If I search I’m sure I’ll find an answer, maybe even the answer.
It might be hidden in the spray created by splattering drops on roads,
Or in the morse code of the sun coming in and out of fast-moving clouds,
Perhaps in the lonely of a supermarket parking lot at 4 am.
If I search, I am sure to find the question to fit the answer as well,
It might be a matter of discovering silence in a fish market,
Or dancing with the soaring, swirling blue tongues of a sulphur fire.
Perhaps at the core of a supercell, in the juggernaut churn of its violence.
Maybe it lies in the life and times of the shifty, sub-atomic character: Muon,
That attends no social gathering or event for more than 2.2 microseconds,
Or in the infinite schemes and plans spinning in the round eyes of a two year old,
Whose pupils are always dilated to swallow the world whole.
Somewhere beneath this copper sulphate blue tent lie both parts:
The perfect duet of the right question and the right answer, waltzing away,
And I’d want to sit and watch their performance from beyond the rink,
If only someone would give me directions to the damn ticket counter.
It’s a 2 am ache,
Rising sharp at 5 pm,
Like every hour before it,
Like every hour after.
In the in-between minutes,
There are heartbeats,
Mingling and distracting
From this punctual vacuum.
I swear I deleted your face,
I don’t remember your name,
I can’t recall your smile,
Or your scent or taste.
I’ve removed your words,
The brand of your touch,
You don’t laugh in memories,
Because you don’t exist anymore.
You never were, never will be,
It was the easiest thing to do,
After a while of being the toughest,
Reached last but finished my race.
There’s the 2 am ache,
An SOS no other radio can receive,
Emitted and caught by atoms in my bones,
On a special kind of stupid loop,
It’s feedback without melodic genius:
This special, non-hummable 2 am ache.
Feathers danced around in my head as I set off from Andheri this Saturday evening. Much clarity had been bestowed upon my living situation and it made me grateful towards the universe and all its denizens.
6.30 pm wore dark, heavy clouds like a shroud making clairvoyantes out of all who beheld it. The prediction was singular: rain. Lots of it. My Uber ride was going to be a peaceful albeit long one with my tiny driver and his earnest driving style. The tragedy, and there always is one, was that my headphones were playing truant somewhere in my Colaba apartment and the only thing left for me to do during the one and a half hour long ride was to catch up with people I had been ignoring for a while. So I called everyone and their uncles. As I was talking to an old acquaintance, the interrupting, insistent beep of another soul trying to connect with me through the miracle of telecommunication played within my ear.
‘Nush Mom’ flashed on the mobile screen.
I continued with my current call for a few more minutes before hanging up and returning the call of the woman who off late had become a sort of messiah for me. It was her daughter, my supervisor, my close friend, and colleague who answered with a damning, “Dude, you forgot your charger!”
There were dark clouds in my mind now. All of a sudden I had to preserve battery like it was non-renewable resource. I informed the three people who would most take offence at my falling off the grid and then put my phone on airplane mode.
There is much to be said for staring out of the window of an AC car during rainfall. Even if you are joyful, it shall, given time, bring you down to reflections of a melancholic nature: did I spend too much on that dress? Why is my rent so god damn high? Will I ever find the perfect man? Why is Andheri so far?
Everything was going as per plan till we began our approach to the sea link and then: the world vista changed. There was Worli’s skyline hazed out by the moist grey of clouds. It was like someone had smudged the tops of the buildings with an impatient stroke. The sky, had it always been so large? And clouds the perfect pause to a fulmination?
To hell with battery. I whipped out my mobile and began to take pictures. I don’t know what it is about these ethereal moments that make me want to hold onto them at any cost even if it is through the cheapest imprints and saddest pixels.
And there was more to come.
On the sea link to the right, the sun was setting and the sky was streaks of the most magnificent pink-reds, beset with blue-gray clouds. It was another world. Like someone had cut open the horizon and we could for once glimpse a different reality. The clouds and the lights and the colours were arranged to form the breathtaking terrain of a different planet, a planet with arachnid like creatures, perhaps the scene of a war (think Starship Troopers in a gorgeous setting). I opened the window of the cab and took pictures, a strange desperation enjoining my finger to press the capture button again and again. And then, out of nowhere, epiphany! I was so desperate not to miss this moment that I was missing the moment. So I let go of the phone and marvelled and sighed under the drama of the heavens.
There is beauty that holds your heart in a tight fist and refuses to let go. There is beauty that makes you aware of a yearning hum present within your bones that you’ve only just noticed for the first time. There is beauty that makes you forget the ugliness and banality of everything you have ever seen. This was that beauty.
