Thursday, November 17, 2016

Light up!

In light, there's hope

"The mere sight is magnificent. It burns, but it stands for hope. Fire for desire!" he said, looking at the shining candle. "That is indeed something. What's your desire?" his friend Chloe asked. "To let the hope live," he replied.

The two friends were standing on the deck of his majestic new home, overlooking a lonely hut, lost in the faded browns and dulled blacks of the woods. "Why did you call me here?" Chloe asked him. "I wanted to tell you about that little boy who lights the lamp at his doorstep, every single day," he said. "That boy who bicycles miles to deliver my newspaper?" Chloe asked him, her left index finger pointed in the direction of the light. "Precisely, yes." 

He began, "The little boy often knocked at my door in the morning, back when I lived a few miles down the road, and smiled at me. That boyish charm! I didn't want to ask him why he did that every day."

"Then?"

"Months and years passed. He never changed. And those mornings when I didn't answer the door, he stuck the newspaper in the window sill."

"Interesting."

"Again, I never asked him why. His smile just filled me with hope. I feared that if I talked to him, he'd never come by again." 

"You never talked or wanted to talk to him while you paid him his fee?" Chloe asked, amused.

"Never. He smiled then, too. He took whatever I gave him. The one time I overpaid, he paid it back with the delivery the next morning."

"This continues till day? Wait...you moved here for him?" Chloe was lost, albeit hopefully. 

"I have nothing in this world ever since I lost my wife. I live in her memory, I live with her memory, with the hope that some day she would come back to me."

He took a deep breath and resumed.

"A couple of days ago, when this house got listed 'For Sale,' I grabbed it. She always wanted to live away from the chaos of the city, amidst nature and peace."

He continued..."I noticed that he lights this lamp at his doorstep every day. For the first time ever, I wanted to know why. I looked around, found nobody. But I noticed a little drawing on the ground where he stands his candle. It is of a woman and man, with smiles on their faces. Stick figures," he said and fell silent. He recovered from his gasp and  continued, "And that was it. It struck me. When he first delivered the newspaper to me, I was doing a painting of my wife and me holding hands, standing in the smiling-shining Sun, with a little note at the bottom, 'I miss you.'" 

The two let the coolness in the breeze fly past the emotion and the warmth fill their hearts.

"That still doesn't explain..." He cut Chloe short as she began to ask.

"Explain why he lights the candle? Maybe the drawing reminds him of...his parents...and maybe he misses them, too," he explained.

The two looked back at the brightly beaming light and breathed a moment of calm.

"Who raised him, though?" Chloe asked.

"Hope, I guess." he said.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Plagued

Fool's empty

Day 732. No response. His wait got longer and lonelier. He wished that each morning's sunshine would end his rotting hope. He would zap the edge of his bed with dulled fingers and whine his agony to nobody's concern. "Solitary confinement would be a paradise," he would remind himself.

Day 0. He tucked in his shirt and tied a perfect bow tie. He sprayed the finest perfume his wife got him on their honeymoon in Maldives. "Strong and staggering," he remarked. "Honey, are you ready yet?" he called out to his beautiful wife in the other room. When he heard no sound after a second call, he panicked. He paced to her room and found her with a book in her hand. "Baby, are you alright?" he asked.

She inhaled deeply and didn't move an emotion. He plucked her palm from the pages of the book while he felt a white flush off his own face. She remained silent and stared her moist eyes into the blurred page. His heart pumped little and he knew it was time. 

She let his hand off and closed her eyes. He walked out of the room and looked outside his window. She got up and scuffed out. She roved around until she found her next fitting step.

Many days before Day 0. Maldives. They held hands and walked on the beach. "Remember the time I rocketed a letter to you in language class?" He blushed. She began, "That was the first time you said:

Hours, minutes, and seconds.They come and go.When life with you beckons, Time would come to owe.
"I knew life's choice would be you," she ended with a blooming smile. "You expressed it like any feeling couldn't. The power of those 18 words would last forever." He treasured the moment and wished that they be lost in the hopeful brace of life.

A few days before Day 0. While she was away at work, he began to write...

It wasn't until the day when I expressed my love for her; on a piece of paper that was meant for her to read and comprehend my state of mind. I loved her deeply and imagined life's greatest pleasures as mine. Mine alone. She would be around me, love me, talk to me, listen to me, play with me, and love me more. When we're company, there's no three. A beautiful story is written with a busy mind, not a pen. A melody is sung with a fervid voice, not a tune. Love's between two souls, not any other. Life with her would be just us. There's room for none. If there's one, that would be silenced, for a hedge between us deserves to be muted. For good. My life is her.

