Tag Archives: pain

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.

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Of Remembrance

Lucky are the people who are never pushed into oblivion. Someone who stirs your soul without even trying is rare to find. Someone who tells you things you never considered before, who agitates and soothes you at the right times, someone who you helplessly give in to, someone who makes you question your own thoughts and come off with a better outlook, someone who just doesn’t know you but sees right through your soul. You have a few moments to remember but them, you remember clearly. There is nothing extraordinary about them but the fact that ‘they’ did it, changes every single perception. Their memories doesn’t fade. Just becomes harsh because with passing time, you miss them even more. You wonder what it would have been like to have spent more time with them, to have explored them a little more. Lucky are the people who are never forgotten without putting in any efforts. Well, sometimes, just sometimes the people you cannot forget are the ones you spent the least time with.

Of Late Night Talks (II)

“I’m scared.”

“Why?”

“It’s like everything, every hope is slipping right past me. I see people far ahead of me. The race has started and I’ve only barely begun walking. The goal seems so far away.”

“I can relate.”

“What’s your story?”

“Me?” he pauses a while. “Lost, I guess. Everyone around me feels that I’ve no direction in life. That I’d end up useless, probably spending nights sleeping on railway platforms and being jobless. See, I’m alcoholic. I lose my temper most of the time. All I feel like doing to sitting in some cold, empty place..and just being there. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to talk. For once, I want to disappear.”

She tilts the glass and fiddles with the cocktail onions on the edge of her glass.

“It is weird, but I feel the same way too. Sometimes, I feel as if the world is moving too fast. People aren’t bothered to spare a glance at what’s happening around them. All of  them have their eyes set on the goal and they are madly running towards it. But what after that? What happens after they reach their goal? Their life isn’t complete, is it? They start looking forward to other milestones. It’s like amidst the entire career, money, education, we are forgetting about life! Why, if life is about going to a prestigious university, having shitload of money and driving to parties and meeting business targets and getting back home, tired and lifeless, I better not live it at all. Because, that is not life for me! It isn’t about the highs always, is it?”

He shakes his head quietly.

Turning around, he rests his elbows against the metal railings and leans against it.

“It’s about the lows too,” he says. “It’s not always about the noise. The silence carries as much meaning, in fact more. It’s not about how much you earn and how much you work and how much settled you are, sometimes the very essence of life lies in going through the lows and then standing up, ready to face the world all over again. I want a story like that. I don’t want to tread down the known road. I want to get lost. I want to get drunk. I want to be clueless. And I want to fall down, cry and learn. And then, when it dawns, I want to be stronger. I don’t want to be the same person I was the other night. I want to be the person who is happy. And I want to bask under that feeling. I want to really feel the moment. Be right in it. And remember it when I breathe my last.”

She smiles.

“Isn’t it crazy that we all can talk so much about life and give advice on how to live, yet when it comes to applying the very same thing, we back away and go back to being the same people? We embrace the concept of “unpredictability” in theoretical approach. But when it comes to being clueless and not being able to know where we land up and how, we run away scared. I want to breathe.”

He nods slowly.

For a minute, neither of them speak.

They think of the dawn that is a few hours away. But it isn’t their dawn. The sunshine may wipe away their tears, but inside, they will be still sad.

“May be we are supposed to live our life this way?” she speaks again. “Scared. Confused. Driven by dreams. And then, mocked and told that reality is bitter. May be life’s supposed to be this way only? But then, why can’t I be as secure and as happy as other people when I’m doing the exactly same thing as them?”

He shrugs.

“May be life is not supposed to be this way?” he responds. “May be our formula is wrong. May be because people are scared, they don’t take another road and like a herd, we all walk down the same way?”

“I had this strange idea as a kid. I was always thinking that our life is just this crazy dream and we are aliens on another planet and we’ll wake up one day and realize that all this was a dream and then everything will be all right again,” she takes a sip of her drink. “I want to forget everything for a moment and start afresh.”

“I had that stupid idea too. And yes,” he tilts his glass against his parched lips and gulps down the burning liquid, “I want to forget everything too.”

