Saturday, August 17, 2013

42

He wrote a poem for her
On a yellow, sepia toned page
With the quill of longing,
Dipped, in an ink-pot
Of pensive memories...

He watched her
Turn that page into
An origami boat,
As she set sail, forever, into oblivion
Leaving a trail of his words
In the water...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Oh, Beautiful Loss

So let's start with the obvious; let's start with something that is always at the back of my mind every time I think of you; let's start with something that defines the spaces between us. Let's start with words, for your silence has rendered me into a shapeless mass of muted despair...

We are approaching the moment of your departure from my life. Yes, that very moment that I once described as the reason for my reticence towards you, the reason why I had to put on a mask everyday to keep my smile in check. Oh the way you rebuked me for that! You shook me out of my delusions of self-inflicted misery and made me believe that the world is not out there to hurt me; that our words  can heal all the wounds and soothe the heart; and that there are colors beyond the blacks and the whites in which I used to paint my days. Ironic as it is, it is your silence now that makes me wonder if at all you yourself believed in what you said... 

I have spoken, in the past, so fondly of that dreamy pair of eyes that you have. When you used to look at me through them and smile at my stories, the world seemed different. There was hope, there was joy, and the blood in my veins would turn into caramel and honey; and my existence would elevate to the snow clad peaks of the Alps that I had seen and that had filled me with a satisfaction so sublime that only a Greek hero could have had on finding elysium. You defined beauty and loss; all at the same time... you were the bond that consummated the two and made me realize that two can exist in perfect symbiosis. When you looked me in the eye, you made loss beautiful for me... and now you yourself are the loss, while all beauty lies in a profligate waste...

I am not good with defining human bonds; perhaps because definitions are stringent and have borders. And if I put you, for who,  freedom stands above everything else, in a definition that would be telling you, that I don't know you at all. Yet, as you move farther away from me, I need a totem to remember you by. So I'll define what you mean to me, my dilemma notwithstanding- perhaps, you are the first thought that comes to my mind when I wake up every morning; perhaps you are the voice in the dark that comforts me; the friend in the night, who'd lend a ear, when all the world has turned its back on me. Perhaps, you are the love that I was never supposed to have; perhaps you are that chapter in the book that I'll write, that would never conclude. Perhaps, you are that poem, that I'll never conjure; the guitar that I could never learn to play... perhaps you are everything that made life bearable for a while... and then perhaps, you are nothing at all... 

A star turns into a supernova, lives change and we carry on with the burden of memories and unfinished stories... nonchalant in the bright of the day; secretly reminiscing and shedding that solitary warm tear, in the dead of the night; yearning for the day when the dark recesses of our oblivion will be lighted up once again with starlights and our paths will be laden once again with Sigur R√≥se...  

In between all of this, we learn to live with the silence of our words...

I can’t forgive you. Even if I could,
You wouldn’t pardon me for seeing through you.
And yet I cannot cure myself of love
For what I thought you were before I knew you. *
 
-------------------------------------------------------------xx------------------------------------------------------------------
*Defining The Problem by  Wendy Cope

Funny how a song can compel one to pen down words. John Frusciante and the Chili Peppers are magical in this live performance, by the way. This one has a soul stirring guitar play, and words that can make one cry....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Wind Has A Message For You

October came and went; and I didn't hear a word from you. I waited still, at my window everyday, just in that ever so persistent and persevering hope, that you'd reach out for me and call my name... I preened my ears, groped in the daylight and the dark; like an expectant father checked my watch, and adjusted my calendar, and kept my fingers crossed. Soon Winter will be upon us, and we will seek our comfort else where...

It's a strange world that I live in, you know - the one where I have to choose the optimum balance between holding on and letting go. I need both to live; I have placed you  somewhere in that no-man's land that divides reminiscence and oblivion; where my visits, however short, are frequent. Other people have other opinions; it seems that whereas I stood my ground, pivoted at the familiarity of this 'no man's land', the world around me had moved on. I still know my bearings; it's just that the place I expected myself to be at, is not what I thought it is.

I am not easily overwhelmed these days- there is a certain sense of fallibility that has crept slowly but surely at the back of my mind. The vicissitudes of life have somehow taken the sheen of invincibility that used to reflect in my words and deeds; who better than you to understand that; for you have seen me operate from close quarters, and if my memory serves me right, found your own reflection in my visage. I desired you not just from the heart, but from the head; for you consummated us by completing the answers I sought for. Now I don't bother myself with the questions at all...

