Friday, 17 June 2016

This happened, or that, or this!!!

It’s our first date. I dressed up. I even bought you a bunch of lilies, the ones you like. I went an extra mile figuratively to find out your preference from your friend who doesn’t like me, and an extra mile physically because I could not find them anywhere closer. I even put some gel in my hair and carefully hid my receding hairline. I shaved again and got in my recently serviced car. Before knocking on your door, I once again looked at myself in rear view mirror, pressed my hair and checked if something was stuck in my teeth. I took a deep breath and knocked on your door. Every passing second felt like hours. And then you opened the door, clad in yellow, looking all perfect as you ever were. I didn’t think you had to go through all the trouble I had to, for looking this amazing. At the most maybe you just washed your face and got into this off the rack dress which fits you like it was custom tailored. I was so nervous around you. Dinner was usual. Table pre-booked, waiter tipped generously, no eating off other’s plate, hold the fork in left hand and all other etiquette. I parked the car few blocks before your home and walked with you. We didn’t talk. We just kissed good night.

When I was walking back, it struck me, why did I have to impress you? What was special about the night? Every guy does it. Well, maybe not every guy; every guy who has means and has a willing girl to impress. Why did this impress you? Didn’t you know it’s going to be like this? Why did you want this so much? It is not as if you would spend your entire life with a version of me that impresses you. It would mostly be routine, mundane life wherein I will eat out of a bowl most Saturday nights sitting on the couch and watching some stupid TV channel oblivious of your presence. The same presence which makes me forget everything today. The night looks so amazing today, as if there is an added fragrance to the flowers, or maybe added brightness to the moon. You are gone inside, but I kept standing there, hoping that you would come to the window. I felt your hands still holding mine and taste of your lips still lingering on. I could still hear your laughter, or the way you said my name.

What’s the point? Maybe I dressed up a little too gaudy for you. I got lilies when your friend actually said daisies; or she said lilies knowing that you like daisies. After all, she didn’t like me. I drove an extra mile to save some money. What could I have done? The vendor was overcharging me. The gel came down my forehead along with the sweat. I was nervous, I said that already. I cut myself while shaving and forgot to remove part of the tissue that I used to soak the blood. My car smelled like garlic and onions, because that’s what I sell for a living. I could not locate the leaf in my teeth because the rear view mirror was broken. Every passing second felt like hours because I had to pee so badly. There was no reason for pre booking the table at McDonalds; there was no need to tip the waiter because there wasn’t any and there was no need to use the fork either. We ran out of gas so you offered to walk. We couldn’t talk since it was raining. There is an added fragrance to flowers after rain stopped and so is the brightness more since the clouds disappeared. You never came to the window, because there wasn’t any. Your hands were sweaty, I still feel what it was like to hold them. I can still feel the taste of your lips because they tasted like the fish burger you had. Your laughter gives me nightmares and so does your inability to pronounce my name properly given that you lisp.

Why did you marry me?

You saw me standing on your door and waiting impatiently for you to open the door. You liked lilies after all. I could only get these lilies next town and you knew that I drove extra to get these for you. I was wiping my forehead and you knew I was nervous around you. Tissue on my face and leaf in my teeth, you thought it was cute that I was clumsy. You love garlic and onion smell, who could have thought? Your parent never took you to McDonalds, fearing you would never fit in that dress. You thought that I didn’t care whether you will get fat. I wanted to walk with you in the rain so I pretended that we ran out of gas. Really? Oh my girl, you are so sweet and innocent. You saw me standing there in front of your door hoping that there was a window you would see me from. You saw me looking at my hands feeling your touch. You saw me lick my lips and thought I liked taste of yours.

God is so kind. 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Did you say "Choice"?

