running its own race. Calm down. She murmured while literally running out of the exit. The receptionist watched her in amazement. She was doomed, to say the least. She might have gone out to a safe distance because she had started counting her options.

‘What do I do here? A. My company is here. B. My boss might be here. C. My colleagues might be here. So? What happens next? A. My boss sees me and gets to know that I am here for an interview and I get fired. B. My boss doesn’t get to know that I am here for an interview. He sees me having my time in a hotel leaving behind official discussions citing personal urgency. I again get fired. C. I face the interview, get the job and resign myself. Yes, so right for you. It is a piece of cake. There will be at least three rounds of interviews and by the way, you carry a legacy of being rejected in interviews. So, good luck with the plan of cracking the interview and resigning. Nevertheless, you lose your job in all scenarios. What if they don’t see you at all? There is a slight issue here. I guess I have not brought my invisibility cloak with me. Why didn’t anyone tell me about the meet? Oh! I am getting crazy.’ She had pressed the panic button.

In such uncertain times of life, he had been with her always. She frantically called him and narrated the situation she was in, in one breath. He was her biggest support in life. Love and life were synonyms with him. He was her greatest achievement. He advised her to inform the interviewer that she would not be able to make it. ‘Fake some injury or excuse and get out of there. Ask them to reschedule the interview’. But the girl she was, she had a knack of getting things done her way. She always took his advice but added her essence to it.

“Hello! I am extremely sorry that I can’t make it to the interview.”

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Torn Shoe – A messed up interview (Part 1/4)

“Yes, I am standing right in front of the café” She half shouted to be heard in the noise of the traffic.

“I am also here madam”, said a crude voice from the other end of the phone.

Irritation was clearly visible in her already distressed eyes. Taking deep breaths, she tried to keep her annoyance at bay for she had an important task at hand. To her relief, she spotted it soon. 2810. The number plate. The cab was parked at the other side of the road. For her, the days of hand signals and yelling for taxis were long gone. With modern technology, neither were there any worries for long routes taken nor there were any hassles of overpaying for shortage of change money.

If she were to become the transport minister, horns would be completely banned. She hated it all the more while crossing the road. ‘Can’t they see that I am in no mood for standing in the middle of the road? Goddamn it. I am crossing you morons. Keep your hands off the horns.’ She was already frustrated to the rim and virtually running through the traffic at the busiest hour of the day was taking her to the edge of temper.

“What is this madam? I was waiting for you for so long.” The driver turned back as she closed the door of the cab.

“You please don’t say anything. Couldn’t you come over to the other side?” She kept her handbag in her lap.

“And who would have paid for the extra kilometer until the turnabout?”

“Please just look ahead and drive.”

The tone of the driver’s voice was only adding fuel to the fire. It will definitely be a one-star rating for him. ‘Why can’t they include negative ratings?’

The cab started to maneuver through the traffic. She closed her eyes and tried to remain thoughtless. This was going to be one hell of a day. She needed the time to be with herself for few moments. But it was such kind of a day you could do nothing about. Without any warning whatsoever the cab driver decided to put on the radio. Even the soothing voice of the radio jockey seemed to be piercing her ears. Naah! She won’t say anything. ‘Calm down.’ A smirk on her face affirmed that she had ignored the ambience around her.

A jerk caused by sudden brakes not only brought her back to the cab but also made her react impulsively to avoid her head colliding with the driver’s seat. No. She would not say cuss words for the driver. She would just pray for him to burn in hell. Her favorite handbag could not react as fast as her and was floored to bite some dust. Her eyes caught on something while she was picking up the bag. A torn strap of her left shoe. Good! Now she has to face the interview in a torn shoe. ‘Can things get any worse? Not a chance in hell.’ Her ignorance was about to discover that the worst was yet to come. Worse was just a precursor to the apocalypse which was about to shake her professional choices to the core.

‘Please. No. Not now!’ The frustration could not be contained seeing the phone ringing. It was him. The villain of her life.

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उस पार

नदी तट पर खड़ा व्यथित,
धुंध के पार जाने को तैयार;
उन पलों को क्यों न बाँधा,
जब जाना ही था उस पार !
रहा तू सच से अंजान क्यों,
क्यों ना किया तूने स्वीकार;
कहाँ छोड़ अाया उन लम्हों को,
अब क्या ले जाएगा उस पार ?


