थक गया हूं मैं!

थक गया हूं मैं
इस होड़ में
दौड़ते-दौड़ते
इस दौड़ में
थक गया हूं मैं!

कहां था, कहां हूं, कहां जा रहा हूं,
ना सोचने का वक्त है
ना पूछ सकूं
उतना सख्त हूं
और इस नकाब के बोझ से
दब गया हूं मैं
इस दौड़ में
थक गया हूं मैं!

शहर की इस भीड़ में
अब मुझे अपनी छवि भी
धुंधली सी दिखाई देती है
चारों तरफ मेरे आस-पास
झूठे दर्द की नुमाइश है
परेशानी जैसे मुफ्त में बिकती है

नहीं रहा जाता यहां, वहां जा रहा हूं
आवाज लगा रही है
सपनों वाली नगरी जो
दौड़ा चला जा रहा हूं
अब इन ख्वाहिशों की चींख से
टूट गया हूं मैं
इस दौड़ से
थक गया हूं मैं!

थक गया हूं मैं
इस होड़ में
दौड़ते-दौड़ते
इस दौड़ में
थक गया हूं मैं!

– dev.
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Are we there yet?

Most of us ask this question, when on a bus or in a train, “are we there yet?” and more often than not, we know the answer to the question and yet we keep asking “are we there yet” because the temptation is irresistible, the temptation to make it to the destination, to the finish line. We know the train will reach the station at 8:00 AM in the morning and yet 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM feels like forever, because we know how close we are, how. close. And this optimism is the spirit that fuels the engines of our hearts and keeps us driving no matter how far the destination is.

Contrary to the popular belief, there are fragments of us which are not really binary at the very core. We, human beings are not really binary, deep down – our emotions differentiate us from the rest of the mammals. We are very well aware that it takes seconds for our life to take a turn (for better or worse) and yet we wait with utmost optimism for the train to reach the station. We could think of ways to save ourselves if the train derails or if there is any other unforeseen emergency but we choose to eagerly wait for the end of the journey with optimism. Interesting, isn’t it?

And this arduousness of the journey and the impatient temptation makes the travelling all the more interesting, the longing to break free from the shackles of the routine and the regimen you’re trapped in. And a lot of times, it is not even the destination that really matters as much as the fact that you’re ‘going away’. In the desire to run away to a certain place, the ‘running to’ is given a lot more importance and in the due course, we tend to forget about the ‘running from’ part and hence we ask, “ARE WE THERE YET?”

I often think about how we never appreciate how beautiful our own cities are. Marvels of amazement scattered all around us and yet we don’t take notice but when we are on a vacation or travelling we never stop capturing moments on our phones! Why? We have thousands of stories unfolding in our own homes that we choose to ignore and yet we look for stories in places where they don’t exist, once we step out of our homes. Why?

Is it because we have more appreciation for the new and the unknown and we take our own for granted?
Or is it because we feel obligated to tell the world that we’re are ‘sophisticated’ creatures too who have been to different places?
Or is it because the journey from breaking the shackles of the mundane and the ordinary to reach that other place has been so tiring that we have a newfound appreciation for the world we live in?
Or is it because the temptation to ‘reach’ was so infuriating that everything the destination has to offer seems magical – even when it is not?

Or is it because we’re in a constant whimsical chase of never-ending happiness when we know damn well it doesn’t exist.

May be we like to live in denial (or optimism) and thus we never stop asking –
ARE WE THERE YET?

dev. – 21.10.18

Maybe

A note to selfMaybe:

At the crossroads of Life,
I often find myself thinking that
Maybe right now I don’t need love.
Maybe right now is too early to be fixated
Maybe I need to expand my horizons,
Maybe I need to work on myself
Maybe I need travel across different oceans,
Maybe I need to meet more people who will inspire me,
Maybe I need to find more people
Who are outliers and outcasts and rebels
And are not bogged down by this mundane system.
Maybe I need to find souls that are free as a bird,
Souls who have the freedom
To chose where to go,
Who to be and
What to do
Without having another human being
To think about.
Without having another human being
To judge them
Maybe there is hope for me,
Or maybe, I’m just another loner
And want to be left alone
Until I’ve gotten
What I had set out to achieve.
Maybe, I like to work in silence.
Maybe.

