Got faith?

The only prayer I do is before I leave home for a crucial exam. I can’t begin how selfish is it on my part. When I was a child, I remember how faithfully my borma would make us devote our time below a small cupboard which was specifically built to keep a few idols of different Hindu gods, handy scriptures (Narayan Kavach or Hanuman Chalisa), a diya (small cup shaped lamp) and an incense stick holder. We’d wash our hands, legs and our faces to freshen up so that we could indulge in prayer at dusk. I had those prayers by heart since we recited it for the entire ten years I spent in SSA. Even though we were forced to, I would reflect on the soothing yet powerful verses those prayers contained. Sagarika Mam would always ask me to pray whenever I had the time, but I never quite got around to it. In Assam, the forces of Hinduism always had this calm approach to it. Whenever I visit a temple far away from the city, I feel at home. Nothing about those shrines give off even the slightest radicalism. The priests talk about Lord Krishna’s mighty endeavors and of life in its greatest form. But I feel morose when I think about my journey to Puri. We waited for two hours or so with empty stomachs to get into the Jagannath Temple. I can’t ever forget the way I ate after getting back to the hotel. Even though the food was rather simple and entirely vegetarian, it tasted divine on my taste buds. Anyway, as we got into the temple we queued to get into the core of it. I still remember how offensively a priest persuaded my father (who was in front of me) to ‘donate’ money into his bag. The priest pushed my father’s head down and forced him to pay his respects to God in the noisy surroundings of the temple. My father escaped by giving just a fifty rupee note which was followed by a grin I made as I held his hand and went outside. That very day, I learned of the cruel business the priests associate with God. But here, people make graceful contributions to the temples so that they can run peacefully, without any strain.

Frankly, I am not a very religious person. I only think of God when I face disasters. I pray when I want my problems to subside. My parents never really instilled a sense of duty to God in me so I never had the need to light an incense stick, pray inaudibly while I walk around the house moving the stick in circular motions and light a lamp. My parents aren’t very religious too. I never heard my mother praying loudly as other women her age do. So I don’t think she’ll offer herself to God when she gets old like my grandmother who spends most of her time in a naamghor (a gathering where mostly old people recite verses from the Bhagavadgita and talk about their woes). But then, maybe my mother does pray and I don’t know when or how. There are many things I don’t know about my mother. We are not very intimate when it comes to confiding. My father on the other hand I think doesn’t have the time to pray to God. He does devote a considerable amount of time in front of the puja plate filled with godly essentials after he gets out of the shower. He makes donations to temples whenever needed. He never forgets to visit a temple after he buys a new car (which he does after every three years). But then, I also don’t know many things about my father since he spends most of his time away from home. He can get a bit reminiscent about his youth after downing a glass or two or maybe when he’s somewhat emotional. Otherwise, he talks in short sentences but never shies away from deep conversations when he gets the chance. It’s always has to be someone else who’d dig things out of him. And what makes me happy is the joyous mood my parents share whenever we visit the temple. My mother turns into this calm woman which I seldom get to see. We make a whole day out of it. We eat out, engage in warmhearted conversations and get back home as night falls. 

But it is often that someone asks us if we believe in God. Each individual has varying outlooks on everything, and particularly on God. Of all people, Gaurav has one of the most sublime analogies on God. He says that he thinks of himself as God, someone who is his creator and also his destroyer. What he wants (I think) to express is that he found his place on Earth after getting pushed out of his mother’s womb who is also like him, a human being. So there is no way he’d think of a superficial existence that is superior to him. The very fact that God has different names and shapes for different types of people around the world gives him concrete reason to believe that there is no God. God might just be a belief. I was watching Boyhood (a personal favorite) and a scene came up where a priest talked about Jesus in real life. He enunciated a story about a man named Thomas who didn’t believe in God but upon seeing Jesus in the flesh felt guilty and devoted his entire life to his faith. The priest said with utmost clarity that it is better for us to believe in things if we can feel, see, hear and smell it. And since we haven’t seen God, the best we can do is feel and believe in the spirit. And that’s what I deem. I believe that there is a God, a superior figure, a powerful existence in this world. I don’t need to know its name or how it looks. It is just above me, looking over me. I don’t have to categorize it or worship it. The very belief for me is enough. Wherever I may go, I will know that God is examining my every move and will direct me throughout my life. This is the reason why I look for omens.

I kept thinking about how I’d conclude this ode to God and what better way to paste a quote from the internet. What caught my eye were a few words by Joel Osteen who said, “I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if you’re grateful, you’ll see God open up new doors.” His words are every bit as gold as is the belief I bend my knee for.

