The clock and the black hole

I have a black hole and its name is X!

 

The night of 28 April, 2017 was spent walking from the living room where the body lay to the master bedroom where I was asked to get some rest. Much like today, every time I saw the watch the hands seemed to be getting slower and more sluggish with each passing moment. Time had become lazy.

Tick tock, tiicckk toocckk, ttiiiccckkk ttoooccckkk,….

It went on and on. The sun seemed to be taking an extended lunch break and the moon seemed quite happy and reluctant to move from where it was.

Sometimes I wonder what I thought then, at that very slowly passing moment. But all I remember is the clock and it’s hand. The rest is blank.

It is 1:40 am, 17 June, 2017. The clock has stopped. I wonder what it could be that made it stop. The battery? The temperature, global warming, apocalypse or just grief?

Maybe not grief. Maybe just a big slice of blank, emotionless space that has dominated my mind off late. Maybe it is the black hole. Maybe it is post traumatic stress. Maybe shock, maybe denial, or maybe nothing.

I asked the ether a question today, a quite serious one and quite seriously too,- what does death mean to the person who hasn’t died?

The ether remained silent. I asked again, and again, and again till my ears became deaf with the silence.

Then I had a sip of my whisky and I turned within and I questioned. The black hole told me- go to sleep, you don’t want to know.

I took another sip and I asked again. This time the answer came louder- Go sleep you moron. You do NOT want to know.

A third sip and the same question lead to a louder, much filthy version of the same answer.

Many sips and same questions later the answer was weaker, quieter- it means grief.

What does that mean?- I asked again.

Look in the mirror. What do you see?- the answer challenged.

I did as I was asked. I saw nothing. There was emptiness where I should have been.

I still don’t get it and I hope at least a minute has passed since!

The clock is still stuck at 1:40 am. I am not too sure of the date and day. All I know is- I need another glass and then hopefully I can sleep!

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Drugs and blanks

Blank, blank, blank…

I am blank. My mind is blank. Just as blank as it can get.

Nexito plus was the medicine.  The good doctor told me last night that I was not all that mad. Though I did have a few screws loose but the equipment was still holding on, somehow.

Mood stabilizers- they are called. Small pink medicines which taste sweet and stick to your teeth. The absorption period is just ten minutes. Taking it is easy but the sleep after that- that is the confusing part, Not the cluster B personality type lecture that I was given yesterday.

She asked me to listen to music- said it’ll keep the thoughts and sleep away. Hence I turned to Jackson for help. I wondered what Billy Jean had to do to get a spot in the star’s musical career. Was she the scrawny girl in the garage with the three older brothers who went to church every Sunday after a night of cocaine snorting? Or was she the good girl in her pink bedroom whose bent head just wanted to be in some fat good boy’s arms?

Now playing on the music application is Eric Clapton’s cocaine. I had seen him snorting once. My drugs actually started with him; he was my first drug. He fixed us a bong shot. “you gotta try a hit…it’ll change your life forever,” he had told me.

And it had. Everything was new; all passionate and toxic. He filled me up like the smoke from the tobacco. It exhilarated and burnt the lung. Yet it was welcome. It was wanted. It was desired. That day I learnt that the devil is nothing but our desire.

Fast forward to a few years. He is back and so is his energy and zeal. I distance myself; don’t engage in the drug. But what when the drug is in your blood? When disaster is a food for your soul. What do you do then?

Do you starve yourself or do you gorge down on the spread before you like the hungry carnivore that you are?

The photograph

They were facing the sun—all three of them: a man in his mid-forties, a girl in her teens and a child of nine. Sitting in a line on the sand dune, they had their backs turned to the lens. The man wore a black Adidas cap, a cream pullover and a pair of black corduroys. The older girl seated in the middle had her hair tied in a bun and had worn a red full sleeved tee shirt and blue jeans that looked expensive. The youngest, sitting on the extreme left had her arms out stretched on both sides as if stretching and looked heavenwards. She wore a checked black-blue shirt and black tights. She had hair like a boys which flew in the wind, towards the right of the viewer.

