The Ghost contd…

Introduction:

 

A guy I once had a thing with had accused me of being heartless; had said:

“You feed off pain, yours, mine and everyone else’s. That is the food for your poetry and prose; the nectar to your hive.”

I don’t disagree with him. I am no preacher and neither do I pretend to be something holier than thou. I am just a writer; a romantic if you will, always out to achieve the impossible; the impossible expedition, the impossible relationship, the impossible situation where you need to stick squeezed out toothpaste into its tube. Impossible, impossible, impossible.

But pain’s just my bread and butter and neither do I deny the fact that I revel in it and nor do I pose to be not-guilty.

I am guilty guvner; so hang me by all accounts.

Consider this: a tale for the passing traveler and a means of satiating their thirst. Thirst for gossip and thirst of drama.

A small tale whose end I leave you to decide.

 

The Ghost contd…

 

It had been two years since the exchange of glances in the bookstore. 2 years since my ghost walked out the backdoor with a smile on her face. 2 years of winters and 2 years of clearing the snow from our front porch.

I can see the dead bees in the ground- a bee graveyard. Last night’s thunderstorm had knocked the hive out of the tree and the unsuspecting queen had been crushed to death along with her children and servants.

They say that it is at moments you least expect that the force of the hit is most. I experienced that hit last night. It was a text message on his phone that got my guard up.

“Honey bun…I miss us. Come back to Cali soon my love…XOXO.”

The sender was titled ‘Work’. I could hear him whistling Bee Gee’s Staying Alive in the shower. It was 9:45 and we were due for dinner at the Mason’s at 10:30. They were completing their ten year anniversary.

Jake came out wrapped in a towel with his hair all tousled and brown, just the way it was the first time I had seen him. His eyes still had the piercing power it held and his hands- his strong masculine hands covered with a layer of light brown hair- reached for his shirt.

“D why aren’t you ready yet?” he asked in his honey voice.

“Who is ‘work’ and why is ‘work’ crooning for your love from Cali?”

His face changed. From a light hearted spark, his eyes went to that of a defiant child caught with his hands in the cookie jar to that filled with rage.

“You’ve been reading my messages? How could you do that to me? To us? Don’t you trust me? This is unbelievable. I am out of here.”

And just like that it was over.

Bags were packed in a matter of minutes and the taxi was called. The funny thing is that none of us spoke. The Masons were sorry that we couldn’t make it and ‘work’ was really pleased that she didn’t have to hide behind a noun anymore.

I was back home- to my tiny flat- in a matter of two hours. The storm was raging outside and I could hear the wind whisper- I told you so.

The tequila bottle stood innocently on the shelf and called to me, as if asking me to embrace it like an old friend.

It was successful. Half a bottle later, I could hear her sing to me:

“Drink up baby, stay up all night,

All the things you could do, you won’t but you might…”

This was our favorite song: her and mine.

“Missed me have you?” she asked while caressing my hair.

“In a way I have,” I sobbed into her lap.

Her cold hands brushed against my cheeks and her cold lips pressed against my forehead in a sisterly way.

When she bend down to kiss me, her curls covered my eyes and all I could feel was darkness.

The night held comfort. Nothing could go wrong anymore. The worst was over and she was back. I was free to rejoice in the night once more. The pretention could be thrown out of the window.

After an eternity of her comforting embrace, she pulled me up and led me to the balcony.

It was almost dawn and through the pool in my eyes I could see the horizon: clear with a hint of cloud and the tiny speck of light that was the sun. The breeze rustled the trees as if waking them up from their deep slumber and telling them of a new day, a new opportunity.

I went close to the railing; spread my arms and felt the chill pass through me. If was scarily beautiful. That beauty could destroy, just like a set of luscious red lips on a petit maiden.

But warning of those evils never stopped anyone from falling for them. I remembered Desiree and her tragic love affair with the fearless Napoleon. Love consumes all till only ashes remain.

Today was the dawn of ashes and along with the rustling, the puppeteer upstairs rained down ashes of a fragmented relationship on me, freeing me from the clutches of him and his web of lies forever.

The storm had cleansed at last and my ghost was back with me for eternity.

 

All that is not glamorous

“Did you take your meds?” the good doctor asked.

I sniffed over the phone and wiped away two drops of tears from my left eye before answering, “twice the double dose.”

“Okay.” She obviously didn’t approve of my choice of dealing with ‘stuff’.

“Can I take another of those?” I asked her. I didn’t care about what it did to my physical health….i was just concerned with the mental health bit. I needed the talking in my head to stop and the sleep to come. I needed peace and I didn’t want to hurt myself.

“No darling, you can get through this without the meds. I promise you.”

How many more promises did I need in my life right now? I was sick and tired of the pep talks and the ‘I know what you are going through’ talks. Every Time I mentioned my condition, I got a speech about ‘my uncle/brother/mother/best friend went through the same. You will come out a stronger person’ talks.

They all know how it is. They all have faced the same. I had a girl in school who wanted to get depressed. She thought it was cool. “Imagine people always at your beck and call….all the attention you would get. Wow I want that,” she would rant on.

At the age of 15 I wasn’t aware that that would be me one day. People constantly asking how I am doing and whether I am better; that gets old after a point in time. I just want to be left alone.

Right now, I feel like hiding in a corner somewhere beneath a desk. Corners protect me, even from myself. I wonder as I write this whether I should get an award for writing down my thoughts instead of sulking in some corner.

There is nothing glamorous about pain. Pain is excruciating and violent. Along with it comes its friends helplessness and no self worth. Today I am facing it, tomorrow you might. So please, for the love of God, don’t tell a depressed person to ‘just deal with it’ and ‘to control your mind’.

Instead hold them when they need and tell them it’s going to be okay; if not today then someday. Tell them it’s okay to feel the way they are feeling and this too shall pass.

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.

Amateur is the word!!!

My verses are unrefined and crass;
I’ve been told-
Free verse is not literature!!
My prose is said to be unnecessarily long;
My tenses- all goofed up;
My thought process- really confusing
(even to me).
All in all- an amateur writer who should just stop.
But once in a while someone comes along
With words of kindness and appreciation
And fuels my humongous ego.
To that someone, I promise–
My verses will be true;
My prose will mean something;
Pretense is not my forte;
Being blatantly honest- one of my many follies.
I am just me
And what I write will reflect just that.