Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Written by him

The silver nib of the fountain pen slid ahead of sinuous curves of black ink. He paused and looked at the unfinished page of text. The page seemed to give off an eerie, dull glow in the flicker of the candle. The hands of the grandfather clock had stealthily ticked over the hour and his page was still only half full. His temple glistened with sweat. Every nerve was taut as if they held back the wheels of time from running free.

The page did not look right. Not just yet. It looked too light, as if the white space overruled the encroaching strokes of black. The painting looked lopsided. He lacked the ability to look at his writings for the words that made them up. For him, they were always paintings. Today he did not have the time to ponder about his choice of colours. His memories got mangled under the furious passion of his strokes.

You cannot write. The darn things are words! Not lines or curves or brush strokes on a canvas. They are suppose to join and make sense. He only saw how the light danced in the air as her tresses filtered the amber beams. Where is the context of this? What is this idea doing in the middle of nowhere? Writing has form and structure. Narration should flow in and around some context. No one will read what you are writing. Her skin seemed translucent and weightless. Like she was a mirage, an apparition of his imagination.

The damp, hot air from outside waited at the window sill, refusing to blow in. It gave the room a feeling of resigned stuffiness. He returned to his painting with a renewed vengeance. It had to make sense now. He looked to the ream of paper that lay beside, filled with the same sprawling curves of black. Page after page, he had drawn her. Her every manner, every smell, every sparkle in her eyes, every note of her laughter, every drop of her tears. Just a few more pages and his portrait would be complete. He would have her, right there, forever.

The shadows flickered on the wall and the table top. They were laughing at him again. You silly, silly man. My first novel took years to publish. No one has the time to extract sense from this chaos you spread in ink. Your characters have no substance. They do not seem real. Just then, she had doubled up with that awful wheezing cough that seemed to drain more of her life out with every burst. The leaves in the trees had come and gone, the season of disease had not budged. Time had never paid heed to his pleadings, but this time was different. This time was his alone.

Promise me you will take care of yourself. You are too special to be wasted on this world that refuses to understand. Promise me you will make them understand. He could see her lips move like a symphony lilting in the breeze. He could feel the longing in her touch. He could do nothing, except what he was doing now.

It had been five months since he had found a surprise admirer of his work. Someone who had agreed to publish what he wrote. It was as if destiny had decided to guide his hand herself. He still painted the pages, but now with the paint, flowed life. A life that should have lived outside the folds of a few sheets of papyrus. A life that flowed out of him.

Promise me you will write so that thousands can see the beauty I saw. Promise me... His hand wavered as he felt a cold shiver run through his veins. A sudden gust of truant wind clattered the window panes. His breathing was now heavy with anticipation. His masterpiece was almost complete. It pulsated with the beauty that had seeped into it. A drop of sweat fell on the sheet as he put the last dot, smudging it, making the ink spread. He could see her reflection in the sea of words, shimmering and sparkling with joy of being understood.

Finally, he could let go of himself. He slumped on his chair and lay his head to rest on the table. The first ray of sunlight found him like that. Calm, resplendent and one with his reflection.


  1. hello.i found ur link on mirage's blog, and decided to drop by. uv got a beautiful blog, and a very apt title too...


  2. @jan: Welcome and thanks :D Keep visiting.

  3. I like this post particularly, nice blog, thankfully different than the rest. :)

  4. @germ: hey! Glad ya liked it. :)