Friday, June 25, 2010

A friend remembered

On the wings of wind, with you by my side,
In a smoke stuffed car, into the night we ride,
Talking of music, friends, man's longing for the moon,
And of blissful moments that pass away too soon.
Of your unfinished novel- 'The Drought' you called it,
That you crossed out many times, as many times rewrit,
Now forever incomplete, with you amid the stars-
Just like your life. Destiny plays such a farce.
Remember how first we met and talked the night away,
Atop the cathedral, watching moonlight's shadow-play,
(Though why its called a cathedral, I shall never know),
With the lights of Delhi spread deep down below.
Till the flickering dawn said the end of night was near,
You reminded me that night of all my heart holds dear-
(Ghazals, old film songs, Vikram Seth's verses,
Films, philosophy, history's boons and curses,
Saahir, Faiz, Firaaq, Ghalib and Gulzaar,
And of course the girls as also heart's scar),
Till by dawn we knew we would be friends forever,
(Forever, alas we had known, was not for us to share).
Remember how drunk we got during a college festival,
And the slap you earned, we were too much trouble!
Remember the girl we dated, both you and I together,
(And the way it ended, for worse or for the better),
When I wrote to Anu, you just won't let me be,
Insisting all the while that she was the girl for me,
The countless hours we spent dozing off in class,
People wondered when we did well and not just pass,
Too soon the time came to choose our separate ways,
(The army for you, for me the civil services),
Marriage claimed Monica, Roli created such a fuss
For management, (how we teased her on a DTC bus),
Akash returned to Jaipur, Ritesh just disappeared,
Of Deepali after college, no one has really heard.
Our jobs made us slaves, took us to distant lands,
Little we knew of future; a puppet in fate's hands

Though these past years seldom we could meet,
We've kept close- phones, letters, and then the net-
-All of us, that is, except you, my dearest friend
Who went on in your journey around life's final bend.
A few years ago, in December, I first heard the news
Of cells multiplying in your blood, many opinions and views
Of doctors and charltans, of seers and holy men,
All saying you were lost, the only question was when.
We went to visit you, and little could imagine,
Death was so near to see the glow on your skin,
We returned reassured, fate could not be so crass,
After all, bigger miracles have often come to pass.
Till the phone call came, deep in the dead of night,
That you had softly sighed, and finally gave up the fight.
With agonised tears we all curse fate, still unforgiving,
But know this, my friend, it is hard to go on living....

-A true story based upon the poet's best friend.

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