The next panorama was the sombre green light of Haji Ali Dargah set against the sky roiling above the sea. It looked eerie. A beacon, but not of hope. A call, expecting none in return. A symbol, that meant too much to mean anything. This kind of dark beauty made me want to put the entire scene in a crystal ball and watch it, hypnotised forever.
The great monsoon pulchritude is to be seen to be believed.
Rain brings more than just water.
Rain brings stories.
Let’s set the AC at a temperature that freezes my soul. To preserve it from the canker spreading across my organs like pus-oozing sores. What is this pus made of, you ask? Nothing. It is the gagging vomit that heaves up nothing while twisting the stomach inside out.
Turn green, turn green, red of my fucking life, for once turn green.
Everyone wants a piece of control but there is none left to steal.
The larder runs dry. From the cobwebs lining its shelves I sew a dress and then, as an afterthought, cut it up into ribbons. These ribbons I leave in the scorching sun so they turn to dust. The greedy wind takes this dust away to a land of no consequence. Then I start all over again.
Thank God for Mondays!
Did I chase peace out the door like a stray cat? It doesn’t come around anymore. I keep a bowl of milk on the window sill each day, but still no cat, and all I get is spoilt milk.
The doorman’s wave is the lethargic wag of an old dog,
I can’t muster up a smile tonight, so I nod as
Thoughts echo, frantic birds trapped in a room.
Within the stoic muscles of my heart,
A sadistic storm lays waste to everything,
Lashing, ripping, crushing, annihilating.
But you can’t tell can you?
You who is consumed by others,
As you consume them.
I don’t ask for your love,
Not in love, lover,
But I do ask for you.
You look at me
Like a child, clay to mould,
A canvas to paint upon the abstract of your legacy.
I see you as a man bound to another,
The one who believed in me,
Making it harder not to go against what I believe in.
But you have butterflies to catch,
A lovely whiff here, a scintillant spark there,
There is nothing for me, that isn’t for someone else.
You don’t see I am me, and nobody else.
You keep secrets, your heart is crossed.
But I never thought that you would trust me so little,
Let others listen as you talk of no-repeats,
If you can’t see the difference, then old man, you are a fool.
My hands are turning incarnadine,
And no matter what scents I use,
I cannot change that one scent that emanates from me.
To be nothing more than a resource,
Maybe a decent friend at best,
Gives me no pleasure, kindly
Keep your cynical handshake to yourself.
To you, who can’t let go,
Was it a boyfriend, a brother, a friend, a sister, a girlfriend, a mother, or maybe a father? The one or ones who disappeared, who took a pen, signed their names onto the fabric of your heart and then left. Now you can’t wash off the indelible ink and it feels more like a stain than a memory of love. Most days you shrug it off, the present is full of incredible, sugary distractions that you stuff yourself with till you bloat. But now and then these phantoms come back for a cup of tea and a tete-a-tete. The ink turns moist again, like they’ve just picked up the pen and traced their essence all over you.
So you wonder why they keep popping up on the radar at random moments, why can’t they just disappear from memory, as from life? They are here to teach you a skill that you need to learn. It’s called the art of letting go. Not the kind of letting go that our generation is used to: the no strings attached, won’t-fight-for-the-ones-you-care-about kind of letting go. I mean the kind that despite you having given everything, more than everything to someone, they can’t seem to stick around. You need to learn that people come into your life and go, that is the ultimate truth. Even if they stick with you their whole life, eventually they will die and leave you. So, it doesn’t matter if they move on while they live or when they have to, the more important thing is, that you need to accept that that is how the world is. And that letting go isn’t a bad thing.
You should love someone with abandon, with such depth, and unbelievable recklessness that your love should be seared into their memory for all eternity, irrespective of where they are or where they go. Don’t treat love like an investment where you put effort and time and energy into someone for returns later and then when the investment goes kaput you think, ‘I could’ve just done all this for someone who actually deserved it.’ You should love someone with the entirety of your yearning, dancing soul not because they deserve it, but because that’s the only true way to love. If you’re looking for someone who will stay, always, then you need to look into a mirror. That’s who will always be with you, and so you need to love that person and be the best of friends with that person. Then anyone who comes around is an added joy, not the source of it. And then when their time in your life is inevitably up, because they need to move on, or because you have tried enough and more to hold on but it isn’t your call anymore, whatever the reason, you should kiss them goodbye and wish them luck.
Perhaps it is only natural that you stare with longing in the empty direction that took them away. But that’s where you have to learn the art of letting go. Don’t stay at that spot watching a closed door, hoping for it to open. Don’t return to that spot either. Stand up, hold your head high, take a deep breath, look to the horizon, and say, “Who’s next?” Because there is always a next.