I didn’t, I couldn’t

Tired and aloof from a broken sleep

A sleep haunted by a dream

I didn’t make it Dad, I didn’t

Times have changed, aspirations differed

Lifestyle has ‘progressed’, life isn’t

I couldn’t make it Dad, I couldn’t

I worry. I worry, if I could feed my kids

I wonder, if I could lead my kids

I wonder, you had such worries, Dad

I didn’t make it Dad, I didn’t

I wished you let me walk on my own

I wish you held my hand now, Dad

We compete, fight for the left overs

We sleep tired feeding on the greed

Wake up tired haunted by the deed

I couldn’t make it Dad, I couldn’t

Thank god it’s just a dream, this far

Me, Dad and a slump in the throat.

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ON THE ROAD

At night everything makes sense, sometimes. I had struggled to sleep, off late. Different thoughts kept me awake. A sense of lack of time was killing me inside out. Lack of time to do what? That was something I needed to figure out. They say, as you get older you ‘actually’ sleep less.

Yesterday was somewhat like one of those nights. The phone next to your head is yet to set off. I reached out and got hold of the phone, shivering in the coldness of Air Conditioning. I felt like warming it up.

3:00

The seconds blinking just like my cursor now, when I am not typing. I felt it’s trying to tell me something. Get up? Alarm was set for 6:00. I have three more hours of ‘scheduled ‘ sleep

I sat up. I sat there for almost an hour, picked up the phone again.

3:04

This is the time , tricky in your life. I have read most people die in early hours of morning. That I am sure is a made up survey led by a dramatic person. But I was sure, sleep was not on cards from then.

I looked for my glasses and for my slippers. I needed to see the world with a warm feet, not with a cold one, duh! Glasses, always were a worry, first to reach out every morning. Now, phone is in the league too.

I tiptoed out of the bedroom. Without switching on the lights, making sure I don’t wake anyone up. I have felt this is the time your mind is very clear. I WAS AWAKE. When I try to recollect those moments now, they don’t come easy, but I FELT awake, then. The feel of that morning is fresh in my mind even now.

As the water was boiling, my mind wandered. The unwritten emails, left over tasks, incomplete proposals started rushing in to my mind. I didn’t want to think about them and exactly they were the ones which managed to squeeze through. These thoughts were unfinished business when I hit the bed. No one had taken up and solved them for me, no one would. You need to clear your own shit, you can’t complain about that.

The things that you procrastinate, the things that you wanted to say but left unsaid, the things that you wished you did and didn’t do, the life you didn’t live, the love you didn’t give- they visit you too, at this hour. The way the time has slipped through your hands, how life has tricked you in this trap, the way you have taken things for granted, how you have let them down! They say lot many times, I am too hard on myself, but where is the bar? How hard is really hard?

I was not walking like a zombie, but with purpose, that morning, having no idea of who woke me up. As I circled the dining table with my tea, I saw this book I picked up the night before from my pile of unread books. It looked like that book was kept there by someone for me to see, at the center of the table below the dining lamp.

What I noticed was the smiling Kirsten Stewart on the cover when I bought it. It said, ‘NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE’ , ON THE ROAD. I saw the movie afterwards but I had forgotten about this book that I bought. Loved the movie, and yes, Kirsten!

Dawn was yet to crack. Light was yet to come in. I could feel the deep blue sky outside without looking out. I could feel how cold it was outside and how silent it was. I could hear my heart beat, slow and relaxed. I was at peace at that moment as I sat on the table. On one side I had my iPad and on the other, Kirsten. There was a kind of mind game for a few seconds before I made the obvious choice. Before knowing, I was typing JACK KEROUAC on my Pinterest search bar. It opened up a whole new world of information. His books, quotes, pics and what not!

I was reading with purpose now. I get distracted fast if the words are not arranged well in an exciting way. But this one was a keeper and had all the energy of a young stallion. I read some initial interesting pages and got distracted again on the digital screen

Those were inspirational. I was no where near that description. But how the idea was put and the formation of that sentence were amazing. It made me think about my life, how I live, what work I do. Madness that was contagious was totally absent and was filled with a kind of escapism. So bland that you slept to kill time as if you are doing time, to fill in a form.

No, I should not get carried away, the rationale mind advised.

I was upset. Visibly upset. What I have done with my life and what I have become. Not leading a life that I would wish to relive. I saw my reflection on the black screen of my idle phone, lit by the lamp above. I took off my glasses and reflection became blurred. Wore them again, touched the screen and the bright light of the screen hid my reflection, I decided to escape again, one more time.

But this hit me hard. A sudden urge to run got into my head. This time an escape for a good reason. An escape from the unattended baggage of yesterday, responsibilities, the things weighing you down so much that you find it hard to move. To know how it feels to be free. To see the possibilities. An attempt, at least once?

