7

KOI MUJHSE PUCHE…

KOI MUJHSE PUCHE…

wo pata hai bahut hi bahut hi khubsurat hai…
kash koi meri ankhon se puche

wo kitna maasum hai…wo kitna sacha hai…kitna seedha hai…
kash koi mere dil se puche

wo mujhe kitna samjhata hai….wo mere sath hardam hai…
kash koi meri dosti se puche

uski jalan me jo pyar hai….jo wo sabse chupa k rakhta hai….
kash koi mere mann se puche

uski ankhon me jo umeed hai…uske hothon pe jo haya hai…
kash koi meri ankhon se puche

uske hath me jo mamta hai…uske seene me jo apnapan hai…
kash koi meri atma se puche

uske chehre me jo kashish hai…uske hathon me jo tapish hai…
kash koi meri rooh se puche

uski baton me jo bachpana hai…uski hansi me jo shararat hai…
kash koi meri khushi se puche

uske jhooth me jo sach hai….uski har ek naa me jo han hai…
kash koi mere zehen se puche

uski hansi me jo mere jeevan ki khushiyan hai…uski baton me jo meri sansein hai…
kash koi meri dhadkan se puche

uski maang me jo mera sapna hai…uski mehendi me jo apna hai…
kash koi mere jeevan se puche

uski sanson me jo thandhak hai….uske ansuon me jo namak hai…
kash koi meri sanson se puche

uske khoon me jo mere kann hai…uski uljhano me jo meri bechaini hai…
kash koi meri bebasi se puche

uske chehre pe jo masumiyat hai…uski mehek me jo kasak hai…
kash koi meri hansi se puche

uski nazdiki me jo duri hai….uski duri me jo nazdiki hai…
kash koi mere ansuon se puche

uski god me kitna sukun hai…uski mehek me kitna chain hai…
kash koi meri neend se puche

uske mathen ki rekhaon me jo mera kal hai…uski achayi me jo mera aaj hai…
kash koi meri burayi se puche

uske hathon me jo meri lakeerein hai….uski ragon jo mera khoon hai…
kash koi mere akelepan se puche

uske pairon me jo meri kismat hai….uski ek han me jo mere jeevan ka maksad hai…
kash koi meri ankhon se girte in ansuon se puche

uski ek naa me mere jeevan ka ant hai….uske ruth jane me jo meri maut hai…
kash koi meri ragon me behte uske nam k khoon se puche

uske hath me jo gulab hai…uska khat jo mere hath me hai…
kash koi meri laash se puche

uske ek akhiri bar mujhe chune me jo mera MOKSHA hai…KASH KOI MUJHSE PUCHE

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

24

The ‘CURLS’ Next Door…

The ‘Curls’ Next Door…

“Mom…Mom…Mom…please listen to me…I have told you so many times that I am over it and I am not looking forward to marrying anyone. I beg of you not to talk on this topic every day. I am fed up of it. I have decided for sure…that I won’t get married all my life” were my last sentences before disconnecting the call. I was still standing on the balcony of my newly rented apartment in Chandigarh when it started raining. I quickly put the mobile in my pocket and stuck out one hand…to feel the raindrops. The weather suddenly went from dull, humid and sticky to awesome. That fresh smell of the soil…the first rain of the season…was more than enough to get the mood going for the rest of the night.

My flatmate shouted from inside, “Oye!!! Pakode and Chai ho jaye”. I was not able to see him so I shouted back, “Bilkul”. Just as I was about to go inside…God had another plans. I saw a figure emerging on the balcony of the adjacent flat. Although the light was very dim but it was sufficient enough for me to carve out her figure in the darkness. Her face was not visible…she was wiping off the rainwater from her face…her hair with the help of a towel. It seemed as if she had just arrived from work. She was in formal attire. The more I gazed in the darkness towards her balcony…the more I was able to figure her ‘figure’ out. 😉 . I won’t exaggerate anything but I had a good side-on view…remember she was wet.