The right of choice is taken away from us even before we are born. Did you have any say in what colour, religion, country you were born into? What kind of parents did you want? Did you ask for the rules of the society or the law it abides by? Why do we talk about rights? Why do we wish to maintain this illusion of choice? What if I wanted to make a world of my own and chose my own laws, no matter how weird they sound to you? I understand that such a thing will lead to a chaos, but what if my rules and laws do not encroach on your space? Yes, I will lose the choice to encroach on your space but at least my house will be tidy and organised and most important I will be able to paint it the way I wanted to.

Our system provides us so many fundamental rights, but does it provide the most basic right – right to have a right? Instead to make us forget that we do not have any significant choice, it offers us a diaspora of options which either appeals to us or keeps us enough occupied not to question who kept the significant ones out of our reach and whether we can get them back. I do not want more choices in burgers, can you instead offer a planet with less global warming, no terrorists, more fresh water and a lot less complications? 

Some people have been termed as free thinkers. Some fortunate ones were recognised and termed so before their death. I wonder if in their hearts they realised that they have been able to fool the world and led them to think that there is something called free thinking. I wish they had not and smiled their way to the grave thinking that they had defied the rules of the society and bared it’s truth. Look back and try to remember how many times have you heard the word “No” and then at the same time try to remember the word “Yes.” I would like to meet your family and teachers if you heard “Yes” more. Perhaps I will move to your city and live there. 

You are not in a habit of asking questions, otherwise you would have asked me “Who the hell wants choices anyways?” I knew that you would not ask and I also know that you are afraid of making choices. Sir, would you have your sandwich in Parmesan oregano, Multigrain or Honey Oatmeal; Grilled or not; cheese or no cheese, some olives Sir? Oh Come on! Can't I order a simple sandwich? Yes Sir, but then you will lose your right to chose. Forget it, I am out of here. Damn that Sandwich guy , can I have a gelato? Sir, Would you like your gelato in cup or cone, nuts or sprinkles, some chocolate syrup sir? 

See, you cannot handle even these simple choices, what will happen if I tell you to chose or create your own currency system, your own religion or perhaps the perfect parents you always wanted. No Sir, you want it all on your platter, and that brings us to the beginning and end of a generation who has misunderstood and will forget importance and essence of individuality. 

By the way Sir, How do you want your eggs - fried, scrambled or Sunny side up?

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

All's well that's in the well...

We had a well in our house, the kind in which you could not see the bottom unless sun is shining right above it. As a kid, it always used to captivate me. It was like a well that they used to show in fairy tales; covered with green climbers and creepers. Ants and bugs of all kinds climbed up and down transporting their food on head like the labor carrying stones for making pyramids; only that there was no one forcing them with a whip in their hands. Whenever some toy or ball or cloth fell in that well, the feelings attached with that object also fell along. I believed that all those feelings are sitting at the bottom waiting for someone to come down and feel them all at once. It was like death of a loved one. How wonderful it would be if you can visit the place where they store all the souls and once again love them, fight with them and hate them? As human beings we are tuned to crave for things and people when they are gone and not when they are with us. So naturally, when something fell in the well, I used to stand for hours figuring out a way to pull it out. I tried to persuade a group of ants to bring it out for me, but of course they had more important occupation like figuring out how to break a large grain and take it home or whatever they called it. The well seemed like a large hole in time which took away my future stream of thoughts and association with an object which I had once planned to keep with myself for my life.

Have you ever felt that all moments in your life lead to a particular aperture in time absorbing what you were and after which life was never the same? No, neither I am talking about change in your thinking after reading a self -help book, nor meeting a spiritual guru who changed the course of your life. I am also not talking about quitting your job and pursuing your life-long dream. I am talking about a literal bend in time. Like all moments in my life have culminated to the single most important which is now. Next six seconds will decide my fate and yet here I am, thinking about the wells and bends in time.

Unlike childhood where everything spellbound me, my later years were spent in a small apartment in city where there was hardly anything which aroused my curiosity let alone fascination or thoughts about the storage for dead souls. I took up a small time job as a clerk. I had an unassuming personality and seemed to be forgotten by friends and family. I ached hard to remember the way I was and the way the world was, but guess my thoughts had left me as well. I preferred to lose myself in long walks to home after work rather than joining company of self- absorbed ones in their mindless leisureliness.

