Friday, 23 September 2016

The Call

*
Dedicated to that special friend who is going away
*


'There is something deeper than love, something which seeks me, or rather calls me onto it. I'm powerless against it, I'm too weak to fight it away!'

Frost covered all around like cold wildflowers. It was like spring, without colors, without scent, without life. Thinking about it now, I do not know if such a spring exists, but something in her voice kept on re-affirming me that it did.

'What normal people call their destiny, and what I define as my call, that vision which troubles us in sleep, which makes us fight insurmountable obstacles. I should not be sacrificing it for love.' 

'But what are calls Ruya?' I protested 'What is this destiny other than what we experience, what attracts us amongst what we see? Ain't it all a large collection of ideologies which we gathered through our childhood, adolescence and teenage? Ain't it all things we allowed to settle inside, is it not our creation?'

Cold was stabbing my throat with every word I spoke. From grand distances and time light visited us as twinkling spots, somehow it never appealed to me that night. Nor did swaying boats in the horizon which was seeking its own destiny.

'You're right. We create it, we create that call with our thoughts, the words we read, the roads we traveled and the nights we spend sleepless.' Ruya took a deep breath and continued 'But does that make any difference?'

There was this familiar feeling of life slipping away through my fingers, my breathing grew untame and my mind grew restless. I should not let her leave, I thought, not with what we had until now. Not with those nights where she narrates stories of dying stars and evolving life, not with her gentle moans and reassuring smiles, not with her bewilderment, her confusions, her curiosities and her madness. I've grown to need it somberly, like how nocturnal beings need darkness.

'But I love you, and you know how desperate I am'

'You love yourself, Anand' Ruya laughed 'Like all beings, you love how I make you feel, you love that feeling of love inside you, you love yourself inside this space-time where we exist holding each other's hands!'

I grew silent. I felt the frost enveloping me, eating into my sustenance, punishing me everytime I spoke. I was beginning; to conform, to let it devour me in its eloquence, to be a part of the lifeless spring, to die cold and alone like all beings.

'We are strange creatures Anand, and rare ones too.' Ruya pulled me close 'Our journey is not only through space or time but through intelligence. We are in motion, we are forever becoming. Do you know how butterflies migrate? Those who begin the process of migration never reach its destination, they always die in between. We are also the same, but that doesn't mean we should stop moving'

I pulled away from her hands and touched the Earth. It was cold and dead, and yet it was in motion. It would continue to move for eternities more. Life may collpase, stars would die, everything may shoot inwards into a singularity but then everything will again be reborn. That is the cyclicity of the universe, that is the only truth. What is an Anand in that great cycle, what is a Ruya? What is it that we gain by holding hands? What is it that we gain by letting go?

'Ruya, will it make you happy?' I asked.

'I do not know, but it would make me satisfied' she said.

'Go!' I said. No tears rolled down my eyes, no great weight burdened my mind.

She pulled up her sleeves, gave me her longest kiss and asked me to stay sane. I laughed cause what all are we but an insane collection of random particles condemned to live a life of sanity. I looked at her walking away, stars shining inside the folds of her hair and a dark red moon igniting her body, I realized then that some people find their insanities while others forcefully forgets it.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Onsra

It was during a spring 15 years back, when Salim had announced that the only way to drink alcohol was to let it slowly clutch him towards death and when Matthew would realize that God was being ceaselessly raped by his knowledge, that I began going out with Nasrin. Married for more than 20 years and still not bestowed with the subtleties and intricacies of motherhood, I’ve got to admit I was more or less certain that she would fall for my gutsy literature and riotous mood swings. And during those times, gripped with the fantasies of love and encouraged by the energies of drugs, life was indeed a spontaneous and ceaselessly blossoming adventure.

“You’re mad Anand! She is at least 15 years older than you!” was what Matthew had to say. “Bring her over for a peg” was Salim’s ardent yearning.

***

Nasrin was a strange human being, and with my genuine affiliation to everything even slightly strange, Nasrin assumed a certain level of exaltation which was never overpowered by any subsequent relation. She was intrigued about the world and was inspired by the poetry of Neruda, she was bisexual and wrote about the beauty of loving people without barriers of gender, she was living with her husband and yet would land in my apartment every single day without shackles of time or guilt.

“You make love with the thirst of a wounded slave who is given a bottle of rum to savor before death!” Nasrin once said, and I kept using the same words over and over to muse people who were covertly interested in our strange relationship. The fact was that the thirst was equally reflected in her eyes and constantly seeped out from her sweat as we lay naked night after night, singing sonnets of Neruda and making love like wild dogs.

And the poems I wrote during those times marked a generous shift from pains empathetic poets enforced upon themselves to beautify their writing, to a more heart-ful and ardent yearning to fulfill the passionate cries of my heart.

‘Storm, dark and dangerous, I wrote back then,
Shelters your nudity,
Whilst I stretch my arms
around you,
It devours me and spins me off control,
How difficult it is to love you,
How difficult it is to love your storm.’

I particularly remember this poem because she replied to it with a word that came to her during her travels.

‘Onsra!’ she said ‘Is a feeling, a mixture of pain and undying emotion where you know the love you have would not last the rains of tomorrow, yet you have no option but to walk into it today!’

***

Matthew would call Nasrin as ‘the dark red spring of my life which bloomed late’; in fact he was so impressed by her assiduity to all forms of dissent that they became close comrades in their day-to-day revolution.

“Everything about the Capitalist system enslaves human potential, and it is pathetic that political parties which ideologically favor Communism or Marxism have over the years conformed much to the system and became slaves themselves. This is to say freedom is everything for a human being or a human organization”, I once heard Nasrin say.

