I’m working on OpenStreetMap these days mapping the places wherever I go. Have a look at this town. It was almost unmapped just a week ago (except those two main roads). It’s still nothing near complete, but seems good enough to show off, isn’t it?
I am afraid of this wretched evening. Sitting in a corner of a whole emptiness is me. Clock ticks its seconds. Evening passes by. “Waqt ke sog mein lamhoN ka juloos, jaise ek kaafila e nauhaagaraaN..” In sorrow of time, this procession of moments, like a caravan of mourners..
Things need not be this bleak always. But evenings are not things. Evenings don’t understand. Perhaps, evenings are like people trying hard to make you happy. Evenings don’t know to leave you alone when you need to be left alone. Evenings are hell in the same way as Sartre said “Hell is other people.” Evenings are not nights.
I woke at 1 a.m. last night. It was the same room, but the emptiness didn’t feel empty. It rather felt serene. Why can’t we have all nights and no evenings? I’ll perhaps need some other evening to find an answer.
Last night, when I was awake, I was actually feeling calm, at peace with myself. If I think of it now, it feels like it was a complete different person. Perhaps, it was me; a me very different from a me I am at evenings. I checked my twitter. I read my book. I hummed my poems: yuuN gumaaN hota hai garche hai abhi subah e firaq, dhal gaya hijr ka din, aa bhi gayi wasl ki raat.. It feels like – even though it’s a morning of separation – the day of staying away has just gone, here comes the night of togetherness.. At night, even separation doesn’t feel like a separation. At least, it didn’t feel like that yesterday.
But it’s not a night yet. It’s an evening, and a wretched one at it. I am sitting in a corner of a whole emptiness. The clock is ticking its seconds. The moments are passing in a procession, like a caravan of mourners.
We are together. Then falls night. Everyone goes sleep. The house has four rooms, a whole house quartered into four rooms from the centre. I’m sleeping in the front one, with several others. You are sleeping in the side back room, on a “baaz.”
Morning. You wake up and come in the front room; normal. Master asks, “She LIVES here?” I am affirmative.
No one likes you in the house. I loved you even when it was morning and we were awake.
This is one of those times – and such times occur a lot lately – when you have nothing to say. It’s around 10 in night and I’m sitting here wondering why do beards grow on men.
I hear the news that things are going good with me. At least, I am free from the worries that used to trouble me when I was still alive. Things have been sorted out now. Everything has been put in place, where it should have been (rather than where it belonged). Getting used to a new routine has not been that difficult. I wake up in the morning, I go to work, I kill time, I call it a day. Nights bring some respite. Sleep brings few hours of real non-existence.
If you ask me, I am content with this new life (if we are allowed to call it a life in the first place).
You’re a whole life I miss.
This song I found just yesterday –
This song we never listened together..
It will be one of those, the first among them all, that we will never listen together.
I love you. I do.
I’m sorry. I hold myself a lot I won’t say this thing to you.
I am happy. I am living a life.
I don’t want to be the hope – once again – that we’ve lost already.
No, this is only today. I don’t cry often.
I felt like sending you a mail. I didn’t write that one.
This is what we’ve come to –
Songs never listened, mails never sent…
I know you’ll read this. I know you’ll cry too.
I really don’t want to make you cry.
I want you to let me slip into oblivion. I want to help you do that.
And I’m still making you cry..
Can you forgive me for this, ma?
Exactly what were his thoughts he did not know. It was an evening, already getting dark out. He was hungry with little idea about what he would have for dinner. This was not very unusual for him. He had had many evenings like this. This evening was not a different one. He was just sitting doing nothing. “I’m having a little headache perhaps”, he thought, “but it doesn’t really feel like an ache. It’s more like something is stuffed pack in the skull and it’s making pressure from within.” It was not unusual.
He lay back for a while, rested his head on the pillow. Eyes closed. Trying to feel his breath. It was such a silence. A servile fan whirling above his head. His hunger was making a call.
“Why do I need to be so tense all the time?” he thought, but then he suddenly shirked off the thought and started staring at the fan. He was still not feeling alive enough to get up and get something to eat. “It’s just a waste of life”, he murmured. He could find no reason for anything he was making through.
Today, it’s place A. Tomorrow, it’ll be place B. He had no affinity to places, but these places grow up on one’s self. This cot crackles when he jerks off on it. These bed sheets and blankets and pillows – no, he doesn’t have any attachment to them. When he leaves them tomorrow, he won’t feel any sad, just a little hurried lest he couldn’t go if he makes it late. Then it would be an end. He would find another cot to jerk off on.
What was it that was holding him together so long, he wondered. He was not sure. He was not sure even if he was still held together or was already fallen apart. “I would save this question for some later date”, he said to himself. Was he afraid? Perhaps, he was. But what was it that would make him afraid; he was not sure. It was only an evening, not the end of world.
