timepass three

It's untied; it's crude; well I aint so prude.

For fifty years and more,
They were inseparable twins,
Walking from sea to shore,
Hand in hand; sharing their grins.
The grins were now toothless,
The faces stretched;and eyes dim,
Yet never, for a moment, loveless,
Love grinned like sun-beam.

He walked her, as every sun set
Her hand his prize;she his all.
Of his love, she wasn't a test,
Wholly belonged in his stroll.
It was a sight for his eyes,
Those few stray golden strands.
Light that jewelled her gray curls
With many little shiny beads.

Her memory was a faded gray
Like pictures from eons before,
She knew not the night from day
Yet loved his face without a name.
She could never look back
And he willed not to either.
Until the day all went black,
They would live forever.

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he and she

He stood in the warm sunlight, his body exuding the unhurried stance of a man with all the time in the world. He did have all the time in the world for a day almost every day. He never believed in hurrying through life like insignificant pollen blown away before they had their chance to make a difference. What better way to live than to enjoy and cherish every swirl of life's glass of wine?

The clouds were huffing and puffing across the sky shephered by the wind, a nanny walking a bunch of unrelenting and indifferent kids to another day at school. The wind was cold and washed away most of the warmth that the sun's rays anointed his skin with. Yet he felt fresh and wonderful, an unlikely thing for a cold autumn day. The leaves were past their browns and in their early yellows. An awful lot of them were now part of the carpet that autumn had sewn for the concrete pavements and where available the earth.

He stared across the town square, at nothing in particular. People were walking all along the streets, shopping for the coming week and taking in as much of the sunshine as they could gather. A saturday was always welcome and especially without the clouds pouring down upon them. As his eyes washed over the streets, he noticed a bright pink fluff in the crowds. It was the brightest colour in the whole scene. She seemed to float by people, almost untouched by the air around them. It seemed as if people parted away to let her pass.

He was amazed by the beauty of her face and the way her skin glowed in the golden light. She was not slim but carried about an unexplicable grace. It was accentuated by the bouncy brown hair that framed her cool blue eyes. Her eyebrows were sharp arches that stood guard over those undoubting, innocent eyes and her lips were painted in a light brown that humbly hid their lusciousness. The clickety-clack of her shoes seemed like music to his ears, the beat of the heel against rain-soaked concrete. As she walked past him, her hair playing with the wind, he caught a whiff of her subdued perfume. He could smell a hundred exotic scents in that single whiff. He greedily drew in his breath to lavish his lungs with the sweetness of her scent.

She looked at him from the corners of her eyes. Or did she? He believed she did. She did not give him a second glance though. Or maybe he did not she her tilting her head ever so slightly to catch a second glimpse of the tramp standing by the railing and with a look on his face and a stance on his body that seemed to tell people that he owned the world and they were mere pawns in the game of chess he played when he was bored. He looked on as she turned the corner and the last glimpse he had was of her coat's pink trail.

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pix from oxford

Oxford - another university town. We went there on a day when students matriculated. Now matriculation is a funny thing. You would expect it to be some kind of passing-out thing. But no, it isn't. It is the signing event when students register for courses. They are dressed up in robes and suits and carry an air of formal elegance about them, until the parties start in the evening.

We didn't get to do much though cos we took a city sight-seeing tour to have ourselves frozen on the open upper deck of the bus. It was cold. Leave it at that.

Anyway here are the pictures: http://www.imagestation.com/album/index.html?id=2118924272&mode=invite

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untitled too - the old man

Foreword: I don't find this a continuation of this. Yet in some way it is!

Five years had passed by, unsung and unthought about. The day he realised the loss of the one true friend he had, Vish had given up on life the way people lived it. Without a thought, Vish had gotten down from the bus in the middle of nowhere. The sleeping bag did just fine.

That night began his journey through unknown villages and towns. The nights were mostly spent away from civilisation, alone in his sleeping bag. The stars were his friends, the moon his guide. Rains were kept at bay with makeshift tents made out of polythene bags. He had become a nomad; one among the thousands that inhabited the nooks and crannies of the towns. Unsurprisingly, he was unlike the others. He was not disgusted by his ways nor would anyone have been. Inspite of all his hatred for society and everything to do with it, Vish made sure he did not offend the senses of people around him. His makeshift tent and his ever-changing homes always carried a remarkable dignity. It was a home!

