I continued, “This was happening the other day. Appa came home late, like 11:00. I was very close to sleeping off and he just asked me. Ok! What are you going to do next” But yeah in a, in a very normal tone? So, I had to tell him…”
Taken to a centre, by the universe
I looked up and down.
The universe was my ledge.
And her name..
Was Universe, the sledge.
I was not taken there to admire the ocean of cressons.
I stood first in line for my falling lessons.
The fall is not a thing to worry about.
You know the fall never hurts.
Landing causes all the death,
Fall gets blamed when drunk journal blurts.
The centre of the universe is a paradise.
Only dead souls enter.
Living souls walk with the universe
Till, its time to enter.
Love your fall,
Live on the wall
and hope this never ends.
It gives you art
And take this dart.
Hope, it never really mends.
A cold December evening. The sun walked out pretty fast, just like her.
Then, Walt Whitman walked in, so did the moon and sonnets.
A perfect setting to get lost and never come back. Never. Because once the words you want are served at your table and you find it better than people, you start enjoying your company.
The wind does its job of keeping your sailing thoughts on the loneliest streets of Manhattan, the darkest hours of Quebec or the mind-numbing coldness of Alaska. It drifts you away from human territory. The wind knows what is good for you.
One think-alike human is the overdraft limit that can withstand the winds. It is not like the way it is explained in books or movies, or it is not so metaphorical too. It is awkward, imperfect and unexplainable.
If it is unexplainable, how do writers weave out magic on paper?
Did you read that word aloud?
It is. You still feel some works to be extremely closer to truth, right? I did too. Until, that moment I realised, it takes three lines or a maximum of three pages for a character to do a task impossible for a person reading it in real life. Like, travelling nautical miles with the albatross or running into the terrace of a hostel with curfew and a strict warden. It is easy for them.
Impossibilities cause pain. If this was a page of my book, the book that is picked only by the people who need it.
I would have re-written it this way, but yeah! You read the truth in the beginning. I’m speaking truth in my fictions. I’m a paradox.
“A cold December evening. The sun walked out pretty fast, just like her.
She thought that I could never be a father like the one she has had(She was right!). I asked her to decide. I gave her total freedom. But she was furious and felt I was not helping her and I acted like some sick bastard, three blocks away, who is no one to her.
I caught her while she was at the gate trying to look back at me, she was waiting to see if I would call her back. I hugged her, looked into the eyes that reflected our Rafter and then me. I pushed the lock of hair that hid the bruise on her forehead, kissed it. Then, she decided.
Then, Walt Whitman walked in, so did the moon and sonnets.”
(Ok!) Dear Barath!
Shucks! Man. I think this is not my thing. I think you asked me to write a letter to you on purpose! But let me try. This is the first thing you ever asked me. So I’m trying to write something that looks like a letter.
You and your literature things are starting to become interesting for me. All because of you. You talk about it and make me feel like, it’s a mandatory part of my survival. You add those fancy words at the right places and make something out of it, that gets me in this trance, while I am already struck by your handsomeness(Someone’s smiling a lot, now).
This being evident as you are reading, when are you going to get me our first book?
Yes! OUR freaking first book!! I am taking so much control over us. I know all that. That’s because, I miss “us” sometimes and this is the only way I can hold someone’s hand and not feel any pain over the juxtaposed, interlocked fingers(God! Me and my Stupid word choices!)
Writers take a walk by Heartbreak lane on a daily-basis. I know you are new to the neighbourhood, so take your time, learn and get over to me as soon as possible.
I think I am starting to love letters. It gives me this 60s English Womenfolk feel. The Flower-Basket Cycles, Hats, Blue and White checked Shirts. I know you would have picturized me in the above scenarios I listed. Don’t you ever start your plan. I will have to use the Kitchen-Knife just like those 60s movies.
Now coming back to what I really wanted to say.
One fact about humans on earth, irrespective of what songs they hear, or what kinda creatures they live with, humans cheat on themselves for the sake of others, there’s this extent for doing that. You never crossed that, even for me.. that was the thing that amazed me first. You do what you want! I do what I want! And we do what we want(Except when it comes to movies! Because you kinda take the decision always).
We are good! better at times?!
So, write back to me, when the freaking butterfly effect you go mad about lets you!
Write slow and steady, because your handwriting shouldn’t have come past the four line notebooks of kindergarten. I am clueless about how it did!
We are already something. I don’t want an approval by words. Words are bitches.
Say ‘Yes’ with a kiss,
‘Yes’ with two kisses.
You know my name!
