The concept of future terrifies me. It is not the uncertainty of tomorrow that keeps me up at night but the horror of the assuredness with which people delay their tasks, convinced that they will wake up to another sunrise, just in time to make a fresh confession.
He was a God’s child, trapped in an adult’s body
He was blessed with good looks and a twin
Younger of the two, he aced at throwing tantrums,
and he was gifted, by the Lord, with the talent of playing drums
He dressed too sharp, and donned silver on his flesh
English was his only tongue, but he probably kissed in French
His existence alone was enough to fuel his ego
But he often borrowed his pride as he would go
The rings on his slender fingers belonged to three different people,
and each wrist bore bracelets scented with someone else’s skin
The jacket he wore was custom-made
Ask him, just once, how much he paid…
His gaze pierced the hearts of sinners,
and his drumming drove the demons away
But he was a brat, pure at his heart,
needless to say – a work of art!
The first time I told you that I loved you, when we were still friends, it was with caterpillars in my stomach. Then, as I grew older, each one of them matured into a butterfly and fluttered at the thought of spending the rest of my life with you. If that wasn’t love, I’ve never really loved anyone.
The day I presented the pieces of my heart to you, broken by a previous lover, I wasn’t handing you a puzzle to solve or a toy a to fix; I was displaying to you my most vulnerable self in an attempt to tell you that even though I was still healing, I wasn’t afraid of loving you. I wanted to heal, but with you beside me. But I guess I’d missed the train, skipped an appointment, forgotten a date… You already had a lover in your arms.
But we were friends, and that was okay. I believed it was the distance that wouldn’t let you acknowledge your feelings. I believed that sometimes you realized that you loved me, and that you hated yourself for it, so you picked a lover close home. I believed that if we were in the same city once again, you’d make the most passionate of lovers, and I waited.
I waited for you to return. I waited to make it to your city. I waited for you to fall in love with your new lover. I was beginning to accept that we would remain friends for the rest of our lives, and was beginning to accept it only because I knew you were happy. I would do anything to see you happy. I was learning to let you go just so I could see you happy as you hugged your new love. Then one day you talked to me like you often did, and paralyzed me with the false hope of an uncertain future as I said to you that we mustn’t get too comfortable. ‘We never know what’s in the future for us’, you said, like many times you’d said before…
Three days later you decided I was right. It was the distance that bothered you. It was the fact that the only way we ever communicated was through texts that pissed you off. We weren’t even friends, you decided. Our entire existence was virtual, a lie. Or was it?
You lied to your parents, travelled to my city to see me for less than forty-eight hours, spending money and time just to be by my side once you were done with school. If that wasn’t love, I’ve never been loved by anyone, you silly goose! Why would you tell me you loved me and do such crazy things if you didn’t love me? Why would you keep telling me that we may have a future together if you didn’t love me?
Well, maybe I don’t need answers anymore, because I don’t love you now. I don’t love you, nor am I in love with you. I pulled myself out the day you decided that we were not real. The pieces of my already broken heart shattered into a million pieces that day, crushed to a powdery dust, swept away by a gust of wind, and dispersed into the air where lovers breathed me into their lungs and were infected. I don’t love you anymore, everyone does. The place where my heart stood is now just a dry puddle of tears. I don’t need a heart to love me but I needed one to love you, and now it’s gone.
I’m sorry. Holding on to that powdered heart would’ve meant burying myself in a heap of dust. I am dirty enough, you know? Moreover, losing my heart means I don’t have to fix it anymore. So, thank you, my love. And stay happy, always.
Every heart is a broken heart, and that is okay. Amidst the luxurious lifestyle, that people today share but forget to acknowledge, the validity of fixing has expired. Hands have forgotten how to hold other hands as they have mastered the skill of manufacturing. Everything is everywhere and affordable; the validity of value has expired. Each broken toy has been replaced with another – an imitation, a copy, an improvised version of the same toy is now in every home.
Just as we mourn for the planet – a dumpsite of broken memories – we must mourn for the children playing with these replaced toys. Never have they had the chance to fix a broken toy. Instead, they have learnt that when a toy breaks or rather, when one is broken, another appears which is often better than the other. We must mourn for these babies for, when they grow as illogical as the age of love renders humans, they break the relationships that do not entertain them and never think of fixing the ones they truly loved but were damaged in time.
They do not know or understand, for they have never been taught, that the true worth of an item is exposed when it is either old or broken. They play in the endless supply of replacements, not sparing a thought to what happens to the maimed toys. And one day, when they meet their own shadows and reflections as they walk past glass windows stacked with replacements, they realize that they have been replaced, that the game of love can go on without a toy like them, and that the player will never pick up a glue-stick and try to mend or make amends.
Ignorance is as bliss for an ignorant as it is for the one who has been ignored. They will never know why they were replaced, and perhaps, they do not want to know. They sit now, quiet, amongst a heap of other broken toys and stich themselves up over time. It takes very long, for they have never fixed anything before. Their tattered souls have been patched-up; the empty voids have been filled with books and movies, songs and poetry – they are heavier than they used to be and standing back up takes practice; it takes time and effort.