Day 733. Solitary confinement. He stared into the sunshine and blinked at his fate.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Black and Green

Rae of hope

From the diary of Rae who is still looking for funding for her new business.

August 12, 2019. The city I love.
10 a.m.

It was no ordinary journey. During those 12 hours spent in the company of my rich father and helpless mother, I asked myself, “If I do make a filthy amount of money ever, would I ever think about how to spend it for my family?” I saw my mom, seated to my right, looking outside the window, staring hopelessly at the trees being dried to dust by the fiery Sun. My father, in the passenger seat, was staring intently at his watch, perhaps counting the money he would make on his next big business deal. “Time is money,” I told myself, with an intent to mock my fate.

But there was this young man driving us to our next destination. We’ve lived in this city for as far as my memory can remember. I was born here, raised here, and was sent to probably the best school in the country. But that matters to none, for where I am now depends on the state of my mind, my ability, and my will to face the ruthless market. Our next destination, thanks to my father’s businesses, is where I hope to find my first buck.

I didn’t know this man’s name; my father did. I eavesdropped on him last night while he was on the phone, asking his network of businessmen for an affordable driver. “No, I only want him to drive me till there. One way only. I can buy him a train ticket back here,” he told his partner on the other side. “I would never imagine my father having friends. They perhaps are like ‘a businessman in need is profit indeed’,” I laughed to myself.

And then we got into my father’s car. I managed to smile at the young man. “Is he the driver?” I asked myself. My father ordered my mom to take the rear seat and nap until we've arrived. “Ten or eleven hours. And then you can be on your own,” he said to me before he turned around to the man and said, “OK. You’ll be paid at the end of the journey.” The man smiled and acknowledged, “Sure, sir.”

I couldn’t stop staring at him. Not that I was enchanted by his personality. He was an enigma that I fail to understand. He was dressed in a black tee and a pair of army-green jeans. He had a lean, pale face and wore dark green glasses. He was tall and slim, and had a goatee that didn’t complement his frame. His hair grayed and had various shades of the stress he’d probably been through.

He had a smartphone in his left hand and his right gripped the wheel firm enough to maneuver the car. He didn’t nod an inch and looked straight onto the road that took us on our silent journey.

Somewhere between the two cities.
3 p.m.


“I think I need food,” my father said. He ordered the man to pull over and park the car at a safe place until we came back. I barely touched my mom to wake her up before she helped herself out of the car. “Why don’t you eat something?” she asked. “I’m not hungry,” I told her with a smile. I stayed back in the car and watched the man unlock his phone. “Yes, honey. I’ll be back the day after tomorrow,” he said.
“May I ask you something?” I tried to strike a conversation. “Sure,” he replied.
“What do you do for a living?” I asked.
“I work,” he smiled and said.
“Work where and do what…if you could let me know…”
“Oh, I work as a manager for a small company.”
“Oh, that’s great. So you must love driving.”
“Yes, I do.” He turned his head away with a faint smile.

Confused and curious.
3:05 p.m.


Take the plunge.
3:10 p.m.


“How much is my father paying you for this trip?” I asked him. I had to know. For a man who looked that composed and sophisticated, I wanted to know. And learn about him.
“Three thousand,” he smiled and said.
His moist-eyed expression poured high emotion; that enigma clearing itself from the cloud of sentiment.
“Are you in need of money,” I asked.
“A little, yes.” He kept his face away while I tried to decipher what that expression reflecting in the rear-view mirror meant.
“I live from paycheck to paycheck and save next-to-nothing,” he said. “And I love driving. I heard of this trip from an uncle and grabbed at it instantly.”
I fell silent and asked myself, “Is 3,000 enough money for a driver who drives for more than 500 kilometres and who is only doing this for some additional money?”
“Nope. Give him more. A lot more,” answered my conscience.

Determined.
3:14 p.m.


“Do you mind sharing your bank account number with me? You see, I would pay for this trip,” I asked the man.
“Oh BTW, I am so so sorry, I never asked your name,” I continued.
“Ray with a ‘y,’ mam,” he replied.
“So you do know my name?” I asked.
“Yes, I heard about your new business from my uncle,” he said.
“I’m famous already?” I laughed it off.
“But mam, your father said he would pay at the end of this trip.”
“He just texted me that he doesn’t have enough cash in his pocket, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh, sure.”
He passed on his details and I fished my phone out to transfer his fee. “You should be receiving the money in some time.”
My father and mom came back after their meal and we resumed our journey.

The city I barely know.
9 p.m.


“Here’s the money,” said my father, pulling some money from his wallet.
“But I’ve been paid for it already, sir,” Ray said.
“You did? That’s great!” replied my father. He then ordered Ray to help him with his bags.
“Hey, that’s OK. They aren’t heavy,” I told him.
“You may leave now,” said my father to Ray.
I smiled at Ray and waved him goodbye.