As quaint as the dawn And as strong as the river

I could hear the rushing, gurgling sound of the fast flowing river as I suddenly woke up. I was woken up by my father very frantically. I wasn’t lost in a dream nor did I panic while opening my eyes to a new day. All I heard was the river flowing faster than anything. Despite the river being close to our hotel, it had that tenacity of being too loud. The river mysteriously whispered to the town that it’s still there. You could hear the river flowing from every nook and cranny of the bustling town of Manali. I slept with a cold in my body the night before but things changed for good in the morning. We were supposed to wake up early so that we could beat the hectic highway traffic. It was exactly 4 am in the morning and nothing but the river could be heard. I just put a jacket on and hung my backpack onto my back and sat on the chair placed in the balcony. My parents were readying everything as I sat there motionless. I wasn’t thinking about anything or feeling something in particular. Only the monumental sound of the flowing river encapsulated my mind. God knows where I was; somewhere in between gigantic valleys greatly above the sea level. And there was this river. Nothing could beat the sound of the flowing river at night and it’s azure richness throughout the day. We checked the room for the last time so as not to lose something in haste. Coming out of the room, everything felt still. The receptionist was sound asleep in his chair and didn’t bother waking up to attend to our departure. There wasn’t any problem because we already cleared our bills the night before. And then, a drastic frost took over my body. I was suddenly feeling a lot colder than I felt before on that trip. I rubbed both my palms in unison and created a warm sensation in parts of my body. The silence was defeaning, even though there was this river signifying it’s rightful presence. I walked slowly to our car, went inside and curled myself in a corner at the back. The driver chanted his prayers and accelerated ahead. The road was awfully empty at that time, just the occasional tourist vehicle driver brushing his teeth and motivating himself to steer through the heart of Himachal Pradesh and beyond. I remember walking with Gaurav on the Shimla mall road, one of the most bustling streets in India two nights before. And now we were driving through the Manali mall road which was more dead than the one in the Shimla that night. There weren’t any stars above. All we saw was the area lit up by our car’s headlights. The outline of the mountains faded in to our visibility ever so slowly. There wasn’t any sound in the car as everybody was completing their sleep cycle. I was texting with Prerana and looking out the window devouring whatever the night had in store for me. I didn’t tell her about the moment I was in. I was silently observing the dawn. I realised that these hours would be the climax to this wonderful trip. The heater in the car was on so as to defeat the chill.

I instinctively paused the music as we were stopped by a highway police patrol. They threw flashlight scatterings in our faces as we sat puzzled. One of the police officers asked our driver about our intentions. Our driver simply told him of our objective to reach Delhi by dusk. They checked our documents and let us go with a few kind words. After this intervention, the car seemed to get livelier. My father sympathised on these policemen and their work even when it’s freezing outside. I drifted away my eyes out to the scenes through the car window. I saw a group of camps on the other side of the river. I saw a man smoking a cigarette, lost in thought at such an hour of the day. And then I thought about myself in that age. One of the major reasons why I want to study in Delhi is the exposure to Northern India. Gaurav and I have planned ‘impromptu’ getaways to remote parts of Himachal Pradesh or Punjab as weekends extend greater possibilities. I thought about how I would camp out there with friends and strangers. I wanted to smoke that very cigarette at that very hour and in that very place. Somehow, the feeling reigned over me greatly. Manali is not very suitable for you to visit as a teenager along with your parents. Enjoying this trip with my friends would’ve felt much better. And after some texting and music, the weakly rising sun demanded me to witness it. The sky was a strange shade of blue, something that I’d never seen before. The atmosphere was invariably subtle. I could feel my bones cracking and my pulses race. Not in a very long time had I felt so alive that too in the morning. At that very moment, I wanted to lean sit by the side of the highway and look at the Sun playing hide and seek with the enormous mountains. I wanted to see the Sun shine the entire area with it’s unmatched power. That morning, that very feeling was the highlight of my trip. I could forget anniversary dates but never the color of the sky that morning. After half an hour or so, we stopped at a minimalist dhaba for breakfast. There weren’t any customers but us. My father ordered parathas, boiled eggs and tea and coffee. As I gazed at the mountains while eating my breakfast, I realised that this journey had morally ended. 

On being a writer.

