The cliff

He smiled at her and nodded,

‘Hold my hand, and walk further…..’, he plodded.

She kept quiet

All the way uphill.


Looking down at the valley,

Gave her the chill

It was here she had fallen

A few years back

Down this very hill….


She cannot talk to him anymore,

And scared as she is,

She holds his wrists tighter

‘It is now or else never’

His eyes seem to say

So they stand at the edge

Where the cliff gives way,

To death and echoed grey….


She beholds the depth, retraces the fall

‘It will always be with me

That you will stand tall

Till you learn to fly

And leave behind the fear to ever fall….’


Thus spake he,

And took a step back…..

She looked up at the skies

And could never surmise,

How, she stood there alone for long….


Watching his angelic face

That smiled and receded,

Up, up into the blue arcade….


It is the same song…

The same breath…..

That still lingers.


Words don’t come,

As they shake hands.

No smile floats….

Only a nonchalant nod.


Yes, I knew,

Who you were.

This new you

Vexes me…..her eyes say.


I know this…….

This crease on your forehead,

I know of every curve here

But this strangeness in your eyes…

This vexes me…..

She says.


Relax……his smile says.


She gives him time

To explain…….

And when he has,

She wonders of the

Mountain of memories

Embedded in her heart

Should she let it stay

Or let his presence sway

The very base of it……


He cannot wait, he says.

And she has her answer clear.

She carries the mountain once again

And drifts off,

Before he can say Good-bye.



He held her hand and said, “Aren’t your palms too big for a girl?”

She looked away and never answered.

“Mommy, put your big, big hand on my head, I’m sleepy”

She smiled, kissed her baby and let her big palm lay on its head…….

I’d Rather Be…

 I’d Rather Be…

When I see the chirpy you,

Beaming at me from behind the mesh…..

Whenever your little hands

Rub my bare arms before you drift off to sleep…..

Whenever you stomp around

Bickering for some cheese  in the snack….

Whenever you slide in my bed

Long after I have ensured you were dozing in yours…..

Whenever you are jittery

Before the semester exam…..

Whenever you cycle around

With earphones stuck in and I’m scared….

Whenever I see

The rebel in your teenage silhouette……

Whenever I feel I had an option….

And I wonder what I would be doing.

I’m reassured every time

I’d scoop you in my arms….

I’d rather  be cherishing you,

I’d rather be mothering you….

— Shalini.


via Daily Prompt: Relieved



Rumbles dying,

She has resurfaced

Sublime, with grace

Slightly rummaged….


What is this….

The lilting steps,

She glides with ease…

Every breath swells.


From where

He ceased to be,

She broke the tangles

And averred,

That this was a decree.


Every time

He recedes,

She paves further

Only this time……

She seems Relieved



He couldn’t copy,

Her colors on one canvas….

So he painted the sky instead,

With shades of

Orange, blue, red and black.


She was all this

And more to him……


He couldn’t capture,

In one frame,

All her facets.

So he captured the sea instead

Calm, divine, unruly and wild.


She was all this

And more to him…

My blue sapphire


She watches “Frozen” for the umpteenth time and nudges me with a sullen contour asking me to leave her alone. I smile inwardly at the innocent wonder that lives within her; and showing discontent at her repeated viewing of the same movie, walk out. Leave her alone.

I left her alone. That is it. All of us live with our past. All of us allow it to shape our future. But some of us know how to shrug the past. I think that is who I am…….I have plunged into abysmal depths and have emerged scathed and burnt. The scars still appear somewhere; only for my eyes to see. A something boils within rapidly and threatens to blow me up. That fateful night dances about my circumference when Ili had forced me to….to leave her alone.

That is what angels do; they tell us to leave them when it is time for them to mingle in dust. I have shrugged it all away and so I believe Jasper too has. He wags his tail in the same fashion he  did on that dark night.

It was the darkest time of the year. When the skies are besot with jewelled studs and icy cold winds knock at every door, as if needing some warmth, so they howl incessantly till we let them in. Sid lounges in the easy chair beside me; sipping wine, while his tongue licks the insides of his jaws. He cherishes these moments when he is back from work with Jasper obediently licking his toe. Sid believes Jasper can read……definitely so…..because every time Sid leafs through the newspaper, Jasper whines as if saying he is still on the same page; looking expectantly as if hanging on to every  word.

All this while I snap back and forth from the kitchen, supplying niceties while Ili is glued to the cartoons on television.

I am not an adept story teller, but Sid is, so he calls her every now and then regaling her with stories about weird people he met while returning from work. Sometimes it was a bearded man who asked him if Ili was his daughter. Sid was shocked (showing the horror while he said this), and with a profoundly horrified gesture, he told her that the bearded man wanted to know if Ili had gorged on all the muffins in the pantry. Ili has her gape well registered for stories such as these. She follows Sid’s gaze that has come to rest upon the window as if the bearded man would show up any minute. She beats his chest for scaring her so and hides herself in his huge frame. This moment in time is my sapphire, my blue sapphire, where all else stalls and I’m frozen there.

Soon enough, a disgruntled Jasper is eager for his walk.

“Neena, take him out, will you?

My reverie is broken as Sid’s baritone pierces the stillness of the dark evening.

