As I started losing my senses, while I sat on the chair of clotted-blood colour, I tilted my head towards my left shoulder and slowly closed my eyes. I slowly but steadily escaped into a world where the pain got numbed, where I felt a soft, warm invisible cloak wrap me and held my pieces together. The bed has been fairly undisturbed for about three years now. This chair has been supporting my payload ever since my heart ate the forbidden fruit and it was cast down to hell; it had supported me as I slept off countless nights under the table lamp and unfinished equations.
It wasn’t a grand chair no matter from which angle you looked at it; it was just a moderately priced, plastic chair; nevertheless it has supported my crap without a crack or a whisper, longer than any living soul has over the past couple of years. It has become the throne on which I would sit as I rebuild my empire. It hasn’t forgotten the promise I made with Lyl, the promise of a lifetime, the promise to build and watch as our empire grew; even though I was left to hang out high and dry, the chair still remembers. The chair remembers all flags that once flew beside me as loyal comrades but watched as my banner fell and got scorched on the ground. The chair remembers all.
The night was young when I started to lose my senses; I remembered some lines I had written long time ago; with my fleeting senses I felt it was apt that I was remembering these lines as I was finally letting go, for one last time.
Sitting by the river on a sun-less, autumn day,
I watched my paper boat float down the river;
The little boat floated, as long the paper held,
Paper torn from a page of my nursery rhyme book;
The page filled with crooked apples and mangoes,
And portrait of self-knighted self,
With a sword and a shield,
Sitting on the strongest horse;
With long curvy, uncertain lines,
Like the path the paper boat will follow,
Till the drawings become unclear,
And the names dissolved in the ever flowing water;
I saw my paper boat float away,
Up and down it floated away.
I haven’t felt this much relief and free for a long time and I kept saying this was fate as I feel myself floating away; I was at the flash point. I remembered the last kiss from Lyl; with my fading senses, I could feel her soft lips and the warmth of her breathe; it was my serenity. As she took wings and flew with a gust of wind blowing away our nest, I could see the big crevice above which the nest had laid for a long time; it was a long fall, down the void. When this fall flashed before my fading eyes, I could feel myself giving a push somewhere; I felt my chair fall for the first time.
A mild thud sound came off as the chair fell.
“No! No! No! It’s cold. Stop it!” She told, as she giggled and ran around the kitchen as I chased her around, with a bucket of melted ice. It was a beautiful winter night. Winter has always been so special for me. It was the fateful day of December 31 when I proposed to her and it was the fateful day of January 1 when she said, “Nope” and blushed away with that smile, which melted me like that ice cube I was holding in my hand.
We cuddled on the chair, as we enjoyed each other’s warmth, beside the warmth of the portable heater (called “meifu” in my traditional language).
“Lyl, I know that you don’t like to hear about dreams at night. But I am so eager to tell you about my dream last night.”
“Umm… It’s alright. Tell me what happened. Did you have your gay dream again?”
“My goodness. No, no! Are you sure you want me to tell now?”
“Hoi, hairakO.” (In my traditional language, meaning “Yeah, tell.”)
“Okay. So, I dreamt that we were having a daughter and I cried with joy in my dream.”
“Nachanupi yam pambei mawongnine?” (“You want a daughter that much?”)
“Yeah, very much.”
“What if she is also like me, throwing tantrums, sarcastic, and so on?”
“I would love it all over again.” The chair knew it all. She smiled at me and we sat quietly for a while. She leaned on me like she did on our first date while I played with her tiny fingers. “Check this out. I wrote it after that dream.” I gave her the paper on which I had written it. As she read on silently, I smelt her hair and closed my eyes.
“To my daughter, Langlen
April 4, 2015
Here I am, sitting on a red plastic chair, looking outside the window. I have these beautiful equations in front of me, but my mind is somewhere else. I am staring at the newly constructed, two storey house, the green bushes and trees nearby it and the red ground on which they are all standing. The sky has this colour you get when grey mingles with the blue. The atmosphere is quiet too, except for some birds chirping and the fan rotating its heart out to bring down the summer heat. Despite the heat outside, this cool breeze keeps coming in through the window. The cool breeze grazing against my body takes me back and forth in time.
