Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mystics of a night

It was an abandoned evening of stars, festivity and gloom. The entire city boomed outside in varying tones of luxury, comfort and necessity. But within where I was, there lay just silence. An eerie silence within the residential complex's road bereft of socializing people. There were just inanimate cars and bikes without an initiated life staring at me. I walked through the moody roads of the place, in eternal distance from thinking, just moving. The lights came up at a regular hiatus throwing it's cone of light through which I merged, between light and the darkness so strewn around, under the waning moon's light. Fresh air, was what I wanted, yet, suffocation was all I felt.

         I slowly made my way through the swiveling gates of the small park the society boasted about. A park that hardly held any light. The little enthusiastic cricketers have always found the lamp posts to be their favorite target, leaving just two sources living, still. The pleasure garden existed there, without any... just merely filling a position, so righteously belonging to another, leaving me to gape at the way I felt about it. Gloomy, dark and mysterious with a certain rhythm and an unknown happiness to it. Just the way I felt.

           I walked through the shifting transient footprints in the sand towards the two swings at the far end of the place. Swings, an object of illusion and reality. Something I could always closely relate to. It gives you the upsurging feeling of flying, legs not hitting the ground.. yet pushes you hard down, to reality and disappointments when you try to touch the sky. I sat on it, kicked the ground hard and under impact I swayed back and forth. I switched on the music on my player and retreated to solitary seclusion of me, my thoughts and a piece of mind. Nothing more.

    Songs played by as I danced to the tunes in my head.. twisting my head and smiling.. intricate dance grooves flowing through my nerves and soul. Seducing and reducing me... the jives on the swing left me gaping at the brilliance of the shining moon.. getting closer in high hopes of reaching the stars soon and then swaying right back into disenchantment.  Gazing around the empty park gave me a sense of reign over the small stretch of area. I played, basking in solitude.... until those kids trotted by.....

           Kids, Full of joy and enthusiasm. In raw forms.. without another quality sticking along with it. Joy meant just joy, anger meant only the same. The only persistent unrealized quality they held with all forms of their crude emotions unlike adults, was innocence. Children, bliss and ignorant..
They played, those four boys that I saw. Hardly aged between eight and twelve.. they were quite a catch to watch. They were just kids, boys.. playing and fooling around, thinking themselves to be the masters of the world they see. They replaced my silence with their shouts and noises. Shouts of joy.

       I watched them with intimate interest.. watching their 'manly' show-offs, which only went in vain.. with my smile. Me, smiling at their idiocies of ecstasy. Their laughs had such a tone that it set off the alarms within me to stop listening to anything around.. but just them and their babbles coated with nothing concealing their true sense. They went around and soon, ended up wrestling. Wrestling against each other.. pitting in their physical strengths and aiming for each others middle, in an unfamiliar idea of being a man. They kept me occupied, their silly fights.. until the fifth one trotted by. From behind me and the silky shadows of the night...

         My dangle, slow in its pace to talk to the breezing winds, while he caught it in total ease. He wrapped his slightly muscular arms around my waist as I squealed in  shock. Unable to see who it is, behind me.. and wrapped around in the warmth of his full hand sleeves rolled upto his arms.. I grew numb. Numb, until he came in front and revealed himself to me. My stranger boy he was. My man. He gave me a gleaming smile and turned up afront holding my hands. Him..
     He stood there, in the splendor of the existing golden moon as he moved closer. I wrapped my arms around his corsage of his being there, in total surrender.. as he embraced me, warming me up against all the chilly elements of the night, mind and body. A feeling of magic sprang up through me. I touched him to make sure he was there.. It felt like him and smelt like him. My eyes closed to the reality, I held on to him like a clinging child at her fathers arms. He ruffled through my untied hair.. lifted my chin up. I could look into the brown of his eyes.. the tight lines of his face.. that loosened into a smile. He kissed me on my forehead. It indeed, is him.

