A woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.
So as known, I slept very early, woke up in the middle of the night, lazed around watching random stuff, read random pieces from my diary, sat across the balcony. Having fallen asleep there, I wake up disoriented.
I get up and I make tea. As I wait for the water to boil, I vaguely go through a few random memories of her from the past.
I am thirty one years old, I have been alone for almost three years now, I have dated no one since-the-last-almost-three-maybe-four-years-of relationship/being-together/knowing her. I know her for the past six years. I fell in love with her, yet. She could have fallen in love with me; may be, she did. But, she avoided it. We were almost in an almost relationship, but we averted it.
Sometimes I like to be alone, I come into my bedroom at the odd time of the day, just to lie down for a moment. I Look out at the light coming through my window, it gives me a feeling of solitude filled with hope. It seems the most human thing, i can learn to live with.
I realise how, some mornings never dawn in a man’s bedroom, the drapes of a morning never unfolds till a woman arrives.
I remember a portrait of us together in a friends house. Probably the only picture of us together; me in a white tee and a black shorts after giving bozo, the chocolate lab, a shower and she in her pantsuit. The picture is a testimony of our worlds apart, Yet S’s mom finds that a cute picture, “No two same people ever fall in love”
There are times, I feel so ditsy, dizzy and disoriented. I do take refugee with some of my couple-friends, Three to two to be precise, for they make you feel better and humane. I remember once at a late dinner at their place, I could hear their baby whimpering from the bedroom. I was about to stop my story-telling as she paused for a second and asked me to finish first. I was a bit taken back, She got up as I finished with the anecdote, Winking at her husband V, she said, “I will get the baby, you take care of this one.” I am grateful in life for a few deep friendships that I had earned till now.
Sometimes all I do is sit at my sofa or lean against the counter in the kitchen or even without realising as I open my fridge or when I am about to leave for work, I start to think about the home that I have made in the last lustrum. The guest bedroom, the way the laundry bag is hidden from the view, the way the bamboo plant is kept facing the sun, the arrangement of rugs.The idea of an hand-sanitiser within the reach as you snuggle onto the sofa. The chair right near the front door so that one can ease into it, as reaching for the footwear. In some ways every little precise detail matched the version of you in my head.
At times, it gives me an immense feeling of a home, a family, when there is someone sleeping in the next room, the way I tip-toe across the entire house, the way a door should be closed with a silent hush. Something I picked up from somewhere,
just like this weird habit of mine – Celebrating either a 10,000th day or Eleven thousand eleven hundred and eleventh day of someone, I missed the first. So i planned the latter on April 1st 2014. How I bugged her all day to bunk, just to cancel my plan on the last minute. Yet Fahadh came to the rescue, planned the whole thing, A cake, a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I do have the small video of someone, mellowing down, the welling up in the eyes and a slight smile of mouthing the words, Thank you.
I imagine at times, the house filled with people, the two kids and the dog. As I have this space below the window sill, large enough to fit a small bed for a dog. Of her in the study, pacing deep down in concentrating on work, the kids sleeping, me sitting with the dog, talking to a friend/student. May be its a way that one is growing up without a family around.
May be somewhere a home awaits you, as the woman I loved is coming for dinner tonight.
Here I am back to my blogging life, interspersed with random thoughts, frequents cups of hot fluids, evading abstract memories of fading yesterdays and an impending finished PhD dissertation, nursing myself back to health, like an wounded animal in a battle for survival.
My mind chose this night to recount a few memories, draped in a moon-lit solitude and a flickering candle, I sit helplessly and sleeplessly ruminating over a few hundred moments of what could have been the point of breaking down. Writing could be a wonderful way to exorcise past and to confront the violent ugliness of reality. Its the point in time, when people see that lane of exit of the past, parallel to their actual days of life.