– dev.

A jaywalker and a sad old man

 

The best thing one can do when it’s raining, is to let it rain.

– H.W. Longfellow

It was a not so busy evening in the month of July and I was riding back home from office. I like to listen to music during my commute, it’s therapeutic; but oddly enough, I wasn’t listening to music on that ride home which is strange now that I think about it, I guess it would have been one of those days when your mind is not in the right place. And half way through the ride it started drizzling. It was pleasant but then that drizzle shaped into a heavy downpour. Oddly enough, even the downpour seemed pleasant to me. So I stopped and waited for the downpour to come to a halt so that I can go home without getting drenched.

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I stood there, at a bus stop opposite to the beach under the shed and I watched the world around me take shape. There was a homeless man finding shelter in the same bus stop, there were a couple of dogs drenched to the very fur and looked pitiful, running and trying to make sense of the rain. There were a couple of other corporate monkeys who also parked their bikes beside mine and were also waiting eagerly for the rain to stop so that they can go home to the dear ones, AND then… there was a man who was jaywalking in the alleyway between the highroad and the beach and that man was jaywalking without a care in the world. He had some music on and by the looks of it, he looked neither rich nor poor and had a zen-like smile on his face almost as if he was the only man blessed with ‘this’ life. I saw him walk towards the bus stop, he smiled and walked right past it. In a few minutes, the rain stopped.

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And when I resumed my commute, I saw an Indigo/Blue Audi pull up next to me at the signal. It was a lovely car and the window glasses were down and I happened to see an old chap driving the car. The old man was fat and balding and didn’t appear in the best of his spirits. He was smoking a filtered cigarette and looked really sullen and glum. On the stereo, “Whatever It Takes – by Imagine Dragons” was playing in the mellow and the song did not have that much of an effect on him as it had on me, I mean. He was just sitting there, motionless, but for taking a puff and staring at the road ahead of him. I couldn’t make much of it at that point in time because by the time I was done playing ‘Sherlock’ the signal turned green and the Audi rushed past me.

Oddly enough, “Whatever It Takes” was playing on my music player last night and a  plethora of fleeting thoughts gushed through the floodgates of my mind – What would both of those men be doing today? Is the sad man in the Audi still sad and the blissful jaywalker still blissful? Or have they swapped places now and things are different? Were they really sad or really happy or was it just me attaching different meaning to different scenarios. May be, the old man was just pissed at the rain and the jaywalker had a great day in general? And why did I presume whatever I presumed?” 

Well, whatever it is, I hope both those brothers of the world are sleeping in peace tonight.

Hustle.

There’s noise out there,
Just Noise,
No music.
The city, It’s Hustle
And the Noise.

If there is something that I have very particularly learnt time and again, it’s that it doesn’t matter to the world if you’re sick or injured or beaten or bruised, it doesn’t matter to them if you’re alive right now or if you’re dead, or if you’re alive but your soul is dead. It doesn’t matter to the world if there was someone you once loved with every last fragment of your beating heart but was taken away from you and you couldn’t even mourn their absence, it doesn’t matter if you’re slow and cannot keep up with the pace at which the world’s moving, and it doesn’t matter if you’re broken inside and are trying extremely hard to fit in. The world doesn’t play by the book always even if you want it to. This world is ruthless and it owes you nothing. You may come up with 1000 excuses for why you couldn’t get what you wanted and each of those excuses might be equally brilliant, genuine or novel BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE WORLD DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT. IT NEVER DID, IT NEVER WILL.