I can still remember the time, ten years ago, when I used to go out with my friends and play our hearts out in our local park, covered with green grass all around, small bare patches where we used to play cricket or hockey or football, and small moats around it. Now the park is quiet and empty, the grass overgrown and no children runs around there anymore. Of course, they still do play cricket, football, horse riding and what not, on an X-box or a PS-4. They have quite an active life among the circuits and joysticks. And how they remain fit and in shape, with their chips and cokes! Oh how I envy their metabolism!
And when the night time came, I had to run back and take a bath and open some books and read. Oh, by books, I mean the 2000 year old-fashioned books- printed on papers. Then it’d be dinner time and after enjoying mom’s delicious cooking, I would go out and sit or lie down flat on the courtyard and enjoy the beauty of the night. The sky would be pure black, with clear specks of stars or a glittering moon. Today as I look up, the darkness seems duller and the stars and the moon blurred. Either my eyes have gone really bad or there is a signal problem with the night channel.
Sometimes back, I had this dream in which my we gave birth to a lovely daughter. Your mother was recovering from the pain of the labor and I was there by her side, holding her soft hands. Her eyes were closed and she was breathing deeply and sweating profusely. As I was wiping her face, the doctor came and gave us our daughter. It was my turn to cry. I was looking at those two innocent, lovely faces, lying down on the bed together. She gave me the child and as I held her, I couldn’t help but cry in my dream and kissed them both. But as I woke up from such a lovely dream, I was back into the broken world. I thought how I can bring such innocent souls into this world. I kept asking why I should even. The world’s not getting any better. Of course, we are starting a revolution for a new world order but will things get better?
Should you ever come to me, my dear, I would run around and play with you in the park that I used to run around and play; I would take you to libraries and make you feel the smell of the books, new and old; should the forests ever come back, I would show you the king of the jungle and show you the circle of life and how beautiful and precious they are; I would climb with you to the highest mountains should they ever regain their majestic elegance; I would dive with you into the deepest oceans and swim with the fishes should they ever swim freely again; should you emancipate yourself from mental slavery and follow the true meaning of freedom and follow your dreams, I would be clapping and cheering for you at every turn. In tears and in laughter, in peace and at times when you throw tantrums like mommy, in summer and in winter, remember I will always be there for you, my dear.
The chair remembered it all. The chair remembered the day when loyalty was trampled to dust. It remembered that fateful day as it watched the body of the disloyal man was given a warrior’s death, an honor he didn’t deserve; my dog got scared and ran away as his head rolled towards him. It was the day from which he stopped playing fetch with me anymore. That was a specially cold winter night.
Have you felt that pain in your throat when you try to swallow food while at the same time you are holding back your emotions and tears? Because you are in a public area, but you really miss your mother, father, sister or brother? All you can do is swallow your emotions down the throat; you can physically feel that choking pain as you do so.
As I spent more time away from home, I could see my mom and dad aging faster while my sister sprouted. I remember how they took care of me when I got sick. And today, how I wish, I could feel my mother’s hand, hear my father’s voice and see the face of my innocent sister, before this falling chair hit the floor, one last time.
Another day has passed,
Another page of history flipped.
Yesterday, mother was caressing me,
And sister was playing with me;
Rolling marbles on the courtyard,
Stealing grapes from the vineyard;
Father’s big hand chasing;
Crying and shouting,
Hiding behind mother,
Giggling away the fear,
Wiping away the tears.
Today, tears for the memory,
Fears for safety,
Alone in this foreign land,
I stand to survive,
Eating half full,
Remembering mother’s hand.
The night is late;
Sleepy eyes on the pillow,
Remembering mother’s kiss,
I close my eyes…my eyes.
Isn’t it too late now, for gratitude or regret? Gravity has spoken, the fall is inevitable; I can just enjoy the memories, one last time; the first glance of mother’s face, the first crayons from father, the first cry of sister; the last tiffin from mother, the last call to father and the last goodbye to sister; years of memories finally converging into a singularity on this chair, for one more time. And selfish that I am, I am taking all of these with me.
Finally, mother, I think I am coming back to you. We’ll all dine together; you, dad, sis and me, like the good old days. I am coming home.
