A Letter To My Dead Wife

Dear,

I have been good. No. Not really. I wouldn’t really lie to you. Things have been tough. Tougher than before. But it’s the harsh privilege of being alive you see. It’s imperative to deal with something ominous to feel alive. It is when life seems a burden one feels he is with it – with life. It is like being a woman with a little child inside. It’s like being pregnant. I should say then, I am pregnant with life! That’s quite an absurd analogy right there, you would say. But you won’t. You aren’t alive.

We would have breathed in every street and in every fort in Delhi. Maybe you would have been a painter. You would have made a gorgeous painter! I can feel you painting away your sorrows and fears. I would have seen your liberation. Or maybe you would have been a dancer. Swerving, swaying, flying. I would have seen your passion. Or a beautician maybe! Oh! How happy I would have been then! I would have said, naively, looking at my nails, “You know dear, I am feeling like to have a manicure..” and then you would have laughed hysterically! I would have seen your love. But I can’t. You aren’t alive.

I would have seen you doing things for hours. I would have seen you doing nothing for hours. I would have seen you for hours. I’d have made a living out of it! I would have never fought with you. Or maybe I would have. You would have never cried. Or maybe you would have. We both would have. Maybe only me. But I would have been with you. Crying and fighting we can manage. But we can’t. You aren’t alive.

Maybe you would have been an atheist. I would have been a heretic then. Maybe you would have been a Hindu. I would have visited that temple with you, where you used to go everyday, when you were little. Maybe you would have been a Christian. I would have read Psalms with you. I would have been better at singing them than you. I am fairly sure about that! Maybe you would have been a Muslim. I would have learnt some Urdu. I would have been thrilled to see the moon with you. I would have kissed you then. But I can’t. You aren’t alive.

I would love to see your face just once. But you die everyday. You die as if you don’t love me. You die without a reason. You are killed without a reason. You are killed for those things for which I would have loved you. Things have been tough, dear. Tougher than before. It’s hard to live in Past Perfect Continuous. I am tired of using ‘would have’. Yet I wish you would have lived. “You wish a lot!”, you would say. But you won’t.

Farewell.

Finding Gandhi

“There isn’t Gandhi in there”, cried my friend, raising his brows and his hands, exhausted to extremes, glaring at the surreal stone gate, which has the names of more than 13,560 Indian and British soldiers written on it, who died fighting in “France and Flanders”,  “Mesopotamia & Persia”, “East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere.”

“He must be here only, you aren’t searching properly!”, I replied searching on those vast contours that never disappointed me.

It was one thing in Delhi that I owned, that I could always trust . People come here for acceptance, for dreams, for a future. It doesn’t seem much friendly at first, not when you have a place full of individuals who can’t be even classified as ‘almost humans’. They are still few miles shy from being human, and wearing t-shirts pronouncing the said phrase doesn’t help much.

But when you live among its relics of love, pain, death, fury and life, it’s hard not to fall in love. You need someone in a big city to take care of you. You need India Gate. We called it ‘The Gate.’

I do not know why but sometimes back I spread a lie among my friends that Gandhi’s name was in there among the martyrs. No one debated the authenticity of the fact. No one needed to. We were all awed by it’s beauty and we all knew it was a lie.

We went there every now and then to search for Gandhi. We later developed an illusion that name of every soldier who has lost his life was written on it’s welcoming pillars. And after, we were proud of the ‘fact’ that there is still one Governmental Unit left, doing it’s work with utter tenacity and regularity. We imagined when no visitor was there at the Gate, the bureaucracy took over the rigorous task of updating the names. We imagined laborers standing on scaffolds performing the sacred task of etching history.  It was the most important structure in Delhi, or for that matter, in the whole world.  We imagined it all to be true. We created our own little myth. We loved our own little myth. We were Bogarts, searching for an important name, only important to us. We went there at night. We knew that secrets are unveiled under stars..

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One day as I was depressed, due to reasons our whole generation is depressed, simply nothing, I put on a grave countenance, and was thrilled to explore those sublime depths of sadness, where everything unimportant attaches itself with a meaning and the things that meant something become obsolete and dry. That day I went to my home of grief, the place that gave meaning to my seeming sadness, The Gate. I knew that day I could have found Gandhi. It would have been a new chapter in our myth.