Then it happened one day during one of such long walks. I saw him. It was as if a moment ago he was not there. I thought I have started imagining things; maybe it was dark and I must have missed him earlier. Generally I chose to ignore people as I walked but this one was different; not in any mannerism or personality but something felt different about him. While I was passing him by, he spoke to me. I could not place that voice for my life, and yet it sounded so familiar. I had such a careful look at his face which would have made anyone uncomfortable, but not him. He was as relaxed as a pig in dirt on a summer noon. I chuckled at this analogy in my mind. His nose didn’t resemble with that of pig’s in any manner. It was more of what you would imagine on face of a doctor or a counselor; a nose that you would trust. His forehead had no wrinkles as if he never had a thing to worry about in his life and eyes were like he never lost sleep for even a night.

“What was it that you said?” I asked. “Do you have a smoke on you?” he asked again. He didn’t look like someone who smoked but then neither did I. I offered him one. He took a long pull and started talking to me as if he was an old friend. I had heard that cigarette brings people together but this was different. It felt that this was not the first time he was talking to me. He talked at length about issues of living in a city, politics, weather and asked about my job. I also asked about his job but I don’t think he gave a conclusive reply. Finally he asked for my number and walked on casually as if it was natural for him to be a part of life and then walk on. I don’t remember if he offered his number or if I asked for one.

It rattled my brain to place his voice and his face, but to no avail. Was he one of my long lost friends; maybe a cousin who I met in childhood and never again? Do you know the feeling where you keep something hidden so carefully that you are not able to find when you look for it. Generally it is such an obvious place that you end up missing. Sometimes the thing you hide is so precious that to protect it you would rather keep it at such place where even you cannot reach than to let anyone else touch it. Have you heard stories of people who kill their love only so that no one else can love them? What does a lonely man like me know about love and jealousy? Do I remember throwing something precious in that well? Can I now climb down the well like those ants and play with all the things which fell? If a cat fell in it, would it still be alive? Do cats live for so many years? Maybe if it was a dog, it would have howled and someone would have pulled him out. Can I howl and someone pull me out of this life? Am I also living in some kind of a well? Maybe I fell and there was indeed a world in here like I imagined. I need to stop this train of thought and concentrate on placing who this person was; but then what does it matter. He was gone and I wasn’t expecting him to call me.

He called after lunch and asked if we could meet in evening. It puzzled me to think why it was not weird for him to call me. Why was everything so casual and natural and comforting about him? We met at the same place and walked together. I asked him where he lived to which I did not get a conclusive reply. He was very unlike me. He was passionate about almost everything in life, had an opinion on almost everything and had a story about almost every day of his life. I was mesmerized and listened to him for hours and it suited me because I had nothing to say anyways. While leaving, I asked what his name was. To this day I don’t remember what he said. Meetings became quite regular and he was never at loss of words. After a couple of days, in his casual manner to which I was now accustomed with, he asked whether he can move in my apartment. Normally, it would be a repelling idea especially when I don’t know anything about a person apart from the fact that he was an excellent storyteller. In his case I only nodded in affirmation and next morning he came with one bag. I don’t know how he had been living or where he was living till now, but one bag was far too less for a lifetime of belongings. 

After an hour or so he was done unpacking in his room so we had a hearty breakfast and talked about various things. When I say ‘talked’ I mean that he talked and I listened. He was perfectly ok with me only nodding in yes or no without any significant contribution in terms of opinions or stories of my own. I could never understand neither I put my head to what he does during the day but he was always sitting on the couch, watching television and eager to tell me more stories when I came back home. The apartment was almost always untouched and it seemed that he had just walked in before I did.