           Moving with increasing grace and elegance, he moved to sit by the swing beside me. He kicked his legs into the air moving, up and down.. Competing against each other, we flew high. Talking in soft sounds and curling laughter, he floated on the swing in extreme frivolity.. his laugh fighting through the overgrown locks of his silky hair, filling the air with his aura... This was some boy, I thought, against the shouts of our happiness and conversations so peaceful. Somehow, he left me with crude feelings. Of love, happiness, attraction and company, living individually, co-existing at that particular moment. He had this glint of a mischief monger every time he looked at me, it flashed like a sweeping lighthouse's diamond charms over a lost ship, on deserted waters. Like his did mine. The seducing charms he held, put me in a trance and like a cherry atop an exclusive dessert lay, his soft and gentle kisses on my neck.

    He aroused consciousness in me, as I listened to every word of his soothing talk, every grin of his childish victory and every adorable risqué line, in full knowledge of him being mine. These moments of flying, I don't know how it passed away into the past. I took it all in, without any stop or breach. I was left just looking at seamless form and smile.
     Suddenly, the swing that held him so long swung empty, without a physical presence.It traveled wildly in the air, from the speedy jump into the sands. I turned around to to detect a trace of his disappearance searching around the place with a feeling of frantic loss. Tears flowed without a reason, to find him missing, to think he had deserted me.. It was  probably the blurred vision through wet eyes that missed him. I saw him, a moment later, run towards the company of wrestling brats.. He beamed at them, with a grin so large, as much as his lips could ever take. The smile that broke my heart into a hundred thousand liberated pieces. He ran, fighting with the sand beneath his feet and the ones that got into his shoes. I watched him, still in tears, but with a slight hint of smile as he joined the boys in their fleeting moments of being a man. He was there with those kids, as one.

       He turned around to give me one of his ravishing smiles of victory over one of the kids. I could see, from where I was that he saw my tears. His victory vanished and he ran towards me. Catching his breath, he reached me, to give me a big sweaty hug, in question and reassurance. His smell filled me, the familiar smell of his cologne.. He met my lips with his in full askance for my momentary suspicion of his trust.. I hung on to him, unable to speak, but only to feel.. to feel what he sent across to me. Palpating his trust, love and affection. I sensed his presence.. His lips said he'll be there with me, for ever and ever. In a rapid movement, he broke off the kiss, turning around to push my swing to reach the skies. To such astronomical heights that I grew rather dizzy and had to close my eyes and clutch the chains that binded me to where I was, to keep myself from falling. I hung there, in mid-air, from above a structure so simple, yet, creating sensations so intricate and unexplainable.

    Suddenly the shouts ceased. I opened my eyes to see the boys running around and chasing each other out of the park. I turned around and he wasn't there with me. I looked up and saw a dark shadow run with the kids.. I strained my eyes to see him go, but couldn't get past the silhouette .
        Once again, the music flowed through my so-long-deaf ears. The park shouted silence and darkness. My heart was reassured. My lips were thawed. The silence spoke and I felt alive.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Endless Apology

The sun had just risen above the horizon,
revealing all the darkness surrounding the spherical mass..
The bare legs beneath the tanned body, emerged from the scarce opening, wizened..
from a thatch set upon the sweeping golden sands.
The streaks of nature's canvas mixed against the palette,
spread across the vast sky, throwing its frenzied hues to hit his face,
as he made his way through shifting sands under his feet, his armlet
reflecting colours given forth, reaching his boat, in a quickening pace..
At the shore stood the brave withstander of the storming seas
and the sedated blues and breezy pushes.
He looked at his highest command, in a clear seize
of his own clothing, he wiped her hard to sparkling blushes.
Standing back looking at her in all respect and love,
before getting into what always held him to his life..
He lapped the heavy wooden oars to talk to the skies above
and the waters below, like intimate moments of kisses on the cheeks of one's wife..
Rowing his way through the blue holder, he set about,
speaking to himself and his carrier, like meeting an old friend everyday..
The muscles of his old arms flexed the labored oars, in and out
with sweat tricking down his brow, looking at the passing bay.
For much of the next running hours, he sailed in his expert routine,
with only wistful sighs and pitying soft escapes of laughter..
until he reached the deep waters of the sea so clean,
where he could reach what he is after!
All that lay in his sight was the converging blue of the ocean
and the scattered gold floating, thrown from the sky in all its brightness
He stood up the startling his holder, in all devotion,
to drop the anchor and face the merge, with an floating feel of lightness.
He reached for the folds of his lungi dragging it down to his feet
and bending to gather some of the fleeting gold and blues of the marine..
He lifted it to his forehead as it dripped down his worn out chest, cutting the rising heat,
standing out like diamonds embedded in the soil of the earth, yet just saline.
He said forth, what had been travelling from his vocal cords and heart,
an unknown act, for years of facing the union of the seas and skies..

