Pieces

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

A silence broken only by pieces of our lives

Exhaled

A piece of you and a piece of me

Intertwined

By the dimming twinkles of the fairy string lights

If you squint

They would look like fireflies

There is a peace in this room

Darkness

That saves itself in shadows behind packed

Boxes

Our hands don’t touch

Each other

They aren’t supposed to after decades

Together

Our life has written all it can on our faces

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

These walls are looking new to me

Each day

Your face is slowly fading further into the fog

Everyday

But here is what I know in the depths of my heart

Your pieces

Have stayed in this rusty mind of mine

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

Fact: every time you exhale

You die

Your soul waits for a moment

For takers

Then crawls right back into your skin

Into life

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

Because my soul is slowly holding on

To yours

And every time I exhale it takes longer

To come back

As if deciding, whether

It’s worth it

Ah! But I forget the piece in this room

Tonight

The only piece of you my mind doesn’t

Let go

You see when souls are together

For this long

It doesn’t matter which piece goes to

The reaper

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

My life has been lived and your death’s

Dying

With creeping breath I now know what will

come to pass

Your soul will preserve mine inside your deliciously

Ancient skin

 

The Ressurection 

It was a resurrection that left millions of his fans in tears. And when Roland Garros officials played the throwback video during the award ceremony, for a second, I was my 19 years old self watching a fellow 19 year old win French Open for the first time. Friends have asked me, why I take his game so personally and why I have over the years defended his every game with such ferocity. Perhaps it’s because we share the same birth year or maybe, I, like the many million fans, was smitten by the passion and grit that had suddenly spring on to the court in 2005. It was an year when Federer’s machine like precision was already dominating the scene and comparison was inevitable.

Soon the world was divided between those who liked the graceful aggression of a quiet, polite young Swiss and those who preferred the boxer-like demeanor of a raging bull from Spain. The traditional and classy courts of Wimbledon preferred the company of Roger’s quiet smiles and the loud colourful French crowd preferred the iconic raised fist pumps from a brightly dresses Rafa. Everything about Nadal screamed an aversion to convention. From his Capri pants (which had to be reduced in length for the Wimbledon – because – you know – the British!) to the sleeveless T-shirts showing off the flexed arm powering the forehand winners slaying scores of young women, from his obsession with his bottles on court to the countless pre-serve dribbling which tested the patience of his breathless opponents. He has often wondered out loud whether the success came too soon. He was barely speaking English in those years, but his body language spoke for him. He was here to conquer the court and any flaws that came in the way would be dealt with his trademark killer instinct.

The real prize for the world, however, was the 2008-09 season. He has often spoken about how little he remembers of that final set (6-0) against Federer at the 2008 French Open final. He was in the ever elusive “zone”, a place of complete invincibility few champions have reached in the past. For most Rafa vs Roger fans, this match was the turning point, the real coronation. He had come a long way since 2005, adapting his game, hitting flatter forehand and more precise top spins. Wimbledon – suddenly looked plausible. To all of his critics, this season was the answer, he wasn’t just content doing well on his favorite surface. He wanted to prove to himself and the world that while clay court was his kingdom, he could conquer any unknown land he wanted to. This was the year the soldier became the Gladiator. The Wimbledon 2008 final will go down in history as the greatest tennis match ever played. It was won not by talent, but with grit, hardwork and an unending love for the game. Amid rains, sweat and tears, the greatest player in the history of tennis admitted defeat to one man’s unconditional devotion to the game.

It is true his game was best suited for the dusty surface, a court that crowned him king at such a young age. This has been his castle and since 2005 when he first entered the hallowed grounds, he has never let anyone forget that. There were 2 blips in the journey, but they were exactly that, small kinks in an impenetrable armor. But he took the loss like he takes the  victory, with his usual air of humility. Working with the same coach since the age of 3, he has never forgotten his roots (uncle Toni wouldn’t let even if he tried). A tournament in Chennai in 2007 inspired him to set up his own foundation back home to help underprivileged kids in Spain. “I want a legacy beyond tennis”, he said.

“He’s writing checks his body can’t cash.” Agassi had said of Rafa back in 2005 after losing to him. We all know Agassi had never been a gracious loser so everyone took the comments with a pinch of salt. But, in 2014, the threat of a burn out became real. After injuries to left shoulder, left foot, left arm, tendinitis in both knees, both wrists, back trouble (the list could go on), he looked all but broken in 2016 French Open press conference. He was dropping out after a near comback story cruising through 2 rounds with ease. He conceded that the levels of tennis the world was used to from him were perhaps a thing of the past. It is the only time I saw him truly defeated and his opponent was no one but his own body. The fights and bouts had taken their toll and the battle scars were no longer just battle scars they were his demons. Mind you, 29 isn’t a bad age to call it quits (Borg did it at 27), he had achieved far more than his critics had written him out for.

