Wasted Words

It was only a month away. She couldn’t remember the last time that she felt such longing for an aimless day to arrive. What has marriage done to her? She was going through the old photographs when she found a hackneyed racquet at the bottom of the box. She had had her name specially inscribed in it, ‘J.Miller’. She smiled, but her eyes said otherwise. She took out a pen and paper to write down her ideas. Without caution, she was reminded of her checklist in college. 20 to-do things that no sane kid would dare to. Every year she would mark 5 things off it. Things were different now, she barely got out of the house.

She spent the entire afternoon writing down ideas and finally it struck her; a diary. A diary of the first one year of their relationship. That crazy year when 2 AM calls were routine, when a car drive to a city out of bounds was a weekly thing, when problems were solved, not created, by each other. Yes, she decided, rekindling those memories was the only way to hope for some happiness in their bleak marriage.

Everyday afternoon for the next one month, she wrote ten pages. Ten pages filled with heart warming moments, irreplaceable adventures and wet ink spots. She never had to worry about the privacy of the diary as he barely cared about what she did. The only conversation that happened everyday was if there was anything to buy from the grocery store. He left early morning, returned home past 9. Sometimes he would eat dinner outside, saving her the only time when she got to speak to him. She had considered running away a thousand times; every day she used to wonder why she never did it.

The day had finally come. To seal the diary with a gift, she got him a tie and kept both of it on his office table in his room. Like everyday, he woke up at 4:30 AM and went to his room and shut the door. She was waiting for his breakfast, to see his face, to hear him apologize for his negligence, to see some kind of change. Any change. When he came out of his room, he was already in his suit and ready to leave.

However, before he left, he looked at her and said, ‘Thanks for the tie, it looks good’. And he left, like it was just another day.

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That Place, That Day.

I was having a bad day. I dozed off without completing my work, I was too exhausted and had no control over my eyelids. The bright stream of sunlight woke me up; I was late. To make things hard, Lily gave me a hard time in wearing her jeans and eating cereal. Lily. Oh Lily. She has so much in resemblance to the person after whom she was named. Stubborn and too naive. As I passed by the place, it hit me, like it did everyday. But today was different, for some inexplicable reason I wanted to enter the gate today. I was having a bad day.

I stopped and retraced a few steps of mine. The worn out sign still read ‘Allen Christophe’s Gardens ‘. I saw a plastic cup thrown away at the entrance. As I picked it up and entered, involuntarily my motor movements took me to that spot. Everything in that place had changed; but to me, nothing had changed. I’ve always wanted to bring little Lily here. Oh Lily. As I sat down, the violet Rose in front of me started at me in silence.
It was the kind of garden that emanated memories, rather than scent.

The memory of me, in my high school football jersey proposing Lily came to my mind. She thought it was hilarious, that I would choose such an attire. It rained that day, I still remember. Another memory, a painful one, crossed my mind. I broke off our engagement in that very place. She thought it was a joke, that it was impossible to make sense of what I had just said. Both of us knew it was going to happen I guess. That memory was still bearable.

When I looked at the bench next to me, I saw a faint mark of ‘AM+JG’. He was always the romantic one, the one who would give me flowers at the end of a bad day, the one who would bake my favorite cake even if I didn’t have a bad day. I didn’t plan to propose him, I simply wanted to bring him here. But as we were sitting and as I saw him carving out our initials, I knew it was the moment. Now when I looked at the bench, I realized I was crying, uncontrollably. How did that happen? I promised myself never to return again. I was wrong. I should have come here everyday. This was the one place that had his presence felt so strong. The one place where we weren’t judged everyday for our love for each other.

It’s been three years since we came here. Three years since I adopted Lily. It took me a year to fall for him, It will take me a lifetime to forget him. I was having a bad day. But when I left, I was happy.

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A sock’s life clock

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A ray of light hits my eye as i awaken everyday to stare at the unpolished and dirty glass window in front of me. My only means of entertainment everyday is watching people stroll the street. Observing them. Studying them. Scrutinizing their behaviour. Contemplating their thoughts. Over the one month that i’ve been here, I was able to learn a lot. There’s the hunch backed lady who passes by everyday to sneak a glance at the undoubtedly overpriced necklace kept beside me. The office guy with a handlebar-mustache, bulged briefcase, and turtle solid black waist coat, hurrying by everyday to catch the subway train probably. A mother with a worn-out face, fatigue crushing over her probably due to all the years of cumbersome workload she bore, which anyone can realize if they took a moment to look at her face and her wearied hands, guiding her troublesome daughter who puts up a racket to go to school.