"Oh Mother!
I hate to do this to you and your brood, to break you apart..
But I am bound, and all I have to offer are soothing lies
to the captured, only soft words to hear as they die..
I'm here killing my own brothers and sisters, oh, I'm cruel I do know,
But what lies within me are only the sighs,
of my everyday treachery, for it now doesn't rest in my blood but flows!
You give me yourself everyday, and all I have to give you in return is my gratitude,
which isn't enough for a sinner, yet, I cant offer you more..
I can only beg your forgiveness, for I hold no other aptitude,
I can't return elsewhere, there is nowhere else to go. I'm only, but sore.
Forgive me my mother, for the lives I separate from you..
Forgive me, for the life I lead, in your unhappiness,a helpless accrue."

The water dripped off through the emptiness in the hands and his eyes so moist..
He lifted his leg backward, deftly catching the end of his cloth..
Bending down in rhythmic fashion, in expertise, so joist,
pulling out blue nets to fool his catch, to meet the school of travelling trots..
In a flash went his hands up in the air, slashing the waters a moment later,
cutting through the bottomless blues, bereft of a single ripple for long,
He sat down at the very edge, like a guilty traitor..
Calling out in the drowning delinquency so ironic, singing his morning song...


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Lady at my Table

Canteen, that's where I spent most of my time. Not to eat, but to feel at peace. To feel happy and satisfied like everyone else, there.. to escape from the clutches of the classrooms, studios and teachers who look through their spectacles with such suspicion that you could fall from your stool searching for your fallen pencil.. it's like they push you from there. Early before a session starts and sometimes after a good sleep in the last row... that's where I head to. The college canteen.
                     It's a great place. The canteen. With a small atrium shaking hands with the light, it sort of illuminates my day. Collegemates and classmates sitting around in groups, fighting for their spoon of pasta, the weary canteen boy who is ever in demand, the lovers who always chose to stand under the atrium, banking their weights on the high table, ever smiling and looking into each others eyes ( Holy god only knows what they ever mean by "we talk through our eyes..!"), the best friends who always take a happy stand either shrieking or consoling one another and a few like me. Secluded from the fake appearances and gestures of socialization. It's not that I don't get along with people, only people don't get along with me.  

