I have had this dream, coming back to me in one form or another. In a dimly lit, spacious living room, I dream of holding this stranger by the waist, her delicate figure, sitting on the armrest of the couch, unbuttoning her checked shirt to reveal a pair of small light brown breasts, her dark brown nipples perking up under the pressure of my thumb. But she immediately leaves to the adjoining room, promising to be back in a short while. I wait, and the dream ends in waiting, leaving a trail of depression which follows me long after being wide awake.
Sometimes I see her, while walking down the street, on the window of the bus passing by, moving in the background of a live news telecast. Or do i have the illusion of seeing? I follow her, often losing her in the crowd like some vague feeling that never existed in the first place. Am I going mad? Would you call me mad?
Unable to perceive the shape of you,
I find you all around me.
I have had another dream, not the first one of this kind but too intense to simply shake it off. I see myself on the terrace, hugging her statuesque figure. I proposed her a few minutes ago and she said yes! I could hear our relatives in the background, teasing and taunting us lovingly,
“Look at how he is hugging her now, won’t even let her out of his sight after marriage”
“How will you attend your law college if he keeps himself glued to you all day long? Hahaha!”
Instead of being embarrassed she hugs me tighter, inducing a gentle rocking motion, like a mother rocks her baby. She chuckles and says,”this idiot could not tell his parents that he loved me so he proposed me in front of them instead”. I look up at a face I won’t recognise after the dream ends, smiling at me radiantly. A face I am supposed to be madly in love with and yet when I search the recesses of my mind, I find no hint of recognition. But something about her seemed awfully familiar; the feeling of her arms around me, her smell. Yes! Her smell. This moment, this very moment seems too real to be a mere figment of my imagination, to be mere fiction.
Waking up with tears in my eyes would have been the most characteristic response of me, yet I wake up with depression instead. Not all nightmares you have are while you sleep, some start right when you wake up. I have always believed that god has a twisted sense of humour, and I have found reality to be his sickest joke.
When a thing haunts you for too long, it becomes a part of you. To get rid of it would necessitate self mutilation. Now masochism doesn’t seem like a mental disorder, does it? Or a far fetched idea? But a way of life. To rid myself of these memories would mean to amputate my right arm, and letting it stay would only allow the infection to spread.
How do I stop being my own self? Man may wear a mask and fool the world, but how does a man fool himself? Self hypnosis? The art of deceiving oneself or is it the other way around? If all the possibilities were to be juxtaposed against each other, all the people I could have been, all the choices I could have made, I wonder, which would prevail. If my darker self where to be exposed to a mirror of infinite parallel universes, if I could see through the seeds of time and say which one will grow and which one will not, I possibly will make the wrong choices all over again to experience a few moments of pure, sublime joy, all over again.
If I were to be born again, I would be in a hurry to die. Death, a necessary end, will come when it will come, and I can die but once.
I do not blame the world for not liking me, I do not like myself either. What is there to like anyway? A failure in everything, as everything. If all the blood of my body could be rinsed out, it would possibly corrode the very vessel that contains it. Failure is contagious. A person who fails in everything would possibly fail in death too. But he becomes less of a failure when he is loved. Not by many, or even a dozen, just one. His failure in death then becomes another triumph of the individual loving him. Then why is it so wrong to ask for love? Maybe you never deserved it to begin with. Sins of the past life catches up with you, the realm of the spirit merges with that of the living to create dark humour for one celestial being with a sick sense of humour we call God. Make no mistake, God is tribal, God takes sides. If he is all powerful, he cannot be all merciful. For what are we but puppets? or worse than puppets, insects. And He, like one twisted kid takes pleasure in crushing the life out of us with his thumb. So that humanity can be recycled to cater to his sick needs.
What am I but a Phoenix in chains? Give me an excuse, good enough, and I will burn this world down. Give me a reason good enough, and I shall burn myself along with it.
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing everyday. What is the point of an action without a purpose? What is purpose without a person? Void. I dare do all that may become a man, who dares do more, is none. And yet I choose to do nothing. I strive to reach that zenith of being, where even the involuntary actions cease to be. I strive to be nothing.
In my younger days, I used to perceive myself as a message, scribbled on a rough piece of paper, corcked up in a bottle, and released into the vastness of the ocean with no destination in mind. I make my destination along the way. Go where the waves take me. It is only now that I have realised that there are no waves. It is the sands in which I am buried in, give the illusion of flowing water. Buried so deep that being uncovered by an occasional storm would mark the coming of another one.
