Sunday, May 31, 2015

2198 : Missing

As I waited at the Grand Central, I was reminded of the conversation 12 years ago - I remembered me telling her that we shall be slaves to each other, for ever. She had laughed and said yes, she would very much want that too.

On that day, many moons ago, we had both undertaken a train journey together. Somewhere along the journey she had been tired and she had dozed off, letting her entire body weight rest on mine. The reflex in her had woken her up multiple times, as she had struggled with the idea of sleeping off on a still-a-stranger's body.

I had enveloped her in my arms and let her rest...let her feel warm and protected, but clearly while it was working some magic, it was definitely not enough to scare her demons away.

Today, we were meeting after almost 4 years. The idea was to undertake a journey to Boston via Penn station. The initial meeting point was agreed to be Grand Central.

As I waited for her, I could still feel the mushiness that she inspired in me. I loved her company, I had simply loved to speak to her. The honesty we had shared had been disarming. I have to admit, this all sounds very strange to me today, when I speak of it today in the past tense.

It bothered me that, we both had seen something magical and yet we had allowed that simple greatness to pass us by. We were both afraid to live our own lives, afraid of what the world might judge us by, afraid of disappointing each other so completely, that we almost were afraid to be together. We were afraid of many things, and our own fears had defeated our goodness.

And yet, today there was hope. It was she who had suggested the Boston journey. She had business to do there, and she was wondering if I could give her 2 days of my life. I had jokingly replied, I would give her 2 days, if she was willing to kill me at the end of it....and she had said, she would ponder on that idea. If she felt she still loved me enough at the end of the trip, then she might pull a seppuku on me - she had said in a shrill voice. The bloody vixen in her was still alive.

A few cold moments later, I walked into the terminal and decided to grab a quick coffee. I needed the coffee to warm my blood, and clam my nerves. I hurriedly stood in the line at Joe's for the warm black liquid, I was also nervous that we should not miss each other. We had phones, but still I did not want to make her wait. 4 years is a long time to keep a dear friend waiting.

Coffee taken, I rushed out onto Lex to the entrance again. The coffee did it initial magic. Never before had a sip of coffee felt better and more soothing. My rational brain was telling to take it slow, this was not a lover, just a dear friend...and this was just a 2 day trip to Boston, not parasailing the world in 6 months.

I finally saw her walking towards me. She walked briskly....I instinctively parked the coffee on a ledge and by then she was onto me. She gave me a hug, the kind that inspires a million lifetimes....and in the midst of that bear hug, I let out a wasp and said, "still bad hair ha?"...and she immediately pinched me on the back.

Like two lost souls in a fish bowl - floyd style - we both took each others hands - I picked up my coffee again, and we started off towards Penn. As we sat in the cab, she flashed two tickets and said - "ta ta ta...ready to go?". I nodded and smiled. She put it in my jacket pocket and said "you will take care of this better. Like always, I will lose this.".

We spoke and we fought over the little nothings, as if we had just met yesterday. We did not let the 4 years show to either of us. We were connected and we did not want that bloody chimera to crack.

In the next 10 minutes, we had already laughed a hundred deaths away....and the journey was just starting.

Once onto the Amtrak, we comfortably settled in. I was happy, far too happy to admit.....far too happy to not recognize it too. This is how life should have been, I was telling myself incessantly. As I was thinking, my eyes were dozing off, and I could feel her palms snake into mine, and give a warm tug of clasp.

I smiled and laughing said, "still do that kya?". In response I got one good nudge on my knee and it elicited a bloody "owh" from me....

I must have slept off. I remember that a few hours later, I was being woken up by an usher, who was checking the tickets. I fumbled into my jacket pockets and came up with the slip. As I was doing that I noticed, the seat next to me was empty. She was not there, neither were her bags. My bag lay under the seat. As I handed over the ticket to the usher, I muttered,"Ticket for two, wonder where my friend is...she was sitting next to me".

"Sir, this ticket is from 12 years ago. It is for two, that I can see. But this is not a valid ticket anymore. Are you sure you dont have a ticket for today?".