She was averagely built…I mean…it was not as if she had ‘huge’ asset value but was not bad either. You know that perfect kind of body 😉 . After scrutinizing her from top till wherever I could possibly see (because of the balcony wall) my gaze was somehow stuck at one point (wipe off that dirty smile of your face…). I was not able to take my eyes off her hair. The sight of her amazing hair was like…aaaahhhhhhhhh…soothing and not horny. They were curly and at the same time free flowing…less like kangana ranaut’s and more like urmila matondkar’s. That monsoon rain…that petrichor smell of the soil…those ‘Curly’ hair…for a moment made me regret what I just said to mom about not marrying anyone.

For the next few days…I don’t know how and when it became a task from a general curiosity to just get a glimpse of her…and her curls. I finally got a GOOD view of her. She was in the same organization for which I worked. She was standing, with her bunch of friends, outside the food court…enjoying a cornetto. I was hungry and in hurry but my sad and lonely ‘Heart’ got the better of my ‘stomach’…it wanted to amuse itself. I bought an orange bar for myself and started sauntering near that ‘bunch’. Unlike the other girls…for whom it took a herculean effort to even giggle…she had a terrific smile…infact laugh. It was as if she never held back once she started laughing. Her curls…her not-so-perfect round face…her never-ending smile…made her face glow as if it emitted light.

Her positive attitude…her energizing smile …her ‘bubbliness’…the great aura around her made all the negativity…of anyone…disappear. Wherever she went…wherever she stood…to whomsoever she spoke…she charged them with her electrifying attitude, to an extent that I never saw anyone dull near her.

I was beginning to spend more time on the balcony than the entire time I spent in the apartment. In the mornings…I found her coming to the balcony only to hang her towel and tiny unmentionable pieces of clothing to dry. There were occasions when I wondered as if they (4 neighbours including her) only washed these clothes…and purposely hung them on this balcony just to seduce us (me and my flatmate). In the evenings…she used the balcony to avoid her flatmates when she was conversing with her boyfriend on phone. Yeaaahhhh I knew she had a BF but it was not good enough to discourage me.

I began making special efforts to get her to talk to me…to somehow become friends with her if not anything else 😉 . Every time I heard them/her lock her door from outside…I was ready with a mop to clean my bike. If she made an eye contact…I found myself unnecessarily smiling at her and if she was close enough then saying a ‘HI’ knowing that I would hardly get any response. Some efforts went in vain…some paid a little off. From a complete ‘no-no’…I started getting a smile a week or an undirected Hi here n there. I knew that it was high time and decided to make a move.

The same monsoon weather but no rain…the same huskiness to the soil…my flatmate and I were enjoying a chilled and freshly opened pet pack of coke. My flatmate saw it in my eyes that I was upto something. I emptied my glass of coke as if it was a peg of Vodka…hoping that it would intoxicate me…hahaha. I stood up and went to her door. My flatmate got anxious and started peeping from the window. I knocked at her door…and prayed to God (that she and only she opens the door).

God again had a plan this time. To my surprise and happiness… she was the one who opened the door. It was about 10 30 pm and it looked as if she was cooking. In one hand she had a piece of ginger while two green chillies in the other one. She inquiringly looked at me. I, with my hunky looks and a Brad Pitt jaw line…naaaaahhhhh…let me write it again. I, with my boiled egg looks (that’s better) moved a little closer…looked straight into her eyes…and asked, “Will you please accompany me to a disc”?

Her face had a mixed expression…shocked…with that effervescent smile of hers. She replied, “Are you serious”?

Yes…is all what I can mutter.

“I don’t even know your name”, she laughed. “I don’t go to disc with strangers…Ass***e” (she might have thought 😀 ) but she refrained from such profanity and handled it quite well by saying, “May be some other time…I hardly know you” (All this while she had that constant sparkling smile on her face). She went inside…I stood there for a while…thinking about those curls n smile…and then went back to my flat…took another glass of coke…went to the balcony…and it started raining again.

