Pigeons

Pigeons sit on the parapets in my building. On the edges, almost falling off, they don't look down, they don't gauge the fall, they are fearless. Some of them sit in rows on the cables that run across walls. Swinging. At peace. Their faces quite numb, their wings pretty limp. And no matter how much you shake that cable, they wouldn't budge. Like they owned it. 

Sometimes, I feel, they are in waiting. They build their nests in my room. On the roof of my closet. Relentlessly bringing in twigs, leaves. There is always only two of them making that nest. But at night, when I shut the window, and they can't come in anymore, they just wait outside until morning, for me to let them in. Meanwhile, they must also call their friends, because there always are six to seven to nine of them. Waiting. 

They sleep that way. On their feet. On the swing. Or on the edge of the parapet. It amazes me. This routine, in a bunch of birds. I go out and stare at them, and get some air also. That strange grey color, you barely find much else. Except in the mind.

They come back every night.  In unbearably hot summer nights, they expand in the heat, and I feel their elliptical shapes might burst and plop open. They sit there on endless monsoon nights. And in the afternoons and mornings when it rains. Sometimes if I miss out on opening the window, they peck on it making that faint noise, like something very close to knocking. Like they were real people.




The Tireless Heartbreaker

Supertramp is a tireless heartbreaker. He leaves everyone behind. In the sense, even his name. Some people wish to be so boundless, that there is nothing that could contain them. You can try. To hold them back. Keep them. Keep him. But he wouldn't. He would break away, and break your heart. And never tire of it. 

His idea of the self, his boundaries are holy. He wouldn't let anyone overstep that. And he is not an escapist.

He left his car. His guitar. He burnt his credit cards. Destroyed any ID. Layer after layer, each skin that garbed him, he peeled away. Like an onion. Anything at all, that could let him grow roots had to be let go of. It's liberating and debilitating in the same breath. Liberating for Supertramp. Liberating for I. And debilitating for the man, woman and child he left behind. For the future he abandoned. For the past he denied. 

However scanty could you be? Define minimalistic. Living out of a knapsack. Hitchhiking your way through life, living on the road. Living like an ape. Under a tree. And being the anti-materialistic, homeless, philosophical genius who understands how your entire fucking life, all you have been striving for breathlessly is laying out one beautiful deceitful trap for your own self. What fools. 

Supertramp was truly on his own. No bondage. I cannot grasp, him. Neither can I help you grasp. Because the former. 


Flop Show

There was a guy once. And trust me on this, there have been many such. Guys with incomplete stories, devastating heartbreaks. Guys with tunnel and more tunnel. Only no light.

But more about this one. 

Guy in context and I went to high school together. I hadn't known he existed back then, I was quite the class valedictorian. After high school, I left town for college. And then moved to some other place for my masters. And one blue day, he messaged me on facebook. Hi, this is so & so. We studied together in such & such. Can you place me right? It would have been quite embarrassing to tell him that I didn't know who the hell he was. Instead we got to mailing. No exchange of numbers, like hearing each others' voice would ruin it. We mailed and mailed. 

I wouldn't go far to call it a fling. But there was definitely something. A tiny little crush at the back of my mind. Not heart. Turned out we were going to be interning in the same city, starting next month. Woah! How was that going to work out without meeting. I began growing expectations. How would the first meet go. How we would roam around on weekends, in the afternoons. Go out, dance, sing, have fun. Do stuff that twenty two year olds were into. I mean, I really did have plans. I was so fucking naive back then. 

Ultimately, heavens came down when he told me that he had a change of plans in the eleventh hour. Like, suddenly I felt alone, with nothing to do. I didn't take it well. Like I said, I was young. Innocent. Trusting. 

I would cut the story at that. But to this date, I quote this incident to remind myself and my friends, how you should never meticulously plan and expect. Turns out your pillars weren't strong and now you are suffocating in the rubble because the fucking roof crumbled on your head. 

But, shit happens. Oops, I did it again! 

