Shadows

What is hiding in the shadows?
Who is this demon? How have I not crossed paths with it yet?

I have been lurking around in this darkness since the dawn of this moonless night.
Who is this ghoul that managed to save itself from my quest? Has my search been hasty? Have I missed some corners?

I met a monk yesterday evening;
I met a monk on my way back home, as I returned from another day of running behind lost causes;

He told me I was naive;
that I didn’t know who I was,
that I didn’t know what I was made of,
that I haven’t found my light yet because I never embraced my darkness.

I paid heed to what he said;
I paid heed and began my pilgrimage in the wake of this moonless night.

I went through alleyways lined with the momoirs of my past;
some pulled me into a deep embrace,
others hissed back.

I traveled past the relics that commemorated my wins,
and past the broken records that were stuck- stuck at the songs of some bitter defeats.

I ran through the corridors,
walked through several old rusty doors.
crawled across floors,
searched rooms-
desperate to find the key.

The key to my heart;
the key that would take to my light, my love.

All of this seems like a trap now!

Each time I feel like I am done, another fragment of my darkness falls in front of me;
I have been picking up battles I never intended to.

These shadows don’t seem to end;
do they ever?

Don’t tear the wall down!

You keep a brick at its place, and you stare at it. You stare at it long enough for it to lose its identity for you, for it to simply become a mass of nothing, 
kept on nothing, 
for nothing;

In that moment, you almost want to smash the whole wall down; the wall that took you days to erect, the wall that made you feel proud of yourself each time you walked by, the wall that made you feel like yourself for the first time in years- that wall suddenly begins to mean nothing for you… and you… you want to tear it down!

Just like you tore yourself down,
when the storm approached; 
the storm that you thought you won’t be able to take,
or, was it for the shame that the possible failure could have brought along?

Regardless,
you tore yourself down before you could have tried,
you refused to fight because somehow you thought loath tastes sweeter than defeat;
you never gave yourself a chance.

This time around, don’t back away,
give yourself a chance;
don’t tear the wall down!

Stagheads and Castles…

Fires, when left burning, can bring the greenest forests down. Tangerines hanging in the air, wringing the fiery crimson out of lives, devouring upon the beauty, leaving behind corpses; what a shame?

Fires that can warm hearts, feed hunger, chase the dark away, can also cause an apocalypse when lit by the hands that are either too weak to control them or simply don’t want to. 

Each night, you travel down the forbidden paths of your mind, pick up stagheads on your way back home, and decorate walls with the rewards of your morbid hunts. You always knew there was something wrong about the way you saw the world, but when did things go so bad?

Roofs, when too dense, trap your light away from dawning onto the world. Worst… they make you feel comfortable with not having to shine as bright as you deserve to.

—–

You were once an epitome of peace; a serene brook making its way through a dense forest, flowing alongside the scants of poorly watered flower shrubs, nurturing them into beautiful gardens. 

Now, your tranquility has given into swamps; you don’t nurture, you swallow… you swallow the tiniest bit of sunshine that manages to make its way through the thick canopy standing overhead.

—–

The roof that once made you feel safe has, now, been holding you captive in a dark corner of your room, making you question all things beautiful. 

There are days you get up, walk up to the door you entered through, but immediately back away. Why? Do you feel guilty about abandoning something that once kept you safe? Do you fear being called ungrateful? Who taught you that choosing yourself was a crime? 

—–

Build castles! Back in the days, when kingdoms felt the need to put their power on display, they built mighty castles- mighty, magnificent castles that stood on top of the highest peaks- castles that spoke of nothing but strength and glory- castles that were not meant to scare the enemies away but to tell that this kingdom can fight and survive any attack thrown its way.

—-

Build castles! Tell them… tell them!

The Moon

I had sworn. I had sworn I will never write about the Moon. 

It did. It made me gasp at its beauty each time I looked at it; filled me with endearing wonderment for the silver it spilled; had me looking for a braveheart who had the courage to bring it down for me; 
I kept looking,
I kept running,
I never found,
I never wrote.

Picture Credit: Pinterest (Hometalk.com)

A deep black cloud, the wrath of a thousand thunders, scents of far-fetched rain-drenched soils, and me… I sat under the sky- naked, poisoned, cloaked, and redeemed. 