For all those who have such neighbours,

For all those who have a crush on them,

For all those who love ‘curly’ hair,

For all those who want to grab their attention,

For all those who love such bubbliness,

And

For all those who still want to go to disc with them…

It’s not a GoodBye…

But It’s a GOOD BYE…aur han I am still waiting for her to accompany me to a disc… 😉

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

21

The SHORTEST story of my life…

The SHORTEST story of my life…

Bzzzzzzzzz…bzzzzzzzzzz… the phone rattled on the side table… bbzzzzzzz… bbbzzzzz. From the corner of my eye I checked the time. It was still 2 am. I turned my face the other way and again went back into my dream. The vibration never stopped. Irritated, I got up and checked who the devil was….who was not letting me enjoy my dream. ‘Ghonchu’ calling was flashing on the screen. The name itself was more than enough to make all the irritation and anger evaporate.

She was breathing heavily, and even before she could utter a word I was able to make out that she had been weeping for a long time. I was taken aback because of her shrieking and cracking voice. I knew something was terribly wrong and immediately sprang to my feet. I made all efforts to calm her down but to no avail. I knew her habit of never listening to me and so I went ahead and asked,” why are you crying… what happened!!!!”? There are surprise gifts as well as emergencies but her reply was neither of the two. In fact she never gave a reply…instead she came up with a question of her own, to which I don’t have an answer even to this date. Will you marry me??? … was her SIMPLE question and if this was not enough she gave me only an hour to come up with my reply, which would have been my biggest decision, answer or whatever you may call it, till now.

I immediately disconnected the phone and washed my face. I was in no position to believe that everything that was happening was happening for real. One of your bestest (I know it’s wrong English) friend…calling you up at 2 am and asking you to marry her or I should say asking you whether you’ll marry her and not even giving me time to discuss it with my mother and family( in India usually everyone is fast asleep at 2 am). I composed myself and cleared off all the thoughts and called her back. “Sali….kamini… Ye kya majak tha”? (This was our way of greeting each other on NORMAL days … and nights too). She was still weeping and was barely able to speak. She whispered,” Chabu! You heard it right…I just want to know whether you can marry me or not and I want the answer right now because by morning it will be very late”. “I have told my parents that I am in love with a guy and want to spend the rest of my life with him”, she continued. “Papa has ordered me to leave the home immediately or marry according to their wishes and forget you forever”, she added.

With a grin I simply uttered,” Meri jalpari! Tumhe kisi ko batane ka nahi hota hai ki tum usse pyar karti ho aur ussi se shadi karna chahti ho….maa baap ko batane se pehle (I hope now you can make out why I named her ghonchu 🙂 ). I requested her to give me time till 6 am, at least by then mummy would be awake and I’ll be able to have a discussion with her.

I never knew those three hours would be the most difficult three hours of my life because more than me it was someone else’s life which was at stake too. I thought and thought, remembered each and every moment spent with her. Flashbacked every scene….recalling every word I ever said to her. For me her smile is as fresh as the morning dew….she is as bubbly as the newly opened coke….with a heart as soft as a feather and eyes as deep as the ocean….wait a minute….am I comparing her….sorry folks….my mistake. I forgot to mention she is incomparable. Her charm, her sweetness, her caring attitude ….even if I take out a dictionary, there will be fewer adjectives than her virtues. I remembered how she celebrated with me on every success that I had…even the tiniest ones, how she took care of me when I met with an accident and broke my left hand, nose and skull bone….from washing my dirty hands to helping me with my socks’…from writing my assignments to spoon feeding me food…and there won’t be any end to this list.

I never realised when I allowed her to come so close to my already wounded heart. She waited and waited but I could not muster the courage to call her and when I actually did….she already knew the answer. I am sorry ghonchu, is what I can ever say. But I know your pain is unexplainable. I never stood with you, held your hand and said that you are mine but let me assure you one more time… I never backstabbed you; I never wanted to hurt you 😦 .

The irony of my life: “Jisse chaha usne kabhi pyar na kiya, Aur jisne pyar diya usse kabhi chah na saka”.

There are people in your life who are your parents, relatives, brothers, sisters, best friends and so on and then there are those people who are equally important and somehow you find it hard to give a name to the relation or the bond you share and SHE is one of them.

And if there is something as rebirth I’ll surely be yours.

For all those who have been hurt in love,

For all those who know they’ll never get them,

For all those who still love them,

For all those who still hope they will come back,

And

For all those who have a Ghonchu in their life,

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a Good Bye….aur han she wanted this title because she believed she was the shortest story of my life.

