An Average Day

As I woke up, the light stinging my eye through the tiny gap between the two curtains, I silently said a small prayer for the day to be sunny as it was. But it rained. I strolled down the road, hands in my pocket, wearing a hoodie, which also covered my head, although my hair was getting damp. Yesterday I had cycled all the way, but the raindrops on my hand felt like ice pellets, and I had no gloves, so I did not want to take the risk of getting my fingers numb again. People huddled at bus stops, for there they found some protection from the rains. As I entered the university, it felt warmer. The thermostat had done a good job. The door said ‘Drücken’ the next said ‘Ziehen’. I pushed and pulled the doors as necessary, pausing now and then to say ‘Hallo’ and ‘Gutten Morgen’ to faces that were unknown at the beginning, but had now become familiar.

For instance, I knew the man in the electronics laboratory, he was okay at English and had offered to help me on the very first day when I needed a two-point plug instead of the three-point that I was carrying for my laptop. I knew the lady at the ‘Mensa’ who gave subway sandwiches. I remember how first I had thought they were cucumber slices, but later realized they were thin egg slices, which made that breakfast so good! I was slowly getting used to this place. The Professor I worked with did not know much English, but we were good. We spoke Java, and that was universal. I wonder how some people cannot speak English but can code perfectly in English. How do you understand what you are coding when you do not know the language itself? It is one of those questions that I will never find an answer to, just like I still don’t know how babies learn their mother tongue.

I had just earned my stipend yesterday, my first ever earning. It was 200 euros, and I was so happy I treated myself to a really good pizza yesterday. German food was bland in general, and Italian helped me remember how good food can be. I took a slice of bread, and went back to my lab, then made some fresh brewed coffee. I must tell you, there is no better way to start a day other than having a huge cup of coffee. Until last week I was working on a desktop with a German OS installed. It was a relief to switch from Einstellungen to Settings and Zubehör to Accessories. I now had a desktop which had Windows 7 and an English US version of that. My work had been fun lately, and I desperately wished it continued to be so.

When I came out later for lunch, it was still raining. The food was hot, but only temperature wise, nothing spicy. Mustard helped in making it bearable. You realize the value of sauces only when you’re devoid of it. As I left for home in the evening, a small part of me wanted to stay behind, wait for her. She used to stay back in the university till two in the morning sometimes; I could have waited in her lab, but then I changed my mind. Reality hit me. And I strolled back home again. Meanwhile, the clouds still poured.

Realizations

Walked through deserts, and walked through rains,
Climbed up mountains and went down valleys,
Passed churches, mosques and temples alike,
Travelled to countries, and rode through villages,
And yet never felt so much a difference,
As to when a child cried of hunger,
As to when a mother cried her pain,
When a baby cackled in laughter.
Through dust and storms I walked and walked,
Until I reached the end of the lane.
And I walked back again, to where I started,
And I learnt that life is but a circle,
Serving you for dinner what you served them in the morn,
And it’s up to you to decide in advance,
How cold or warm you want it to be.

Return – Chapter 1

As I sat there, watching the black of the sky fade into deep maroon, the sun rising between the clouds, more crimson than ever, and watched it light the sky into an orange, the chirps of the sparrows, and the caws of the crows who had left their nests already, the alarm in my watch buzzed. It was five in the morning, the iron bench on which I sat still cold, drops of dew settled on it, and on my coat, and the sun slowly started hiding behind the clouds, turning the sky into a black, and in a few minutes, the drizzle came upon me. The grass looked greener than ever, as if it rejuvenated in the morning mist and rain, the dogs running back into their shelters where they slept, and the road in front of me, empty. Only after the drizzle had stopped did I see old couples back on the road, some walking, and in some, one pushing the other around on a wheelchair. A guy in a raincoat rode a bicycle, had roses to sell, and newspapers too, but the papers were all wet already, and he didn’t have anything to protect them from the rain. He reminded me of a time long before, when I used to see someone else exactly this way, only the face was different, rest everything same. Or was the face same too? I didn’t remember. It was six o’ clock then, when I rose from the bench, and smiled at the guy who had been sitting beside me for the past two hours, never making an introduction, never saying a word. It was better that way, no one liked to talk early in the morning, he was out for some reason, I for some other, or may be the same, who knew. I had to return, I decided.