Most writers are considerably humble. If not for all writers, I believe I am one of those. They do not prefer widespread appreciation. Modesty comes as a gift to them. Maybe people might think that they are being too proud of their work. The very feeling of inferiority in terms of words and art makes them a bit too harsh. I mean, everyone feels a bit overwhelmed by someone who seems better. I, sometimes feel a little jealous of ‘average’ writers my age. And by average, I really mean it. No one is supposed to write better than me. Is that really despicable of me to say those words? I’m contradicting myself on being humble. I’m turning out to be straight arrogant which is somewhat bad of me. It doesn’t look good on an author’s biography. But for me, it’s as simple as one, two, and three. I can never be like Haruki Murakami but I’m surely way ahead of that dude who writes ‘nanotales’. Murakami is like a god to me, someone whom I might never witness. If my work appeals half as good as Murakami’s I’ll know that I have succeeded. Success is such a minor word for a writer or for any artist in fact. How can an artist be successful? He just contributes to a whole arena full of paintings, books and records. An artist should not dream of money or fancy cars. For all I know, an artist should be humble. He must learn to express himself as vividly as possible with his work. I could go on all day about art and artists but let’s keep this for another day. Now I am talking about myself (which I always do). I, as a writer find it difficult to open up about my work. I can start with expectations. Even though I am humble, I am very conscious about my writing. I expect a lot from my words. Of course, I must please myself before I go on pleasing the world. It hurts when I can’t deliver. I remember a week from last February. That week was one of the best periods of my life, I felt good all the time. Neither were days eventful nor I was going through a purple patch. I just latched on to healthy living and motivated myself enough to write ten pages a day. Never had my words found their way so smoothly on paper. All of my friends knew that I was inspired. Sometimes I think about those days and ponder about how good it’d have been to continue. What if every day was as energetic as those days seemed to be? As you can guess, now I’m not at all inspired. I’m not being able to deliver my best. I’m not as good as I expect myself to be. I write many articles on WordPress but still, I feel that I could’ve added more spark to my content. That’s what keeps me up at night. I always feel that I could’ve done better. It’s funny how all writers feel the same way, they unintentionally find flaws in their work and try to edit on high notes. Are we perfectionists? Maybe not. But we are very unsatisfied with what we do. There is always room for modification.And no matter how hard I try to beat the writer’s block, it just keeps getting bigger. The only solution is to read and write a lot. If you want to write, you have to write. That’s pretty sick. I feel bad when I have nothing to write about. I mean, there are a lot of thoughts and ideas surfacing in my head but they just don’t receive the clarity it deserves. I lose my cool when I can’t offer the attention my ideas deserve. Take the current moment for instance, I don’t know what I want to write about. I don’t have any idea where this will end up. This isn’t necessarily a writer’s block but it won’t be a lie if I call it that. Online experts want me to get over my block by writing. I guess this is what free writing is all about. It might be both a good and a bad thing that I have stopped writing on paper. Firstly, it consumed a lot of time and energy. It’s an altogether different story when I press keys on a keyboard. I am faster then. My writing is getting better on the laptop. The only best thing about writing in my journal was the privacy. I could write anything about anybody and nobody would know a thing. Not many knew about my journals. It felt authentic to write on paper. I could only guess how my children would feel after reading my papers. Some part of me doesn’t want them to read my journals. As a father, I wouldn’t want them to know how emotional and vulnerable I was. Maybe I’d still be like that. Only time and experience would tell. Now that I write immensely on WordPress and Instagram, people are more in touch with me through my words. I try to be modest when somebody appreciates me on how good I write. I try to be a lot humble than I already am. Just because of my writing, people assume that I have a parallel life on social media. They’d remark on how unpredictable I am and I’d silently adore myself. Maybe I have nothing to write about tonight but I will write. Because at the end of the day, all I do is write about myself and by myself.

Haruki Murakami: A dreamy visionary yet awfully simple.

I totally want to follow how Murakami weaves his words to form sentences describing mundane yet impactful activities in life. I want to immerse myself in his way of typing and thinking. I simply want to know what’s going on in his tiny little head. First of all, he’s Japanese. He’s truly different from me in many ways. We only share a rare will to write. Somebody once said that you should not blindly follow your idol or else you might never end up as an original. But what if I say that Haruki Murakami is the only person who has had such a huge effect on my writing. I can come right out and say that only after reading his work had I the urge to write like I should. I didn’t replicate his ways but I took enough knowledge and inspiration from it. Now I can write with much more finesse and detail which kind of lacked before. I am happy that ever since I read 1Q84, I was able to garner more appreciation. Look for the connections and you will grab hold of the nerve. He’s not just a master of magical realism but a literary genius. His work has astounded everyone alike all over the world. Be it the dreamy yet impressionable character of Sumire or the ever cautious Ushikawa, his fiction can actually turn words into gold. I can never forget how Tsukuru loved sitting in rail stations for hours. He didn’t care about anything when he was amidst railway lines and giant wall clocks. The haunting persona of Midori still sends shivers down my spine. Murakami really could produce characters that are always somewhat haunting. Nothing is really exciting about them. Nobody was more boring than Toru, he was so sucked in to his routine that he actually lost his mind in the end. Take the incinerator in the Sakigake compound which was used for ‘erasing’ loose ends or the ladder down the freeway which took Aomame into a crazy year; never expect an orthodox plot in his books. I mean, the irony lies underneath. His words can be so simple defining a continuous flow of life but will surely absorb you into its utopian settings. There is much more than what meets the eye. His writing is like age old scotch; it takes time to work it’s magic on you.