During the day Vish worked on odd jobs. Enough to keep him well fed and clean. He would have loved to be a true nomad, a child of the earth eating out of what the earth had to offer. He was as much practical as he was idealistic and knew that such a life was not impossible but took more effort than was necessary. He was a subdued man. Though the ideals still lurked around in him, they assumed a state of indifference.

Vish met a lot of people in the five years. Each person impressed by the unexposed depth that they could feel in Vish. More than one person was concerned that such a good man was wasting away his life. Vish knew that it wasn't him that was wasting his life. He didn't, however, express this opinion to anyone.

"What are you watching, son?", the old man's trembling voice tore through the silence. Vish turned around to look at the old man. Slow enough to bring his thoughts together to the present. The old man was one of Vish's acquaintances in his then current location. He stood beneath the rock that Vish stood upon. It was his favourite place - Vish's. He liked to stand up on the slightly big rock at night and stare across the plains, across the lights at something only he seemed to perceive. He saw his life being played upon the dark canvas of the sky.

"Nothing, sir! I was merely lost in the calmness of the night, in the beauty of the sleeping town". The old man smiled his two-toothed smile. "I know, son. I know how it feels to see your past from a third person perspective." Vish was not surprised that the man had known his thoughts and he did not even attempt to hide them. Vish knew there was something about the old man that set him apart from the rest. His name was Karma and was one of the regular vagabonds - shabby and unkempt as they were expected to be. But he surely was different. Vish could feel it everytime he spoke to the man.

They were about 20 men and women, who lived in the open ground a few kilometres away from the town's boundary. The place had once upon a time borne lush green fields, not anymore. It was now no man's land; a refuge for temporary residents like Karma and Vish. Karma had lived there for five months. That was the longest time he had stayed in a single place. He had been tempted a few times to move on. Something had stopped him everytime he packed his bag. Vish had joined him only a month back and Karma had immediately taken a liking for the young man. He seemed to bear the same idealistic attitude that Karma had unsuccessfully tried to make people accept.

In his younger days, Karma had believed in his ideals and thought he could change the world through them. He had been bitterly diasppointed and disillusioned when people not only disagreed with him but also cast him out like a disease. He had joined the ranks of the vagabonds, who he thought shared some of his ideals of an ungreedy world. He was, ofcourse, incorrect in his assumption and resigned to the fact that the world was beyond salvage. Karma chose to continue living as an outcast; an outcast among the outcasts.

"Do you think it is not right to dwell upon the past, sir?", asked Vish.

"Son. I cannot answer a question of right or wrong. Nobody can. What I think is right will be wrong for another."

Vish smiled at the answer. "Do you think about your past when you are alone and have nothing else to do?"

Karma did think about his past often. He remembered the passions that he had carried on his back. "I remember the roads I traversed. I don't analyze my past, I only read through its pages. Sometimes it amazes me with the wonderful things that have happened to me. The world is not a bad place. It is our sense of good and bad that makes it appear either way. I did not realise this until it was too late. I lived with my ideals. I am not sure if I'll die with them."

The two sat down upon the rock looking across the town lights. The old, fragile looking man in his rags and the young man in a more presentable form. Two individuals that looked as different as a home from a pigsty, yet there was an invisible connection that they shared. They had been through similar experiences. They had turned out the same but in different ways. They had become what they chose to be. It was the choice that had differed. They looked upon the sleeping world and smiled at the ignorant bliss the world lived in.

Vish thought to himself, "I have found myself a new friend. A friend that is almost like me."

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random updates

Autumn's here! The leaves left on the trees are turning a lovely brown or a bright yellow. The autumn colours must be the most beautiful of them all. I do like the greens, but there is something melancholic and poetic about the colours that autumn has on show. This is the time of the year when nature gives up its past to rebuild itself. Leaves float down to the earth creating a carpet across the pavements and roads. The world looks dressed up in full evening dress.

The cold is here too. Some days are particularly so. The cold wind clings to you sending shivers from head to toe. The locals of course are used to the weather and go about their ways with nonchalance.

