The Despicable

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“So, how do you portray the characters of your stories?” – all of a sudden Joy threw the question over the luncheon towards me. We had been friends since our college days and he was always so interested and amazed with my little scribbles that I couldn’t help laughing at times at his exceeding curiosity. So did I today, but he was serious. So I replied that I did construct the characters from the real life – sometimes exactly, being overwhelmed by the uniqueness and sometimes blending my imaginations. Joy remained silent for a while and spoke in a thoughtful tone, “I have a little story to tell you. It’s my own experience I am telling.” I became curious at his tone and he narrated me a singular story.

” This is a story of one of my classmates. You know, he came from a well-to-do family, though not very rich, and was an average student of literature. His indifferent round face with a blunt nose and dim eyes was a clear portrayal of his mediocrity. But he was a jolly good fellow, though a sign of melancholy always drooped from his gaze. After finishing college he went off in search of job and I didn’t hear anything from him until a few days back, when I met him at a shabby, disrepute by-lane of Delhi.

He was in an unhealthy state with torn, dirty attire – hardly getting a square meal. He was living in a cage-like worn-out shelter in a filthy lane. I was shocked to see him – but it seemed that he took really no notice of me, hardly recognizing me at first. Even after he recognized, he was indifferent to his circumstances. I offered him tea in a cafe, which he accepted with indifference. I was startled at his change. He had turned into a cold fellow, with the same blunt features, but his eyes shone with a strange spark – indicating something unusual – as if something else has possessed his soul like a devil.

His wordings had become pretty incoherent, as if he lacked words to express. But from whatever I gathered from him was startling. After his college, he found a small clerkship job in the outskirts of Delhi, with a decent pay check. He married a local girl and settled there with an apparently happy life. I am saying “apparently” as he never mentioned any signs of any row in the family. But then, after ten years of married life, one fine morning, he left his job and family and his children altogether! And he did that willingly, without remorse! When I asked him the reason – he said an absurd theory that he wanted to express himself through a medium, and he took music as his medium.

You won’t believe the areas where he visits daily – day or night. He himself said that sometimes he was in possession of lust and most primitive natures of human race, and he believed that these are the elements that made his soul experience the forces of primitive world. I saw him burning inside – in search of himself – and his expressions came out through his innumerable sheets of music. I saw one of the sheets he callously crumpled and threw out after wiping his hand. The flow of melody can’t be expressed, or is there any melody at all? I don’t know pal, but I am certain of one thing – they are singular and incomprehensible to us, the commoners. There was something queer in those abrupt ups and downs of the tones – it seemed that an inexplicable force was trying to escape the agony and the appeal was horrific but addictive, as if a dark spell was cast.

Now, tell me what do you think of him? A talented Satan? A selfish moron? A man with a loathsome and substandard character? Or a primitive, boundless character who is far too idealist?”

With this, Joy finished his narration of his extraordinary (though real) story. I was in a state of shock and awe. The layers and dimensions of this character turned my head spinning. Both of us finished our lunch without anymore words and then sat on the sofa to make ourselves comfortable for a smoke. Joy was looking at me inquisitively. After a long silence, I spoke up, “Joy, are we capable of understanding what is standard? Or is there anything called standard – other than a set of rules made by ignorant fools like us?” Joy nodded and drifted off in different topic to lighten the mood of our discussion – but I was not hearing anything – and just decided to portray this singular, extraordinary character in my next writing – “The despicable”.

Substandard

The Futile Hope

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“Come on mate, don’t get so stressed okay? Everything will be fine.”, Ben tried to comfort me. I stared away from my bed, blankly, gazing outside the window of my cabin in the hospital, a cabin which had become my home for more than two months, finding nothing but emptiness. “Hey, come on – don’t break down so early. You have a long way to go mate. Just let docs operate you.” “Don’t try to give me false assurance Ben. I know you want to relieve me out of stress but sadly it isn’t helping. I know this is incurable and I have got no hope. All I can get is a few more days, hours, minutes than normal.” My voice trembled as I spoke. I knew it was unbelievable to me as well but this was the truth and I had no other choice than accepting it.

Ben buried his face in his hands with a hopeless sigh. He finally rose up and gave a pat on my back and slowly his tall figure with stooping shoulders disappeared from the room. I was left alone. Not alone, but the window of my room was with me. During all these days of loneliness, better to say last days of my life, the window was the one who accompanied me whole day long – rather guarding me from falling into utter darkness. I knew it was nothing unusual – death is a reality just as the Sun rising in the East. Being a bachelor and with an unhappy love life I had no bindings of family as well. But I was sad. I didn’t want to lose the window – the outside world, the world full of joy and life, only a glimpse of which the window gave me.

Suddenly I felt a touch on my feeble hand. I looked up and found Jin standing. I couldn’t believe she would come as we had separated three years back and I hardly had any contact with her for months. She sat down beside me and we both remained silent for long. Ultimately she broke the silence by clearing her throat.

“Why didn’t you tell me Vin?”

“I… Well, I didn’t want you to unnecessarily get bothered about a worthless fellow like me.”

“You really believe that I think about you on that line?”