I feel that his fiction veils over hard fact. I feel that a lot is hidden under his pages. I know for a fact that he loves cats; he would turn into one if he could. I mean, one would understand me if he reads a few books of his. I know that he prefers trains. There is only minimal account of other forms of transport in his books. Forget cars, he would walk for hours without a destination in mind and sit in a particular bench in the middle of a busy city junction. He is a bit of a loner actually. You must understand that these are only my unadulterated analogies of a great person. This is pure conjecture. But I can happily say that I know and understand Haruki Murakami. Even though I haven’t met him YET but I keep a tab on him. I wish I could meet him, visit Peter Cat someday and lose myself with some jazz and smoke away a few Marlboro Reds. He is an honest to God classical music fan. He once quoted that, “music, like writing is a mental journey.” Oh, the amount of Bach and various sonatas he refers to in his books. There is a lot of smoking in his novels. The characters are either smoking a pack a day or have quit smoking. Gaurav once told me of how Haruki was a chain smoker but had eventually quit and started running.

Since last October, I’ve read six of his books but only own three. I haven’t read two of them. I fear that I might run out of his words to read. That’d be a shame.

I have this strong feeling. I feel that Toru and Tengo have a lot in common with Haruki. Sometimes, I think that they are the same person. Mere limited words cannot describe this revelation of a person I call my idol. Sources imply that he does not prefer interviews, to criticize others’ works or be on television. I think that just like his characters, he has a hard time dealing with himself. Existentialism and Isolation are major elements of his stories. I am scared of how extremely one can dive into such fiction. The kind that mesmerizes without revealing itself to you. If only you read his work with a clear and determined mind, you will understand what he’s trying to say. Not many can quite comprehend his words. Take the climaxes of his books for an instance; either it’s abrupt or has a very confusing air to it. Maybe everything that happened throughout the story didn’t really happen. The ending of The Wind up Bird Chronicle was the most convincing of his endings. It felt like a movie in the end. His books have kept me up at night. I try to retrace the steps, pick up the pieces and combine it all. But every time I do that, I fall further and I forget where I was. Such is the impact of his stories. The one thing I love about his work is his violation of all literary rules. He intentionally defies the rules which help build a story into a novella. There might be various realities to his books. In 1Q84 and Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World, there are two stories overlapping each other. There are two main protagonists who share the spotlight. And eventually, they find themselves connected. This is what makes his work so amazing. The ability to simplify what seemed so complicated all along. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to reach his stature. Maybe I won’t. He’s incomparable. I can only adopt his ways of describing a scene and much needed inspiration. Nothing more or less.

As you die

Pansy posted a status expressing her thought on how dead people don’t age. I guess she lost someone close to her when she was thirteen. The loss of loved ones can absolutely break us down in ways unimaginable. Some people are never able to move on; they start hallucinating and cry over haunting memories. Just imagine how it would feel to lose a best friend. Who’d tolerate you in your worst states? Who’d help you get back on your feet when times seem harsh? I certainly won’t be able to cope with the death of Gaurav. I would lose most of myself after he passes away. I don’t want to think about it at all. Dying is pretty easy, to be honest. You just stop breathing, your heart stops pumping blood and the pulses cease to run. My grandfather once told me as he was laying on his bed, “baperok sai jabo kobi, ketia singi jau kobo nuaru”. What he wanted me to do is tell my father to see him one last time for he might not know when he’ll stop living. Although he survived cancer, he’s still suffering greatly. He was a very energetic person who didn’t shy away from hard, time taking work. But now, he can’t even get out of his bed without moaning out of pain. I didn’t really get emotional when he told me this but it kind of hurt me. I was a bit taken aback. I guess he’s just waiting for death to knock on his door. It’s all about that last moment before you close your eyes to life. I have no idea how it’d feel. What have we gone through as human beings? I am sure no one knows about the other’s life. I know what he has gone through in life. Hell, he has seen his eldest son speak his last words in front of his eyes. How heartbreaking would it be for a father to lose his eldest son? His eldest son was my nisa (elder uncle) who died of liver failure three years ago. I still remember how my mother sobbed as our car drove in to her natal house. The entire place was crowded that evening. My uncle was a well known personality in those parts. I cried because I saw others cry. I was a kid and I hadn’t really come to terms with the loss of family. I was almost oblivious to emotion. I can never forget that day. And sometimes, I think about him. I try to recollect memories of him in little corners of my head. He loved me like a father loves his son. He was the only person I loved more than anyone in my maternal family. I wish I had seen more of you. Life would have been so better and colorful if you still lived. Like all dead people, you left nothing but memories.

