Monday, March 26, 2012

I thought you'd never come

"She doesn't like that word." I explain hurriedly to the bewildered man.

She is still standing there, breathing fast, the rage has subsided, giving way to tears. I still remember the first time I saw this happen. The first time I saw those eyes that seemed unaware of the stream flowing out of them, the nothingness in them had struck me as something completely unknown. In that moment, she was never the woman whose soul I had made my own in the village church, whose eyes I had drunk to and then broken the glass.

She is still holding the broken glass in her hand. I take it from her and keep it on the bar. My instinct is to hold her in my arms, but I know she doesn't need that. I hold her hand and take her away. She lets me lead her through the rows of uncomfortable, sarcastic and sympathetic glances like an obedient child. Her eyes are still elsewhere. She is not yet my wife, someone I can hug and stroke on the head and assure that everything will be ok. Even when she is back to being that person though, I can not tell her that with much conviction. Not anymore.

She has been sleeping for hours now. I like it when she sleeps, but it makes me feel guilty. I like her sleeping because it is a relief, because she sleeps for the most part of the day, even though the doctors say it might not be good for her. I don't think she knows it now when she is awake. I mean, I don't know if she is able to differentiate anymore. Sometimes, she picks up a conversation we had when we were young and met surreptitiously amidst the rye in the fields, and she continues it. I treasure that. Although I shouldn't. I am supposed to discourage that. But those are the only moments when I have her back. She looks at me as though she knows me as that boy I once was. I almost want to climb into her dreams and stay there. In the rye field. As two pairs of eyes that laughed and dreamed.

She is awake now, and shivering. The moonlight shines on her bare back. Her thick hair flies slightly in the soft breeze as she looks at something imaginary on the tree outside the window. I touch her spine warily. She turns and looks at me. Her eyes smile a soft smile. I had almost forgotten that soft dimple.

"I thought you'd never come." she says, gleaming.

I smile back. I don't know what she means. Or may be, I do.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


For my brother :)

I don't know if you remember, you talked of silly things. You told me once that the universe records every sound that is ever made, and that some day, it will play it all, at once. I took note and decided to watch what I speak, so when the playback happens, I am not ashamed. That theory seemed so believable, I would keep wondering how all these different sounds from different places in different languages would be distinguishable when they are played together, and I would end up explaining to myself that the universe would not make an effort so futile and that it would make sure to make us hear only what made sense to us.

I believed you, because for a long part of my childhood, I did not know where I ended and you started. You said silly things that always made so much sense. Why, for example, would I doubt that pencil shavings kept in milk and frozen would turn into rubber? It was all so clever, freezing would solidify the milk, and the milk would obviously explain the white colour of the erasers we used. So, when Shilpi's mom found out about that experiment I did with her and laughed, I still explained to her that we probably added too much milk, or didn't allow the freezing to happen long enough. 

You talked of the universe one moment, and pencil shavings the next. But you always tried to explain. To ask questions and have answers. Sometimes, I wonder, what you did in those evenings when I sewed garlands with those wild yellow and pink flowers in the garden, because you were never around. Perhaps that is when you observed the earthworms, and took my curiosity to the highest peaks later when you spoke about the cycle of the universe, about how, there is a bit of the earthworm in us, and a bit of us in the earthworm. 

I remember watching the ants with you in the verandah; we would try to distrupt their line, and observe how they struggled to find their way. Sometimes, we would blow an ant off its path, and that would sadden me, because I thought it impossible that the ant would find its way back to its family, considering its size, and considering that the displacement would probably be like another end of the city for it.

We cared about ants then. And about pencil shavings and the one-ness of the universe. Together, we had deciphered everything they tried to teach us in textbooks all our lives. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Let me write it down and put it in words. Because that will solemnize it. It will make it sacrosanct, until I touch it again and violate it, only to make it more surreal. Isn't that what words do? They immortalize things, places, people, smells, laughters, the ochre of an ordinary evening, the emptiness of the heart, pride, prejudice(I have to use these two together), and love. I've known the deepest form of love ever since I was a kid. Of course, we all do, you'd say. But I am talking about that passionate love, that hungry, fervent love that most people know in their teenage or adulthood. But I knew it. Ever since I wrote that first rhyme. Ever since I read those first poems that rhymed so beautifully, they made my heart flutter. I would always perfect the way I held the pen, the way I curled up the alphabets. I have had so many different handwritings till I settled for the classic cursive one that I have now. It defines me. Yes it does. In the roundness of that a, in the curve of the f, the swirl of the t, I slip in a little bit of me. I haven't been much of a reader till very late, and I have always been conscious that it shows in my writing. But I have been a writer, always. Ever since I had ideas, I wrote. And to write, I had ideas. I've always had ideas.

I am a bit of a hypocrite, in the sense that I hate when someone messes up with grammar. But I take all possible liberties with it when I write. It annoys me if you ask me to give you a line break or a paragraph change. I need words to flow. Sometimes neatly, but sometimes, in a downhill stream, unrestricted, forceful. And to see them flow is the biggest joy you could ask for. Do you know that feeling? Of being lost and feeling small amidst the rows of a bookstore, and of that immersive smell that inundates your senses, that makes everything beautiful and sacred? That smell of yellow pages? Have you ever bought a book only because it looks old and used and it has on the cover a beautiful, regular handwriting of someone called Nafeesa who read it in 1965? Have you ever had that craving to spend all your weekend dug under piles in an innocuous corner of a large, old library that smells of stories and wars and travel and love and life? Do you know what it is to love? To read a book and then dream about it for nights together? To read a book and then have an urge to share, and to preserve and to just hold it close to your chest for a while and smell it? Do you write your name on the cover in cursive after you've read it? Not to ensure it comes back to you if it's lost, but to make sure it retains a bit of you wherever it goes? Do you?

Right now, I do not write for a purpose, I write for the sake of love, for words, for the sounds and images they will create in your head when you read them. For the sounds and images and smells and ebbs that they cause in my heart as I type them. I write this because I need to. I could carry on with why I need this, but that would defy the point. It's a need, a pulsating ache that will calm me down when I type that final full stop.

Monday, March 05, 2012


"Have you ever wondered how strange this is? This basic assumption that you see the world in the same way as I do?"

"Like perspective-wise? Yeah..I don't think any two people can ever have the same set of beliefs or preferences."

"Yeah. But I meant it in the more literal sense. Not about preferences, but about perceptions. Like, what if you and I perceive color differently? What if everyone perceives colors differently? I mean when you were young, your teacher showed you a color and made you and everyone else identify it as yellow, and so you and all the other kids learnt that the color they saw was yellow; may be all of them saw it differently. And all your life when you look at a dress and called up your friend and said, "Oh! That was a very pretty yellow", she pictures a completely, or may be slightly, different pretty yellow."

"Umm...okay. Let's clear this. What color is that car?"

"It's a dirty yellow. But you miss the point."

"May be I want to miss it." *smiles*