But it was closed! Closed to visitors after evenings. I told them I wasn’t a visitor! I had been involved in that case for a long time. I was someone who had a myth. You can’t stop a person who has a myth! I was there, standing with my overwhelming sadness being frisked and abused by guards as I tried to force my way inside. I knew that day I could have found Gandhi. But it was closed. It has been for a long time now. It’s a new sadness.

But maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe they have closed it as they are writing new names in there. Maybe they are adding the names of all those being killed each day in sheer futility. I will confirm this myth when they open again for nights. I know that secrets are unveiled under stars.

I’ll let you know if I find Gandhi.

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Photo Courtesy: www.oldindianphotos.in

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/writing-challenge-history/

The Rich, The Poor & The Dead

Every day a boy comes sharp at eight in the morning. He looks desolate, with a ragged bag to show for his work and life. Mechanically with acquired dexterity he takes out the motley garbage, using his bare, foggy hands. The bag is longer than he is. He looks wasted. That’s the worst part. He looks wasted.

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I sit here, writing, sipping coffee, in my own secure world. I have worries that’ll make you laugh. I can afford to think. I am that rich. I can afford to dream. I am that rich. I can afford to love. I am that rich. In my structured happiness, in my ancestral privileges, I live like a king. I have worries that’ll make you laugh. I can afford to speak. I am that rich.

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Hard Times by Charles Dickens was published in 1854. The novel was a staunch criticism of Utilitarianism, the philosophy of the greatest happiness for the greatest number. The dismal proceedings take place in the equally dismal fictional place called Coketown. The story revolves around the utterly and annoyingly honest laborer Stephen Blackpool, the ridiculous humbug and a wealthy manufacturer Josiah Bounderby, his “eminently practical” friend Thomas Gradgrind, who is neck deep in the dry theories of Utilitarianism, and who is betrayed by the same beliefs as he sees what irreparable damage his ideology has caused his son Tom, and his daughter Louisa. We’ll discuss about James Harthouse and Mrs. Sparsit, two of the most interesting and wicked characters some another time. Today I just want to share this passage when Dickens explains for the first time, the fictional but ever so real and ever so haunting Coketown:

Image

It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if
the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but, as matters stood it was a
town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage. It
was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which
interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and
ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river
that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of building full
of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day
long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked
monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state
of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very
like one another, and many small streets still more like one
another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all
went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the
same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day
was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the
counterpart of the last and the next.

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  That’s all.

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The Importance Of Being Sad

Hello fellow beings!

Yes, I have started blogging. “What a damn new thing to do!!”, you must say. Well I know it is customary for a vigilant Indian of my age to have an impressive blog by now, but as to the same case, I have been somewhat hesitant hitherto. You know, the general questions perturb me. What new possibly can I tell you guys? You already know Oscar Wilde was homosexual. You already know Fitzgerald wanted to be in Hollywood. You know Milton was against the monarchy. You know Marlowe was killed in a brawl. You know about the great religions and great civilizations. You have heard of wars and deaths. Maybe you have watched “All Quiet on the Western Front” and rued the loss of youth and innocence. Maybe you were impressed by it’s aesthetic beauty. You know about slavery and apartheid. You know about terrorism. You know that people die. You know the futility of death in today’s age. More so, you know the futility of life in today’s age.

What’s left, then? You know that destruction and sadness are most photogenic. You know that  pain makes for aesthetic brilliance. You know that a remorseful man pictures far better than a happy man. You know these things. You have been keen observer of grief and anger. You know it looks beautiful.

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My friend has urged me to write something everyday. Keeping in mind that I am a Gemini it wouldn’t be possible, but still, I will bother you guys and gals with something every now and then. Do subscribe! (See, that’s why I hate it, I have already started looking like a sulky marketing guy.)

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“It’s important that I look beautiful,
Paint me so, paint me to such effect..”

“Make me look wonderful,
Quick Sir! Make it prompt, act!”

“Should I affect pensive airs, 
Or do you deem it fit,

I stand beside the stairs?
Quick Sir! Babble, speak it!”

“Or some place ruinous would do?
A ruined fort, a ruined palace, a ruined city!

I have a ruined gown too!
Blurt it out Sir! Have some pity!”

“How should I look?” She asked him,
Pursing her lips, and shaking her head.

The painter, thoughtful, old and grim
Pronounced peacefully, “Look sad.”

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