Return – Chapter 7

Life goes on. It must, and it will. I had already known what the result of my feat would be, and was well aware of the consequences, or at least the end product. So it did not come as a surprise, much like how the breeze blows through trees, making a whisper, but never staying for long. I thought about the day when Irtiqa and I talked about seasons. ‘Autumn is for leaves what spring is for flowers’, she had said. The things were different, the work was the same. God works in mysterious ways, he does the same things to different entities, and yet we love one and don’t like the other; without any reason actually, because we have no reason to like one over the other, or do we? Such silly questions went on in my mind, for now I had nothing to think about, and more importantly, nowhere to go. My family was gone, and Shaena was gone. And Irtiqa, well, she was there, I knew it for sure somewhere deep in my heart, but it couldn’t become of me to look for her and go back to her and tell her all what happened and tell her the truth and that I loved her as much as I had ever loved Shaena, probably more, and that all this was a mistake that I should never have done. I knew already what would have happened. She would smile, as she always did, then go back to her life and leave me to my own. She would never ask me to go away, but somehow she’d keep herself away from me, to the point that her being or not being did not matter to me anymore, and that was okay, for that was exactly what she had wanted to do. And the other people in my life, oh, where were they now? How were they? I had no clue, and yet here I was, in a land far away, with no clue of where I would sleep that night, or who I would talk to, or what I would do, or what I could think. Life was just so.

I walked down to a tavern and the kind lady filled my mug with a fresh draught of wine. I gulped it down and banged the mug on the table. She filled it again. This happened for a couple more times when I realized that I did not really have the money to pay for my drinks. I looked on both sides, and suddenly ran out. I needed to run as fast as my legs would take me, for I had not enough to pay. But the wine made me stagger, and I could not run properly. I fell, bam on the ground, mud on my face, and I lay there. I don’t know how long I lay there, but I was sure I fell asleep. Because I dreamed. Irtiqa came around. She was now sitting beside me bandaging my head. It hurt. I held her hand and she held mine, looking deep into my eyes. And then she hugged me. It was almost as if I had forgot the effect it had on me. I grasped her with both my hands, and I was crying, I knew I was crying, probably wailing loud enough, but I couldn’t hear my voice, and that was when I knew I was dreaming, because Irtiqa, she would never see me again, nor would I. For that I would have to wait unto death. For she was dead.

I wondered how long I would stay alive now. I had no one to go to, no money to spend, I had wasted myself on the last drink, and now I had nothing to do, and the night was still young. There was only one thing I could do, and do that did I. I walked back to the tavern. The old lady looked at me with disgust, then spat on my face. I did not move. I looked at her, and perhaps she noticed my eyes, or maybe she saw through me, saw what my heart felt at that moment. For even so at that moment, a tear dropped simultaneously from both our eyes. I walked up to her, and held my ears as a sign of apology. And I waited for her reaction.

She smiled. Perhaps this return was worth it.

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.

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

Without Masks

I pray for a day, when everyone around,
Would come out of their homes,
Without wearing their masks.
They would hold it in their hands,
And we’d exchange ours for else’s,
Wear the new one, and see how it feels.

Perhaps it would be difficult,
Perhaps impossible it would be,
A king to become a beggar,
A farmer to become a lawyer,
But that would be only a small part,
Of the troubles and joys that would be yet to come.
I imagine a priest in a liar’s mask,
Would it be difficult, I’d want to know.

I pray for a day, when everyone around,
Would throw their masks on the ground,
Let them get trampled by the others,
So that never again would they wear them.
I wonder what would happen then,
Would all around go forever unmasked,
Or build new masks to hide themselves?

Perhaps it would be nice to see,
What lies underneath the common face,
What we face when we face each one,
But then I wonder, and I think,
Would it be nice to know that a serpent,
Slithers amidst the grass we walk,
Or let it be as long as it,
Does not raise it fangs to poison us?

Dreams

Would you believe if I told you,
That all this is only a dream,
That one day you’d wake up to see,
All these years, were only a dream.
What everyone does, is only a dream,
Only it is for somebody else,
I dream your life, and you dream mine,
Wanting to be a part in each other’s.
For the day we wake up, we would smile,
Come to each other and I’d tell you,
What I had dreamt for you,
And would patiently listen,
What you had dreamt for me.
There is no life, there is no death,
Everything is but only what we desire,
Not for ourselves, but for the one in our dream.
We don’t know them, who they are,
But weave their dreams, nevertheless,
Honing their lives, working hard for them,
And in the end what do we achieve?
We’ve led someone else’s life,
Pretending to ourselves it was our own,
And when we wake up,
They think we are dead.
But deep down we know,
We only woke up to see a new day,
And when we sleep again,
We would dream for someone else.

How It Changed Entirely

This is a sequel to Nothing Has Changed.

It is true that you change,
When people around you do,
Or else I wouldn’t be writing this today.
It is true that you change,
When I am absent,
Or else I wouldn’t be writing this today.
For coming back and starting,
From the point you left off,
Is never the same as not leaving at all.

You understood my eyes,
What they meant without speaking,
Now you can’t hear me,
Tell me, who changed?
You smiled at silly jokes,
Now you mock me with others,
Say I am stupid,
Why, who changed?

Goodbyes were meant to be happy,
Yet this time it isn’t,
I am sad and I’m upset,
But you wouldn’t know,
You are busy there, out with new ones,
And like old newspapers I’m trashed in a can,
Know that I’m sad to see,
How it changed entirely.

Abyss 5

Someone walked in through the bedroom door,
Walked out through the balcony,
And jumped to the ground below.
I kept looking at him, a known silhouette,
A plethora of emotions, a croaking of a raven,
The smell of first rain, and the salt from the sea,
The early morning breeze, and the hundred known faces,
All converging into one, then diverging into many.
I looked at the mirror, he looked at me and smiled,
Then vanished as the waves that lap against the shore.
He jumped back from the ground into the balcony,
This time I jumped to reach him, to hold his hand,
He wasn’t real, the face was now mine,
We had interchanged, only if it were for true.
The smell of smoke, of petrol and the wind in my hair,
We were racing on a road travelled years ago,
He looked at me, and his bike speeded up,
In a moment he vanished.

I was back on my bed, getting down to open the door,
He visited me for some notes,
We broke our fast together but his plate was untouched.
There was another woman going up the stairs,
She waved at me, and her face changed into his.
Then there was laughter, and I was in the classroom,
Sitting behind him, and he cracked a joke.
Everyone around was laughing, laughing merrily.
We came out of the class into the open air,
The grass so green and soft, like it was alive all over again,
We smiled, and yet tears were shed.
Someone shook me and I woke up, it wasn’t that bad a dream,
After all it was only a dream.
Or so I wished.