This world doesn’t stop for anybody.
SUCCESS doesn’t fall on the lap of anybody.
OPPORTUNITIES don’t knock on the doors of anybody.

They say, good things happen to those who wait. Nope! Good things happen to those who work their asses off and never give up. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest bloke on this planet or the poorest chap alive, even if you’re headed on the right track, you might get run over if you just sit there.


(A note to self)

DON’T JUST SIT THERE. HUSTLE.

At the crossroads of life, if you’re vexed with a dilemma, look to your RIGHT, it is the path back home. If you choose, you can take it. It is safe, easy and comfortable. You do not have to work till you break. You do not have to fight a battle or beat the odds or do anything else that you don’t want to. It’s basically the RIGHT choice. But to the LEFT, what’s LEFT is the land of opportunities. To the LEFT is where the magic happens! You see you don’t know what’s coming for you until you choose the path you wish to take. And as Robert Frost very well said,

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”

So, take that rugged path less travelled by. Explore the countryside, find out what makes your heart skip a beat.

DON’T JUST SIT THERE. HUSTLE.

अंधेरा #2

सुर्ख आंखे नम कर रो जाता हूं
हर श्याम यह कह कर सो जाता हूं
कि कल मेरा सवेरा होगा
ना घने बादल ना अंधेरा होगा

पर श्याम दर श्याम निकल जाती है
हर धूप यह कहकर ढल जाती है
कि कल फिर घना अंधेरा होगा
और तू फिर से बडा अकेला होगा

उस अंधेरे में मैं कुछ थम जाता हूं
निराश मैं दिल को समझाता हूं
के रात की हवा तूफानी होगी
बस डटे रहो, आसानी होगी

खुद ही का तू सहारा खुद बन
अपनी मझधार का किनारा खूद बन
जब तक ना थमें यह तूफानी हवाएं
अपने अंधेरे का उजाला खुद बन।

dev.

Consumed..

Some people might be great human beings but can never be good friends.

They are too consumed in their own thoughts, beliefs, choices, opinions, ideas and biases that they have too less space to accommodate sympathy and warmth.

They might really care about you with all the genuineness but well, they’re stuck too deep inside their head to come out and express or even bother talking.

And some others, well, they’re just too tired of pretending.

Let’s dive deeper

A 20 minute rant of a 20 something trying to find life from a lifeless place.

So when does it all stop? The chase, the mad rush, the checking of boxes and the bloody games? Or does it? And for it to stop, has it all started or is it just the beginning and the worst is yet to come?

Each morning, I wake up, pour myself a mug of pitch black coffee, hop on to the ‘mill, run mindlessly, aimlessly.. purposelessly.. lifelessly, take a shower, and ride straight to the office or the workstation or wherever (depending on what day of the week it is) and I grind, I hustle or I slog (again, depending of what day of the week it is) and it keeps going on. As a 20 something, it hasn’t been that long since this chore has continued, and I guess it might feel like a long time but it actually isn’t but all I can think of while I’ve been doing it is – ‘what’s the end to all this, what is it that the heart wants while the mind is busy adhering to the societal norms and at what point do I start flipping out and become a renegade or an outlier that the poetry and the art is so madly in love with.’

Often, it’s the chase of something that keeps your adrenaline pumped and when you’ve surmounted the peak, in a jiffy, all you can think of is going back down to conquer another peak. BUT WHY? What is there on the top of the world that always keeps us chasing? We don’t know, nobody does, they’ll be lying if they tell you that they have the answers. And yet we keep chasing.. running.. rushing into things.. without thinking for one second if our heart skips a beat when we do it.

On various sleepless nights, there is this fleeting thought that toys with my mind and leaves me vexed with anguish and disquiet and I cant help but ask myself, what is the order of things and why do we have to adhere to this order? On the days that I have failed as a person, I can’t stop but think ‘if this is the end of it all and is it the place from where I snap and go off the grid’ and then a contrasting thought hits these notions and tells me that ‘I haven’t hit rockbottom even if I think I have – there have been worse times before and there will be worse times ahead’. And on the days of my conquests, I can’t help but think – ‘how long will this glory last?’ and ‘why did I want to win it, in the first place?’