So selfish of you to leave your entire family alone. You left Mou and Mon (my cousins) and you wife alone. Mon, he was just three years old. He was so fucking young that he doesn’t remember how you looked. I doubt he has any memories of you. Then, you took away your children’s mother. It took another two years for Apaa (my aunt) to die of an impromptu disease. Your children lost everything. Now, they are living under my grandparents and younger uncle and aunt. I hope you know that Mou is stronger than she seems. She doesn’t cry anymore. I don’t know and seriously don’t want to know how she has coped with life for all these years. Just know that they can take care of themselves. You don’t have to pay any heed.

My parents annoy me a lot and I swear there are times when I wish for them to die. But is it that easy? I’d be forced to make major life decisions and I don’t think that I am ready. I know that I won’t be able to handle myself. I’d probably drink and drown my sorrows in smoke and music. Just know that I won’t recover. Dying, as I said is easy but coping is hard. That is all there is. Moments like these make me think about people I love and loved, how I want to tell them that they make my life better just by being in it. But then, everybody has to die.

 WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN AFTER WE DIE

I have a theory on what happens after we die. I mean, most people think that life ends after birth. The presence of that particular human being vanishes off the face of the Earth. Then people would talk about rebirth or resurrections. I wouldn’t go down that alley but I have an analogy of my mine. I think that someone dies they almost instantaneously take birth somewhere else. The sense of being would of course disappear after you die. But that very sense of being would return. You’d come out of your mother’s womb crying aloud. You wouldn’t have any idea about your past life. You know how some people have ideas about what they were in their previous lives. It’s the same. People die. Period. They lose life and take birth somewhere else. It’s crazy but I live by it.

 

Hey beautiful!

Dear Maini,I didn’t go to school the other day. I was too sleepy and fed up with the never ending week that sucked me into a painful routine. I woke up and told my mother and Gaurav’s mother (so that he didn’t have to go too) that I’d be skipping school today. I dragged myself onto the bed again to plunge into a heartwarming sleep. I know you love that feeling. I remember how sleepy you were without being particularly lazy. In no time, I lost myself. And almost instantaneously I was in a dream. I was on your terrace. I don’t know how I even got there. I haven’t been thinking about you lately nor have you struck my mind (which you do). I mean, that’s how dreams work. They just appear out of nowhere to keep you hooked even after you’ve woke up. And if the dream turns out to be so impactful, you’ll remember it for days just like I remember it. I guess it will be on my mind for a vast period of time. 

Carrying on, I am sitting on a low stool while looking at you coming towards me. Maybe your parents were home, since you were scared somewhat. You trembled with fear and surprise upon seeing me. We both sat below the edge of the terrace so that nobody would see us. I don’t remember what we were talking about but I do have a vague idea about it. I was reprimanding like I always do. I wanted to make things the way they were before. I wanted to be all convincing and chivalrous just to make you feel good about me again. Then somebody called you, a guy named Richard who studies in our school. He came just to take you out on a date. I mean, this guy? Seriously? Why of all boys did he have to come? So I commanded you to turn him back. I came here, exclusively just to win you back. I wouldn’t let that weird dude come in my way. Then you turned him back and I said hello. Awestruck, he looked at me. I could guess how he was feeling, the girl he wanted to take out is being seized by her ex boyfriend. He sadly walked away. Then you sat ever so lavishly and with posie on my lap. I could almost feel how vulnerable you were. I could smell your mesmerizing cologne on my shirt. I talked my way into luring you. I wanted you so bad, I couldn’t just let the moment run past me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes already.

And then, out of thin air your grandmother pops out. Her cameo made you break free from my latch. She didn’t react much to our little reconciliation. Ironically, she smiled and acted as if nothing was wrong with the picture. She whispered something in your ear and left with a smile glanced towards me. You came towards me again and told me how unnecessary it was for us to part. We were something of a ‘forever’. I guess it’s only natural for my mind to take my side. The dream was like a fairy tale directed by me. I know that it was none but me to blame. I was the one who destroyed this almost perfect relationship. But the dream, oh I was so happy in there. I could live out my entire life on that terrace with you by my side. The thing you do with your nose, the way you twitch it made me weak in the knees. I can never seem to forget it and neither will my subconscious. The moment you did that , I leaned forward to put my lips on yours. Believe me when I say it, I felt like it was real. I mean, not even a strong memory holds much appeal. I was in there and I could control myself. We didn’t lock our lips right away. We teased each other until we completed exploring every area of our mouths. I eased in and so did you. Things went steamy right away. I kissed you hard and you rolled your tongue in. I wanted to put more detail but no more. Nobody kisses me like you do. I can come out and say that there is no girl I know who kisses better than you do. You’re amazing. I will say that I’ve kissed a handful of girls but you, you are exceptional. You make it sensual being awfully playful. I miss you so much that words never cease to bleed. I’m feeling good that I can write so well when you are the subject of my musing. The dream ends like a movie where the hero gets the heroine despite the struggle. 

