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Coin

I tossed a coin. For the decision that could change my life. And then, then I did not do what the coin said.

It’s like you learn and you don’t learn yet. It’s like you don’t want to learn. It’s like you will have the same question every time. Like you just don’t know the question. Like you haven’t already had the question ten times in past. It’s like you are stubborn. You and everything inside you, they are running in two different directions or multiple directions actually.

You are supposed to listen to your soul, for that’s what people do. But you don’t have slightest clue of what it says. Or! May be it doesn’t have slightest of clue itself. But you need to hold yourself together. Bring the broken pieces together. It’s kiddish to talk about souls and clues. It’s all about you. The person you. Huh there exists one such person too? You might ask. Stop kidding. You need to think and feel on this person’s behalf. Make the best and most optimal decision. Logical reasonable decisions. And then you can always toss a coin. Coin tells you something. And doesn’t force it on you. Coin tells you and lets you ask again. And again. Till the moment it doesn’t tell what you really want.

Sometimes it doesn’t. It does not tell you what you want. You want head, it gives you tail. Ah. But you can always give the logic of coin’s being a little eccentric, a little tilted. Maybe. You never know. And you change the sides. What was head, is tail now. Happy. Are you? You toss the coin and to the highest of your surprises its gives you the head. The head you always wanted and it never gave. The one you just changed. You can toss yet again, but it gives you yet the same. You can smile all you want now. But you wouldn’t have smiled then.

But then. It’s a coin only. You can always ignore it.

Like I did.

And in this, may be you would know what that dumb soul of yours wanted in the first place.

On my way back…

(Not so much of a poem, just paper napkin scribbles on my way back home… and yeah the title doesn’t go along at all)

 

Bright white flowers by the neat little pond

At two o’ clock in the foggy night,

Blinking in continuum of acquaintanceship,

That foolishly happy yellow light.

Defeated is the familiar numbness of my steps

Against an uneasy blissful delight,

I wouldn’t really want to die soon may be,

If this is what it feels to be alive!

What would I ask…

And then Kabir faded away in my memories. That is how it works… isn’t it? It does not really take very long for people to fade away in memories and then memories to fade away in some sort of past. Memories are like habits, you get a more contagious, more infatuating one… you lose the older one without a notice. Kabir was on the way of getting lost somewhere in the piles of memories… of changing habits… something.

I would occasionally want to miss him… but missing him was more like a task. I would try and sometimes I would succeed too… but other times, I won’t and a feeling of – time not well spent – would creep in. Not that I had suddenly started valuing time. Not that I was creating a rocket that must launch on twenty three point zero three hours. It was just that my mind was unconsciously involved in other threads, or no thread actually, in long time. And was liking it. The presence of no thread. The presence of no thought, no memory in my life. The presence of nobody in my life.

Life looked okay. With or without him, did not make much different. He did not call much. I never expected he would. He was my kind. Leaving habits behind, leaving people behind, dropping relations, dropping memories. He wouldn’t mind me calling or not, I thought. I was right. He did not. I knew I could still call him if I wanted to and that we would have a nice long chat. May be he knew that too. The confidence never allowed us to call. Maybe we were afraid of the clanging sound this confidence will make if broken. We never dared to try it. We just kept knowing.

Today… as I met this person… I was reminded of Kabir. Why… I cannot state for sure. But there was a creaking similarity, that I could not find, but could not avoid either. The wheat colored wrinkles on his forehead. Or the metalline cold smooth voice. The unconcerned, self-absorbed look. I can’t say. I was thinking of all the things I liked about Kabir, all the things I hated him for, all I wanted to change in him. You don’t get to customize people and then love them. He used to say. He was right. You don’t. Only I did not know how to. People in stories and people in real, I don’t see them in one-ness as the girl in yellow scarf who reads books by the library does. I am not that girl. I read a book in the corner of my room when I am not working. And other times, I work, mechanical, methodical, monotonous work. I like to put up a yellow scarf appearance sometimes, but at the same time I want to compete with the merciless high heels boots tapping around. Impossible… I am! Yeah… Kabir used to say the same.

Oh I got derailed… apologies.

So I met this person, the Kabir-like one, let’s call him that, it suffices name’s purpose, doesn’t it? So I see him, and beyond him I see so much of Kabir – lost in the memory lane or getting brighter in present Kabir, dipped in fog Kabir, drenched in in rain Kabir, smiling at me Kabir, sunny chirpy Kabir, dull sluggish Kabir, all kinds of Kabir. He asks me if I am alright, I don’t know the reply. Of course I am alright, but why do you look so much like someone I used to know. I don’t ask. What would I ask.