मुड़कर अब क्या देख रहा,
यादें भी धुँधली हो गई तेरी;
कैसे अमिट छाप छोड़ती,
जिन्हें नहीं मिली कद्र तेरी !

गौण समझा तूने उन्हें तब,
इन पलों को कल जी लेगा;
किस सोच मे अाज खड़ा तू,
तेरा कल क्या उस पार मिलेगा ?

उस पार कैसे तोड़ेगा टहनियाँ,
वो कोटर वाला पेड़ ना होगा;
कैसे डूबेगी कागज की किश्ती,
वो बचपन वाला खेल ना होगा !

कब करेगा तू जी भर के बातें,
वो गुस्से वाला प्यार ना होगा;
कब लौटेगा तू घर को वापस,
वो ममता वाला साया ना होगा !

उस पार किस भरोसे तू हँसेगा,
वो यादों वाला हमसफर ना होगा;
किस हिम्मत से तू तब लड़ेगा,
वो साथ देने वाला वादा ना होगा !

किन अाँखों में खोजेगा बचपन,
वो छूने वाला भोलापन ना होगा;
किन कदमों को चलना सिखाएगा,
वो परियों वाला रूप ना होगा !

इस पार छलावों के पीछे दौड़ा,
क्या उस पार भी तू यही करेगा;
निकल पड़ा हैं अपने सफर पर,
उन लम्हों को क्या उस पार जियेगा ?

सबसे प्यारा खिलौना

जब उन आँखों के आँसू नही थम पा रहे थे ,

माँ के हाथ के इशारे किस ओर दिखा रहे थे ?

चमक सी आ गयी आँखों में उस ओर देखकर,

खिलौने कई पड़े थे बड़े जतन से कितने सहेजकर !


काली मोटी आँखें उसकी गोल सा शरीर था ,

दोस्तों के बीच वो थोड़ा खुश थोड़ा गंभीर था !

छोटे छोटे हाथ बढे तब वह थोड़ा सा सकुचाया ,

परी के हाथों में आकर वह क्यों इतना घबराया ?


छूटती दुनिया के बीच जाने को उसने जोर लगाया,

उन कोमल हाथो की ताकत को वह परख न पाया !

क्यों ये बच्ची मेरे ही पीछे ऐसे रो रोकर पड़ी हैं ?

उसके पास होंगे कई खिलौने, उनमे क्या कमी है ?


रोना बंदकर माँ के आँचल से जब  परी ने देखा,

मासूम मुस्कान को देख दिल ने खुद से ये पूछा ,

मैं तो एक साधारण खिलौना, मुझसे क्यों खेलेगी?

दो  दिन में भर जायेगा  मन , मुझे  फिर  फेंकेगी?


एक अजीब से सुकून ने उसको आकर ऐसे घेरा,

उसकी वजह से माँ की गोद में परी ने रोना छोड़ा !

अपने होने का एहसास उसको पहली बार  हुआ ,

दो पल के इस साथ ने उसके अंतर को ऐसे छुआ !


घर पहुंचकर परी ने उसे बड़े  नाजो से संवारा था ,

परी की खातिर कुछ भी करना उसको अब गंवारा था !

उठते- बैठते खेलते-खाते हर वक़्त परी के साथ था ,

दोनों की इस ख़ुशी में जरूर  भगवान का हाथ था !


जब भी परी रोती थी माँ उसको पकड़ा देती थी,

परी को खिलाने की भी उसकी जिम्मेदारी होती थी !

डगमग कदमों से चलकर जब परी गिर जाती थी,

गोद में लेकर माँ  परी को उसके पास ही लाती थी !


परी की हँसी को वह  ज़िन्दगी लगा समझने,

उसके दर्द को दूर करने  लगायी ताकत उसने !

सबसे अच्छा सबसे प्यारा परी का वो खिलौना था ,

इस ख़ुशी का उसको एक दिन गुरूर तो आना था !


उसे लेकर परी कभी दोस्तों के बीच ना जाती थी,

उसको ये बात कोशिश कर भी समझ ना आती थी !

वो था इतना अच्छा कि औरो की नजर से बचाती थी,

या था इतना बेढ़ब कि इससे हमेशा कतराती थी ?


धीरे धीरे परी के पँखों ने भी उड़ान भरी ,

रोना भूल वह अपने पैरों पर चलने लगी !

छोटी सी दुनिया के बाहर भी एक दुनिया थी,

बस्ते का बोझ लिए वो किताबो संग चली थी !