                There is a table I sit at everyday, which forever creaks under my increasing weight.. A table which many fail to see. At the farthest end of the spacious, exposed brick structure. There it stands, a table.. A chair where I sit and another opposite to me. To one side, I get to see the entire canteen's chaotic capabilities in food, love, friendship and gang wars.. and to the other, there lies a green spread of lawn, sprouting colorful flowers and hiding the existence of a dog and her family of three pups.. Sunlight hits me, not too much, not too shaded either, just the way I like it. With an olive drab shade to the half-hanging bamboo curtain and a few colourful posters, there was nothing that people I saw, found interesting. Just a table and two old chairs. Creaky and lonely, just like me.
             That day, I was sitting at my regular, sipping my cup of hot tea along with a book.. I usually read, not because it gives me joy, but because, I don't know what else to do. It is escapade into another world where you are concerned about the character, not yourself.. where you're worried about what is going to happen to him or her, that, there is a momentary loss in the anxieties of your own. It is just a hot cup of tea, a book and yourself, in silence, not from outside, but from inside. Infact, I hear nothing. I feel it isn't worth my time.. to stop looking away from the changing worlds.. I grew deaf to it all. It didn't make me look up.. all those commotions of a birthday party, the cries of the "hot" girls of college, the stupid supposed-to-be-humorous comments of the silly boys, a screaming canteen owner, the sizzling sounds of cooking food and beeping ovens through the open kitchen door... I grew immune to it all. In a way, it told me things were normal. It meant people were at their usual, getting more and more stupid and less logical. Something inside me always said, this, was not what I wanted to hear. Something else it is, but just not this. Not the panic that I hear in their shouts, not the insecure feeling I sense.. Something else, it said inside me, whatever it is, inside me. 
               I pored over the book in eternal silence. I read on and on.. until his image struck me. He often did intrude into my happy world, making me feel miserable and useless. He is the boy I like. He is the boy who makes my head swerve in his direction as he walks by. He is my friend and no more than that, yet, my fistful beat my head in this. He is the reason for a lot of my smiles, silent sobs at night and the feeling of emptiness way down till my stomach. Emptiness, as heavy as void probably shouldn't be.. and so I moved around slowly. Beyond all my changing characters, he remained as a constant one. Ever to swift too take over my thoughts, too cute for me to look away and a baby for me to adore. He was all in one. My friend, my baby and my "in-dreams" love of life. There are so many questions in life that I didn't know the answers for. But the one that drove me crazy was this. "So, I do like him.. But does he?" I usually didnt know what to do at times like these. One of my good friends usually said," Yes, you like him. It wasn't a voluntary act that you started liking him.. and it cant be one.. the way you're trying, trying to get him out of your mind. It won't happen.. Let it be, cherish the moment. You may not like him in some time from now.. enjoy the magical feeling until it lasts. " A few other of my good friends want me to tell him! Tell him that I like him! It is going to be something I'll never do in my life, I tell them, everytime that they grew tired of me talking to them about him. They wanted to put an end to the grumbling. I wanted a new beginning.

                   It was one of my "him-struck" times. I was unable to read nor joke around with my friends from the studio.. I sat at 'my' table and stared out at Sasha(that's what I named her!) and her puppies play in eternal jubilation. Lost in thoughts, I came back to earth when I realized my cup of tea has reached its end.. My heart in his thoughts, battling with my mind led me towards a storming headache. I got up, reached for another cup of tea.. The canteen boy, ever too friendly with me, served me first.. Holding the hot paper cup between my thumb and middle finger, I made my way back to my seat. The hot liquid of soothing brown entity had all my concentration, that only after I reached my table and set down the cup of tea, did I realize that there was someone else sitting there.

                 It was a woman of forty-five probably. Her hair was drawn back into a pony tail, just a little longer than mine with her. She wore a purple Kurti and jeans, brandishing a huge black handbag. She was talking over the phone with someone..
"Yeah yeah! I'm right here. Oh, okay. Take your own time! yup.. bye sweetheart."

                   Sweetheart? Who was on the phone? Her child or her husband ? Whoever she is, all that I was concerned was the fact that I had to share a place that I considered only mine. "Damn!",I said over and over again, under my breath,  drinking my cup of tea in extreme interest so that I didn't have to make eye contact with her. Until I heard her speak...

   "Hi! could you please tell me where to get a cup of tea?", she asked.

Wow, here was a lady sitting in the canteen and asking me where we can order a cup of tea. What do I seem like to her? "Over there", I said, politely pointing to the counter.
   She smiled. She had a pretty smile, I have to admit. She got up for helping herself with one of the best tea in the world. The one that my canteen sold. She left her handbag on the table and looked at me... " Could I please leave this here? I'll just go and get my tea and back?" Great, now I was her caretaker as well?
I nodded and she left.
     Moments passed before she came back... She was clutching her tea the way I held mine.. in my left hand, gathering all the heat I could, before letting my mouth relish its taste. She sat down and smiled at me. Again. Bham. Her smile, for some reason let me loose all my feelings of distaste for her. I just smiled for a reply.

"Thank you, my dear!", she said.
"My pleasure, aunty!"
"You know, that word keeps reminding me of my age.?"