LEAVE.

Do you have the balls?

I guess this is what happens when you sit alone at this time of the day. I have been a loner who enjoyed solitude. But the fact that no one would ever think of me to have a ‘good time with’ has often left me depressed. You can’t have both, I suppose!

I was clear at that point that I should leave. So clear that it scares me now. I too should hit the road, meet strangers who don’t judge you or expect you to be ‘someone’.

As I struggled with my reflection on the phone, it lit up again, it was the alarm this time around.

6:00

Glasses

Glasses

As long as I remember I have glasses, thick glasses. The Olympics at some part of the world did good to me as I struggled to read the seconds, countries etc on the television screen. I was aloof to cartoons, unlike other kids. We all came to know why soon, I had weak eye sight, less gifted, maybe cursed.

Is this better or is this better? Much has not changed since then , the doctor asks the same things even today. Burning eye drops and blurred afternoons at the clinic. These are the memories of my visit to my ophthalmologist with a hunchback. As I knew then, he was a saviour to many. It was a dull affair, I guess, but indeed set my expectations of life as realistic, long and boring to a larger extent.

Ever since then glasses were part of my face. I was a novice, at least changed nine pairs by the time I hit fifteen years of age. Dad once was so pissed that I had to use my glasses with one arm for a while as he refused to buy a new one. It’s like part of my face now, like the eyes themselves. Always dirty and scratched; twisted as I slept with them always, well, almost. Maybe I wanted to have my dreams vivid.

But ironically, I realized much later in life that I am more of a visual person. I feel, I see much more than the visual itself. I wonder how glasses have changed my outlook towards the world. The blurry world around me would have been much different. I might have been more kind and more accepting of others realities perhaps. Maybe I wont see a distant danger and worry too much. It will only be clearer once it’s near me, in front of your eyes, my weak eyes. Isn’t that how we are supposed to live, with less worry?

As I painted, sketched and survived my younger days, I took all for granted, I suppose, including my glasses. One will see my brushes, all dipped inside a mug of water with mixed colors. I used to spend my Sunday mornings making paintings. As I write this, the picture of me sitting in my corner is coming back to me so clear that I even remember the laminate color of that table top. I am trying to open the drawer of that table, what was in there? It feels like memory and eyesight has no particular relation. In the sense that your visual memory need not be bad due to your poor eyesight. As they say, memory is more deeper, how something made you feel while a visual is superficial. However, the emotions that is generated by a visual need not be superficial- duh, it’s so complicated. Why do I try to draw a line?

However, over the years the glasses have become thicker, visuals deeper and abstract. Life boxed me as an architect to make a living and survive. While it feeds my soul, it does struggle to feed me and my family. Money was never enough, it never is. As an architect it’s quite important what you SEE when you look at things. While my glasses help me see things clear, with its sharpness, the things that I wanted to take from the visuals never came from the visual itself. How design and details worked. That is more to do with curiosity and eagerness to look for things.

Eye has a soul of its own. They see things you want to see. It sometimes trick you like your mind does. I have had situations where I see things which are not there and have argued about it. This may be genetic as my grand mother used to hallucinate and may be that’s exactly where I am headed too. It’s a state of high where you build your own reality and see what you want to see, good or bad, but just what you want. That must be amazing!

I am sure, my glasses at some point will fail to support me, if I stay long enough. Darkness will prevail. All good things have to come to an end, they say. I wonder about the things in that dark world. I used to have a dream where a bullet travels through air and hitting my forehead. Imagine the camera was on the bullet itself, and I get up every time it hits my forehead. As I struggle to recollect that childhood dream in its clarity, one thing sure of it is its monotone, the shades of darkness, black.

I took out my glasses before I wrote the last few words here. Twisted, scratched and dusty. I cleaned and wore it back, my glasses.

Dream

Way up above with my mom and brother, I could see the mountains, rivers and green. Can’t assess the height, but I was sure we were higher than dad who was riding his plane. Can’t make out who he was with. I had a feeling, he was with someone. Maybe my sister, perhaps a new love.

I made sure we were within visible reach. Mom and brother flew closer and they were talking continuously. I was out there to experience the views. Generally I wore glasses, high powered ones. But the clarity with which I saw the details on the ground made me believe that I had an eye sight of an eagle. I saw Van Gogh’s paintings in those planes. Did he fly like me? Or he painted them out of his imaginary dreams. The yellow was his yellow way down.

I was the youngest and the curious one. Was that the reason I was flying separate? Does my mom and brother see me? Did we start together?