It was December of 2010 and the geo tag on the picture would identify the location as Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The horizon was crimson-yellow mostly but the patches of sky in the middle was bordering orange. The highest point visible in the picture was blue—the type between midnight blue and light blue. There was a slight wind that could be felt on the skin of those three. The rest of the frame had one camel standing in a distance, towards the viewer’s extreme left. It would seem that the little girl was punching the unsuspecting camel with her outstretched left hand. The camel was bending down as if searching for some foliage in the desert. It makes me believe that the camel must have been a very optimistic one. In its long years on the desert, it could only have survived due to its optimism. The image in my head right now- the camel is sitting on its back legs much like a human and meditating, exhaling deeply with its nostrils flared when it breathes out.

One can’t say much about their expressions since their back is turned to us but one can guess from their postures. The man is hunched on his back as if relaxed. You can almost see the signs of a smile on the visible part of his chubby cheeks. He wears glasses and you can see the black rim of the glass. He is a man of some style sense and gravitas.

The older girl, like the man, appears to be relaxed and staring in the direction of the setting sun. Her hands seem to be joined together in the front part of her body. She could have wrapped them around her torso to protect herself from the cold wind. I have heard winters in the desert are cold and temperatures drop to sub-zero levels in the evenings. Is that so? Have you ever been to a desert?

The youngest has an air of comfort around her. She is stretching as mentioned previously and is looking up towards the heaven as if giving thanks for that moment of peace. She is not interested in the setting sun unlike her companions. She is just breathing in the moment and is feeling the wind tease her hair. If you zoom in enough, you can see the goosebumps on her hands. She must be cold. Yet she smiles. It is like those smiles you see on the faces of Tibetan monks- ones reflecting contentment and a secret no one will ever know.

There are no visible clouds in the sky. It seems as if the great painter was too lazy to apply the final touches on his canvas and decided that that would be cloudless day and blamed it all on the wind. The sky was a large sea monster waiting to engulf the fighting sun. The yellow mango-like thing looked like it wanted to linger a little while longer but couldn’t. An invisible hand was pulling it behind the curtain of night, holding it by the scruff of its neck.

The three were on a holiday. One of those rare places which lack network connection, fast cars, geysers and emails. One of those places where the railway station can be filled with ten men standing on the platform. One of those places where people still waited for the postman to arrive and he was treated like the lover’s God. One of those places where a traveler had to strain his eyes to search for a fellow human being. One of those places where people crawled into bed by 9 pm and woke up by 6 am.

It was a week long holiday and the girls had urged their father to take them for a night stay on the desert. The tour guide had been given strict instructions to take them to a place far from civilization where the cries of monotony and routine couldn’t be heard and you were left with the wind in all its purity. A place where the sky kissed the sand without being hindered and the sun watched over the smaller creations.

It was a happy place. It was their happy place. The three musketeers sat one beside the other enjoying the silence of the desert. The desert spoke to them using a language more ancient than man himself. A language that lacks words and sounds. Something throbbed through the silence. Some mystics say it is the heart of the desert that throbs. But we will never know, will we?

Sitting on the sand dunes, they could see a vast expanse of nothingness. It was bare, dry and harsh. Yet there was beauty. A rustic, earthy kind of beauty. It took some time for their eyes to recognize the beauty of the desert but when they did, they smiled and the smile lingered on in the photograph placed right in front of me and I am glad for their smile.

Rebecca

How is it that you can be haunted by the non existent? Fear takes many forms- I had learnt in school. But little did I know my fear would be a faceless beauty. She was me and I was her. But somehow at every step, she was shining brighter.

“Close your mind,” my friends said.

“Hush mind. I am trying to sleep,” I told that beast every night.

But all it did was show her in black satin and red lipstick. She smiled me a crooked smile and looked at me as though i were an ant deemed to be crushed. She lurked in my mind and hid behind veils. She was the other. I feared her and I fear her still.

