Capable Shadows

The door opened

A shadow appeared on the floor

Shadow is always on a surface

Like a wall or ground

It stayed there for a bit

That shadow

Then gingerly shuffled a little

Went to another room

And stopped there

Somewhere in the middle

Both arms of the shadow started shaking

Then started swinging all around

Initially calmly, then strongly

Finally arms activity stopped

Next up

Shadow turned its head to one side

Then to the other

Now this new activity started

Right left, right left

Up down, up down and then round and round

Round and round all around

Then everything stopped

Perhaps shadow had done its part

Shadow placed its hands on the waist

All became calm

Shadow turned to a side and checked something

Then turned to other side checked that side also

It made note if there were any other shadows

It noted shadow of a table

There were also individual shadows of two chairs

Shadow judged the gap between those shadows

The shadow slowly started walking between the shadows

Initially carefully, little slowly

Soon faster and faster

After walking for a few minutes

Something strange happened

… Very strange actually

Few drops of water fell on the shadow!

On the floor

But the drops did not have shadows

Maybe their shadows on shadow couldn’t be seen

Can shadows think?

Can a shadow sweat on its forehead?

Human have very deep and strong capabilities

How many arduous and formidable goals they have achieved

Even then why so many of us

Are able to progress only as much as their shadow

That ‘he’

He walks very fast. It has been his natural instinct. As soon as he is out, he shoots off. It has happened in the past that he shot off in a wrong direction and when he realized it he shot in reverse with the same speed without feeling sorry or stupid.

That day he walked towards the station to go home. Half way down he realized his left shoulder did not have the usual strap of his bag. Oh no! He turned back swiftly and headed towards the studio he had been. Due to walking with the bag his left shoulder sometime gets a bit sore. He then shifts the bag to the other side. He had gone quite a distance without bag. But there was no alternate. He had do this. He walked even faster. As the door of the studio appeared in vision, it wasn’t looking right. It was locked. They had told that, that was the last job for the day for them. He asked the adjoining shop but was told they all left 10 min back in a cab. You could have met them at the station. He said actually he wanted to walk, so…

So much confusion! Disappointed he looked around, as though trying to find as solution. A man was looking at him quizzically. What! He thought, what is he gaping at me for. He realized he was wearing worn out shorts, a faded t-shirt and a pair of house slippers. How! He wouldn’t step out of his house in such attire. And he is here at the other end of town. So shabbily? No way! He has always been well dressed if not one of the best dressed. This is not him. But; there he was.

He sat down on step outside the locked door. He had to figure his next move. Since his bag is safely kept in the space behind that securely locked door; so is his wallet, phone, house keys and other smaller stuff. Main problem was phone and wallet. He couldn’t figure a plan was feasible. It wasn’t appearing in his mind. Not even a foggy or rough one.

He cannot go to a bus stop or train station because they invariably sell tickets at a price, right now unaffordable. He decided that he need to move from there. A solution if any isn’t here. He started walking yet again in a direction but without intent. Maybe he felt should he walk home, that was nearly 35 km. He was confused and foggy. There was metro tunneling job being done. Huge number of workers were milling around carrying things. He did not realize that he had walked into a non-pedestrian area. No one noticed that. He was in ‘no entry’ zone and was wondering why suddenly walking had become so difficult. Path was full of iron rods, wood planks, bags of cement, bricks and the related things. Somehow he could not realize that he was on the wrong side. Many workers passed by him but did not care as they too busy themselves. Only a security or some engineer could have stopped and guided him what to do. His slippers were soiled and rest of him had splashes of wetness. Finally someone perhaps thinking he had ‘lost it’ guided him out of the mess and he found himself at the Marine Drive. Here he knew which way to head.

He started walking again with same speed but with a heavy heart. He was about to ask the most asked question in such situations, “why me”. Façade of a familiar building emerged. He recognized it. It was Famous Laboratories and recording studios, Tardeo. He had been here for many song recordings of his films. But somehow everything about the building was looking very depressing. It was very shabby. It was perhaps had been painted years ago. Walls were broken in many places. In fact side wall of the building had fallen in the lane. Unknowingly he took a look at himself. Is Famous looking like him or he is matching Famous? Back of the building leading to the film laboratory also was in ramshackle condition. People had to dodge and walk between bricks and other broken parts. In such a scenario he found something weird and surreal. He saw a small group of well-dressed people organizing some kind of sale or exhibition. They had a banner in which name of a book and its author was mentioned. Copies of a rather fat book were placed around; on a soiled hanging wooden plank. They had made small platform of the bricks fallen around and placed some copies of the book on it. Just one book was placed high on front wall, where some photo frame might have existed ages ago. A man perhaps the author was signing a book. He recognized him, but couldn’t exactly place. Man looked at him and said, ‘hello here take a copy. It’s a gift’. He refused politely. He did not want it and no way could he have carried it. Author insisted, ‘please I will be happy if you took it.’

