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!

Bluebird

Charles had a bluebird and so do I;
She lurks somewhere in my vast unknown.
 
I envy her her curls and smiles;
She speaks of the miles in a great undertone.
 
She came to me on a May day;
Shy, but firm in her resolve.
 
She said- hey creator, I am here
Leave me not unheard of.
 
My blue bird, she sang me a tale;
Of a lost child and her grieving mother
and of the street of Paris and the men yonder;
All knitting their lives with lies and gale.
 
She says to me– let me out,
let the world see my many colors;
I say– stay shut you schmutz,
You needn’t trouble my dark blue world.
 
I have a bluebird and she cries at night;
Let me out– she pleads.
 
I smirk and twerk and swallow her whole;
Leaving her all by herself in the dark unknown
to cry herself to sleep.
 
Maybe one day she will out
to destroy my world;
But till then let her weep.

Of perspectives

The best part of that house was its terrace. I was visiting my ancestral home in Bangladesh for the first time since my grandfather immigrated to India in 1953. The house, a mansion actually, was located amidst a mango orchard and adjoined a lake used for washing people and fishing.

It was winter time. The exact date was December 29, 2014. It was the year I met my whole family for the very first time in twenty years. I discovered to my great surprise that I was an aunt of five, grandmother of three and a sister-in-law of seven, not to mention a sister of God knows how many. Yes, my family is big.

As you can imagine, having being raised in a city in a nuclear family, I found the company of over 50 relations a little too overbearing and hence found myself escaping to the terrace often. The terrace is bigger than my father’s flat in Delhi and at night, one can lose oneself in its expanse. You see, that part of Bangladesh has very little electricity and the inhabitants take help of torches at night to navigate their way.

One of these nights, I was sitting on a khatia (a form of bed) in the terrace, looking at the night sky and admiring the constellations when a little girl came and sat beside me. I am still confused as to my exact relation with her. But it would be safe to guess that she was one of my nieces. I had seen her playing with the other kids and she seemed to be the ringleader to all the mischiefs.

She would be around ten years old and had bright, curious eyes. She was wearing her night dress and had a red ribbon tied to her head. She asked me what I was doing on the terrace all by myself.

I told her that I was watching stars.

“Can I watch with you too?” she asked.

“Sure.”

To tell the truth, the prospect of watching stars with a kid beside me did not excite me much. Quite on the contrary, I dreaded it.

She sat down next to me and put her hand in front of her eyes. She then pointed her finger at the moon and dragged it to the nearest star. This gesture was followed by a question, the answer to which I am still pondering on.

Mashi (aunty in Bengali), why do they say the moon and the stars are light years apart when I can join them with my finger. It doesn’t take me light years to go from the moon to the nearest star- just takes me a finger.”

The immediate response was to explain the science behind it all and bore the poor kid. She seemed not to want the explanation I was giving her and perhaps wanted me to say that she had bad teachers and recommend not going back to school. After my speech, she looked at me, called me a bore and left.

I smiled. I had never jelled well with kids. Their questions were either stupid or unanswerable. Some asked too many questions. But I had managed to bore my young companion enough that she had left me alone with my thoughts.

Smirking, I lay back and raised my finger to the sky. I too joined the moon with the nearest star in a straight line and it took me a second at most.  It was that day that I understood the power of perspective.

The French Love

Blue eyes, brown hair and the French air;

He was straight out of Mills and Boons.

Saw him first mixing tequila with vodka.

He dealt the cards with expertise

As if they were friends from old.

The scene was set,

The curtains up,

The music—ZAZ.

We argued:

The English were cold;

The Spaniards spoke from the heart;

London was a bore;

But Milan was his whore;

Caviar was disgusting;

But ratatouille felt like home.

It started gently:

His hand in mine;

The battle of wits;

The battle of hearts;

It was to commence at last.

I asked him meekly- will it last?

‘Je ne sais pas,

But I love you…for now.’

That was all I was to get

No empty promises;

No plans for tomorrow;

No roses in satin;

Nothing but….just love.

Love that lasted a moment,

Disappeared with the fading moon.

Something that tasted like spirits

And made the head heavy.

Something that encouraged smiles,

Conversation and delirium.

Something warm,

Something pretty,

And something very French.

How am I to ever forget that night?

That night I met my French love.

The funny thing:

I left the morning after without a note,

Knowing it won’t last.

Late night musing

Late night musing—the phrase holds a question. What is it about the night that encourages thought? We feel an ache—a familiar one. Like something pulling at one’s heart strings; tugging so hard that it hurts. We yearn for solace and comfort. We yearn for what the fool likes to call- home. For some of us, home is the cup of hot chocolate had with the dog asleep on the lap, listening to jazz. For some it may mean the long walks with dad. Some may consider their lover’s snore home. For some, it may be the open sky and for some it is their nightly ritual of a phone call to mom and granny. But for the fool, home is concrete. For folks like me, who have no home, my cup of hot chocolate, my dog, my long walks with dad and my phone call to mom is home.

It is at this concluding period of the day that we yearn the most. We want to belong, we want to feel wanted. We want the tugging to stop. We want the warm blanket back around our heart. Even the worst of us roll in balls and clutch the pillow or the blanket tight- hope they magically turn into those people, those things we desire the most. What is it about the silence of the night that we hear our memories scream out vehemently at us? Make us question whether we are actually lonely or just scared of being alone. Why does the darkness scare us? Isn’t black just a mixture of all the colours. Why do we label the night the hour of the devil and desire?

My father says—things will look better in the morning? Why morning? Why not 3 am? Why can’t night be the new dawn? Why can’t the soul be happier at night? Just why?