“And what are you so busy with, apart from the chuckles and weird licking of your jaws, tell me…”

We rant on, mumbling, firing acerbic puns at each other till Jasper has climbed atop the couch, and is hungrily leaping down and ascending his throne and all the while his forlorn, dejected eyes plod me to take him outside. My sapphire is so blue today. Ever since the tempestuous road accident that had almost snatched Ili away from me, moments such as this have a profound impact on my mind and I cherish each one of them like I’m recollecting valuables from the rubble after an earthquake.

I acquiesce and Jasper knows it full well that his wish is fulfilled. Ili too jumps up, flabbergasted as she is after Sid’s stories have driven her insane. But I’m in a hurry and snap at Ili, asking her to stay back with Sid. The clouds would break open any time soon and rains in this part of the city immediately swamp the roads. Ili is inconsolable and Sid is now busy on his call. Perplexed, I charm her with another bowl of her favourite marshmallows. This never fails. So a little less grumpy Ili settles down at my behest.

“I’ll be gone for only ten minutes, sweetheart”, I implore.

“Don’t come back if you don’t wish to……,” Ili snaps back…….I love this sullen Ili rendering sugary complaints.

“I will, my baby, I will come. Jasper, boy, run, or Ili will not have us back”

And as I’m out, in the midst of my favourite haunt, I look at my sapphire, it has never been this blue. I wonder why today, of all days, I feel humbled when I look at my quiet abode, bougainvilleas that arch my doorway, everything lights up like the glow of a hundred diamonds, all put together.

Jasper and I trod along; he, his usual sniffing self is a little uneasy today. Maybe it is the sugary treat Ili has bestowed upon him. My reveried self walks at a brisk pace; I can’t keep Ili waiting for long. There isn’t much traffic today so I can easily go where Jasper saunters. I am almost in the middle of the road when a deafening screech of an engine rushes to me from behind. I’m thrown wildly into the air and land among the wild thorns that seemed to be aghast at this sudden intrusion. I have bruises all over and I cannot breathe. But feel no pain. I see blurred faces bending over, trying to pull me out. Suddenly I’m above all heads. It is strange, to be bleeding, yet not to feel any pain.  Am I……?.


I cannot go back home, so I meander among my ruins for a while. I see my sapphire at its bluest and wonder if it has the power to bring me back. I try desperately to wake me up and am hit hard by the memory of the previous accident when I had kissed the sapphire and prayed to let my remaining  years be added to those of Ili.

The sapphire heard me right to the point of letting me go into the realm of spirits that are doomed to wander near their loved ones. My wish is done, Ili is safe, without me……..

Sid keeps the sapphire right by his bedside and every night I draw aside the curtains when the blinding blue rays demean the blue of the clear sky. So blue is my sapphire……….

“Hello?”, she barely manages to whisper.

His voice, though, is crisp and firm “Hello there, How are you?….”

The pause stifles his breath.

“I’m good. Is it raining there?”, she asks…..

“No, and there?”

“It is…….heavily”

“Okay, it is windy though here”

He suddenly jerks up and opens the blinds, he sees the clouds with her eyes, while she has her ears glued to her cellphone……

“Oh, good, it will rain soon enough”, she manages to speak.

Her voice,sounds too mild, like she just swallowed a lump, he knows, he knows…….

“Yeah, maybe……so it is your birthday, any plans…..”

“Ummm…..yes, I will be going out in the evening..”

“That’s nice….Okay then, enjoy your day…..”

He is leaving, she wants to be hearing him for eternity.

“Yeah, thanks”



And it rains even more……..from his eyes……

When she began…….and now…..

She never knew what lay ahead. But there wasn’t any choice. The unwinding road kept calling. It had to be that path or else nothing. Her feet did ache but rest was a luxury she couldn’t dare to afford. For there wasn’t any shade. No roof anywhere. And that is how she made it to the tree, that lay hidden beyond yonder mirages. She had heard stories of death fires in the fiery deserts, of monsters that belie most roses she would stoop to smell.

She had seen the moon rise in all its glory, fashioned with promises of love and ardent passion. But the moon didn’t walk the road with her…….her neck strained from looking up to him everytime. So she walked alone.

She saw the morning Sun. It bent and warmly snugged her with caresses. But as the day prolonged, it assumed neutrality and heated and burnt her insides till she couldn’t stand it any more.

So she turned to the mist and fathomed its cool embrace. It kept her wrapped from dust storms and filthy heat but she couldn’t reach its core. She was scared to delve further in, for she might have lost her vision and purpose.

Blisters, tired soul and unfathomable love, she has been through it all……

Alleviated, she now almost flies, her wings a smooth blend of greys and hues.
No, she shan’t descend now, niether will she fly higher. Warm or cold, she can well discern her path, and can as well curl up the Sun in her lap.

She is her own Moon and Sun and Mist. Nothing more, nothing less……



She trudges along, as if blindfolded by the moon.  No, it is not dark. But she cannot discern anything except the light that covers her petite form. She has only this road to traverse. As she takes in every bit of the light deep within her bosom, she wonders if she will ever come back here. Consumed with passion, she has not counted the miles………do they even matter?

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