P.s.- Its time start loving her. So, Duffer’s diary is closed and kept safely inbetween Vairamuthu and Tolstoy in my book rack.
just barath a.k.a Duffer©
Forgiving is hard, forgetting harder.
I’m on the verge of forgiving one person in my life. That night made it kinda easier. We decided to have a drink. My first and her 11th(I mean she drinks rarely! I don’t know the number of times she drank).
STATUTORY WARNING: Drinking is injurious to health, so is talking, speaking, answering, discussing and everything.
6’o clock on that fine evening. We both decided to sleep over at our friend’s places after it. Yes! We are grown-ups and we can’t explain it to our homes. We are cheating on ourselves by cheating our parents. We know!
Judge us through all the ways you want for just the one reason that she asked me to drink. But if it reaches her ears, that is when your trouble starts.
It’s Mr.Jack Daniel’s turn to speak up. One gulp, quarter cup. Felt like someone set my oesophagus on fire. Drinkers all over the world! Why do you guys want to burn your food pipe!
“Don’t make me call an ambulance now!” she looked at me.
“It’s! It’s nothing” I tried to be casual.
“Why do you look like you’re going to kill yourselves then?” she laughed.
I heard that. But a headache started. I was trying to balance it out. Man! I was indeed doing it like a pro! One tip and I’m skipping on to what happened after the 5th round. If you are getting high when you don’t want to, just try to think something really different from anything running on your mind. It helped!
“I love you, Barath” she said.
“Eh!” that came out of nowhere.
“It won’t be romantic when I tell that again” she dragged.
“You know what! I am steadier than you!” I told a little loud.
“OK! Your first lesson of Alcoholics! Don’t think women can’t stand high like boys. In reality, women don’t get high like those heroines on-screen. That is bullshit! I meant what I said. In fact, I have told you that a number of times” she said.
The high wore down a little after those words. I could remember most parts of what happened that evening.
“Where do I start? Is it just an approval through words you want? Words are bitches sometimes! I write and I am still telling this” I started.
“There is never this, no strings attached feeling with words. We are accountable. I just have this tiny feeling of fear. I don’t wanna lie to you about it. In fact, you are the one person I totally do not wanna lie about” took another sip.
“Clearly I don’t want to go the past. But I don’t have a present. I don’t know if.. if I can give this my all. I’m in this phase where every goal I walk turns out to be a mirage. I need you. I need you now. I’ll need you always. I am just this far from the Suicidal Thoughts.You know what gets me going YOU”
“I don’t know if I am high. I don’t know how you define it. But alcohol gave me some serious confidence today” I think I said it all.
“This gives me some responsibilities. So I’m not going to let you drink a lot from today. You did speak so much and that matters to me. It’s just this freedom I have when I am with you that makes this so special for me. I don’t have that freedom even when I am alone. Wait! I don’t know if you are going to remember this evening properly!” she smiled while she said that.
“If I won’t rem..remember don’t tell any more important things. Already my memory power is damn poor” I stammered through.
“Barath! You are really in a good kinda high. You never accepted about this memory thing. Never before” she laughed at me.
“I think you got these words out. Not even Mr.Jack here. I’m down and normal. But this left side is less functional” I demonstrated.
She laughed again. You did not note that I told her I love her. She understood that. There is this one thing about humans. They keep you happy or teach you lessons! She was doing both and as I told in the very beginning, I am forgiving someone and Fuck! I am not drinking again! For sometime atleast!!
It’s time for the HOME RUN!
– just barath (c)
Maybe the last- Write side of the heart
I’m still just a beginner when it comes to using the hand dryer at mall restrooms. It doesn’t dry my hands completely. Or is that how things work there. Why am I even thinking about this now?
Especially, when I have a girl waiting for me outside. And Good heavens this mall had the parking stairs. I could sneak in inspite of being late.
What am I gonna tell her for being late?
‘The hand dryer is messed up!’
Its time to silence my doppelganger talking, with the Ads and Anthem that’s going to be played inside the theatre. Its time to walk out. Because, if I don’t, she might complain about my missing to the Mall Security.
I started walking out and there I saw her. Wait! That’s some other girl. I wore my specs! Now I saw her, smiling at me.
‘Hi, Hand dryer.’
Shut the Fuck Up! CONFUSED BARATH.
I got to her, “Hi, Sorry for keeping you waiting…”
“No, Not a problem. I walked in only now.” and another smile.
‘You can walk in 3 hours later too.. But don’t forget to smile. Because if you forget, I can’t write poetry about you for your Birthday’ I thought.
“The hand dryer is messed up!”
Shut Up Barath!!! Wait! I did not say that. To confirm I asked, “What?” She told, “The hand dryer inside was not working properly.”