Since I was a child, I’ve always loved a good story. I believed and still believe that the stories help us to enable ourselves to fix what was broken in us.. and to help us become the people we’ve dreamed of becoming.

I’ve also rushed into a lot of decisions without having a sleepless night of introspection about them. I gave in, sometimes to my circumstances, sometimes to the HOPE of a grand future, and sometimes to my temptations. Of course I don’t find myself in an extremely dark place when I pen this rant but I can’t stop but wonder, WHEN is the right time for things? How long do we have to wait? And would I even wake up the next morning – and if don’t wake up, what stories have I narrated to the world and have I narrated enough stories for the world to remember me? And did someone even give a shit about them? And does it all even matter in the end if all we are is a speck of dust in the grandest scheme of things? And this? and that..? and that? There is no end to the thoughts that can haunt you if you let your mind wander like a wild horse.

We keep chasing – love, success, money, name, fame, glory, there is no end to what we “WANT” from time to time and we never stop chasing. BUT there is this hollow, this vacuum, a void that takes refuge in your heart when there is an apparent lack of content for what you do in your waking hours. And that is what it’s all about. I have seem to understood now, what my dad always used to tell me,  ‘sam bhaav’ or ‘endurance’. Every time I craved a particular delicacy I would eat it with so much voracity and gluttony as if it were my last meal, and my dad would hate it. I used to think that he doesn’t want me to experience that kind of happiness. Also, every time I had a food that tasted really bad, I’d frown like it’s poison. My dad would hate that too. Both times, he’d tell me, “son, endure it all. sam bhaav. Life won’t be the same always.” and I wouldn’t really care. But now that I think of it, the solution to all my problems lies in what I’ve been doing all my life. Endurance. Endure all pain and suffering, Endure all glory and success, and both, just the same. Be a stoic.

Some rants are not about how frustrating LIFE IS, sometimes, they are about how frustrating WE MAKE OUR LIVES from time to time and it calls for a change. But a lot of times such frustration stems from the labyrinth of circumstances we get trapped in and the only weapon that is best suited to aid us is TIME. And we can kick and punch and try to fight back but to no avail because the world is larger that you and I and its merciless. So you wait, and wait, and wait for the right time, the right moment, to show your cards. But what if you’ve waited too long, not awakening to your ‘right moment’ and missing the bandwagon altogether? See, this is what frustrates and perplexes an ordinary soul. The patience that comes with being a stoic. Because, you don’t see it coming, both the good and the bad that’s coming to you, you endure it once it has arrived, but you don’t see it coming. HOW LONG SHOULD YOU KEEP LIVING IN THE MOMENT?

If we were to just stay in the process, without thinking about the end game, the agitation wouldn’t be there. But, there’s one problem with Stoicism, you lose sight of the end game. The whole idea is to find out what the end game is, if you lose sight of it, one trigger and the vacuum and the darkness would creep in and there’s no going back. So if I were to take it back to the beginning, no matter how many pages I fill writing about it, my mind never stops asking “When has it all started and when does it all stop, or does it even stop?”

Sometimes, I counteract on this frustration by calculating and toying with all possible outcomes that can result from each significant decision that I take, I have this vivid fascination for calculating my moves almost as if life is a game of Chess but you can do that for the bigger things that impact your live – like, should I take up an hobby of mine as a career path? should I continue staying in a toxic relationship? Should I move to a different city? should I quit my job? should I even take up a new job? and What are the possible outcomes that can result that can result from each of these decisions that I take and how many of them unfold in my favour? But what do you do about it when you are already exploring alternatives and you are not really sure? Or about the small things that impact your life in a big way? Life cannot be planned, of that, I’ve become pretty sure. One bad judgment call or one unfavourable outcome and all that you’ve planned for days comes crashing down like a house of cards. It has happened before and it will happen again. In the niche circle of poets and artists, this is something we called poetic justice. And this is what keeps us on the edge of our seats, always on our toes WAITING and WAITING and WAITING to see how it’ll all unfold. This is what makes each of our narratives different than the other.