There are days when my expressions are inhibited by the words that I know; probably because unlike dwelling in linear states of mind, I sometimes have an excursion in the sylvan paths of uncertainty, in this sweet ruin that I find myself. Strange are the days, and stranger are the nights- when I fail to define what exactly I feel, I am gripped by an apprehension that I am turning into this numb, callous and indifferent monster that would go through with most things in life with a casual shrug of the shoulder... where earlier, there used to be a sense of anger and regret, now there is just a mere acknowledgement of an undefined, undirected annoyance. "Oh well, what the hell..." just like McWatt does in CATCH-22 and crashes his plane to death... yes, exactly like that.

I am tired of fighting the battles that make no sense to me; the wins and the losses here are irrelevant... at the end of it all it's just another accomplishment that lasts a few seconds or a disappointment that rankles a little longer than any of the accomplishments. Everything here is temporary. I know not how to react...  I know only to reciprocate... in equal or greater measures. So don't come here looking for something that you yourself are not ready to accept and give. I'll always be the mirror showing you who you exactly are...

There is nothing that will stay here for posterity... except for these words... and I hope they keep your coffee warm whenever it snows wherever you are...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chop suey And Usually Just A Cup Of Coffee

Of late, I've had a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that I have missed out on something important; some wonderfully, fantastic opportunity that perhaps would have changed my life as I know it now. It should have happened, rather it was asking to happen, it was at the edge of precipitation from where events of tumultos and grandiose proportions would have followed; but somewhere, the banality of my everyday or just my overly cautious and apprehensive outlook towards most things that I come across, made me overlook it. I have no clue in what shape did it present itself in front of me... possibly a conversation that should have happened, that didn't happen; maybe a nod of the head and a simultaneous, conspiratorial blink of your eyes and mine, that got lost in translation... I'll never know; the moment is gone; and life has indeed become eerily easy...for you and for me.

I have known myself to often look back at events and choices in the hope of creating and recreating possibilities in my head and what their outcomes could be. However, while earlier it would often lead me to a certain degree of dissatisfaction, now I just amuse myself with the thought of what was and what might have been. Perspective is a wonderful accomplice as one tries to understand the equation of life- a variable here, a constant there, few logical interludes and maybe a few iterations of certain hard to learn lessons- all you then need is the vantage of perspective to explore the possibilities. It's a funny little exercise and I have at times been guilty of indulging in more than I actually should. Time has never been anyone's ally, and all I can think of is that in some overlapping corner of the many parallel universes, perhaps that very corner to which these fantastic improbabilities owe their provenance, somewhere there, a giant clock is ticking...  And it's that rhythm of the tick-tock that this throbbing, pulsating life resonates to, and to this rhythm I must always surrender. 

There are days when there is a certain consumate contentment in my aloofness and detachment with the world. Nothing to hold me down; no love, no longing, no happiness, no pathos, no expectations... I become neutral, sifar, null, zero. I am infinite and I am nothing, all at once. I can sit by the fountain in front of the National Museum in Oslo, and when evening comes, this wave of humanity can pass me by unobtrusively, I am invisible. I am nobody, just a face... like the one in Munch's much admired 'Scream'. In a glitzy nightclub, in the city of Stockholm, I can still hear my sacred silence; the beats go round and round and in a tangle of sweat and body, I become a part of something ritualistic as I let my primal side on the loose; I am the beat now, I am the sweat, I am Speed, I am Ecstasy, I am the high... In the by-lanes of The Red Light District of Amsterdam with its multiple whore houses, I imagine that I can try and break my soul;  put the pieces back together, and then metamorphose into someone new, s stranger to my own ideas and beliefs. But it's not a carnal sin that can break a soul, does it? 50 euros is too easy a deal, the soul deserves more than that. One needs tragedies, and maladies of unimaginable magnitude for that; and one must court misery as a muse... and maybe this tragedy, like that great opportunity, has already passed me... and all that's left of me within me is a residue that just can't be scraped off for now.

In all that I do, I tread the fine line between being earnest and becoming pathetic. On days, when this act is performed to the dot, I sleep soundly... on days when I fumble, I hope for the world to end...  Somehow, between all this balancing act, our stories will still remain the same - we are all survivors of heartache but still, victims of memory... and like Eloisa - I also beg not for forgiveness, but for forgetfulness...and just like Prufrock, you and I are measuring out our lives with coffee spoons while listening to the sounds of that big clock ticking away...

