Of Late Night Talks (III)

“Your life is pretty interesting enough,” he muttered. “You can write about that. I’d read it.”

I gave him a small, half-hearted smile.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write about my life; pen down the little happenings and the hundred people I come across everyday and write about my dreams and hopes. I can’t do that. It’s too-” I paused, searching for the right adjective. “Too difficult. The story will start to sound too mechanical. There’ll be no soul to it.”

“I don’t think I understand that. My bad I’m not a writer,” he said.

“Where do I start, in case I ever decide to write about my life? The problem is, there’s so much I could write about and yet, it feels so less! What do I write about? Of how I spend nights crying, wishing I weren’t alone? Of how I look at every person, trying to understand them only to have them push me away because they love their facades? I don’t go to parties. I don’t drink. I don’t have a huge social circle. You’d find me on weekends, curled up in my bed, stating at the ceiling fan and thinking nothing. What do I write about? That? That sometimes I feel like doing nothing? That sometimes I just want to sit on the edge of a cliff and spend my entire life there? That sometimes, I feel so empty it almost kills me? Will people read any of it?”

“I’ll tell you what will make then read it,” he said and turned to me. “Somewhere between the lines, down the few hundred pages, they’ll find a person like them.”

“No! We’re all so very different!” I cried almost immediately, but then, I paused again.

He sighed and leaned back. “I’ve gone through all that too, everything that you mentioned. Let’s accept it, each one of us is a little scared, a little confused and a little sad. We cry. We laugh. We fall. We are hopeless. We stand up. We live. We die. We are little miracles. Our lives can be wonderful. Why do you think nobody would be interested in reading about your life and seeing how much it resonates with theirs?! You should write your story. I’d read it.”

“Where do I start?”

“It’s your story.”

“I can’t,” I said and stood up. “My story seems so small, so insignificant than the stories of people I come across everyday.”

“They feel the same too, that your story could be so moving than theirs. But you know what, that is probably what makes each one of our stories so magical. In the midst of our busy lives, starting from waking up and travelling in crammed buses to returning late and spending sleepless nights, there hides this one beautiful story, struggling to be told. And yet, no one gives it a chance.”

Somewhere, I knew, he had struck a chord. The corners of my lips fell into a frown and my breath hitched.

“So, let’s start this another way,” he said and stood up. “What’s your story?”

“Average girl. Vibrant dreams. Too short a life. Confused. Writes not because she has a lot of ideas, but because it keeps her sane. Likes stormy days and moonless nights. As hopeless as others when it is dark. Finds solace in the dawn. Hopes to get somewhere in life. And I don’t know, that’s it. What’s yours?”

“Running scared. Running away from something I’ve no clue about, but I know one day when it catches up, it’ll shatter me. Lives happy days with a lingering doubt that it is the calm before the storm. Is hopeless most of the time. Doesn’t wish or dream much because he doesn’t believe in himself. Hopes to get somewhere in life too. Clueless most of the time. Likes to hear people. Likes to travel because somehow he feels that it gives him a chance to start anew. And yes, though there’s more to it, that’s all I can think of right now.”

“I’d read your story,” I replied.

“I’d read yours too,” he said again. “And you know why you’d read my story and I’d read yours? Because though are stories seem simple, they are beautiful in their own stand. We know our struggles. We know how we get through each day. Why wouldn’t someone like to know more about that? It is the simplicity of our stories that makes it so beautiful and so unique.”

The night turned a shade lighter.

Of Meanings

Sometimes, I like to stare into the horizon. Alone. Sitting in the crisp mid-August air of one of the buzzing metro cities, I sit in silence, staring at the zoning headlights and the one, solitary, constant streetlight right outside my window. There’s no meaning to it. It’s like staring at a blank piece of canvas for long, only this scene right in front is filled with myriad colours.

Cars line the sidewalk. A few happy teenagers walk alongside, laughing and singing to themselves. The evening is slowly drawing in and yet, the sky is empty. Devoid of stars. But it’s no genius prediction that they’ll soon be there. Twinkling and zoning out into the oblivion. It takes a little bit more darkness to see them in full light.

