Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tum mere paas hote ho goya...

I opened my eyes to annoying brightness. 

'Where are we going', she asked. 

I didn't know. Somewhere good, I hope. Why are you here?

'Why? Would you rather I was not?' 

The desert raced past the windows. I could see her reflection imposed on the scenery. A reflection of my mind. 

'It has been a while', she smiled.

I wondered about the last time we met. There was no day that came up in my thoughts. There was no word I remembered having spoken. Yet, there was her face. Popping up like warts across the skin of my memories. 

Why are you here? 

'I was bored. I needed someone to talk to. Did you miss me?'

Time casts a shadow upon memories. A glance, a second, could expand to occupy hours of your dreams. 

'I was gone a long time, wasn't I? Did you miss me?' 

The rain started as suddenly as the conversation. Tiny little drops of memories that teetered on the edge of time. And then, without a thought, fell. To rise up again, some other time. 

The darkness of the room was so different from the light I had dreamed through. I could still hear her smiling. 

'Did you miss me?' 

You're still here, aren't you? 

Tum mere paas hote ho goya 
Jab koi dusra nahi hota 

You are by my side 
When no one else is

Saturday, July 19, 2014

REM Sleep

The quietness of dawn is creeping upon me. There is no sound, but I can feel it. In the coldness that covers the floor. The creaks and snores of bodies in the other room. The sound of the dripping tap, one that was to be fixed last week, causes a mild irritation. I still have to get used to it. As the words form on this blank page, coded by words themselves, I wonder if I am awake or asleep.

Life seems to be on autopilot. I find myself in an open cubicle during daytime. Typing out documents, filled with copy that is interesting and uninteresting alternatively. I talk, mumble, and sometimes reply to others. All the time, my mind wandering to a place I don't recognise. I see that place occasionally, in my dreams. Quiet, dark and cold like this moment.

Fear is the immediate emotion. Next comes wonder. Slowly, the mind wakes up to the fact that the only danger is itself. No being can kill the mind, except the lack of escape from such a dark place. A place so dark that the mind loses its ability to imagine light. You slowly give in to the darkness and the mind...goes blank.

Peace comes at a heavy cost. You sleep. Your body - paralysed. But your eyes move. Rapid eye movement, they call it. Your brain is functioning. It discovers new worlds. Light, Soft, sweet, warm light. It floats through it. The prisms of brightness radiating through the mind.

Strange words to type in the night. I can feel the cold creep back to me. I can hear the snores back again, through the darkness. I look up and find it impossible to make out the features of the room. It is pitch black again.

Am I awake, or am I asleep? 

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Attack of the Cells

Strangely, it takes time to settle in. You hear your  speak the words, but they flow over you. The dab of the needle is dulled by the anaesthetic, till the moment it wears off. Then you feel the prick, the cold steel prodding its way through your veins.

The first thing that hits you is fear. What now? How do you handle this? Where do you go? Something in your life changes forever. You did not expect this. You cannot handle this. You look at your mom, who is suffering from it. She smiles weakly, and you smile back. What do you tell her? What can you tell her? The numbness seeps in. The brave facade you put up in front of already mourning relatives and friends is not because you are brave, but because you are numb. You are still registering the shock of the news. 

Then come the doctor visits. Each trip to the hospital is a visit to purgatory. There are others. There are worse. If you thought you were in a spot, you see others. They fill the footpaths, crowd the waiting room, sleep on benches and wait for hours to get the doctor to see them. The hospital might be the purgatory that Dante visited. More specifically, the first circle of hell; limbo. 

Mom was fine till the first chemo. She would have been fine even after it. It was us. We were not prepared. We never quite grasped the intensity of the shock. We were still paddling in high water, when the chemo hit us. Mom could not handle it. And we watched her fall, like collateral damage between two rioting factions. It was painful, on so many levels. 

Yet, she fought. With a braveness I did not know existed within her. Somehow, the disease has taught me more about my parents than 27 years of life. I learned that my mother more than anything else. I learnt that there are love stories beyond the ones that movies or novels can create. I learnt that I can break down any moment, anywhere. I learnt that you can never have too much help. 

