#3 – The Maid

Perhaps all my mistakes cannot be simply attributed to the fact that I lived at Aunt’s. I used to make a lot of social mistakes, about which I was given long lectures every evening as to what I should do and what I should not. For example, while I thought it was normal to go out and say Hello to people when Uncle threw a dinner to his colleagues, I was taught that I should not barge into the drawing room, and that no one was really interested in saying hello to me anyways. I was a quick learner, and the next time people came, I didn’t go out at all, and was later reprimanded about the fact that I turned up late at dinner and had made the guests wait at the dinner table. Life here was confusing to say the least.

I managed to become friends with Esha when I was ten years old. Her mother worked as a maid at Aunt’s, and sometimes when it was a Sunday, she used to bring her daughter over to our house. Aunt would give them some food, and they would thank us and go home after the household chores were done. It was a strict no-no for me to befriend the maid’s daughter, but she was with who I felt the most comfortable. We shared kind of same thoughts. We both thought it was really cool to talk to strangers, because otherwise how would we ever make friends? We both wore clothes that weren’t new, and had been handed down from someone else. Well I used to do that before I came to Aunt’s, but she understood.

So it was that every Sunday we played in our room for hours. I did not have many toys, but she had some which she used to bring over. She was the best ever. She told me how she wanted to go to school, and that her mother did not have enough money. I told her how school was really horrible, and that she should be happy she never went. She wouldn’t like it one bit, I knew. The other students would bring fancy things for lunch, and would mock her if she ever went there. It had happened with another student one day, I remembered. Once she brought a Snakes and Ladders board, and we spent an entire day playing the game. When Aunt came home at night and asked me what I had done the entire day, I narrated enthusiastically about Esha and her board game.

Esha’s mother lost her job as a housemaid when Aunt learned of the new budding friendship between Esha and me. I was slapped in front of Esha, and told how wrong it was on my behalf to call her to my room and let her sit on my bed and use my toys. “Are you mad? Don’t you even slightly care about what I say?” she asked. I did not want to infuriate her any further, but I could already see tears tricking down Esha’s eyes. “Sorry, memsahab,” said her mother. Her mother reprimanded Esha, saying that it was entirely her fault and not mine for one, and that she would correct things and never bring her to our house, but please let her continue with her job, else how would she feed her family? Aunt rejected the offer almost instantaneously, and that was the last time I saw Esha and her mother. I learned that day how so many lives could be devastated only by small gestures of rich families. She would find a job no doubt, everyone needed a maid at home, but would that be easy to find? I did not care as much about that as I cared about the fact that I had lost my only friend forever.

So I went back to my regular life. Aunt asked me ever so politely to help her with the household chores for the time being until she found a new maid. I helped her enthusiastically, trying to wipe off the red marks, the bad impression that she had formulated about me. I kept helping her for some time, until I realized this was just a ploy. Aunt never got a new maid, and I never went back to school. It worked good for her both ways. I learned that day how even kith and kin really only care about themselves.

Lost

This is a story of all I’ve lost,
All those who believed in me once,
All those who I thought
Would stay here forever.
All those who were my people.
My people.

But there’s a river always,
And there’s the other bank,
And I’ve seen you go to the other side,
And there are beliefs there too.
Yet I’ll come there sometime,
If I’m strong enough,
To fight against the currents,
And to fight against the odds.

But what’s in store for tomorrow,
Nobody knows,
And the clocks go tick-tock tick-tock,
And I keep losing my faith,
And my people,
And they lose their faith,
And me,
An endless cycle.

But all’s not lost, there is a ray of hope,
Shining from behind the clouds,
Which cloud my mind presently,
Making me unable to see what’s across it,
Whether it’s a silver lining,
Or are there endless clouds,
Hiding the sun, my source of energy,
I don’t know,
And nobody can tell me, unless they go.

This is a story of all those who I have lost,
To love.
Because sometimes,
Love is a poison,
One which comes back to get you,
To destroy you, and to harm you forever.
Memories hit me,
Like cold gales lashing across my face,
Of things that had best remain unsaid,
That had best remained undone,
But were done, in the moment,
Not foreseeing the future,
And here I lie, in despair,
Thinking about it without a course.