The picture in front of me is meaningless. It’s like a page ripped apart from the perfect storybook and it flutters with the wind, falling in the hands of a lonely stranger or two, causing them to stare at it awhile longer, just to see if it resonates with their lives.

It resonates with mine. It feels empty. The picture feels empty, though there are people moving and cars honking and lights speeding. There’s a wonderful beginning and a glorious end but somehow, I’m stuck in a scene which has no meaning. Nothing. But somehow, it captures me. It fascinates me. I’m perfectly happy with being stuck in the same scene for long. I’m not waiting for a shattering climax or a surprising breakthrough. I find meaning in the meaningless scene. I find everything and yet nothing.

So, I lean out of my window and watch. The people walking below the street don’t know what tomorrow holds. Yet, they want to wake up to that newer dawn, believing their lives will be better. The streetlights flicker and stay and stay and flicker, a silent witness to the everyday world. They are the much needed light for that one lost traveller who is likely to stop by right below and peer at his phone and call his family. People may think that they don’t need the weird, old lamppost there, but they do need the light. And though nights have been synonymous with darkness, surprisingly I see every picture ten times clearer. Sometimes the night hides the reality and paints a distorted illusion. But sometimes, it shows the world in all it‘s glinting, real colours. To me, the day hides more demons than the dusk.

The scene is slowly starting to metamorphose into a meaningful picture. Or may be, I’m looking at it from a different set of eyes. It doesn’t matter. I feel like I could’ve paused and stayed in this scene for even longer even if it was devoid of meaning. Surprisingly the hunt for a meaning doesn’t haunt me anymore. For sometimes, I’ve realized, that every thing in life needn’t have a meaning. Every thing in our lives doesn’t need to be making sense. All we’ve got to do sometimes, is believe, that someday it’s all going to fall back in place. Someday, when we are miles ahead, having passed that meaningless phase, we’re going to look back and it’ll perfectly make sense.

Even if it doesn’t, it’s beauty is not lost. We don’t need to find the meaning, sometimes.

Of Love Around the World

Someone once said that it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all..

Glancing back at the moments with you
A veil covers it all
Darkness seeps into my memories
With you did they take a fall.?

Some of them withold their love
Say they are happy enough
I loved you with all my heart
But why our ending was so rough.?

Shattered like a glass it was
Was it a price of some sin we paid.?
Tears fall like a waterfall
Will you come to my memories aid.?

Laughter and joy seems aeons away
Lonliness fills my every part
In another world you rest in peace
In this world you have a place in my heart.

The ones who said they are content without love
Longing fills them just for a touch
As the sadness ebbs away
I come to reckon, I have more than much.

Basking in the glory of our love
The veil lifts and the darkness fades
Light shines and fills my world
It wasn’t in vain, my crusade.

In my heart, you forever lie
No one can ever take your place
You are my love, half my soul
Always remembered in my wake.

Better to love and then lose
Someone said to take that way
Rather than to not love at all
For you will never reach the bay
Always wandering, searching a ray
Better to love and then lose your love
For someone said that’s a better way..

Of A Letter For My Brother

I’ve been a very bad sister. Remember when I used to steal the pizza rolls off your plate and eat them? Remember when I never saved chocolates for you and ate them alone? Remember the time when I used to hide behind closed doors and scare you? I’ve been a very very bad sister.

Remember the time I decided to go and study in another town, leaving you behind? Remember the hundred thousand fake promises I made, telling you that I’m not going faraway and that I’ll be always near you? The truth is, I’m actually far away from you. Each day, I return from college to an empty dorm room and how I wish you were here to greet me. The distance matters far too much these days. Each night, I go to bed, thinking about you, thinking whether you cry each night too. Each night, I look out from the window at the stars and surprisingly, they seem closer. Each night, I pray a million times to have you around me, to have you close.