Magic for the hearts who wander, set camps at nights, travel afar in the days and wish for homes at dawns; magic unbound, magic unfound- the magic of the phases of the Moon. 

It waxes and wanes, grows upon the darkness of each heart, only to fade away later. 
Sorcery for the lone wolves to bask under, and a nightmare for those who could never befriend the downhills of life. 

The Moon is an alchemist, weaving dreams for those asleep, and visions for those awake; Merlin to the wizards of the night and Helios to the worshipers of the day. 

A totem of beauty and an omen of emotional warfare, both at the same time. 

The Moon is what you look forward to and despise sitting with, when the world leaves you alone to suffer. 

I see faces…

People leave homes behind. They move away. I wonder if their stories ever do.

I wonder if, as much as we believe, have we ever been powerful enough to rip memories off the walls that boast them.

Or, is it just an illusion, yet another desperate attempt at gaining power over time?

Will we ever know? Do we even care?

I believe when homes are abandoned, they aren’t really left alone. They are left behind with tales, hiding underneath the faces that dwell in the random patterns of their marble floors.

They are left behind with faces, with eyes full of questions, and mouths too numb to answer.

And, each time you feel like someone’s following you, it’s often just an old memory, trapped in a plain white wall somewhere, waiting to be lived again.

Rare. Rarer

It’s rare to find people who smile when roses wilt, not because they despise its beauty, but because they can’t wait for it to rise from the neath again. If you have the eye of a sorcerer, everything has the soul of a phoenix.

Why do endings hurt as much as they do? Why do beginnings scare us? Why is it that the roads bring us peace but not the place it is taking us to? Do places mean us more harm than journeys can?

It is rare to ask more questions when all your life you have only learned to answer the ones that already exist. Rarer to knit flags that boast your curiosity instead of weaving drapes that cloak it away from the world.

Why do we rush to put an end to contrast as soon as we encounter it? What is this obsession we have for symmetry? Where does it come from? When did we fall in love with indifference?

Aren’t warriors born under the storm-stirred skies? Doesn’t the revolution begin when the heart feels a need to end what exists? Then why fear chaos when it’s nothing but the birthing ground for the new? Or, do we fear what is yet to come more than what has long fallen?

It is rare to love falling. Rarer to love rising again, because it’s difficult to fall in love with the pain of building a new home away every time the former collapses… and if you can, then did you ever fall in love with the last one?

Travelers are conflicted. Lost. They run to lose their identity away in the crowds and then find a deranged new face from the paradoxes of life.

Every evening when they camp on the side of the road, their new face pricks against their skin and all the tears that they kept locked away in a casket come running to them at the dawn of their pause.

Why would they like pausing then? Why won’t they run forever and pray that the Sun never sets on their day? But, in the hind of their futile wishes, they know they can’t control fate. Sun sets; they pause, and they yearn to run again.

But, it is rare for a traveler to choose to pause for a forever one day and so it is rarer to find peace in the silence of the now.

-Gauri Walecha

The One about Rains and Hearts

I spilled colors on a rather blank canvas. They dripped off the edges, down in a puddle of water, giving colors to a rather blank sky… An illusion some people so need.

Rains mark my favorite time of the year. Those few minutes of Earthen fragrances sent afloat by the happy soils… The beauty of the greens hanging in the air and rustling every now and then to sing songs of merriment. Dancing hearts, joyous smiles… I don’t know what could possibly make one hate such raw charm. But then, some people do.

Some hearts who had to let another go in one sad monsoon don’t find their bliss in the rains anymore. All they can think of is the way their heart burnt like a forgotten lamp waiting to die before someone remembers it. All they can hear is the sound of their tears falling into puddles that the rain must have filled. All they can find is the melancholy trapped behind the blue hues of water ridden clouds. All they see, all they smell, all they feel… is bereavement.

Bereavement of the rain washing away the last few marks of the last walk they had with their beloved; of new life growing from the old flowers they had buried underneath; of trees falling and withering away, taking along the marks of their journey; of a traveler traveling farther away from her childhood home.

Separation leaves hollows where once life was, and just like an abandoned crevice, these hollows fill with memories when rains fall, but the water dries away- memories don’t.

They stay behind, adding shades of sepia to the neons of joy. Adding rust to the sheen of gleaming metal. Adding gore to glory and pride to prudence.