Most times, our lives are never about ourselves alone, it is so more about a few people who do become a part of you and your everydayness of life. It is strange when people decide to leave, all of a sudden. The silence, sullenness, the aloofness, the cold distance, the indifference and all of that together in a single look, word or a phrase, and to realise at a precise moment in time; to be left alone,
” I was certain he would turn my way. He would look at me. He would flatten his ears. He would growl. In some such way, he would conclude our relationship. He did nothing of the sort…
…. I was weeping because Richard Parker had left me so unceremoniously. What a terrible thing to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape.. It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then you can let go, otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did and your heart is heavy with remorse, that bungled good-bye hurts me to this day.. But I hope you will remember me as a friend. I will never forget you, that is certain. You will always be with me in my heart…So Farewell, God be with you..”
– Life of Pi- Yann Martel.
The adolescent longings of an unrequited love seems much more of a mirage in the scale of pain as one grows up to be an adult. Those winter evenings as I stay hidden on the sides of the wall, looking up on balcony for a sight of her. The exhilarating joys of a puppy love, the rush of hormones, the inevitable shyness even to look into your eyes as we speak. The innocence of then love held a promise of being cared for, with no apprehensiveness. Was it the age? was it the heart? Was it the mind?
Life then sucked too.
The promise of a love and a faith in the togetherness of a tomorrow was quite reassuring.
I vividly remember a new years eve. Following a promise made to A, I began to read my first Classic, Of Human Bondage. Any plans for a celebration looked futile. I was half cursing and sulking at my room-mate who left earlier that evening. I took my pills, covered myself with two sheets of blankets and held a book on top of my chest. It was cold and difficult even to hold the book and worse it wasn’t a book that seemed to move forward as one reads. I remember this place in the book, where an unhappy orphan kid feeling far worse alone and painful as he couldn’t be consoled by his care taker, a barren elderly women who never had a kid. The kid shouts out his vengeance”I hate you, I wish you were dead”. The poor lady who never knew what it is to be mother breaks down at her failure. She breaks down and sobs as the kid reaches to kiss her. “She loved him now with a new love because he had made her suffer”. That was a moment of a sublimeness and I was overcome with such a spiritual feeling. I went off to sleep, closing the book and remember waking up far better in reality.
I knew very little of A’s own journey from her childhood. She married young and got divorced with a little boy even before she turned twenty five. Having lost her father at a young age, it was her mother who raised her; and life can be indeed cruel when you are violently brought back to square one. I knew somethings about her life as she told me, what she had to fight everyday and what follows her like the shadows of demons. I know our lives are not destined to be the same in our adulthood, yet I know, how I once felt close to her as how I would have for a sibling.
At times, life spins a tale, a far fetched joke, taking someone far away from everything they knew and they loved.
I remember writing once in my diary, “Love is an ability. An ability to be humane.” I have had known, what is when people leave, when they grow up and move on. Yet some times, when few memories catch you, so off-guard. A trembling moment of resonance as one sees, when things come crashing down. Stay put. Hold onto your ground. Look up as they soar high and smile, knowing deep down, they are not coming back.
May be. Sometimes they do.
Sometimes this wound occurs at the moment of birth, sometimes it happens later. We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We’ll leave much unfinished for the next generation.
Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese
It seems like the last time, I wrote anything was aeons ago, I don’t have a faintest memory of ever being committed to a paper and pen in the measurable last seven years of my life. Simple. Life happened. I was not jobless anymore.
I quit Hyderabad. I moved half-way-across-the-country to Shillong, Trust me, if there is anyone reading out this. I shall dedicate more space here for my lives in Hyderabad and Shillong. Moving into Shillong costed me few precious things in life, Yet life moves on and yours faithfully moved on. On.
It all began, when I applied for a post in NEHU and that was in 2012. As the stars favoured me “and, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. I fell into the conspiracy.
It was not a happily-ever after story. Life’s blues began. The prospect of being a twenty-six year old with a job and the stillness and stubbornness of Shillong scared the living day-lights out of me. It turned out that this wasn’t that bad after all. A new Place, a new Home, a home that I designed and something where I put in all efforts to build.