खिलौने कुछ छूटे, कुछ शाम को मिलते थे,

वो रोज अब  भी मिलता, कुछ इससे जलते थे !

पर शायद वो  नही रहा था परी का सबसे प्यारा,

किताबें और नए खिलौने लेते थे समय सारा !


परी को खुश देखकर वो भी खूब हँसता था,

रोती गिरती परी के सपने पुराने रचता था !

बच्ची की किलकारी अब ठहाकों में गयी बदल,

उसकी ख़ुशी इसमें ही कि इसकी उससे हुई पहल !


माँ इक दिन परी के लिए एक तोहफा लायी,

देख परी  ने दौड़ लगा दी लेकर एक अंगड़ाई !

टोकरी में बिठा उसे, साइकिल रोज चलाती थी,

डगमग डगमग चाल अब हवा से बतियाती थी !


गिरा एक दिन टोकरी से वो, परी ने ना दिया ध्यान,

साइकिल के नीचे आया वो पर बचे थे उसके प्राण !

काली मोटी आँखें उसकी दूर जाती परी को देखती ,

साइकिल से उतर एक बार बस मेरी ओर मुड़ती !


शरीर का कोई हिस्सा गया पर दर्द था सीने में ,

खुद को वह भूल गया था परी के संग जीने में !

आज आँसू उसके थे पर परी ने ना उसे हँसाया,

टूटे हिस्सों समेत धूल झाड़ते माँ ने उसे उठाया !


वह ये भूल गया था वो तो बस एक खिलौना है ,

रोती बच्ची को हँसाना यही तो उसका जीना हैं !

उसने अपना काम किया बदले की क्यों उम्मीद थी ?

गुजरा दौर था वो जिसकी खुशियाँ देने की जिद थी !


घर के पिछले आँगन की टूटी अलमारी में दबा कहीं ,

परी और उसकी खुशियाँ बड़ीं, उसके बस की बात नहीं !

दरार से आती आवाज़ों में परी को सुनने की आखरी आस है ,

“माँ वो है मेरा सबसे प्यारा खिलौना जो नही अब मेरे पास है” !


मासूम से उन भावों से

मन को जब छेड़ जाती है

मायूस से उस मौसम में

मुस्कान जब कौंध जाती है


शरारती सी इस उम्मीद में

उस कविता को

अपना कहने का जी चाहता है


उन शब्दों को याद कर

पलकें जब भींग जातीं हैं

वह आँसू की गर्म बूँद

सीने को जब भेद जाती है


दर्द के इस एहसास में

उस कविता को

अपना कहने का जी चाहता है


दिल में होते हुए भी

होठों पर जब आ नहीं पाती है

परछाइयों के दिखते भी

नजरें जब छू नहीं पातीं हैं


पाकर खोने की इस कसक में

उस कविता को

अपना कहने का जी चाहता है


ज़िन्दगी की ये कविता

आज क्यों रूठ चली है

अपनी ही तो थी ये

फिर क्यों कही दूर खड़ीं है


पर जाने ना क्यों मैं

आज भी यह समझ नहीं पाया


वो कल्पना

किसी और की थी

वो कविता

किसी और की थी

तुमसे एक बात कहनी थी |

जब चिलचिलाती धूप में

माथें के पसीनें पर

ठंडी हवा पड़ती थी ;


तुमसे एक बात कहनी थी |


जब जाड़ें की अलसाई सुबह

ओंस की बूंदों पर

सुनहरी किरणें पड़ती थीं ;


तुमसे एक बात कहनी थी |


जब थके हुए दिन को भूल

तारे निहारने में छत पर

सांझें और रात कटती थी ;


तुमसे एक बात कहनी थी |


जब मायूस हो चुके मौसम में

बारिश की बूँदें मिट्टी पर

गिर सोंधी खुशबू उठातीं थीं ;


तुमसे एक बात कहनी थी |


जब टूटे हुए मन और नम आँखों में

हार चुकी हर उम्मीद पर

तुम इन अहसासों सी आतीं थीं ;


तुमसे यह बात कहनी थी |


कल की यादों में,

आज को देख ना पाया |

कल की उम्मीदों में,

आज से मिल ना पाया |


कल जो कल बीत गया;

कल जो कल आएगा;

काल के फेर में मैं आज;

आज को जी नहीं पाया |

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