August 14, 2019.
5 a.m.


I woke up to the message — “Hello mam. My fee for the service was 3,000 only. I received 10,000. Could you please let me know how I can send this money back to you?”
“Ten thousand is nothing. You’ve driven us to this new place safely and you have to go back to your family as well,” I replied.
“You need it more than I do, mam. I insist,” he replied again.

August 21, 2019.
11 a.m.


I received a text from my bank that an amount of 10,000 was credited in my account. I knew from where!

The need we are in.
Today.


As I think of Ray who instantly refused to take the money my father offered, who never asked if I had indeed transferred the 3,000, who offered to return the rest of it for my benefit, and who indeed returned the 10,000, I can’t help but think about the needs we have in our lives. And to think of it, my father to this day never asked my why I’d paid Ray beforehand nor how.
Here I am with an amount of 10,000 in my bank which belongs to Ray for his exceptional service and kindness. I guess…this is my first funding.



I owe him.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Slurred sleep

The 33rd day of the month

Thirty and thirty-one have been the norm since forever. Twenty-eight, just once a year. Twenty-nine, take a break, you are just a guest. The monotony of this rhythm is such that I tend to forget what's after 31. "Oh, it's 32, OK." And this happens when the calendar flips over to '1.' 

"Double you tee eff aree you tryin to tell?" asked Rob, in a tone that highlighted his labor at learning proper English. He shook Ron violently who was fast asleep. Ron didn't have to count any sheep; he was exhausted of late and been as lazy as the sloth he spotted during his recent trip to South America. For work. "Work? South America? What you have office in that country?" pondered Rob.

Ron didn't seem to move an inch. Rob stuffed a whiskey-soaked cloth in his mouth as Ron continued to flounder his dialogue.

I have been working for more hours than a human can ever manage. It's like borrowing a few hours from the next day to this day. And then more from the day after to tomorrow. It's an endless cycle until the eye stops blinking. "My eyes aren't blinking now." He tee-heed, the cloth holding still. Heart stops beating, I must say. But it's a thing now. If cycling or walking for kilometers was work from that generation, typing tens of thousands of words a day is perhaps worker. You know what I mean? Like comparative? Like work-worker-workest? OK. 

"Workest? Workest is bad. Fatigue. Stress can murder. Scary I feel." Rob felt a trap in Ron's speech in slumber. He bit his tongue while cracking on a KrackJack. He wet his tongue with the whiskey in front of him. He added two cubes of ice. He licked one before he spluttered them both into his glass. 

People around are not so kind. Sometimes. How would they know what's racing in the mind and beating in the heart? Would the moist eye be seen as a tear? Silence is not shy, always, you know. There are ten thousand thoughts thundering together. The concoction continues to cripple sanity. I don't seem to distinguish solitude from socialness. When one's on top, the other wants to take over. I am tired. Drained. 

"You drank much. Not good. Seem to saying many words instead of typing. You are upset?"

I fear that if a month goes by, the other's as worse. Days after days, it's a worn out tape. 

"What's problem, Ron? I sure not it's not worker but something more. Girl? Money? I happy to help. Tell." Rob poured more whiskey. This time he got four cubes of ice.

Ron fell silent. The cloth still stuffed in his mouth. He coughed up. Briefly opened his eyes and sucked phlegm back into his nostrils. He went back to sleep. Almost like a reflex.

Ron kept silent.

"I wait to you be up. From sleep. And the sadness. I there, my friend." Rob muttered. He meant it. As a guy who's been through some turbulence himself, he knew the troubles would soon be over.

I miss her. When I miss her, I dearly miss her. That's when one in the thousand words begins to make sense. Love. Months and days feel nothing, then. Ron fell silent again.

"Understand. You miss her, my friend. Happy that whiskey worked. Stress is nothing when love knocks." Rob realized that he emptied the bottle of the finest Macallan Ron got for him. His heart sank.

Ron fell asleep. For real. Rob chugged the rest of his glass.

"Hey but 28 and 29 come all month, no?" Rob said glugging the last drop of his drink.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Belch!

The Belchers

Meet the 'Belchers'! Funny they are called so. But I love them! 

Bob's Burgers gives you some laughs and can...err...pleasantly annoy you. The Belchers make & sell burgers for a living. You'll hate the kids and you can giggle at their antics. The best part of the show, however, is Jon Benjamin's voice!

Let's hope we taste these someday. And definitely not belch.


This drawing didn't take long, and it was an easy sketch. Bob was the easiest. Tina was the toughest, surprisingly! 

