“The truth is- everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for”. He smiled as the tune played over in his head as he lay peacefully, counting each breath as it flowed by. Two pills for a high, three for sleeping, four to get knocked out. He was trying to remember how many he took, to calculate if he could die in peace. After all, wasn’t that what he had always wanted from life?
For the past months, his life had been a dream. A hazy mashed set of overlapped ecstasies. He didn’t want the dream to end, but could see himself drifting slowly towards reality, and that frightened him. He never liked living in the real world, it was decaying, continually dying. Day by day, minute by minute. He could feel his life being sucked out if he ventured out, he had to wear a mask. For years, he had trained himself to ignore the noises, he had created a separate world for himself in which he could peacefully try to live. He opened it for her when she came into his life, let his defenses down, let his heart melt. But you can’t be the same after it happens as you were before. You have to start from the scratch. That frightened him beyond measure. The pills were just to help him sleep. But what if he never wanted to get up from it?
They say that your life flashes by in front of your eyes just before you die. He couldn’t be sure why it wasn’t happening for him – for all he could remember in these moments was her. Her smile, their kiss. The way she looked at him when he said something stupid. The way she laughed when he tickled her tummy, going red at the same time. Her body, the perfectly rounded breasts, and how their hearts could beat as one when they were together. And it broke his heart to leave her behind, to make her face this- but she had fallen in love before, and she will again. He may not have been her first, her last, or her only – but if he was hers for now, what else mattered? A child in the body of a man, with the maturity of a five year old – he felt the world was a better place without his eccentricities. He had been good to her, but it frightened him beyond measure what could be when he starts to go crazy? He was afraid to hurt, for she saw just the good in him, and it killed him. He felt she would see his reasoning in this too. He was confident she would understand.
Of silent glances and suppressed smiles. Of expressed desires and wuthering heights. His book would be published in the next couple of months, his publisher had ensured him that. He had achieved almost everything he had set out for, he couldn’t take the pain of going the downward spiral again.
Of empty spaces and distant cries. Of paperback dreams and funeral pyre. He could see her rushing in with hands across her face, he could hear her scream. He smiled the widest he could conjure but she wouldn’t stop. She kept slapping to get him to wake up and he wanted to tell her it’s alright, and implore her to not cry tonight.
He just needed a kiss before he could say goodbye.
“It’s been time since he wrote anything. He has been sick, our lad. He just keeps on sitting at that far corner, staring at the stars. He says that they look beautiful. He says one can hear them speak, you just need to decipher the code, ‘you just need to look at them twinkle’, he says.”
“There was a time when he had a life. There was a time when he still cared. To the outside world, he still puts up the mask, but if you really look through his eyes, you will be able to peel away the deceitful disguise, I am sure of that.”
“Oh how he was before this?” “Well…, people found him affable. He could put up that mask even at the time, to find love in strangers. But never did he got close, to anyone. ‘Not anymore’, I remember him say. Nothing happened, and somehow, everything changed.”
“I know about this. I have walked through his shoes. I have seen what he has seen. I have looked through his eyes. There had been pain in the past. It had hurt him, it had hurt him real bad. The ghosts of yesteryears, they never escaped. He still sees them when he closes his eyes. ‘Only unfulfilled desires can be that romantic’, I have heard him tut. The saddest part, is, he understands it all. But he can never really let go. When the world you see when you close your eyes is much more beautiful than the one you are in, then which is the road that you take?”
“Have you ever heard a grown man cry, haan? Tell me, doc? It’s gut wrenching, it’s horrifying. Because they weep in silence. And when it becomes all the more unbearable to bear, they flip out. Their brain, it creates a different world of its own. And all you can do is look at them and wonder if the man there is the same person who once believed his heart.”
“He is a good lad, doc. I do not believe in God, not anymore, but please, for the love of that almighty who everyone so trusts, save him.”
…..Memories are funny little things. They come around when you are least expecting them to intrude, and like the house guests who just wouldn’t leave, they stay. They make your personal space their home and feast on what you call as ‘your mental peace’. They creep inside your closely guarded defenses, cause havoc and leave you vulnerable in their wake. They make you question the decisions you’ve made, they make you ponder on what could have been. In the end, they change you.