She is my Rebecca and oh do I love her dearly.

 

Old parchments and cold tea

Imagine a room stripped of dignity;

Now add an old tattered sofa in a corner

and a dead fish tank in the opposite.

It doesn’t have to be fancy- just decaying.

 

Color the walls dirty yellow

and add splash of black smug here and there.

Hang old photos:

laughing faces and embracing arms.

Comfortable isn’t it?

 

Put a rug that has been slept on

and add the musty smell to it.

Don’t forget the old shoes and the coat hanger

with just a lonely coat for company.

Familiar?

 

This room had no windows;

only a wooden door with a broken knob.

A ceiling fan and warm lights

that flicker like the firefly at dawn.

Feeling hot already?

 

The cold tea cup has a grim in the bottom

that smiles across the yellow.

The parchment has ink across it

and the word writer written in bold.

The pen is broken.

 

You can hear laboured breathing.

Now place a man with a protruding belly

sprawled on the couch;

bubbles in his mouth and the stench of smoke about him.

 

He is a writer by profession

and this is his life.

Now try living it and tell me how you feel.

 

 

Interior monologues on a full moon night

 

White is an oppressive color.

3 am and the familiar mental buzzing is all it takes to dissolve the writer’s block.

Caring is good, or so they say.

How about just disappearing? Don’t pack; just run.

Escapism- that is the way to survive.

And we call the symbolists depressing.

Do you my friend see what I see?

The haze and the mist in all its glory; towering on us like Nessie the myth.

Can’t a dragon in the hill ever get forlorn? Or are giants the one without hearts.

Could you and me walk down the beach hand in hand and still be you and me the next day?

Or do we, too, succumb to the great evil of the heart?

Cupid is but a child with a plastic arrow. How is it that anybody takes him seriously?

The rain has a weird relationship with the coffee mug.

They stay close but never touch.

The disgusted hands pour the bitter amrit down the black hole if at all it dares to sneak a kiss.

The moral of the story- look but don’t touch.

The land beckons to the clouds; the clouds tease.

A fortnight later, they break and shower down on the paramour.

A day later, the earth chokes and its fruits die. Moderation is the title of the next lesson.

 

Well at least the house fly sits away from the buttering knife.

Dawn

Midnight- Camera flashes. Music blares from the speakers. Conversation turns into babble.

The vodka and tonic hits. The speed thrills. The lights blur.

Empty. That’s how she feels.

 

Dawn- birds chirp. Head hurts. Stomach growls.

Sleep comes. The mind tickles. Hands tremor.

Darkness. She draws the curtain.

 

Afternoon- Heat prickles. Head pounds. Memory of last night is a big question mark.

Facebook tells her what she has been doing. It’s 3 pm. It’s late.

Rise and shine. What is the use in waking?

 

7 pm- Her twin screams. She sees Virginia Woolf on the table. Head throbs.

Bell rings. The pizza is here. The book beckons.

Sanity. Who does she discuss The Lighthouse with?

 

10 pm- Same fakeness. Same mindlessness. The vodka and tonic again.

Same music. Same lights. Same rootlessness.

Bollywood. Let’s be baby dolls together.

 

3 am- Head pounds. Speed is blah. Lights play checkers in her head.

Mr. Ramsay’s mind is his enemy. Woolf haunts her. The Lighthouse calls.

Laughter. It’s all a show isn’t it?

 

9 am- No sleep. The paper smells good. Words are a visual delight.

The coffee is strong. The light pours in. The bedsheets are spotless white.

Breakfast. Seems like a good idea.

 

1 pm- Mrs. Ramsay loves her husband. She smiles. Time passes.

War starts. Smile fades. War ends. Time passes.

Order. It feels nice when the house is back in order.

 

5 pm- The marmalade tastes good. Lily finishes her painting. James is content.

Smile returns. The incense smells good. Her twin is happy.

Dinner. It’s time to cook some broccoli and pasta.

 

Life is good.