I feel our bed teleport-ing,
Wormholes and next,
Stars burning out and bursting away
into clouds of velvet, purple and blue,
We move on through,
Pulsating lights around, lighthouses in space,
And our hearts beating wild,
Our bed, our dreams, our thoughts,
Your laughs echoing through the infinite,
And my words failing to grasp
the universe in your smile,
We move on through,
Onto our moon..
"Is there anything that shocked you at that time?" asked the interviewer.
I was bemused at how insignificantly she raised that question, it was as passive as the fan on top of us which moaned stress-fully, on and on and on. The heat of the day was forcing my armpits to overflow and my muddy cotton shirt to stick onto them, this greatly exaggerated the unpleasant stature of my existence at that time. I thought about insignificance again, how my story mattered the least to her day-to-day affairs. How it eventually meant nothing but a secure dinner maybe, with her middle-class husband perhaps, who can't wait to hear her torrid tales of routine.
"I don't know" I said "Looking down, I felt my legs never belonged to me."
"Why is that so?" she persisted.
It seemed as though the fan was moaning after every word she spoke with even less a vigor.
"Perhaps it was only then I really began looking down."
"What does that signify?"
I looked up, the fan was choking.
Why do you want to know bitch, I thought of asking her on her face. That would be worth trying, the thought was in fact strangely exhilarating, maybe that would turn her emotionless image more demonstrative, maybe that would let her know I meant business.
"It signifies I am not someone who looks down often!" I said with a grunt.
"That is quite something I must say" she remarked without changing her appearance.
The fan stopped.
"May I ask you something?" I interfered as she was about to ask something even more nonchalant.
She looked disgruntled and nodded in the affirmative. A universe of emotions suddenly erupted inside of me, I could no longer contain it. I felt words crawling like freshly pumped blood, through my heart, into numerous cells, empowering them in ways they never experienced before, making muscles in my cheek move, my voice box to clatter and to release air which turned to involuntary words, lost and never reclaimed,
"Miss" I felt the lost words hit my eardrums, "Does it cost you anything to fuck off from my place?"
And then silence fell on us. Heavily.
"Look, I know life has treated you in ways you don't want, but surely look at me. We've been living together for 7 years. Please Anand, please.."
I could scarcely make out what she was saying. There was paint on the floor, on the dinner table, on the plates, in fact, there was paint all over the dining room. Surely who must be insane to paint from their dining room? Her eyes looked blue.. no, maybe someone painted it blue.. How I hate the color blue.. Who invented blue?
"Who painted your eyes blue?" I shouted.
"What? They.. They look.. They look that way.. What's wrong Anand?" she replied stuttering.
"I hate blue!" I could feel my noise echoing through the hallway, hitting all the blue colored canvas, taking a tinge of blue from them all and hitting my ears again. It was horrifying, all the blue in the world.
Her face showed horror, I approached her cautiously as if not to upset her blue well. It may spill and spread all over the floor again, I thought, I must be careful. I took out my silver colored brush, dipped it in the darkest of red I found in my palette and slowly approached her. It should not spill, I kept on thinking and gently pushed the brush into her eyes, it turned red in an instant.
The fan continued to moan as I saw the interviewer step out. The hallway seemed lonely and the dinner table abandoned. The heat was incessant, it was raging. I tried to close the windows but it found ways to claw in. My blood continued to hit my temples, and a migraine was slowly boiling inside. I must find something cold, I kept murmuring.
I climbed up the terrace of my apartment into burning sunshine. It grew around me the more I stood, making my cotton shirt to hug me around like a naked lover. My face was dissolving, and my eyes were developing a sore. I had to move, movement always makes things better, I thought. I took the ladder, which laid unused for quite sometime, and made it stand upright on top of the cement tank which satisfied my thirsts. I felt my cotton shirt pressing against me now.
I climbed the first step.
I removed the first button.
I climbed the second.
I removed the second.
I climbed the third.
Fuck it, I'm going to tear this up. The tearing sound of cloth may have been burnt out by the Sun. I moved on.
The tank grew closer, I threw my torn shirt away into scorching sunlight and stood for a moment looking at the water. It smelled pungent, and there were all sorts of insects floating around. I closed my mouth and held my nose tight. I wanted to shout something, but as I began to do so I felt my feet hit something cold and whatever I might have shouted went muzzled by the surrounding water.
There was paint all over my legs, wherever I walked I left prints. I saw footprints on our television screen, I saw footprints on every single canvas that remained dead on our hallway, I saw footprints on vessels, plates and newspapers, I saw footprints on her face, her hips, her stomach and her breasts.