They tell stories like a charm and make you forget others like magic. Before you know, that void is like the Sun shining upon your midnight fog. The one you can’t resist following, not once in seven moons.

The one about Butterflies and Hope

Have you ever seen a butterfly grow out of her cocoon? Her wings are the first to greet the first Sun of her new life. 

Do you know why?

It’s a victory ritual. A token to celebrate everything she survived. To celebrate all that made her into who she is now.

The last of the thins of her cocoon break soon. Her struggle to break free ends sooner. The light at the end of the tunnel flows out of her daydreams to bring charms to her reality… A reality she once wanted to run away from. She eventually did… She ran, but only to get closer to who she was. 

Have you ever noticed how often writers sell hope wrapped in this exact same tale?

Have you ever wondered why? 

It’s a peacemaker’s chant. One meant to make you believe in the power of fallen joy. Meant to make you believe that one day you will wake up to realize how you had never fallen prey to the dark but had only been pulled into its embrace till you got stronger to face the world again.

It’s a poet’s favorite metaphor; her favorite choice of weapon to spill beauty in a world that is threatened by it. 

It’s an intricate piece of abstract art, with love spilled all over- a little to see and a lot to feel. 

But mostly, it’s a reminder, a letter speaking about all our lost smiles and addressing them back to us, exactly where we had lost them. 

Have you found yours yet?

Midnight Sky

It’s midnight. Dew has settled on its favorite leaves, leaving no room for them to face the bare danger. The street light is a little too yellow, piercing through the dark to find the naked loneliness hiding in each corner. 

It’s too dark for the peace to set in and a little less dark for the things to fall silent, and all of us are simply hanging in the middle of nothing. An empty nothingness. 

Somewhere somehow two hearts are lying in their beds thinking about each other without having ever met. Doesn’t that evoke wonder in you? 

The world is so huge yet so small. Vast yet beautifully knit. Distant yet so close. The world is like a mirage standing in the middle of a desert waiting for you to find its lies and yet it’s like a magnificent castle standing on the top of a hill, far out of your reach. 

How can something be so desirable yet so repelling at the same time? So wondrous yet so ordinary in the same moment? Is this what you call magic? The one that keeps us running around in circles?

Finding answers to the questions we once had, only to find more questions waiting for us. Waking up each morning to wait for the day to end and not being able to sleep in the wait of the next day to rise. 

Life is somehow running by the wheel, and not once do we ever question where it’s going. If at all we do, the possibility of a lack of answers scares us and we go back to doing what we were doing, trying to blur lines between what is and what is not. 

How will we ever know when to finally break the cycle? How will we ever break free and fly away only to land in our very own paradise? Does this place really exist or is it just a whim of theory? 

But the real question is, if the answer was no, would we take it?

The Tale of a Hundred Roses

The sweetest things in life fall from the sky-

They rain over the draught of your distraught heart and before you know there is new life growing on a rather barren land.

Have you ever touched the soft tender new leaves growing out of an old tree? You should because you won’t find a better metaphor to capture the spirit of life. 

For, what is life if not a never-ending tale of young taking birth in the safe embrace of age-old wisdom? 

A bird once died in an old man’s garden. It was a beautiful cuckoo with songs of a hundred months dying in its craw. 

What must the man have done if not mourn for the sad demise? How must have he mourned if not by laying the small bird and its sweet voice to rest forever? 

But, how do you expect to sleep in peace after having witnessed the world as it lost a part of its beauty? How can you not stay up at nights, thinking of ways to bring that bliss back to the world? 

What do you do if not risk being called a fool? But then, why must the world question a mourning person’s folly? 

The old man was wise but since when has wisdom been kin to apathy? He chose to let his emotions consume him. After having lost sleep for a painfully long week, his heart rebelled against his mind one night. 

He was quick to take hold of the same spade that had dug a grave for the sad little bird. He was quicker to pluck stems from his favorite rose shrub, one that he had nurtured for years; and before he knew, he had planted the seed to new life exactly where he had buried the remains of what was once living. 

And so he did, for the next hundred nights, allowing his tears to water what was yet to grow. 

One fine day, it did. The hundred stems he had planted beside his little friend had torn the chest of Earth to stand anew. Their tenders spoke of each lost story that the bird had carried with itself to the other side. The tales were alive and so was their sweet nectar. The old man had won, but had he really?