Tag Archive: romantic


for Delhi-waalas everywhere

bunking classes in school, trying too hard to seem too cool.

those lazy humid summer days, nodding off on the bus ride home, with Delhi feeling like a greenhouse dome.

shedding our school bags, racing to round up the friends, the 40° heat never even an afterthought, batting and bowling in our small park, till bad-light caused us to gather in the dark.

my buddy and i, singing Beatles’ songs loud enough for the two girls we had crushes on, “Can’t buy me Love” belted out till we were hoarse, surviving the glaring looks of the disapproving  grannies of course.

those were the days, of cycling to the cinema, to watch “Sholay” for the umpteenth time, sitting in the 2-rupee seats right in front, rattling off the dialogue line by line.

racing back home to catch a few songs on “Chitrahaar”, sitting up close to our ancient black and white telly, the picture quality akin to snow, not that it mattered, this was after all our most coveted tv show.

getting our ears clipped at times for coming home late, the joyful sounds of laughter from our friends who were en-route home to a similar fate.

lighting clay diyas as Diwali approached, stuffing our faces with malaai burfi from “Bengal Sweet House”, downing sweet lassis as autumn upon summer encroached.

“borrowing” friends’ dad’s scooters, the wind in our hair, inhaling the pollution without any care, off to Connaught Place for an ice-cream at Nirulas, and to stock up on our filmi music cassettes from the ever smiling Sikh man at Palika Bazaar, till we emerged above ground, each of us smelling like an incense shop from afar.

stopping off in Defence Colony, to savour some gol-gappas and ganne-ka-ras, the only word never uttered those days was “bas”.

gliding down the streets of our colony, as if we were kings, with the brash swagger that being a teenager brings.

enjoying the Diwali nights, friends exchanging sweetmeats, as Delhi resounded with firecrackers and rocket streaked skies, having our fill of never-ending chais.

winter came along with its polluted fog blanketing the freezing early morn, our pleas of “only 5 minutes more” falling on deaf ears as from our warm beds we were torn.

when spring hopped along, we waited for Holi, to sing countless a filmi-song, with our pichkaaris, and water-filled balloons, aiming at all, giggling like buffoons.

if nostalgia is a seductive liar, as I somewhere once read, then allow me to be seduced, again and again, after all these years and all these miles that have been tread.

to be taken back to the Delhi of yesteryear, ignites a fierce passion, and I crave a coconut dipped syrupy meethha paan,

for after all these years inbetween here and there,

it’ll always be “meri Dilli, meri jaan”




               ____________



Glossary:



Sholay” – A popular Bollywood film of the 1970s.

Chitrahaar” – A musical television show.

Diyas” – small earthen lamps lit during Diwali.

Diwali” – the festival of light.

Malaai Burfi” – A popular sweetmeat.

Lassi” – A popular yoghurty drink.

Connaught Place” – the centre of New Delhi.

Palika Bazaar” – An underground shopping complex in Connaught Place.

Nirulas” – A popular fast food restaurant.

Gol-gappas” – A popular fast food

Ganne-ka-ras” – Sugarcane juice.

Defence Colony” – A suburb of New Delhi.

Bas” – A Hindi word meaning ‘enough’.

Chai” – Tea

Holi” – the festival of colours, heralding the arrival of spring.

Pichkaari” – A toy like device to spray water. Commonly used on Holi.

Meetha Paan” – sweet Betel leaf filled with syrup and other fragrant spices.

Meri Dilli, Meri Jaan” – literally meaning ‘my Delhi, my life”

Dilli” – Delhi

​let us kiss, deep and slow, in our long African night, beneath this carpet of stars, bathed in hues of soft light, 

far away from the clamour of each day, to our very own place where palm trees sashay and sway,

far from the echoes of pain, to be washed pure by our African rain,

so come with me, let us be free,

leaving it all behind,

to be,

to simply be …

together … … …

​”we will weather the storms of fate, we shall face the howling winds of life, together“, she said.


what could i say.

i took her hand in mine. 

