Going home

“Come hither!”
She beckons,
arms wide, lips curling
twisting, my soul with it.

Thunder echoes,
whispering hope in ears
rustling as autumn leaves 
brushing against 
my callous frame.

Worn by weather,
marred by wear,
my eyelids droop—
crinkles catch up,
I let go.

She bundles me—
warm scoop and ice cream,
melts the cold away,
carries me home.

Gone too soon

Dear stranger,
I knew not much of you
except that your eyes glowed
at the prospect of new horizons
that your curiosity piqued
and your spirit lightened up
when your fingers were at play
on the vastness of a canvas
I knew not much of you
except that you dreamt big
that you craved experiences
which will change your art forever
that you remained in patience
and eagerness-pulsing heart
for the one big opportunity
of great exposure of your talent
I saw expectation in your eyes
for all the world’s appreciation
and the applause you deserve

Dear stranger,
I knew not much of you
yes I’d planed to change that
but alas, you moved on in a flash
I know now—death is dismissive


In remembrance of a colleague who went too soon.

Hello, stranger

“Just send me a message if you need help.”

That was the last thing I told her. She was neither a friend nor a family member—just a colleague. I wouldn’t have met her if I hadn’t stopped by a friend’s seating location at work—she’d joined their team a few months ago and was, along with my friend and a few others in their team, expecting to attend her first corporate event in the United States. They were all preparing for the visa interview—filling up forms, double checking spellings and passport numbers, cross-checking each other’s details, and raining me with questions of what to do and whatnot.

It was amusing. I’d gone through the same nerve-wracking experience two years ago when I first applied for a visa. And so I was only too happy to help out these first-timers.

Every one of them was excited beyond words, making plans, discussing which places to visit, and what to eat on the plane. Tiring is an understatement when referring to the journey from India to anywhere in the US—it involves around 22 hours of flying time and additional transit times. No first time traveller has any idea of how they’d endure it. And every far fetched idea they do have evaporates when the plane takes off. I saw the same conundrum in their eyes. I could understand of course—growing up in a developing country, the only thing you want more than to visit the United States is to visit the United States.

But she wasn’t like the others in the lot. Although she, too, was excited, nervous, and earnest in her effort, she had more than blatant thrill in her eyes. She clung to it as if she couldn’t believe she deserved it.

She died in a car accident yesterday.

She should’ve attended her visa interview sometime this week. I’m sure she would’ve got through despite all her fears of not. I’m sure that would’ve cherished the jet-lagging journey and discovered a different side of herself in the new found land. She would’ve brought back more than candy for her friends—she would’ve brought back countless memories and an endless ocean of inspiration for her work. For she was an artist—one who inhales the world with new eyes, expelling a brighter, moe hopeful, version in a consortium of colours.

I never got to know her as a person. And yet, I felt a deep sorrow descend on me when I heard of her death. She wasn’t a friend or a family member—just a colleague I met by sheer chance.

It’s strange how much we under-appreciate the impact of people in our lives. We seldom realise how much we retain from even a brief conversation. I spoke to her only about three times in total. She wanted advice to clear the visa interview. She wanted assurance, and I was there at the right time to tell her it’ll all be fine. However, every time I spoke to her, I spoke from the top of my head—sharing my experience, my lessons, and my joys. Those weren’t deep, soul searching conversations, but they swirl in my head, haunted now, still in shock that the person whose pupils dilated upon hearing my adventures is no longer alive.

Memories past

The day dawned bright 

On the east there was light 

Whilst the west, still shrouded

Wintry mist on streets crowded

awaited with breath bated—nigh

For their sun to tear through the sky

Why today, wondering she had to clench

End precious life, god heartless wretch

Clutching a sorrow note from a friend

Message of death, never can mend

from the west to all the way east

had travelled wretched beast

As the world was between years

Our lives were between worlds

Farewell old times, my friend

Medical terms

“Well, the severity of chemotherapy varies from person to person. For some its a seven-course treatment, and for some, it’s just one. And who’s to say, sometimes neither survives longer than a few months. In any case, Mom, it’s difficult to generalise the effects of chemo.”

As Dr. Castro spoke, his mother cast him a look of love and distain. Candid though he was about his own disease, his impassiveness pained her.

Driving away, Dr. Castro let a single tear fall from behind the mask he’d worn all day. After all, he’d never see his daughter dress up for prom.