Where Forevers Begin

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I seem to have lost my words;

They left in the middle of the night-

The day I forgot to swallow my blues,

A mouthful of addiction, memories on flight.

 

I seem to have lost my blues;

They left on a train of thought

While I was willfully drowning

In a fight I had never fought:

 

The light of your caramel mornings

Seeping into a world forgot.

 

~ Sumeet Keswani

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A class in nostalgia

For starters, let me confess something. I enjoy the occasional drink of nostalgia. I indulge in the melancholy that memories bring. Perhaps that is why i sometimes seek out places that exhume moments long gone by. They may not even have been among the best times i’ve had, but if i remember them and the emotions associated strongly enough, revisiting them feels a bit like time travel.

So, to relish a slice of a long forgotten past that was bound to sting the tongue, I set out for my school, St. Xavier’s High, one of three i attended in my life. (However, this was the only one i had managed to get attached to.) It had been 12 years since i had been there, since i had walked out of Class 10 thinking i’d just passed my toughest exam. So I anticipated the bout of nostalgia, almost looked forward to it. But i hadn’t expected the stage of my childhood to have stayed almost entirely the same, thereby enshrining those days. Right from the colour of the walls where i once busted my knee while chasing a friend over a joke, to the basketball court which back then felt like the only happy spot in the school, to the notice board which once hosted my first (and atrociously lame) poem, and even the tree fences that we sat on during breaks, everything had retained its composition – as if saved for this very moment when i’d visit, my adult disguise betrayed by a pair of moist eyes.

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I often wonder why we miss it, the past. Is it because our present does not match up to it? Hardly. I’m lucky enough to say most of the things in my present are of my choosing, and hence make me very happy. Close friends who are insanely understanding, a mind that knows its thoughts from its emotions, freedom to live on my own terms – a lot has changed, for the better. So what exactly do i miss when i sit in my old classroom with a broken window that overlooks the basketball ground? Why do i miss the yearning, when, now, i am no longer bound by class rules and don’t have to wait for the tolling of the bell for a shot at the hoop?

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Maybe it’s not the yearning we miss. Maybe we don’t miss the place at all, but who we were while we inhabited it. The kid who sat gazing out of Class IX B didn’t exactly like being there; he was full of doubts and wishes, but was also full of life. He had no bad memories to recall, only an unshakable belief in a gleaming future; he had no money to call his own, but he also never worried about paychecks and bills; he never had the freedom to play at will, but when he was on the court in the ‘Games period’, he ran like the world depended on it; he had no qualms about his own existence and its purpose; he had no cynicism to rob him of his faith; he had no real nightmares, just ones of monsters that didn’t exist.

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Maybe I didn’t visit the school at all today, maybe i just visited me. The 10-year-old introvert who was equal parts excited and scared shifting to a “tough school” in Class 6 but eventually made the exams look easy, who spent every day looking forward to the basketball game at the end (and sulked on those that didn’t end in the sports period), who worried about his grades but only on the last day, who sneaked a glance at his crush in every ‘recess’ and believed love would find a way (and heartbreaks wouldn’t). Maybe for one day, i had the itch to bend the space-time continuum and inhabit that boy who believed, without a speck of doubt, that his life would be grand, and whose biggest worry was if he would grow tall enough. Maybe i wanted to find my way back to a peculiar version of happiness which was unadulterated by reality.

And I found it lying untouched, in a class cupboard that still smells of moss and childhood secrets.

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A dream once lost

Dream

Tracing her skin,

I swallow the breath of her bones,

Aquiver,

Like grass in the whistling breeze

Of my summer daydream. A sliver:

 

Lying supine in the green,

Drawing whimsical clouds

On a waiting blue.

The earth smells of

A dream once lost

To a dawn

That broke too fast.

 

Rains have washed away

An eternal drought,

Bloomed wild flowers

On breasts,

And brought a birdsong

Back home

To nest.

 

The cabin in the woods is warm

From a fire of collected logs,

The melancholic scent of old books,

And the glow of aging love.

The home that ran away

From a nomad

And lost its way,

Come back to be

Arms that cradle

Pieces of a life at sea.

 

Her morning eyes whisper magic

To a heart in slumber

In a dear dream once lost

To a dawn

That broke too fast.

 

– Sumeet Keswani

Don’t

gossamer

 

Don’t fall in love with him;

He’s a dreamer.

The twig that sits on your hair

Is his snowflake;

The sweat on your skin

Dew of a morning nigh;

Freckles born on your back

Galaxies in his sky.

 

Don’t fall in love with him;

He’s a poet.

Glimmering verses will besiege

An unsuspecting heart,

Like gossamer on morning grass.

No words of another

Will taste right

On a tongue scathed.

 

Don’t fall in love with him;

He’s a lover.

Kisses will mark your monuments,

Your morning azaan and evening chai.

Your dreams will be tangled with,

Wild hair addicted to,

Symphonic sighs.

 

Don’t fall in love with him.

Don’t think it.

But if you dare to, sweet girl,

Stay.

For he’s a dweller,

And you’re home.