Everything around was cold, everything around was covered in paint. I felt my head ache as I tried to make sense. I began searching for meanings, for new colors that could paint my fantasies. I took the color palette and mixed every color I had, it showed off a reddish-orange. I sat and began covering everything I owned with this newly made glorious-colored paint.
In between I stopped and stared down at my legs. These legs, these prints, I thought, they don't belong to me.
The water around my body curbed the aches inside my head. I climbed down the terrace and walked into sunlight again, it felt less painful now. A passing breeze went onto cool me and my senses, I walked on. I should get something to wear, I thought.
There was a textile store nearby, I decided to let my body taste freedom until then. I walked into the store, half naked, all wet.
"I want a shirt!" I said plainly to the bewildered salesman. "I'd take that blue one on the top"
As blue as her eyes, I smiled as I thought, I mean I don't even know if she may have a middle-class husband.
It has to be said that it was a tough few months for me and it seems like things will go downhill for sometime now. I am taking this time to thank you all for the support you have given me throughout my time blogging. It was an amazing experience here, I became a much better writer compared to who I was when I began this journey. It is hard for me to say goodbyes, always have been.. For now, I believe this is it. I hope to come back someday soon. Till then, take care and enjoy life!
Of all the women in all the different universes including ours, Nandita was the most beautiful, at least according to me. "If you are writing my fable, it should begin with my beauty" said she when she accustomed herself to me during my dreams. It has to be stressed right from the start that whatever I know of her, I discovered through those dreams - Nandita; her body like wild fire consuming anything within its vicinity, her eyes like deep wells of poison intoxicating your body once you fall in, choking you with passion, her touch like hot blood dripping over your skin with its ironish smell and dark-reddish texture, and she - complete, perfect!
The way she told her story was by itself enchanting. She would lie beside me in my sleep, play her hands around my ears, caressing my face, feeling my lips and gently whispering in my ears. A strong current of lust would then fill my body as I would pull her close to me, our bodies uniting with shared melancholy, with every inch of my grotesque existence asking her to continue the magic. She would laugh at my helplessness, giggle at my impotence and stroke my head with dominance. There was always a strange allure to her, which made my words dance to the music of her orgasmic gasps. I remember writing about her for the very first time,
'She comes in my sleep as if she existed within me. She knew where to touch, she knew what to speak, she knew how to appeal to a hapless man like me. It was as if she knew me long before I ever knew myself. It was at once haunting and entrancing, that someone who presents herself only in your dreams could inspire you to write about her.'
Our nights were set ablaze with passion. Her voice was a relapse to my depressions, and her assiduity a forbearance. And one should say it was mutual. She would sing tales of how I could heighten feelings of desire within her. She would comment on how my hands discovering the curves and crevices of her physique could make her breasts overflow and her body to ache, how I could absorb her remorse and create a moment of happiness which brings her closer to life than she had ever known. Those days of passion continued for a very long time, and every night I found myself encapsulated by her sweating nudity and every morning I would wake up to a deserted bedroom filled with her lascivious aroma.
Words dripped onto my diary like reminiscent ardor and every entry I made had one name all over,
'Nandita - my lust, my love. I know her existence maybe a trick my mind plays. But I have never been with another woman who understands me better. It may seem like a word of flatter, but as of now, this woman who visits me during my sleeps, fills my head with a perturbation that desperate lovers and lonely poets could only feel. It was as if we were broken fragments of a faraway star, having to live apart all this while, but colliding with each other one fine day under the light of the same old star. There was something heavenly with it, something spiritual. It was as if I was discovering my own femininity and falling irrevocably in love with it.'
I had to speak about all this to someone other than her, which was why I met up with my sister Krutika, calling her out for a coffee one cold evening.
"It is stupid Nandan, I find it damn strange and damn stupid." she said.
"You know me. You know the issues I had, the struggles.. struggles to understand my own gender." I said reliving something we've both forgotten by then.
"I could accept that phase of your life. But what you blabber on now.. It is ridiculous! And it is plain bullshit!" she thundered.
"Well then, piss off!" I said and walked out leaving the untouched coffee to the mercy of the surrounding frost, while she was shouting that I should see a psychiatrist.
Many things changed after that talk with Krutika. I began treating Nandita with contempt, the way you treat your schizophrenic hallucinations. As she crawled over the mattress, in a pursuit to hunt down my frightened lips, I pushed her away making her jump angrily over my chest. She sat there breathing down her ornery winds, which hit me, filling me with rue.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" she asked.
"Nothing I said, just leave me alone today." I replied.
Next morning came sans her smell, the crumbled bed sheet exhibited spots of blood, the source of which I realized was my neck which was torn apart by my own claws. 'Is this all some absurd fantasy?' I thought. 'Will I wake up twenty years younger on my mother's lap?'