Cursed is the day I breathed, for it set in motion a complex mechanism of quantum physics, sparked a chain of events that may seem random but in actuality is one elaborate calculated equation. A seemingly random event such as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings may cause catastrophic events half way around the world. A seemingly random action, such as making conversation with a random stranger on the steps of a metro station may affect the lives of several seemingly unconnected people in a catastrophic way. If I could go back in time, to fix one single moment, I wonder, would nature replace it with another?
The highlighted end of her ponytail swayed in a pendulous motion as she dragged a trolley behind her. Starting conversations for introverts is as easy as parting the red sea. Yet i did. Do not ask me why, for i may not give an honest answer.
“Do you need a hand with that?”
“I’m sorry?”, awkwardly unplugging the earphone from her left ear, possibly expecting something important.
“Your luggage. Looks heavy”, it didn’t, I had to say something reasonable without sounding creepy.
“No no, it’s fine. There is not much in it”, an awkward smile accompanied by shaking of head and further swaying of the ponytail.
“Got a plane to catch?” Was the most fashionable question i had in mind. But she wouldn’t be taking a metro for that, i guess. So i formed the most idiotic question instead,
“Going to or coming from somewhere?”
“Going to actually. I am a fashion designer. This (wagging the handle of the trolley) is part of my daily routine.” She smiled kindly. Her small stature radiating self-confidence. There was something oddly attractive about the unconventionality of her features. Her smooth olive skin, big bulging eyes with a hint of eyeliner. The breadth of her forehead accentuated by her tightly combed hair. The heels compromising for her height, reassuring her dominant stance.
Now comes the question of why in the wide realm of self induced alienation, in all these years of choosen solitude, did I choose to make conversation with her and her only? Something vaguely familiar about her olive complexion, the gait of her moment, the fragrance of her perfume, yes! Her smell. Burden of the revelation seemed too overwhelming for my nerves and I swear that I could blackout right then and there but the train was arriving and I had to see the end of the line.
When the doors slided open, she led the way, took a seat and motioned me to sit beside her. Too intimate a gesture for a stranger? Some womanizer once told me that women love to talk about themselves and the trick is to let them. Not as easy as its sounds, one may end up giving the impression of being uninterested in the conversation. Apparently, she was a student at some famous fashion designing institute whose name escapes me. She was also doing an internship and it was where she was headed. She told me her parents lived in Cooch Behar and she had an apartment of her own, here in Kolkata. Her sister lived in Bangalore with her husband and a Husky. She too had a Labrador back at home. She told me about her elder brother who died in infancy long before she was born.
“Which is your station by the way?”
“Actually… I missed my station 10 minutes ago”. She chuckled embarrassedly.
“I am so sorry!”, I wasn’t.
We got down at the next stop and despite her protestations, I insisted on giving her company till her train came. This was the time and time was limited.
“Umm…Here’s my number. Ping me sometime”. Too bold?
“Actually, I don’t really text much”. That was a lie.
Just then the train was arriving,
“Let me”, I picked up her luggage and placed it on the train’s floor. She got in and deliberately stood near the window to stay in my sight. We waved till we were out of each other’s view and i imagine, she shifted deliberately to prolong the duration. Then she was gone.
I took a seat on the platform, reserved for elderly and women, as if young men don’t get tired. My train arrived and left, then another, and another. I was too stupefied, transfixed in my position, glued to the metallic chair to be able to move a muscle. Although depriving me of the luxury of her phone number, she managed to provide me with the precise location of her house, intentionally, at least I would like to believe so. A few seconds’ walk from home. Self induced alienation had its fallouts. All these time, so close to me, yet I had not the slightest hint.
Apart from myself, the janitor and his broom were the sole occupants of this underground platform which had been separated from time and reality of the world above and below. Another dimension in itself with only the distant rattling of the rails reminding us of the movement of time and space. I was supposed to reach somewhere, meet someone, not anymore. My quota of fulfillment for the day had been fulfilled with not an iota left to spare. I took a train home instead.
One who fails in everything, fails death too. I could have got up on that train with her, accompanied her wherever she was going. Then I would have been with her, when the train derailed. Maybe then the train wouldn’t have derailed at all. In another life, we could have both walked side by side and had fallen in love. Got married, had kids, grew old together. In another life I wouldn’t have engaged her in conversation and she would not have missed her station. In another life, I could have failed myself differently.