I miss you. So much. Only I know the painful way my heart wrenches when I think about you. Only I know how much I’d give up just to be near you again. How I wish you were here, asking me your irritating questions and hugging me on bad days. I can’t wait for college to get over. I can’t wait to cone back to home and hold you close.

My college doesn’t matter now. I’ve realized that each one of us comes to a point in our lives when our family matters to us more than anything. I now realize that I’d give up anything just to be around you again.

For you are everything to me. Everything and more.

Of Forevers And Faraways

“Promise you’ll stay in contact,” I muttered. “Call me twice a day and talk about anything. I promise I’ll be there to listen. Don’t hesitate.”

“Okay, I will,” he said. “But you’re not going faraway, are you? You can always return, can’t you?”

I nodded, unsure of the promises I kept making.

“No, it’s not that faraway, I promise. You can come visit me anytime. And then, there’s Skype too! We won’t lose contact even for a moment!”

“And you’ll be there, right, forever? You’ll have my back?”

“I will.”

“Will you miss me?”

A blaring horn cut us off and the train stood in front of us. For a second, I was relieved I didn’t have to answer that question.

Will I miss him?

No.

I’ll cry on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, wishing for him to be there. I’ll buy enough snacks for both of us, and then sit down and eat in silence because he won’t be there. I’ll bring his favourite chocolates from the l store and save them so that I can give it to him when I come back home next. I’ll do everything we did together, but I’ll never bring myself to cry and miss him ten times more.

“You didn’t answer?” he mumbled. “Will you miss me?”

I looked away, blinking back tears.

Of Windows And So Much More

Misted windows. That is all he remembers.

He remembers that one lonely Sunday afternoon, when the sun forgot to shine a bit brighter and he sat by that one solitary window in his house, squinting out at the frozen glass to see the mist settling down from the hills.

He remembers the buzzing crowds – crowds disappearing into the mist and the mist disappearing into them; of blinding headlights and screeching car tyres – of the twisted picture of the world right outside his little window.

And then, he realizes he remembers something more.

He remembers the mosaic tiled floor. He remembers the rusting window panes and the wet plaster falling off from the walls. And he remembers the one, beautiful girl who stood right in front of him, her tinted cheeks pressed against the glass.

It is always silent. She knits the days away and he reads. On particularly sad days, he sits up and watches her. She rarely looks up and never meets his eyes.

He wonders, far too often, how someone can be so focused on doing the same thing for so long, but then again, doesn’t he do the same?

Sometimes, when the sun is far too bright or the sky too dim, freckled with looming large grey clouds, he forgets what her voice sounds like; what it used to be to look into her eyes and smile.

However, when the sun fades into the iridescent horizon and the winter night seeps in, with little raindrops, he remembers everything all over again. He remembers her face – as glorious as the world outside his little window. He remembers her voice – as beautiful as the raindrops trickling down his little window. He remembers how her skin felt against his – as mystifying as the first rays of the sun of those eternally dark days that he saw through his little window. He sits by the one solitary window in his house and looks out and remembers the world beyond the sun.

Slowly, with aching steps and shivering smiles, he walks to her and holds her hand. She is his little window to everything.

With a groan, he lies down next to her.

It is always silent. He remembers every little thing now. He has a slight urge to run to the window and look out at the world, but he is tired. So he stays beside her, still.

The world continues outside the window, piercing the mist and breaking the silence.

The window stands there, a sole witness to the painfully parallel worlds on either side.

Of The Things We Finally Remember

Sometimes, it comes down to the little things, the little mistakes and the little failures and the long rainy days that linger awhile longer in your mind.

Sometimes, you don’t remember the stage with flashing lights. You don’t remember the people who cheered. You don’t remember the overwhelming moment of pride. At times, all you remember is of that one rainy day when you broke down in the middle of the road, dejected and devastated. All you remember was telling yourself that it’ll be okay.

Sometimes, when it’s dark, that is all you’ll ever remember.

Of Nights Like These

She sits alongside the pavement, hugging her knees, waiting for the night to fall asleep.

