Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Callous Estrangement

“There is only one thing I ask of you. Trust me. Even if you acquiesce to nothing else…even though I know I can never change your mind.”

“Why else am I here?”

“…for I know, I can trust you to take care of me, to not hurt me intentionally…to always tell me exactly what I need to hear.”


It might be an illusion, for all I know.

My apathy runs deep.  You see, it was never a question of trust.

For trust I can and I will, always. It is so easy to confide in someone, to give them your undivided time, to do things for them.

Perhaps knowing that you choose to do so willingly regardless of how your actions are perceived and the intentions they serve, is what makes the difference.

So think me to be a fool, or see me as a means to your end. It doesn’t matter.

Turn around and shatter the dream, but my heart won’t be broken anymore.

For I will pull away if you gnaw at my essence. I will walk away if you try to tie me down.  

You see, I choose to blind myself, but I can always see.

So pull the blindfold off, show me your true colours, thinking me to be hopelessly ensnared.

Except, those traps are as frail and brittle as your momentary promises.

And so I continue to liaise, walking into this beautiful, delusional world of my own volition, to revel in those fleeting pleasures that your companionship offers, while returning the favour in kind…

But I’m not yours to claim, nor are you mine. And so be it.


Such paranoid caution…it could be the death of you.”

“Ah, it is but an overwhelming instinct of self-preservation. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“How long can you keep this up? No one can fight alone.”

“No one is indispensable either.”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clash, Joust, Duel

And I sink to my knees, head lowered, hands clutching at the earth beneath in despair…my entire frame shaking with antipathy.

Revulsion ripples through every fibre of my being. I look at you with unmasked hostility as you walk towards me.

Head held high, hands jammed into pockets, a natural look of indifference intermittently crossed with pity on those loathsome, perfect features…you regard me coolly, a silent reproach in your gaze at my helpless state.

But the steel lies sharply against my palm.

And you tap your foot almost impatiently, awaiting my response.

In that moment, the wind dropped, time stood still…everything froze.

Except for the blade carving your being, in an explosion of vermillion.

“Kill me, why don’t you?”

She mutters to herself more than to him, as she leans against the window-sill, conveniently turned away from him

“…I will do no such thing,” he responds, perfectly nonchalant.

She grimaces, her fingers instinctively reaching towards her left shoulder, wrapped in gauze. She glances back to notice the light bandage spread across his forearm. He catches her gaze, calmly returning the look.

She grows even more infuriated.

“Calm down. You won’t get your way if you lose track so easily.”

“Darn right. You wait.”

“Empty, meaningless threats.”

“Cocky much?”

“I’d rather die than give in to you.”

“That’s it!”

And the sabre is pulled from her hands before she can strike, her hands caught behind her in a single grasp and he leans in to whisper, “Swordplay is like conversation, they say. You must learn to listen to your opponent.”

She drops to her knees and he stands before her, like the previous time.

Tower over me, your brilliance looming over my zeal like a dark shadow. And I shall always be but a mere silhouette, my sword not an expression of my spirit but an instrument of my regret.

Forever, forever burning in the inferno of my ardour…

He touches her shoulder with the sabre and she looks up, “Keep the fire alive but don’t let it consume you.”

…and so you dance and play to the same impatient rhythm, revelling in that violent upsurge of emotion before it gives way to complete stillness.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Acquiescence

“Why are we here?”

He looked up from his work, startled at the sudden question. She did not face him but continued to gaze past the window – possibly at the clouds, if he knew any better – arms crossed, her expression impassive if not slightly wistful. Unable to discern the context of her words, he simply asked, “Elaborate, if you can?”

“I won’t. The question is self-explanatory. Oh and if you can answer this as well – who exactly are you?”

The words escaped him even before he could get up to face her (and perhaps check for fever first, before trying to knock sense in her). “What is wrong with you today?”

“Answer me!”

“But in what context?”

“You know which.”

“I do not. Unless you seem to have to forgotten how you willingly chose to kill time while I finished my assignments – there, the answer to your first question.”

