It’s True My Friend

It’s true my friend, the only love is the one
Which gets love in return.
Everything else is useless, my friend
That hand which clasps another hand
How lucky this hand is!
What of destinations, what of separations
If there is a partner by your side
Whose value is thus multiplied..
This is the one who rules your heart

The earth spins, so does the sky
Having become intoxicated with your love
May your happinesses bloom
May the garden of your heart remain fragrant
May life give you such eternal springtime

This is the call of the heart, my friend
I used to hear how this life
Is just a carnival of joy and sorrow
But I was able to see
That life really was a game
Where some win all, some lose all
Mine, though, is just a tale of having lost all, my friend

* English translation of the poignant Hindi song, Sach Mere Yaar Hai

I’ m loving all the metaphors and similes in these Hindi songs. I wish I can write like that. Sigh.

when I saw this girl

when I saw this girl, she seemed to me like…

like a blooming rose;
like a poet’s dream;
like a glowing ray of light;
like a deer in the forest;
like a moonlit night;
like a soft word;
like a candle burning in the temple.

when I saw this girl, she seemed to me like…

like the beauty of the morning;
like winter sunshine
like a note from the lute;
like the essence of all color;
like a twisting vine;
like the play of waves;
like a cool scented wind.

when I saw this girl, she seemed to me like…

like a dancing feather;
like a silken thread;
like a fairy melody;
like the fire of sandalwood;
like the sixteen (traditional) ornaments of beauty;
like a refreshing mist;
like a slowly growing feeling of intoxication.

* english translation of the charming Hindi song, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga

I Did Not Understand

I did not understand
Such a simple thing
Dreams are of glass
The World of stone

I did not understand such a simple thing
When i desired then i found
Light brought with it shadows too
shadows were deep
Light was dim

I did not understand
Such a simple thing
Dreams are of glass
The World of stone

Just destruction, just loneliness
Where has life brought me
Lost is the pathway to my destination

I did not understand
Such a simple thing
Dreams are of glass
The World of stone

What can one sell, what can one distribute
There is nothing else but thorns in my arms
And will hurt just the flowers

I did not understand
Such a simple thing
Dreams are of glass
The World of stone

* This is the english translation of the beautiful Hindi song ‘ Hum Na Samjhe The by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam

A Bus Is A Time Machine


In Manila I got on the bus
Bound for Batangas
And I felt I travelled back in time
As the driver played songs
20 year older than I was
when I was fourteen

Where Katy Perry nor Gotye
Has not hit the billboard charts yet

Sceneries framed by the window almost unchanged
Similar to the landscape I passed by
Over and over for more than ten years
Scored by slow rock melody
Looping continuously

I took a peek at the driver
And concluded he was not more
Than five years older than I

He must have been a young man
Who sat in this same bus as I did
Lullabied by the husky baritone of Jim Morrison
To his destination

Out of nostalgia he plays the same songs
And through the succeeding generations
It loops on and on

-Jofelyn M Khapra

Temporary Insanity: Justine’s Love Affair With Literature

When you think of yourself as character in a film or in a book how do you cast yourself in the story of your life? Are you the hero? The side kick or the villain? As long as I could remember I have always carried on an aura of a tragic anti hero bent on sabotaging herself until she drinks herself to death or something. Liam provided a climax for my story. Her mother putting the tip of a knife in her throat became the final straw to my then disintegrating life. Spiraling me down to that bottomless abyss where I plunged endlessly into the darkness.

Is the tendency to lean towards a melancholic existence part of my genetic inheritance or is it the kind of books I read which influenced my maudlin moods and disposition? My mother was a reticent woman but not pessimistic. She was a pragmatic woman who cared more about how to survive this life with dignity than indulge in romantic musings about life. I didn’t know my father so I have no way of knowing what the other half of my DNA might be like.

So I blame books. The tales of suffering and tragedies found in those wonderful novels filled my young mind with a skewed perception of life too early. My mother was an English literature teacher and it was her book of poems and short stories which lured me into the seductive and bittersweet world of literature. It started on that fateful day when I had grown tall enough able to reach the high shelf where those precious books were kept.

I opened a page and my life was never the same again. Neglected were my picture books. My Hardy Boys paper backs, even my Nancy Drews. As soon I had read these following verses there was no turning back.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach,

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height and my soul can reach! My God. I thought. To be so passionately in love! This was how I wanted to feel and nothing less. And I didn’t stop there. Being deeply in love was not enough it had to unrequited too. Nothing less than what Cathy and Heathcliff suffered in Wuthering Heights. I also fantasized of being magnanimous on my time of death and this would be the poem I would have send my lover as a farewell:

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

So you see early on I was set to screw my life.

Copyright 2013 JMKhapra

Poem 1 by Elizabeth Browning
How Do I Love Thee

Poem 2 by Christina Georgina Rossetti
When I am Dead, My Dearest

Might Be Time To Park My Pen

Each time I attempt to write a tale
A paralyzingly doubt comes over me
Are there more stories to tell
Why would anyone want to hear it from me

I lay awake at night
Thoughts chasing each other
Reviewing what I have written so far
All of them rubbish
not worth anybody’s time

There is one half written novel
Of two friends cruel to each other
In my mind I reviewed the first chapter
And cringed at the sentimentality
Soaking the first paragraph

The male protagonist’s characterization is so wrong
For a reticent man why did I make him squeeze
The heroine’s arm every so often?

And why did Abigail, the narrator of the story
Sounds like a walking Wikipedia
Every time she offers an information
About a place with historical significance?

What is even the point I was trying to make
With this coming of age story?
That even the smartest man will always
Pick a pretty face over an intelligent mind?

If I really think about it
That is not always true
Though not short of suitors
It can also be difficult for a pretty girl
To find a love that is true

Either I re write the whole damned thing
Or it is ending in the bin

Sometimes I Get Lost in The Darkness And The Mist

I wake as I often do
My limbs lifeless on the bed
Everything in grayish hue
I search my mind
Where are you

I see a different face
Of someone in the past
Oh no, a muted gasp
It cannot be
Not you

A panic rises in my heart
No, no, no
I do not want to be married to you
Get away from me

Sweating and trembling
I force my eyelids open
Relief floods my being
Hearing his even breathing

I reach out just to be sure
I touch his face
And I feel grateful
There you are
I am married to you


A Borrowed Memory

Sometimes memories tease me
In the recess of my mind
I see faces I do not recognize
And landscapes where I have not been
And series of events not from my life

A feeling of sadness swirls in my heart
A remembered pain which is not mine
I pause in wonder as I recognize
I lived a thousand lives in thousand places
In between the pages of a book



Letting The Mind Rest When It Is Due

The mind was in overdrive, now depleted, words lost their meanings and would not string together to make sense.

Staring blankly at the pristine screen deciding against smearing it with inanity.

Letting the mind rest for now, renewing and soothed by nature’s refreshing dew.

Shutting it off momentarily letting the heart take the lead, letting the limbs dance.

Being dumb and carefree for a while perhaps there will be plenty of things to write about after that.