Do give this show a watch. Stressbuster.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thus, this!

Knock my block off

It is the time when the deep-rooted frustration wrings those brain cells – to act ‘sooner,’ before the very same brain triggers the palm to strangle the neck. The feeling’s sudden and often growing each day; to crawl to every breathing part of the body until this little act comes along.

I do not recollect when my last post came through. The post on the blog — that claims to be a paradise — has been lurking around the corner for a painfully long time; the corner of the mind, I mean to say, and is indeed far away from its intended cozy home – the internet. Or, in other words, an ABC product. Oh, ‘cozy’ did I say? How deceived and gullible could the post be for a title I’d given a decade ago!

Nevertheless, I tapped the ends of my fingers to discharge any dust that’d come in the way of my writing. But, to my much feared agony, I hit a block. No sooner had I started counting time up on my therapeutic act than the demonic-eyed hurdles came calling.

I took my palms and arms off the white-top table, only to realize that I’d painted it black with sweat while battling my block. I pulled my chair back and closed my eyes for soliloquy.

Write…mmm…how about ‘grammar in speech’? That’s a good start.

No. I’m writing. Hunting for fun and fact. Liberation.

Hear me. Technology and truce. Conspiracy and crime. Hypocrisy and health. Fraud and finance. Love and Hate?

Out of boundaries. Zilch.

My thoughts crawled further up my brain. They sat up high enough for a fair view of the world. I shot their ideas down. They resumed, again.

Creativity. Narrate a photograph. Colors and hues. Stare for a story.

Go on.

A picture speaks a thousand words. Your words are yours. Read like no other. Tell a story.

I don’t have a picture.

OK! Close your eyes.

They are...closed.

Now, knock us off your head. Open your eyes. Open up.

I stood up. My eyes were closed still. I counted to zero to blink them open.

I don’t remember if there was ever a window behind my table. I drew the curtains and looked out – for a beautiful morning, the air filled with the fragrance of chaotic life. 

Thoughts seemed to have silenced themselves.

My post seemed to have taken an amoebic shape already. The clutches within felt loosened. I tapped my fingers.

Tick…tick…

And thus, this!


Friday, December 19, 2014

This is Priceless!

Gifted with love...

I was living in a cocoon of uncertainty until recently when life seemed easy as pie, thanks largely to my family and friends who infused comforting sentiments into my otherwise irrational thinking. I held my ground, firm, with an elevated sense of understanding of the events unfolding before me. To be honest, I paid little attention to the virtues and mantras of marriage and relished the presence of my people. Even when the fast ticking time, draped in loneliness, knocked on my mind, the thought of my family, more so the woman walking into my life, shooed it away letting my stable-self be.

Of the many overwhelming phases of the last few days, beyond the wish-filled presents and tributes, one particular thing keyed up my emotions. My brother walked into my room, a day before my wedding, holding something that looked like an enormous poster. “What is this?” I asked. I felt like a clueless nine-year-old asking his brother, whom he looks up to, a question that had a straightforward answer. “Look at it. Closely,” he said. 

There was a large white canvas board dotted with cut-outs. Memories, rather. This is what it looked like. I must explain the contents of this image that was captured by my hands that shook of excitement and anxiety.


I could write to an infinite word count about each of these. But if you look at some of the striking pastes, you’d notice my craze for The X-Files, Agatha Christie, Family Guy, South Park, TintinHarsha Bhogle, Sachin Tendulkar, Adam Gilchrist, DDLJ, Friends, SanFrancisco, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Riven, Red Wine and so on. Now, each of these are not only my favorites but also a ‘first’ in my life. The Pigeon Point Lighthouse or the Lynmar Estate winery, for example. Those were some of the first places I went to on my first trip to San Francisco. That was some memory, I tell you!

There are also a few memorable yet embarrassing likes – a vial of Zinda Tilismath, a photo of the baby me holding (or ripping off) a doll’s head. Bang in the center is an audio tape – which I presume is blank. My fondest memory of tape was recording songs on radio and albums borrowed during my teenage years.

To cut it short, this is perhaps the best gift I’ve ever gotten! It was probably tailored — to perfection — by the greatest treasure I have: my brother and sister; with unconditional love.

It took me some time to soak in all of it.

But, knowing my ‘over-thinking’ personality, I was left with a challenge. “I’ve arranged these in an order that must make sense to you,” my brother said. He probably loved the way I cracked some tough puzzles in Riven – a game both of us played ignoring the demands of schools and assignments back then.

Anyway, a Thank You isn’t enough. I’ll live with these memories as long as time lasts.

Now, I’m off to look at it closely to crack the code. 

Hmmm … pictures speak a thousand words! What are you saying, memory in a photo?