Drunk in meaning, of eons of stories,
Heavy with the weight of so many souls,
Lines, still just lines of words after all,
in an alien language. Kano je oshonkoche ondho gaaner koli, Pakhar blade-er taale shojashuji kotha boli.
Nonsense and sense, churned like buttermilk,
Indistinguishable anguish of the once loved,
Unfathomable logic of the still loved,
Hopeless hope of a still to be loved. Ami bhabte parini tumi buker bhetor phatcho amaar shorir jure tomar premer beej.
Yet surprise they do, sometimes, all the time,
How well they say my mind,
Your mind, this effervescent syntax of ink on paper,
forced to breathe, somewhere on our common ground.
Ami thamte parini tomar gale norom dukkho aamaye duhaat diye munchte diyo please.
Note: The Bangla lyrics are from a fantastic song from the film Hemlock Society (listen to it here). It has been written and sung by Anupam Roy.
Does someone else feel it too? A vacuum? Of words that one once used to speak? To loved ones, to strangers, to confidantes? Why do I feel that the words are ebbing away slowly. From my fibre, inch by inch, gram by gram.
This is what comes of reading a book made of letters. I read one a few days before, and I wanted to write about it. But I guess I am even more of a wallflower than Charlie. Epistolary. And now it is this one. It is curious, the path that has led to this book. Or led this book to me. Curious, to say the least.
I once used to write long letters. To friends and lovers alike. Even when they would not write back. Most of those friends have morphed into silent curtains. And lovers have been sucked in by reality. My devotion to the written word has thus suffered a severe lack in companionship.
I once used to write long emails. I can still manage a few. My earlier abandon though, lies spent somewhere, whimpering at having been kicked in the gut. It has shrunk, like a rejected lover's self-esteem, to cover only the bare essentials.
And so now is it only the perfidious sms that one gets. Terse to read and cumbersome to write, it conveys no emotion to me except an desperate, unreal urgency to exhale.
I wanted to write a letter in this post, and look what I ended up writing. And though it is quite unclear why anybody reads this blog at all, surprisingly, people do. And even more surprisingly, they write in sometimes, telling me how they passed an evening reading this electronic reflection of me. Sustenance for my narcissistic writerly self it is. Written morsels that reveal an interested person behind them. Such luxuries.
Luxuries one can always dream of indulging in. So now, my anonymous reader, be a dear, and write to me.
The bright lights of the road to airport snapped Pushmeet out of his frantic typing. He stared stupefied at the screen. The words he had typed were staring at him. The soft white glow of the screen lit his face, which he saw reflected in the car window. It had an expression of veiled fright. The look on his face changed as he realized what he was looking at. His phone buzzed.
He checked the inbox to see a sms from Trina saying, “Waiting for you at the departure lounge. How far off are you? Want to cancel the flight back and check-in into a hotel for the night?” He felt a longing to feel Tri's fingers on his stubble. They made it seem more like a Monet brush stroke than an ugly outgrowth of his lethargy. The first time he had met her at an airport, he was coming back from his first book tour. She was coming back from a meeting with clients. The idea of giving the flight a miss had been his. She had resisted the change from schedule initially, even insisted that they check-in into separate rooms. Later that night she had told him her entire travel schedule for the month. He had coordinated his book tours to match her tours. Airport hotels became erotic stopovers for a month. By the time the book tours became infrequent, her visits to his apartment had become a habit both had become used to. He had barely finished typing an emphatic yes, when his phone buzzed again.
With a message from Veronica that read, “Waiting in your apartment with Cat.” His mind played back images from the evening when he had walked into Ron's apartment with the stray cat he found on his way back home from the pub the night before. Ron simply called her Cat. He had hungrily dug into Ron's half finished cup of instant noodles before hitting the shower. He remembered how he had come out of the shower to find Ron crouched on the floor, talking to Cat in hushed whispers. He could not decide who looked more cat-like between the two of them. That night, their lovemaking had been infused with a feline energy interspersed with subdued mewls from Cat. It felt exhibitionistic to be making love in front of Cat. That only made him crave it more.
His hand wavered on his phone buttons. Not knowing who to reply to as the car drew into the airport departure porch. Getting out the car seemed more like the end of an expedition than the end of a road trip to get to the airport. The journey had been a revelation. The journey of listening to them tell their stories. Of letting them talk without his thoughts moderating the conversation. He showed his driving license and ticket to the airport security as he walked into the departure terminal. He was still standing their undecided about who to answer to when his phone buzzed again.
Without looking at the message, he walked to the flight ticket counter and cancelled his flight ticket. He walked out of the airport terminal, hailed a cab and headed back to Hampi. The journey held the promise of a story that had to play out itself in his head. The cab turned away from the airport as his fingers embraced the backlit keyboard of his laptop. He had to know his story. The story of what he wanted more. Lovemaking or stories? Who he wanted more. His lovers or himself?
The journey was essential. The story was necessary. The questions were undeniable. The women were merely characters.