The sun sank lower in the sky, changing to shades of tangerine and the cotton candy clouds blushed pink with the balmy touch of the setting sun, and there I waited near a bangle sellers cart, for him to come, hoping to recognise his face; after all it had been a dozen year! And there he was with a smiling face and I waved at him. Soon we were walking through the piazza, my eyes shifting from him to the glittering lights and sky and people around, and back to him! “Coffee?” He asked and soon we were strolling past the unfamiliar faces on that evening, the two of us….in search of a coffee shop! On entering the coffee shop there was a silence that enveloped us, and we decided to break the ice by placing an order. I saw him go to the billing area and saw him come and we talked about this and that! I was opening up to him like a blossoming bud.
Then, I saw his face lighted up among those dim coffee shop lights, and his attentive eyes and that strong shot of cappuccino and my endless talking, and his yes’s and no’s (mostly yes’s) and I had found someone whom I wouldn’t trade for life, someone on whom I could count! But now I see him as someone whom I used to know, and suddenly nothing matters, everything has faded like the world to a blind man and fog after the sunrise. It isn’t easy to love someone who doesn’t love you back in ways you want her to love you! There was tranquility in the way I love him, there was no obsession, no possession….only tranquil love, a love that his somatic, carnal blurred eyes couldn’t see! To love someone isn’t in our control but to walk away from that love is!
In the cloudplay on a blustery day and dead drizzling on a stormy night, he came to my mind in shades of greys leaving me in blues. The winds whispered to my ears a thousand memories of him and I sauntered down the memory lane.
Standing on the edge of a cliff, ready to take off, his deadpan gaze at the world beneath his feet, so unflinching, so passive, his glider would unfurl and I would skip a beat, and open my eyes to see him flying, higher and fearless! Those were the times he would forget me….forget himself…..forget the world!
On the moonless nights, we would stare at the shallow sky and talk of this and that! He would warm up my cold feet under the sheets and caress my nape with his soft lips until I fell asleep! I’d wake up in the middle of the night to a balmy view of a thousand glittering lights festooning the hills and his head on my my lap, and I would feel complete!
The dark dawns would keep us in covers for a little longer, and I’d feel melancholic with the thought of letting him go! He’d hold me closer and whisper to my ears- “these mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”
And I saw him slowly and hazily disappear into a thick, dark forest, dispersing into a thousand shades of grey, swaying away with the winds, far away somewhere where he greets me when I’m lost and blue!
The frozen fingers of the wind clutched my hair back and my still numb eyelids from the last night’s crying, felt even heavier as I walked in that blustery morning. Crying is purgatory. The flurries of rain that came with the gushy winds masked my swollen eyes to the world outside.
I travelled back in time when in a similar windy night, with the snowflakes falling and shimmering on our hair, he took my hand and graced my finger with a trinket, and called me family. I smiled and never smiled that way again. It was the miles we vowed to cover together, to live the dreams of one another, to go places, to escape to someplace where water sparkled with starlight and, where the silence bewitched our souls. We danced that night, danced till our aching feet could take it no longer! And sat, breathing heavily with the disco lights flashing, faces gleaming, and time running fast. I could feel my throbbing pulse and it soared whenever I saw his face filtering from the shaft of glimmering lights. His words lost in the sound of music reached my ears in fragments but reached my eyes completely!
Moments later we found ourselves wrapped in one another’s arms with warmth intact and I wondered whether it would last forever? And he sang “itna Na mujhse tu pyaar jata, ke mai ikk baadal aawaara, kab tak kissi ka sahaara banu, k mai khud beghar bechara.”
And we mused over the lyrics and felt it impossible to unclasp our arms and let go each other. And now walking in the windy morning, I felt a sorrow that even tears couldn’t wash off, wanting to turn back the clocks, to die in that moment when he held me in his arms!
Now that he’s gone I have a desire, a hope that makes those voids even deeper….and I reminiscence over the past, the pain surges high and bursts into incessant tears, but I wish I could explain how joyous and relieving it is to be devastated in love! To be liberated yet caged! How beautiful the pitch black night seems when the dagger of his memories plunges in my heart and I’m lost in his reveries….forever!