With each passing day, something was changing. I could almost swear that his face was different when I met him but as everything else I could not place the change. Can you believe that after all this time till date I don’t know his name? I remember he told me his name, but I cannot remember it. These days, sometimes I had difficulty recalling my name as well or from where I was. I had trouble recalling incidents of my life and had trouble concentrating on my job. Only his stories seemed real and everything else appeared artificial. No, I am not talking metaphorically. I am also not talking about some smitten young girl who cannot see anything beyond her lover.

I am not a fan of traveling much but once I visited an old village in the hills. I don’t remember how I come to know about the place. For all you know, I jumped out of the train without thinking and walked towards the village. I trekked on narrow lanes in midst of clouds to reach this dreamlike place where people were simple and houses were modest. No one was in a hurry to go anywhere. They offered me some tea without me asking for it. They also offered me shelter without mentioning tariff. The mornings started with rays filtering out of clouds and days ended with orange and blue painting on the endless canvass. I lost track of days and dates. Then one day a man who had a beard so white as if he just came out of a snowstorm asked me “where is your home?” Have you ever had a feeling when someone shook you out of a dream?

Today morning when he came out of his room, I could not take my eyes away from his face. No, I am still not smitten. This time I was able to place the change. This is the face I have been looking at for last thirty years of my life. The face has changed a lot over this time but the features have not. This is a face which I know the most. This is my own face. He asked me what was the matter; in my own voice. I could not answer. I just took him by the hand and stood in front of a mirror. For the first time since we met, I saw a wrinkle on his forehead. He did not speak for a long time. It could have been seconds, but seemed like a long time. “It was not supposed to happen so quickly” he said. I was baffled. I shouted on him asking what was not supposed to happen so quickly. “I am surprised you haven’t realized till now. Haven’t you noticed how slowly I am turning into you? Haven’t you noticed that how your own life is slipping out of your hands? You are supposed to be replaced by me” he said casually as if it was a normal thing to happen like a tooth getting replaced by a new one.

“Are you here to kill me?” I asked. “How can I kill you? I am you. There is no you and I anymore. I am all what you thought yourself to be always. I am the one who sat at the bottom of the well and felt all those feelings. I am the one who played with all those toys and talked to the souls. I am the one who looked up when you looked down the well. I am the one the ants carried the food for. Haven’t you felt that ever? But then I am the one who is supposed to feel.” He said. He got up and opened the door to his room. I followed him. All that ever fell in the well was neatly arranged on a desk. No wonder he was carrying only a bag full. On a chair nearby sat an old cat, purring and licking itself and in midst of the room was a well with all the climbers and creepers and ants.

“You know it is not necessary that you have to go. We cannot exist together, but it is your choice. The department of replacing people however has not given us much time to choose. I will walk away from that door exactly at noon and you can keep living your old life. Either ways you would not know the difference.” He said without any attempt to influence my decision. We sat across the table without saying a word. It wasn’t a dream for however I wish it was. I didn’t try to ask him any questions about whether any such department existed or who headed that department and whether we can speak with the head and ask for more time. At exactly 11:59:50 he got up.

I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath.

"Ten, nine, eight, seven..."

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Your judgement or mine?

Why do I live how I live? You think there should be a purpose to our lives? Who told you? You read it somewhere or some spiritually enlightened soul whispered it into your ear? I am sure it changed your life and what you do now is for achieving a higher goal in life. You see beyond anger, happiness, love and attachment and are on the path of achieving which not many achieved – Nirvana. Did it ever occur to you that these feelings were given so that we can live them and understand our soul? No? Oh, these are only distractions which were placed in our way to free our souls. Each one to himself. My life’s purpose is to live through each of these feelings over and over again till I understand myself. If that means, sitting in my apartment all day long on my couch watching television, to fully understand the feeling of laziness and emptiness; probably that’s what I was going for.

