Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Languish

She sat by the window, gazing out as was her wont to do. Her gaze languidly searched the sky for patterns amidst the myriad hues that the clouds seemed to take on with the setting sun. The quiet chill of twilight brought about a strange stillness to her being, afraid even to breathe.

Lost in a reverie she was, yet alert enough to discern another presence in the room. Her gaze did not shift; she remained where she was.

Quiet, breathing. The hand barely touched her shoulder before it was taken away.  She didn’t look up, only murmuring a ‘yes’ to convey that she was listening.

She couldn’t miss the oddly half-sheepish, half –rakish smile in his voice as he asked, “So, what are you up to?”

And she smiled, despite herself. “Waiting for you, sir, so that I may be graced with your honourable presence.”

“Stop playing the princess.”

“Says the one who acts all high and mighty himself.”

“Oh, as if! I’m a person of humble means, you see…”

The mindless banter went on back and forth, while the twilight continued to fade, vestige by vestige.

There was this and there were other moments. Of unspoken understandings, shared insights and common inspirations. Her vehemence would cross paths with his anguish – the only time they would. Those few moments of togetherness,  revelling in the way they were so alike beneath the veneers.

Those few moments were all that she could allow herself, after all.

But they had more than those few moments, didn’t they?

Long talks, hands held, kisses stolen in the dark. The rare occasions where they willingly allowed inebriation to break their walls. Only to revert to their otherwise impenetrable fortresses, nursing old wounds, on the lookout for yet another battle which would, hopefully, not be their doing this time.

They were both fighting the same enemy, and yet unwilling to come together, preferring to be distant allies, keeping their endeavours as less intertwined as possible.

He dreamt of the one person he couldn’t be with; she grappled with her fear of never finding anyone else again. And as hopeless as these quests seemed, they were all they had to fight on for. Quests that brought them dangerously close to a single path, but it takes more than shared interests to keep one bound to the other, doesn’t it?

And that, the crucial element, was dearly missing.

For she reached out to him against both their wills, and his response, while comforting, was nonetheless marred by the bitter realisation that even that couldn’t be to her claim, let alone his heart.

It was another question - a question she refused to acknowledge – whether she truly wanted to claim him in any respect to begin with.

She leaned by the parapet, her gaze resting on the gently rippling waters of the lake, her body heaving with the measured breaths she forced herself to take. It had been a long, excruciating walk and climbing low hills worryingly proved a challenge to her decreased stamina. Her somewhat fragile health was on a long list of things she didn’t find to be all right. And as always, it was bound to give away to more pressing matters.

Matters which existed in her head. Anxieties and fears none too real, but acutely felt within the realm of her dreams.

It did not help that the only way she had known to fight them off, all these years, was through an anchor.  An idea, a motive…but mostly, a person.

Something she had failed to find well over a year now, the last attempt succeeding no better than the others.

Her eyelids fluttered to a close, her senses focused on taking in the sunlight that warmed her skin against the light breeze. She stilled herself to take in the moment as much as she could, knowing that moments like these were substitutes for the lack of a veritable safe haven, however poor.

What she didn’t anticipate was to feel a hand brush against her shoulder, starkly reminiscent of the previous times and unwillingly she looked up to see him standing there, the same slight smile gracing his countenance.

She thought she was dreaming.

"I’d say, what a pleasant surprise, but I’ll forego the pleasantries – the startled look on your face is a little humiliating, to be honest-“

“What are you doing here?” she cut in, having little patience for his ramblings.

“I could ask you the same, princess.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake! Can’t a person have a little peace and quiet some times?”

“Eh, no one’s denying you that,” he remarked, not failing to take note of her impassive expression which was only betrayed by impatience flashing through her eyes. Impatience crossed with anguish. “I know that look very well, you know.”

“I know you do.” And much as I may have wanted it to be, it’s none of your business.

“So tell me. Why are you here?”

By this time, she was already on her feet, almost shaking with antipathy. “How does it matter?”

He shot her a narrowed look, but said nothing. To which she almost smiled. Of course, not your place to say it matters, right?

The forced mirth was replaced by quiet seriousness as he asked again, “Tell me.”

But he remained where he was, and she was only too aware of the distance.  Mutual understanding be damned; I refuse to partake affection and concern from afar.

She crossed the gap and walked past him, but not before stopping to lay her hand on his shoulder. ”It’s nothing. You may go.” Time you did. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Noesis

I miss writing. I really, truly do miss it. It’s something…to feel the clatter of the keys beneath your fingers, to see that image viewed in your mind’s eye come alive word by word. Or the times when I bother to take paper and pen, to see black ink scrawled across a pristine white background. [I hereby admit that my handwriting takes on a life of its own, compared to the neat, precise letters that I otherwise maintain.]

For now, I’ve decided to go the stream-of-consciousness way. My muse refuses to humour me, you see.