Now I could get the sound of my dads plane. I looked down, I waved. He didn’t see me I suppose. He looked through me. Over the years he has started to look weak and tired, my dad. I was his favourite child, I always thought. Maybe I was comforting myself with that thought. My brother, my moms favourite, first boy.

I could see birds flying together with me. I wondered, do birds fly this high? It was like my mom & brother, my dad and myself in terms of height. I don’t know what’s our altitude. Not much of a bird watcher so I couldn’t name them.

I looked down, I saw the planes again. We have been flying whole night. But the sun was out on that night.

Walking through the woods, I could see the torn sky as a deep blue streak. I was looking for my mom and brother. The blue had layers in them and I wished I could talk about it to someone. Someone who gets excited about ‘such’ things as I often did. Did I get injured as I was on the ground. Out of the woods on the green planes I saw my mom and brother. They were still talking and walking away. I followed them. I looked up, there was no trace of my dads plane.

Did I sleep off? What happened? Why was I not in the sky anymore? Did my dad crash? I was worried. I walked behind my mom and brother. I lost track of dad.

I wanted to fly again, stay there, away from the noise. I could only stare, at that deep blue depths. Not a single star was shining, not for me or for anyone else.

The other side

It has always fascinated me, the other side. What you get to see there. Does it all end or does it all start. The mystery is intriguing, day in and day out. I wonder what’s that moment, the reality.

I wonder how its going to visit me. In sleep or while driving. While eating or while dancing. Or do I decide to end all or start all. Even if I decide, the moment it happens, the moment I see the other side, is it same as the any other experience. I look at the lights and wonder what shines and why we struggle.

I do feel the other person inside me, beneath my skin, like an offset of your outer skin who does all the things that the real world see. In that context our body is just a vehicle for this offset to reside. Is this the soul, which takes the shape of its host, that we refer to and leaves the body that we love in a devastating and selfish way to find a new host?  May be this offset just needs a vehicle and it could be us or any animal for that matter. How do we know which is the real world. The restless mind makes up stories.

All these are concepts, I know. Our minds playing tricks. We like drama, otherwise its kind of bland. But for some reason, I get a feeling that the moment I was mentioning is going to be one of the most blissful ones. A joyous one, like an orgasm. A feeling of let go, a point of no return where you just finish. The realization that THIS IS IT will not be a revelation but a feeling that you had already known, but forgotten. It will feel home.

That was when I felt positive about life, soul and the rest of it.

What if it is not this simple- this is where it will all get interesting,  Your moment is here, you feel cold and you freeze. Warmth just gets blown away from your body and the offset struggles to survive within you. Everything turns blue ice and you have taken the last breath of warm air which is just not sufficient to keep you warm. Its a mechanical failure this time which has no repair. Coldness prevails and the offset steps into the other side and is unable to leave your body. It can see everything, everyone, people you believed are your dearest, mourning or celebrating in secret. It can see you  being washed and wrapped. The cotton in your nose, making sure you never breathe again and come back as ghost, toes tied making sure you never run away or escape from the coffin six feet deep below.

Now,  in the confines of a cold and bloated host inside a wooden box, one can only imagine one state- FEAR. You are going to be alone for a long time, another life time, but does it have any feelings at all, let alone fear. It was the one who made you laugh, cry, angry, sin. I can only imagine, it does have emotions and fear is gonna creep in. Its used to the noise of the unreal world, its current state being the real world, and soon its going to float in the abyss of silence and darkness. I can only imagine darkness. No light is going to reach there. It will feel the hustle outside the box, for one last time, one would think. Men struggling to put you to rest, in peace or in pandemonium. It will sense the descend, the sound of the box hitting the bottom. That could be the last time u made any movement of any kind and now you CAN rest, one would think.

The depths of darkness has always made me wonder. How dark it can get? Its never dark enough, if you stay there too long. There is this next degree of darkness to be achieved. Darkness defines depth in a visual and and one can see hidden things there if you are ready to hallucinate. It all depends on your imagination. Those who saw angels maybe suffered from an eye problem and the shapes were just works of imagination. SO a person with a better imagination and an eye problem would sound crazier than any normal person.

Silence

Wait

And of course, darkness.

Nature is going to come and get you and your offset. You will be consumed dead this time unlike in your unreal world. You let yourself consumed alive, in the unreal world. But now you can only surrender- no strength, no pride, no ego.  The worms with its offsets, crawling all over the box and then you. It will watch you being literally consumed, inch by inch by millions of worms. That wait!

I assume those affairs will proceed at natures own pace. No rush, no deadlines, especially when you are really dead! I hope it escapes the ordeal and survives and find its resting place deep below or way above.

Once you are consumed as a whole they will leave looking for someone new. Maybe that is you and I hope you find peace at the other side- Amen.