When the morning arrived, he found himself walking down the muddy road, back to his house, three blocks away. And she found herself calling a taxi to take her to the airport.

But they weren’t scared and confused anymore. Although the road in front of them wasn’t exactly a straight road, they knew that if they kept running, if they kept chasing their dream, one day, it will be theirs. One day, the life they had dreamt of, they will be living it.

They faced the morning with brighter hopes.

Of Inanition Of The Soul

The rain water poured on him as he tried to pick up left-over food and unused materials from the garbage dump. He held a black polythene bag over his shoulder and scoured for anything that seemed of a little importance to others. He was drenched and water tripped from his torn, rugged clothes. He wore a mucky banyan. His bare shoulder was exposed to the devouring drops of rain. The petrichor seemed to have vanished away. His eyes were immersed in the search for coins, severed jeans, shabby shoes and tattered bags. His lips quivered in regular intervals. He wiped off the water from his eyes so that he didn’t miss out on anything he could pick up.

Suddenly, his eyes were looking for shelter. He saw a shop and carefully carried his bag and left for the place. He sponged himself with a piece of jute he had collected from the dumpyard. He sat beside his polythene bag and squeezed himself to feel warm. He gazed at the seemingly angry sky. He felt as if everybody hated him. His eyes pleaded for love. He thought about the last night. He slept hungry. His little sister cried herself to sleep. He hated the fact that they were poor. He hated that he had to see his little sister compromise with the slightest of desires. He couldn’t see his father work so hard day and night at the construction site and return with a few bucks which was never enough to provide the family with a heartfelt dinner. He could feel exactly how his father felt. There was need and desire to live a normal life but not the ability.

“Don’t sit here, you moron. You will wet all my stuff”, the shopkeeper seemed to notice him then.

He was used to such condemnations. He quietly got up and left with his bag. The rain had however become less intense.
While walking, he remained engrossed in vivid images of his scarred life. He could see his mother scrubbing the tiled floors of another house. He could see his little sister crying for some food. This filled his eyes with sad tears. He could visualise his father toiling his sweat off at the site. He could see the moustached man at the grocery shop denying his mother anything and everything. He could see the doctors at the hospital swatting his father away because he couldn’t produce their fees.

He was almost at the verge of weeping. He didn’t demand love or sympathy. He dreamt of school. He dreamt of being able to visit water parks and theatres. Even, going to the temples seemed like a big deal to him. Above all that, there were these vendors with spicy fries and delicious sweets he could never resist. He was not in a need to learn adjustments and sacrifices. He was already making one. All he desired for was a reason to thank somebody. Unfortunately, he didn’t have one.

Of Hopeless Tales of Hope

It had been raining for days. Days and nights.

The eternal mist had settled in front of the windows, draping a cloak of darkness for the people who wished to see the light.

To the tune of ferocious winds, the lifeless trees would sway all night.

To some unheard crescendo of a low moan, the rain would come battering down on the roofs like bullets.

The river would swell each night. More and more. Wiping away everything on its path – every bridge and every house.

Radios would chatter on evenings, coupled with feverish prayers of people.

The nights were scary. The days were as dark.

Each night, under the little light from the candle, as she’d prepare her bed, she’d hope for a miracle.

Each night, before falling asleep, she’d look out at the misted window panes and believe, deep in her heart, that the next day would be different. That it would be bright. That the rain would stop. That a miracle would happen at the dead of the night.

The next day, even though the day would be darker and the rain even worse and no miracle would have occurred, before falling asleep, she’d look out at the misted window panes and believe that the following day would be different.

No matter what, at the end of the day, she held onto the tiniest bit of hope.

No matter what, at the end of the day, she believed.

No matter what, deep in her heart, despite the thousand voices in her head that told her otherwise, she believed.

Of Yearnings and Disturbed Relationships

He was the only son in his family. A family blessed with goddesses. He was the sole caretaker of his family. The only one to take his lineage forward. Well, his family had always wanted a son and there he was, like after four daughters. He always held him responsible for the well-being of his family. Well, why wouldn’t he? It seemed as if he was born for the same.

