Emotions

Tsunamis, cyclones, tornado

or a summer storm

no prior notices

but they come,

turning all upside down,

While you take in the toll,

how do I show

or measure the losses

when it all happens

with my emotions?

While the Arctic is frozen,

Sahara so dry

Venus twinkles in the sky

and Atlantic takes its prize,

my emotions, tell me

can I place them, anywhere?

Rivers flow to the sea

daylight merges into night

dreams and nightmare

give into each other,

but all my feelings,

show me a way

where can they go?

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Lobster and Shefali

Lobster and Shefali

Going around Amherst these days is catching snippets of lobster stories. It’s that time of the year when white people look so proud in their golden tans. Ladies flaunt their shapely legs without the socks or stocking that cover them through most of the year. Men at times are shirt-less or wearing those sleeveless T-s, and they are haughty in their browned muscles. Then, when I walk by: the brown girl, I feel rather proud. God given tan I have. The other day at the mall I was behind a lady with hundreds of items to check, and the cashier was rattling off,
“Yeah, I had three lobsters in three days whole of them. But that’s an annual treat for myself.” She looked so full of her summer and sea and was tanned like a Native. If I had not known her before, then would of have thought she was one.
Everywhere its talk of vacation. You see people rushing out on Fridays with kayaks or boats on the top of their cars. And others take their trailers and are out to other states. Hiking and biking have picked up the wind too. It’s like ‘first come-first to serve’ service from the sun for this is the time when your body can get a bit of sunshine.
Summer is rushing on and soon the cold winds of fall will take over and drive people home. Squirrels are busy collecting the last of their food for winter. Birds are quieter for some have already started flying to warmer places.
Back home in Bangladesh the monsoon coming to close means dry days are coming. So people must be planning their vacations for winter. And with the first hints of winter winds guest brids will be screeching in the sky to settle in for the short stay. Such topsy-turvy world! Tagore comes to the mind and one can sing, “tomar holo shaara/ aamar holo shuru…”
In the nature’s world, here flowers are leaving for this year while back in desh, winter blossoms are getting ready for the show. I can imagine the shefali flowers lying under the trees, their creamy white and orange making intricate designs on the green grass. Marigolds here bidding farewell here are sending mails to their siblings up there. But that is nature, they give through seasons, no matter where they are. And when they stop giving, usually mankind has something to do with it, something they are runing of mother nature while seeking their own comfort.
As an onlooker, I stare at summer-happy people and watch the mourning doves coo away on the trees. It’s nice to be witnessing it all, and being a part of life. No sighs, no tears, but feeling thankful to be alive. Lobster or not, shefali in memories, make rich in life experiences. The thoughts cling to the wind, and travel to other lands. Perhaps I will be catching up with a lobster story late this summer or take a sudden trip home in time for the shefali?

 

Digging

I am digging, going deeper
all my energies in,
have to find
have to put my hands on it,
Google, Wikipedia, Webster
none could help.

Forgot the whole world
so that I could find it,
but
within that time
you were gone
on my silence
you banged the door.

I wanted one word
for loving you,
my: *one special*.
Or so I thought.

It was a lesson
I learned a lot,
you taught
without meaning to,
but
thanks a lot.

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A Dance of Life

It is pure love that makes me dance around despite my aching bones and sagging muscles with this special person. Age has brought its decay to my body in many ways. But he has revived my heart with a special light that makes me forget aches and pains of old age. My heart is reborn and I feel as young as a frisky two year-old. There is magic in this love.
He has come late in my life but I am so glad that the miracle did happen. With the joy of this blessing, I clutch him to my bosom and sway to his favorite music around my spacious living room. When we dance to Blue Danube, I feel his body responding like a flower swaying in the spring breeze. The sweet motion mesmerizes him and he closes his eyes, surrendering to my touch. His smile says he is in heaven and his face snuggles on my neck. I love the tenderness of his skin against mine. His gentle breath makes me hold my breath. At times I hum his favorite songs as we move with our lively steps. He loves that and I could feel his hands holding me more lovingly until he and I are one.
Music is not always required for us, often we dance to the melodies of life and love. We celebrate each moment when together. At such times, he is in my embrace in the late hours of the night as the world sleeps. In the silence of the darkness our music is our breaths following each other in faithful turns. Our heart pounds to keep the beats. In daytime as we sway together, we hear the wind whistling to our steps.
I have the dance of my life with him. When spring comes, we blend with the beds of daffodils and tulips. When the gentle breeze sweeps by, we toss and turn like the dancing flowers, so happy together. The wind often carries his body’s scent to my nose and it is absolute love for me. He needs not mention that he feels all that too, no need for small talk or any show off. The pressing of his body against mine tells me all. The spring flowers are mostly perennials and will wither away. But our love will remain on the wheels of time. Soon summer and then other seasons will follow. When autumn leaves cover the fields we can dance Mazurka and our boding will only grow.
Our love is of a special kind and together the heart strings will sing beyond times. I will love him no matter where I am. The thought of mortality makes me sad and I do not want to part from him. But today, I will keep those thoughts aside and enjoy the moments with my love. And we will dance many more waltzes while I can still be in steps with him. He is the best dance partner of my life.
I know I will never let you go and neither will you. As we dance through the days, I shall hum your favorite tune with the words,
“Be happy and have a long life, my newborn grandson.”