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

8

The Last STEP…

The Last STEP…

Ting tong …. Ting tong….it was the doorbell, my sister who was busy uploading photographs on facebook from her friend’s birthday party last night shouted out ,”mummy, can you check who’s there at the door?” “Han Han beta, main to tumhare baap ki naukar hoon na!!” was mom’s reply….as she was busy preparing dinner. Ting tong…..Ting tong….Now, my sister was getting on my mom’s nerves….she knew that mom gets irritated very easily and I don’t know why but she always did this for fun.

Mom washed her hands off in a hurry. She came to the living room where Nidhi (my sister) had already begun the process of tagging her friends in the pics she had just uploaded. Mom had an angry look on her face and Nidhi……..as usual had a smile to tease her a bit. Mom glanced at the wall clock…it was 6 o’clock in the evening. She murmured to herself ,’who that might be’…but my ever-so-active sister heard her….and said ,”Dekho Geeta aunty to nahi aa gayi fir se tumhe kisi kirtan pe invite karne”. Geeta aunty is our neighbor, who always had one or two reason to borrow our mom from us…. Mom was furious now……..but….Ting tong.

It was indeed Geeta aunty at the door but this time, to my mom’s surprise, with a worrying look on her face……tears started rolling down her cheeks…..my mom’s expressions changed from irritated to worried…..a bit more tense. She held my mom’s hand and took her out of the apartment. They reached the ground floor…..and ….what mom saw made her scream ……scream…..scream…..and she fainted.

Two weeks ago…..

I was very eagerly waiting for my MBA results. It was supposed to be announced today by 5 pm. I was nervous to the point that it seemed the clock has stopped……I looked for the 50th time at the clock in the past 30 mins…… and was really getting tired of refreshing the result page. It was down because of overload. I was dying to see my results as I had given everything this time around ….. my career, time, money….everything…..i had resigned from my job a month back….and had no other options left to do. It was my last hope…

Suddenly the green lines on the progress bar started increasing……I closed my eyes…prayed …..and …..it was only 75 percentile……yes it was only 75 percentile….i could not believe it…..the amount of effort , the way my exam went …. I was pretty sure to score above 95 percentile and get admission to a decent college….but destiny , fate ,  god  whatever you may call it……had another plans. I was devastated and completely broke.

The present …..but a few minutes ago….

Climbing the stairs to my roof ……I thought to myself …. What next to do Mr. Overconfident……..Mr Ass****…..you put everything on the line …everything. I sat on the water tank of our apartment…..the view from there was truly mesmerizing. The sun setting in the background…small kids playing in the lawns… ladies gossiping … Men returning from work.

But there was something unique that day… the scene was too perfect as if I was watching a movie. I was suddenly noticing every minute detail that was there to be seen. The whole scenery made me forget what I was thinking… yes yes … I remember…what next…this was the only thing that overburdened my mind for the past two weeks… My life had suddenly become blank… i had nowhere to go…

Slowly and slowly I began to realize that I am nothing but 25 years of failures n failures… I was a COMPLETE LOSER… I realized that how I had never made my parents proud of myself… one or two consolations prizes here n there… thats it… i lost my only love last year… my parents were divorced… and I could not do anything about it. The only thing … the only hope that kept my mom alive was … that… someday she’ll see her son standing tall and successful… but I failed her too… i had failed everyone in my life…

I sat there and saw the sun setting on my life… by now the wind had a nervous feel to it… my palms became moist… my heart sank… I stood up… went to the edge of the building… took my mom’s name… closed my eyes… saw her face and took the LAST STEP……

By the time I made contact with the ground…my whole life flashbacked. The next thing I realized was …i was lying in a pool of blood… I could see the bone of my thigh tore my muscle and skin and came out… i could not feel any of my limbs … realizing that this was my last… i took one last breathe…saw my Goddess… my mother, screaming my name…and everything blacked out…..

For all those who have been successful,

For all those who have seen failure,

For all those who have won,

For all those who have lost,

For all those who want to win,

For all those who still have hope

And

For all those who will SUCCEED….

Its not a GOODBYE,

But it’s a GOOD BYE….aur han never think of taking this step.

