2 February 2012

That Evening I Waited.

Again, an article published on the Fountain Pen Guild website and something that I feel belongs here. About time I posted it. A real piece of nostalgia because it actually was written a year ago. And is about a time earlier than that.

That breeze kissed my cheeks gently.. waiting for you. The rectangular piece of garden. With a few roses and the little Jasmine tree right behind the swing. It was quite fragrant at midnight but in the late evening, it was just ordinary. The muddy part right next to it. The perpetual failure of a vegetable garden. The heat was still in the air. Hanging low.. dipping down to my feet and rising up slowly upto my neck. Drenching me in its powerful embrace. I felt drowsy. At peace even. Waiting for that pleasurable sound of the bike coming to a rest right next to the gate. Never too soon. Never too late. Just welcome. Every time. All the time.

Sliding my feet into the soil.. in, in it went. The bald piece of earth beneath the swing where a hundred kicks made it bare. Sad. Poor soil. Pushing my feet into it. My toes covered in dry brown dusty soil. Oh, it was warm. It was nice. Finding place under my toenails, will find a new home with the water that washes it away. Find solace. Companionship. Everyone needs someone. Just someone. Even to wash you away, take you to a different place. Not bad. Not good. Maybe just different. I got up and crumpling the dry withering grass under my feet.. trampling upon the earth.. found myself strolling aimlessly along the imagined little lanes and paths.. the singing tributaries of the dying afternoon sun. The heat hummed in my ears. Buzzed next to my brain.

My mind travelled along the yet unsunken treasures of a life yet unlived. Everything, yet undone. Uncalled for. Unseen.. unseeing. Simple and happy. I hopped on from the crinkly grass to the tarmac. Coarse and hard beneath my feet. So satisfying, specially after the ticklish feeling of the adorable grass. Go on go on. Pseudo smooth cement. Aah. Dust and leaves. Someone should clean you up. And burn you. Those burning people. My eyes fell on my white trousers. Oh now that’s dirty. So glad it doesn’t matter. Hands reach out to the gate. Iron and dust. Thin bars stretching all the way. Used to ride on this poor gate. Hah. Imagine doing it now. I still do. Old things always strong enough. I rest my arms on the gate and bury my head into the little niche made. Oh come on. Please. Quickly.

Feeling the gate creak and groan and then stepping out into the tarmac.. stings. Burying my hands intomy pockets and whistling some lose tune. I go on the road and turn back.. tracing my way back to the garden swing. Step by step, feeling by feeling. Sit on the swing for some while, leaning against one handle, hugging the chain, sighing. Poor child. Unlucky hour. The slow wait. Trundling down the boundaries on the garden, peering down at the shrubs and the little rose buds.. flicking at the overgrow, ripe fluttery roses. Petals falling of. Getting terribly sadistic at one and just leave a lone petal stuck to the centre. Dirty yellow and dark red. Smirking and moving on.

Stepping on the ancient tree trunk right in the middle. Little green shoots coming out from it. So cute. My eyes move up and the wonders never cease.. happiness never exhausts itself working for me. Grinning from ear to ear, jumpy and excited like a little kid. Holding my own hand, squeezing it gently and steadily.. oh God, the long wait. I plan to anchor down at the front gate and give my chin some rest on the corrugated iron.. eyes swimming over everything on level. Smelling the mustiness. One two three minutes. One two three. I feel footsteps next to me. Well, hello, stranger.

Polite unlatching and unhinging. Come ON. Hurried hand snatching and pulling and pushing. Go go go. Not inside. Not yet. Resisting, worn out sports shoes, followed by a pair of bare feet, pushing and shoving and then leading gently by the hand. Come on. Smiles – too knowing and sort of confused.