Why did I need to love over and over again? People are not able to find even one love in their entire lives and here I am, describing the roller coaster I ride each time I love. I am putting myself out there, fully exposed to the pain, expecting vultures to pierce through my flesh bit by bit, till I bleed no more and my bones are pecked and played with by dogs.  That’s what we were born for and that’s how we are supposed to die. It sounded painful to you? That’s why you closed your doors and windows and chose to remain inside with no intention of feeding vultures and dogs? So what is the life that you live now? I remember now, you took another scared soul in and called it love. It isn't love, till you feel it every moment of your life, till you yearn for it as you would for water if you were thirsty for years. Love is not about possessing, it is about seeking. You don’t understand it, do you, but then, not everyone is meant to.  I admire the way you walk with your eyes closed and the way you have found convenient definitions of life, purpose, religion, God and love. I wish I could do the same. Meanwhile, someone has to feed vultures and dogs too.

Why do you lose? You will say “I cannot chose whether I want to succeed or lose. I can just make efforts and hope for the best.” Then I will say “Oh really?” and give the looks that mean that I can see through you and am not buying this bullshit. You, my friend, are hiding behind this comforting wall called failure. You know well that once you cross this wall, there is no more hiding, no one will protect you under the pretext that the meek shall inherit the world. You will join the rank where one has to take responsibility of one’s actions. You find it really cozy where you are, don’t you?

 I have lot of judgment about how you live, don’t I. What can I say? You started it. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014



“Remember?” A simple question; asked simply and answered in a “yes”, “no” or a safe “maybe”. “Remember? We went to that place when we were in college and we had such an awesome burger; Remember? You stole your Dad’s car and we drove all night and ended up hitting a tree; Remember? We got so drunk and got married last night.” How hard can it be to answer this question? A “yes” or a “No” or a “Maybe”.

Well, in my case this question ends up being answered in an unbelieving and un-comfortingly long stare meaning “Have you gone crazy? When did this happen?” or “I don’t remember it like that?” It did not start like this. You and I talked for hours about things we did years back. All those crazy things that we did, things about which you tell me now that we did them back then, things about which I do not believe that I did them with you. Believe me, I want to remember. I see your disheartened face, which you try to hide behind all that excitement of showing me a souvenir, trying to make me remember the story behind it.  Like that blue mini surfboard on my desk; you tell me that we bought it as a memoir, when we went to Miami and I wanted to settle there, teaching sea surfing to the tourists but could not learn it myself. Like that fountain pen in the frame on the wall, you tell me that I literally stole it from Mike Tyson after he gave me an autograph.

Then all those memories started fading. There was nothing to talk about anymore. I looked at things and wondered when and where did I get them from. You thought I was kidding with you. I thought you bought those expensive and thus were trying to convince me that I got them and not you.

I have not forgotten everything. I remember seeing you first day in college. I did not like you much and you tell me that the feeling was mutual. I remember the day I asked you out and you came even when you were not sure. It was an awesome night. We went out and sat on the shore; all night long, listening to songs. That is perhaps the most treasured memory I have with you. But your face; was it really you? What a curse it is, to know that it was you but not remember you as you are. And yet, you keep playing those songs again and again so that I do not forget this single memory I have. Do I have the courage to tell you that I do not think it was you that night who danced with me in the moon light, that I do not think it was your lips that I kissed and it was not your eyes I kept looking into?

Sometimes I try to convince myself that I am suffering from amnesia, which the doctors have neither confirmed nor denied, but then am forced to think otherwise when you start acting weird as I ask you about my family and friends. You remember everything like it happened yesterday and you have all this stories to prove what you said; but then why do you prove everything when I do not doubt you.  I have no doubt that you love me and that I once loved you, but then why my handwriting is different in all those love letters you keep showing me?

What is written in that notepad that you keep erasing every night? I hope they are not my memories. But if you could erase, could you not write new memories for me?

I can ask you these questions. But then, I may have possibly asked you these questions in past and you may have answered knowing well that I will not remember what you said.