I owe you nothing... but you owe me my smile; the same that I used to point at you like a rifle... and the one that disarmed you... 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Untitled, Unfinished


                                                                          1.
He had been quiet; quiet for a long time now. No, not in the colloquial, general sense of the word 'quiet'- he spoke when spoken to, nodded when the laws of civility compelled, and sometimes he just got away with acknowledging those around him. Nobody noticed this 'quiet'; for them this was 'business as usual'; a routine they were accustomed to like morning joggers are to the yelps of the destitute, vagabond, hobo asking for attention. No, he was quiet... a desolate-Delhi-street-on-a-June-afternoon kind of quiet. A few murmurs to oneself, a half hearted hum of an old tune that would taper off, a few cuss words that would just touch his palate but didn't have the strength to parse through the lips... yes, that kind of quiet. Somewhere in his visceral conscious, he knew he was running out of stories... 
                                                                           2.
'What if...' he would think to himself often; extrapolating one possibility after another and then landing on the same co-ordinates after much deliberation and reflection... he had dissected himself enough with the shards of a few, now fading and blunt but once jagged and kaleidoscopic memories... no, it didn't even hurt now. 'Business as usual', he would tell himself and would drag himself along with each setting sun. Where did the stories go? Will he get back to them once this supposed 'phase' of self-mutilation ceases? Will there be endings- happy or sad or just plain disturbing; grotesque maybe? He didn't have answers now... he understood the questions though... in his own waking nightmares he had made peace with his inadequacy in finding the answers. No disgruntlement towards the web of ennui that Time had placed him in; as long as the spiders of self destruction do not make a chomping noise while gnawing at his insides, he knew his quiet won't be disturbed...

                                                                          3.
She had 'dreamy' eyes and a curious smile; and she had probing questions. She liked stories; the kind that he once used to tell. She would clap; he would tell some more. He'd push the borders of his limited imagination, dive-deep in the caves of his memories, and like corals and deep-sea gems and rubies and emeralds, bring out tales that made her eyes shine... and he'd live another day. 'What if...', he thought again and on some unfounded haywire belief of his, began writing his own story. Passion is not good for raconteurs, for it obscures the rationality and objectivity of the story-tellers, it rots their insides and churns in them slithery venom; and every story that comes out then, is a vile spit upon the face of the listener; now an object of the aforementioned Passion... he realized it all too late. 
Her face now bore caustic burns that his stories had left; her eyes no longer dreamy but sleepless. Her restrained, forced smile now was a constant reminder of fantastic possibilities; unspoken and unheard.
'What if he hadn't...', she wondered...  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ellipsis

The alarm made a mad sound as it announced the arrival of the destined hour. He groped around in his semi-awake state and put it to rest. Morning. Yes, like many others that have come and gone, another morning. He put on his glasses, his most reliable and consistant companion for the past 17 years. He moved with a surety in his room like that of an exhibit familiar with its surroundings in its glass enclosure, and switched on the lights. He came across to the window in his room and slowly parted the curtains - another morning; nothing poetic about it; the sun still rose in the east, the colors of the sky did not make him think of 'hope', 'despair' and the associated emotions that one might associate with them. A perfectly ordinary and normal morning. 'Poetry is not words and rhyme', he thought. 'It's a state of mind that requires a certain reconciliation with the self...'

As was his natural wont, he wandered meaninglessly to the kitchen and took out the pan from the utensils rack. He wasn't fully conscious of the sights and sounds around him, and it was his habit alone that made him get to the refrigerator and pull out the milk packet and move with practiced dexterity back into the kitchen without running into any of the doors and walls. He pulled out his favorite tea cup from the many drawers that were installed on one of the kitchen walls- plain, simple, mauve in color; nothing spectacular about the cup.  A friend made him buy it; one for herself as well, as a symbol of their kinship and association. Like all other such relics acquired over time, he gave it its due respect and made sure he involved it in his day. 'It's easier to deal with the inanimate than with the living. They at least have a certain consistency in their form and function...'  With that in his mind he filled the cup to two-thirds with water, and poured it in the pan and lit the gas. Fron the neatly arranged rows of steel and plastic containers lining the wall in front of him, he pulled out two- one green and one yellow- and proceded to add tea leaves and sugar; two and a half tea-spoons and three tea-spoons respectively. Precise, constant and just the way he knew it. He lowered the flame and let the mixture simmer in the pan. As his hands moved around, his mind was slowly awakening to realizations; and hopes; and dreams. Dreams, yes, like the one that he had had last night...
It made him think of these few lines in a poem he had come across recently

'Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad...' *


He was bad at recollecting dreams... as well as understanding poetry. But when brought in conjugation the two fulfilled a symbiotic purpose and made sense to him. A marriage that had his approval; and to his restless self held a promise of answering a few pertinent questions... years ago he had thought of maintaining a 'dream diary', inspired by the many around him in order to understand the supposed subliminal messages from the sub-conscious that dreams carried. But every time he was in a stationery store, he'd get put off by the supposed stereo-typical, psychedelic drawings on the cover page of those 'dream diaries... Poetry was different; and slightly more tangible to understand than dreams. These days, he agreed more with the modern style of poetry that at times abandoned rhyme and even metaphor and allegory. Metaphors and allegories can be tedious; they leave a lot to the reader's imagination and leave too much doubt around who or what is being spoken about. Ambiguity wasn't his best forte and he never thrived on it... unlike a few he had come to know; specially in the circles that he frequented. They used it as their shield in order to avoid letting the world know they were vulnerable. Still they talked of love and its ilk in a manner most befitting. It surprised him at first; this apparent, visible contradiction. But then acceptance would sneak in and he wouldn't bother himself much. 'To each, his own', he would tell himself.
   
Like this fellow intellectual who, once, while sitting passenger on the front seat had, asked him.

'So...how do you want your life to be like; let's say when you are fifty?'
'Not a good question to ask especially when you have a novice at the wheels', he had said
'Still...'

 He mumbled something to the effect that the question was slightly exasperating. She still persisted.

'Oh! I'd like to have the Nobel Prize for Literature by the time I turn 50', he finally declared.

No, he wasn't being dishonest to her; it was as honest as he could be. But then he had answered the question in a modicum of honesty she expected of him. And it was then he had realized how easy it had become for him to be honest to others on their scales. Honesty to oneself was an entirely different thing- he had posed the same question to himself several times that night. He was afraid of the answer he would find and like so many dreams and plans he abandoned the quest.  He found his sanatarium in hopes and not in plans or dreams. 'Plans are rigid; they allow little flexibility. Hopes on the other hand are sublime; and they allow an element of comfort even if they don't come through. Their intangibility is assuring; for you can never lose what you practically never had.', he mused, as he added milk to the boiling liquid in the pan. 

It was amusing at times to think how people were busy planning their lives; it made him think of this conversation he had had; long time ago it was...

'Have you ever wondered what kind of death you'd like to have?', she asked .
'Death? No, not really. Except maybe it shouldn't be a nameless, faceless death like that in a bomb explosion or a random car accident . Not much dignity in that... not like some poor animal who got run over by a car. Yes, just that.', he spoke with conviction.
'I'd like to be assassinated', she declared with a spark in her eye.

It didn't make sense then; but now it did. Death gives you a purpose with the certainty it brings with itself. You can't really plan a life, can you? But you can plan your life around your proposed death. Yes, now it made sense. Life has a purpose only because of the concreteness of death...He smiled at his own thought process. And all the curious memories that were flooding his conscious this morning. 'Nearly there', he said to himself as he brought the aromatic mixture in the pan to another boil. 

All these words; people who claimed were his well-wishers have told him to forget; what they don't realize is that the act of forgetting in itself encompasses the act of reminiscence - to forget means to remember what you want to forget and the fallacy of this vicious loop is perhaps the realization of an oblivion that each one of has at our disposal. Perhaps, to live, means to remember...

'But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep 
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:
I am living. I remember you
. ' **

He poured the tea through the strainer in his cup and put out the pan in the wash basin. As he sipped on his tea, he soothed himself in the comfort that he most certainly will forget everything he had thought about...

____________________________________xxxx___________________________________________


*   A Color Of the Sky by Tony Hoagland
** What The Living Do by Marie Howe 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hallelujah

October came this year, and with it, brought you back in my thoughts again. Its pink winter with soft sunrises and fragrant evenings, left you with me... and we talked; we talked in the only way we know how to. For once, the conversation wasn't marred by superfluous polite words that mark gratitude and apology... it was white; it was honest.