Those eyes. Pandora’s box of happiness. Feeling the grip tighten on my hand.. I have something to showyou. Right there. In that little tree. Next to the old stump. Close now. Tiny droplets of hidden musicsprinkling on to the ground around us. There. A nest. Newly built. I know it wasn’t there a few days ago. I undertake frequent enough explorations of this place. Peering in closer.. see.. little baby eggs. Aww. Little effable clouds of ecstatic muffled laughter. Two pairs of hands. Strange.. they look like one. God.

Happiness reflected in two similar mirrors of refrained indescribable words and wonders. Hands go to mouth. Oh wow. Tilting of heads and looking very closely. We should leave before their mommy comes back, you know. I know.

Creaking of the wooden door, gently slam and latch. That was just simply the best sight I have ever seen. Thank you very much. I know, I so do.

And the world sways gently to the murmur of those who loved.


1 February 2012


Also published on the Fountain Pen Guild website.

Her slippered feet subtly slapped on the stairs and her hand dangled with the white mug she held with a finger. The roof was blanketed with a more opaque milky white fog. She stepped on to the slightly dusty light orange floor.

Her sockless feet and bare hands were gripped by the palpable freezing air around her. The prickly icy wind kissed her cheek and pinched her nose. And swiped across her lips, and she shielded her neck to it. But her barely warm fingers felt numb against her neck.

And she stood at the edge for what seemed like a long, long time.

The fog was beginning to fade.. it settled on the periphery. But it was still inside her little bubble of existence. She walked to the edge of the balcony, setting the mug on the table next to her. On her wrist, she noticed a streak of fiery orange. Must have missed it. She tried to rub it away but it had dried. Giving up easily, she breathed out into the chilly air and watched her breath freeze and then become one with the dense fog that was beginning to form closer.

Her eyes stared ahead at the trees swaying against the winter wind but her eyes were still swimming with the image of the canvas. Propped up in front of her, her arm ached dully, but the pain was barely there. She finally felt relieved, but not exactly happy. It was just an absence of the ticking clock in her mind. It had gone quiet. Now everything was too quiet. Peaceful.

Now her mind came around to it and realized that the exhibition was tomorrow. Everything was ready. Except her. Feeling her heart beat quicken, she told herself to relax. The mug was full of steaming coffee now. And she hadn't even noticed. The curtains behind her rustled as she turned around to look. He had left.

When she had come out to be in the open, rather than go to sleep, it wasn't a decision. She just felt like it. She held on to the warm mug in her hands. And pushing all the thoughts away from her.. she turned around to go inside. The room smelled of paint. The reminder of a sleepless night. Like other sleepless nights. Of solitude and silence.

The palette was covered in paint, a multitude of shades and stories. The room, segmented shapes and patterns. Shadows fell on the wall in a series of chains. The blinds needed to be pulled up, a weak sun was starting to shine and she hoped it would get warmer. She sipped on the coffee standing near the window, looking down at the sleepy street below. Company. It always makes you feel.. not alone.

The chai wala on the corner shop was busy with the first customers. And the first rickshaws were beginning to ring their bells and hanker down the street. Her fingers still felt numb from the cold, or was it from keeping that brush between her fingers just way too long.

Hadn't she been told she thinks too much, does too little? Detaching herself from the world while she was engrossed in her work.. going deeper inside. The red light on the answering machine flickered silently, beckoning her closer. Her mind buzzed with words when she looked at the canvas. She hurriedly picked up a cloth and covered it, pushing it back against the wall and picked up her color palette, and moving her fingers across the dry paint, kept it on the countertop.

A variety of images crossed her mind. Her first bicycle, the smooth pebbles on the beach she went to a decade back, the azure of the skies, the monsoon green, the magenta on her mother's sequined bed sheet, the blackness of the skies when she peered into his eyes, the murky depths of the blue-green pond in the garden, the dark red of her room's curtains filtering the golden sunshine that lay captured in the..

A knock on the door woke her up from her reverie. He smiled at her, time to go.

"Give me ten minutes."

"Time to get back to life, right."

"Yes. It's time. To stop this craziness, I guess."

"Ditch the white this time. It's a big day."