He used to carry out errands. Not just the petty ones, but the actual adult stuff. He used to visit banks, take care of the passbooks, pay bills, take care of the electrics of the house, buy his sisters copies and pen, ride his mother to the grocery shop and the list just goes on increasing in length with the passing days.

He was only 14. He knew it was no big deal. A part of him had established peace with the fact that he is meant to bear the responsibilities of his family. Well, on an extra point of view, was it fair to him? Sometimes, his mind would wander through the dark tunnels of questions that remain unanswered. His father never gave him a pat on his back. His mother was chained to the shackles of busy chores of the house. She was basically, a typical mother. Or should I say, more of a wife? He would ask himself whether it’s right to take away his childhood just like that. Nothing was ever enough for his father. He would never give him a good word. Never let him know how very proud he was for having a son like him. Everybody seemed like a burden to him. That hurt him.

Sometimes, he would choose a lonely place. He would sit there for hours and look at the vast, blue sky. Look at the clouds merrily swatting away, the birds soaring high, the green trees waving themselves with utmost ecstasy. He would gaze at them and forget about his entangled life for a few seconds. Then, it would all overcome his blessed soul. He would feel a heavy weight on his heart. Something would prick him. He would wish his father would call him closer. He would know he had not done anything big but he yearned for something, maybe a word of appreciation or two Then, he would repeat these words to himself. Like, it was included in the long list of jobs he had to do everyday.

“You know it. That you’ve not done that big a thing. You know that you’ve just wiped the dust off the table. You know that you’re not that open. You know that you’re a good person, not selfish at all. You know you’re doing it because you want to and you like to. You don’t need people to hover around you like bees over flowers. You don’t want to become the cynosure of the podium. You don’t want a medal or a certificate. You’ve never even given it a thought. You know it’s just enough to be a good person. Nothing else matters as long as you have a heart of gold. But sometimes, you just wanna know that the world knows that you know it. You just wish everyone knew it, the kind of person you are from within. Sometimes, just sometimes, a word of appreciation is all you crave for.”

Then, he would get up and remember that he had to pick his sister up from school. He would go back to leading his monotonous life.

Of Twisted Tales Of Pain

She wanted to live a happy life.

But each night, after the enchanting chaos of the city had dwindled and the orbs of light blurred in her vision, she found herself walking down the narrow bridge. At times, she’d stop abruptly and lean over the wooden rails to see her reflection in the dark waters. The planks under her feet would creak slowly under her weight as she’d gaze deep into the fading reflection of herself. Her eyes lacked mirth. Her lips were always twisted, painting a frown.

At other times, she’d walk and walk until she’d reach the willow tree at the end of the bridge. Leaning against it, she’d quietly slip into the gravel road and watch the world walk past her.

As the night would slowly merge into darker shades, the tears that she’d been holding would give way and into the silence of the night, she’d scream out all her sorrow. She loved the way the night hid her pain. Never did Darkness let anyone know about the one poor girl who cried into its embrace. Alone.

When the colours would slowly start to melt and dawn would arrive, she’d pick herself up, wipe away her tears with the back of her hand and pretend as if everything with her was just all right. With that brave face of hers, she’d face every dawn, no matter how much she was breaking on the inside.

One Friday night though, when the neon lights at every club were bright and high and oven timers pierced the thick air, and she walked down the bridge, she wasn’t alone. For Darkness followed her step.

When she stopped to look at her reflection, Darkness looked down too.

“You are here, every night, without fail,” it said.

“This is the only place that never fails to make me feel lighter,” she answered.

“And you are the only person here,” it said again.

“It probably seems like I’m the most disappointed person around, doesn’t it? A broken family. Unsatisfying life. A stressful job. And when I get back home, there’s nobody to hear me out. So, I come here, thinking that someone will understand. No one does. They sleep silently, tucked inside their blankets and wake up to loud alarms in the dawn. And they face the day. As for me, each morning, I wish to go back to bed and sleep away forever.”

