I can't tell you


I cannot tell you
How to live
All I can tell
I have tried and failed
And that I was
The most alive
When I wasn't trying.
Like the eucalyptus tree
In front of my home
That has stood there
As years passed by.
He hadn't gone to adventures
He hadn't taken much risks
Except for standing there
And letting the wind move through
His many branches
He has let autumn take away his leaves
Like old clothes,
And winter frost water on his stems

He has seen summer and spring alike
Sisters of the earth blooming around
Him like gifts.
He has seen me
More often in my childhood
When I was carefree, and I cycled
Up and down the road
Flying the dust all over the place
And then looking back
To see his face, in the golden haze
And he was there, he was there, silent and strong
The eucalyptus tree that I feared
Would one day disappear, was there
Standing where he always stood, quietly.
I had tried climbing the eucalyptus tree once
Hugging all way through,
To pluck his dreamy leaves from the top,

But I had failed, and I had slid down
And I had cried, nestled near him
Wiping my wet-hands, that stayed on him
For a while like scars.

Many things have changed since then,
For one, I no longer cycle down that road,
I go by the eucalyptus tree less often
Because I left home for the big city,
Where dreams are like pollution and sawdust
Withering away with the changing winds
Dense and light as the fog.
He and I are now friends across borders,
With the distance of the place and time
Shoved between us like a shoulder
Mummy would send his picture sometimes
Taken from the window, from far
Like a long distant friend who send you postcards
On holidays when the blues stick like the mascara
Above your eyes, refusing to wash-off
And I see, that the eucalyptus tree,
He, too has leaned with time
He too has bent like the leaning tower of Pisa
Not because he was built this way
But because he chose to grow.
But what I have learned
In all these years
Looking at this eucalyptus tree
Just beyond my home
That it is okay to have lost a life
It is okay to live and not live
It is okay to never have tried
And failed, it is okay
To have waited forever
For love to come by your door
Like the leaves of the eucalyptus tree
That I was unable to pluck,
That never rustled by my home
Because the wind always carried

Them, towards an eternity.


Tushar Srivastava, graduated in English Literature from Delhi University, is doing his masters in the same. His recent work includes a novel The Tidings Far Away, a play That Someone At the Door, and poems in couple of  poetry anthologies.  Apart from writing and literature, he is keenly interested in cinema, photography and philosophy.

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