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

31

Most PRECIOUS GIFT of God…

Most PRECIOUS GIFT of God to me

In the summer of 1987, God consecrated me with his best creation. I felt blessed with his Gift. I don’t remember the actual events but I do remember the moment I touched her tender soft hands…I felt alive. She was as beautiful as a mermaid; her marble cheeks with a tinge of redness would have made even the mermaids jealous of her. My father was the happiest…he always wanted a girl…yes it’s no mystery now that I am talking about my little sister.

Meri BITTI when she was just 6 months old

Her round face, flat nose, the toothless smile, soft n little hands, tiny feet…made it hard for everyone to resist loving her. I still remember whenever anyone came to pick her up I would not let it happen and start shouting ‘Meri Bitti’ ‘Meri Bitti’. My parents named her ‘SHRADDHA’ and her nickname was ‘Nidhi’ but for some reason it was always ‘Bitti’ for me. I guess it was because papa called her bitiya and this was the best I could pronounce. All these years she just had one name for me…BHAI…from a creaky little googly woogly voice…to a more confident and firm…but it never changed to anything other than BHAI.

For an infant she was very lazy. She was hardly heard crying…one always found her napping. When she started crawling she would somehow make it to ten feet…then doze off for 30 mins…again crawl…again doze off. When papa slept she would come across and bite his right foot thumb…just to let him know that she was there…he would very happily take her to his chest…where she would again doze off.

Years passed…we grew up together…quarrelling over the tiniest of issues…while laughing over the bigger ones. There were days we won’t speak to each other…knowing that we can’t live without talking too. I was always unhappy of the fact that I never went to school on bicycle as it was my responsibility to go ‘to n fro’ with her and she, even to this day, doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle. But, now, when I look back…I think it made our bond even better and stronger.

There is no Diwali…there is no Holi without her…and if she is around, no day is less than a festival. Her heart is as pure as the sacred Ganges, filled with warmth even for her enemies. Over the years…sometimes she showers the blessing of a mother…loves you like a girlfriend…takes care of you like a wife…is always there for me like a true friend…even does the irritating and painful job of reviewing my articles…but nothing can beat the innocence with which she fights with you like a sister…and then start weeping.

Today (18th june 2011) when she is about to embark a new phase in her life…when she is about to befriend a foreign land…when she is about to begin her career…I won’t let my tears become a shackle…I won’t tell her how much I’ll miss her…I won’t let her know what she means to me and my life. I know I am very poor with emotions …in fact ‘hopeless’. Her words still bring me to reality, “Bhai…you have a heart of stone…you don’t shed tears…you heart is even dried of any emotion.” To which I just have one reply…“BITTI….YOU ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT OF GOD TO ME”.

Dedicate this to you brothers and sisters….if you find it hard like me to express emotions.

For all those who love their siblings,

For all those who have quarreled with them,

For all those who worry for them,

For all those who are over protective like me,

For all those who care for them,

And

For all those who are stone hearted like me.

Its not a GOODBYE….

But it’s a GOOD BYE….aur han express your love to them.

Manas “SAMEER” Mukul.

17

The Absence of her FRAGRANCE

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The absence of her fragrance…..

It was 8 30 pm and I reached home after a good day at the office and about 10 sets of squash. I was exhausted to an inch of my life…was barely able to move … squash took every ounce of energy out of me. As soon as I reached home I straightaway went to the kitchen to check out the dinner, not to my surprise there was nothing there….. haaa… I thought to myself ,”Rohit, happy dining …$%#@@$”… and went to take a shower. After the bath I thought of going out for the dinner as I was too hungry….just then my roommate arrived….he asked me lets get beer and some chicken from the ‘finger lickin’ KFC…. From my stare he could very easily make out that I was not amused with his ideas as I was already starving and he knew that I never drank.