“Freedom is indeed everything. Perhaps all the more we need freedom to think our own thoughts”, Matthew then replied, “Our thoughts today are shaped by larger-than-life news anchors and venom spitting communalists acting like they are demi-Gods and shouting that they are common man’s consciousness while all they have been are paid workers of the system who has absolutely no control of what they vomit out of their mouths or shit out of their Capitalist arse!”

In between these conversations Salim and I floated in a world abound with some sort of poison or the other. 
“Guys, I have been free all my life”, Salim said then, “But then they invented alcohol and I couldn’t help but fall in love!”

“And that love is killing you dammit!” Nasrin shouted

“Ain’t all love meant to kill us?” Salim laughed.

Nasrin threw a glance at me, I twitched. There was a deepening amor between us with every peg we had, and years later when I look back, those days shaped the words that I throw around today.

***

When Nasrin said she was pregnant, the first thing that crossed my head was an uncontrollable guilt followed by a persistent image of her feeding a newborn with her sagging breasts marked with spots of red where I tried to seek pleasure, it still visits me as nightmares on nights when I do not have the motivation to even close my eyes.

“We could try for an abortion” I finally said.

“What the fuck are you talking about, Anand?” she burst with anger “All my life Jemal and I have been waiting. 20 years Anand, 20 fucking years! I’d talk to Jemal, I need this child.”

“Are you insane? He’d kill us both!”

“I don’t care. I love him, I love him the same way I love you, perhaps a little more. And I am sure he would recognize it!” she replied.

“Do you believe in that? Do you believe he could forgive you that easily?”

“I believe in him, I believe in his love. I believe in love generally!” she smiled and looked hard into my eyes, holding my hands she asked, “Would you come with me? We could clear everything out.”

I was uncertain, uncertain about Jemal and the idealism love brought into Nasrin. She claimed that she shared her bisexual adventures with Jemal and all he did was slap her hard in the face and everything was back to ‘normal’. ‘But having a child of another man wasn’t the same thing’ I thought.

“If you are to say it to him, you’d say it with me by your side” I promised.

Love was to her
a covert fascination,
a passion, boundless inspiration.
It filled her with vitality,
It graced her with lust,
She searched for it among all,
She searched for it in her soul!

***

Jemal was everything that Nasrin was not. A hard-skinned, poker-faced, intensely masculine human being who supposedly walked the Earth through the grace of Allah.

“I need the child, don’t you need it too Jemal?” Nasrin pleaded.

“Ask this Himar to fuck off from here!” he shouted.

“I’m sorry Jemal, I’m sorry for everything. We could live a life from here Jemal. We could forget everything and begin anew!”

Jemal was eyeing me up and possibly thinking which part of my body once attacked will hurt me the most. I was ready.

“Nasrin” Jemal looked at her and his eyes grew moist “I’ve loved you all my life, and this is what I get in return!”

He reached out and she fell into his arms like a scared lamb. He held her close, perhaps closer than he would have ever held her. Just then I saw his face growing red and he raced into the kitchen, came out with a large knife, held it tight and gave me a poignant glance. I took a few steps back and prepared mentally on how to handle the towering figure of Jemal.

He turned to me and for a moment I thought he was smiling, but turned back again and dug the knife into Nasrin’s stomach. I heard a low moan emanating from the place where she stood and felt her voice crack. She desperately tried to make her eyes meet mine while I fought on to escape from the obligation. I froze; there was a reminiscent passion hiding somewhere within her and perhaps a faint hope that I would rescue her from her suffering. I could only watch on as Jemal pulled the knife back and dug it deeper. I heard the suppressed cries of our progeny - a collection of random particles granted the rare capability to think, but whose unfortunate point of occurrence ate into the dreams she would have seen, the places where she would have been, the ideologies she would have stood for and the poems she would have written.

Her moans gradually receded, Jemal walked towards me, handed me the knife and cried. “Kill me”, he was saying, “Release me!”

***

Salim succumbed to a failed liver the past week. Going through his literature which was always shunted by his relentless devotion to alcohol, I found a piece which talked about Nasrin like ‘a bottle of Rum, uncapped and for anyone to drink’ and her love, ‘like luscious poison which you cannot refrain from tasting!’

Matthew and I still talk about her, the spring she carried with her everywhere and how she would think things no man would dare to. Perhaps that was what springs were all about, a violent throw of strange colors which is bound to pass with time, replaced by monotony and blandness.

I have heard from acquaintances that Jemal took to religion with fervor and is presently living as an ascetic Sufi who supposedly has a strange craving for passionate Qawwali music, though from that day when he broke apart in front of me I have never seen him in person.


For me, Nasrin disturbs my sleep every night. She was indeed a very strange human being. She could’ve ended it all with a safe abortion but she took the chance. She was a strange human being because her love was sanguine and its flow was not meant to be reduced to a single sink. She was that dark red spring whose memories still blossom within me. She was that uncapped bottle of rum whose poison made me dream. She was that dark and dangerous storm which hesitantly subsided before me and whose memories lead me into that apartment, where I sat watching the flow of her blood, unlike her love, spreading strenuously along the floor.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Yearning

Cigarette buds keep piling on in the ash tray,
Words without meanings dance merrily inside my head
Carrying a commotion of dark red flags between you and me,
There is happiness among them, their laughs are inaudible yet visible,
I wave for you to notice me,
The flags pass, the words dissolve,
You look at me and I continue to wave,
Your eyes do not light up, your face do not bring that familiar smile,
You walk away leaving me adrift and alone,
Cigarette buds keep piling on in the ash tray,
And I continue to wave.