My evening walks had been shelved in fear of the cold weather. This sunday though, with nothing better to do, I decided to take a walk. To catch a breath of fresh air and to air my mind a bit. Left the hotel a little about 6 in evening to return at 7. I couldn't smell the fresh air though, because it was too cool for my nose to open up.

It's so much fun to walk aimlessly for an hour with no place to reach and no hurry. Yeah, you could do it in India too but definitely not for more than a few minutes. You either run out of safe pedestrian paths or will have had enough of the jostling traffic. Oh and here it is kind of hard to get completely lost. I didn't, inspite of the fact that I randomly chose turns.

It was cold. But with so much effort put into the walking you tend not to notice. It was dusk and there was this dull warm light lighting up the autumn colours. The soothing sounds of bird calls kept my mind from thinking things. The crunch of the dry leaves under my foot never seemed so much fun before. It was like one of the things you did as a kid tapping on the floor or hopping on the stairs to hear the sound it make. I also got to discover a few more viewpoints overlooking the town. The town center is situated in this sort of a valley bounded by hills (they are more mounds than hills though). These areas are mostly residential. I got up to one side of the hilly side and there was this beautiful view of the town laid out in lights with the setting sun creating a pretty canvas over it. On one side of the sky, a big half moon was still undecided about whether it was time to come out.

So although this weekend was in inactive mode, it was not a complete waste.

Pix from Leeds: http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id=2119331056&mode=invite

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I had been to Leeds over the weekend. Why? Cos Denny - a friend from college lives there. The last time I met Denny was 2+ years ago during the convocation in college. We might have exchanged a few mails after that. In effect we were out of touch. Thanks to John, I got hold of Denny's phone number and called him. He obviously couldn't recognise my voice and when I told him "This is Bijesh", he was flabbergasted.

When Denny suggested that I visit him during the weekend, I immediately set the process rolling. Booked tickets and changed check-out date in hotel. The night before leaving I was in the room browsing my photos. I didn't have too many photos from college but what few I had flew me back to those wonderful memories. Life in college itself had been far from exciting. With too many rules and loads of regulations, my college was not the best place to unwind. Inspite of all that, I treasure my life in college. This is solely because of the people I met there. The people who made the best out of everything and the people that had fun even within those pale walls.

The photos played out my college experiences in vivid colour. I can still remember how we freaked out during the "college day" - the one day that rules were relaxed. Lunch in the college mess where even the crappiest food was eaten amidst laughter. The "industrial visits" which always turned into an impromptu picnic with singing and dancing and laughter again. The weird things we did to make our class "cool". Greeting signals. Class songs. Department mags. Farewell party. Scrapbooks.. All those images flooded me with a sense of joy. The happiness in knowing that the time in college was a lot more fun than I gave it credit.

I haven't kept in touch with most of the people from college. That's just my nature. But it was nice to know that I was not forgotten and I had not forgotten the myriad of faces.

When I was getting down from the bus in Leeds, I saw Denny waiting for me. His hair had grown long, very long. He looked a lot different without the trademark short hair but I spotted him in a moment. Unsurprisingly he recognised me too. To meet somebody after two years gives rise to a heightened sense of welcomeness. It did.

The weekend was sprinkled with anecdotes from college, remembering the antics of people in college and catching up on what they were upto. I wish that somebody all (almost all) of the class from college get together for a day. A day when we could look back upon those wonderful years. To share our experiences with those fellow humans that took, alongside us, the steps towards how our lives shaped.

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timepass two

This is my first ever attempt to write about something "common". i don't exactly know how to define it - common is the closest I could come up with. Anyway that's how it is and what I've written might sound a lot jittery.

It was a long time
Since he last laughed.
He hadn't seen a dime
Nor did he have work.

The fiver was his ticket.
A ticket to a pretend heaven.
Old and haggard he hobbled
Into the first bar in sight.

He downed a glass of whisky,
Followed by another.
He shot himself a tequila
Seasoned with many others.

The five was long gone,
Heaven was still away.
He was still not done
Looking for his grave.

His shadow grew long;
The voice louder.
His mind was numb,
The tongue went wayward.

Out he got thrown
Thrown out by a bushy bouncer.
He flew into the street,
With his busy coat flapping.
Heaven was still away,
So was his mind.

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