It's not with every other month, you see, that this happens. For some inexplicable reason, it's October that always brings you back to me. The other months come with their own nostalgia- January, for example, takes me to my home, back in the terai, where I am sitting under my quilt in the master bedroom;  watching  my father sip his scotch as he makes poignant comments about life in general. February takes me to that bus stop where I used to wait everyday for my school bus- a yellow sloth, rumbling its way, cutting across the thin fog, and in spite of the elements, being so precise with its timing. March and April come with colors- of parakeets, flora, and those butterflies, I keep telling you about. May and June are the seasons of the unrelenting sun, where the blossoming of a lily at the start of the week fills my heart with consummate pleasure; and so does its imminent demise at the end of the week. July and August drench my head with drops of rain and a musty scent rises up my nostrils, and I am transported inside those glazed glass buildings from where I watch the droplets trace their journey on the window panes. September is the month of longing and waiting as the rains say goodbye and winter sends a telegram that it'll be there soon. November is the season of pretty, where I watch, the world play 'hide and seek' with me; using the mist as a  perfect ally. December is the season of brewing coffee beans as their sweet smell pervades my kitchen and I stand with my cup, in my balcony, overlooking the city streets.
But it's October that brings you to me... always...

Do you think it could be because in the languid, mild afternoons of October, the sun shines with the same mysterious smile that you used to? Or is it those colorful clouds- white, grey, tangerine, clementine- that amble gently across the turf of this wide, clear blue sky you associate this month with and which resemble the silhouettes of your hair; the ones that you would playfully twirl in your fingers and make those watching you, wish for an after-life where they have a lifetime to do nothing but watch those beautiful locks in motion, flirting with the wind and teasing it with wanton abandon? Oh! Sheer poetry, I tell you! Neruda would have loved to write a couplet on them! Maybe there is no point looking for a reason; the more I'd search for one, the more distracted I'd become and October, with its 31 days, would pass me by... and I'd miss having that conversation with you. We can't afford that, can we? Time is of essence here, for we only have a lifetime which is just enough for all that we have to talk; I think...

'But what did we talk this time around?', you ask. 
'All those things that we always do, you know', I say. 
'Did we also grab a cuppa?', you ask, eyes expectant.
'Oh sure! We did. How can we talk, without one, eh?', I laugh as if dismissing the silliness of the question.
'Yes.. How can I even think that! So what else did Arthur do all this while?'
'Arthur learnt how to brew the perfect cup of tea. He also read music and created some of his own.'
'Hmmm... did he also write a song for me?', and I see that innocent smile on your face, like that of a child asking Santa for a cherished Christmas present.
I smile back and nod my head; you are reassured. Still you wonder at the back of your mind, how a muse-less me puts thoughts to words, words to music and music to life itself.... I wish I could explain how - for when emptiness becomes your mistress, the pen flows, on its own accord, with thoughts, words, music and thus, life...

One day, you see, I'll let you be, the way you've always wanted to; without conditions and without prejudices. I'll wash off the dust and the soot that you'd have accumulated, because of your wanderlust. No stains; as good as new. And you won't be tainted by all that you've seen; you'll start afresh. From that day, I won't have to wait for October; for when I'll let you be, I'll posses you in my hedonistic detachment; and you'd see the same sun, the same moon, the same stars, the same skies that I do. And everything which is inexplicable and random and variable will become constant, and maybe, perhaps, you'd know why October used to bring you back to me...

And that day, I'll sing that song I wrote for you; and feel oddly good about it..... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monochrome Rainbow

If I could remember how and when  it all started, it might just help me put the pieces together. But then again, my memory fails me these days;  not sure if it's age or simply that I have become careless with this closet that I carry in my skull. It's become this leaky bucket; things just don't stay put. And all that is there, just slips out slowly and something new comes and takes the place of all that has been displaced. I have realized that for all the 'exactness' that people attach with memory, it's actually very fluid. You can not attach a shape to it, can you? More often than not, it bends and twists and takes the shape you want it to.. and when that happens, it's not memory, is it? It's fiction; and in all that we reproduce from memory or claim to produce from memory is a work of imagination, aspirations and well, if I may venture to add, exclamations. Memory is like clay, you see- give it shape, let it bake for a while, color it, and then maybe preserve it; the possibilities are endless...