The night is dark and peaceful,
The dogs quiet and the trees and the birds asleep,
The bats and the owls hunting quietly,
And me, reminiscing and introspecting,
Of the times I wandered in the dark, empty night,
When I was astray and lost track of the purpose of my life;
Of the times when love became a dream to be forgotten
And friends vanished like ink spilled in the river;
Of those eyes, red like an ironsmith’s charcoal,
That glared at me as I fell and crawled;
Of those tears held back, and silent screams,
And of those wishes that became a silent whisper;
I will hold back no more,
I shall cry like a new born,
And scream till I run out of breathe,
For tonight is the night I shall wake up
When the world’s asleep
And find my way back to where light is;
For tonight is the night I shall stare into the mirror,
Slap that face in the mirror till it turns red, and say,
“Come, let’s take the world by storm!”
And when I have conquered all,
Mama, I am coming home.
“I have no regrets. I just wish I was better at my timings.”
“You always were bad at timings.”
My music teacher had always told me I had the passion but I just couldn’t follow the beats. Literally, my notes were off the charts! The whole notes were never whole. Ironic as it may be, the whole life never became whole; I guess it was meant to be a beat deaf life; like that off-key voice which ruins the whole chorus.
But there were no regrets. I tried; I gave it all; I gave it all in everything I tried. I loved you all, mom, dad, sis, with all that I had. You were my three greatest gifts from the universe. If at all there is an afterlife, I would like to be a better son and brother to you. I may have been cold, but I have never felt warmer, deep inside me, for anyone else. I could not sketch and color the best apples or mangoes; I never said how much I enjoyed your tiffin in the corner of the classroom; I did not play legos with you. But, as it has always been, wisdom came too late; and timing was never by my side.
I am happy that I could never get over you; I kept my word to always love you. We would have had a wonderful daughter; she would have been unstoppable, just like you are. Lyl, there were girls prettier than you; there were ladies smarter than you; but they weren’t you. I remember all; the test hall where we first met, the first song which you sang, the first time we sat side by side in that conference, the first Christmas wish, the after-class walk to the buses, the first letter, the proposal, the dates, the hugs and the kisses, I remember it all. I am sorry; just like your friend said, I could never understand the meaning of letting go.
I remember that fateful day, when I was death stopped on the track; I was getting my plane ticket when you texted me that we were all but over. I guess I never could take any flight after that day. I don’t remember reaching my house; I remember knocking the head off of the statue. My dog ran away seeing me in that rage; that was the last time I ever saw him
The road is rough,
Lest you will hurt your elegant feet,
Keep walking for a long long time;
Let me watch you from behind the bushes,
Else you’ll catch me staring
And run away in disgust;
It’s not out of lust
That I watch your elegant waist;
It’s out of jealousy thinking how
Your lover would hold you close
And feel your scent
While I shall watch from behind the bushes;
Oh Damsel, Let me watch you from behind the bushes
While you are lost in his arms
And your sweet lips showering love on his;
I don’t dare to touch you with my tainted hands,
Nor show you my tainted soul,
So I will just watch you from behind the bushes,
Watch you till you enter your castle of dreams,
Safe and sound behind its walls, with your lover.
Oh Damsel, Forgive me for watching you,
For we all watch the stars at the night sky so high,
And admire at the beauty and calm;
Let me be the lucky meteor that passes by
And get to admire your glory and beauty,
Oh Damsel, beautiful Damsel.
A chair has never fallen so silently like this chair did today; never have my knowledge of the human body come so handy like today; never have I timed something to perfection like today. I finally got it right. I finally overcame my weakness. I played the lullaby of life to perfection, down to a beat. I would finally overcome my insomnia; I would finally understand the meaning of letting go.
The moon is full tonight; calm and majestic. In a few more of my heart beats, it would be January 1. Finally, I am in synchrony with time.
What is death?
Should I take it as an end?
Should I take it as a beginning?
For I do not know what lies after you.
You may be the door to another journey.
You may be the dead end of a journey.
Will my mind persist after I meet you?
Will I explore the universe after I meet you?
Will I be meeting my elders after I meet you?
Will I be watching the movie of life on earth after I meet you?
Oh I wonder what you hide behind your veil.
Will you take me as I am now
And show me your secret?
But you keep me wondering about you.
I keep wondering what you are.
The sky was lit up with fireworks. You could hear the echoes, “Happy New Year!”, from far and near. It was the dawn of a new year. The chair witnessed it all, the dusk and the dawn.