“Incorrect. Also, I still don’t know who you are.”

“Oh, for the love of God! How can you not recognize me?”

“I don’t recognize myself.”

“Shall I bring a mirror?”

“Irrelevant.”

 “How about a blow to your head?”

“How about I offer you a knife instead?”

He finally walked up to her, stopping by the other end of the window, keeping the little distance to avoid overwhelming her. She held his gaze coldly, standing as if in defiance of everything around her. He couldn't help but chuckle. “Does it matter?”

“Unless it matters to you, no.”

“Why?”

“If you’re asking that, then it does matter to you.”

He looked away, glancing at the view before them; a moment of quiet reflection spent in taking in nothing more than myriad hues of white that played across a canvas of infinite blue, before turning to look at her, a slight smile as the only affirmation of their mutual understanding, to be met by a solemn nod in return.

“Let’s not state the obvious, shall we?”

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Last Laugh

That feeling, when you look back and realise just how many things (and even people) you have left behind.

Nothing, and no one, is ever indispensable, is it?

However, thrown in the eye of a raging storm, grappling for anchors that are yet unreliable, you hanker for the lost times, the transient comfort that sheltered life offered you – friends, confidantes…all yet to step beyond that point of no return, prepared to shake off those shackles that bound them to their volatile, vulnerable selves.

Not knowing that those sides will raise their ugly heads at the most inopportune of moments.

And you choose to blind yourself – hide behind the countless avenues of escape, driven to the point of maddening laughter, masking the involuntary cries of desolation as you get buried beneath a convenient façade, refusing to slip away even within the confines of your solitude. Those mindless pursuits, those numbing recreations – you give in to them, as does everyone else, each present moment postponed to another time.

You envisage a future unencumbered by narrow beliefs and constricting relations. A life carved on your terms and your terms alone. And yet the enormity of achieving that vision overwhelms you to submission.

It’s the same story day in and day out. You know the way, but it takes all of your courage to maintain the status quo, let alone break it and bear its ramifications.

And yet, things will change. People will come, people will go. You are left stranded in the middle of it all, watching it happen, living as if suspended from motion, dimly aware of how everything else moves ahead, except you.

So you retreat to your high-held composure; that infallible assurance that you were meant for things beyond the band-wagon and for you, time and space does not exist. That spiritualistic viewpoint, killing the tearing hurry of all human endeavours, the lowly outlooks of achievement and possession…reinforces your disillusionment in this worldly life and you give up even more.

You had two paths laid out before you and you can’t choose either. And yet, you have walked on both.

Would you ever be able to blaze your own trail?

Or will you run ahead, regardless of the path, only to be forced to look back?

Perhaps, you will have the last laugh anyhow – either at your own incompetence or your steadfast zeal to break all conventions. And then, nothing would matter. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Velleity

You came into my room
With poison on your lips, didn't you?
It seems as though my mind and body
Both dissolve with your kiss
I hate myself as 19 years old
I hate myself as 19 years old


If only that were the case, she mused. Sure enough, she hated herself at nineteen years – not the pathetic onslaught of aging, nor the seemingly burdensome responsibilities of adult life that awaited her.

But the jaded, world-weary outlook that has been her bearing since quite some time. Talk about carefree days – she never had one, rather, couldn’t bring herself to be like that.

One year of living away from home – from that self-imposed hermitage where she was blatantly disconnected from the world in its entirety, so much so that her mind became her refuge and the vivacity of her thoughts remained unmatched by reality till date – and her carefully crafted realm stood in tatters, leaving her in limbo.

She still had nothing to come back home to.

Except, maybe, how even in the few remaining days at her disposal before this wearisome sabbatical would end, she’d still leave the door unlatched at night.

And relapse into dreaming the few hours of sleep which she allowed herself, those visions growing more disturbing yet cathartic in their wake.

Nonetheless, someone never failed to show up there as well.



“Why do you do this to yourself?”

She looked up from her work, one hand absently twirling a highlighter. Editing was mindless work after all, and mindless work was all she did these days – staying up till the early hours, unwilling to fall asleep.

