Friday, May 17, 2013

Nights I remember

Night one

Of the many ways I thought to leave, a star dimmed and showed the way.

Night two

The moon, a raging bonfire. Stars sit around like tribal chieftains sharing stories. I read the sky.

Night three

I step out of the car to open the gate. White are the husky bougainvilla petals. White is the muffled moonlight and the mellifluous outlines of jasmines growing by the Sintex tank. White is the glow from the street lamp. White is the song from the moon. White, the sky that is. White, the sky that was. White is the night.

Night four

I enter my unlit home - that past midnight, roils with hope of a candle-wick that was snuffed out but will taste the flame soon.

Night five

Curtains were not fully drawn. Non-chalance of a full moon in the sky. Intricacy of the treetop that filters. Something out there always cares.

Night six

Five books by the bedside and a heart that can't decide.

Night seven

Remembered something. Twinge of pain. Some blurb that did the healing. The moon will soothe the deeper wounds.

Night eight

A thespian sky flirts with an abandoned pillow in the balcony.

Night nine

Misty grammer of muddled clouds. Uncorrected. Understood.

Night ten

Heavy, heavy sleep and the eyes droop. Closed lids, open skies. And out there a million constellation for a thousand whys. Confuse answers because they came from the sun. Children that will forget the legacy.

P.S. - For every late night that I have witnessed over the last few weeks. You fleeting, whispering, enchantress - you gave me much.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Late night

Some nights, I drive back from work as late as one in the morning. Those nights, I feel bereft. The sun is down, I have counted the three shades of darkness that coat the world. I coast past empty roads listening to some scratchy old song on the radio, my mind elsewhere, but still returning home.

I see drunk men. I see leaves swishing in the summer breeze. I see shadows passing along like whispers between lamp posts and bushes.

Late nights are beautiful. Silence gets a chance.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Teeny thing to keep in mind...

...after listening to the stories of my dad or feeling the support of A...that when you are young, you think that the world has good and bad people. Not so. People have goodness and badness in them. Some parts of the world will bring out one. Some other parts will bring out the other.

Simple. Tough.

Hard little lessons, hard little reminders

Last night, I was talking to my father after mum had drifted off to sleep. After the crisis, my parents have been under rough weather. Tough times usually complicate matters and so the fabric of home has become a little twisted lately.

I brewed some tea and in the dim light of the lamp, my father told me stories about the history of Gengis Khan and Akbar. When I listened to him, I wondered what kind of a person he was. One wouldn't think that so much crisis had befallen my father lately, or even through the course of his life. Something about the way my father tells stories or talks about distant histories of civilizations during troubled times like this...something about this anachronistic storytelling feels like walking through this rich and evergreen forest. You look around and you see that maybe some trees have been felled or some flowers have wilted and little portions may be dead for right now. But all this is just a trickle of time, a moving trace across an expanse that seems to go on and on but the forest knows that it's just a season.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

As things go...

Things have been rough for my parents lately. Both have been very unwell since the last two days. I had made a frantic trip to Bombay yesterday and I watched both of them slumber in states of semi-consciousness. I have seen either one of my parent unwell at a time. Not both. Watching them both that way, looking so frail and weak, was a revelation. I did not think...I know it sounds silly...but I did not think both could be so weak at the same time. I didn't think my family was designed that way. I had never imagined that. I had imagined one ill, one strong, or both strong, or even one alive and one having passed on. But I had never imagined what it would be to have both of them not respond to my voice or not hold my hand or tell me what was going on in their world. For a sharp moment, when I didn't think they were breathing, I remember sensing the room spin wildly. I wasn't having a dizzy spell or anything but I was so confused. It can't possibly happen to both my parents at the same time. They can't possibly BOTH go. One of course has to be there because well, certainly I need to have a say in these matters or some su chvain thought crossed my mind. But they were both so quiet that they seemed small. They were curled up on the bed and lying so softly, so deeply, and so peacefully. Everything was so hushed. Both their bodies seemed like they were at some phase where this world and everything in it had just melted away and they'd slowly dissipate into some other realm. They would vanish and I'd be left counting the number of sunflowers on the bedspread. It was a very bizarre experience.

What was even more bizarre was an interaction. My parents were at the receiving end of some thievery that was covered in some newspaper. That piece of news was emailed to me with some kind of a relish. I don't know why anyone would do that. To a friend. To someone they claim to love and what's that other word - yeah, respect. I don't see why or how an article about my parent's condition becomes so newsy as to merit a forward. There are many things my gut has been prepared for, over so many long years that I have lived and walked the earth. This felt like a really dirty, low betrayal.

This morning, they were feeling somewhat better so I left for Pune. For the good part of the morning I had pleaded that they come with me. They didn't want to. Then I packed my bags and hugged my mom and  hollered, "See you later!" (I have become superstitious about the word 'Goodbye' now. I'll never wish my parents that.) As soon as I came away in the car, without seeing my mom at the window because she was too dizzy to stand, or wave to my father because the bright sun was hurting his eyes - at that very second, every single thing stopped to matter.

I went to work, had lunch, answered my colleagues' queries about what happened, got some respite from chatting with someone else who was telling me about her pet cat, had cups of bad coffee, skipped gym, drove home very badly, almost colliding into cars and pedestrians.

Now I am sitting at home and typing. I still cannot understand how or what could make someone actually enjoy sending across a newspaper clipping like that. What kind of twisted humour is that?

My house feels so empty and my life at this point feels so meaningless that it is beyond comprehension. I never knew that it was possible to feel 'nothing' of such proportions. Is it possible for people to want you to suffer so badly that when something bad happens to your loved ones and not you, they will derive joy form it? Is that that even possible?

When I saw my folks like that - so feeble - I realised that lately, they have always seen me in the midst of heavy work or dire despair. When I become good and whole again, some other person gets the full benefit of my hearty, healthy self. Including the person who sent me that message.

Well, some learnings take a long time to hit home and today it did. Not everyone is worthy of my love and affection. And I will not follow my father's advice to 'love till it hurts' or my mother's advice of making sure that a friendship outlasts a quarrel. No. I will not do any of that. Whoever I need to get by happy in this life were asleep in that room and that one who looks back from the mirror. Everybody else is incidental - some possibly more meaningful than others. Some more painful than others. Some pain comes with growth. Some others comes with the question, "How much of a sucker will you be now?"

Today, I decided to answer exactly that question. I decided to answer, "Not any more."

With their eyes closed today, my parents opened mine.