A Time for Life

This is not a story. Not a happy one, not a sad one. Just words, inconsequential.

A fragile day. Drop by drop, melting into an expanse of nothingness. I cannot move, not today, not yesterday, not tomorrow. I have tried, straining every muscle, to the point of agony, but I can’t. I am stuck.

The window is open today. It is a graceful piece of woodwork, rough at the edges, reminding of the survived winters. I live, if that is what you can call my existence, in one of those ornate, vintage homes that have adorned many a tale. It is now ensconced in the lap of snowy mountains and fir trees.

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I don’t really want to say this, but I might just burst open if I don’t. I don’t know how this reached you, and I never will. I am trapped inside my own useless body, cold and warm.

A chilly wind swirls around the room. I can see it, filling the crevices with an icy blue, gliding tenderly on my pale skin. From the way I rest, I can feel a solitary bird crooning a cracked verse. The song mingles with the breeze, creating music out of thin air.

I go back in time, to the days when running around these valleys was everything I ever wanted. The misty cliffs and frosty trees beckoned with their rustle. Small shops and cafés dotted the entire town, waiting for ignorant tourists to serve their hilly specialties to. The sun would beam amidst the cold, and iridescent crystals of dust would float lazily, and you could breathe in the slow, musty warmth.

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And people, yes, the people. You met someone new almost every day. They would be awed by your home, your town. And inside, I would be proud, really proud. That was a long time ago, long before my body gave up on me. I know nothing of the outside world except the four feet of a window now.

It’s my birthday today. They have stopped celebrating it now. They know there’s no hope. I know there’s no hope. I wish there’s a place beyond where life isn’t so unfair. I am tired of waiting, of making them wait. I am just a hollow shell, neurons firing inside, to no end, no purpose.

I happen to have a grandchild. He whispers a wish every year, though he has no way of knowing I can hear him. I have never felt his tender face in my hands, never ran it through his beautiful curls. Do you know what’s worse than not seeing your lineage at all? Gazing at your blood every single day and realizing you could have played a part, a part which he will forever be deprived of now.

“Happy Birthday, Grandma”, he mumbles in a hushed tone.

I can feel the turmoil inside my head, and the tears outside, but it is so common now that it fails to be acknowledged as a distinct emotion. He then circles slowly around the bed, as if gaping at a lost artifact, ignoring the salt altogether.

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“Dear, where are you?” His mother. My daughter-in-law.

“Coming, mom.”

“I have told you a hundred times not to disturb her. Now, get back here!”

“Bye, Grandma.”

Bye. Away from the vegetable. Bye.

Living in the hills, I always enjoyed my solitude. But loneliness and solitude are two different things. Loneliness hurts, it sticks like indelible ink. You feel an empty space previously filled by your fantasies and dreams. It doesn’t matter if the entire world reaches out to you, that dark niche repels them, stubborn in its essence.

I overhear the argument today. It is usually muffled for my benefit. Today, all control is lost. It’s about me, as most of them are. But today is different. It has the tone of finality, of an explosion. My blood is running cold in my veins, although the numbness is nothing new.

Hours pass.

Night. 3 am.

The stars float in the sky, pointed strokes of white on a dark canvas. The wind howls its own rueful tune. It’s the perfect night, serene and occasional.

My little grandchild tiptoes into the room. His eyes are swollen with sadness and tears. I can smell the ache wafting through the room.

“Grandma, please, sorry…” he stammers. It takes him visible effort to walk. It was more of a mixture of hesitation, fear, and regret. “They can’t do this. They will break if they haven’t already. Sorry for today, Grandma. I can’t see any more suffering, not theirs, not yours.”

And gently is the deed done.

I talk of this from my wooden box. I am happy now. I hope they are, too.

I was never dead, but I was never alive either.

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A Lonely Whisper

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Listen to my lullaby,
Far away into the night,
Floating in the sweet chill,
Caught by the frost of time.
Wandering its way through dark lanes,
Turning souls in its wake,
A gypsy of ink and blood,
Burning with a marvelous ache.

It spills and rushes
Into crevices and craters
Filling smoky bubbles with vicious ink,
Pulsating auburn at the brink,
Diffusing lazily into the air
A whiff of my pain,
Searching the skies,
For a parched, thirsty rain.

I wrote this for you,
For loved memories and sour lies,
For lost times and heavy sighs,
I wrote this for me,
For sliced veins and edged feet,
For lonely times and melting heat.

This sparkling pool of salty tears,
Turns into strings and words,
Madness the key to this closed door,
Behind which lies the store,
Of purple scars and blue bruises,
Picked deep by scalding knives,
Torn apart by sharp tongues,
Made
Of a withered lullaby.