So now you understand my quandary, don't you? You see, for all those attributes that memory, alright, let's be specific, my memory has, it'd be difficult for me to recall and recount, exactly how and when it happened. It could have been that Monday morning, when I saw you for the first time, looking lost, squinting at the sun, too shy to approach a stranger, too proud to admit your ignorance.Or was it that rainy Friday in August, when you were looking out of the window, and perhaps wishing that they hadn't told you how dancing in the rain in your formal dress, is not an acceptable behavior. Oh, you were so disappointed... But that's the point; I'm not very sure about the precision of my own recollection.So what I write here can be a memoir, or it can be a story, I leave that to you to decide. For now, I'll just proceed and get on with things.

Of late, I have woken up to very cognizant mornings..I have stared out of the window in my room to clear white light and a feeling of floating in the dreams I have dreamed of, in the night gone by. I can always put names to all the people I come across in my dreams. I can even sense their presence in my room... very sublime, ethereal even. I can almost feel my lips moving to start a conversation with them, but something always stops me.. and it's at this moment that I think of you. Why? I don't know.. if I could explain myself to me, your reason for existence in my consciousness would be lost, no? So let's keep it that way, shall we? For all that is gossamer and ephemeral, I'll take you for granted and submit you to permanence. That's how I want it to be... it can not be any other way, you see.

I can not sing, I can not dance, I can not play any instrument. Talent-less, that's what I call myself and laugh it off. You laugh with me, when I do that. You are not didactic or preachy and you do not use 'should' in excess.... I can live with that. 'But you can listen... and you can observe', you tell me. 'And you can tell stories..', then you pause.. it's that moment when you see me staring at you.... you catch me red handed, and my gaze falls down from your face... still, I'm replaying the twitch of your lips as you spoke.. all in my head. I look up and I see you smiling..'And I like listening to your stories', you say, as I am mesmerized by the glaze of shining diamonds that only I can see at the corner of your eyes. 'All is well with the world', I think...

I want  a canvas and some colors and a paint brush. Let's turn all of this in a magnum opus, shall we? For when you are gone, I'd extract my quantum of solace by hanging this masterpiece in my bedroom and make critiques- Oh! I wish we'd have painted the butterflies purple and not orange... and  how the chateau should have had graffiti on its walls... and why the wine should have been of sanguine temperament... If only you could realize that as you detach yourself from the world that I dwell in, the colors somewhat fade away.. and I hope, that like me, you also realize that we can always add a few magnolia flowers near the window... and a few nebulous clouds wouldn't harm anyone, would they? And that adding a few sparrows against the sun stained horizon might just complete the picture..And oh! how about a rainbow- one  with an all-encompassing spectrum,  that makes you and I believe that the possibilities are endless....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweet Bile of Mine

