To all the kids I have, I’ve seen and I see in my life- Kaavish, Irya, Avika, Tavish, Tavisha, Tavisha, Anav, Seerat, Veeransh, Lakshit, Osheen, Chakshu, Bhavya. Your innocence inspired me to put it to words. And to the kid that my family raised up with oodles of love- me.
हाय बचपन, प्यारा बचपन
बेरंग बचपन, और कभी रंगीन सा
ज़्यादातर मीठा, और कभी नमकीन सा
कभी भुआ की ऊँची एड़ी के सैंडल चढ़ाता हुआ
और कभी प्लास्टिक की गुड़िया को बाल्टी में डुबाता हुआ
आम को सफ़ेद फ्रॉक को खिलाता हुआ
कभी अपने खिलौनों को टम्बलर से पानी पिलाता हुआ
दादी की गोद में छिप जाता है कभी
सो जाये सब तो खिलखिला जाता है तभी
तिपहिया साइकिल पर पाँव लगाते हुए चलता है ज़मीं पर
मिट्टी में घूमते हुए उँगलियों के फूटते किनारों की नमीं पर
दौड़ते हुए गिर जाता है और रोने लगता है
रोते रोते कभी थक कर सोने लगता है
कभी माँ को पुकारता है, कभी चुप चाप ताकता है
पास में कोई आये तो आँखों के कोनों से झांकता है
कभी तुतलाता है, कभी मन को मचलाता है
कभी आँखों में आँसू भर कर माँ को बुलाता है
दादा के काँधे पर सो जाता है अक्सर ये
चुन्नी की साड़ी बाँध कर खिलखिलाता है ये
घर की हर थाली में खाना खाता हुआ
गली में हर आने जाने वाले को पुकारता हुआ
कभी चाची के बाल खींचता है और कभी सजाता है
कभी ईंटों के घर में गुड्डे गुड्डियों को कागज़ के कपडे पहनाता है
अँधेरे में मोमबत्ती जला के कहानियां बनाता हुआ
रो रो के घर को सर पे उठाता हुआ
कभी चुप हो जाए तो सन्नाटा लगता है
इसका हर एक हसीं का पल खुशियों का फव्वारा लगता है
चाचा का है लाडला और नानी की आँखों का तारा
इसकी नटखट बातों में ही है ख़ुशी का दारोमदार सारा
आ तुझे लगा लूँ गले से और बिठा लूँ अपने पास
दौड़ते दौड़ते थक जाता हूँ मिलाते हुए तुझसे अपनी सांस
खुशनुमा भीनी खुशबू और भोलापन तेरा
नन्हे नन्हे पाँव तेरे और अजब सा अहसास तेरा
तुझे छु लूँ, पकड़ लूँ, भींच लूँ अपनी बाहों में
थक सा गया हूँ, ले चल मुझे फिर से उसी मासूमियत की पनाहों में
Krit and Ananya never thought how life would span out to be!! But that’s life- unpredictable, yet happening right in front of our lives.
Krit and Ananya were inseparable. Despite growing up in different households, they never really missed each other. All they had to do was to put their head out of the balcony, and there was their partner in crime. Not just their houses shared the wall, they shared their lives both literally and figuratively. Their teachers called them out as Krit-Ananya, their friends had to search for either one and even their college bus had to wait for just one of the two. The “jodi-daar” would automatically be tagging along. Ananya was good at Mathematics, Krit would be helping with science; Ananya would teach him tenses and vocabulary: Krit would figure out the acronyms for History chapters. Theirs was a friendship that nobody had ever witnessed.
Ananya’s mom, Sarika didn’t really appreciate this togetherness. May be it was her gut feeling or her concern for her young daughter that made her do so. Time and again, she would ask Ananya to develop a hobby or anything that was not a part of Krit-Ananya saga. She had enrolled Ananya in a painting class, during her 5th standard. When Ananya would hold the brush, she could make the canvas talk. Krit hated the sight of canvas and the colors and messed-up rooms. The only reason Ananya hated painting was because she couldn’t be with Krit while painting. And thus, Ananya’s interest was limited to completing drawing and SUPW files for both Krit-Ananya.
College wasn’t meant to last forever: and it ended one day. Krit had already decided to go for a training to Mumbai and Ananya’s parents decided that she would train under a friend of Ananya’s dad. Their training woukd start on 1st of August and go on for 5 months. The mere thought of seeing Krit next year was traumatic for Ananya. She had no clue how to live without Krit for a single day and there he was, leaving for 1-5-3 days. She added the days, subtracted, made imaginary calculations so that she could linger on some hope of meeting him sooner. It was 27th of July that Krit left for Mumbai with teary-eyed Ananya catching attention of almost everyone present at the railway station. She wailed, gasped for breath, cried, almost howled while hugging him. Krit had put up a brave face all this while. It was only when the train moved that he jumped up on his bogie and started crying himself. The mere thought of not having this silly stupid girl by his side, pinched him right across his heart. He felt alone: in the middle of some 6-7 people sitting in the compartment- he felt lost. His comfort arm was gaping at the moving train standing at that platform.
Once in Mumbai, Krit got busy commuting and learning and arranging for his basic necessities. The frequency of Facetime and Skype calls covered up for the 1500 kms of the distance and both of them waited for 1st of January. Krit would be busy during the day and Ananya indulged in painting a card for every day that Krit wasn’t around. She would make a story around the days happenings with both of their caricatures. Stories of their fights, stories of their collective struggle of being without each other, stories of longing for each other. She couldn’t contain her excitement of showing it all to Krit. For it was about them. About being with each other while being without each other.
And with great difficulty passed these 153 days. Krit boarded the train after ensuring he packed all the gifts he bought for each day that he stayed away from Ananya. In the meanwhile, Ananya had made a book out of those cards. As the train was approaching the platform, their heartbeats paced and ran ahead of the big Ben hanging on the platform. Krit jumped out of the moving train only to run faster and not waste even a single second, being away from her. Ananya couldn’t contain herself and hugged him tight- to never let him go. While Krit wanted to be free of all thoughts when he was with his silly girl, she discovered a way to be with his memories even when he wasn’t around.
Love was found- when friendship had gone away on a holiday.
Check out this story on Sweek!! https://web.sweek.com/#/story/Bm8CBwkDCwMAAQEKbAEB