And all through this, something that stuck in my head was the odd belief that this was all temporary. Something that I had to put up with, till some better greener pastures comes my way.
Yet the truth was, it was hard to resist and at times, easier to accept and fall into the charm of this small sleepy little English town. It was not a perfect place, but no beauty lies in perfection as I knew and learnt.
Slowly I learnt to accommodate and acknowledge my very presence here. But grudgingly.
Honestly, I wasn’t ready to regard the good side, that Shillong and this new life came with. Yet Shillong was nicer to me, I learnt here to not to heed to pretentious people and the artificiality that they naturally come with. I started painfully to carve and define me in the very solitude I was bestowed with.
It was a painful transformation.
I realised the real reason that I could not like this place was the remnants of Hyderabad that I carried with me,
I missed Hyderabad terribly,
I still miss. I have learnt not to fall into the pit-traps of Nostalgia.
Now the very memory and thought of Hyderabad serves as an elixir to regain my sanity. The places and people, the freedom, the mobility, the teachers of HCU, friends made, friends lost, acquaintances, the trekking in the campus, bonfires, Nalagantla wine-shops, Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad RTC buses, MMTS, share-autos, auto-driver annas, Gachebowli, mid-night strolls in the campus, buffalo-lake, peacock lake, F hostel, H Hostel, Ladies Hostel Complex, SN School, CCL, Friends in the city, coming home, Hostel food, not being bothered about food, not having to bother to remember to buy and stock up and to decide on the next day’s menu, Biryani and the craving for it at midnight and the fact that it will be brought to you by the lovable roommate Sudarshan anna, Hogging of food with Adil and Winny boy, Lazy Sundays, Mess food, Old monk, Booze, bike-trips, Silences, Reading into the night, watching sitcoms all day, The night canteens, endless chais and conversations, the movies, DST auditorium, birthday circle, classmates, roommates, glass-mates, soulmates and knowing that you will never be all alone and friend-less. I miss the camaraderie and companionship that Hyderabad gave. Truth be told, NEHU did not give me any friendships nor it let me, earn any.
I miss a life, that will never be again. I knew When i moved out of home, that on some levels, that I will never be home again. Its just that these thoughts lie dormant at the rock bottom of my heart and when they re-surface, life just becomes a wishful and wistful longing, It is a phase, a phase that phases me out for a while.
A mild-longing for a warm-familiar something, like a baby that snuggles unto the warm-confines of mother’s cloth, my hearts leaps into the nostalgic memories.
I for one, now know that this fifth year of me in Shillong will be a tumultuous year ahead with important decisions to make. I look forward for the uncertainty. Amidst all this, being a teacher with students gives me a fresh leash of breath in life.
Now I have a different level of comfort with the place, A distant and a detached familiarity, at times, the place suffocates me, yet it makes up by springing its hidden beauty. The sight of a mist clad afternoon view from my window is one, worth living here.
Four-years and going, Hoping to see more here 🙂
It is just that life takes you; takes on you at times that you feel washed down, flushed out and left drowned in the dumps. When you’re the seeker, a go-getter in life, all it needs is the right kind of righteous re-assurance to reclaim life. And the most beautiful thing about it is its availability, right next to you. Only if you’re willing enough to open up and let things get into you.
Shobhaa De says, in her book Speed Post, “God must be a mother.” And I believe that every writer is a mother, yup in a way, every writer has to be feminine enough in thought and feeling to actually explore certain aspects of life. Just a very few take the risk. And when you take that, you would know what I mean. It is not that you have to be a mother or go through motherhood biologically; Motherhood is something that is more to emotions, psyche and persona of someone than the mere biological phenomenon. What makes this 22 year old speak those words? Well there is many times in life that a few people have made me feel both motherly and manly, when I had been there for them, when they have most needed someone at their side. The writer in me greatly believes in the choice. I believe I have a choice and so I have. And choice is something that is more eternal and ethereal which makes this writer write what he is ought to write.