It couldn’t go on forever like this. I had tried long and hard for four years to stay away from her, and had thought that maybe we both would forget each other, get on with our lives, move ahead, never looking back at the path we had left. And yet, God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes, you run so hard away from destiny that you don’t realize you’ve taken a full circle back to where you started. Maybe in a parallel universe we might have never met, and had been much happier than right now, but then, I needed to live in the present. I needed to be happy. Spring was around the corner, small green leaves on each tree, wet with the morning fog. I liked the winter rain. It made the surrounding slightly colder, and nothing could be better than going back inside, cuddle a quilt around, sip a cup of coffee, and get engrossed in a novel. However, right now, that didn’t seem the best option. In fact, going back didn’t seem a viable option at all. Going back now would mean getting back to square one. When one has read a story one didn’t like a bit, he is less likely to want to read it all over again. I was somehow the reader of this very bad book, and it seemed that someone had just thrown the book on my face again, only with a new cover, or maybe not even so much a new cover than a reprinted one. Yet if I had to read it, it were better I got started and get done with it already, rather than procrastinate it so much that it would seem to have gained more importance in my life than it should have.

I plied a bus and took a seat near the window. A few stops later, a man got up and took the seat beside me. He was roughly middle-aged, and smiled at me congenially, which was perhaps the first good thing that happened to me in the day. I was too flagged to make a good conversation with him, so I decided to let him speak if he wanted to, assuming he would get tired after a while and try to lessen the small-talk. But when he stopped, I felt miserable. It was nicer when he was talking, and so I started talking to him. He was a father of two kids, he said, had been living here for the past three years and found this city extremely affable. I laughed at my destiny. Here I was, listening to a person telling me how pleasant this place was, when it had succeeded in giving me nothing but nervousness of what was impending. A few stops later, he got up, we shook hands, and he left. A beggar got up in the bus, pleaded for some money, and I gave him some. I had always been lenient towards them, perhaps it was because of the way I was brought up, or maybe just because I had a soft corner for everything, or maybe, I really didn’t know what spurred me to spare something for them every time they asked for something. Perhaps deep inside, I wished that if ever I had asked someone for something, may be they would also give it to me, just as much as I wanted it, nothing more, nothing less. But life, strange as it is, hardly works in the ways you would have wanted it to. When I got down from the bus, the place was completely new. It wasn’t how I had remembered it, and not really how I would have wanted it to be. My memories raked up the old place, and superimposed it on the current. The entire scenery looked misplaced now. I realized that time indeed does change things. It might not have been weird to see it grow into what it was today, had I been through it entirely. But right now it felt as I had time-travelled into the future, and that somehow twenty years had passed since I had last seen it. There was no smoke from the chimney of the tavern, instead air-conditioning machines placed on the roof. The trees used to bear orange leaves perennially, yet now they were all green. Something was different about this place.

Perhaps it was time to embrace the change. Perhaps it would be better for me to go back to the point where I started again. Maybe this was the way it was all supposed to be. If so, then life was giving me a second chance. If not, it would be the most terrible mistake that I would ever commit in my life. I only hoped that this time the journey would not end so soon, like it did before. My mind was firm, and strong as ever, but my heart wasn’t ready to accept this fate. But when it saw the spring, and how the trees bore new leaves again, it sometimes found solace in nature. It realized that this is how life was supposed to have been in the first place. Make, break, make, break. It was an endless cycle, and how much ever you wanted to get out of it, at the end, it was inevitable to get sucked into it. Because that was the difference between God and us. We could not control everything. Because if we could, then we would have been as powerful as Him, as stoic as ever, never wandering from our path, and never being forced to choose anything. But now that I had made my choice, I would live by it, and live it good. Or so I wished. I would soon set things right, but before that I had one last thing to do.

Next

The Smoke

The smoke rose endlessly from the pier,
Suffocating the child whilst the held the fire,
He was only five, then why didn’t he,
Sit at home unaware of this?
He knows not what he does,
He knows not what he loses,
He cries because his eyes are sore,
Knows not why the others around weep.
He sees a kite flying in the air,
Wishes he could fly the one at his home,
But he can’t leave the others here,
He’s sad that others cry,
And asks one if he wants a kite too,
The other looks into the sky,
Sees the clouds huddling together,
Soon the rains will come down,
Wash away the fire lighted in front,
Wash away the fire in each one’s soul,
He sees the clouds too, sees a cat in them,
And sees his father’s face in another,
He hasn’t seen him for a while,
And feels he is somewhere around,
He knows not what he burnt,
He knows not what he lost.

