Let’s hold hands and walk
through the sun and rain.
Let’s try and fight the pain.
And exchange stories,
Of our hopes and fears.
Our dreams and tears.
I unearthed an old picture of mama’s today. It was taken on her mehendi ceremony, a couple of days before her wedding. She looks pretty in her greenish sari. The ghoonghat has slipped off, revealing an innocently charming face and dark curly locks. I was quite taken by her beauty when I first saw the picture. And even now, as the photo leans against the railing, half hidden under the shadows, I can’t seem to look away from it for too long.
She looks delicate, sitting there with her henna stained hands outstretched, head down, a shy smile lingering hesitantly at the corner of her lips, fighting the urge to curl. She is as old as me in this picture and I wonder what was going in her mind as she slouches awkwardly from the many prying gazes. She seems happy. And very sepia toned beside the candle light.
The moon looks jaded today, as though surprised by its own appearance. It is shining over the plants outside, giving them reason to sway, to swagger. The light is reflecting off the windowsill, adding an element of surrealism to the darkness that is lurking close by. I can hear bats. I can hear their urgency and their desperation. The rain will only disappoint by its absence now.
Picture of Dorian Gray is being read. Again. The knowledge of what’s going to happen next somehow adds depth to the words uttered carelessly by carefully created characters. Words that have etched themselves deeper into my mind the second time around. Making my heart ache for Basil. And for Dorian. Allowing bad influence is as big a crime as having a bad influence. 1984 and Love in the Time of Cholera lay forgotten.
Artists need to be protected. They bare their souls too often and for too many people. They strip their thoughts one by one and lay them on the ground, allowing it to be trampled over by the moving crowd. The book makes me want to sit beside Basil, cover his shoulder with a thick shawl and whisper words of hope into his ear. To hold his hand when he shakes in dismay, at the thought of losing his love. His muse. His life. I want to invite him into this house and show him around. Give him a reason to breathe again.
I change the channels but nothing is changing.
I whisper a prayer but no one is listening.
Manipal in a few days. My heart is too easily swayed in that city. I am bowled over a little too suddenly, pleased too easily and swept off my feet repeatedly. I plan to have a tight grip over my heart this time around. To look both ways before I cross the street and to think twice before I melt away into oblivion. I think it has something to do with the beauty that surrounds that place, the surprises hidden in every corner and the memories of the past 3 years that strut suggestively within my grasp. It will be the end of an era for me. I am trying not to feel maudlin about it. The rains, the greenery, the secret waterfalls and the noisy classrooms. Interesting friends, tacky restaurants, winding roads, splashing puddles, buzzing campus, shimmering love. And all those people who touched my life and molded me into the person I am today.
Papa is sitting with his parents, reminiscing about the old times, talking about people they love and the life that has been led. I can hear bits of the conversation from the living room, filtering towards the foot of the staircase. If I bend a little and tilt my head to the left, I can see them. Their faces mere shadows, their smiles hidden, their outlines faded. Dada, dadi and their first born. I think I will go join them, their first grandchild.
I hear you.
As you turn over in bed
And as you think of me.
I hear you.
As you sigh and go back to sleep.
You don’t hear me.
While I stay awake by the window
Looking at the moon and thinking of you
Thousands of miles away
You don’t hear me.