Alka Jha


I gave birth on a rainy day


I could smell the earth. The kids were running down the street, half drenched in rain. I could hear their mothers calling by their names. The warmth in the air had mellowed down and cool breeze filled the room. It was drizzling outside. The defusing warmth of soil gave a kind of nostalgia.

I could smell tea and pakoda* from our old uncle’s shop. It has the potency to create irresistible craving with same intensity every time. I always felt that whomsoever came up with the idea of this mouth watering combo, definitely deserves a Nobel prize for giving food orgasm to mankind on a rainy day.

I wanted to get out of bed, stand at the window sill and watch tiny droplets sliding on the glass pane. I wanted to see the fresh leaves. It seemed difficult to move out of bed. My legs trembled as I moved towards the table next to my bed. My fingers were cold.

My messy table was shelter to uncountable pens, pencils and brushes entangled with each other. I reached my hand towards the table. I touched the table and few pens rolled down on the floor. I successfully managed to pull out a paper without dropping rest of the pens. The table spared me a small corner on left, spacious enough to keep a paper without messing out rest of the stuff. I took out a pen. Few drops came out first and filled the paper with alien looking shapes. My pen always used to find a way to spill out ink on paper. Once satisfied with the harm done to the paper, the letters formed. Letters became words and words told the story.

I gave birth on a rainy day.

My first poem grew up with the fragrance of mud. It matured with the echo of raindrops in the background. I wrote few words carefully, dipped in the black ink. Wrote some of them carelessly, unable to handle the unstable thoughts, unhappy with it, unsatisfied, paper after paper with ink dipped letters. I gave birth to my first poem on a shabby piece of paper.

Rain had stopped. Kids were out on the street. Leaves waved to shed the raindrops on them. My fingers were still cold.

I lost my path in the search of unknown. All I could see was a vast ocean of ink dipped waves.

Pakoda*- Indian snacks

Image credit: Pixabay

her chair had a scar


Her chair had a scar

She is gone. I was sitting on the wooden chair, watching sun withering behind the clouds.

A mute audience of her farewell!

I come here every day. I prefer sitting on the same place we used to sit, with her chair in front of mine. Her chair had a scar. Every time she looked at it, she used to see different forms taking shape out of the scar. She used to give it names.

Somehow I could never see anything more than an ugly patch on the wood.

She used to love sitting in the corner. The dark patchy wooden chair had become her second soul mate. Together, we witnessed uncountable sunsets through the dusky glass pane. She loved watching the sun leaving it’s imprints on the vast canvas

The fading sun used to brighten her face. The color of her curls seemed to be drenched in the rays of the sun. She used to laugh occasionally. It was infectious, I should say. She used to pause for a moment and then she used to laugh again.

Memories are more adamant than I thought. They don’t leave you alone when you want them to.

She took few sips from her coffee. Her face was more blank than usual. There wasn’t pain. There wasn’t anger. The calmness on her face was confusing. She always had the expression, as if she was protecting an unfolding mystery.

I could never read the silence lying beneath those eyes. The peace on her face, hiding the storm inside, baffled me even more.

Without a single word, without any prior notice, she left.

Disappeared would be more appropriate. She had disappeared. And she made sure that her disappearance does justice to the meaning of the word.

For hours, I would stare at the corner seat in some vain hope that someday she might come back here for coffee.

I sit here, letting my mind wander off to seek answers for her unasked questions. I come here to feel those thin fingers holding the coffee mug again. I come here to feel the infectious giggle of hers. I come here to see an illusion of the happiest smile I could ever see.

Watching the empty wooden chair makes the evening colder than usual. I sit here till the fragrance of coffee chokes my air pipe. I sit here, allowing the aroma to fill the hollowness inside.

Sometimes I smell her fragrance while walking on road. My heart freezes for a second. I turn around in a hope that I might see her face in the middle of random faces walking towards me.

I couldn’t love her. I was scared to set my heart free to love her in return. I always calculated how not to get myself hurt. She made me love myself when everyone refused to. She was a dreamer and I have become a prisoner in the cage of past.

The coffee is the same. They perfectly managed to bring the same fragrance every time. They are still using the chair with a scar, in the left corner of their coffee shop. But the girl sitting on the chair doesn’t come here anymore.

She disappeared.

I couldn’t tell her. I am carrying a scar too, every day, on the every beating organ on my body.

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Our first hello

If our first hello

And if our first hello
would have born
when this winter has disappeared,
I might have looked pale
all this while
crossing that street light,
with the end of dusk.
I would have passed,
millions of moments,
waiting for a tinge of warmth.

What if our first hello
would have entered
slowly sailing in our lives
after the rains,
I would have lost
millions of drops
Crawling through my neck
while walking alone.

Our first hello
would not have travelled
towards our world
by the end of summer
who would have brought
pool of wind
refreshing the soul.

If our first hello
would not have reached,
till the spring says goodbye
would the flowers had sent
enough fragrance to fill
the corners of my heart,
with happiness of life.

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Grandpa’s unstitched memories


While taking its last dive, the sun brightens his face; a face which hasn’t changed for me since past all these years.

But those lines on your face have been getting deeper every single day. Are they lying or just forcing me to believe that you are growing old?

I opened my tiny eyes and found you beside. I started crawling and you followed behind. I started mumbling and you smiled. When I learnt to walk, I had your footprints to follow around. You rooted my feet in ground and allowed me to fly in all the directions. I drew lines and you talked about the forms, I was a listener and you let me dive in your ocean full of tales.

The forms became letters and letters became words. You brought the confidence in my sentences. You introduced me to every new thing. While I got to know the world around, you were happy for all that you had found.
There were times when others got disappointed but you never turned your side. When world turned cold I had your warm arms. I dreamt of birds and you let me fly. Allowing me to raise questions, you answered each of them with patience.

While I was busy in heading forward, you waited and watched from distance. You were not allowed to be at my side every time. Back then what I learnt helped me standing in middle of the crowd.

Your voice melted my anger, took away my fear, matured my learning and helped me in getting out when I was drowning in guilt. Sometimes I just wonder what if you haven’t haven’t told me all those tales, I wouldn’t have been craving for the stories around.

And today when I think of those uncountable moments, all these unstitched memories leap in front of me.


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I dream of rainbows and take a deep dive

I dream of rainbows

And take a deep dive

But why it all disappears

And turns black and white

Oh! Did I mention?

I saw the giant clouds

Drenched in sunlight

I reached new heights

What concerns you

Now you are supposed to find

And I am not allowed

To blurt everything out

And that’s the reason

I’m sitting here silently

In a vain hope

As if a gaze is going to tell everything