One without a title…

I was hiding smiles and I was hiding tears,

Hiding oceans as if, much sturm und drang

So many words unsaid, fears swallowed

I thought I was hiding me well all those years

 

Learnt to fake stretched lips, mature smiles,

Learnt to bury me, so many rehearsal I had

Rehearsed opening scene, and curtaining off

I thought I was learning to walk alone miles

 

All those dumb talking rule books of life

I boozed them all, they flow in my veins

Plucking me out of me, acting it’s no pain

I thought I was growing mature in time

 

Today I look around. I feel lost in woods

Today I look around. I feel fooled n dumb

And today I’ve got no one but my fake self

And all it does… is it fake laughs at me.

Alternate Endings

Reading a book and imagining the next page, or the next to next, or the last. Watching a movie or more accurately a series and guessing how it overs – I believe we all do that. Living a moment and anticipating the next, we do that right? I do. Waiting for something to happen and imagining a hundred ways how it would, imagining an evening, anticipating a moment, a walk, a turn, a smile, a talk or just that stretch of meek happiness – the long long waited one. Spending hours thinking of that one elated moment, reasoning out for hours in favor of the one utopian land of belong-ness (that obviously is not a word), dreaming of a happy-self (which again I am not sure is a valid term). I do. I do all of those.

And when it reaches, that moment, if at all it does, it lives for a spur hardly noticeable, like the ending of a book – one line, one word, and is followed by the remembrances of the imaginations and then there is hollow. Same as the one after coming out of a movie theatre. Or more like watching the last episode of ‘Friends’ or one after just finishing the third of ‘Shiva-Trilogy’ books. You don’t have the next imagination in line. One of the multiple thoughts manifested itself in the climax – or may be none did. May be the ending was an n+1th thought. But in any case, you are left with n or best case n-1 dangling thoughts and utopias, that are suddenly unreal. Meaningless. Un-manifested. Un-Celebrated.

I don’t like that feeling. I understand the inherent nature of one reality in one plane. I get it. But I hate being stopped from imagining just because the book got over. Because the moment already ended. The walk, the turn, or the smile, it just passed a minute ago. And there was a fixed way that it happened. You can’t alter it, you can’t imagine it happened otherwise, because it didn’t. I like to be able to think and rethink it. Differently every time. I like to be able to imagine saying it, or hearing it in one hundred ways, or more. I like to change endings, and I like to never finish deciding.

I like the alternate endings and the possibility of their existence. More than the book. More than the real.

But you can’t. I can’t. Not in the world of real and not in the world of stories. It has to over. End is what one reads the book for. Decisions are the destinations, thoughts just the journey. And it’s good to enjoy the journey, it’s good may be not to wait breathlessly for destinations, but expecting that they won’t come ever, hoping the journey to never end, that ain’t leading you anywhere. That’s just being scared. Feared. Fear of the finish line, may be because you don’t know what post the finish line is, or may be because you don’t know if at all that is the finish line you started the journey for – but sure as hell, it’s nothing but fear.

What I have, is not love for imaginations and alternate endings. It’s just fear of the endings, fear of not liking the ending and fear to start a new story. For the old one was familiar. Wasn’t it? I don’t know if I’ll like the new story so much, I will have to carve out a new habit in me, to weave this new one, may be it is out of my comfort zone. But think about it. May be it will offer me the realization of those n/n-1 dangling thoughts – may be just one of those, and if I write it well may be more. Let’s take a leap. Let’s just finish the last page and play the climax. Let’s just have the smile, or the turn. Let’s just take a decision and stick to it with all your heart. Not to move away from your dreams, but to find a new story, to fit those in, or weave new dreams, if at all you are ready for that.

You and me

“The excitement in her eyes enchanted me as she talked about Kabir. And no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t gather enough courage to interrupt her and make it about her and me, for once. About me. I never could.

Kabir is my closest friend, by definition of closest friend, and I know this sounds much like a Hindi film story but trust me, I never thought about him for a moment whenever I hindered myself from telling her about my feelings. All I thought was that I am the only person she could talk to about Kabir, about anything and I don’t want her to lose that person. All I thought was to be the only confidant to whom she could say, ‘Never ever dare to share all this with Kabir, I don’t care how close you two are.’ All I thought was the fact that it is my smile in the mockery of her stupid love that made her smile that moment, ‘Yeah, I know. I know. It’s stupid. But I really don’t know why!’ she says. All I thought was what answer I should give to each of her questions, and the only one I could come up with was, ‘Happens…’.