I apologized and explained my complete surprise at this anachronistic turn of events. The usher did not care much, but seemed very worried about my mental state. We both got down at Boston, where I paid a fine and she then gingerly asked me if I needed help. When I refused she let me go.

I went to the nearest coffee shop and sat down to drink some more of the brown poison. Was I really going mad ? As I started sipping my coffee, a strand of hair seemed to have gotten stuck on my lips. As I pulled it out, it was a thin long wiry strand of bad hair...and there was only one place it could have come from.

I wistfully smiled. This is what missing probably felt like.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2197 : State of the nation

Like this quote from Jeffrey Hammerbacher (founder of Cloudera)....

"The best mind of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.".

There he summed it up in a single sentence, everything that is possibly gone awry in this world we live.

2196 : A shared mourning

They sat silently next to each other on the couch. Neither looking at each other, nor looking away. Just fire gazing.

Silences like these always carry a hint of violence. Sometimes the violence of the bloody past, sometimes violence in the bloodless future, but never ever violence from within the bloodied present.

The room echoed with the soundless.

Wordlessly, as if on cue, she went first, and began to weep copiously, her heavy heart leaking through her yes. Her body convulsing through the immense pressure of soaked in grief leaking out.

Minutes and seconds passed, and he neither reached out to comfort her, nor did he withdraw. He just sat there, still in the trance of the fire.

Before long, he was breaking down as well. Weeping, less profusely.. long straight salty tears flowed down his wrinkled cheeks. Viscous water locked in this eternal battle of wanting to rest in the crevices of the wrinkles, but unfortunately always losing the war to the ravages of gravity.

The two of them sat sobbing next to each other, vindicating that they were both truly broken. They had both heard and seen the rupture. Their souls were irreparably damaged. They were both grieving the death.

And yet no one had died. Nothing had been really lost. Everything tangible that they had valued and treasured, was still around and safe for now.

Each of them was still very much alive and breathing. So there was definitely no real death. And yet, they knew that a dying had indeed occurred. The dead ghost of the "us" that had kept them together for long was now in the room as well, released from its bodily confines and confused about its final destination. Without a cartographer, the ghost was lost, now without a home and soon without a destination.

Today was catharsis. It was a shared common mourning, they said in their own heads - speaking to themselves in a lost language.

Meanwhile, the dreaming tree had indeed died. And this was its wake.....

2195 : Farewell

I love poetry and the poetry titled, "Farewell" by Ali Agha Shahid, should easily rank as one of my top 10 poems I have ever read or will read.
If I am buried, please dear universe make it my epitah... Here goes the poem (Hope I am not doing any copyright violation....I have bought 6 copies of this book if it helps :-)))

I have read this poem at least a 1000 times and every time I fall in love with it all over again. Its sheer magic, the realism that only human grief can push us to see.

 At a certain point I lost track of you.
 They make a desolation and call it peace.
 when you left even the stones were buried:
 the defenceless would have no weapons.

 When the ibex rubs itself against the rocks,
 who collects its fallen fleece from the slopes?
 O Weaver whose seams perfectly vanished,
 who weighs the hairs on the jeweller's balance?
 They make a desolation and call it peace.
 Who is the guardian tonight of the Gates of Paradise?

 My memory is again in the way of your history.
 Army convoys all night like desert caravans:
 In the smoking oil of dimmed headlights, time dissolved- all
 winter- its crushed fennel.
 We can't ask them: Are you done with the world?

 In the lake the arms of temples and mosques are locked in each other's

 Have you soaked saffron to pour on them when they are found like this
 centuries later in this country
 I have stitched to your shadow?

 In this country we step out with doors in our arms
 Children run out with windows in their arms.
 You drag it behind you in lit corridors.
 if the switch is pulled you will be torn from everything.

 At a certain point I lost track of you.
 You needed me. You needed to perfect me.
 In your absence you polished me into the Enemy.
 Your history gets in the way of my memory.
 I am everything you lost. You can't forgive me.
 I am everything you lost. Your perfect Enemy.
 Your memory gets in the way of my memory:

 I am being rowed through Paradise in a river of Hell:
 Exquisite ghost, it is night.