The clock chimed four times as she finally got up to face him; her hollow, apathetic gaze tracing his indignant expression. She chuckled bitterly. “I hardly think 4 in the morning is the right time to have such life-changing conversations.”

“Says the one who’s up every night doing even more worthless work.”

“Don’t say it. You have no right to.”

He held up loose pages, torn and frayed but very much legible, marked in neat letters…her handwriting. And regrettably dated, she couldn’t help thinking. “How do you expect me to not the state the obvious and question the rest?”

“My fault for leaving things around like that. And, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I wouldn’t want you to accuse me of leaving you alone.”

“You’re not doing me a favour.”

“I might be doing one, once you’re done pushing me away.”

“I never asked you to stay in the first place.”

They continued to look at each other – he, rather coldly and she, with growing disbelief. She numbly took in his tall frame, the dark, brushed-back hair, the pale, angular face – contrasting with her ragged appearance, roughly cut hair falling wildly around her lean shoulders, nicotine-stained hands looking deceptively frail; her slender, enchanting form reduced to a mere shadow…

She shook her heads, wishing the whimsical thoughts away, aware of the grim truth that sunk in even more. “Why are you even here?”

“Ah, so you have wanted me to leave since a while anyway, isn’t it?”

She locked her sight with his – two pairs of dark eyes reflecting past glory, present despair, future uncertainty.

And she couldn’t bring herself to speak but nevertheless did:

“You’re free to go.”

He bristled at the words and she winced involuntarily, half expecting him to close the distance, take her by the shoulders and shout for all he was worth. Much as she even wished for that to happen, it was a line she would have no one cross.

A line which he was well aware of. “You have your way yet again,” he spoke calmly, no remorse about having to concede showing in his countenance.

Then again, it had never been about him.

 She turned away, pacing towards the door, almost whispering, “I wish I didn’t.”


She woke up with a start, her fingers clenched around the sheets and her breathing ragged. Dark strands clung to her damp cheeks. She grew increasingly furious at that, hating how sentiments got the better of her.

It was not over, though. Not by a long shot.

Dawn did little to light the surroundings, but she could still discern the telltale silhouette against the window, waiting.

As if on cue, he turned, sparing her one glance before raising his hands in defence. “Yes, I heard every word.”

She tried not to berate herself for her long-drawn somniloquy. “You knew it either way.”

He stepped into the dim light. “I will spare you the trouble.”

“You don’t have to.”

“You won’t have anyone else be that accommodating…not for a while at least.”

She looked away. “I’m yet to know whether it’s the right thing to do.”

“I trust you enough to move forward regardless of your decisions.”

She looked at him, surprised at his show of faith. He was willing to affirm to her intention of finding herself – in other words, a whimsical notion of societal detachment, a desire driven by disillusionment so severe, she didn’t want anything to do with anyone. Perhaps, that was all she was meant for – reverting to her own space after having tasted what was at best a burgeoning social life, albeit as shallow as it could get.

However, for her to consider him in the same superficial sphere, the thought was unnerving if not heartbreaking altogether.

He walked out of the room, the door left ajar, and she called after him, “But, you…you are still someone I wished would cross those lines, break those walls.”


All that remained were echoes of that unfulfilled wish. 

...

Opening lines - 19sai by Suga Shikao. And incidentally, my theme for this year. 

I would love to rant about how rusty my writing has gotten, but I'll let the readers judge that for themselves. Until next time. 

By the way, for the less discerning,  this title is a legitimate word.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pursuance, Disarrayed


Within my realm
I run, for ever and ever
Chasing mirages,
Seeking illusions,
Savouring little pleasures
Of vivid imagery…mere thoughts
Perhaps more enthralling
Than reality could ever be.
And yet I look out to the world
Behind a veil, wrapped in sanctity
Of visions and dreams –
A perceived conscience
Guarding the fragile, gullible being
Enclosed within
I look for a tear
In this mythical fabric,
Fearing the brilliance that awaits
To dispel this darkness…
Numbing, comforting, dampening
The spark I strive to alight,
Endeavouring to carve my way.
And I’m caught between the two worlds
Forever running, forever seeking.


