13 September 2008

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

I sat under the dying mango tree and thought about how things had gone awry. The heat rising up from the ground made me feel light-headed. As I heard the buzz of silence, heavy on my ears and my mind, I felt a calm creep over me. Red ants busied themselves talking to each other on their way, gosipping. I wondered what they talked about. A half-eaten overripe mango fell flat on the ground making a squashy noise when it rolled on to it's bitten damp side. Work of the parrots. I hugged the tree, and the bark felt rough against my cheek. I breathed out.

A cool breeze lifted my hair and brought it down slowly. A couple of raindrops fell on my hands while the sun still half shone merrily on the grey, party overcast sky. And I thought of the sketches I used to draw as a kid. The sun hiding behind the clouds, grinning, smiling forever. Was it the sun who was always happy or was it I? I felt a lump rising in my throat. I gulped and pushed it down. But the tears still came. There was no stopping them. No end to them. They went on, came back like the birds did to their nests every evening. Without fail.

I let go of the tree and raised my head towards the sky. A tiny drop fell on my right cheek. I didn't wipe it off. I never did. I prayed an Atheist prayer that it would soon start raining heavily. Anxious that I'd miss the first raindrops, I ran to the hall through the kitchen, up the stairs and stumbled on to the roof. Breathless, I reached for something to hold on to. I couldn't find anything. My eyesight blurred for a moment while my eyes looked at nothingness. Then I settled on the ledge. Mum always got scared when I did that. I didn't think there was anything dangerous. I wouldn't fall off. That would be stupid, and I was anything but that.

I swayed my legs to and fro, touching the wall and then not touching it. Hitting my heels lightly on the wall.. and then hard. Side by side, but that made me queesy. I resumed the to and fro moves. Harder. One two one two one two one. It hurt. I alternated the movement between the feet. That felt rhythmic. Then the rain started pattering on the jamun leaves right overhead. I was shielded from the rain. I felt cozy. Safe. For then, atleast.

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