 The paddle is a heart; it breaks the porcelain waves.
 It is still night. The paddle is a lotus.
 I am rowed- as it withers-toward the breeze which is soft as
 if it had pity on me.

 If only somehow you could have been mine, what wouldn't
 have happened in the world?

 I'm everything you lost. You won't forgive me.
 My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
 There is nothing to forgive.You can't forgive me.
 I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to myself.

 There is everything to forgive. You can't forgive me.

 If only somehow you could have been mine,
 what would not have been possible in the world?

2194 : The dreaming tree has (indeed) died

I have written about this before, if I remember right. The dreaming tree dying has always meant a lot to me. Always. The line comes from a Dave Matthews song, which I find is mesmerizing in itself.

Today, as I sit alone and work - there is only phrase incessantly going through my head - "The dreaming tree has died.". Sometimes in my brain the sentence invariably becomes "The sleeping tree has died."

Both sentences make immense sense to me in my personal context...and that is indeed the summary of the moment.

Today is the day.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2193 : There is something else....

Today I sighed more than a dozen times(truly it was voluntary, the bloody thing would not stop!!), and my sweet spouse caught me at it - it was very hard to miss. When interrogated (it feels like that right?...joking) I conveniently told her it was my asthma at work...and it was not far from the truth....I was definitely struggling to breath.

I did not have the heart (or mental energy) to tell her what (I think) I already knew for certainty, that sighing is definitely an escape - a slow release for your infinitesimally dying soul - inch by inch finding its way back to Uncle Universe.

2192 : Shortest story

Plain brilliant disguise,
Treacherous pale eyes.

Screeching shrouded pain,
Rippling white rain.

Staying lightyears away,
Losing the Way.....

Commas and pauses,
Running away losses.

Whats the glory?,
Imagined morning story!!

The credits roll,
Played my role.

The tango ends,
Ocean finally bends.

2191 : What separates us now

Every single time I have inserted space between myself and my relationship with a person or a thing, it has had some strange unexpected outcomes.

I was forced to give up photography for large parts of 2014, and it hit me real hard how much the act of seeing through a device and the associated paraphernalia (read lens lust) meant to me. It did kill a large part of my soul. I am now back at it with a vengeance :-)

Another time and era, the minute I took a step back - I clearly knew that the workplace I was in - was completely wrong for me. I would not last here for another 3 years (I just could not visualize spending my life at this place....and that usually is another brilliant acid test of longitivtiy - can you as an example visualize dying with someone?)

And in the last 7 years, I once walked away from a dearest friend - only to realize that she was most definitely dear, I did miss her - but our relationship itself was weak - neither of us had really invested in it. It was built on a premise of "expectations and needs" rather than a real drive for either "companionship or happiness". That act of separation almost broke my insides. (Years we are both recouping and picking up pieces between us...both of us wiser and so much more mature.)

Get the drift?

Distance always bloody lends perspective.....(CLAP CLAP !! spoken like a true photographer :-) na?) But..... distance also has terrible frays. Distance ostensibly kills part of the soul. Most importantly, sometimes distance lends escape velocity to our fledging wings.

I can hear Bette Midler croon "From the distance..."

From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.

Monday, May 04, 2015

2190 : When you lose, search for a new lesson

Dalai Lama says that "when you lose, dont lose the lesson".  Dear DL, what if, I have already lost the lesson, and thats what is making me lose in the first place?

Time to walk away from the lesson? Time to walk to a new teacher? Time to quit school? Time to retake the class?

Dyslexic me.

2189 : When you sigh

Sigh and you let the world around you know that you let a tiny breath escape....Hindus believe (just like bamboo trees come timed for death...they actually do...), we humans come timed with the exact number of breath(ins) that we shall intake and then we pass away.....and if every breath indeed represents the life force in you, then a little part of you dies as you let a sigh escape.

When the world ends, I shall be walking around collecting your sighs.....