Santosh Bakaya presents a poem

Nothing Fake

It was a cold December day. 
Hand in cold hand they walked 
on the misty boulevard.
Frosty breath poured out from people’s mouths,
 like car exhaust.  

The trees watched, as the two walked, hands locked, 
tossing banalities at each other.  
The wind knocked around, 
while the Zabarwan hills in the distance smiled on. 

There was nothing fake about those smiles, 
although their hearts were made of 

 The boats cruised along merrily in the Dal Lake, 
brimming with happy revelers in shawls and fur lined coats. 
The boatman whistled a tune, 
exhausted after a rapid fire rhapsody 
about the beauty of Kashmir. 

Totally bewitched, the revelers sipped steaming, hot kehwa, 
exclaiming in delight, unadulterated.
  After an arduous hike, 
I was a few aches beyond bone tired, 
but fired by a zest unmatched. 

Some kids in the other shikara were squealing their lungs out, 
gushing about the lilies in the lake, 
and the fun they had catching trout.  
Latching on to those happy memories, 
I have often got up from sleep, my head in a muddle, 
then quickly drifted into a deep slumber again 
cuddling those memories, gold tinted- 
My shield against the assault  of hearts  made of