finding myself …

if she asks
                   do tell her

      it was having lost her

              that led me down the path

                           to finding myself

at last

when quivering lips meet

&

tongues

& whispers soothe each sigh

the ache of two vagabond souls yearning to share a few moments,

to share, to feel again,
memories and pain intermingled

seeking a peace so elusive to find …

‘it’s then
I must still my thundering heart, my love

&
close my eyes,

just hoping against reason,
that when I awake

you shall still be lying here beside me

and that you shall still
be mine

when soft hues meet

waltzing
quivering tongues
& whispers entwine

your hair across my chest

… so shhh my love, my life,
say barely a word

just lie here
& be mine

dreams of you …

in dreams of you

your kisses slip

falling

fluttering as petals do

washing over me
caressing away pain

as gentle as the jo’burg rain

panning through marshes of  twisted roots,

scrounging for a handful of promised truths,

thawing wounds aching afresh,

discarded emotions gnawing into now catatonic flesh …

we walk on, ever on,

fleeing the tumult of yesterdays sorrow,

we walk on, ever on,

thirsting for a glimpse of that liberating tomorrow,

to finally rid the heaving heart of the weight of the past,

content no more with brief, tenuous ceasefires,

but hungering instead for a peace that shall last …

faultlines …

faultlines …

cleaving through me,

embers flicker,

remnants of half baked verse,

smothered by tomorrows yet to dawn …

scribbled on fragile faultlines,

quills dipped in tears,

clinging onto hope,

tenuous,
fragile,

weaving wishes into tomorrows,

yet to be born …

Frenetic …

Frenetic …

thoughts of you gallop across the rolling savannah of my heart, and I am lost and bound and shackled and torn between what I may have lost and all that I may never have had, and if even for that one fleeting blip of life awakened on the desert wasteland that was my soul, I would choose the latter forever more …

For Wendy Cope ( b. 1945)

For Wendy Cope
(b. 1945)

(Inspired by her poems ‘Bloody Men’ and ‘Flowers’)

1.

I may not have brought you flowers.

I know I was always late.

You tolerated my moodiness,
and my ever-increasing weight.

2.

You said men were like buses,

and you had grown weary of waiting,

Of putting up with my quirks and my fusses,

though we barely knew we were dating.

3.

Ah, but we weathered the squalls;

Your patience has always been saintly.

And now that old age palls,

our tiffs are recalled only faintly.

4.

We laugh at youth’s follies and know,

the beauty we had sought unaware;

It’s as wide as a calm river’s flow,

and as timeless as our years of care.

(Inspired by Wendy Cope’s poems ‘Bloody Men’ and ‘Flowers’)

Port of Call

Port of Call
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
with the breath of the ocean a caressing balm,
soothing pained memories away,
to the swaying of a solitary palm.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
feeling the brushing away of all past turmoil,
on a quest for solace, ever so hard to find,
yet comforted by the crashing of the waves,
as the tide cleanses all pain,
and leaves despair far, far behind.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
drenched in a sea-breeze of mist,
that hushes the ache of bygone moons,
tasting the salty tang on my lips,
as the burnished sun,
over the distant horizon,
swoons,
 
and dips.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
searching, ever searching,
for a slice of solitude,
as memory bids a final adieu,
reaching under the sea so vast,
and seeking comfort in the depths,
while embracing,
the tomorrows to come,
wishing that they be true.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
seeing my truths drown,
as they slip beneath the turquoise waters,
 
feeling my heart ablaze,
with a passion that rarely falters.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
yet knowing that I am home at long last,
wishing the waves would wash away,
the defences that once stood,
like an impregnable wall.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
I have found, at long last,
 
my final port of call.

NOSTALGIA: My Family: A Historical Journey Through the Seasons – Part 2 by Afzal Moola, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Paths we Weave

The Paths we Weave …

Walking alone,

on these meandering paths this life weaves,

weathering the nudges and the tugs of destiny and of fate,

I have walked alone for many a mile,

but not today,

for today,

I weave through alleyways of solitude,

rinsing my cobwebbed memories,

seeking to steer my path,

gently,

so that this pathway of life may lead me to you,

where my only hope is that I am not too late,

as I place my soul at your hearts’ gate …

In your Eyes #5

may your gentle all-embracing warmth,

be forever by your side,

and may you always walk the soft beaches of destiny, at the coming in of the tide …

May life shower you with love and laughter and truth and peace and health,

as your generosity of spirit remains a wellspring of your ceaseless human wealth.