“I don’t think anything. I just don’t care anymore about anything. I have come alone in this world and go away alone as well. I have no grudges against you or anyone in this world. All I want to remember now is the good things that happened in my rotten life – and I must say most of them are centered around you.”

A drop of tear rolled down from the corner of my eye as I uttered those words. Jin leaned on my shoulder and started weeping silently but uncontrollably. I just couldn’t say anything – it seemed that the thought of approaching death was detaching me from all the worldly ties I had – whatever left of it. I knew I had a subconscious pain buried inside me regarding Jin – but all was passing by when I saw her sorry for all that happened. I was feeling a strange sense of relief – feeling like a free bird.

I looked at the window. It seemed it was smiling at me too, saying, “Look, you were afraid of losing happiness because you always wanted it! Now that you have got happiness from inside – do you fear anymore?” Strangely enough, my fear was disappearing little by little as well. The more I felt satisfied, the more I was feeling complete. To let go all the grudges, pain was filling my heart with an inexplicable satisfaction.

Meanwhile Jin composed herself and found me staring at the window again. She held my hand firmly and said with a firm voice, “I am not going to lose you again Vin.” I was shocked to hear that. I was overjoyed and in utter dismay at the same time. Her words again brought back the feeling of dilemma – dilemma of losing the inner happiness of renouncing all worldly ties vs the worldly happiness of getting tied. I was again stuck at the same question – renunciation or hope, which one to rely? Jin was holding me back here and it seemed I was falling into the worldly dismay again. I just couldn’t give up the “hope” – “hope” to find happiness with the person I love, “hope” to live more in this world.

Relieved

Exposed

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After a long, tiring week, it was finally the weekend again. It was a relaxing Sunday evening, and I was sitting beside the window with a cup of strong coffee – alone. The cool evening breeze was taking away the lingering sensation of heat emitting from the ground. I just laid back in comfortable position and just then my inner conscious (I name it X, always) started a conversation…..

  • Enjoying the evening Nemo?
  • Yes… At least trying..
  • You are not happy Nemo?
  • Why should I X? What has happened so amusing lately?
  • You look disheartened for some reason.. Why Nemo?
  • I…. Well, I feel vulnerable X – seems I got no place to hide.
  • But why do you want to hide?
  • I am afraid to be exposed… You know, I never want to show anyone who I am in true sense. But there are situations where you can’t always control yourself.
  • You feel insecure?
  • Yeah.. It seems that exposing my real character may get me in trouble..
  • Such as?
  • Every person has got some weaknesses, so have I. And I don’t think making weaknesses public is a right thing to do. Not every people around you are nice, right?
  • Look Nemo, you are a human being right? Don’t expect you will behave like a programmed robot, even if you think to do so !!
  • Yes, I understand. But you know, I put up a cold, stone-like character outside but I am an emotional fellow inside. When someone succeeds to melt my heart, my defense breaks. And I have suffered a heavy blow once for that – pretty badly. That scar will never heal.
  • I understand and empathize with you Nemo… But frankly, do you think you can live your whole life under cover?
  • No.. Probably not… But I try? Shouldn’t I? But you know X this “putting up a poker face” pains my heart..
  • True… But frankly, logically, I myself can’t suggest a better way out for this. You got one way out though – write.
  • That’s what I am doing now, X… It gives me exposure to vent my feelings, but lets me stay under cover as well… I don’t know if this is a weakness, but I can’t help it..
  • …..
  • X?
  • Yeah… I guess I can’t suggest you a better way out.. Because sometimes the boring brain has got to be paid attention as well, setting aside the heart…. Sigh..

Exposed

Just A Letter

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Background :

Norman was just born when his parents got divorced. The legal suit took quite a long time to settle and it had a huge impact on little Norman. Norman never met his father nor did his father ever wanted to meet him. To Norman, the term “Father” was unknown. So he writes a letter to his “Father”, after a long time, with mixed emotions.

Dear Father,

I don’t know how I should start. I have never written you a letter. Frankly, why should I write a letter to you as I have never seen you? And that too after so many years? I really don’t know. I just thought I need to tell you something.

I have never seen you. I have only heard from my mom that you left mom just after your marriage. I heard from others that you did that deliberately, though I never asked the reason to mom. I couldn’t. From the very initial days of a child, when it needs the care and support of their parents, I was exposed to the brutal world where people questioned me about you. I couldn’t answer, as I was too little to understand. My little mind was hurt. I panicked and wanted to stay away from my friends and their parents as far as possible. I was afraid. For once when I tried to ask mom, I saw tears in her eyes and my immature mind became mature enough not to ask anything more, never in future. I had to dig a grave and bury my feelings inside.

My mom toiled hard and made me what I am today. She struggled all alone to bring me up, educate me and most importantly, she made me a proper human being. Those days are faded memory today, but till date I know my mom’s wound is not healed. Perhaps it will never heal. And the wound that you gave me “indirectly”, which I have carried and still carrying forward – will that heal? I don’t know.