The Somnambulist

The rains came with thunder today,
Reminding me of a day gone by,
When you’d held me to yourself,
And sniffed and cried,
You were afraid of the lightning,
I remember.
Whilst I ran, getting wet in the rain,
My clothes drenched, my hair all wet,
You stood inside a building,
Making sure the rains never reached you,
It wasn’t until it had stopped thundering,
That you stopped sniffing,
I remember.
You were my dream,
I the somnambulist,
Walking towards my dream each moment,
Never realizing my folly,
Or what I moved towards,
Always being directed back to my sleep,
By others who thought they cared about me.
Today the rains have come with thunders,
I still remember that evening we spent,
And even now as I get wet,
I see you amongst the people inside the building.

Hot Winds

Hot winds blow today. Fiercely. Ever more than before.

As I sit inside my room, a copy of “A Storm of Swords” in hand, which does not seem to end, I wonder of the future. I have been trying to finish the books of late, so that I may overtake the series on television, but to fail. Yet the summer outside presses it in, chaining me to my room, leaving me with no more options than to read and write. I sit in an unknown city, and through the verandah peer at unknown faces. They don’t bear smiles for me, neither glares. Absent emotions, they move about robotically. I go back inside the house. The roof presses its entire heat into the room, so much that the air conditioner doesn’t succeed in cooling it. That was one town where I lived ago. Now I live here, trying to make this as much of a home as the former.

Delhi, the capital of my country. I was not so excited coming here, for pain of loss of friends stings deep to those who have but a few. Yet now I confine myself to the city of Westeros and its problems, forgetting mostly the issues and problems dwelling around me, pressing ever as a box full of books does to the thinnest book at the bottom. Time has much changed since the last time I wrote of home. My notes date that as 17th December 2011, seems a lifetime before. Jamshedpur remains but a fond memory, longing to visit it, in dreams as well as in reality. Soon I will be there though.

College has but ended. I can call myself a graduate now. Yet leaving the city where I spent three and a half years of plentiful life, seems to burden me with more grief than I can partake in. The last goodbyes, knowing I would never meet them again. It seems so queer now that they were people from all parts of the country, heck, from all parts of the world, and that when they return to their homes almost a universe away, the only solace I would find is by pinging them on Whatsapp or looking up their new profile pictures on Facebook, glimpsing at how much their lives have changed since we last met.

I should be happier, I know that, deep inside somewhere. I did not fare that bad after all. Finished off with a decent score in college, made quite a number of good friends, but alas, I had thought the same four years ago, and where are those friends now? Remnants of them remain, like the left over crumbs of the bread a crow ate up, slowly yet fully. I have a job now, I am employed. It’s a big company and their work is big too, affects a lot of people. I should be happy my work will affect so many people, but alas, they’ll never know I have changed their lives for the better, or for the worse, I don’t know; thinking about it now makes me both happy and sad, like two faces of the same coin, fallen on the street amidst dust, never to be looked at again, unless perchance someone kicks it, and then lifts it up, dusts it down and keeps it in his wallet.

I want to tell people I will miss them. There are those who I’ve talked to and known for four years now, but still refrain from bidding goodbyes. Why do I do that? Just to keep people stood up to the notion that I am not sentimental, and forever a stoic, when in reality, I am but nothing of that sort? I don’t know. Questions forever bewilder me. What will I do now? What my future holds for me, I have no idea. Am I supposed to make one of my own, or only embrace whatever comes my way?

Hot winds blow. They remind me of summer now. Summer days in school, when we would rush to the kiosk at recess, buying Coke and clanking bottles. And then go back to class. So many promises we did make on the last day of school. This one friend, just stopped talking, and never told me why she was upset. I still need an answer, one that I will never get. I have been but long forgotten. Summer. Reminds me of the long vacations, and trips to relatives. How small I was then, with nothing much of import to take part in. Only if I could go back there, and sit, like an idle guy, just sit. Reminds me of the coaching classes too, ones I took in order to get into a good university. Wouldn’t comment on that; I am happy with what I got out of it. No complaints, yet, sometimes, I wish I could complain a little more.

The rains will come in soon. And with that, everything would turn better, as it always has.

Castle

I’ll keep looking at the sky my love,
And every time a shooting star falls,
I’ll throw a pebble into the pond,
Yes my love, I will soon build you a castle.

For every wind that blows over me,
For every breeze that touches my hair,
I’ll  throw a fistful of sand into the pond,
Yes my love, I will soon build you a castle.

For every breath that the ocean takes,
For every wave that it weaves,
I will let a tear drop every single time,
Yes my love, I will soon build you a castle.

For every dream that you’ve dreamed of,
For every prayer that you’ve said,
In the name of all the Gods,
Yes my love, I will soon build you a castle.