The Red Shoe

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A little red shoe
Is the gateway
To the world
Full of dreams for you

It lies in innocence
Deep in the garden
Of my blooming daffodils
Awaiting your remembrance

A swing set sways
Blown by the wind
Wishing for your company
On this winter’s day

Awaiting your tiny hands
That held on to the chains
And with each rise
Imagined unknown mysterious lands

A lovely dressed up doll
Sits alone at your tea party
She misses the hugs
That kept away the night’s cold

She awaits mundane conversations
Your fairy tale concerns
The view from the dollhouse now:
Everyday is a dark revelation

Perched on my window sill
My cold dark mind
Flutters like that bee
Buzzing around my daffodils

They miss your touch so tender
Their beauty belying the truth
They bloom from the love
Seeping through from six feet under….

Growing up….

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Where is the song that was sung,
The heart that won
With a loss so big
Your soul was undone

Where is that lullaby
That flickered in your mind’s eye,
Kissed your small sighs
Bid your sorrow goodbye

Where is the sun that rose
At the end of the night’s woes
Lifted your black veil
Held your fragile heart so close

Where is the pride that led
You to refuse that measly bread
To say no his cursed bed
And instead of shame choose death

Where is the smile
That appeared without prejudice or trial
It’s lost in these worn miles
Across these roads muddied and riled…

To the little girl

The little girl in the brown coat

Left before life came by

She waited in a blistering cold

For a soul subservient to times

In a cold wind breeze she cried

Muffled in a silent dream

The winter wonderland passing by

And the night swallowing her screams

At length they came

The angels of the night

They stopped the rain

And fought the fright

They stooped down

The narrow pipes

And trudged along

Cold dark sights

Fished her out into life

In the warm lights

Only to let her drown

Out in the open sea at night

A fleeting glimpse

She sits under the tin roof
waiting for sundown, a thoughtless dream
sunshine beckons everyday
so do the nights of silver beams
She walks past the 2 foot house
the crazy sidewalks
and crowded streets
where endless conversations talk
 She goes to school 
empties her smiles
comes back home
to an empty long while
The new house on that street
unwelcomes her with both arms
she goes in to that hell
the daily chore that brings her harm
The day ends in the 2 foot heaven
next to the safe sighs of her mom
but then the next day always dawns
she’d never fight where she comes from

A New friendship and a new teacher

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”-Mother Teresa

When she smiles, I feel all the truth in the world is just staring right at me. I made a new friend today and I know I am “not to get attached” but in my defence, it’s not the girl I got attached to, it’s her smile.

SPJIMR has this queer initiative that makes the 180 of its students mentors to 180-odd under-privileged teenagers from the nearby slum areas of Mumbai. And no, I am not adding to the SPJIMR brand name (Not a member of the PR Committee) I am just recording my first day at Abhyudaya (that’s the name of the program) If the aim of Abhyudaya is to build human beings and not managers, the institution wins.

Not wanting to sound narrative and journalistic (is that a word?), I’ll move on to my meeting with my Mentee, Seema, I was handed over a sheet of paper describing her interests, it said she is extremely shy and introverted, sings well and needs help in math and English. Now, before I continue, you should know I am a) bad with kids b) partly scared of them. I suppose she was just as scared of meeting me as I was of meeting her. But that smile, it just instantly puts you at ease and more so, it tells you, “You know what you could teach me whatever you want I will learn it and yet I know things about life that you can’t even begin to imagine.”

The introduction was a little chaotic for the most part but my highlight was the quiet (did I mention she is not best at conversations?) game of monopoly I played with her. At the end of it all while my peers were excited to brave emotions and go to their respective mentee’s houses, I sort of felt I had clobbered her enough with my questions and will go to her house some other time (I thought I would be risking being too pushy)

My friend’s came back with even more heart rendering stories, a mother who wants her daughter (in 7th standard) to study but her husband wants the daughter married off. Other stories talked of how 6 people living in a room 1/4th of my hostel room and yet keeping it cleaner than mine. One girl works from 1 to 8 after her school gets over, I was wondering of all those big apartments that were employing her as a domestic help.

Reality reared its ugly head today, told me stories of the other side, the darker roads, the narrow lanes, the smaller homes. But what eventually won was the spirit of the parents who believe they have won the lottery, the spirit of the college that has a very real goal and objective in front of it. The deal is simple, the college pays their school fees, teaches the kids one vocation (Music, Dance or Chess) gives them books, in return, the children let us into their homes and teach us a million lessons per each visit. And when through the crowd, finds me and shows me that smile, that’s when I’m won over again!

Hope I manage to somehow teach her in this one year as much as she taught me today. And no matter how much people tell me not to I dream that one day she tells someone the story of the Didi who taught her how to play monopoly and being over ambitious I dream that she tells the story in english to her classmates in college.