Friday, April 20, 2007

The scribbled words

He held the book tightly in his hands. So tight that his hands trembled and he could feel the sweat seeping into the paper. There weren't many words that he had. There weren't many that were needed. Memories often speak through unsaid remarks. Sometimes in questions and at other times in exclamations. He wondered if memories could be quiet. He nodded to himself and maybe even whispered a 'No'.

He looked at the clock near the window. His vision darting from the time to the date on the calendar on the table next to him. Time does fly by when you are trying to slow down and look at life in retrospect. As if it was all a part of a greater conspiracy to leave him far behind when he finally gets a grip of his senses. He got up and fiddled with the idea of having a coffee and then he sat down again. Sinking a bit further into his own self, something that he had mastered over the past few years. As if he had a magic lock that he could conjure up on the board and hide behind a giant wooden door.

He would have asked for silence. He could have begged for words. He did neither. The pen infront of him stared back and he shoved it under a pile of paper. He would not write a letter. Not now. Not today. Maybe never, maybe soon! His feet were loosely tapping against the sides of the bed. His mind was ruthlessly tapping on to the thoughts that he did not even know still existed. He tried to form shapes with his fingers and looked at the shadow of his hands with curiousity and then he smiled to himself. Perhaps it was time to let go of the smile and accept that he really wanted to cry. Perhaps he would not do that.

He got up and went down to the garage. His fingers toyed with the keys for a while before he fired the ignition. His eyes exhibited with a rather loud clarity that he had no clue of where exactly he wanted to go. He knew though, that he did not want to stay anymore. Maybe driving away from his house would help him walk away from his thoughts. Or at least that is what he was hoping...

It was around an hour since he left the house and the road shimmered shyly because of the rain that had come down not so long ago. His eyes were fixated somewhere far on the horizon and his mind was lingering somewhere far behind in his past. Another sign board, another motel, another gas station. Life was passing him by in a flurry of activity...

He lied still on the hospital bed, unable to move his right hand or his legs. The walls were a deep shade of white! That is what he thought to himself. The plethora of instruments around him rhythimically beeped and hummed while he looked at himself. He was not shocked. He was just too unsympathetic to his own presence there in that hospital room. A doctor walked in with some sheets of paper. He thought he heard some words. He was not sure. "Last night", "Rain", "drunken driving", "accident on the highway"...

Things were probably happening in such a haste that he was in the next moment before he could react to the previous one. Someone pushed him into a wheel-chair and brought him out of the hospital. Someone held his hand and pushed him inside a cab. Someone pushed him back on a wheel-chair and propelled him into his room.

He looked at the clock again. The calendar had fallen cross on the blue covered book. He slowly extended his left hand and flipped the cover open. On the white page were scribbled words. Words that he whispered to himself. "On your birthday I give you myself forever"...

Maybe forevers are just meant to last for a short time. His eyes closed slowly around his vision. Maybe tomorrow would come with a fragment of hope and smiles...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Capturing thoughts

It is like holding your hands up in a prayer and devouring whatever divine insight that you get with the ferocity of a jaguar. There is a hope to get hold of that single fragment of the fibre that would connect you to the umbilical chord of truth itself. There is fervour and then there is silence that follows. Bright and loud silence. So quiet that it would fret through your cognition itself and awaken the awareness of the not so real world. The grey shaded blurred space that fills up the gap between your finger and your thoughts. Ideas take shape but the shivering fingers won't put them on paper. They get etched in your consciousness and yet they won't appear in ink. Ah! Elusive thoughts!

We always wish to catch hold of one of those and put them to task. Whispering to ourselves as if that would persuade the ink to take some comprehensible shapes. Conjuring words out of thin air and then losing their tail just when you think that you have them caged. Then you turn to negotiations! "Atleast half of it". "A quarter?". Thoughts as it would seem are not very open to conversations. Neither are they open to consultation or contract!

Then you finally give up. Lay down your arms and leisure yourself to the luxury of an afternoon nap. Or should we say that you try to do that. Not long before you realize that thoughts are sadist beings. Like a sneaky mouse, they would run and hide when you are looking for them and just when you tell yourself "Let it be", they reappear, gnawing at something at the corner of your vision. As if throwing out a challenge. Showing little sign-boards that read "Come get me".