"Life has beaten me!" I murmured as I looked at the balding figure in the mirror with stale eyes "It has beaten me faster than I thought.. Everything has become so absurd.."
'What do you get when you add a little personal absurdity to a greater universal absurdity which besieges us all?' I thought and went back to look in the mirror. 'Somewhere inside that head which is losing hairs as if by the click of a hair-losing switch, the woman I loved would be staring angrily at me.'
In days following our argument, Nandita came and left as if she was given a key and set in motion. The curves of her body didn't upset my breathing like it did before, and possibly she understood it too. Those meetings became more of a timid pass time, something which failed to interest us both.
It was then that we began doing something, no ordinary lovers would do - we began discussing insignificant things! We talked and heard about multiverses, and of individual electrons. We talked about our favourite cartoons and childhood pranks. We talked about poems and songs, colours which interests us, teachers who inspired us, our fears, our insecurities. These random musings brought out a certain interest which we lost midway. We sat cross legged on top of our bed, night on, eating each other with our eyes, talking about every last thing we experienced in our individual lives.
"I always wished for this" I remember her saying "Us.. Beside each other.. Late night.. When everything around is in deep sleep, while we sit here looking at each other and talking about every silly thing no one cares to talk about!"
"We're doing it now, aren't we? We're going through something special here?" I asked.
"Yes" she said "Something so beautiful, something I wish would last forever!"
There was silence, and every last negativity which pulled us apart seemed to be fading away. I held her hand, it locked perfectly with mine, letting our finger graze over the backside of our hands. I let her head rest upon my chest, stroking it gently.
"In what language does rain fall over tormented cities?" she asked suddenly.
"Are you a tormented city?" I replied jokingly.
"I'm an island. Seas surround me and I stand without company."
"So falling rain will make it more torturous?" I asked.
"No. It relieves those torments of the commanding salinity around me."
"So, in what language does rain fall over tormented cities, my dear?" I inquired.
"In the language of love. Single. One. Universal!"
Saying this she got up, took my head and immersed it between her breasts, the heat of which made my cheeks to sweat. I climbed over to kiss her damp lips, and bit it with ferocity. She threw her hair over my face, making a screen through which she repetitively hit me with forceful kisses, asking me to guess where the next one will come from. After the sexual tensions held long within each other finally broke away out of us, we fell like tired fireflies, motionless and glowing!
'The language of love. What difference does it make if the love is for her? Nandita - she was always there inside me, ever since I was born.What difference does it make?' I thought and fell asleep upon this glowing woman beside me.
Dedicated to Chester Bennington, for making us beat the darkness!
When I first saw Samir, I couldn't see anything remarkable in him. He looked rather old, more than what his records show. He didn't greet me, and never really made an attempt to do so. It should be said that I had extreme apprehensions about him due to the nature of his case which demanded nothing but contempt. When I asked him if he was involved as said, he never denied it, and maybe never truly accepted it all the same. I remember those conversations as much as the man.
"Hi. You're Samir, right? I'm Anand. I'm your advocate for this case."
He said nothing. He never even cared to lift his face up and have eye contact.
"You see Samir, this is not that complicated a case if you can give me apt details. So you should open up, otherwise it will be difficult."
There was a deep well of darkness within his eyes, the extend of which I could not decipher. There were no tears, I believe it got dried up long before we met, or maybe even longer than I could imagine. Even with all the empathy within, I never wished to enter this man's shoes because I knew it would either choke me with remorse or weigh me down with heartache. After all Samir was here because his mother mentioned him in her suicide note. Yes, it is a difficult thing to lose your mother, perhaps even more when it is something she did to herself, and when she says it is because of you, that by itself will be enough to crush you out.
After all those meetings I remember the first thing he ever said to me, it was delivered with a genuine air of incongruity.
"Mr. Advocate... I don't think it means much to you... But I'm trying to remember how her food tasted like... It's strange, however I try to remember, I can only get the smells of her Biriyani... The taste escapes me..." He laughed for sometime, though it never occurred funny to me. He used to take time between sentences, think about something, laugh, start with it again.
These talks continued for many days more. I think it was because he had nobody to talk to and however formal my appearance may have been those days, he found a good pair of ears to hear his tales of nostalgia.
"Sir. I remember the day she taught me how to ride a bicycle... I never remembered it during the days she were alive... It dawned upon me only after she died... She would hold the handle of my bike, and would come running behind me whenever I would go fast... I thought of it as a fun thing to do back then, to make her run... I made her run... I made her run after me all her life....."