Blink, blink; Blink, blink, blink, blink  
In the pitch darkness of the room, as his eyes groped for familiarity and consciousness, a sudden feeling of nausea gripped him. In one quick swishing motion, he jumped out of the bed and rushed towards the bathroom. A flick of his hands caught the switch and in the pale yellow light of the ceramic tiled room, he was already bending over the toilet pot, and regurgitating out all that was the evidence of the night just gone by...The whirring sound of the flush and his last few retches were the only sounds piercing the silence of the night. Head still in his haunches, he tried to compose himself. The dehydration and the shock of the whole exercise had left him completely drained of any thought and energy. He felt his head spinning; and with it the relative feeling of the entire room spiraling out. His grip on the frame of the seat tightened...silence ensued, the echoes of which resonated in his head....
With one giant effort that his body could somehow muster, he got off the floor. As his senses searched for balance, he fumbled; then regained his equilibrium and turned on the tap of the wash basin. Splash, splash; the cold water hit his face like sharp icicles; he looked at himself in the mirror- disheveled, sweat soaked hair; blood shot eyes, perhaps they still have the snapshots of what had happened a few hours ago. He did not have his shirt on; he was standing in his boxer shorts-this too was something that his reflection in the mirror made him realize. Even in this hour of physical distress, he couldn't help but marvel at his chiseled torso- the streamlined shoulder blades leading to the well built biceps and shapely triceps; the broad chest that he had inherited from his father which swelled even more  as he admired himself. He smiled at his vanity; "Bloody Narcissist", he thought to himself and splashed some more water on his face.
As he took out the towel from the rack, he noticed a long strand of hair sticking out of his neck.. "that's not mine", he thought and buried his face in the towel... until the gravity of the discovery was finally realized upon by his 'now-slowly-regaining-consciousness' brain. He rushed into the bed room and switched on the light.. there lay on the bed, wrapped in his favorite comforter, the woman,  to whom the strand of hair belonged to. With slow, careful steps he moved towards her... yes, there she lay, lying sideways, peacefully sleeping the night away, her bosom heaving lightly in periodic motion, as she breathed in and out. Her breath smelled of  alcohol; vodka he concluded. He never could fathom why women preferred vodka over other drinks- was it the transparent, inviting color that held its deceptive charm or was it that despite all the hoopla surrounding women's liberation, women still went by the conventional norms where vodka was still considered a woman's drink. "Not in Russia, though.Everybody drinks vodka in Russia, no?", he thought  as he peered over her body. It was beautiful, her face.. "Sharp features", thought he as he stared intently at her face, making mental notes about her thin lips and pierced nose, and her long hair and her slender neck.He caressed her forehead out of sheer impulse; the flashback of the night came swooping in to his head at that very moment- the party, the drinks, the dance floor, a few stealthy glances, some unspoken words, few more drinks, some more dancing, some more drinks, a wild car ride, a flight of stairs, a dark corridor leading to an array of apartments, a tussle of bodies and....
He tried hard to recall her name; "aarghh!", for once his memory failed him. Hell! he couldn't even recall the first letter of her name. "Alcohol! You bitch! Your wonders perplex and amaze me", thought he with a wry smile on his lips as she turned on her back emitting a soft whisper in the process. He reached for his pair of trousers that were lying in the mish-mash of clothes on the floor and pulled out his pack of cigarettes and his Zippo lighter. As he lit one and inhaled the smoke, he looked at her radiant face. "We are all accidents waiting to happen" he concluded at the serendipitous rendezvous as he hummed this Radiohead song...
He tapped the ash on the tip of his cigarette in the ash tray; he was fascinated by ashes in general- they were, to him the equivalent of ruins of buildings and monuments left to decay or destroyed by an invading force or decimated by some act of God. In that moment of deep, penetrative reflection he dawned upon the only truth that was left with him- in the holocaust of memories tonight, not even the ashes will remain.....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Between the extremities of hope and despair, lies a life, that goes on living... unnoticed. It remains confined to the four walls of a room; unobtrusive, silent and motionless. But alive..it resembles the faucet in your kitchen, the type, you know, which no matter how hard you try to turn off, always has a trickle of water dripping from it... not a jet of water; not a completely dried up nozzle.. but somewhere in between. Or maybe like the stillness of the leaves on the tree in front of your house that you see daily from your window in the cold winters... pale, lifeless, but still functional... This peculiar life is like an insomniac's sleep- just when he feels that he is drifting off into that blissful state of unawareness, his mind makes its presence felt... so near, and yet so far away. Insomnia is really weird, it's not that you don't sleep; your body does go to sleep, but your brain just doesn't... and it is this un-synchronized state that grips you and leaves you somewhere in between... just like this life which has found its restive equilibrium...between false dawns and lonely nights, it stays put in this room... it peers out of the solitary opening carved in the walls, the window I mean, beyond the curtains.. every morning, sometimes late at night. Not much changes though; not when you watch from this window. There is an inertia which seems to have stopped time.. the clock ticks away the seconds, minutes and hours everyday... the calendar marks the end of the month, flips over a page, moves over to another. but this view from the window stays static....dust accrues over the window sill, cobwebs grow in size, and this life keeps on living...Sometimes a pigeon comes over at the window.. its curiosity aroused by the strangeness of the room. It taps at the glass.. as if trying to say 'hello! Anybody home?".. No response... just a few incomprehensible murmurs... a rustle of the bed sheets... but no more than that. The pigeon flies away disappointed...

There is a fountain pen which lies on the table, uncapped. There is a blot of ink on the nib, as if inviting you to pick it up and pour out a story that will be grander than creation of this universe.. but alas! the ink in it has dried up... the story, thus remains untold...There in that very room, lives this life... between a newborn's first cry and a funeral march... between the vacuum of black holes and the fulfilling enlightenment of revelations... yes, in that very room... lives this life...unnoticed, unperturbed..

In one corner of the room, if you had looked hard enough, you would have noticed an army of ants moving in a beeline towards the window... stocking reserves, marking the onset of a seasonal change....
"Winter is coming", you would have concluded..
"It's time to hibernate", this life would have responded.....