Walking Wounded

 

walking wounded

We walk wounded, carrying vicious memories…
When someone, somewhere, sometime – hurt us.
And no matter how many roses adorn our gardens,
In some dark murky corner, we all grow a cactus.

Perhaps those wounds were inflicted early,
When another toddler refused to share his toy.
Or when the first jeers you faced taught you that,
not all laughter was just an expression of joy.

Perhaps it was when bettered by you at the game,
The school bully pushed you down to the ground.
Or when the treasured G.I Joe you mysteriously lost,
Was in your best pal’s bag quite shockingly found.

Maybe it was the day you ran home crying,
And your mother revealed a painful secret…
That not everyone you meet will come to like you,
And you often live through days that you will regret.

When your sincere love for that special friend lost –
to someone’s shallow but flashy counterpart…
You learnt that love is certainly not blind,
And seeks jolly good more than a devoted heart.

While living amongst some of life’s lowest thieves,
Your innocence was one day spectacularly shattered.
Forced to defend what you lived and stood for –
You fought through the slugfest – bruised and battered.

In due time you were force-fed a bitter fruit –
That overprized knowledge of good and evil.
And the shameless duplicity of people hit you hard –
Like life’s hammer striking on your soul’s anvil.

The day you caught someone in a blatant lie –
And their betrayal hurt you with its biting sting…
You learnt that people seldom meant what they said
And that faith was a frightfully fickle thing.

You came to realize when money flexed its muscle
that everything in this world was up for sale.
And when a man’s pockets go really deep…
Even his idiosyncrasies the world will merrily hail.

But no matter when, where or in whatever manner –
Those beasts at whose behest you walk wounded…
Do not have the power to heal you – and never will:
That healing touch is in your own spirit founded.

Even should they acknowledge and repent the hurt
They have exacted on you for all these years…
Only you can find your cactus in that murky corner
And proceed to water it with phoenix tears.

You never really know how strong you are –
Until forsaken by all, you are left all alone.
When forced to pick yourself up off the floor…
You mend what’s broken – flesh, blood and bone.

Yours is the choice to abjectly surrender –
Or to rise and reclaim what was yours all along.
To be tamed by the sound of a Pavlovian whistle –
Or seize the stage and choreograph your swansong.

To be healed doesn’t mean you were never stabbed –
Or there was no damage inflicted by the knife.
It only means you have lived through the pain…
And the damage no longer controls your life.

The blessed gates of heaven will open for you –
If your indomitable spirit prevails over the loss…
For there was one who once walked wounded too,
On His way to crucifixion – and He carried a cross…

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NISHANK MEHTA  |  21.07.2016

At the Threshold

 

at the threshold

It is the ultimate watershed moment in life –
The decisive lap of your life-long run.
Your impish destiny concocts a nasty plot,
to terminate your tryst with frivolity and fun.

You are ushered into the realms of adulthood,
Trembling at the sight of the hurdles ahead.
To hell with the complexities of adult life –
Give me back my golden teenage instead!

The greatest web of all contraries…
The supreme experimental laboratory of fate.
Where life entices you with its juicy prospects,
and you are naive enough to take the bait.

Robbed of the innocence that childhood imparts,
and still short of the wisdom that comes with age.
Rebellious instincts make social bombs out of us,
and only stronger muscles can appease our rage.

Too young to dabble in politics and economy,
Too old to indulge in silly paediatric pranks.
Too wild to pay heed to idealistic preaching,
Too enlightened to be wooed by guns and tanks.

We are too plucky to be afraid of failures,
and too anxious of our standing amongst peers.
We are too candid to fall prey to hypocrisy,
And too conceited to ignore applauding cheers.

It is the time we actually discover ourselves,
and fuel the splendid fires that shape our wills.
Encompassing the world in our sphere of desire,
we strive to develop world-conquering skills.

The more we find out about the world around us
The more we realize how little we really know.
The greater we try to chain our deepest desires
The sooner they break free – all raring to go.

But amidst this scheming cloud of conflicts,
your individuality is memorably conceived.
And soon you discover the terrains of reality –
A stark contrast to what you had so far perceived.

Our shoulders are now strong enough to bear,
the burdens that are soon to be flung upon them.
Our senses are all eager to swim in new waters,
with a thoroughly upgraded brain at the helm.

How sad that life has no ‘rewind’ button…
to replay all those memories of years gone by.
But then all good things must come to an end,
and you have to give the newer things a try.

Adieu! My dear teenage – it was nice meeting you…
you have empowered me to face the world.
On this great altitude that you have set me upon,
I stand now with the flag of my identity unfurled.