And like every other troubled bystander of a spectacle called life, I sit here, in a shack on the beach away from the city and it’s people while I pen this and guess what, I haven’t felt this alive in a very long time. Having my guard down and my masks in my bag, what I’m witnessing is pure bliss – a bliss that you can feel only when you’re closest to your truth, when you’re pretending or performing for no one, when there is NOBODY to take that moment away from you. I often wonder if people are ever tired of pretending.. acting and performing.. all day, everyday, to their loved ones, their families, their colleagues, their friends, even to the strangers, we’re a different person to all of these people, isn’t it exhausting? You don’t want to disappoint the ones you love or the ones that seek out to you but a lot of times all you want to do is sit on a bench and just gaze aimlessly at the bright blue skies, and not talk about anything to anyone. Sometimes, loneliness can be a virtue amid all this chaos.

One of these nights when the loneliness was killing me, and I was struck with panic, discomfort and a strange unease, I jumped on to my bed trying to sleep my panic away.. but I couldn’t. I was staring at the wall for hours, then suddenly, I felt lighter, at peace, secluded, isolated, at ease. Then I realized something about myself, that I liked sleeping alone, stretching out like a sky-diver, reminiscing about the times when the things were better. That night, I appreciated loneliness a little more. And as I sit here by the beach with my feet dug deep into the weirdly comforting soggy beach sand and I sip on my drink, I can feel that ease and life again. No baggage, no expectations, no proving it to somebody, no grind, almost as if life has come to a stand still.

May be, that’s all that we want sometimes, a pinch of loneliness in our lives bustling with people who look upto you or down upon you or look forward to something from you. Each of the paragraphs I have written above has a solution to a lot of problems of my life but each solution brings with it another problem like its a cobweb or an endless maze or a vicious circle. And, I guess, that’s how it is going to be because life can be a game of chess where you plan your moves and be in control or a game of poker where you play with the hands you’re dealt with and stay in the game, but mostly, life is just a roll of a dice, you don’t know what you’re getting until you’ve gotten it but you’ve got to live with it, because it keeps rolling new numbers for you. Life doesn’t have time for your rants, its ruthless, and it goes on.

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Broken cots.

 

Broken cots

I wish I could remember
All the words I ever wrote
All the things I ever said
All the men I must’ve quote.
I wish I could remember, but
I was too drunk on my thoughts
And my spirit was afire
While I lay on broken cots.

When I think about how often
I forget how much I yearned
For that passion and that spark
and that heart before it turned; —
– into a cold December attic
empty, hollow in despair
‘they’ took all the light away
even a candle didn’t they spare.

But through the window comes a ray
Of a halo and a dawn
Yet grim walls are making noises
And the darkness shuts them down.
Now there exists an echo
Of the thoughts I ever thought
and the dreams I ever dreamt
As I lay – on this broken cot.

– dev. (06.07.18).

अंधेरा। #1

वो देखो, उस ओर, वहां सन्नाटे का शोर है
चारों तरफ देखो तुम्हारे, अंधेरा बड़ा घोर है
हर तरफ बस खामोशी की चींख सुनाई देती है
काले घने अंधेरे वाली रात ये मुझसे कहती है,

“क्या तुम भी उस रोशनी को देख कर मुस्का रहे हो
इतराते उन जुगनुओं की तरफ कदम बढ़ा रहे हो
इनकी चमक तो नाज़ुक इतनी चंद सांसों में निगल जाऊंगा
रात का अंधेरा हूं “देव” हर रात में फिर से आऊंगा!”

-देव।