This is something that I had been known for all through my life, what can life be without this C factor? There is a connection between the C factor and the universal conspiracy. Well, this is more of an arrived at connection, it need not be true. I held this belief for a greater part of my life and grew up believing my belief that nobody is a single entity in this universe. No single soul is alone, but every soul is an orphan. What I am today, am because of those thousand plus people I had seen, met, interacted with, grew up with, began to love, smiled with, and laughed with, cried at/for/with.
There is this C in me which makes me wonder what the other person would be doing at this time of the day. As mentioned earlier, I am a single soul with the reflections that are of a thousand others. In a way, I am made of the thousand them. This is the thing that helps me with going and growing; to live, to love and to write. Never had my single day passed out without thinking did she eat any thing? Oh!!! She is growing old and I need to spend more time with her? No idea where he is, Is he back? I didn’t still hear from him, Is he safe? Would he be still working? Will he also like coffee like me or is she totally a tea person? Did chechi had a good day or the kids trouble her again? Did ma’m start writing again? Is he still thin/Has he grown a bit plump? Did he booze? Will we have that promised trip? Will he come down to meet me? Will I write again? Does she actually shampoo up her hair or just get it washed in the nearby saloon hair? Will uncle ever start his day without his early morning session of paper-reading?
Well I can be as nosy as I can be with my Curiosity factor. But take the word, nothing in life is as wonderful as to open up and reach out to people, letting in people, getting to know them and to grow up with them. Yeah I’m this hope-less romantic in life, when it comes to people, place, books, music and movies, there is something certainly magical about them. The myriad moods of life, gets magnified magnanimously by this magical thread, love; which weaves people together to create the warmth that only the cloak called friends and family can give. Growing up can be fun, when it happens with the most positive people. And as a writer’s wish, this is the most humble of an attempt to actually record his chronicles of the most beautiful people he met in his life.
In a way, writing is a longing too. A longing for love, the love, which world failed to shower on its fellow beings to ease their growing up pains. I write willing to love for I knew that I was born to write, when I started writing letters, and also then was also the other realization that I am born to love. Can anything be more romantic and loving than hand-written letters? It is quite difficult to understand the wonderfulness and warmth, a letter can convey unless one had been either a writer or a receiver? I believe that I had written many letters and in the recent times, I had been writing less and less of letters. As mentioned earlier in one of the posts, “I evolved from the boy of letters to the man of letters.” Letters form the most integral part of a writer’s life. One thing that I most wanted myself to be made sure that I do, before I take leave is write one last letter to the people I met in my life. And I have taken genuine efforts to actually write, that I almost write everything about the persons that comes to my mind, I do keep an archive of what people have spoken to me, words, shared thoughts, notes, greetings, mails and texts. And so, next time, don’t be surprised if you find anything that can be so uniquely you.
For I believe, nothing is original, everything is a kaleidoscope of reflections and inspirations. The writer in me usually looks out for characters, stories and mannerisms in everyone. I know it can be so annoying the way I ask questions sometimes, but this is all a greater part of growing up as a writer with people. It is not just my story, and it will be never my story. It is a series of intersecting events in different lives that is told in my perspective, tone and voice. I modulate the aspects of writing, which mostly appeals to the reader and I never ever dare to manipulate, for I’m not here to create sensationalism, pass on judgments or make a list of To Dos and Don’ts or to issue commandments on the art of living. As a writer, I just investigate the in-sights.
As JB ma’m puts it, “Words are powerful monsters. They either make or mar. They can heal as well as hurt.” It depends on the writer, how he employs the apt use of choice of words. As a writer I made this promise that I will give up writing when my words have consciously hurt a soul. I write to heal. I write to reach out, open up, and let people open up. Well I was also this person, who so badly wanted to see his words in print. And now I realized, “But the noblest duty of words than going to print is, did it touch a person? Did it inspire/influence a soul? Did it make a difference in a life? Did it make someone relate with the author in thought and did it help a reader identify the friend in the author?” If the writing has done any one of the above, it need not be bothered about the form of its existence. For it has reached its reader.