I was taken aback. I was lost in thoughts of his smile...and hers. they seemed so alike. I didn't expect her to continue a conversation. Well, now that she did, I had to, too. But whatever did she expect me to call her? Dude or something?

"Err.. I'm so sorry. I didnt mean to offend you."
"Aw, knock it my dear. It is my age isn't it..? Just that after coming here and seeing the kids here and all.. I was reminded of my college days. Must be fun for you right? College and all?"

   She seemed nice. Probably I was in too much of a foul mood to have surpassed the goodness of the lady. I smiled... and our conversation struck.

 "Yes, college is indeed nice. Though there are ups and downs.. exams, fights, broken hearts... it's still a place I head to with immense attachment."

"Hmmm..", she replied sipping her cup of tea with an extreme sense of pleasure shining on her face. She paused to look at me, and spoke.. Her voice was probably the "something". I'm surely not immune to it. Just like his voice, that I'd turn to.

".... Broken hearts.. Yes.. You have your heart in pieces, do you, my dear?"

She was wading into deep waters of my personal feelings. Angry as I should have got, I felt nothing. In her presence, for some reason, I felt calm and tranquilized. Like a sedated animal listening to her every word. Her smile had captivated me.

"No," I replied. "Not yet."
" Not yet eh? It is an interesting answer." she casually lifted her cup of tea to her mouth and had it in silence.. only for a moment though.. ".. yes, so, are you in love?"

   I was shocked, not because she had thrown at me, a query so private but because I didn't know the answer myself. I knew I had been evading this question for a very long time, to my own friends, to my diary and to myself. I was scared to make or reach a decision... Decision meant confirmation and acknowledgment. No, I wasn't ready for that yet. Though I had been wanting to talk to someone about it, for a very long time, I didn't, in fear. So, now that she has asked me, do I tell her? Anyway I don't know her, she wouldn't go talking about it behind my back.. so, should I tell her or not?

     Her silky voice cut through my thoughts. I looked up to see her looking at me with concern. Her eyes sparkled behind her specs with an unknown intimacy. "Did I say something wrong my dear? I'm really sorry if I did. You don't have to answer me you know..". she trailed but in a firm voice.

  "No," I said, "You haven't said anything wrong. It's just that I don't know what to say, because I myself don't know the answer."

"Well, then you must find out."

I looked at her. Yes, she was right afterall. I must find out, but how.?

"I see confusion in your eyes.. You don't know what to do. Am I right?"

Bloody right I thought. Of course, I don't know what to do.

"You're right aunty.. I don't know what to do. I like a guy who is my friend.. I don't know if he likes me back."

"Did you take any efforts to find out out?"


She sighed.

"My dear, if you don't let him know, how do you expect a reply? Answers are given after a question is asked. Statements that you might want, you'll receive only if you initiate the conversation on the terms you want it to go. Why don't you just give it a shot? What sort of a boy is he, anyway?"

   A smile reached my lips. What sort of boy is he? Now, how do I explain that?

"He is a cute guy. A guy who is genuine, who likes me as a friend. He is the type of person who makes others laugh. But he is also the popular one. With totally different tastes from mine. Our beliefs aren't the same."

"Do you think that is reason enough, to not tell him? I think you should tell him. As soon as possible. Probably today."

"I dont think it would ever happen. If I told him and he refuses, I wouldn't be able to bear that pain."

"Well, if you don't tell him at all, it'll swell and burst. Much worse than what this can do to you."

“But, I’m scared aunty.. I don’t know how to face him.”

 "Listen to me my dear, were you ever afraid to talk to him as a friend? Did you think twice when you ruffled his hair, when you thought of him as a friend?"

"Err.. no, I didn't. That was different. This feeling is different."

"No, it's all the same. It is friendship that you're gonna take on to a higher level. Take it from me, I can assure you this much. All you have to do is to go tell him.."