I have all these questions and I have all these doubts. I have one sweet memory with a face which is not yours. But above all, I have you.
Remember? This is the question I ask you hundred times in a day, knowing well that in answer you will just keep staring at me in disbelief. So many stories and I must have told them to you endless times, somewhere knowing deep inside that you will never believe them. I have become comfortable with this feeling now. I keep talking for hours to you and you keep sitting staring at me, as if you don’t know me. I know that you don’t remember me, and why should you. I know that you remember someone else in your dreams, and I do not blame you.
I do not wish to miss out a single detail while narrating a story, an incident, a memory as I can recall it. So I keep writing, erasing and re-writing it, while you are asleep. Sometimes I think that I make my narration so real that it starts sounding unreal to you. If in my story, it was raining when you first kissed me, then you should hear the sound of rain drops trickling down my hair. If in my story, we sat on a shore and hear songs all night long, then you should remember those songs by heart.
You have so many questions, which I have no answers to. But how can you blame me for that. I barely knew you when we met. You barely knew yourself when we met. And yet you saved me. I could not bear loneliness any more. I would have jumped if I did not see you there, lost; without a clue of who you are and where you live. I brought you home. I failed in searching for your family. I told you this and you cried all night and yet when you got up in the morning, you had forgotten all about them.
So what if all the stories I tell you, I have lived them with someone else? So what if I wish to remember your face in all my memories? I am recreating my life, why cannot you?
I have so many stories to write, so many memoirs to plant, so many imaginations to prove. I have so many of your doubts to fight with, many questions to answer. But above all, I have you.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The perfect painting...

More often than not, it just remained in my head and when I decided to bring it out, I worked on it for hours without eating or sleeping. My paints and brush always said what I wanted to. Painting is quite different from any other talents like writing or singing, in which you can edit and reconnect. It is more like making music, where you have to trust your instincts and believe that you will be able to reproduce what you outlined in your mind.

There are many artists who will tell you that they only work for their satisfaction and not for others. While sitting in this poorly lit room of one of the cheapest accommodations of the city, it’s easy for me to paint a picture of my dedication towards art and how I never compromised quality of my work for commercial success, how I never believed in interacting outside my comfort (which is typically limited to talking to myself) and how I dismiss shallow beliefs and customs of this baseless social order. I can also tell you how I despise entertaining spoilt trophy wives and repulsive socialites for making their portraits to lift their self-esteem. None of this is true though. I have spent fair share of my life running after success but maybe I see the world and world see me through very different eyes.

When I was a kid, I used to watch painters with awe, working wonders on canvass like Mozart playing a symphony. Brush strokes up and down, various colours like musical instruments; blue and white made clouds; pink and orange made faces with black shadows and brown wrinkles. Today I so wish that I painted badly that day and was not encouraged to learn it any further. But here I am, after all these years living without any name or fame.

Bringing you back to the poorly lit room of the cheapest accommodation of the city; I started travelling sometime back both in search of work and inspiration. It was not my idea, but I read somewhere that some artists gained repute by changing their places of residence and went on to live where their work was much appreciated. Over last few months I travelled to mountains, beaches and crowded cities but my luck did not seem to have changed. For the first time I decided to be away from city and lived in a secluded bungalow in a forest; partly because it was very cheap and partly because it helped me concentrate on my work, not that I had any.

The night watchman told me that the bungalow belonged to a government officer. He used to stay with his daughter. She disappeared one day. Rumours are that he got drunk one day and accidentally shot her. We all heard the shot but when we reached there, he said he fired at a hyena. I am sure he buried the body somewhere in the forest. During his last days, he had confined himself to the room on left corner of the property. He had given leave to all servants and his body was found days after he was dead. He indicated at the big lock and said the room was closed and nobody goes in that room anymore.

I was in deep slumber that night when I heard the shot. It took me some time to figure out whether I was dreaming or I actually heard a shot. I ran towards sound of the shot, but there seemed to be no activity. I woke up the watchman. He had not heard any such sound. Convinced that I was dreaming, I came back to bed and slept. “I am alone. I am so alone” somebody was crying. This time I was not dreaming. I sat in the bed and listened carefully. It was voice of a girl sobbing. I again walked towards the voice, careful that the watchman does not see me and declare me insane. The sound increased when I walked towards the left side of the building.