And this is just the first battle with the dreaded disease - cancer. The war is still on. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fighting Emptiness

Emptiness can be a difficult construct to get used to. It requires patience. An ability to sort out necessary thoughts from unnecessary ones is mandatory. Also, the ability to ignore the few unnecessary thoughts that peter into the consciousness can be helpful. I realise this is not everyone's cup of tea. The mind can be a dangerous, but unavoidable companion in those quiet moments. It is the birthplace of all illusions that will drive you crazy. Little niggles will expand into unbearable pain. The searing cut knifing through your thoughts, imploring you to find some placebo to dull your senses. Find something to delay time, or perhaps, fast forward it to the future. It will force you to find a way to pass time in the most boring manner. There will be anger. There will be a sense of frustration. A helplessness that will threaten to destroy everything you seek to protect. You have to keep it under a leash. It is difficult. Ever try to keep a tornado under a leash? It is impossible.

You have to fight. You have to rein your mind back. Again and again. From thoughts running wild, and create a cohesive idea. The idea is often dull, flickering behind curtains of foggy words and images. It threatens to vanish before you can capture it in your mind's eye. You stay on it. You draw back the cobwebs of delusions. You crowd out the noise. You need to fill the emptiness with silence. Easier said than done. Vagueness will cloud your senses. Fight against it. Focus. And soon, it will emerge. An idea, pure, clear and beautiful. You shape it, create it and put it on a pedestal for all to see.

Suddenly, in a moment, as unexpectedly as it arrived, it shall vanish. You are suddenly used to the emptiness. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Dilemma of Sanity

She keeps speaking to herself. Reiterating words that offer her comfort. Lies they may be, but they are her only hold on sanity. Her face a ruin. Its terrain marked with fears, suspicion and hate. Each emotion switching to the other seamlessly, with a continuity that scares the more 'normal' people. Normalcy is overrated. It gives us the cover of society and sociable behavior to wreak havoc on the emotional and mental health of the weak. We speak in hushed tones of our neighbours. Our barbs disguised in the more delectable cover of gossip. Uninformed, careless of the havoc unleashed upon our innocent victims, we revel in the success of our verbal missiles. Meanwhile, the weak suffer. They run for cover from these rumors that swirl around them. They confide the truth to friends, who turn upon them and reveal a different version in their absence. The trojan horse of myths supported by the facade of truth can be devastating. An admission to a part of the truth is considered an admission of the whole. So, the true fall victim to the truth. Justice is dispensed and denied at the same time. It is politics of a nature that Machiavelli would be proud of. Yet, those who cannot act according to such rules are abnormal.

She has heard someone. Or so she says. Voices gosipping about her. She forgets where she is. The fear of infamy drives her, literally, crazy. The instigators are all around her. Voices attack from every corner. She is not safe, even in her own home. There is no one she can turn to for comfort. Those who love her struggle to find an answer. They cannot hear her version of the truth. It does not exist for them. The voices are imaginary. They can only try to comfort her by telling her that she is safe. But is she really? How can they prove that there has been no gossip about her? That would be a lie. And if they do accept the truth, they have to accept her ramblings. They are caught. Between the world, a struggle for the daily life and this emotional battle, they are collateral damage.

There is damage. There are fights. Physical, mental and emotional. Slowly, the ties that bind them grow weaker and weaker. Strands still hold on, but each wants to break off from the whole. They can't. They want to. They can't. Under the yoke of this burden, they chafe. They foam at the ends of their emotional and psychological identity and turn to any comfort they can find. Some to drink, some to medication and others to God. Distractions from the bane of their existence. Hell is other people, Sartre said. These unfortunate individuals run from other people, and yet, are bound to each other. Each the cause of the other's sorrow. In the want to be normal, they turn to the abnormal. They curse, rail and fight each other. They point to each other as the cause of their problems. They grow insensitive, cruel and absolutely ruthless. They seek to hurt each other, to escape the pain the world around causes them. Family, the one thing that should stand between them and the world, becomes their kryptonite. It kills them slowly, steadily, surely.

Meanwhile, the victim, she who is guilty of nothing but believing in the figments of psychotic imaginations that her brain projects, struggles. She finds the walls closing around her. She scrapes against it with her nails. No one believes her. Everyone keeps telling her to not believe in what she hears, what she thinks she hears. How does one do that? she asks. How indeed!

And so, the mad dance continues.