“It wrenches my heart, dear, to hear you say like that. How I wish I could tell you otherwise. How I wish I could tell you of the stories that hide in the light. You see people, walking straight, heads held high, their shoulders straight, and it is as if they’re afraid of nothing. I’ll tell you a different story – they are afraid. Deep inside, each one of them is a mess. When they talk, they are still thinking of a hundred different things in their brain. When they laze back in their beds, they think of the world. They have broken hearts. They are lonely people. And they hide their true faces under the bright light of the dawn, pretending that nothing’s wrong.”

“It is okay,” it continued,”to be a little sad, to a little frustrated and to be a little broken. Each one of them is. Some of them keep telling themselves that there’ll be brighter days, holding on to the minuscule glimmer of hope in their hearts; while some of them come here on fateful nights and end their stories. What you need to do, is face the dawn. It holds surprises for each one. But if you are busy grieving about the night, you’ll never relish what the dawn has in store for you.”

“It won’t make my life any better, will it?” she said.

“You’ve to hold on to hope and live yet another day to find out.”

That morning, when she walked amongst the crowd of people, she didn’t feel lost. Deep inside her heart, sorrow lingered, but just like the rest of them, she knew she had to keep going on. The very hope that she held was that, the next day was going to be even better.

Of People Who ‘Have’ To Leave

“My greatest loss, huh?”, she asked the interviewer. Her eyes were gleamy. One could not tell if she was in pain or deep regret. She seemed to walk down an unperturbed memory lane. She sat there. Lips sealed, for like a minute. “Ma’am? Your greatest loss? Do you recall any?”, the interviewer distracted her. She glanced at her. She thought for a second to just shake her head and deny but she couldn’t. She had to speak. It’s been such a long time she never spoke about it to anybody.

“You know, all of us go through a phase where everything seems just so perfect and at times, everything just seems so perfectly wrong. But when we are in the phase of the perfectly right things, we begin to take things for granted. That these good things are meant to happen to us. Well, no. We are supposed to learn that things don’t always remain the same. Some people stay. Some choose to leave. Some, we say goodbye. And a very few, need to leave. That’s the hardest part. The most difficult of all is kicking out all your dreams with that one person. The one who taught you how to learn your alphabets. The one who held your fingers when you were struggling to walk. The one who smiled at your stupidness and you knew you needed to not do it anymore. The one who defended you when both your parents were on a wrath. The one who lent you money when you were bankrupt. The one whose cellphone you stole to call your boyfriend. When a person like that needs to leave and there’s nothing you can do about it, that’s the most difficult of all”, she was wandering in a some other universe when she spoke. Like, she was going through all of it all over again. Teardrops fell. She managed to wipe them off. “I’m sorry I became so emotional”.

“No, that’s okay”, the interviewer tried to console her. “Well, who is this person you were talking about?”, she couldn’t hold it within herself.

“That beautiful lady was my grandmom”, she said with a grin across her face.

“Would you like to share with us a piece of her?”

“She was the most beautiful lady ever born. She had the spirit of an eagle yet her soul carried more secrets than The Secret Chamber itself. She knew how to smile when all she wanted to do was cry incessantly. She would love you selflessly and she exactly knew how to make someone feel good. Her eyes spoke love. The aura around her, I tell you, it was pure. Maybe, you think I’m exaggerating or something. But, no. She was no goddess. She was my grandmother. And i wish I could take you to her for authenticity of the information but…I can’t. She’s dead.”

“Do you remember anything about that day?”

” That’s not a day I really want to remember, though. Well, I can still see the faded bedsheets she was covered with. I remember the fluorescent bulbs and the shoes scattered outside the room and the mosaic tiled floor. I am holding her body so tight that I wish she’s playing some kind of trick. She couldn’t be that cold and lifeless.

She pulls the jacket closer around her and a dull pain fills her nostrils as she is trying to keep from crying.

“Enough about that. Anything you cherish the most?”

She smiles softly. The transition seemed quite genuine.