They stand upright and move their limbs again, they learn to laugh hollow laughs and reach, not for but beyond the skies, and they see what they see through their heart and not their eyes, for their eyes have been sealed shut – they are afraid to fall for the illusion they once believed was reality. The cracks in their hearts allow light to pour in, and so they see through these fissures in their hearts and forget to fix them. And so today, every heart is broken heart, and that is okay, for it reminds them that hands are meant to hold other hands, and lips are meant to kiss other lips, and tongues are meant to dance together. Broken hearts can melt together in the heat of this passion, and fill up the cervices and breaches, and slits and gaps that they find in one another.
“I like fish. I abhor fowl.
I detest flesh.
I freeze flowers. I forget friends.
I mangle men. I whack women.
I linger long. I sing this song!”
Rajat was just getting into the mood to turn his introductory speech into a free style rap, building up beats in his head, when he heard the loud bark of the lady who had introduced herself as the class teacher of 8th B.
“That’s enough, mister! All I asked for was you name and where you come from; not whether you like fish and flesh! And what are the things you just said? You mangle men and whack women?! Do you even know what the words mean? Tell me what your name is, you’re going to the principal!”
Now, going to the principal’s office on the first day of school isn’t the greatest idea, so Rajat pleaded to the teacher he didn’t yet remember the name of. The pale skinned monster looked at Rajat with her balloon eyes and shook her head as her crinkly hair swayed from one side to another, following the movement of her head. The only boy in the class who had yet not grown a mustache was then dragged to the principal’s office with boney fingers clasping him at the neck.
He was made to sit in a room with sky-high ceiling and…
“Walls made of boring books; fine flooring under the feet.
Potted plants on pedestals, and… do I hear a beat?”
He strained his ears to catch a low pitched humming that came from behind a row of plants in the room. He heard hushed out ‘booms’ and a bass that ended abruptly and was replaced with light jazzy music. He thought at first, that somebody was playing with their smartphone – a good reason to be waiting to the see the principal on any given day, but then he wondered why the phone hadn’t been confiscated. Lost in thought, he was interrupted by a shrill, girly voice.
“What are you looking at, fat face?”
Suddenly conscious of his looks, Rajat sat up and stammered as he spat out a casual-sounding, nervous ‘nothing’, in the direction of the plants. A petite figure clad in the white and gray school uniform walked over from the other side and stood in front of him.
“Why are you here?” she asked.
“I introduced myself in the class…” said Rajat, a little more confident. The short figure standing in front of him couldn’t be all that harmful, he rationalized. “What about you?”
“I was beatboxing during the silent prayer!” she said with a grin on her face. “My name is Aisha, nice to meet you.” She seemed like the happiest person sitting in the room waiting for the principal to call upon her.
“I am Rajat.” He said.
As the two children sat in the room, discussing their likes and dislikes, trying to figure out whether or not they could be friends for the years to come, they heard a loud bark from the principal’s cabin:
“Your son is a murderer in the making! Can you not see that Mrs. Kukreja?!” It was the pale monster class teacher, of course.
The children froze mid-sentence, looked at each other and broke into laughter. They were friends.
I wasn’t satisfied with the last letter I wrote to you, mainly because I couldn’t write enough to express myself that day. The medication and the pain were interfering not only with my ability to write but with my ability to think as well. I was so disappointed with myself after I wrote it, but I was already late in delivering your present, and so I let you have it; but not this time. Now, my injuries have almost healed; I am on regular medication and I am putting the incident behind me. This is to make up for the lack of expression on my part. This isn’t just for you, though. I want you to have a proper gift, a memory, but I want to be at peace with myself also. Knowing that I expressed myself in a just manner to you will be a great relief, so here it goes.
New Year; it will always remind me of you. The moment I saw you, on the 31st day of December of the year 2012, I was interested. I wanted to know who you were, what you did, where you came from, but most importantly, whether you’ll stay. I brushed off the vibe I got from you several times because it was too good to be true. It was too good to be true that a gorgeous soul like yours could possibly notice me – love was a faraway thing!
I spent a good hour noticing you before I actually approached you. The way you walked and conducted yourself, where you went, who you spoke with… I was just so captivated by you. I still don’t know why that happened. All I did was look at you. You’re a beautiful person, really, but it was not just your looks that had me that day. I don’t know what it was! All that time, I didn’t even know your name. When we finally sat down to talk, I masked you what your name was, and I don’t know if you noticed this, but the second you told me your name, I smiled. It was almost like a reflex; the sound of your name made me smile. It still makes me smile sometimes…
I mouthed your name a couple of times after you said it and then introduced myself to you. The complete attention you gave me that day was an exhilarating feeling. You excited me for no particular reason; how do you do that? You’re incredible! I think we hit off so well only because you made me feel so comfortable and so wanted. Nobody has ever made me feel so wanted. The way you treated me was so different, so special… I was in awe of you! You’re a charming person, to say the least and you can works your charms just fine, trust me! I have been on the receiving end; you’re so natural in your ways, I love it! That is one thing I still love about you; you know what you’re doing.