End

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In the Arms of the River

In the Arms of the River

Dark clouds raced across the vast sky. Badal, a young man in his early twenties was traveling on a launch towards his home in Barisal. The monsoon’s rain was at its peak and it rained incessantly. Sometimes the rain was playing with passing phases and sometimes there were downpours. The world seemed to be a soggy place with the frequent wet days. The soft wind blowing over the river was cool and soothing.
Badal stood at the entrance of the upper deck of the large launch. His dark eyes held dreams and a smile played on his lips. A handsome young man, he was feeling happy with daydreams fleeting across his mind. He was going to his village Kaliya, in Barisal. The blue and white launch, Cynthia was carrying him along the mighty river, Meghna. It  was one of the biggest rivers in Bangladesh. Sailing on that river was in that time of the year was stressful. With heavy rainfalls, the river was full and the current was strong. The rain didn’t worry Badal much since the sky was a bit cloudy only on the day he was traveling. The occasional gusts of wind reminded him of storms but the sky did not have the reddish scowl that comes before a storm breaks out. The weather was gloomy but there were no hints of a storm or heavy rain.
Badal was thinking of a sweet face that will soon have a scarlet bindiya on the forehead. He was thinking of Mishty, his bride to be. The placing of the shindur ( vermilion color) on the mid parting of her hair and the bindiya ( round spot on the forehead) would mark the beginning of their wedded life. Badal could imagine how beautiful Mishty would look in her bridal attire with the forehead marked with the round scarlet color.
“Rain cannot be stopped on rainy days,” said Badal speaking out his thoughts. As it started to rain and raindrops fell around him, he was humming a happy song. When the rain drops struck the deck the sounds of “Pit…pit..pitter..pit…” sounded like music, a sweet song in his heart.
Badal’s face was radiant and his eyes held a dreamy look He was finally going to marry Mishty. His future father-in-law had not given his consent until Badal was settled with a good job as a supervisor in a garment factory. His lean, handsome features had attracted many female workers who worked with him at his factory in Dhaka. But Badal was firm and never yielded to anyone. Mishty lived in his village in Barisal. The meaning of Bangla word mishty was sweet and Badal thought it was so true for his Mishty. She was all good and sweet in nature. They had grown up together and she was beautiful beyond her looks. There was tenderness written in her eyes and her face was heart shaped. The pert little nose set above the wide generous mouth gave her face a look of extreme sweetness.
As the launch sailed, the occasional heaving from the waves grew in frequency and were higher. The waves, Badal noted were growing larger. He looked at the passing boats. Most of the large, open boats carried passengers. Some smaller ones were loaded with water hyacinths that the villagers fed their cattle with. Two large, open boats carried piles of earthen- wares. From one of them, a boatman was singing away folk songs that touched the hearts with their sweetness. Badal felt happy as he listened to the songs as he quietly watched the far away villages outlined in the horizon. His thoughts wandered. How far away was Kaliya and how far was his home? And how long before he can reach Mishty?
A gentle smile played on Badal’s lips every time he remembered his bride to be. Nostalgia stirred his heart on thoughts of the youthful days when Mishty and he used to share long lazy afternoons under the mango trees, eating juicy mangoes. He recalled the days when she would hide some delicious guavas in the folds of her sari and bring them for him. Finally they were going to get together and build a home. Impatience tugged at his soul all the while he was thinking of his coming wedding and Mishty.
Badal went back inside the launch and sat down. He was glad that he had got a window seat. He could pass his time while he looked out at the passing scenery. The fellow passengers were mostly asleep. They had been sailing for almost ten hours and the small children were restless. An old woman huddling nearby reminded him of his mother. She wore a white sari like his mother and had a kind face.
My mother must be looking forward to my homecoming, I will have to buy her a new sari for the wedding. Badal thought.
There were two toddlers wailing as their mothers tried to calm them with some candies. He looked at the children wistfully.
Maybe, thought Badal , one day I too will be traveling home with my little son or daughter. He liked children and planned to have a big family. He thought of Mishty and how she too wanted to have at least four children.
Thinking of his beloved and their wedding, he remembered that he was carrying gold ornaments in his small handbag for the Mishty. He quickly opened the chain to make sure that the red box of the ornament was there. Things got stolen so quickly on public transports. He relaxed at the sight of the box, wrapped with some brown paper. He was also carrying the red sari that the new bride was to wear on her wedding day. He didn’t forget to buy the red slippers with high heels that Mishty had shyly told him to buy and the red lipstick too.
As the launch continued to progress with occasional blasts of its loud horn, Badal’s thoughts became engrossed with plans for his wedding day. But the launch was swaying harder and harder. Badal looked out. The river looked a bit rough with waves rolling rather angrily. The sky had become very dark indeed. And on the western sky an angry red scowl had appeared. Badal felt a touch of unknown fear in his heart. For that red sky was a hint of a brewing storm.
Why thought Badal, only short while ago there was only the rain in the sky but now the sky looks so angry.
He looked at the far away coconut trees lining the villages on the riverbank. The trees were tossing and turning crazily. The wind must have picked up force and that meant a storm was coming. He felt little concerned. Just at that moment the launch started to heave up and down as if a demon was shaking it.
“The storm must be blowing fully!”. Badal whispered to himself, shivering with anxiety. The wind was roaring and from somewhere an eagle screeched loudly. The bird’s call penetrating through the howling wind seemed sounded ominous. Badal remembered that eagles were birds of prey and they called when death was near. Fear clutched Badal’s heart.
Then suddenly the storm broke out with lightning and thunder crashed loudly. Outside a wall of rain and wind involved the launch and hell broke loose. The violent wind started lashing out against the launch and it started swaying crazily. The sleeping passengers were all awake and all started praying loudly together, calling out to the Almighty.
“How can there be such a storm? The rainy season does not have these sudden storms called the kal boishakhi” ( summer storms in Bangladesh). Badal asked the man beside him. His voice was hardly audible against the roar of the wind.
“Do storms these days give warnings? Weather has changed.” snapped the man. “Here I was going to visit my sick mother and only God knows if I can find her alive.” His bearded face was bleak with worry and his eyes filled up with tears.
Badal thought of river disasters he had heard of so many times, launches, trawlers and boats caught in the storms and capsizing. He thought of the hundreds of people who lost their lives in the catastrophic storms. His heart seemed to stop beating as the launch gave a violent lurch. The vessel seemed to be dancing crazily on the water. Badal took another look outside.