That screwed-up hand dryer. Yayy!! Its my turn to talk about the Men’s hand dryers’ mechanics. But I was satisfied with, “This problem happens everywhere. They care a lot about what’s on the outside and forget that the inside things keep everything going.” “Wow! Metaphorical and philosophical Barath is!” she told, she really did.
“Did you interpret it that way? You are so cool” I told her. Someone play that happy tears Music here, please.
“I don’t hear that cool part often” she dragged. “I think I should tell this frequently.. if you want” we started walking.
“That won’t change my inside” she told.
“Nothing should. Except for you talking to yourself, nothing can change your inside” I cleverly replied.
Then she looked at me. That’s the kinda look they talk about in my kinda movies. Barath! don’t try explicating this. I caught her looking at me and still she did not turn away. I was living the second and then she turned aside. What ran in her mind then? I’m just clueless.
Then I asked, “Why were you looking at me that way?” “I.. I can’t tell! You find out” she told taking a pause.
‘I shouldn’t have asked that!’ I did not know how to react after those words. That’s when some lines from PULP FICTION came running to my left cerebral hemisphere.
“That’s when you know you have found somebody really special. When you can just Shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably share a silence.”
She followed me to the theatre door and then our movie began.
-just barath ©
The 2nd Episode- Something’s brewing
P.s. Barath will be the name only till I find a name for that role. Yeah! It’s just a name.
Yes! I’m actually writing you something. This paper would find a place somewhere in your closet or your drawing table or might be folded into two for saving the edges and kept inside your Journal. I don’t care about where this paper goes. I just am standing here, under this cloud adrift, with fear, not sure if I can send these words, and by words I mean its crux into you. For inside this ‘o’ I have hid my madness and how I exclaim for the mere sight of you, over the title of all the ‘i’ in this letter, my love is standing, surviving the cold of all lonely nights. Every single alphabet that I scribble is for you, and you alone. Just decipher it and wink _____. That is the only moment I can survive without looking at my distorted reflection in your eyes.
I feel so awk-word now. After hitting you with so much out of my confused heart, I am. For I am not the incessant muse kind or the Love-Quotes kind. I am just the Basic-Love thing, with one-off definitions of this feeling. Need I say more! Say “Yes” for I have got so much to tell to you and reimburse for the silence and seconds you have given to me, and also the seconds that I took myself. Bear with me babe, stand with me, walk with me, save me by leaning on my shoulder, feel the heat of my palm by placing yours inside it.
“Words can’t adequately describe love” they said. But words and thoughts about you are all I have.
I can’t see any Albatrosses, skylarks, daffodils, coffee mugs, mistletoes, lobsters or gods that can set my thought on sail. I can only see me! My distorted reflection in your eyes and its image.
It got me into way too many thought-cycles and art-blocks. And proceeding to the next words are getting tough now. This is something I foresaw. Stay with me, if you can. Hope this letter finds you in good health. And I don’t know when this is going to…
Happy Life, anyways…
Only Yours until Oblivion.
“Hey! Hi, how are you?” She asked as she saw me sitting on the stairs of the Concert Hall.
She was Akshara. I met her last year at the same Hindu Literature Festival. We mostly attended all the events on a day together and spent the day really well. I did not get her number and Wait! She didn’t too. I forgot her face, but as the advertisements for this year’s festival popped up, she came to my mind first. I even thought of searching the Likes of the event’s Facebook Page. But from 26,000 I don’t even have the slightest chance of finding her name, even before the next event.
“Hi, Akshara Right?” I told. “Yes, Barath, without the second ‘h’ ” she remembered my name, the actual name. “So you’re a volunteer this year?” I asked. “Yes, wanted a clear picture of the event. So signed up as a volunteer. No one would see the show better than me. I am at the front, passing Time Prompts to the moderators” she told, in what seemed like a proud and happy tone. “So, you were the one, who was actually tapping on the stage when Kanhaiya was speaking,” I asked. “You saw me already! Why didn’t you talk to me then” she answered with a question. “Dude I was on the Balcony and how do you expect me to get your face and I hated you a lot, How can you ask people to end such Good Shows. I hated you a lot”. “That job was for the Iron-Hearts, someone who can stand so much Hatred, but it’s not that serious. Everyone understands the situation” she told completing the sentence with a smile.
