A STRANGE RENDEZVOUS:
(Inspired by a Czech Story)
The sky is dull grey, the color of a faded blob of ink on a white paper, and the last rays of the sun, weak and cold. A crowd of birds is fighting over a leftover piece of bread dropped by a child . Two people walk in the park- a man and a woman. The metal bench, dark green once, is now weather-beaten. They look at each other for a while and then look away.
“How are you?
“I will leave this summer” , she looks up. Her eyes, blue with a hint of grey, are pools of unexpressed sadness.
“As you wish.” Suddenly, he is abrupt, sullen, withdrawn.
“I hate to be misunderstood”, her voice is only a whisper but her eyes, tiny glints of ember.
Voices have their own feel. Bright as spring, live as a waterfall. light as fresh snow, dull as fog! Some voices warm up your heart like a log of fire on a chilly night..
Hers is … spring, water, fog , fire , all!
“You want me to leave? Her voice trembles. She looks at him with a vain hope . Her upturned little rose, is now red at the tip. An unruly lock of brown hair has escaped and fallen on her face. The man is quiet.
“Watching someone go away is not a pretty sight”, he says as if with great reluctance. He sounds indifferent.
A pebble falls in the still pond , then circles and more concentric circles… and then silence once more.
She coughs, she hasn’t got over it since she had that fever.
“You better visit your doctor tomorrow. Now, go home. Don’t tire yourself”. And, remember, anger is a bad advisor.
His eyes crinkle when he smiles. But it’ s dark now!
I hear a call
in the fluttering prayer flags ,
in the circles of the prayer wheels,
when solemn mantras weave a sonorous web,
I hear a call
in the smoky flicker of the butter lamps ,
in the somber telling of the rosary beads,
where hallowed precincts hold His steadfast love,
And radiant faces ever rejoice in loving trust.
I sit in peace in the charmed circle of the smoky silence
I sit in love and in gratitude, Be my shield, O Lord!
My trembling lips utter this silent prayer.
Why do my kohl rimmed eyes look so far beyond ?
Am I wandering pilgrim or a wayward soul?
I hear the call
O! Who calls me there?
There she lay on her couch,
A tired soul!
Tiny sobs rocked her
Her crumpled face,
a wilted flower,
I hold her in my arms,
She clings to me
and looks at me
with a questioning glance.
Then a feverish rasping whisper I hear,
“Listen! the phone’s ringing,
that’s my father dear!
“But why doesn’t he speak with me?
Her voice trembles, cracks and crumbles.
She moans and wails in mist of forgetfulness
where unreal shadows hide and lurk.
(How do I tell her that her father’s long dead and gone!)
I hug her but with a hopeless fear
her delicate face is wracked with pain, wet with tears.
Alas! she is but a prisoner of memories..!
Holding her hand , I sit by her side.
Her hand , my hand, our hands…..entwined!
Loneliness hurts but what magic it weaves!..
Who held my hand to the kindergarten next door?
Who clutched mine tight when we crossed the road?
Who wiped my tears when I lost on love? So many more….
Sorrow and delight, what play is this?
Here she lies all spent and frail.
Now she is me and I am her.
She lives in me like I did once..
It’s my time with her, our closest time !
Time to live our very own time,
Together we taste the bitter- sweet pain.
I cry with her, she cries with me
we cry together, the timeless cry
so dear to us, this torturous love!
She looks at me yet sees me not.
She touches me tenderly, then shrinks away
Who am I? Her son? Her father? Who else?
Not her son , I guess, but more than a son.
Her feverish mind , her restless soul falters and falls…
Faces dance, faces fade, faces brighten, faces melt..
For all she knows, for all she cares..
I am her father, brother, son …all!
O Mother , my hapless mother!
I live but for you!
(My diary! I have no more words for you!)
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