He had started walking away. Swiftly distance started growing between him and Famous. As he walked Famous was being left behind. Soon he had put a lot of distance between them. The Lab now did not look so bad. The author in the crisp white shirt seemed insistent. He held up a copy of the book looking at him as though calling him out, ‘here! Your book.’ Figure of the man in soiled clothes was fading fast. And soon it merged among others.

It was difficult to distinguish the man in soiled clothes from crisp ones.

Known Unknown

Once upon a time

That time was a long time ago

I did not look the way I look now

I was small

Everyone is small that long back

They are young

Young ones are small, or smaller

That time I did not know that

What else I should have known?

Or could have known?

I did now know

What I was supposed to know

I did not know if I was supposed to know stuff

Was there some stuff important to know?

Perhaps I will get to know gradually

What was necessary to know?

What was not?

Were there important things at that time?

That were important to know

And was there stuff that would be required later on

If yes, then when? 

A few days later

Few weeks, months or…

I was not qualified to figure all that

In the mean while

Time was passing as it always does

I used to be possessive about some useless things

Couple of unimportant activities

Like removing laces from everyone’s shoes

Putting the laces back on them

I had no idea if my time was being used well

Or it was being spent badly

I had no idea if my mind wanted to do something

Something other than playing with shoe laces

If my heart wanted things

But which things were those?

I had no idea if I could identify those things

That I might have wanted or needed

It was first time I was in that situation

There was no one to guide me

But I had no anger, frustration or sadness

I wasn’t happy either

The moment…

I was going along

Humming my own song

Smiling at the smiles

Avoiding voids

When I saw…

She did not smile

React or notice

Her blank eyes stayed

Vaguely on a distant horizon

Her long silken hair

Bounced in rhythm

With her sure steps

As the distance melted

I lost focus and fumbled

But I discovered the reason

Entirely on my own

The secret that Mona Lisa’s smile holds

The moment froze…

I failed to notice

How many people

Like ghosts

Crossed the space between us

Without breaking my thought

Without breaking her thought

And.. in the meanwhile

The moment passed…

I kept walking

She kept walking

Till we passed each other

And passed the moment…

We stumbled back to our course

And carried on

Where were going along

Our own paths

Staying on our course

Humming our own my own tune

Message for the heart

She was much in a hurry

Going straight ahead

Without looking right or left

Zooming through trees

Clipping and dropping leafs

That plummeted down with a brief grief

She was too fast for me too

But I caught up with her somehow

“Why such a hurry?

I have a genuine inquiry

Tell me what is the problem

Is there someone with loaded gun?”

I prodded her again,

“Where are you going?”

“I am a messenger”

She squeaked in anger

“Of a man in white turban

For a woman in blue gown

Walking the path right down”

“A very private message?”

I said with a naughty smile

She said hurriedly, ‘of course’,

In her menacing style

“I left turbaned man’s gun

To hit the head of that woman!”

Words fail me

I sat down to write…

As her memories

And my anxieties

Had started choking me

I placed on the desk a blank sheet of paper

Picked the pen up and guided it over

Even before I could write a word

My heart jumped out and sat on the paper

But now I was thinking hard

About the words

That will replace my heart

Will express my feelings

Which my heart was screaming

What my life was missing

How I suffered suffocation, irritation,

Worries difficulties botherations

Now it was hurting as my neck remained craned

Words didn’t emerge in my non-functional brain

In despair, I placed the pen in the slot

And shut the inkpot

My eyes were welling up

And tears were rolling down

Traveling my cheeks

And jumping off in the end

Finding the blank paper to land

Forming an unshapely figure

Soon these figures filled entire paper

With a language that couldn’t be read

But my feelings?

My feeling were perfectly expressed

Tears had said it all

All that I couldn’t recall

Alas! Sadly

My words had failed me.