See, I won’t say that I want you back. We’re too distant now even though your place is a 5 minute walk from mine. I still can’t visit or call you for I cannot seem to gather the guts. There is no way we’d think that we haven’t moved on. It’s been five months, five eventful months. Things change with so much time in between. It won’t be easy to pick up where we left off. I am not sure if I love you but I miss you, a lot. I sob when I can’t feel you. Your body still haunts me. I’ve been meaning to express how I feel about you and here it is. It’s hit or miss.

Is love so hurtful? I mean your departure is still creating storms in my head. If this ain’t true love, I don’t know what is. I must say that my emotional state has gone through drastic and dramatic changes. I am not the same. And I am not hoping that you haven’t changed either. Shit, I had so much to say to you. Nothing seems satisfyingly enough. I want to request just one thing from you. I want you to think about me, at times when you feel a little out of place. Think about how I made you smile through lame jokes and antics. Think about the way we kissed. Appreciate the good things that enveloped our short lived yet beautiful relationship. Stay safe.

Your greatest admirer and recovering lover,

Miklu.

Notes on pain and survival

I had begun to limp due to a life sized pimple which was full of pus. Oh God, the pain was excruciating. I couldn’t eat properly, neither could I sleep independently. I couldn’t sleep on thr left part of my body. At times, I wish I could just crumble up and die. When you are sick, people come up with countable remedies and interestingly nothing works. Bhavna insisted on how I should apply ‘ghee’ on the swollen area and I just went with it. There was no change. I gave up on everything. My uncle tried his best to force out the pus but failed miserably. It only worsened my condition. I missed school for a week. Those days, I couldn’t even think properly. Whenever I tried to do something, the pain would divert my attention. I ran a fever with severe headaches and what not. Then, it was a saturday night. My father finally took me to a doctor who lived in the neighborhood. The doctor was somwhat shocked to see the ugly looking abscess on my abdomen. Yes, it was something called abscess. It was worse than a pimple. I instantly shivered after knowing that I needed immediate medical care. So my father took me to the nearest hospital. I must say, hospitals are sad, miserable places. Nothing feels right in a hospital. The food tastes stale, the beds smell like diseases and the people have nothing but sad stories to tell. One could get sick just by looking into their distraught eyes. And since it’s India, we can say that nobody gives a fuck about hygiene. There was commotion in the casualty area. As my father filled a form, I saw a guy sobbing due to a dislocated ankle limping towards a bed. His friend was looking equally scared who supported the injured guy holding him by his arms. We heard that there was an explosion somewhere so we were expecting more patients in the coming hour. 

After ten minutes or so, I was moved onto a secluded area and was put on a bed. There was a guy resting on the opposite bed who was in a same condition as mine. He had an abscess on his left under arm. I thought about how effortlessly I’d rest like this after some minutes. A nurse came by and quickly anesthetized me. Three quick injections on my abdomen and butt; I was out. I couldn’t feel the middle part of my body. It was as if I had been cut down from the torso yet having life in my legs. Then she put some cotton on my abscess and applied some kind of acid (don’t remember which). The acid found it’s way to my back and it burned like hell. I screamed like a kid whose ice cream cone had just fallen onto the ground. I was calmed by my father. I found peace after some moments. Then, a man came with some instruments in his hands. All this time, I wasn’t able to look down. I just cast my eyes on to the ceiling. I felt something going inside my skin and in moments I heard my father. I have an idea about how the sight must have been for he was astonished. All the pus coming out along with the blood. I mustered minimal pain even though I was anesthetized. The man pressed on my abdomen and more crap came out. All this time, I grabbed my father’s hand like I had never before. He assured me that everything was fine now. The nurse came back and started sticking a bandage on the area for it to dry. The area wasn’t sewed though. They all went out of the room including my father. I looked down on my abdomen and cried. I’ve never cried like that before. I didn’t make any sounds. The tears just flowed out too easily. I couldn’t tell if I was relieved or just learning how blessed I was to feel all of this. I was letting go of all my agony and fears with the help of the rather emotional tears. I looked down on the dustbin to see the pus that was inside me just a few minutes ago. I never thought this could bring me so much pain. I wish my enemies don’t get absecesses ever. I could feel life tip toeing into me. I was unshackled even though I was dressed with a huge bandage. I walked out of the hospital like a convict who was released out of prison for good behavior. 

I went back home. Now that I could walk, eat and sleep properly I went back to school the next morning. Oh, How I slept that night!