It was coming from the same room which watchman had indicated but there was a change. There was no lock anymore. I hesitated for a moment before pushing the door open. The door opened without any sound and I stepped in. The sound had stopped. I asked “Who is it?” but no one answered. The sobbing started again. The room was full of half made paintings. The painter was desperately trying to make a perfect painting and was discarding them even on a single mistake. In centre of the room was a painting which was covered with a sheet. The sobbing sound was coming from behind it. I walked towards it. I removed the sheet expecting someone to be sitting under the table on which painting was kept. But what I saw was the single most horrifying things I ever saw. The painting was alive. It was also the single most beautiful painting I had ever seen.

Those eyes; they kept looking at me with tears flowing. There was a look of desperation, a wish to get out of the painting and come alive; a desire to talk to someone, after all this painting was locked in this room for years. I was not in a position to say anything. “I am alone. Be with me” she kept saying. I must have passed out. I was on my bed when I woke up. I asked the watchman whether he brought me here. He said I was sleeping on the bed itself. I walked towards that room. It was duly locked from outside.

Whole day I waited for the night to come. The sobbing started and I was in the room again. I looked around me. The room was full of paintings which had her and an older gentleman. I recognised him. He was the owner of the bungalow and she was her daughter. But why was he trying to paint them together. “I am alone. Be with me” she kept saying. Perhaps the old man believed that they can be together if he could make one perfect painting of himself with his daughter. He had seen the mysterious manner in which his daughter was still alive in her painting. I had never seen such a beautiful girl and such a beautiful painting.

I must not be thinking clearly when I decided to be with her. I was obsessed with a single thought to make that perfect painting. I spent endless nights in that room telling the girl that I will be with her by painting her and me together. Unlike the old man, I already had the talent of bringing things to life on canvass. Slowly it took shape. I could not afford any mistakes. I had to be with her. And then one night, it was complete. It was perfect. I showed it to her and asked her how can we be together?

“Burn me” she said. I burned her painting. Her eyes were moving in the painting I had made.

 “How will I be with you?” I asked.

“You have to die” she said.

Next moment I was writhing in pain, but not for long. Then I saw my body lying lifeless on the floor.

I looked to my right. I was sitting with her.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

The man on the other side...

Sipping slowly from a cup of tea, thinking about nothing in particular and having nothing to do; here I was, sitting in this diner, looking at the rain pouring down. It was the rain in the first place, which pulled me to this town, so far from home and so far from family. I have always felt a connection with these droplets drizzling down and colouring everything a shade or two darker. This was my favourite place. The owner shared my passion for the rains and always played the songs I wanted to hear. In the background, was playing “Rhythm of the rain” by The Cascades. The day could not have started better.
Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
Telling me just what a fool I've been
I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain
And let me be alone again
Oh, listen to the falling rain
Pitter patter, pitter patter
Oh, oh, oh, listen to the falling rain
Pitter patter, pitter patter