This will take him nowhere, he knew. But it was not that he was planning to go somewhere. He was content in standing where he was – but this goddamn headache or whatever! The evening was getting darker. Some kids are playing in the backyard downstairs – happy and yelling. They’ll get tired and go home and straight to the dinner table. Mother will ask them to wash hands and such. Good kids. Mama will hold them close and caress through their hair. Kids don’t have headaches.
It’s useless, he muttered. Why on the earth that it was those kids and their fathers and not him? He was not sure if their fathers had headaches or not, but he was sure they don’t jerk off at least. He knew happiness doesn’t come for free, but he was tired of this headache, this constant buzz he was holding in his skull for so long. Something was missing. It had been months since he had been in bed.
You come to a new town on a new job assignment. A far off place you’ve never visited before. Though not totally alien. You had few friends from this region some ten years ago. Your first problem would be to find a place to stay overnight. Of course, you would find a permanent place, but it would take time. You must make some temporary arrangement. You book a nearby hotel – little costlier one – but not a big problem for a couple of days. You can afford that much.
You start living at the hotel. It feels comfortable to have a cozy bed, a television set, hot water for bath, and no one to disturb. You think – homes are overrated. It should be hotels, not homes. Somehow, your stay extends at the hotel, by a day, one more day, then one more day – money become a concern now.
You find a home, a big one, scary. You need someone to clean it. Then you find out there is some problem with electricity. Finally, things happen, everything gets done. You shift yourself at the house.
You observe the new place, new people. People are obsessed with caste. Everyone asks your last name and tries to guess your caste. Some consider it quite okay to ask it directly. Fortunately, you’ve got a not-so-awkward-sounding caste. People find it okay to rent you home, etc.
Days are difficult for you. It’s the same you that you were, but then – it’s not that you. It’s like you suddenly get a wisdom tooth and start acting with worldly wisdom. You do still get some foolish attacks where you blurt out "hell with the world", but then again hold yourself up. The wisdom tooth is working – working good. Holding together – fuck it. You know you won’t be able to do that for long, but you don’t know much long is the long and you hope the long is long enough to suffice you for your life. It’s foolish.
But is it really what you hope? Don’t you sometimes secretly hope this world to burst out? Or that something should happen and you need no longer be sane? You know these are foolish hopes.
Do you know what you actually want? No, you don’t. That’s the problem with you. But it’s still okay – you’re hung between. You’re not alive and you’re not dead. It’s good eitherway than being dead or alive. And even if it is not, what can you do about it. Better, die, before death.
05 January 2015
I see many recurring themes occurring in my writings – like reading, writing, loneliness, love, and such. I don’t know what I need to do about this. Does it suggest that my life is revolving around these themes only? And if it does, do I need to make any change in how I live and what I think? Am I going good, or I am just revolving around something nothing? I don’t know.
In fact, I don’t know what I am? Am I just one of the ninety five persons around me? Or I am one of the remaining five? Or is it that I am none of them? I know I should not make abnormal estimates about myself. It would be better if I can fit myself somewhere on the line.
I usually don’t make any sense. All I do is to keep chattering about the vanities that make me, then again I fall silent till the next revelation. That’s why my talks are so absurd. That’s what makes my life so “be-tarteeb.”
Be-tarteeb (noun), Urdu – without any arrangement or sequence; chaos. This word defines the most of me. Most of the time, I am sailing on the breeze, without any specified plan of action. I start a book not to finish it. I sing songs, but not to become a singer. I open a blank page without knowing I would write anything or not. I know this is not something to take pride in. It’s rather something that demands a serious thought. Is it a right way to pass one’s life?
Okay, I am getting philosophical. I should leave it here only.
It’s all very recent. It’s not because I did not like the book. It’s not that I’ve abandoned those books and I will never pick them up again. It was just because I felt too lazy to keep on reading.
I am making this list just to make myself feel “ashamed” about not being consistent with my reading so that I would perhaps read some of them. It is also to make a point that I should not start a new book unless I finish the one in hand. I know not all books are cover-to-cover read, but still I wish I could make it a more disciplined thing.
Here, the list:
- * Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. It was a second read this time. I’ve read this years ago in Marathi translation. This time, I wanted to give it a fresh try.
- * The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
- * The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
- * The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Again, this was a second try. Last time, I had finished half of it. This time, it was just one chapter.
- * Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally. I started this after watching the movie. Later, I thought I should reading some standard book on this topic, so I left this one and picked up the next one.
- * The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. This was really going good. It’s about 2000 pages (including ~400 pages of notes and references. I had already finished 100+ pages when I left it.
- That’s it! I think I need to gather up myself and start doing one thing at a time.
- P.S. Plan of action for now is to start with the “Collected Stories” by Gabriel Garcia Marqez. Again, this I had started and left after reading one story (which was actually so good, about a boy who dies at the age of 3 and keeps on growing in his coffin etc). I’m not being able to finish a novel, I will try to finish a story at least.