“Had your lunch?” I asked. “Yeah Man! And don’t tell me skipped your lunch again”. I nodded. “Grow leaner and leaner,” she said. “I’m lean and healthy” I replied instantly. Before she could begin her sentence, I asked her, if she wants a coffee. We started walking to the Coffee Place. Being a crazy coffee aficionado I told her about that brewery’s coffee “This coffee is one of the good coffees in Madras. Its 50 years old” I completed a little louder. “Really!” she asked in a rather dragging tone. “Barath, last time I ordered a coffee, got it and in 15 minutes the coffee turned cold. 50 years doesn’t sound good” she told looking at me. I started walking back. She caught me and turned me back simultaneously laughing at me and telling, “Ok! Ok! I won’t talk”.
We got our coffees and I suggested we sit on the stairs with the View of the Entrance. She nodded and we walked slowly and carefully, fearing the coffee might dye someone else’s dress. We care for our strangers you know.
“So Akshara, What do you think about the festival?” I told and took the first sip. She completed her first sip. She looked like she liked the taste, told “Hmmm, Cool Man. Better than last year’s show. More People! Learned a lot”. “The decor is heavenly, little things with so much beauty. You changed the place altogether, It’s going to be harder removing all this and getting this back to normal” I told. She replied “They hired a team for it. It’s going to be hard for them.”
As we were talking a woman passed by us wearing a White floral Printed Frock and Neon-Orange Puma Shoes. “Look at that fashion sense Akshara!” I told her pointing the direction with my eyes. “Get used to it Barath. This might be a big fashion statement in 2 years” she told. “But would you do that?” “Definitely not” she was confident and I was happy. “So many new faces right? This year” she asked. “Not just faces new Skin tones, dresses, and way of life. I have not seen this kind of an Intellectual English crowd before. These people are the Elites of MADRAS. You get a chance to look at them only in a Few Sabhas, Secluded Cafes, and temples. I have seen a few of them. But seeing all these people together puts me in a state of a Cultural Shock. But in a good Sense. I mean I just admire” I told. “How good it would be to live like them! But sometimes I think it would be boring with too many responsibilities. What do you think?” she asked and took the last sip of the coffee. “It would just be a pain in the ass, for you and me. I am very sure” I told and we both started laughing. Happily, unhurtingly judgemental!
We turned towards the entrance still smiling and spotted Rishi Kapoor Ji, some 10 steps ahead of us walking casually amidst few organizers.
-© just Barath.
P.s. – Purely Fictional. I went to the festival (The best lit fest I have been to!). But met no one like Akshara. I started reading my old works and missed writing so much, getting back little by little. It’s hard to get the first word out and even harder not writing. So long!
It was last Wednesday. The day had so many things that pissed me off really bad and push me into thinking that one such day should never come again. The day I felt being good has a hefty and painful result. Being Good leaves you behind, but for another equally good thing. How good would it be if I have some powerful luck-nut every morning which warns me about the day, Like, Play it On Chap your Guardian Angels are working extra-time or Brace yourself Dumbo, your Guardian Angels are still in a hangover.
Thinking about how stupid I am and trying not to think about it I got into a bus (Not actually into the bus, just the stairs) and to get home. I live in the heart of the city and here the blood vessels, damn! I mean the roads will always be crammed and I have to walk some 15 minutes to enter into my Safe-House. I mostly won’t get down when the bus stops. I get down a little before like, when the bus goes on 2kmph and before the Bus becomes an example of Newton’s First Law, to be scientifically explained.
That’s when the thing that usually does not happen happened. Let me try to put every piece of that night together, so that you can see the Unusual.
I got down from the bus and took left. It’s a not so crowded connect road between two parallel main roads. A scooter swished past me and I can say that it did not look good. It was going from the left to the right and came back to its normal path again. I just thought Girls! And continued walking after few moments and thoughts I saw the scooter standing on the side of the road balancing on an electric pole. The girl driving it was leaning on the dial of the bike. I did not think about asking her about it. I thought it would be awkward if she does not respond well. Then after a few steps I could not walk further. I turned back to see her still. There were no women walking by the road at that time. I did not move to her. I just stood by and watched. Still no women. I just got all the good sides in me on, wore my embarrassment shield and walked towards her. I got close to her. She was breathing soundly. *relief sigh*
“Excuse me” I asked kinda really loud. A common Indian who was walking past me looked at me and walked away. She did not move. She looked up but she did not look into my face she looked to the left of my face. I got it. She was drunk. I really had no clue about what to do. I had never spoken to a drunk girl. Yeah! I spoke to her earlier but I did not know she was drunk. “Are you okay?” I asked her. I knew she wasn’t. She told “No, I’m fi.. ne” she stammered. But her voice had a strong tone. “Can I get some water?” she asked. I pretended searching my bag while she was trying to stand up. I asked her to wait and moved to a nearby store, got a water bottle.