But why am I writing this to you? Do I demand an apology from you? No, I don’t care whether you apologize or not – because enough water has flown through the river in all these years. I am not writing this to you because I hate you – I don’t hate you anymore. Those days are just my nightmares I want to forget and hating you will not let me forget that. Probably you don’t even remember now that you had a life connected to me. I am writing because I wanted to tell you, what I was never able to tell you – you did WRONG. This wrong will never be right. You try to forget it, delete it – but your conscious will never let you forget the fact.

Your Son (Biological – Yes that’s something you can’t deny)

Norman

Panicked

Winding it Up

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Have you ever seen a yarn of cotton being prepared? In simple terms, a cotton ball is spun around a spindle in the spinning wheel and as a result, the disintegrated cotton gives birth of the yarn of thread. Weaving these threads in a power loom or hand loom gives us clothes.

What do we do in life? We are born like a cotton ball – clean, pure and formless. Our parents, our society, our education shapes us, builds us. Then we begin to weave our lives with all the threads we got in the beginning. After being used extensively, our weaved lives worn out finally one day and we disintegrate again.

But what do we do in the whole life? Collecting bits and pieces of everything we encounter – money, wealth, relations, memories and so much more. We keep on winding our yarns of life for the whole life – without thinking, why we are doing it. We cling to our materialistic possessions, our worldly possessions – that’s why we remain unhappy. We try to find happiness in vein – because happiness comes in destruction and then building again. Have you ever seen a little child playing? How it plays with its new toys, throws them only to break those toys and laughs with its heart out? Why? Because this is a game to the child – it breaks everything just to start afresh.

Why can’t we break the barriers, throw the old, rusty belongings, and start a new journey – just for the sake of us?

Yarn

Perfect Harmony

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Waves of Harmony

When I saw today’s daily prompt, I thought I won’t write any thoughtful or imaginative essay or story today. This is because today is “Earth Day” and I took this occasion to share a picture taken by me a year back.

Nature is our mother. All that we have understood, discovered and invented throughout all these years of scientific developments – are undoubtedly the gifts of our mother nature.

But since the wake of “Industrial Revolution”, all we have done is rapid industrialization for rapid economic development. Yes, we achieved a huge growth, our “standard of living” got boosted – but, all at the expense of our dear Earth. Our “mother” is kind enough to protect us even after these grave injustices. Now, as the fully grown up children of Mother Earth, we have to take the responsibility to protect our Mom and gift our future generation a clean, safe, sustainable environment to live.

Like the waves after waves of the sea compose a never ending harmonious and lively concert – we, the humans, stay connected with the vastness and evergreen energy of nature. Let’s stay connected and not lose the harmony.

Harmony

Reunited

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It was a pleasant afternoon. Cool gentle breeze rustled through the branches of the trees and the ground was looking like a bed garlanded with flowers of different colours. Mary and her daughter Anne was walking along the path. Anne was away from home for a long time due to her study and finally came back after 5 years. Mary was very happy on Anne’s return but was not sure about her daughter’s state of mind. It seemed Anne was a bit aloof – it seemed something was bothering her.

Anne was thinking of something else. Her father passed away when she was away. She couldn’t stay at home more than 3 days at that time because of her project works. Mary had to deal with the loss all alone, but she never complained. Anne felt guilty inside for being away at a time when her mom needed her most. So when she came back home after finishing her studies, she wanted to make her mom happy from within.

So there they walked, side by side, silent throughout – a silence which only suits between the persons who know each other very intimately. After almost half an hour of walk – they both sat down on a bench.

“Anne, I am so glad that you have become such an educated woman now.”, said Mary, breaking the silence.

“Yes, Mom. That’s all because of the efforts by you and Dad.”, replied Anne, in a melancholy tone.

“Anne you could do it because of your efforts. Your Dad would have said the same thing if he was here today.” – Mary put her hand on Anne’s shoulder.

“Mom… I have to go away again. I have got a job – and I have found someone special there as well.”, Anne told with a lot of hesitation. Lots of feelings was going on within her.

Mary was shocked. She had no idea of all these. Suddenly it occurred to her that may be her daughter has been not so attached with her anymore as she used to be once. She never hid anything from her mom. But now she took all her decisions herself without even informing her once. “Perhaps it is normal, after all she is not the young girl anymore.” – thought Mary. While a lot of thoughts was going on within her mind, Anne handed her a small box.

“What’s inside?”, asked Mary in surprise.

“Open it Mom.”, Anne gave a mysterious but joyful chuckle.

Mary opened the box. Inside there was a ribbon. Suddenly Mary remembered something. It used to be the “lucky ribbon” to Anne which was given to her by Mary when Anne was a mere child. The fact that Anne has still kept that ribbon with so much care moistened her eyes. She couldn’t utter anything for some time. She realized even after years of separation, her daughter was same as before.

Anne hugged her mom tightly and the time passed, as emotions flowed and the mother – daughter bond became even stronger. After a long silent hug, Anne handed Mary two tickets. “I have remained separated from you for long Mom. I don’t want to leave you alone anymore. So you are coming with me forever now. And of course, I will introduce you to my special one very soon.” – said Anne. The mother daughter duo chuckled at each other joyfully and birds were heard chirping merrily like ever.

Chuckle