“Yes, I do. The most? Well, all of it. If I could, I would cherish every single moment I spent with her. Every single imagery of hers is vividly awake in my thoughts. I remember how her wrinkled hands clasped mine and she taught me how to write. She spoke numbers and letters with her broken, raspy voice that still held so much love. And sometimes,  even today, when I am on my way back, I dream of returning home to find my grandmother sitting on the sofa, knitting me a red scarf. I remember she used to massage my hair with the same jasmine oil, her favourite. The warmth of her hands used to spread in every little corner of my scalp. The jingle of her bangles while she did that, melodious they were to me. Oh, I wish I could bring her back!”

Of Days Like This

Something that came loose from my diary today..just today.

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt sick and slow?

Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to fall asleep and wake up to a newer dawn?

Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to be in the middle of a crowd?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to write till the end of the world, yet you couldn’t?

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like calling someone, yet you wouldn’t?

Have you ever had one of those days when you sat in the dark, no matter how much it scared you?

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt lonely and blue?

Have you ever had one of those days when every breath felt painful?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted someone to hold you?

Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?

Have you ever had one too many days like that?

Of Tomorrows And Todays And Golden Yesterdays

“I’ll be gone,” I tell him. “In less than a month or two, I’ll be packing my stuff and leaving.”

I watch a slow frown draw itself on his face as he hears me intently. His eyes blink slowly and from the heaps of books spread out in front of him, he looks up and meets my gaze.

“You’ll leave forever?” he asks.

Shrugging, I flip a page of the ruled notebook that lies in front of me and put my pen there. Closing it, I sit back on the chair and sigh.

“Not really,” I tell myself that it is the truth, but deep inside, something hurts. “I mean I’ll return twice or maybe thrice in a year. It’s not like I’m leaving forever.”

He nods his head carefully and looks down at the fluttering pages in front of him.

“Things are happening so fast!” I exclaim. “I remember waking up to August afternoons and cribbing. I wanted to leave sooner. The boredom was killing me. Each day, I’d put my books aside and tell myself that there’s still so much time! But look, it’s nearing April already! It seems like it was just yesterday when I was waking up to late mornings, lazily sipping on a mug of coffee and whiling away my day.”

His eyes are focused on the page but he nods slightly.

“Only four years to this date, you’d be thinking about this too. You’ll be done with your school and preparing for college already.”

“Right, four years,” he mumbles. “It’s all happening too quickly.”

I nod in agreement.

Leaning further back into my chair, I think of the glorious days of the year I had spent with my family. Each night, we’d sit at the dining table and hear Mom and Dad’s events in the office. Each morning, we’d wake up amidst hesitation and grogginess, wishing the darn alarm would let us sleep for five long minutes only. Each afternoon, we’d make ourselves steaming bowls of noodles and settle in front of the TV to watch a movie.

But all that is about to change. In a few months, I’ll be far away from this home. And it filled me with utter sorrow.

“And after college, you’ll return back?” he asks.

I shake my head slowly.

“It scares me,” I tell him. “After this, home is a far away thing. You have to stand up on your own, get yourself a job, live on your own, cook your food, wash your clothes. From this point on, I’ll be so far away.”

“It sure is happening too quickly,” he remarks.

“Every tomorrow that dawns, I want to go back. I really want the clock to stop. I want time to pause. Right now, it’s running too fast and I have yet to slowly lose myself in every moment. I want to touch everything and imprint its every crevice in my brain. I want to smell that musk of the attic and trap the scents in my brain. I want to make lasting memories so that I won’t miss all this so much.”

“I’ll miss you,” he says.

My lips quiver. My eyes feel heavy. And my heart holds a profound pain.

In that one moment that is weighing me down, I can only think of a dialogue from a favourite show of mine:

It is the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday, and then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today and that someday is yesterday and this is your life.”(One Tree Hill)

Silently, wiping the slight trail of a tear that had managed to escape, I turn around and look down at my books again.

“It’s late. Let’s study,” I say.

“One last question though,” my brother interrupts. “Is it really happening so quickly?”

I wish I could tell him otherwise.