Quotidian

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Humming a half-chewed
Part eschewed
Hastily rewritten
Version of ‘Zehnaseeb’,
I am waiting at the bus stop –
Now 20 minutes and counting;
My patience is floundering,
It’s like time has stopped for me.
Why, it’s with recurring, insipid and
Unguarded jealousy,
That I watch the little people hop
Into their little taxis
That come, that go,
That go, that come,
While, all the while,
My unsteady fingers
Steadily drum,
And a deft foot taps
Left, then right,
While idle thumbs twiddle
Verbosity alight,
And oh!
There I see
The bus  my bus
Merrily making its way,
With the torturous velocity
Of an ignoramus, unambitious snail…
Ah finally! It has stopped 
To let the passengers go;
Tedious and slow,
As they clench within them,
An unhidden, unbidden desire
To push against
The damn viscous flow,
And, oh no 
Aboard, there still are,
Two lost foreign souls
Talking with an equally lost driver
(Who’s desperate to return
To looking bored)
And I?
With an inward sigh, I shake my head
And brave my left foot before right,
To become the First Person on the Bus 
First  since some 30 minutes ago,
The First Woman, actually
(Because, somehow, it matters more)
And so,
The rest of the people,
Now undaunted and properly sheepled,
Step in too;
Unceremoniously hinting a good-bye
To the poor lost foreign souls

– Akanksha Gupta

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In Limbo

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When I was younger
And couldn’t even reach up to that doorless shelf
Where your cruel crafty self hid my jar of mango pickle,
I wished to be just a little bit taller
And a tad more carefree
I didn’t know then
I was unknowingly
Tossing my wishes into the well
Of deliciously ageless irony
For you see,
When I was younger,
I wished to be
Exactly as old as you,
For I felt that you had no homework
And that Papa just read news,
I couldn’t wait to be there too –
Me as old as you and you as old as me;
I couldn’t wait for time to liquefy
And slip past my fingers.
But as years went by, and university called to me
And as the easygoing school syllabus of ten months
Got compressed into tiny nuggets of three
Every time that the exams arrived
I sighed and held my breath
I longed for that liquefied time
To season those nuggets with.
Too late twas when I realised
I wanted to savour those moments,
Hoping that somehow they’d stretch themselves and
Tuck me in, like blankets in my sleep.
But somewhere along the way
Those flimsy blankets too slipped away
And now as I yearn for their warmth,
Every time that I apply for jobs
Or talk to the next gen folk,
The sign of a grown-up life
Flashes much more lucidly before my eyes.
It’s that melee of excitement
With a fear of uncertainty
And an utter dependency on self,
Whence Sophie’s choice and Murphy’s law
Seem to be playing the devil’s advocate,
And me?
I am standing in limbo
Between the devil and the deep blue sea,
Balancing my hopes on a nylon rope;
Those plans of wanting to work hard up the ladder
Seem to be laced with mettle no more
Because the ladder is frail
And its steps paced erratically
Now
Listening to them grown-up problems
Makes me think so differently
For living the erstwhile third person analysis
Is a completely different story

– Akanksha Gupta

Echoes Past the Point of No Return

A million voices bleed in my head
Pleading for a solid coalition
But I know the quota is limited
So I stand perplexed
Resisting temptation

You see, somewhere ages and ages ago
There was another set of voices
And though, long, I stood at the crossroads
As no storm did I hear them forebode
I discriminated between neither of the choices

Thence, teetering at the end of sanity
I waited for the next interlude
Whence I shrunk my limit to unity
Choosing the voice with the greatest amity
In anticipation of a sanguine quietude

But, as I languished in the passivity of the refuge
My voice lost all its vivacity
So for the following season of vocal deluge
I chose to rebel against the complacent attitude
Which has cost me more than my sanity

Now, as I stand at dawn of the next chapter
With the voices having returned with a vengeance
I stare at my ever-growing puzzle in wonder
Uncertain of the solitary piece I must discover
That which shall make all the difference

– Akanksha Gupta

The QuadCore Brain



ACT I : The Belligerent Sycophant 

I wish
I could carve out
A path
From my head to my heart
And rationalize every thought
And every chemical reaction
With a melting pot
Of facts, figures and emotions
I wish
I could dissolve
All my scruples and sorrows
With nary a care
About the tuples of tomorrow
Oh I wish many a wish
And dream many a dream
But right now all I can focus on
Is, my senses tingling
From the cool of the ice cream


ACT II : The Silent Activist 

I’m trying to improve my handwriting
Making it clearer
So that when I put down my thoughts
And ideas
And opinions
I can go back and recollect them
So that they leave in my memory
An indelibly clearer impression
They are an expression in time
Of Circumstances and the society
Of myself and those around me
And I wish to put them down
Elegantly and tidily
To preserve them for eternity
To remember, to recall, the actions
To study the reactions
And learn from the inactions
Most of all


– Akanksha Gupta

You know you’re in HKUST when …

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You know they like to strengthen the base

Without building the basis

That even schools forget // To-Do

Which you only regret later in the year

 

So as time races past without a second glance,

The concepts crawl at a snail’s pace

And settle intact within the brain

 

But the overload makes them fall

And makes you wonder “when”

The textbooks developed gravity

Strong enough to call to your head

Repeatedly

The “why”, after all, is a foregone clause

 

And so, the murky black waters,

Flowing from your head, nod,

And with them

So do those auburn, brown and blonde

That may or may not be naturally-occurring

 

You ponder over this predictable sensation

Which initiates a fashion

Of incongruous oscillations

Until you nod off

 

And the world slips before your eyes

Into the cacophony that presides

Over a Grades-Giving day

 

Which bursts into a confetti of alphabet

Splattered with youthful abandon

Flicking at the heart piece lodged in your throat

 

But you swallow it back

And open your eyes, not to the sunrise,

But to a platter of incomprehensible formulae

And since this not a surprise,

 

You promptly roll your head off

The textbooks on the desk,

And shake off the remnants

Of a lousy nightmare

 

Throwing the desk-ware

Into the bag

You swing it around your shoulders

And walk to the next class

For time races past without a second glance

– Akanksha Gupta