Through the window he could see the huge waves crashing against the launch and it was absolutely dark as if the day had suddenly gone into hiding. The angry whistle of the wind mingled with the screaming of the passengers. Children and adults cried out for help. The launch rocked crazily like a toy. The passengers and their belonging were pitched from one side to the other as the launch lurched viciously on the stormy river.
The idea of jumping into the river suddenly flashed in Badal’s mind. He had heard that some people could be saved from the river. He made a mad rush for the deck. He could hardly move for other people too had started rushing outside to jump into the river. Maybe that would be an escape from certain death before the launch capsized. As Badal finally reached the deck, the force of the storm hit Badal full in the face. The mighty wind seemed to be set on taking the launch to the bottom of the river. Badal heard a voice warning him of coming sure death. Blindingly he reached for the railing of the launch and jumped into the mad river.
Fighting for life in the heaving waters, momentarily Badal had a vision of Mishty in her red sari, she was waiting for him with her arms opened wide. Badal felt the cold water biting his body since he had taken off his shirt that was clinging and making moving difficult. Then he felt something against his bared back. He thought of holding on to the solid form but then shrank with shock, for it was a small body, a dead child. His thrashing hands groped for something to hold on to.
But a tremendous force seemed to be pulling him downward. He recalled that he was in the arms of the mighty river Padma. But then again he thought, no, it was Mishty pulling him closer to her. Then the eyes of his mother seem to stare at him with all the worldly love that he had known. He tried to swim against the violent current of the stormy river. But the force of the water, wind and the rain, were too strong against his failing strength. But he kept hoping. He might find something to cling on to and might still be alive when the storm was over. He screamed out for help. Only the shrill cry of the wind seemed to answer him.
The storm continued with its tremendous force. Howling and scowling like an evil spirit. As Badal continued to thrash around the water, the launch had already started to sink. He caught glimpses of shadowy figures of people from the launch jumping madly into the river.
Drowning voices crying for help filled the air. Badal felt weak as his hands and feet fought to keep him above the water. He seemed to be caught in a tug of war with the water. It was pulling him down and he was trying to keep floating. His eyes were closing but his senses still wondered, will he ever see his Mishty with a scarlet bindiya on her forehead? Suddenly the bindiya seemed to be washing away from his bride’s forehead and settled on his heart. It was a huge, scarlet bindiya. The blazing vermilion from the bindiya made the water all red and the swirling mass was pulling him down, down. It must be Mishty calling me, came his thoughts.
Badal let go of himself to the arms of his beloved, it was not the river but his Mishty. She took him in to love and cherish forever.
End

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Night of the Meteor Shower

Countless meteors falling

drifting, zigzagging down,

each, a part of someone

coming to me

through the infinity

a love that he was

and continues to be.

The difference is:

meteors today

are not only in my soul

but have come alive

in the sky as well.

Meteors mean

more than Earth’s crossing

path of a comet,

it’s someone coming to me.

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Aug. 9th, 2015.

Yearning

This warmth that flows
between you and me
is not of spring, summer
nor a bonfire or an electric heater.

It’s warmth of a different kind
one that radiates,
no matter where we are,
makes us cozy
and makes us whole
on dizzy cold nights.

You hold me not
nor I you, yet
the volcano erupts
between our hearts,
lava flowing:
that my dear
is no ordinary warmth at all.

It’s just yearning
of two hearts
for each other.

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