Since the New Year’s Eve, a lot has changed! I’ve stopped dreaming, dreaming about how perfectly I could be with someone, how easily I could fit in his jam packed life, how mildly I’d run my fingers through his dark, wavy hair and lock my fingers with his! How I wish I too could complete the years of togetherness with someone and post it to the bewildered, curious social eyes, glued to their phones and desktops! How I wish I could return to someone from my past, who already knows the tit- bits of me, and so easily I revert, as I know past has nothing new to offer anybody.
My crestfallen heart pours out its lament in the darkest hours of the night, when I unplug from the outer world, retire to my cold bed and throw off that mask. I go through a pattern of multiple pains that make me weak, weak to face the next dawn with a smile on my face. Weak to get up and show up no matter how I feel.
I feel homesick for the arms that will no longer hold me. The feels come back and go like the ocean waves and I dive into that wide somber sea that embraces me like no one else! I am used to the dark creature that resides in me, that visits me every night and sleeps with me in my cold bed, that holds on to me. I feel home with the darkness that rests in me and talks to me every night! The dark creature manifests itself in pain and tears and slowly the lights get dimmer or maybe my swollen eyes nearing sleep. I smile, I’m in love.
We talk of being friends with like minded people, the ones who “twin” with us. On my last day in Thailand, I came across these two little ladies, one of whom was incessantly talking about the scarlet dress she got for her birthday and stories of her cousins back in India while the other acknowledging her, patiently! I paced towards them, hoping to click the light moment that they shared (without their knowing) but they received me with a grin as if already acquainted with my intentions.
Afroz, the silent listener, and the loquacious Roohi, after a couple of minutes of blushing pink, agreed to have their picture clicked. They told me stories about how they loved sharing their Tiffin’s at school, and how they loved staying over at each other’s place on weekends and how they wish to grow up old together and race in wheelchairs😄. The one thing that I could not get my eyes off was their interlocked hands. What binds them so strongly together in such a tender age, I wondered. Maybe their being on the different pages of the book of their life, doesn’t really matter. They are those pieces of the puzzle that complete each other. Their purpose isn’t to become each other or fit in according to each other but to recognise each other and respect each other’s differences. Friendships aren’t always about rejoicing in similar ways, but in rejoicing together.
A journey I took, to shudder off the monotony that held me so tight, that I started to suffocate. It weakened my nerves. The Spleen replaced the blood and ran through my veins, I felt homesick for those arms that showed me a blithe disregard. So I was ready to escape. Packing a survival kit, I set forth with a great panache to tread the path towards the majestic mountains of triund.
The breeze caressed my face softly and I forgot how tiresome the whole trek was. The spleen was getting replaced by the warm blood. The purple hued evening studded with tiny stars and the clouds played a maestoso with the mountains that stood in front of me, ready to embrace me. I was basking in the purple rain, and my mind played back the song “little red corvette” yes, I had found the everlasting love here.
And when the Shepherd sang in his rustic voice “laal chiriye” the lore of the dusk, the hour of the cow dust…(godhooli) by the fireside, that spit orange embers into the inked sky, I absorbed the image of the silhouetted mountains for the last time, that left me teary eyed, for I had never felt a consummation so deep and fulfilling. I was blitzed as the night put its dark warm blanket on me, I was longing for this sleep and I wish I’d never woke up from that steady slumber.
Picture credits : Rajiv Srivastava
Under the star studded winter sky, when people usually don’t prefer walks, he’d go out covering his neck with a pashmina scarf, holding a lantern that dissipated tangerine beams on to the deserted rack, glistening with frost. He would gulp the cold wind that hit his face. Winter was a Vanita art to him, aesthetically pleasurable than the “Ars moriendi” where wreck and decay were symbolic of new beginnings.
He’d return unusually earlier with a face numbed from cold and, the dying embers in the grate would give a crimson flush to his numbed nose. “There’s magic happening outside” he would say to me and I’d look at his now vigorous face and I would acknowledge with a smile. Winter was a sip of vintage to him, a balmy beam on the graveyard, a beautiful death he’d like to embrace. Sitting in his armchair, he would sip the hot joe, putting off the lights and gazing at me with the filtered beams of the lantern, he’d scribble on his diary :
” Do you notice the pride of this winter night, seems as if it has come after meeting you….do you see what benevolence it holds, drags me home a little early to be with you.”