A writer has to be a reader by him/her self. And so is this writer. Reading makes a human. I would not go to the extent of telling that, people who don’t read, don’t know life. But certainly they would be the ones who read people, if not books. I had been the most addicts of people, followed by books; there is this greater force that is involved in bringing some books to certain people and also in turn, bringing some people in someone’s life. The best books are the ones that tell the known and the obvious that has been conveniently ignored and forgotten for the lesser good. Like people, books are the next magical things in life and only a few can appreciate both for the right reasons. And as a writer I’m conscious of my call of the wild that, I am not born for one corner of the earth. A writer has to be universal; a writer never takes up one single identity, which would narrow down his perspectives on life. Identity is imposed, and a writer has to obviously boycott anything that is imposed. I don’t take labels when I write, so I don’t give them in return. An insult pocketed, produces another. I don’t pocket them.
A writer has a life, another normal life than the writerly one. One life in the world, which the writer, greatly believes and the world that he or she, painstakingly constructed. I chose to live in both my worlds. I see the difference. Here life has become something that has to be tackled than something that needed to be lived. Life at times, needs to be taken by the horns, at times; it warrants a quite flow with the rhythm. The reassurance that writing provides to life is a soothing feel, which wipes out the certainty of life and makes a voyage to the core of uncertainties. Uncertainty provides a reason to look forward in this life and a constant remainder that I have a life to live and a few people to meet and grow up with them in love. The other, writerly life warrants a constant contemplation of thoughts and words, which fuels the need for total acceptance of people and not the mere act of ritual toleration. It denies anything that is in-human, it fights for the inclusive space; it helps me to run a crusade against anything that is not love. I consciously know my need to live and understand the nuances of functioning of both the worlds. It gives me greater perspectives and a broader outlook which ensures the graceful life of my passion and the desire to be an active onlooker, which is the womb that gave the painful birth to this writer.
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Not that every day, you happen to have a talk that leads you to a discussion that had been an haunting in you, All I had poured is basically me, but what I more importantly tell is I’m what I write, I’m also What I don’t write… And as Jayakanthan puts it, “Please remember that what is written is not just a piece of paper, but a writer’s heart, Read it to respect too,…”
Three decades back, I saw him and her for the first time together. Guess they were just friends then, Honestly No idea, what they are now. But had they known what fate had in store for them, she wouldn’t have loved him.
She wouldn’t have known him. She wouldn’t have allowed herself to let him near her. She wouldn’t have let herself charmed to his charm. She wouldn’t have fallen in love and He wouldn’t have risen in love.
I knew then, Life had other plans.
They met. They loved to know each other. They spent their individual selves to nurture their oneness. They grew up in each other.
I saw them again. He, her and her friend. Her friend unknown what was between them and unaware where their lives are heeding. He, willingly unaware that she is leaving him and she unaware of his love for her.
I realized then. She cannot be blamed for fate’s folly. She wanted to make it easy for him. She loved him. He let her go to make it easy for her.
I saw her on the day of marriage, her hand being taken by another man with the whole of their family witnessing the wedding. He missing the event, yet present obvious in her thoughts and memories.
She lived with him in her thoughts and he lived his life witnessing her life, being happily lived.
I saw her again that day, standing with her daughter, holding her hands tightly as she held his hands tightly on the day when they called their life off. Tears rolling down her cheeks- the sole-soul witness to the love in her heart and air filled with memories of their days together.
She, bidding him her already bid-adieu on his heavenly departure.
It drizzled outside. It stormed inside.
I, a dead man walking, stood there, having lived my life, watching him dying his life, her living the death and their love living the life they hadn’t lived.
P.S. Written on a sleepless Night 08.11.2008
addthis_pub = ‘barathwillbe’;