I used to believe people change for two reasons. Either they have learnt a lot from their past or been hurt too many a times. I might have been wrong. There might be a third kind. Whenever you fall in love, you change.
Change is tough! It implores you to test unforeseen spaces. You are afraid to fall if you walk, but the rule of the land demands you to run. You have to accept the change, you have to embrace it. You have to forget to remember forgetting. For is it possible to forget someone who has given you so much to remember?
And I still remember everything about you. I remember the tiny sound you make when you disapprove of something. I remember you fretting about what might appear to be the most uninteresting thing in the universe and keep pondering about it. I still can recite the songs which I started listening to just because you liked them. I remember almost everything there is to remember, and more than anything I remember your smile. How I melted in the past whenever you walked past flaunting that smile. How that smile can still melt me as I imagine it in my mind. Sometimes all you need in the world is someone who can make you smile.
Every few days I arrive at this particular junction. I have had partners before and I have had after, but every single one seems as meaningless as the one before and the only thought I have as I get close is to run away. As fast as possible, as far as the imagination stretches. How can I ever learn to let go when I didn’t have a chance to hold you for a while? How can I ever blame you when you never promised anything? How can I ever forget you when I don’t want you to go? The child refuses to grow, the dream refuses to go – can I ever be- comfortably numb?
I knew that you were something special the moment I saw you. I never really wanted to fall for you because in the back of my mind, I knew it was the perfect recipe for disaster. But how can you control something which cannot be tamed? How can you fight something which already knows the exact points you falter at? You were always the magician, and I was under your spell before I knew it. The funny thing about the spell is, it gets me started whenever I wish to end. It brings around the memories. As you know, memories are funny little things. They come around when you are least expecting them to intrude, and like those house guests who just wouldn’t…..
(Fuck me. I am going mad.)
I am a serial procrastinator. People procrastinate, but I feel I do it with a certain panache. I have a family with more degrees collectively than my age, and being the elder son, I always have had a name to live up to. And boy, I did that when I was young. Then one fine day, I came to know of an assignment we had to submit in some three hours. And I went to play, came back, copied it from a friend in fifteen minutes! I put the “ever important” part of study on hold and did what I wanted to do and I was thrilled. I wasn’t a virgin anymore. My eyes had been opened to a brand new world. A world when what you have to do comes secondary than what you want to do.
I carried on the habit in college. Even when I had the time and means to finish the curriculum for college examinations- I did it the morning before. If I had to write an article for the college magazine, I did it just before the deadline. I bought a guitar, yes, I was that stupid, and never learnt to play it. (now I do, so don’t you start being all wisely and start puffing your nose again!). I got fined from the college for trying to smuggle my own laptop because I didn’t get a stupid form signed. There’s no answer to why I didn’t get the form signed, I passed from the very door fifteen times where the forms were being signed, but I had to invest ten minutes of my time for that. How would have I found those ten minutes!
I haven’t reached for a single movie in time for the last five years – it allows for multiple beginnings – which makes the movie more exciting than it could ever have been. I think there is an element of romance in this whole topic of procrastinating.
And I have been blessed to find the people of the same genre alongside me. This fine young man, Aniket – a brilliant keyboardist- you can actually look up to him if you want to learn how to put things on hold. He could sit for the entire day doing absolutely nothing just because he had to do something. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing is that!
I have been trying to understand the importance of procrastination in my life. It has made me smarter, I suppose. I have to utilize, exert my grey cells doing something in twenty minutes, which if I had planned could be easily been done in two hours. It has made me understand the value of concentration. Normally, my mind is always in the thinking mode – about the pressing issues in the world, such as, why are the clouds white, or how I can make tiny particles appear out of thin air when I shut my eyes and open them again, or how can we know if there’s a black person on a moonless night hiding in the woods – but after the process of delaying things, I would have thought of all of these- and then finished the work! How amazingly awesome is that !
Now, I had been thinking of writing this article for so long. But then. You know the story. You know what must have happened. Oh, procrastination! you beauty ! 😀
Noun. A game played by two teams of 11 players each on a rectangular, 100-yard-long field with goal lines and goal posts at either end, the object being to gain possession of the ball and advance it in running or passing plays across the opponent’s goal line or kick it through the air between the opponent’s goal posts.
Etymology. Foot plus ball.