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A Shackled Sunrise

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I feel weak today. Strangled. The other days pass; this one is stuck, like a rotting corpse under a bombed shack.

I have thought about it, a lot. That is all I seem to be doing nowadays. It feels like I have been pulled into a time warp. No sense of passage, no sense of space. I must have been staring at this wall for three, four hours maybe now, and it has changed, growing on me, around the edges of my blurry vision. It shall consume me.

This wall is a strange thing, almost like a person, pale and flaking, scars of lost souls etched onto its wrinkled face. I wish I could splash my tumult on this withered being, scratching away at it till my skin gave away and my fingers bled crimson, feeding on its cries, cleansing myself. I really wish I could.

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But I have no stories to tell. Not out loud, at least. It is all in my head, churning and turning, a shifting mass of grey, a tangled mess I made for myself. Contrary to what anyone might say, this is comforting, this sense of finality. It is a warm haven in the constant noise of expectations and dreams.

At this moment, I am not weighed down by anything, no burdens, nothing to fulfill except that one pure goal. It is calm, but it hurts. The kind of pain that cannot be cured by makeshift remedies and solemn promises.

If only I could tell someone. If only I could unravel my mind and pour forth into another being, willing to soak all the darkness in, pulling the curtains away if there is any light left in this unforgiving world. I could have saved myself, perhaps.

No.

What has talking ever done except add a few more inconsequential syllables to latent conversations, feeding fake fires of concern? Everyone has their time and everyone has to deal with it.

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I can’t, not anymore.

I am tired.

Tired of putting up that façade every time I walk out.

Tired of laughing as if the sunshine graced me.

Tired of getting out of bed every single day.

Tired of pretending.

I am tired.

I wonder, would the world be a simpler place if we had no desires?

But what a world would that be, then.

Happier? Perhaps.

Worth living? Probably not.

Is it worth living right now, though?

I know my answer.

I hope this settles the dust.

I hope my mess becomes one with this dust.

(I do not mean to advocate or glorify suicide or self-harm through this piece, in any manner. If you feel sad or isolated, reach out to someone you trust, someone you can talk to. There are online forums which maintain anonymity too.

One can check out https://www.7cups.com/.

Seek professional help, there is no shame in it.)

A Soliloquy of Colours

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It is blue here, deep, edging on black. I look at my hands, thin and wrinkled, shaking. The water trickles slowly through the tap, forming ripples in the stagnant water. The sound haunts me. Drop after drop, banging like drums in my head, refusing to stop no matter what. Drenched in the cold, I sit and stare.

I can hear the hiss of the cameras flashing outside, the self-appointed judges of moral code crying out red chants of blasphemy. I walk out of the bathroom. The curtains have been closed, leaving the room sprinkled with the vestiges of a soft sun. I peep through the broken glass. Chaos guides this crowd, who claim to be united, but would be at each other’s throats as soon as a little thorn threatens their inflated egos.

A stone crashes into the house, shattering the glass into tiny edged crystals. Third one today. I had always thought that the glass was strong. I now realize good times are not the perfect judges of adversity. I walk back and slump down on the sofa. It is strange how people can twist the truth to mould and soothe their own trivial realities, how seamlessly their minds can wrap around their mistakes, transforming it into a self-glorifying truth.

My eyes catch sight of a photograph, old and ruffled in the frame, a frozen tear of time. I pull it out. It is fragile, torn at the edges, and it smells of memories. Lost, faded memories. A boy looks happy, all smiles and joy, ignorant of the vicious whirlpools life is going to plunge him into.

They say life is but a journey, and every sunrise is preceded by a dreary night. But what if it’s not a day, but a season, a cold, grey winter? Reckless, unending. The leaves fall and the spring doesn’t greet. Isn’t that a fair possibility? The edges are not smooth and rounded. They are sharp, jagged, waiting for someone to falter and bleed. I have been cut, deep and purple, and I do not want to wait for the light.

I walk towards the terrace. The sky is slightly clouded. I walk over to the ledge and prop myself on the thin, rough surface. I stumble, balance again. A cool breeze strokes my face. I feel myself giving away.

Police personnel enter the house sometime later.

It’s Blue.

And Black.

And Red.

I just wanted my freedom.

Unsung Fantasies

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The final entry.

I wake up in a strange place today, as on many other days. A clock ticks with a hollow sound, indicating the early hours of the morning. The room is in shambles, seeming more so because of morning’s denial. It feels as if someone decided to gather all the broken things in the world and call it home. That does explain why I am here. I hear dishes clattering somewhere near. I pick up the money, dress hastily and leave.