Well, now I am still in pain. My body is aching for unknown reasons. I couldn’t go to school today. My bones are weak and so are my nerves. My head feels like a finger which got stuck in between a car door. See how we deal with sickness and diseases, maybe we don’t die due to these all the time. We die once and that’s all we get. As human beings, we learn to survive. Walter White survived cancer with much needed motivation from a hectic criminal life and family. It’s all about how you endure pain with a never say die attitude and miraculous energy. We could just believe in ourselves when everything seems wrong. Always know that pain brings out the best in people. It doesn’t make you weak. Sickness makes you ready for bigger tests in life. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well, you knew that already.

Not related but you will get it.

As weird as teachers go

My psychology teacher believes that I am somewhat special, not a student who she’ll see each year. Maybe she didn’t say it but I can feel her sentiments toward me. To our class, she hates me for I ask silly questions and create a very disturbing atmosphere in an otherwise quaint classroom. For her, interaction means binary answers such as yes or no. She is not as interactive as she should’ve been. I ain’t complaining but a subject which is so vast and interesting must be taught in a more open way. As humans vary, the psychological analyses will vary too. You should see how silent the class gets when she makes a stand. She’ll enamor you with her precise theories and vivid observations of life. She isn’t frank or friendly. Her approach is formal; no nonsense. I remember being expelled out of the class for yawning. On my defence, I didn’t yawn in the first place. But she somehow saw me doing it. I’m not questioning her (which I do, very often) but as menacing as teachers go, she’s on top. She has that prime bird’s eye view which will make the most conscious of girls tremble with fear. Not one student dares to open his mouth. But I take my chances, be it rational or stupid. I remember Kasvi remarking on how I make the psychology period more entertaining than not. That compliment didn’t appeal to me at all. Since, I am the only one who has the guts to speak up and interrupt the mighty Gemini (that’s another story), I feel a lot more confident. It’s funny how she keeps on telling me how ‘unnecessary’ and ‘stupid’ my questions are. I always reply with a statement which implies that I’m curious about what she speaks about. On the other hand, whenever I’m absent she’d remark on how awfully quiet the class gets. It might make her feel a lot better for she could carry on about her teaching. But I sure as hell know that she ‘misses’ me. Believe it or not, I’m the only one who has the sole ability to keep the class warm. I have that feeling; she’ll remember me. I won’t be forgotten that easily.

Her persona is quite mystical. She is so calm and composed all the time. But whenever she feels bothered, she’ll rain down on you. She’ll make you wish you weren’t born. She wears these vibrant and weird looking sarees. It might make her look a bit ugly as the students put it, but I feel her clothes define her mystical persona. Last week, I kept my cool. Maybe five more minutes of taunting would’ve made me weep. I’ve seen people cry due to her. But ironically, she is as sweet as sweet can be. She’ll love you with all her soul. I guarantee that your day will get better after she replies you with a bright good morning. You’d feel light, there’d be imaginary flowers in your hair and you’d be happy. But wait until you get that earful. 

She always comes later than the other teachers since she lives very far from the school. I always see her slowly walking towards her common room when the second period is in running. She always has her earphones on. I do wanna know what she listens to. You know what she said when I asked her about her favorite author? “Why should I say?”, she replied with a weird smile. There are many things I want to know about her. I want to get high with her (even though she doesn’t) and listen to her speak about stars and horizons. 

My psychology teacher will always be proudly remembered. She’ll be etched onto my mind forever. But I have doubts over how much can she tolerate me. She’ll lose her cool sooner rather than later. I hope we don’t arrive at that point, for I don’t want to part on bad terms. She’s my last shot at an influential school teacher.

Where art thou captain?

You know how crying without making any sound feels like? Well, If you know then you’d understand how heartbreaking it is. Nothing’s so soul crushing. You wouldn’t believe if I told you that I was crying while writing this. I just came back from my parents’ room with eyes as glossy as an arctic lake. I came back running to my room. As soon as Neil gets undressed and wears his crown, I switched off the television and rushed back. I mean, I started sobbing ten minutes before Neil could shoot himself in his father’s study. The entire movie gets painfully emotional and rather slow from that point on. I didn’t want to see him kill himself or watch Mr. Keating cry or witness Todd run into the snow because he just couldn’t bear knowing that his best friend had died. It would’ve made me sick. This movie will always be close to my heart, more than any other film. It’s amazing how it was made 28 years back but it still hasn’t lost it’s shine. It’s would be the best coming of age movie of all time if Linklater wouldn’t have thought about Boyhood. Let me make myself clear on why I love Dead Poets Society so much. Every teenager should watch how Mr. Keating teaches a classroom full of boys to make them have a different, more ambitious outlook. The very first words he spoke were Carpe diem which is a latin phrase famously known as seize the day. Which teacher would dazzle the impressionable teens on his first day? All I got was a robotic, deadbeat math teacher who kept providing us with ‘guidelines’ on how to behave in his class. I would only remember three high school teachers who effected my life in great yet varying degrees. I wish the number was higher. If every student had one Mr. Keating during their time, they’d create wonders. The movie was set in a more disciplined and respected preparatory school whose students made their names in law, medicine the other ‘sought’ after pursuits. For the heavily trained students, a teacher who stood apart from the others felt exciting to them. He simply swum against the stream. He enamored the boys with his love for poetry and life. The principal of the school didn’t approve of his ‘unorthodox’ and ‘not related to the course’ methods. He did everything differently; it was all about sucking the marrow out of life without choking on it. 