Followers. 28.7 mil on Twitter. Countless besides.
Football has never been just a game; with a larger than life status and many a billion fanatics. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is one of the richest sport bodies of the world. UEFA Champions league, the Euros and The World Cup are the richest sporting events in the world, with the winner of the Champions league winning $77 mil (ICC World Cup offers a prize of $4 mil). The FIFA World Cup in Germany (2006) was viewed in over 214 countries with an unbelievable total of 26.29 billion views.
In the corporate scheme of things, the game is sure to be followed by the giants – AON has seen its popularity soar after associating itself with Manchester United, and Nike is the most visible sports brand. But what I want to discuss upon is what the game means to us lesser mortals and how are we enticed by the sheer brilliance of the beautiful game.
Like all the other kids of my age, I used to be a cricket buff. And one fine day I saw this absolutely fabulous man who could curl the ball anyway he felt like with his sheer will. That was 2001-02 and he got England through to the World Cup single handedly. That was how I started with Manchester United, and I fell in love. Scholesy, Giggs, Keane, Beckham became my idols and I remember that I cried when Beckham left for Madrid. But it taught me that no man is bigger than the club he plays for, and as I grew up this feeling has stayed, accepting everything good there is with humility. I read about the Munich disaster, the lives of the club legends and somehow I felt connected with the club – they became my identity. I wanted to follow them, emulate them; I learnt never to give up even when defeat was staring right at my face, I learnt to fight even in the most adverse of times.
The era of Ronaldo started with the 2003-04 season and he achieved what the Old Trafford faithful had deemed impossible – he made us forget the hurt of losing Beckham. Rooney burst to the scene and the Theatre of Dreams looked the most exciting place to be in.
People often ask me if I follow Manchester United for their trophies or because of their popularity, among others. As one of my friends had put it, and it fits in so perfectly – Manchester United is a way of letting myself free, letting my passion for football grow as well as helping me grow as a person. I am not saying that people who support other clubs are on the losing side. That is the most important lesson football has taught me – respect. I do not like Chelsea, but I respect them. I like the brash nature of Madrid football club over the tiki-taka of Barcelona football, but never will I not agree that they are a great footballing club and the world would be so much worse without them.
I love the beautiful game for all these reasons and countless more, and how the sight of a football makes my eyes glitter like that of a child’s who has a chocolate bar in front of him. At that point of time, nothing else matters. There are two posts, and a man guarding it. At the time, the only thing that’s there in the world is getting the ball past him. This is what there is, this is what matters. This is you, this is the game, this is your life.
“Sometimes I wonder… will God ever forgive us for what we’ve done to each other? Then I look around and I realize… God left this place a long time ago.” – Blood Diamond.
But that was Africa, right? This is India, a place where the Gods reside. The crown of Himalayas and the Kashmir valley, dubbed as “paradise on earth”. You go to the southernmost corners, you reach Kerala- and it is termed as God’s own country. We have a billion people and a million Gods; they would never desert us, will they? I mean, how many more layers of lies one must walk through to look at the truth. We are happy being the ignorant buffoons we always have been. Have we learnt nothing from our history?
Whenever something happens, we light candles. Don’t get me wrong, I am not being sarcastic. We support the person who has been wronged in ALL the way we can – we post the rubbish on our Facebook walls, we tweet how entirely wrong this whole episode is – whatever it may, we write blogs, we even go out of our way and do a candle march. And we go with placards and all. We leave no stone unturned. We did it in the case of that minor girl, that Guwahati girl, and now we’ll do it for the Delhi girl too. We CARE ! We fucking do, damnit !
There’s only one thing I fail to understand. Who are we trying to prove that we care? If we did, the shameful episodes wouldn’t have happened. If we did care, Jane would be living her regular life. If we did care, Joe wouldn’t have been beaten dead in the middle of the street.
But we can always write more posts, go on some more candle marches, right?
I remember this incident when a mother of two was raped in Park Street and her majesty’s statements to the gory deed. She said that rape cases are on a rise in the country because men and women interact with each other more freely now. “Earlier if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded but now everything is so open. It’s like an open market with open options.”
An open market with open options !
Now, let’s come to Delhi. A senior police officer’s amazing advice on the recent matter of gang rape on a moving bus– “advising women to avoid rape by not travelling after dark and carrying chilli powder to throw at potential attackers.”