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NISHANK MEHTA  |  30.09.2008

 

Sieving the Sounds

 

sieving the sounds

Neck deep in heavy, enchanted sleep was I,
skimming on silver tides that dreams found.
A pleasant silence then compelled me,
to aim my ears on the sounds around.

Wish we could have lived in our dreams,
where no vicissitudes of fate can touch us.
The sounds I heard were auditory delicacies –
collectively, the best possible mental stimulus.

I could hear a fragrant breeze blow past,
carrying slyly stolen memories of bygone years.
I could hear the trees stealthily whisper,
and birds responding with ebullient cheers.

I could hear a serpentine stream of water,
meander its way across silky sands.
I could hear the crevices of Earth open,
to nourish all life with benevolent hands.

I could hear delighted children laugh and giggle,
and their playful fantasies happily fulfilled.
I could hear the chorus of a thousand prayers,
thanking heaven’s stones for what they milled.

I could hear the dogs of war snoring,
waiting for peace to break its charm.
But, peace, instead was singing hymns aloud,
ensuring its children stay away from harm.

And then, fittingly, but cruelly I awoke,
only to experience a sinister shock so late.
The vile ironies of fate had consumed me,
using this dreamy sleep as a shrewd bait.

A queer deja vu! And a silence again…
only this time it was chilling to the core.
My ears then burst in crucifying agony,
as the sounds returned to haunt me once more.

I could hear the cannons boldly boom,
paving the way to create new graveyards.
I could hear stilettos chop up bare necks,
and chests being ripped by swords and shards.

I could hear the bloody clang of heavy metals,
and weapons forged with frightening expertise.
I could hear rumbles of an impending catastrophe,
as it awoke from a siesta deep within the seas.

I could hear vultures screeching in the skies,
waiting to sink their teeth into a lifetime’s feast.
I could hear a great havoc muscle out peace,
like some monstrous, unchained, fiendish beast.

I could hear wails of orphaned children –
their parents lost to the juggernaut of strife.
I could hear the empty screams of widows,
struggling to find purpose in a traumatised life.

Dreams are where a wish and a fear meet,
and a battle ensues for cerebral supremacy.
Which side wins, alas! is an oystered mystery,
which leaves us all at night-time’s mercy.

Why such a play of disjoint acoustics exists,
when the actors remain one and the same?
Is it that in our celebrated consciousness,
we kill hopes and make dreams lame?

Don’t we need a reoriented frequency,
on which to lead our nomadic lives upon?
Shouldn’t the sweet sounds of our dreams persist,
when we open our eyes at the break of dawn?

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NISHANK MEHTA  |  17.04.2008

Simple Pleasures

simple pleasures

Have you ever wound up your dreams by dawn
to watch the scarlet robes of the sun turn yellow?
Have you ever felt joy at another man’s rise
instead of envying him for being a lucky fellow?

Have you ever coaxed darkness to lend you its ears
and let stars be privy to your dearest secrets?
Have you ever welcomed rain with a dance of glee
instead of rushing to secure the clothesline it wets?

Have you ever fathered an honourable intention
and played part in the triumph of truth over deceit?
Have you ever permitted pure instinct to guide you
instead of putting your trusted logic in the driver’s seat?

Have you ever shed sanity and pranced like a clown
simply to bring a precious smile on a toddler’s face?
Have you ever lent unconditional help to a seeker
and in return felt the warmth of his grateful embrace?

Have you ever bounced back from a sojourn at the bottom,
and silenced your critics with your stunning comeback?
Have you ever spotted your flaws and tailored them
instead of devoutly documenting what others lack?

Have you ever felt God – as plain, simple divinity,
and not as an effigy draped in saffron or green?
Have you ever tasted success without selling your soul
or jeopardizing your claim to call yourself clean?

Simple pleasures these all – I am sure you will agree –
well within reach, but not quite within grasp.
But the gargantuan monster we have turned life into,
mocks us, bites us and stings us like a wasp.

Our incessant pursuit for ever-eluding success
and our shameless ignorance for these modest delights
have left us stranded at a place where we can have none,
where day only shows up after a spate of endless nights.

Why have we made it all so complicated,
that its so difficult to find a reason to smile?
Where do we look for these simple pleasures,
in a world fuelled by greed and guile?

Let us break away from this material enslavement…
Let us abandon our chase for undeserved fame…
Let us be content in equating our ‘haves’ with our ‘wants’
and not make acing the quests of life our only aim.

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NISHANK MEHTA  |  04.04.2008