Cold Feet

That day, while driving down to see him, you hit all the green lights. Straight, no pauses. It felt like a breeze. So much so that you wanted to stop and check if this was indeed happening. It felt right. And it felt scary. Paradoxical, yeah. But scary right. You wonder if this was the right thing to do afterall. If you haven't left behind something more opportune. More significant. You begin to doubt. All kinds of thoughts trickle into your head and yet you never hit a red light. Like the whole goddamn road was made for you. You remember how you inched through the same road, like a tortoise, on other evenings and afternoons trapped in nerve wrecking traffic. But not today. You are happy. Delighted. Relieved, that the distance between you and him is getting shorter. You are only minutes away from seeing him. Your mind strays to what he must be doing. Wouldn't he be surprised. It's morning after all. But there's something choking your ecstasy. It's making you want to not let it in, keep it outside for a while may be. You're getting jitters. Not knowing, one bit. What the fuck is going on. 

You take that blinding U-turn and go back home. Tail between your legs. 

Or drive right past, and slather yourself in unforgiving love. Debilitate yourself, go pale. Go limp. Let go. Let in. 

Fluorescence

Now, the old lady lives in the forgotten mansion by herself. Parts of it they had rented out to teachers who came to teach in the little school they had started. Just for company's sake. Now that the old man is dead and gone, it's just her with her tenants. There's no jungle bounty to take care of. Guard against the wild. Years ago, when the old lady was only middle aged, she would shoo away herds of monkeys from her mango orchard with an air gun the old man no more used for hunting. The horns of the deer killed decades ago still adorns their doorway. But the orchards have vanished. Everything is a shadow of what it was. The clusters of bananas that she used to hide in sacks to keep safe until they ripened, to be sent off to daughters married off in distant cities, no more. The story seeping granddaughters never looked back. The sole singular lone son. Drunkard of a man, womaniser, once discarded by the old man for being a disgrace, must have decayed in some brothel. Or a cheap smokey bar. When the old man sat on the rickety chair, staring at the front door, there was not much conversation. But just one question, who was dying on whom. Which one of the two would last longer, asphyxiate in the dust that the termites ate off the doors. It is usually the diabetes that gets to you, or a cardiac arrest. Sometimes, they imagined passing away in sleep, but mostly it is plain loneliness. Now the old lady, in that ghost of a house cannot move around much. And cooks one meal a day, of rice and vegetables boiled in one black pot and sips as much as she can. Fighting the need to be against the whim to vanish, sitting guard on the decadence. 

A Notional Loss

There's the notion of loss. And there is actual loss. For real, irreversible, permanent. Sometimes I stutter between the two. I threw my glass of chocolate milk in the wash basin. It splattered on the walls, the floor. Lost forever, actual loss. Ain't coming back. And then, sometimes I am frantically looking for my keys in the bag and not getting them. They are still in there, but I am not getting them. Same with looking for my glasses all over the place when they are up on my forehead, or still worse, I am wearing them. When we assume that we have lost something or someone even when we have them right there, is a notional loss. We coax the heart not to get jittery at all. Because, nothing has been lost yet. But then it deteriorates. You wake up dreaming in homes you no longer own, waiting in places you no longer go to, for people who no longer are here now. The immediate moments after you wake up, this appalling sorrow envelopes you, like you can't move. And you cry a pillow. Actual, irrecoverable loss, that.

Requiem

He has his eyes downcast. Staring at his lunch plate. Those are the most beautiful eyes in the world. One of the most beautiful. A beautiful pair of eyes, those. He is sitting amongst a large bunch of loud women. His blush is lost amongst their chatter. But, he doesn't look lost. Not yet. But out of place. Definitely out of place, Yes. He's eating with his hands, elbows quiet on the edge of the table. The set up looks like an experiment. Except his eyes. They look like dollops of love. And a shiver on his face. That hides his age. He has a son back at home, put away in some school. Standing by the road with a huge bag slung from his little shoulders, waiting for the school bus to pick him up. And the wife, who bought the lady fingers on his lunch plate. Who washes, cooks and waits. And loves, probably possibly, with a decent vigor. Like a woman should a man. And here, he is. Sitting alone among known strangers.

He must feel stifled. Does he? I would, if I were him. But I am merely sitting here, reading his story from the lines on his face, from the glint in his eyes, the shiver on his face. Drawing illegal solace from a perfect stranger. Sitting apart. Sitting opposite. Creating a requiem, for each moment that passes. Like, life had no ennui at all.