“I can’t control how I play. I want to keep getting better. And the most important part is the head.” – he had said in 2009 in an interview to New York Times. And ironic as it may seem, for all the macho bruised hero appearance and his bulging biceps, it is his mind that is his biggest strength. It is this strength that brought him back to the finals of Aus Open early this year and led to the return to his beloved kingdom last week. He was back in the zone in the last set. There were shots where Wawrinka would just look at Rafa in disbelief and proceed back to his corner resigned to his fate.

The Resurrection of Rafa is a beautiful poetry of resilience and endurance. And yes I agree with Fedex fans that he is the greatest tennis player of all time but Rafa – is the greatest fighter of the sport of all time and perhaps his good friend Roger would be the first one to grant him the title!

Vamos Rafa!

Colours 

Reeling me into your haunting spirits

You are not the man who I await 
You are not my lover

I’m not yours to keep
Remember the colors of my tainted face?

You put them there yesterday 

You think it was a brand on display? 

I’m not yours to claim 
Magnifying your pain like it matters

To this edge of my mind

You are not my Muse

I’m refuse to write your hate
These walls are the expert witness

In the trial of our lives

You are not my owner 

I’m not a contract you negotiated 
This night will not be your ally 

Not while I walk out to the floor lights

You won’t stand on the podium

I won’t be your trophy

She

She

Hides behind

Thinly veiled smiles

Talks of flowers

And knives

In the same stale breath

Envisions a death

She

Is Athena

Ethereal and yet – very real

Is her mirror’s favorite subject

And yet in her mind it rejects

Her

Voice sounds like an angel

When its busy not sounding like a mongrel

Walk is a swift breeze

And is also an easy tease

She

Is a merciful vengeance

A heart’s cold resurgence

Runs away from affection

And yet longs for an aching affliction

She

Is a vessel brimming with hope

With who you have decided to elope

Doesn’t always swing both ways

But you will take your chance today

She

Is slowly moving away

To your heart’s dismay

She

Is looking at you

Like you are the new Taboo

She

Doesn’t want this dance

Was never hinting at a romance?

She

Wishes to unsee

The desperation for love that is – me

she 

 

The Little Red Dot

I don’t remember

the first day

I just remember

it hurt.

I didn’t see

it coming

I only saw

the little red dot.

I never understood

the pain that seared through

I only understood

the shame that was passed on

Now I hide

the dull ache with a smile

Wish I didn’t have to hide

the lifeless cotton detritus

****

How does it feel?

He asks

I was never allowed to feel

I reply

Why don’t we make love?

He asks

Honey, I am too busy shedding love.

I reply

****

I was thirteen

when the little red dot came at first

I was suddenly NOT thirteen

women grow up in a day – my mother said

The world was quiet

all of a sudden

and the only thing that wasn’t quiet?

The screaming little red dot on my school uniform

They pointed, they laughed

Guess schools are tougher than the world

My sister didn’t laugh

she knew what it meant, those mean words.

****

Do you still hide

your stains?

She asks

Do you hide

your smiles?

I say

Did they whisper everyday to you too?

she asks

Did they tell you

that the little red dot

was taboo?

red rose.png

 

 

Weeping Woman

Embraces suffering like an old friend

walks with her head surrendered

looks up only when dreaming of joy

her heart is ignorant of its own wonders

 

Her mirror is a friend and a foe

that smile – a guileless weapon

her sorrow has more courage

those tears – precious heathens

 

Lives inside a guiltless frame

becomes real to all those who walk by

and if they see those tears up close

they’ll find Dora Maar has just smiled…

the-weeping-woman

Masnavi

rumi

Why leave the fairy lights?

Blinded by their wistful sighs

When you could close their eyes to let their light breathe in

 

Why leave behind this happy cloud?

Become another face in the crowd

The beauty your eyes seek can only be found within

 ****

Darkness is a bad influence

It feeds on sad remembrance

Perhaps it’s best to surrender to it with a smile

 

Silence is contagious

Its peace deemed too precious

Only the heart knows the beauty of an unsung song

 ****

Love that’s an epiphany

Is often mistaken for destiny

Your fate is a reflection of your heart

 

Soul is a lonely friend

Surviving in ignored bookends

Perhaps it’s time to open your heart and let it in for a while

***

Conscience is a worthy adversary

Almost always defeated by false bravery

Make it your friend for a dreamless night

 

Those fairy lights they beckon

Rumi has spoken

“It is your light that lights the world”