what Love reminds me of

7. Quietitude 

In the summer, we used to visit my father’s coastal hometown. The first evening, my cousins and I would spend hours sitting on the terrace. Long after the conversations died, we stayed, just sitting there. Lying on my back on the roof, I first learnt to distinguish between twinkling fireflies and stars. 

I have found many things in the quiet. The time to listen to a favourite song over and over again. The comfort of a silence you can share in half with a friend. Sometimes I replay old memories in my head and try to remember exactly how I felt then.

Sitting there, still and quiet, I realise how slowly time moves. Yet so much could happen in a second. It could grow darker, I could remember something old and funny, our hands could touch. Maybe somewhere, slowly, a star could flutter, grow yellow wings and begin to move.  

The Train

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I know you’ve been dreaming of the train all day. I know that you still are.

I can sense that your breath is trying to fit itself within the rhythmic churning of its wheels as they go round and round the blue forest of your mind.

I know you can smell its smoke through your skin, and feel the cold mist that washes in through its windows in your heart.

What if I tell you that when you wake up you’ll find yourself on this train? That you have been journeying on it all the while you’ve been dreaming. And that all it takes to wake up to reality is to break open your dream. Would you have the courage to abandon sweet thought and place your trust where I ask you to?

I hope you do.

Because I promise that this train will take you to a place more beautiful than the one you dream of.

With love,

Dad

A Window Cleaner’s Dream

SONY DSC“He would shine and polish windows day after day, running the soaked sponge in big tidy but quick circles, swiping the smudges and scars from the glass. He was the smith who cleared the path for others to envision with freedom, unobstructed; himself living a life in the shadow of his long bygone aspirations.

Balanced on a ladder, greased bucket in hand, pieces of plaster stuck in dry tuft of hair, dust mules glued like constellations on the white of his rugged shirt, his ripped jeans was damp. His eyes, which once shone with the light of life, which had encompassed his spirit and youth, which used to glitter with the kindle of ambition, now pulverised his soulless reflection in the window screen.

Subdued and suspended into deep thoughts, he guilelessly dipped his fingers in the can of cyan paint. Like the stroke of a brush, he unmindfully dotted the window with little daisies, white leaves and sharp artful veins. His fingers still remembered what his mind had forgotten – a passion so deep, so inert that it had clung to his soul. 

A nippy wind ran past his feet. He quivered and tumbled down a step on the ladder and was snapped to the harsh, spectacular truth of reality. He looked at the beautiful musing he had drawn on the large glass window. He smiled an open mouthed smile, more a gasp of ineptness and weak desperation than awe. His existence reeked of lost hope.

He dipped the sponge into the bucket and scrubbed the shield slowly, erasing all impediments. ‘It’s too late’, he thought, as he failed his dreams another time. He had become a manoeuvre of the double glazed glass which he was cleansing – hollow.”  

Young Geram heard the story without uttering a word. He found it poignant, but he believed he had missed the point of it. “Why this story of all, Abba?” 

“You must remember Geram, that a window cleaner has dreams too. Alas, the world taxes his ambitions like everyone else’s, indifferently. The only variance is that he lets it.”

He smiled a sorrowful smile. “Now go to sleep, it’s dark.” He brushed Geram’s hair.

As he turned away to sleep, his eyes caught a glance of the ladder and bucket that rested harmlessly at one end of the compact room. For a moment, he almost found humour in the bitter cards life had played him.  He shut his eyes in peace; sleep offered him the luxury to envisage.

Phantasm, Cannabis and A Flying Machine

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Pink coloured milk in white rimmed mug painted with pictures of cows. Headphones in head, he swayed to music he loved. Eyes read strenuously in a dark room under the lamp, rummaging into the black and white letters of a thick uncensored magazine. He had brought a Cannabis cutting a week back, in the name of Feng Shui.

The sun outside dare not enter the little heartthrob’s dorm. The room was as cool as the ground under palm shade, just like his mind. He had his own little necropolis inside there, painted green and hazy.

His heart pounded to the beat of music, while his mind muffled around the stories in the magazine. The paradoxical, conflicting character of the tasks that occupied him indicated he was whiling his time. Wait lingered at the back of his brain like shadow. He wondered when they would arrive. With dashing helmets on a teleporting bike that blows fire. Today was the day of the escape. He watched the clock with beaming eyes. His eyes baggy with dark circles followed the hands of the clock, and he pondered why they were late.

And then the gruntt of the motor cycle met his ear.

The blow of the engine. The heat sealed within the joy of fleeing away met him.

The milk was spilled on ironed denim.  The page of the novel wasn’t bookmarked. Marijuana spoke to him through fresh chords it had made with his soul, and hallucination arrived on a flying machine.

The Paraphernalia of Memories

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Memories are funny things, and they work in their own peculiar ways. Ways, that cannot be deciphered in cakewalk. Memories are complex structures that are not bound in the conventional and theoretical restraints of science and philosophy. But in fact these memories, they are mostly just layers. Layers, that are waiting to be replaced by thoughts of things we love, objects of admiration, and thoughts that bring back vicarious pleasure. In the end, it is façade that we wear in our mind, that guides our dreams and spawns our choicest retrospect. It is all but a paraphernalia of inventible façade.

 

It is unique how the human body, can find its way to hold on to things it loves, to things it does not want to lose, and often those that it wishes not to forget. It is almost, in the same spirit, mystical, how it manifests its own mechanisms to believe in a figment of reality that is of its likes.

Has it never happened to you, that one silly mistake, one wrong moment, one embarrassment, or one loss, has occupied and tormented you  for what  was seemingly forever? But then, spack! Like the wave of a magic wand- a baby step in the direction of undoing our tormenting memories rushes to your mind and gone is the former memory anterior?

Yet after wormhole decades of sulking and skin-deep introspection by daunting thoughts, we come across needed closure, or a happy moment. A reciprocal filled with glee or success that replaces our former parasitic memories of failure and gloom. A new memory fit enough to revamp the Lego house that our most taxing memories have bravely put up behind the screen of our mind. A fresh reminiscence which like wind lifts the bell jar that locks kernels fuelling our sceptic rumination.

Like a fresh layer of icing on cake is this façade. So what if it is short-lived? It is in these guest moments of fair weather when foreign ideas take over us, we seek relief and salvation from the painful pondering, and soul-searching that holds the grapple of our lives when we are in low spirits. In moments like these, stuck in a shallow trough are we, and above us it is raining hail and storm.  The rain though, is of the fabric of unforgiving memory.

In this way, memories themselves are weak. But at the same time, they are keys to our strength. For if memory is fabricated, then reliving the joy or elation that a remembrance brings you is largely creatable. If you think about it, all the power of the world is in your hands. The answer to the riddle and the key to undiscovered treasure is within you. 

It is interesting how such memory is the birth-child of realistic logic, yet is the egg of immortal and utopic happiness. If you think about it, all you have to do is travel down memory lane and pick a memory that you want to wear. So when it rains daunting thoughts, you shall have a rain-cap at hand.