Then there is the boy. I observe everyone thoroughly. But there are always exceptions. He is probably 12 years old, average height but profusely malnourished with his skin clinging on to his bones with the help of hardly any muscles. If it were not for his face, i would have never given him a third look. His face is his most, or even the only, striking feature. It radiates humility and kindness. It glows with jubilation and curiosity. It is virtually decapitated from his frail and pale body. And it transcends every other image into becoming a blurry background. He is always accompanied by his dog, wagging its tail, looking as pathetic in appearance as its owner, but as content as a cow in a clover. Looking at the happy couple can cheer anyone up, granted they took a few moments out of their engaged and accustomed lives to glance at the outside world.

I know not why, but the boy always comes close up the window and stares longingly and lovingly. Briefly for a second or two, i see sadness in his eyes. Sadness, languish and years of rugged paths that he had to bear with, and questions. So many questions to which he hadn’t found the answers to yet. It is only for a period of twenty seconds. Then he is gone again with the wind-literally-bouncing up and down with his backpack open at the back, one thin note visible inside.

It was just like any other day. The usual faces and thoughts running here and there. Midst it all, appeared that face again. This time accompanied not with his tiger’s face(That’s what he called his pet).No, this one was similar to the boy’s, but much older, and wan. The struggles and debacles were visibly portrayed on his face. Despite his misgivings, there was nothing but love and endearment in the father’s eyes for his son. It was obvious that he would go to any lengths that he could to ensure that his son had all the basic amenities of life. Today the boy was wearing relatively genteel clothes. Like every other day, he stood in front of the mirror. This time there was only elation booming from his face, all the longing had vanished. He lifted his frail hand and pointed right at me, and then looked up at his father expectantly. His father gave him a nod, only to be suffocated by his son’s hug. For the first time in over a month, i was lifted off my spot.

After paying the bargain-able cashier, i was taken off to a new home. Every dog needs to be taken for a walk. Every toy needs to be played with. Every book needs to be read. And, every sock need to be worn. It is our life destiny to offer comfort and warmth to the most fragile and utilized part of a human body-their feet. And i knew the boy, would take care of me as if i were his prized possession.

For the first time i heard his mom call out his name in their home. Amir. Everyday at exatly 7:30 in the morning i would be taken off the rack, worn with care, and encompassed by my pal, Amir’s shoe. I never knew the places that he went to, the sights that he witnessed, the people that he conversed with. But everyday in the evening, i would be awakened by the sounds of monotonous bells-later i learned it to be temple bells. Not one day do i recall when i wasn’t taken to the temple. And sights there were magnificent beyond words. Being caged in windows my entire life, I never had the chance to experience such majestic sights. The crest of the temple was so high that it was far beyond my eyesight. It rose like an audacious mountain. The people here were never in a hurry. They came here to devote few minutes of their time and they did it with reverence. There an enormously huge black-skinned creature with a long tube for a nose. Strangely, nobody was scared of the monster. In fact, they all went so close to it that it was able to hit them hard with its nose, but these enigmatic people simply walk away with a smile and pride.

The thing i loved the about the place was the atmosphere. Enclosed by serenity and stillness. People always keep running,never looking back, not even to see the people that we’ve brought down. Stillness is a word that has long lost its usage. But with such places, once in a while, they stop to take a deep breath, inhaling calm and genteel quietness whilst exhaling their stress and pressure.

I watched the process of metamorphosis, where boy grew from a young lad, to an obedient teenager, and finally unfold into a beautiful man with his wings that took him from being a paid worker at an industry mill into an employer owning a mill. He transgressed many obstacles thrown at him. But whatever happened, the boy was always respectful towards his parents. Not once have i seen him show contempt towards them. After his parents died, a part of him went away with them. The part of him which contained happiness, that unmistakable curiosity and brimming with questions. Time healed him the best it could. For 28 years i stayed at his feet, content and happy. But one day, a year after his parents demise, he took out a carton and threw in all the old and antique things into it to be kept in the attic. When he took me, for a short while i saw hope in this eyes. I saw him recollect the day he got his birthday wish fulfilled. Before the smile on his lips could attain their form, he kissed me fervently and threw me along with all the other stuff and safely locked us up.

What’s great about life is not that it goes on, but that it ends. Anything immortal becomes immoral. That doesn’t mean one has to wait for their end. It is eventually going to arrive at your doorstep. But when you open the door, you should not feel scared or run away. You should feel content with all your achievements and joy in life and welcome it with acceptance.

“There is no fear in dying. There is only fear in the fear of dying”