And there are others that I’ve lost,
To time.
For time is like sand, forever slipping between fingers,
No matter how hard you close your fist,
People, memories, happiness, friends,
Dwindle out.
Like the candle, having served it purpose,
Reduces to wax, and a part of it,
Forever stuck to the floor,
Like memories,
The memories of my people.

I’ve lost people, and I’ve lost time,
But that’s not all,
I’ve lost memories, so many of them,
In a chest full of gold and other treasures,
But someone robbed me of it,
In a dream one night,
And I have never found them again.
I’ve lost dreams,
He came one night, and told me so,
That dreams were only for those,
Who had their memories safe and sound,
But I had lost them.
I’ve lost wishes, which I had saved,
To demand of a genie should I find one,
But he came in the midst of a night,
And told me he wouldn’t grant me any,
‘Cause wishes were given to only those,
Who had big dreams, and I had lost them.

But lost things may yet be found,
Like toys of a child hidden in the cupboard,
And some day when I rush across,
The pages of time,
I might catch one at the end of a page,
Waiting, sitting there, just like me,
Trying to look out for those she’s lost.

Seven

It has been almost a month since I posted the last post in Decagon, and Seven is out now. Seven is the most special post for me, and it is because seven has been my lucky charm number since childhood. I remember how when we were small, we had this Children’s Day Fair at our school. For those who don’t know, in India, the fourteenth of November is celebrated as Children’s Day. It is the birthday of our first Prime Minister of independent India, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru. So the schools usually try to make this day special for us; sometimes they show the children a movie, sometimes the teachers perform for us, you know, like dances and one-act-plays. We used to have all this, and along with these, we had a ‘Mela’ or a fair. This fair was only for students, conducted by all the teachers. There were food stalls and game stalls, and a ‘request corner’ where people could dedicate songs to others purposefully and anonymously. The others would keep dancing there, because most of us, at that time, were relatively middle-class people. We did not like to spend much on the fair, so after a while when our money got over, all of us used to come and dance. That was fun. Sometimes a teacher would join us in dancing, before returning to her stall. ‘Her’ because most of our male teachers did not dance, ever. Oh, I almost forgot to mention how seven being my lucky charm is even remotely connected to this.

It was in my class seventh that I first fell for someone. I really liked her a lot, but I could never muster up the courage to go tell her. A year later, in our eighth grade, the same girl dedicated a song to me at the request corner on Children’s Day, and that is when I got to know she liked me too. The entire affair was very short-lived, I was a lamb back then, too afraid to speak up, too afraid to say or do anything, and too concerned with what others would think about me. Turned out that wasn’t girls really looked forward to. Once we broke up, things were never the same again. We stayed friends, got disconnected when we changed schools in the eleventh grade, got back through a tuition class, but never dated again. It was strange how I had mustered up all the courage to take it forward and again lost it in a matter of months.

Seven is the number of evil, much like three. The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of the most objectionable vices that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. I read about these four years back, and it is a really nice article which shows the development of this theory and how the seven sins have changed over time. I never posted it here because it was not an original article, but I can provide you a link to it, if you ask; but I am sure most of you already know about the seven sins. Martin in his books is very fond of the number seven, he has seven kingdoms, seven knights, seven Gods, and as per latest news, there will be seven books; if things are kept in concordance, there will be seven seasons of the television show it is being churned into right now, though I really hope Martin really lives that long to tie up all loose ends of the book.

February is already here. A month over; this year is moving faster than I thought it would, and rather uneventful. Time passes fast when you do not have memorable things to count at the end of the month. It may be so only because of the work pressure that is trying to bury each of us deep down, but as they say, one hand cannot clap. You need two hands, similarly, you need efforts from both ends, much towards the same goal, so that the resultant force does not become zero because of opposing forces, but doubles due to aligned ones. Have a great month ahead!

Six | Eight

Introspection

I cannot bear this anymore. I need to tell you. I need to rant out every single thought that transpires through me right now. It should not be very difficult, but the tremendous number of thoughts that passes my mind each moment is what makes me nervous. For instance, it is only the fourth of January and I have already made some plans of what I will do when I get back home. And I am most probably going to go back home in October; that is ten months from now. I have been procrastinating my preparations for the upcoming test for a long while now and I think it is high time I started.