A cold draft hits me as soon as I step out, along with realization. I have no warm clothes on. In my profession, time and space are very mysterious concepts. You just float from one point to the other, and you have to find your peace in the chaos. When Shakespeare expressed how the pace of time differs for different people, he couldn’t have stated it better.

I am not going to my apparent home, not just yet. The sky is cloudy, densely so, ensconcing the city in a shadowy blanket. I love the grey streets, buildings, shacks. Grey is my favourite colour. Not because of the intrinsic darkness in my life, or my muses. It’s just the soft feel of it, almost like a touch. It reminds you that nothing in the world is purely good or evil, that it never is solely black or white. The idea is soothing, because you have come to terms with certain realities then. When that happens, you begin to see people for what they are and not what they seem.

I walk through the cobbled alleys, looking at the little huts and flats. People are already out, gathering water for their daily chores, shouting at their children. Stray dogs bark at me, a threat to their territory. People do not dare look at me directly, instead stealing looks out of the corner of their eyes, judging me silently, applying their twisted sense of morality to my fragile existence. It is so common now that I don’t even impart any attention to it, but it burns me within. I have greater prejudices to deal with, though.

My phone rings. Sometimes, I want to destroy this extension and fly off to somewhere unknown,

where I sleep in peace,

where I dream of stars,

where I walk on waves,

where I soak the sun,

where I feel the rain,

where I love.

There is no place for life here.

I have another job to fulfil today, the caller states.  It is the usual. I have to feed another misplaced male ego, so that he can boast of his charm and appeal before an audience which already knows of the superficiality of the business. Later, I will have to fuel his insecurities with falsified promises and sugar-coated compliments.

It appalls me how no one seems to blink an eye towards the fact that it is he who has the lowest sense of self-worth and I who do an honest day’s work. I h ave long understood how stupid people are with their interpretations of money, power and class. Be as it may, work has its flaws, and I have to deal with it.

Sometimes, you are not sure of certain things. I reach the bridge which suspends over the river. There have been several occasions when I have considered the final leap, ending it all, finding my calm. I feel I am not brave enough, or I just may have found a way, understood grey. Here, now, I just feel the wind, chilly and numbing, and breathe deeply. It’s just another day, another normal day.

I finally decide to go back to my home, a dinghy little room in a forgotten building on a side-street. Before someone finds this piece, I might have already ceased to exist. But that doesn’t bother me, because my existence, as that of so many others, has never been acknowledged.

We exist as filth and dirt in the minds of the keepers of society.

We exist as derogatory stains on this civilized system.

We exist as juicy meat for perverted white-clad servants.

We exist as the forgotten ghosts of the sub-conscious.

 

It’s another day, another strange place, another set of eyes.

A Curtain of Smoke

This is her tale of love, loss, deception, and desperation.

This is her journey through the depths of the nine circles.

This is her encounter with the devil of her life.

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An angel of dreams

Swinging in a flourish of stars

Swept me off my feet a fine day

One whisper at a time 

All little things and slow kisses

The meaning of life,

The homely wishes.

 

I see those little protrusions now

And what all the temptation was about

What those eyes lured me into

What they made me say and do.

 

He soars flapping those evil wings,

Clawing into my head,

Digging out little pieces of flesh,

Bathing in the leaking crimson.

He walks with a soft gait,

Baring his teeth, rotten, sick,

He pins me on the executioner’s block,

And stabs me dry with his diabolical spear.

Blood curdles and gurgles out of me,

Splashing on the sea of pain,

Mingling, swirling,

And I don’t feel it anymore.

 

I am reserved for hell

Temptation, perhaps.

I see him, I see him still

That smile, those teeth,

The bloody spear, the omen ill,

He’s here.

 

He walks with his patience,

And then loses it all at once

As one world collapses into another,

I lose my voice in this pyre of ash

Where infernal sins adorn vernal suns

Where words stagger into abysses of hurt

Where gazes rip my soul into weak, little pieces

Too fragile to be gathered, 

Too tough to be moulded,

Too dark to be coloured.

 

I can’t rise now

Neither can I drown

Just gasp for air 

Every day, every minute, every second

Wishing, wishing for the smoke

To melt my skin

To take me far away

In a wisp of mist

On a shooting star.

 

(I do not own any of the pictures used in this post.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obscured

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I can feel it
Deep down inside
It is all a blur.

A blur of imagination
Of flooded gates,
Of lost moments.

But what it leaves
Is a feeling, a tingle?
A burnished inkling in my heart, waiting to be sparked
By the tortured wand of time.

Gaining ground in the dark alleys
An unknown laughter
Creeping along the shadowy cells
Murmuring through the silence.

It holds me prisoner.
I am but just that,
A prisoner of my own mind
A shackled slave of my own thoughts
And I don’t want to break free.