...

I didn't know I was still capable of writing poetry, although this is not my best attempt. Oh well, but I had to do something to get the creative juices to flow again. *sighs*


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rumination

You haven’t written in so long…I feared you may have lost yourself. Have the illusions finally gotten to you?

I thought I was on a path of self-attainment but I have only succeeded in pushing things aside that mattered…to me, to my previous conceptions at least, before they were coloured with promises of a fresh start, a new life, a chance of redemption and renewal. Not before I had nearly lost sight of my original ideals did I realise I had fallen for the charms of this world.

But you came back. You always do.

To you, whom I cannot see anymore. To myself, whom I cannot recognise anymore. I have changed…in so many ways I cannot even begin to comprehend. To the idealism that seems even more naïve and defeated than ever before. To the innocence barely salvaged, struggling to breathe. To my soul, once sparkling with heartfelt emotions, now burdened under a growing dispassion. To that very ocean, once alive and turbulent, now morosely becalmed.

Nothing is beyond salvage…

…except may be these insights, these realisations that hit you to the core, leaving behind marks difficult to efface, to forget. A knowledge that cannot be unlearned, a change that can never come undone. And what if I were to tell you that it is what I stand for now and I know no other way of being anything else?

You prided yourself on your resilience, nothing ever touching the base you had swore to retain forever.

But the lines have begun to blur. The distinctions have merged and what was once a convenient façade has now become an infallible truth, overwhelming the inconsonant traits into submission. I am unwilling to try and unravel the carefully placed layers, to seek what may have been lost already.

Are you giving up?

I wonder what is there to give up. A long-drawn fight that has begun to lose its edge? A quest for reprisal that seems inconsequential? I give up – not on this life, not on the dreams that have driven me so far, but on trying to reconcile the minor triumphs and the wearisome travesties, to fuel the flame of accomplishments against the ruthless, cut-throat adversaries facing me in their full glory…or so as I believe. And I resign – to my own pace, to my own voice.

But you will persevere to rise further, seek perfection in its entirety, and raise yourself beyond questions and doubts.

And yet, would it ever be enough?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Of Figments And Verities


My one recourse to the safety of my identity, untouched by foreign perceptions, remains no more in my stead alone – writing.

Then again, it’s just self-preservation. No one likes to be remolded; to be cast in a different light, stripped of all known traits, of everything held dear.

Alone, vulnerable. Afraid. Anxious and yet hopeful. Faith and suspicion lie in juxtaposition and the dance of life is as erratic as ever. Amidst the uncertainty, I stand facing misgivings and presumptions.

But the fire of vindication remains burning. The raging inferno is all one sees, not the shrivelling soul at the very source of it, fuelling those hated flames.

And the cries go unheeded, for it is one sound amongst the cacophony of a thousand wailing hearts; a dissonant chord so banal, one has forgotten how blissful silence can be.

You and I…we’re no different, are we?

Except, perhaps, distinguished by the palpable reserve we maintain, the aloof demeanour allowing us to coolly brush off unwanted advances…the walls, the stringent fortification, the false lull of security.

I marvel at how we have managed to breathe amidst such emotional asphyxiation.

So, what would it be?

A perilous willingness to uncover the carefully placed veils of antipathy, or resigned acceptance to the delusion of forced detachment?

You…could choose either, notwithstanding how I will still be able to look through you, your pretenses.

I return, to seek the solace of my expression, only to find your undeciphered gaze haunting me, setting my heart aflutter and trepidation coursing through my entire being.

 Your voice echoes within the confines of my mind, your presence acutely felt and sought.

Therefore, in lieu of rediscovering the sense of identity I may have lost, I find you to be my looking-glass.

Who am I to you? Who would I be… if you weren’t there?

Heed my call or forever hold your breath. For I know, as certainly as I could ever know…

…that you seek me as much as I seek you.