To begin with, my laptop has a defective CD drive. That makes all the difference in my life. For today when I wanted to put in a CD and listen to some tracks, I had to switch on a different laptop, mount the CD and make an ISO image, then transfer it to my phone since I lost my USB drive, then transfer the ISO to this laptop, and then I could start. So the amount of effort that I need to put unnecessarily in such trivial work is what blows my mind off. Just whoosh. I cannot believe I just wrote that. I tried to jot down all the momentous things that happened last year, and found out there were quite a lot of them. Left college, interned, started working for a job, shifted back with parents, made new friends, had so many dinners and outings, graduated from college, restarted this blog, gave an important exam, made a profile on LinkedIn, reconnected with some school friends, stayed alive through the winter, finished four books of A Song of Ice and Fire, visited Agra, attended a concert by Sonu Nigam, another by Arijit and Atif, and so on. Atif has been my favorite singer ever since Aadat came out in 2003. It was like a dream come true to witness his concert.

I also learned to let go of people. And in turn, many people let go of me. The people I hang out with are completely new than what it was in 2013; though that is not because I lost old friends, I just relocated to Delhi, all my friends are still there at Bangalore, and when I went to visit them, it was really great. That trip was one of the best trips from last year, those five days in Bangalore. I think I was in the introspection mode today, but I also think that was majorly because it was a lazy Sunday and I was pretty much bored with my life. Tomorrow is a Monday, and as they say, those who are happy on a Monday are those who are jobless. Well, yeah, very true. So I will go off now and try to do some reading, or something useful maybe. Until then, be happy. Be yourself.

The Last Prayer

The taste of brine, foam in his mouth,
He smelled of sand, the sun and the birds,
Kept going deeper every next moment,
Drowning, drowning into the sea,
When he spoke, only bubbles,
And he breathed, only bubbles,
No one to see, no one to hear,
They said under water, the dumb and the rest,
All are alike, because neither speak,
And here he was, proving it true.
The sun glimmered, shining through the waters,
But every second it kept being dimmer,
Whether his eyes were closing,
Or he was going deeper,
He could not tell.
He’d lost track of time, didn’t know,
How long it had been since he was under,
His eyes were closing, his eyelids heavy,
He realized he should have drank lesser last night,
He longed to know one last time,
Who it was that had pushed him,
They were all his friends, all close to him,
Yet one plotted behind his back,
Or were they all involved, he could not tell.
He prayed one last time, prayed fervently,
That the gods forgive him for all his sins,
And slowly he stopped struggling,
One last breath, and then he decided to rest.

How Stupid it Was

Oh, what had I said, and how I had strived,
To show you I mean it, do you remember?
Long messages and texts and so much of talk,
So many other fights, so much of proof.
Now I laugh, when I think over it,
What was I doing, how mad was I then?
Didn’t I see right through it,
The foolishness that I was pursuing?
And look at us, now how we are,
Not an inch different from how we were then,
Then what did I strive for, and what did I achieve,
What did I do, oh what did I do?

We stopped talking, and then we talked again,
I stopped loving, and then I loved again,
Oh, how did that other girl suffer,
Who kissed me one night, knowing we weren’t we?
And how did that guy fight, knowing nothing would change,
How did people take sides, do you remember?
How I lost so many friends, then gained all of them,
And how everything went an entire circle?

Do you know something though, I really did love you.
It doesn’t matter at all now, no, it doesn’t.
But still you should know, yes, you should,
That I meant it then, every single word.
Now how we are, I know we’ll remain so,
Then we were, no we are, and forever will be,
There were some pages in the book that I wanted to read,
But then, may be the unfinished book has its own beauty.

An Ode to the Oldest

The walls have grown, but once they were low,
When we met but for the first time,
Did not know what to say to whom,
Lost in our worlds, trying to get into new ones.
 
It was then I heard of you, first day of a new start,
Mapping your face to the roll call the teacher took,
Deciding how to talk and what when I meet you,
And how everything should look.
 
And lo! Nothing happened as I had planned,
We talked in broken sentences,
Had coffee and dinner and just random words,
Which formed the bricks on which we stand today.
 
Though with you I am no longer in touch,
I hope to get back to you one day,
We’d smile and say new hellos again,
And make plans, fail and become friends.