If there was one thing, other than the rain, which pulled to me to this town was that I was absolutely certain nobody knew me there. I was not running from someone or something. Rather I wanted to be in a place I didn’t need to think about running from. It was not easy, disappearing overnight, leaving no trail of where I went. Sometimes I think about the people I left behind, but that is a matter of past now. It seems like another life now. Now this was my home, my work and my life. Sitting in this corner and judging the world from here even though and because nobody cared about my opinions.
I was about to finish my third cup of tea since morning and had started writing a story on my laptop when I noticed the man across the diner on the other corner. There was something peculiar about his face, something very familiar. It was a smirk, a smirk I had only seen on one other face. Mine! I was told that I always had this on my face whenever I was on the verge of stumbling upon an idea to write a story. I was told so many times that I decided to see for myself, and I sat hours before a mirror while trying to write a story and finally I saw it. That’s why I remember it so clearly. There was no mistake. There was more that I had not noticed in first look. He was working on a laptop identical to mine, had a hairstyle same as mine and wore glasses with same frame as that of mine. In front of him on the table besides his laptop were three empty cups of tea.
I was getting curious now. I wanted to look at him closely. So I walked upto the other end of the diner and picked up newspaper from a table near his. He did not notice me at all. Almost everything was identical and still he was not me. He wore the same watch from the same brand, had a birthmark at the same place on his hand as that of mine and he looked outside the window at the rain every thirty seconds just like I do. I walked back to my seat. I could not concentrate on the story I was writing now. I made thumping sound on my table with my hand so that he looks at me, but he did not seem to notice. After a while, I grew impatient and decided to talk to him. I looked into my laptop and shut it down and got up to walk towards him. He wasn’t there anymore. I ran outside trying to figure out where he went. He could not have walked away so quickly. I stood in the rain trying to absorb what just happened with me.
So many days have passed since then, but I am not able to forget that incidence. I come to this diner everyday but he did not come back. I enquired about him in nearby places. This is a small town where everybody knows everybody. Any new visitor cannot go unnoticed, but this one had just vanished in this air. I gave up the search eventually figuring that it would be a coincidence that the man was wearing the same things and had same mannerisms as that of mine, in absence of an alternative logical explanation.
There was no rain one day. So I did not feel like going outside. Sometimes you become so comfortable with a place that staying indoors feel odd. After all this was a place I only used for sleeping. The rain was back next day and so was I, at the diner. After I had my second cup of tea, I noticed that there was a person sitting on a table near mine and was looking at me continuously. When I looked at him and smiled, he gathered courage and approached me. He asked me whether I was a journalist. I said I was a suspense writer. He said that then what he was going to tell me next would excite me a lot. I was all ears expecting some old story I had already heard.
“I have noticed you many times sitting here engrossed in your work. You would not have noticed but even I come here daily at this time. There are only two seats with windows in this Diner and both are always occupied. Yesterday you did not come, so it was a good opportunity for me to sit here. I was enjoying my regular mug of beer enjoying the view outside and then I saw him. He was sitting across the diner on the other seat with the window. At first I only noticed his baldness pattern which was same as mine but then I saw his moustache, his poncho and the bag in which he was carrying the carpentry tools. They were all same as that of mine. I saw him up and close. It was as if somebody had made a bad copy of me. Everything about him reminded me of myself but his face. There was something different about his face. I wanted to talk to him but he just disappeared. I asked my mother whether I had a twin brother, but it turns out I don’t. What do you make of this, Mr Suspense Writer” he said. I did not blink my eyes even for a moment or at least I don’t remember if I did.
Now was the time to talk to the owner of the Diner once again. It was too much of a coincidence and the writer in me was crying for an explanation. The owner was a respectable gentleman. He requested me not to spread such rumours or people will stop coming there. I know he was right. “I will not tell anyone but if this is true, then people will notice anyways one day. Have you thought about it?” I asked him. He said he does not know anything about this man. I tried to calm him down and asked him whether he started this diner. He said his father did. His father was alive and went for a walk everyday and so next morning I was out walking and waiting for him. He was a sweet gentleman and opened up quickly. He told me how his father had a modest beginning and opened a small sweet shop on this street. As a kid he knew everyone in the town and everyone treated like his own. He used to pass time in other shops everyday and especially in the one adjacent to theirs. “Which one?” I asked. “Ohh, it is part of our diner now. We bought the place after the owner died.” He said.
“I used to sit in that one for hours looking at myself” he said. I asked “looking at you in what?” “There was a large mirror on the wall, as large as the wall itself. I used to get lost in it. It amazed me to see how mirrors make a place look so large. But it was broken when we bought the place and diner was opened.” He said.

“How did the owner die?” I asked.
“He had a heart attack. He was sitting in a chair in the corner when we found out he was dead. His eyes were open and it seemed that he was looking at himself in the mirror.” he said.