Parents somewhat expect a lot from us. I mean why wouldn’t they? All they want to do is make their child’s future into a bright one. Ever since Mr. Keating came, the boys felt a lot freer. They weren’t forced to do a thing. Along the lines, they discovered themselves. Neil Perry found out that he was good at acting. Although his father wanted him to study hard and get him to be a doctor, he acted anyway. He was breathtaking in the play. God knows he could’ve done better in the future. 

I could only relate. Just like Neil, I can’t just up and confess to my parents about my dreams and ambitions. For a fact, they wouldn’t understand it. And secondly, all they want me to do is earn money and live a pretty normal life. I wouldn’t shoot myself, of course. That’d be plain dumb of me. 

Now, a question swivels in my head. Was Mr. Keating wrong? He planted many ideas in his pupils’ heads and somehow in the end, they were ruined. Almost broken. I think studying is as important as the work you put into your passion. Things turn to shit when you can’t manage the time to do what you love the most. It’s only fitting that good things might end in bad terms. Pre climax, the film got as depressing as it could be. But Todd showed some raw bit of confidence as he stood on his desk and bid farewell to Mr. Keating. And so did the others. Mr. Keating, finally got the applause and respect he blissfully deserved. I still remember his face glowing in pride. He put a warm smile on his face as he said, “Thank you boys.”

On a more personal note, I just want to say that wherever you (Robin Williams) are stay amazing. It’s kinda weird. You don’t even know me. All I do is worship you, all of you. You made the world empathise with you. I laughed and cried for you and I know nothing’s gone to waste. This is an ode to you. 

Rest in peace, captain!

Inside the little ones.

Babies are always dumbstruck. They have the mininum amount of understanding about what’s going. I was going home on the elevator where there was this woman with a child on her arms. The baby was about, um let’s say he doesn’t walk yet. I kept gesturing my hand indicating a hello at the baby but he could only stare at me. What is he thinking about? He saw two men each having the opposite complexion. His vision is somewhat blurry. He kept staring us with so much concentration that it was hard to break. He was intently and forcefully looking at us. I can’t tell if he’s scared or just curious of two men bigger and older than him. He doesn’t even know the concept of age. He knows how to eat and sleep and play with weird figurines. How much do you know about childhood? Not the one where you learned to ride a bike or watched animax. The one where you needed help. The one where one was just learning about the images in his head and the voices one hears. Most of us are pretty forgetful of what happened during that age. I have a cousin brother who is in primary school; he just can’t figure out how his father looked. My nisa (elder uncle) expired before his son could learn his ABC’s. Childhood deals with a lot of blurry and veiled memories. I remember how I stole unripe mangoes from an orchard near my house. They tasted warm and and had this raw taste. It felt good but didn’t taste any better. But now, I won’t be able to find my way back to orchard. That path in my mind is lost somewhere. Think about a child who has just learned to how to walk and now, he’s just frolicking about. He falls, picks himself up and walks ahead. How does it feel to walk on those two little legs? It’s scary because bigger objects can slow him down and he may fall. But on the other hand, he’s extremely happy to have achieved the gift of walking. He’s as curious as the audience watching a Christopher Nolan feature. Anything can happen and there is no going back. A child just grows like a weed learning things and experiencing situations. 

People reflect on their childhood and heavily use it as art. They feel a lot safer doing it. Everything’s a carefree game when you’re small. As you grow up, times get harder and just use your childhood to feel better. Teenage and adulthood are very crucial yet are crazy stages of life. Life depends on it, almost entirely. Remember, always “let the grown ups speak”. And I can’t carry the weight of how true this statement is. 

I saw a lot of kids today. One who was just learning how to walk and another one who didn’t hello me back. He was paranoid of how I looked. 

P.S. There are a lot of things going on in my head everyday. I always look forward to write whatever seems good. And this incident regarding babies went on top. Somehow, writing about childhood always seems better. It is haunting; but feels good.