Strange that it does, considering my current environs – I call it my own English manor; this house atop a low cliff overlooking the sea, in midst of torrential rains that abate for only a few blessed hours during the day while the sky continues to remain overcast, making it a permanent twilight. Monsoon is my favourite season, and nothing calms me more than the rumble of the ocean. To see the two combined should have brought out my artistic ability in oodles. But all I see is a blank slate, with no colours around that I could even splash on it for random effect.



[Maybe I never had any artistic ability in the first place. Cue more randomness.]

But when the rains finally ceased long enough for me to venture out, I walked all the way down to the jetty. The clouds were there, all right, and the sea was as restive as ever.  The jetty was crowded with silly tourists getting themselves photographed at a dozen spots - none of them differing any more substantially than the previous ones – and corny souvenir shops. I lingered around just long enough to take in the sight of the waves crashing against the pier, and walked back home.

The next day, I venture towards the city, stopping short of the main beach. The place from where the coast began was thinly populated with hutments and fishing boats. The sky was shroud in myriad hues of grey, steadily overwhelming the pale rays of sunshine which broke through from time to time. Except for the sea, it was quiet. I wandered onto the wet sand, with the waves occasionally reaching up to my shins. The stiff winds had thrown my hair asunder, but I bothered enough only to rake through them to ensure that they didn’t get into my eyes.

And I stood still, the water lapping at my feet and the sea breeze rippling through my clothes, my gaze settled on the horizon, almost indistinguishable in the grey haze.

I felt nothing.

[Maybe this soul-searching business is overhyped, after all.]

There was a time, when the mere sight of the sea lifted my spirits to a state of joyous abandon.  It symbolized an inexplicable sense of freedom which I so often envisaged in my daydreams. A lot of my writing did have the element of water in the backdrop.

[And strange that I should be writing about not being able to write about the sea – it is still writing after all, isn’t it?]

However, to stand there today amidst what I considered as one of my infallible sources of inspiration…and not be stirred in the least, it was disconcertingly puzzling.

And yet the gale was inescapable as was the sound of the sea, thrashing about in the distance, its waves appearing no more than white jagged lines to my eye as I would idly sit by the balcony railing.

[Looks like that is all my consciousness is filled with at the moment.]

Maybe I am not able to appreciate my surroundings as much as I would like to do, considering that I am present in them to begin with. Maybe this serenity which I seemed to have taken for granted will come to me when I go back to my desolate, landlocked city.

My notions stand changed – some recrafted, some simply annihilated – and I rummage about in the remains, looking to see if in the process my creative ideals have been laid to waste as well. But I hope and I pray that they will resurface in due time.

Just as how some things wash up onto the shore, thrown forth by the ocean. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cognizance

Spare me the rhetoric, the meaningless diatribes.

She turns halfway from the window, her gaze resting at the silhouetted hallway stretching before her.

Hear yourself. You are here, now…living, breathing. Why must they forget?

A hand lies against the glass, misty with the rain. Dark clouds sweep the skies, bathing the world beyond in a permanent twilight.

See yourself.  Can you?

The chiffon folds flutter away in the breeze, settling against her slender frame now and then.

How long will you run away for?

She stands still, keenly aware of the quiet which surrounds her, the silence permeating into her very being,

You know who you are, don’t you?

The hand clenches against the glass, belying the restlessness tearing through her…capable of shattering the surface into a million fragments if it were a force of its own.

There is no other way of knowing the world.

Her gaze now settles at the sight before her, taking in the cold yet invigorating picture that the clouds seemed to be painting, enlivening her surroundings with that infallible sense of just being – the essence of being one with the universe gnawing at her very core.

Burn those shackles down.

She thinks of fire. A conflagration, raging and blazing its way through, tiny flames sparkling and dancing in the wind.  There was something about elemental fury – water, fire, air, earth: so very essential to existence and matter.

Is it a reflexion or a paroxysm?

Her imagination gives way to mighty waves lashing over sands, only to shift to a raging storm kicking up dust everywhere. So in tune with her conflicts…that mental turmoil, driving her mad with equal parts exhilaration and agitation.

But you fight on, one battle after the other.

Even though they were fought in the vivid landscape of her mind. Alter egos would spring to life, repressed desires would come to the fore – each instance scripted as close to reality as possible as if it could be brought alive in a parallel universe.

And realisations beckon you.  

Her gaze is fixed at the play of natural forces before her, while she continues to mould herself, dream by dream into an instrument of expression, attuned to everything that is characteristic of this world.

You have always sought creativity.

Coveted it to the point of vandalizing her psyche, only to realize it lay in her hands, in her will and courage to be.

The world awaits your glory.

She steps beyond the glass walls, breathing into the winds…dreaming of that fire setting her core aflame, alive.