My phone rang….and it was her…. Even before I picked up her call I had a smile on my face…… it was her only call for the past three months….her name flashing on my mobile screen was enough of a reason for me to giggle alone. Hi …… kaisi ho??…. she replied ,”I’m fine how r u….” before I could answer, she went ahead and gave me the news that she has switched jobs…. I was happy for her but somewhat confused too… I inquired what actually she wants to achieve….3rd job in her third year itself and as if this was not enough…. Every time in a different sector… infrastructure engg…then electronics engg followed by software engg…. I was hardly able to find a logic behind this decision, but instead of arguing with her I ended up congratulating her…. CONGRATS on your new job…

For some kind of strange reasons I was happy …. Really happy ….that my girlfriend has got a new job…..did I say ‘My GIRLFRIEND’ …sorry my EX-GF…. Yes it’s true that we broke up about an year and half ago. There is something very cool about this LOOOOVEEE thing that if you have been seriously involved with someone you will feel happy in your love’s happiness and the same was the case with me…. No matter how much pain she gave me when she decided for both of us that it was time for us to end this relationship, which had become a victim of the evaporating love between us, I was still very happy for her……chalo enough of this serious mind talks….

I asked her about many things: new office, new colleagues, new crushes…..for some of which she replied , for some not…..and for some gave me a dicey kind of answer. I don’t know why but to this very day every time I talk to her, I see her pic or I just even think of her….. I have this weird sinking kind of feeling right in the middle of my chest….(as I am feeling now thinking and writing about her….my palms begin to sweat….heeeeeee….ekdum senti kar diya na). On that day too this feeling got the better of me and I could not prevent myself from getting dragged into serious talks. And there it goes….. Mr. RONDU…..why did you leave me….why this why that…..come back to me and blah blah….

I went outside to the terrace so that my roommate could not overhear what all I was speaking to her…..as it would have left me in a very awkward position…….of course I had not yet disclosed to him of the fact that we have parted ways…..in fact this fact was buried right at the bottom of my heart….as I didn’t disclose it to anyone….i just didn’t … I guess was afraid of the questions that came with each n every breakup….who initiated…..why not give a second chance….some console…some pity….and some even are happy behind your back that you are now par with them at their level of singleness. I feel its better to have a fake pretentious smile on your face rather than battling those questions everyday. These faking habits of mine have made me realize that,” Every smiling face is not always smiling”.

Suddenly out of nowhere I asked her, to what I consider one of my biggest mistakes to this date, “Are you SATISFIED with your decision??” I was praying to God,” Please God please make her say NO….” par bhagwan ne kaunsi aaj tak meri koi baat suni hai jo aaj sunta……and she replied….YESSSSSSS. In these 25 years of my life this was the ‘yes’ which hit me the hardest and to an extent broke me. Within no time I realized my vision blurring and moistness filled my eyes. For me at that very moment, the sweetest thing in the world would have even tasted bitter in comparison to that YES. I tried very hard to locate that red button on the phone and the very second I found it ….. I disconnected the call.

I too had dreams…..dreams of marrying her…..dreams of me spending the rest of my life with her…..dreams of having a kid with her eyes on him. DREAMS….. DREAMS…. DREAMS….. I guess they are called so because they are actually so distant from the fact….reality. I had made this beautiful mansion in my dreams in which each n every brick that was laid was handpicked by me…..even the tiniest of things was drenched in my LOVE FOR HER….. some times when I spoke to myself I only thought of things like: when I’ll return from office, there will be she standing right in front of me,  waiting for me….with the same amount of love in her eyes that I carry for her in every cell….in every nucleus of mine. That would have been the most relaxing of all the things. On any Sunday, we both sitting in our home theatre and enjoying a beautiful romantic movie….with every romantic scene passing, us …..getting closer n closer…..to the extent that who cares what was on the screen. Sleeping right next to her……lying down there in her presence …..in HER FRAGRANCE, just holding her tight in my arms.

I guess what I miss most of her is not her…….not her smile …..not her eyes…..not her sweet voice …. BUT HER FRAGRANCE. Her fragrance was what made me feel alive and the ABSENCE OF HER FRAGRANCE makes it the other way round.

For all those who have been in love,

For all those who are in love,

For all those who will marry their love,

For all those who miss some one in their life,

For all those who have that someone in their life,

And

For all those who simply love to love…..

Its not a GOODBYE

but it’s a GOOD BYE……..aur han all the characters above are imaginary….;-)

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL