Ambivalence

Enjoying a cup of steaming coffee
Looking outside at the rather unchanged view from my balcony
The mind wanders to the hills and its moss covered  pathways,
A longing for the cool winds and smell of the earth takes over.

Late at night on the rooftop looking at the city slowly going to sleep
Wondering what someone is doing inside their home on the 29th floor,
The mind wanders to the night bazaars far away that are brimming with precious metals, native foods and colorful puppets,
A desire for the bustle, unknown smells and exotic deserts envelops you.

Sitting inside the taxi while stuck in traffic waiting for the lights to turn green,
Staring at the timer as it runs out before you can make the zebra crossing,
The azure waters of a cove tucked at the end of the beach enters the mind’s eye
The heart pines for the touch of soft sand and tickling sea breeze.

A quiet, stress-free and well rested weekend inside a coffee plantation comes to an end
You watch time move slowly and gaze at the rain that drenches the earth around the clock,
That familiar crossroad that leads to home comes to mind,
You look forward to being back at your balcony sipping that all too familiar coffee, and smile at the thought of the view being unchanged.

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The heart never fails to create desires that allow us the momentary relief that comes from escape.  A feeling of ambivalence, wishing to be else where but here and then awaiting the mundane, the regular routine and humdrum of our lives.

This poem by Gulzar talks about the leaf that never left and died on its branch. Every time I leave the comfort of home to a new adventure, the heart skips a beat, the fear of the unknown, uncertainties and ambivalent feelings envelope me, but as every traveler must, I don’t let the voices get too loud, lest I become like the lone leaf.

Tehni par bhetha tha woh

-By Gulzar

Tehni par bhetha tha woh
Niche talaab tha paani ka aur,
talaab ke andar aasmaan tha
dubne se dar lagta tha
na tera, na udha, na duba
teni par hi bethe-bethe bil-akhir woh sukh gaya!
Ek akela shakh ka patta!

One lone Leaf
Translation by Pavan Verma

It was perched on a branch
Below were the waters of a lake,
And underneath lay the sky,
It was afraid of being drowned
But….
It neither swam, nor drowned, nor flew away
It just sat on the branch and finally wilted
One leaf on a branch!

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