Kabir doesn’t even know all this. And by no means, he is ever going to. I am not obligated to him. I have never been. He is not the kind of person who would make you obligated with his friendship. He is easy. If I walk to him and tell him the whole thing, maybe he will just shrug off his shoulders to say, ‘Go ahead man. You know I won’t mind.’ And he sure won’t. But I would never be able to stop being the one person she can talk her heart out. I want to be that person. But guess that person never gets to be the one to be talked about.

She is so different when she is talking to Kabir. She would show off so carefully that she is not being different. But ask me. I can read every string of her voice. I can tell what she means when she means nothing. I so can tell. May be he can tell too. But he won’t. May be he just find it not right to be able to tell. May be he is a better person than me. Actually he is. By all means. He deserves her better. He deserves anything better than me. But what if he doesn’t want what he deserves.

 Huh. I don’t know why I cannot stop thinking about this, about her. I should stop. I would end up hurting her if I let her know. No?” he paused.

 The care in his eyes enchanted me as he talked about her. And no matter how hard I tried…

The Red Butterfly

We are just over with a huge fight. Oh no, nothing important really. It’s a routine now. Every alternate Saturday evening – O as I have half days on Saturdays – so we go to see our… sorry my Psychiatrist, she takes some sessions where my wife puts across some really disturbing points and I end up reacting. Dr. Jonna – yeah well that’s her name, she somehow manages to suppress the fight and then it blasts back when we get out of her office and my wife suddenly thinks that she should drive the car since I am, you know, not very well today. Or something else. Reasons to start the fight are petty. Fight however gets pretty big. She thinks my hallucinations are the reason for my insomnia. I think there are no hallucinations. You know what I think sometimes that she has this tendency on missing on things and when she realizes she missed something important she would just flip on me and tell me that she had asked me to do so and so and I forgot. Or I did not listen. I know that moment there she is lying and it’s just so sickening. It’s like a teenager trying to convince her father. I am not your father damn it. I won’t ground you even if you missed something. But saying that you told me and I drew a complete different meaning or saying that I wasn’t even there listening – sounds shitty to me. Anyways, it’s just my words against her. Maybe some of you would like to believe her more.

Maybe.

It is late evening by the time we reach home. “What a wonderful way to destroy Saturday evenings!” I utter in great despair wanting for her to overhear and react. She doesn’t. I take a beer can out of the refrigerator and “Can you please not do that!” there she is. You can never predict what she could react on. “What my evening is all ruined – and I am not entitled to a drink?” I give her a look. She looks at me for five second straight – dramatic! Shows her palms – real dramatic! “You know what! You can!” stretches her lips in some weird smile and leaves the dining room. I try to ignore her and start drinking. But it’s gone. I throw the beer can and walk away.

 We are having supper, silently. “Nice steaks!” I try to start a conversation. She did not even look at me. How hard could it be to say thanks… or so much as smile? But that’s Cesi. And then she would tell me that I never said that the steaks were nice or of course she replied but I was too busy in my world to notice. I don’t understand this lady. No, actually I don’t understand myself. Why did I fall in love with her? I mean honestly I have no answer to this question. A five year old relationship, we got married and Six years to our marriage and I have no answer to this question. I don’t remember how she looked back then. I don’t remember how she used to talk without annoying me. I don’t remember seeing her and feeling – the one feeling that makes you marry someone. I remember nothing. “Will you please clear your dish after you are done? I have done the rest.” Cesi’s voice brought me back to my plate where a full steak piece is lying teasing me. “Did you put another?” I am irritated. She has this weird want of making people eat beyond their stomach. If you say she cooked well – she would kill you with food. So she did acknowledge what I said before. “Please eat well!” she said with a smile in reply but it totally felt like ‘I am not interested in another fight with you!’ I wish she wasn’t this.