On my way back I saw her, now I clearly saw her. She was simple and wild. She was wearing Plain white tops and jeans, a lean build and I guess she did not have makeup. She could stand back. She tried putting the center stand of her bike. But she couldn’t. A strong pull, pull and again she failed. I handed the water bottle to her and put the center stand. She used her hand as a balance against the wall and then tried to splash some water on her face. I was standing back and looking at her stumble like a kid. She dropped the bottle twice. Then picked it up and walked back to where I was standing. I really don’t wanna talk about the looks all the passerby gave us. They were just cruel and as if they saw something taboo. When will they change?. When I looked back at them they turned. They better do that! She was in a pretty bad shape. I did not know what to ask, ‘How could I ask a girl on road if she is drunk. Wouldn’t she feel embarrassed?’ As I was thinking for alternate questions words came out of my mouth “Are you drunk?” I had an innocent and doubtful stare. She looked at my face and said “Yeah! And I’m a little off-balance now”. “Little! She is totally off-balance” I thought. At least I did not tell this to her. But still her voice was strong and I had no explanation for it. “I can take care you can leave, Please, don’t waste time” she told and reached to her back-pack took out her mobile phone. And was searching for the Unlock Button. I flipped the phone the right side up for her. She quickly pressed the button, swiped the screen, the wallpaper came on. I was really moved now. She did not have a Screen Lock on her mobile. What! I generally had a picture that Girls would have the screen lock, app-lock, the vault, a grey hound and the laser alarm for their mobile. She was One Girl! I thought.
She swiped. But the touch did not respond well. I opened it. As she told the name “Shalini” I called that number and placed the phone safely on her hand. It took a few moments. I did not want to overhear the conversation but I was forced to. I was standing close to her. Right! She had called her friend who was nearby to come pick her up. She told me that Shalini would be here in 10 minutes. So I could leave. But I did not want to. What had happened to me then? I told her I did not have any Board-Meeting kinda things that night and I would stay till her friend comes. I took the bottle and drank some water. It was a not so normal experience. I did not want to miss out on it. It was a pretty important situation. So I thought I can talk to her. I prayed that Shalini should get stuck in some traffic and come after a while. We were thinking, thinking and remained silent for some minutes. Probably the last time we both were silent.
Then we started talking out a love story, A story worth penning down, A story with so many details, a story were coincidences were better-off than a Cinematic Romance, A story purely of a passion, called Love. It was just Last Wednesday and yes the last Wednesday we both were Strangers.
Everyone want a love story with a Happily Ever-After… I don’t talk about happily Ever-Afters. It is a waste of two seconds. I could possibly kiss her in that time.
P.s. – Purely fictional. Thats all I can tell you about what happened! Oops!
See you soon.. Gotta go bye.
“Apply for the Medical Entrance Test.”
The Door’s Bang completed his father’s emotional outflow. He sat down on the floor and rested on the side of his bed. He was lost in thoughts. He took his sketch pad and pencil. The pencil could not move further.
His dad got down the stairs, took a few deep breaths and walked down the hallway. He stood staring at his wife’s photo on the wall. Her smile brought him tears. He could see his blurred, distorted reflection on the photo. With some difficulty and back pain, he pushed the sofa, put it close to the photo and sat on it. Again the photo and her smile. This time it bought some words from his heart. He started talking to his wife.
“See. How your son is talking to me. It’s all because of you. You taught him all this. Your “Rebel to the world” philosophy. He wants to draw, draw cartoons. What kind of a newspaper will hire your son? All he draws are some colorful, crazy looking caricatures, just like him. You should have taught him cooking instead. That special noodles you made. He says his creativity will pay him. He pushes aside every piece of advice I give him. Now I got the contact of a guy who could get him Seat in that medical college. Our son will be a doctor. A DOCTOR. He will make a very good doctor.
You should have been by my side now. You would have convinced him in some minutes. But I still can’t understand how he is so happy looking at his stupid drawings. I could not understand what he felt to tell through his drawings at all. I have shouted at him now. He would definitely skip his dinner now. The third time this week. Maybe I should not force him to take the entrance again. You would have asked me to do that if you were here. You were always on his team.”
Before the next word, a teardrop came out of his eye. The past tenses were to be blamed. He wiped it with his shirt’s collar and closed his eye for some minutes. His frequent coughing got him out of that short trance. He looked at the photo again. There were tears again, but it was coming from his son’s eyes. He got up and looked at his son. He rushed to his dad, hugged his dad for the first time. How beautiful it looked in mom’s photo. Mom’s smile was made real now.
The next few minutes were filled with Sorries from both ends of the hug.
Until next dream..