I believe the first thing which hits you after a person you know so well dies is a profound void. Something which ceases to be filled however you load yourself with other things. The void stays there unperturbed, waiting for you to fall into it and realize that life will never be the same without them. For Samir, it would have been no different. And I seriously thought that it would take the better of him, that he would live in this world of absurdity where he is left with only accidental shots of distressing memories. Memories which in his view would've added up to his mother taking that decision to end her life.
After all the talks I've had with Samir, the first time he said something to me about the case was when I invited him out for a smoke one Sunday.
"I'm not denying my involvement in the case, Advocate... I've been like a thorn in her feet, pricking into her flesh whenever she takes a step, making her bleed... I've run behind all things unnecessary in her eyes, I think it would have taken a toll on her mentally..."
"But Samir, whatever you claim to have done, I don't think it would've been enough in a normal world to do what she did. Was she suffering from any mental delusions, something which she talked to you about?"
"I don't know, sir. She always had this feeling that I'm going to harm her someday. It is funny when you think of it that way. She always thought I would kill her to steal her money or something..." He laughed and wiped away the tears which formed like clouds in a May sky. And after almost two weeks since I've known this man, I came to realize he knew how to cry.
I believe that this moment marked the beginning of our relationship, however insignificant and unimportant it would seem. Maybe for the first time I opened myself to the point of view that this person who I'm representing is as human as anyone around me. And when I knew more of him I realized that he had an attachment so deep with his mother, it was incomprehensible that she would do something so naive if not due to some grave mental situation.
It should be said that those smokes during Sunday afternoons continued weeks on. Samir found it relieving and I was understanding more about him, his insecurities, and what his Umma meant for him.
"You know something, sir? Sundays were always my favorite days. I remember we, Umma and me, used to go to this dargah to hear Qawwalis. She would dress up in the richest clothes she could find in her old attic, cover herself up with burqah and would hold my hand all along the way. There was something re-assuring about it. There was something re-assuring about Sundays. It was as if we would be back to normal soon..."
When I tried to pull him back to areas which would interest me more with the case he would spin off and say something entirely irrelevant. I remember him saying something about my name in a similar situation.
"Anand! I love your name. There is a ring to it no normal man can understand. It is as if you've had to conquer seas of despair, come out at the other end, just to shout your name to yourself. Anand! Happiness!"
"You're quite a charming speaker, Samir" I replied then, visibly blushing.
"Yes. A writer too in spare times."
"And why didn't you make it full time?"
"Umma! She never believed writing could be a worthwhile profession!"
"And so you sacrificed it?"
"Not entirely, which is why I used to find a lot of spare time!" he laughed and I joined in this time. "And her qualms, it began when she was certain I would not fall within the normal mould."
"Was she afraid you would break away from her to follow your own path? Was she holding onto you like she used to whenever you were going to that dargah?"
"I do not know, sir."
"So that had something to do with this, didn't it? Your dreams?"
"I do not know. It made her upset. But I think she always was upset about me."
Samir replied and didn't speak again. The empathetic part of myself which was moving into escapism resisted the pull, came back and filled Samir's shoes. It was only then that I realized the storm he held within his heart, the doubts, the fears. On one side his dream, on the other his mother's failing mental health. He chose neither and that by itself could've been his gravest mistake.
It didn't take me long to prove Samir's mother was a schizophrenic who had absolutely no idea about anything when she decided to end her life. The letter long held as evidence was returned to Samir. He decided not to read it anytime soon.
"Maybe someday, when I have fully recovered from all this, I'll take a look." he said.
"You have your life ahead of you, you are a free man. What do you intend to do with it?" I asked.
"I don't know. I'm sure I can't go back and change things. But I can do things a little differently from now on."
"Samir. You are a good man. After everything that happened, I still believe that."
"Maybe, sir. Maybe I am. But good and bad has very little appeal to me these days."
"Samir, please don't spoil your life."
"No. I intend to write it up someday. I think it will be better served from a perspective outside of me. And I think I know just what I should do."
"What is it?"
"I guess I'll give you a chance to narrate!"
Those were the last words I ever heard from Samir. He never called me, never dropped in on those random Sunday evenings to see how I was doing, and maybe share a smoke. He didn't respond to my letters. He never said a word of thanks. I think it will always be hard for a person to be charged with the death of his own mother, and as for Samir it would've been equally awful because in his view he was partly responsible.
As of now, I hope he does well with his life, I hope that someday he will sort things out. I hope that he would read what his Umma wrote about him, and could still look back with fondness on their relationship, however it deteriorated. I hope he finds peace. And I hope he would take up writing because as far as I know, I am not a good narrator, I hope to see how he presents me in his story!