May your dreams be boundless as they soar through hopeful skies,

the hopeful skies that I see,

in the chocolatey universe of whipped cream delights,

that reside,

swirling,

in your beautiful eyes …

Wrestling Verses

Wrestling Verses

Spilling ink onto paper,
reading tea-leaves,

fragments of mirth,
shards of anguish,

remain,
trapped in rolled-up sleeves.

Turning up my collar,
as blue as these days that slip by,

scattered verses plunge into,
the fathoms of unknown waters.

My ink runs, slips, treading lightly,
penning odes to love on bare skin,

your skin,
your bare back my canvas,

my fingers tracing, caressing, scribbling,
homages to our laughter, our tears.

Wrestling verses,

lie spent, exhausted,
famished and parched from saying too much,

still,

my fingers tickle your soft skin,

my ink would run dry,

were it not for your gentle touch

The Nearest Exit

The Exit …

… discarding memories,
suffocating in nostalgia’s throttling grip,

I flee, moment by moment,
away from the now,

seeking, yearning,

chasing phantom clouds of promise,

coveting shrouded whispers of hope,

seducing empty vessels of belonging,

I flee, moment by moment,
away from the now,

seeking, yearning,

lost, alone, torn,

slowly crawling to the nearest exit

The Beach of Promises

The Beach of Promises

1.

Fingers entwined, barely touching,
turquoise waters teasing your dancing toes,

strolling along that serene deserted beach,
our promised dreams within aching reach.

2.

Hands clasped, holding on,
sea-breezes tickling the nape of your neck

walking together, alone, vowing to never breach,
the dreams dreamed on that faraway velvet beach.

3.

Hands in my pockets, alone,
traces of you linger, teasing,

lost in my scribbles, your memory fading out of reach,

my thoughts ablaze, now and then,
catching a whiff of your fragrance,

wafting through alleyways of nostalgia,
your hand in mine on our pristine beach.

Where Wild Violets Grow

Where Wild Violets Grow

Scribbling these verses,
caressing your bare back,
simple rhymes,
flowing from my fingertips.

Scribbling verses,
sprinkling odes to fragrant promises,
your smile lightens the burdens,
off my heavy heart.

Scribbling verses,
soaked in countless kisses,
the moonlight waltzing on your skin.

Scribbling verses,
feeling you,
your love never ceases to flow,

through the streams of my mind,
to a place of our own,
where wild violets grow.

The Nameless

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Slipping through the sieve of history,

the nameless rest.

Not for the nameless are roads renamed, nor monuments built.

Not for the nameless are songs sung, nor ink spilled.

The nameless rest.

Their silent sacrifice,
quiet ordeal,
muted trauma,

remain interred,
amongst their remains.

The nameless rest.

Not for the nameless are doctorates conferred, nor eulogies recited.

Not for the nameless are honours bestowed, nor homages directed.

The nameless rest.

They rest within us,
they walk with us,

in every step that we tread.

They rest within us,
they walk with us,

for their spirit is not dead.

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“Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal”

– inscription at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier WWII in Moscow

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Special thanks to my dearest elder sister Tasneem Nobandla Moolla, whose conversations with me about life as a non-white person growing up in pre and post-Apartheid South Africa prompted me to write this dedication to the countless, nameless South Africans of every colour, whose sacrifices and dedication in the struggle against Apartheid tyranny must never be forgotten.

My sister’s middle name ‘Nobandla’ which is an isiXhosa name and means “she who is of the people” was given by her godfather, Nelson Mandela, my father’s ‘best-man who could not be, as Nelson Mandela was unable to-make it to my parent’s wedding as he was in jail at the time in the old Johannesburg Fort. This was the 31st December 1961.

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