    Now, who was this lady who made me listen to her with such intensity.. What lies in her voice that makes me listen to her, I don't know. Who was she anyway? I collected myself back from my thoughts and spoke to the woman in front of me. The one who seemed to know what she spoke. The one who spoke from her heart. 

  "O.K.. let's look at it this way... I walk up to him, tell him that I love him. What if he says he doesn't love me?"

"Oh, let's look at it this way.. You walk up to him and tell him that you love him... And he says.. Damn, I've been wanting to say the same thing to you for a very long time? "

"This isn't an answer, is it? You just asked me a question back."

"Well, sometimes, questions raise questions. When one is answered, the other automatically answers itself. More like your design, I would say.."

"But.. Aunty, I really don't know what I should do. He lives in every page of my diary, he comes in my dreams, I feel comfortable around him.. I feel like I can act as crazy as a monkey and still not care..because he is one too... He is not like me though, he doesn't read, doesn't really believe in God.. But I somehow have this gut feeling that he is meant to be with me.. but I really dont know how to tell him this."

"What if he is struggling with the same problem?"

""Hmm.. I dont know about it, right?"

"Precisely why I am asking you to go tell him. Think my little girl, when you grow up and turn around looking at all the things that you haven't had the guts to face, you' ll want to face it again.. But then, you might not have the age or youth for it. Some things and people you lose now, you'll never be able to retrieve again!"

"But what if my stakes are high?"

"What would happen if you told him my dear? He'll stop talking to you? If he does so, you are better off without the guy.. and if he says he likes you too.. well and good for you don't you think? And if he refuses and remains the same with you, atleast you are cleared of the confusion in your head, aren't you?"

"Hmm.. you make sense."

"Yes, I do. And it would do you good to listen to me.. oh oh.. why in the world are you looking so drained..? wo... why are you ducking now?" 

"Aww.. Aunty, there he is." Damn, why did I let that slip now? 

Indeed, he had come inside at the wrong time. The bugger, I hadn't seen him for a week now. Heard he wasn't feeling well or something. And he turns up now.. with a charismatic woman next to me, asking me to tell him how I feel about him. Lovely timing indeed.
The ever too eager Aunty wanted to catch a glimpse of my favorite boy. She swerved around to see a hoard of young men standing there... 

"Who is it, my dear lady?",she asked. 

I had given my tongue away. No other choice, I had, but to tell her. 

"That boy there.. in the blue shirt with stripes.. OH oh! He saw me.. Crap!"

Indeed, he was heading to our table. I waved and he waved right back with a broad smile. Oh my god... THAT smile.

"Hi, how are you?", he asked, looking at me. 

"Ha, seems like I should be asking you that. How are you feeling man?"

"Well, you can see me now", he said, outstretching his arms, in  order to offer me a total view of his fit state..."Do I look anywhere near being diseased?"

I couldn't help but smile. "No, you dont."

"Well, so who do we have here?", he asked, looking at my guide for the morning, probably, the rest of my life. They both shared a smile. She looked at him and nodded. The lady in the purple kurti got up giving her seat to my boy. Now, now.. what was happening..? This fellow was beaming too. 

"Oh, I should be off now my dear... And my boy, I'll leave the car here, drive back home soon. Take care..", she exclaimed as she dropped the car keys on the old table. 
       She looked at the still surprised me, smiled and said, "You have things to tell my dear, and let me assure you it will all turn out well. Trust me." She winked and turned around and walked towards the exit door, her high pony swinging in the air, in total confidence of its place in air. Now, that is a woman, I say. 

 "Well, you've seen her.. and I'm still here you know?" He was looking at me through his overgrown locks of hair. He had been looking at me.
Wow, so, how long have I been staring at her? 

  "Ah, ha, I'm sorry. And.. Er.. hey! I have something to tell you."

"Wow, so, do I."

"And something to ask...", I added. "You know her?" I asked, pointing at the exiting woman. 

He smiled. 

"Yes", he said... "She is my mum." 

The lady in the purple kurti turned, looked at me and smiled. I looked from her son to her.. Damn, the same smile. She winked again and left.

I laughed. I knew what I had to tell him.

~ Hemu