Above her, vastness stretches far and wide. The cars have stopped. The traffic lights keep blinking. The streetlights flicker to a random rhythm. And the wind blows to a silent crescendo.

She looks up at the million infinite stars above her, light years away from where she is. She looks up and sees them twinkling from up there, looking down at her and perhaps smiling. She realizes that the existence is so vast and she is so tiny.

Placing the glass bottle on the stony pavement, she stands up and manages to find her way back home.

That night, when she falls asleep, she remembers to wake up as a newer being. Her life is so tiny when compared with the eternal universe that she resides in.

Looking up at the stars, she smiles and sleeps.

They look back at her and fall asleep.

Of Dad’s Advice To His Little Girl

“I know how you feel,” he said, clasping his daughter’s hand tightly.

“Scared and confused doesn’t even sum it up, Dad!” she murmured, withdrawing her hand and sighing.

“I know,” her dad says again. “I know you’re thinking that you are taking a big leap into the uncertainty. I know it feels like standing on one footstep and realizing that the staircase in front of you is actually a dead end. It’s not always going to be easy and you know that. It’s going to be a struggle from here on. But remember, everyone has to struggle in some way or the other. Each one of us goes through the same course in life in different little ways. I know you are afraid. I know you want to step back and live under the brighter sunshine. But no, my little girl, you’ve to go. You’ve to fly to discover what exists beyond the sun. And for that, you have to leave the ground. You’ve to leave this known haven behind.”

The speakers spluttered. The lady stated that it was the final boarding call.

“Dad, what if I fail?”

“You’ll never learn to fly, sweetheart, if you never fall. We’ll be there. We’ll have your back. In your darkest times, I promise you we’ll be there. When things go wrong, remember to struggle and live until the end of the day. What will matter twenty years from now is not where you reached but how you made the best of every opportunity you had with you. The next morning will be a new one. You’ve to keep faith and you’ll be fine.”

Her feet trudged along lazily. Her footsteps were heavy.

“How do you know I’ll be fine?” she cried.

Clasping her hand again and hugging her close to his heart, her father kissed her goodbye.

“You’ll be fine. You’ll be just fine,” he said.

Of Edited Pictures and More

She is holding a tattered notebook, close to her heart. A few pages stick out of the spiral bound black book. The letters are fading. Each time it rains, each drop, washes away some more of the pages scribbled with blue ink. She glances down at it from time to time.

He is holding a broken guitar. A small guitar with a string taut and the others hanging loose. He runs his hand over the metal body and then sighs. Biting his lip, he leans over and plucks a chord. The sound makes him twist his face in disgust. He keeps quiet, holds the guitar down and waits for his bus.

She is holding an old camera and a few photos. As she looks down at the rainbow-coloured images that she had once clicked, it takes her back to the happy times. But a moment later, when the rain comes pouring down in a torrential downpour, she forces herself to look away from the pictures. Now they mean nothing to her but blurred Polaroids.

He is holding a broken record player and his favourite pair of dance shoes. He looks at them and feels everything and nothing simultaneously. He feels desperate, almost to go back to the very world he had created with them. But then, he looks away and tells another tale.

I stand there, faking the same smile that I had been long holding on to. But the corners of my lips are starting to hurt. The smile is giving away and I can feel the tears pricking. The bus will be here any moment, I say myself and fake the same smile.

When the wheels screech in front of us, we stand up and take a deep breath. Each one of us walks ahead and boards the bus, leaving behind the things we had brought along. I drop my smile; she forgets her notebook; he leaves his guitar; she abandons her camera; and he walks away without his dancing shoes.

Our pictures are no longer real. The camera will lie from here on. We are nothing but blurred Polaroids and films without our dreams. We are nothing but the images found in the recycle bin. The colours may be brighter, the hues may be sharper, but all we are inside are edited pictures, drowned in black and white.

The bus takes off and we leave a part of us behind.

('cause caffeine is known to solve problems of the world)