As far as you know me, you must know how much I love words and facts and knowledge and such stuff. Well, I love how incredibly aware you always were of what you did to me. The words you said to me; you picked them out so carefully so you wouldn’t hurt me. The way you touched me, or held me… It always made you seem like you weren’t sure of what you were doing; when in fact you knew exactly what you were doing. You always stopped to check my response to whatever it is you did. That attention to detail paid by you; it was incredible! You know, you observe a lot. And I observed that you observe a lot.
Once, on the terrace, we had been holding each other and just talking for about an hour. We were hugging, actually. We were facing each other, and your hands were over my shoulders, I hugged you at your waist… My head was resting on your chest when you asked me if you could kiss me. I do not know how to describe what I felt at that moment. I gasped, I think. My mind went blank for a second. When I understood what you had just asked me, I smiled and I remembered hoe briefly you had asked me the same question earlier in the day as we texted. I told you that it wasn’t a question you had ask me, you could just do it. And you did. You kissed me on my cheek. It is the sweetest kiss I’ve ever received in my life. It was innocent, and careful. You had come prepared that day, you just wouldn’t do without kissing me, but you made it so comfortable for me to get intimate with you in a very, very short period; and I’m glad you did, because for a girl who had never hugged the opposite sex before, you were a lot of things. You are a lot of memories, a lot of firsts, and no regrets; I love you! Thank you!
The reason I’m telling you this, dear Sno, is that sometimes everyone needs reminders of who they are, and when you tell me that you are not confident enough to go out there and talk to a girl, it breaks my heart. I don’t know if you’ve really put yourself out there after me. Maybe you have, and if you have, I am so happy for you! But if you haven’t, I would rather you did. It’s a big world out there, honey. I want you to experience new things and create memories, do new stuff and learn and grow! I want to see you reach up there and make it big like you’ve always wanted to. I want to see you with that dream car and a big house, a pretty lady by your side…. I want to see you happy!
And here, I’m just trying to remind you that you have all that confidence you’re looking for! You’ve just boxed it up in a rage with perhaps some of our memories, and you don’t want to look into those boxes again because usually when you’re looking for a lost sock, you find the drawing you made in second grade and get all nostalgic about it and forget the sock. But once you’re past the nostalgia, you’ll start looking again and you’ll find it tuck beneath the sheets maybe, I don’t know! Go back sometimes, you’ll find something to learn from, something to cherish.
You don’t need to compare yourself to the guy I fucked twice or to anyone for that matter! You’re just as good as he is; hell, even better! I’ve told you this! I’ve never, ever, ever, ever found another who kisses as well as you. You’re marvelous! The way you talk, and touch; the way you take care of a girl, Sno… Nobody can do it the way you do it. So, if this is the one thing that has troubled you, please get out of your mind and put yourself out there, if not for a commitment, for a little fun! You deserve it, baby, we all do.
I think I might have made my point here. Be you, love yourself. Believe in yourself, Snokudi, because I can believe in you all day and all night, but unless you believe in yourself, it’s pointless. It’s like waiting for Santa all year long, believing he’ll arrive with all those gifts, when Santa just thinks, ‘Eh, I’m too old for this; I’m retiring!’ He won’t budge his ass because he believes he is too old, so it makes no difference whether or not you believe he’ll show up with the gifts! Look, I’m just rambling now, trying to make a point that you are worth it. You are worth everything this universe has to offer, you are worth every breath in your body and you are worth every breath in mine. Trust yourself, babe. Trust yourself like I trusted you once, and love yourself.
I’ll be right here for you. Happy New Year! :*
The Ash that loved you
Happy nineteenth birthday to you! I’m so glad I could wish you on time this year, whatever the circumstances… But I’m also sorry for the delay in your gift! I know you love the letters I write to you and so I make it a point to write you a letter each year… I want to make sure you are happy on your special day. It’s really nice to see you happy and smiling, trust me!
I know you might have gone through the letters I have written to you over the years, but please remember when you read them that I am a changed person now. But, that doesn’t falsify what I have written to you in those letters, I hope you understand that. I read those letters from time to time as well and all I see in those letters is pain and depression. That is not what I have in store for you, Sno; neither is that what you have given me….
All I have for you is endless love and respect, a gratitude that cannot be expressed in mere words! You taught me that I was worth being loved; teaching that to someone who had given up on life is as good as giving that person a reason to live. You gave me that reason to live and in each moment spent with you, I have spent a lifetime loving myself, and it’s all because of you. If I could, I would relive each moment spent with you and this time I would teach you how to love yourself. You seemed to have forgotten how to enjoy life, Sno buddy. It hurts to see you like this.
If you’d allow mw, I’d retrace each line drawn on your body with my fingers and let you feel what it is like to be loved. If you’d allow, I’d breathe life into your body with every kiss I’ve ever planted on you…. I’d love to see the naughty boy who came up with cheesy lines to impress girls and taught them their worth… You are a true miracle, my dear, and miracles aren’t born for nothing. You are a wonderful person, please do remember that each time you’re feeling low. I wish you the very best in your life, Snokudi.
Lots of love and well wishes your way,