Now, let’s look at the answers given by the police on if rape is a crime. It is from a sting operation by NDTV.
“She asked for it.
It’s all about money.
They have made it a business.
It is consensual most of the time.”
You can read more on it – http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/in-and-around-delhi-cops-blame-rapes-on-women-tehelka-investigation-with-ndtv-194735
So, we have incompetent politicians, bloody buffoons for police officers and the living dead as citizens- who could never peep outside their window even when they know that you are being dragged by the cuff of your neck, maybe to be plundered. But that must be the dog barking, I should turn on the volume of the television a little more, just so, that’s perfect!
So guys, stop posting stuff. Stop hiding. Take charge. I am not asking you not to look at girls, but when you do, do it with respect. They are to be adored, they are to be admired. Media will always find a new case to show 24X7- it likes to feed on others’ misery. The news has remained grim for as long as I can remember, only with changing subjects. Your life is not a news channel. Help people. When elections come, go to vote. You are educated enough to choose the right person, regardless of the caste and the creed. And above all, respect others and their right to live, it’s not that difficult. In the end, it might make all the difference in the world.
Words are still lost, meanings still declined. The realities shift, they change. I am thankful that the dreams are still my own. They sold my soul, they took my name but the mask still hangs on to the face. Over the years, it has changed- a Rorschach of black blobs. It is the only color that has fascinated me since the very start. I have seen kids playing- arguing over the best color which is there but black never figured on their list. Maybe because it isn’t a true color after all, it is their absence. But it reaches where even light falls short.
This color has very conflicting connotations. None of the colors has so many different meanings, and so many opposed ideas. On one hand, black is the color of death, and on the other, it represents individuality. If black represents fear and darkness, it can be mysterious and sophisticated. It is authority and also humility, the sin and the holiness, rebellion and conformity, wealth and poverty, good and bad. But trust me, when I see black, I always see the dark side.
Maybe that is why I always try to hold back my tears. They might smear the mask, if light falls, the colorless drops of water might become a rainbow. The red of love, the blue of pride, the green of peace. If light doesn’t befall, it still is white- the color of hope. Hope is costly. I know, I’ve tread on its vestiges.
Nostalgia defines, memories, they bind. I drain them every single day, but the next morning they return. I try to fight them, the daemons, but they I can see them growing stronger. I can feel them, can sense them and have I tried defeating them. But it’s getting harder. The night is getting colder.
It’s getting dark, too dark to see.
People say that it will get better. People say that things will change. They promise a lot. They paint a rosy picture in your head.
You can do it, you can have the empire, without realizing that it is of dirt. You can play with it for a while, make a palace out of sand. And when rain comes, watch it crumble, try to save it knowing that there is nothing you can do.
You can also remember all the moments you were a split second late, the decisions you took too long to take, the memories you couldn’t make. Nothing blows as a candle in the wind. Nothing stays like an amorphous anathema. When your victories are your own, why does it become so hard to accept defeat as your own wayward child- which you nurtured but somewhere, something went wrong?
What is it that makes you afraid? What is it that you’re haunted of? Are you so afraid of rejection that you have accepted it, getting along with your life like it matters not? For how long do you think that you can carry on this charade?
You cannot ever find the time to do all the nothing that you want. Go watch a movie, go listen to a song, sing a melody, try to be happy. Try to discover the heart that seems lost. Indulge it, again. Be prepared to get it broken. If it does, and in all probability, it will, start afresh.
Fall in love. Anything will do. As long as it serves an inspiration to the fear that it will go away, keeping you on your toes, alert, for the storms to come.
It will get better. Things, they will change. I promise you. Do cry, but when the tears dry, come to your senses, over the one that got away.
i am the silent voice that haunts,
i am the sacred silence that daunts.
i am the the chill you feel,
i am the disease that makes you weak.
i am the failure you encounter,
i am the architect of your disasters.
i am the love you lost,
i am the kindle of your past.
i am the ghost that makes you afraid,
i am the fear that twists your brains.
i am the reason you never succeed,
i am the island you can never reach.
i am the pain you always feel,
i am the horror of your screams.
i am what resides inside you,
i am you,
your guilty conscience.