You think for a moment and sulk again. You talk to yourself, "I'll let that pass", but just as your lips close around that consonant's hissing tone you realize that the gnawing is getting louder. The thought now stands up on two feet and waves at you. Mockery infact is such an understatement for that dismal display. You wish to yourself to have a mundane moment. A thoughtless minute. Is there atleast a possibility to just shut the doors of your mind-vision and let that grating rodent haunt itself with loneliness? Yes you know answer which ironically is a "No".

You feel your toes twitch and you pounce over the bed-rails to that door mat. You almost got it this time. Almost. Just like last time? It's gone! No more sounds. No echoes even in the retrospect of the previous second. Blunt little silent moments. How ruthless can they get? "Very".

Finally your mind starts to pulsate with dreams of actually having that thought dance to an entrancing tune and laying itself prone and low before you. Helplessly marking itself on white handmade paper. The dormouse thought actually manifesting itself in ink... And you very well know what happens next-

You wake up with the same pen lying cross on the blank sheet of paper that you started with. Did you actually fancy capturing a thought on paper?!?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The yellow flowers

Some times it happens. All on its own. A few days pass by and few hours more. Then like years have gone by, it changes. Everything around us, the house, the dog, the car. Everything just becomes different.
Since childhood we nurture little dreams and big ones. Day dream about a sequence of events. "Meet her after the first job gets going". "Give Dad the keys of my first car". Motion pictures of thought processes flowing across our vision like a vivid story being retold again and again. And time flows by and the things change. Little forms here and there to begin with. Then the car moves out and some other moves in. The girl vanishes and some other comes in. And it just happens. Our dream, the one that had been for years. It changes. Metamorphises into something so different than what we began with. Irrecognizable. Unfamiliar. Changing shapes and changing shades. Different and new. A dream we cherished. A dream we cherish.
Life has a strange habit of turning around a corner and walking away. Tucking away its priceless moments in little packets of laughter and tears. Neatly packed and put on the top shelves of the cupboard. Out of reach of little souls. Away from jumping little boys with jumping shoes and football stories.
I really do not know if John said good bye to them or the daffodils said it to him. But it was a sad evening for the daffodils and for John. The flowers, alone in the backyard. The boy, alone with his friends! He walked like a ghost for days. The flowers didn't smile at him anymore. They just lay there in bright sunlight and in the darkness of the night. Maybe they were waiting, maybe that was all there was to them. Ever since Mom asked John to "leave those flowers and go out and make some real friends". He loved Mommy. He didn't like the sad look on her face that said aloud "It is so sad. My son has no friends". So he went out and he made friends. He had friends at the street end. He had friends at school. He met new people and they liked him and he liked them too. A new life. A lively way of living. With people around. Talking, smiling, shouting.
No more silent flowers. The first few days were strange, and then it was so much fun. Playing and running around. The boy and flowers parted ways... or so it seemed.
I was going through his diaries the other day, and I found something that possibly John wrote to describe that period of his life. The time when he had parted ways with his flowers.
Somethings are very strange and do not change with times, they stay with us till the end of time. Right from the time we begin percieving things, they are there and they stay on till the time we do. It is things like these... like the sun, the sky and our souls, that make our lives look the way that it is. The world around us has a very peculiar way of picking on us and making us see things around us.
Those same wild white flowers on the roadside on the way to school. We can never forget them. Those same broken benches in the local park. We will always miss them. The bright sun after a heavy rain. We will always have it with us. The yellow flowers in the backyard. To be lived with and dreamt of. They lie their in the rain like any other flowers would. They move with the breeze knowing little about the way they would shape the life of a man.
We were sitting on the window looking at the yellow daffodils. Me and John. John and the daffodils. Two couples oblivious to the existence of the other. Sitting in the same room. Looking at each other with empty eyes. Thinking, dreaming, remembering. John was holding his old diary again and scribbling something in it. I don't know that transpired between him and the flowers but whenever he saw them something happened. A page flew off his hand and landed near where i was sitting. John looked at me, his eyes begging me not to pick up and read the piece. I was ruthless. I just couldn't resist the great piece of secret information that had come across. A rare chance to unfold the mysterious talks between him and his flowers.
The little cursive shapes on the paper looked like little fish in the water. Swimming and spread all over! I wish I could figure things out...