I cleared up my dishes, switched the extra glittering lights off and went to my bedroom. Cesi is dead sleep. Or she is pretending to. Her eyelids are stitched together as if trying to sleep or more like trying to convince her that she is slept. She is wearing a light cream colored loose shirt. She looks calm. And pretty, other than the slightly dark swelled up circles beneath her eyes. And little loose skin around her neck. I want to touch her skin. But I am afraid that she will wake up and I have to listen to her streaky voice asking me to sleep well. But the pulpy skin around her neck scares me a little. I see myself in the mirror. I am three years older than her. But I don’t have any loose skin stringing around me. I am happy for myself this moment. Concerned a little my wife, still kind of happy about myself. I feel guilty. About feeling happy. Do I really not like her so much? I look at her again. I see wrinkles around her lips. Soft wrinkles. Baby wrinkles that will grow bigger in time. I feel disgusting, about what – I don’t know. I need some air. I grab my jacket, my car keys and rush through the door.

I am driving to the beach. Forty five minutes from my place. No so much of a beach but like a stretch of water with a couple of very small stalls build by side of it. We used to go there all the time when we were young. Even after marriage. For few years. I still go sometimes. I bet Cesi does too. Not with me anymore though. I pulled the car window down.  A swift cold breeze ran into my left ear. My thoughts flew away quick and stealthily. I can see the thin silver line of the beach. I stop my car.

Walking on the side of water line. Beer crate in my hand. Small waves jumping on my feet, sweeping me off my thoughts, sweeping me away from my problems, from my worries, from insomnia. I am feeling sweetish sleep. It the most wonderful feeling lately. Knowing that you are about to sleep. Knowing that you are feeling sleepy without taking any pills. The cool wind is brushing through my bare chest through unbuttoned shirt. I feel cold – but good cold. I see the small food stalls glittering at distance. I feel hungry, for prawns. I walk to the small stall.

I see her. She is sitting on the sand near the stall, her legs crossed, her wavy light blue dress floating and tapping on ground as if at the beats of the ocean waves. Her thin white soft hands look like pretty white laces flowing from then light blue sleeveless dress of hers… She is looking at the waves in a continuum. The dim stall light is making her brown wave like hair glitter softly. She is sitting fearless, unaware of the world around, sipping her drink from a large cheap plastic glass. She is so young, so little, so free. I want to sit beside her.

I am sitting next to her. ‘Hi’ I think I must have said, for she turned to me. She didn’t stretch a friendly smile, she didn’t look away too though. She felt too known to stretch any gesture to me. A pair of fresh blue eyes looking straight into me, I was looking back, I saw a tiny nose, I saw small red lips, slightly open like a small butterfly, ready to fly. I suddenly wanted to kiss those lips. She must be younger to me – like ten years or may be more. She is a kid to me. I feel bad about myself. Her eyes don’t let me feel bad. They contain life in them. They are so beautiful. I feel I have known these eyes forever. ‘I know you from somewhere” I say to her. She laughs at me like a proud kid “Like in your dreams?” I laugh with her. She leans forward. I feel wrong. But I don’t stop her. She asks frank, “You want to kiss me?” I don’t know what to reply. “Go ahead.” she gives an unexpected reply. “I am married you know.” I try to give the mature man smile. She laughs again, “But aint I so much prettier than you wife.” “That’s because you are young, she is older than you. She has wrinkles of age and stress” I don’t really know where I am getting my replies from. “But you don’t have any?” she asks soft and honest. She leans back, I am looking at her butterfly lips again. Ready to fly. I don’t have dark circle below my eyes, I don’t have wrinkles like my wife. I feel pity. Like on a wet little rabbit, who tries so many things to come out of the cage but it’s just not enough. He still tries. My wife, trying so many things.

I am feeling the breeze on my bare chest. I take a sip of beer. The pretty butterfly lips girl is still sitting by my side. I feel her fingers surfing through my hair. “You okay baby?” I hear her whispering…  “Why you sitting here?” I am sitting in my dining hall. She switches on the heater for the room. “It’s too cold in here.” she is still talking to me. I don’t know why I am sitting here – I think. She sits near my feet on the ground. “Where’d you get this picture from? It so old? Our first date, remember?” She smiles gently. Like a proud little girl who has grown mature. I look at the picture in my hand, It’s Cesi’s, she was on the beach, light blue flowing dress, sparking blue eyes, with no circles below them, tiny nose, and red lips, slightly open like a butterfly.. Ready to fly. I look at Cesi, She has put a blanket on me, and she is rubbing my arms with her lace like hands… with little loose skin. I hold her close… I hold her in long long time. She gets held without refusal, without admittance. “It’ll be okay… I’ll be okay Cesi.” She looks at me with eyes in tears, butterfly lips stretched in a smiles. It was the first time I told her that. “We’ll be okay…” she closes her eyes on my shoulder.

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