the long search

When you have nowhere to go, go back to yourself.

Soul's New Song

Don't look back
It will tug at your heart
Let the past go
Let go of the memories
And the clutching pain.

Soon the stars will fade
The blackness of the night will melt
In the soothing lights of a new dawn
Tomorrow will be another day
Tomorrow will have a new sun.....

*Wishing you all a soulful New Year*
(Image: Shamim Qureshy)


About half an hour ago, he had showed up at my place seeking my escort service. “I need to drop this packet at a friend‘s place and pick up some pictures from another person,” he said.He was always lousy about finding houses. Most of the times, he would lose way in the residential colonies, often making circles of the same place.

I was reluctant. On my day off and for a chilly evening, staying back home seemed a better and warmer idea. But knowing his style, I decided to give him company.

“I have not been to their place very many times. I guess, this is the second instance though I keep meeting them – both the husband and the wife - at their corporate offices and outside. They had a baby in October and this is the first time I will meet them after that. They have moved to a new flat.” He was introducing me to destination number one.

* * * * * *

As we waited for a few minutes, V opened the door. Slowly. Almost carefully. I saw the baby, looking like a bundle of white wool, fallen asleep on his left shoulder. “Come on in,” he said, with a whispering tone.

It was quiet inside. It was kind of cozy. Bright and warm. The light green wall-hangings clearly stood out on the shining white background. There were two portraits on the wall behind the cane sofa. The cabinet right in front boasted of different kinds of toys. A large curtain separated the living space from the dining hall. It was dimly lit.

“I returned from office only a while ago,” V said, gently patting his daughter and gestured us to sit on the divan.

“You seem to be enjoying every bit of fatherhood,” he asked.

“It feels great to be with my daughter. She sleeps and sleeps and is barely awake when I return home,” V said as his wife walked in with a dropper in hand. The baby’s medicine, I thought.

“Did you manage to put her to sleep? Or is she still awake?” she asked. V just nodded as he gently brought the baby back into his arms for the medicine.

We kept chatting for quite a while before he realized it’s time to leave the family alone.

* * * * * *

He drove silently, keeping his eyes on the road; his mind apparently was elsewhere. Twenty minutes later, we were in front of an apartment that appeared to have lost power supply.

E – Block, Flat No 3. Straight towards the end of the line and first floor, the security guard pointed out.
The apartment looked worn out to me. Flat No 1 and 2 were locked and No 4 was had some men working on renovation.
He hit the doorbell this time. “It’s open. Come on in,” said the voice. As we walked in, B greeted us with a feeble smile, which did not, in any manner, hide its affection. He taught English literature, I was told on my way.

The floor was cold; the tube-lights did enough for the two-bedroom flat though. But it was very quiet in there. The white walls looked pensive and the almost-no-furniture rooms exuded an expansive feeling.

The living room virtually had nothing to show. One room across the hall had a computer surrounded by books and more books, all of them littered in gay abandon gathering dust at some places. The bedroom had a TV set just across the bed and a moulded chair.

B was a bachelor. Almost a genius and wasted to a large extent. He lived a solitary life (Someone wise had said: Only God is entitled to solitude) and was not keeping good health. The failing health showed on B’s face.

The curling smoke from the cigarette he held was the only thing that made some “noise” in an otherwise somber ambiance of the flat.

“My doctor would be furious to see this. I was categorically asked to stay away from smoking but have had three since the morning. Just can’t help,” laughed B; his laughter had a tremendous sense of honesty in it.

A little later, we left B alone with his life.

* * * * * *

“How disturbingly contrast were they,” I said as we drove back home.

“I found them happy and quiet in their own ways,” he replied, “It’s all about how you look at it.”

(Image: Flickr)

déjà vu

Last time I met him, he hardly spoke.

Sometimes, he would just shut up and shut himself out for weeks together. And, when he does that, he can be pretty much insufferable. It is well-nigh impossible to know beneath that frivolous facade does lie a gloomy persona. Someone suffocating to the core.

Years ago, when I first ran into him and this side of his, a friend said ‘it’s his way of unwinding.’ He probably was looking for another word to substitute ‘unwinding’ but did not get any. I think he meant 'self-examination.'

I met him last night. He stood there on the terrace, bending forward over the dwarf wall, as if attempting to catch hold of something that was flying by. There was nothing I could see though.

I made no attempt to talk to him. It would have been an exercise in futility. I respected his philosophy of respecting people’s space. “Let them be,” he would always say. Some mistook it for his aloofness and indifference to others.

I left him alone on the terrace and walked into his room. As I drew closer, I could clearly hear Mehdi Haasan’s rich baritone (if I can say that) from his computer’s speakers. The volume was set very low. As if the great singer was whispering away. I turned the speaker volume higher. The voice was resonating:
Keh do in hasraton se kahiin aur jaa basein
Itnii jagah kahaan hai dil-e-daaghdaar mein*….

His personal diary was lying on the table. I know how he loved his diary. He has been writing since he was 17, he once told me. For the last few months, he had stopped though. “I write only when I feel compelled to,” he had said. You could well substitute it for “when I am either happy or sad.”

I opened it. There were blank pages. I saw one. Then I saw another. Some more…..and more. So many. Do blank pages mean he is sad? Because it meant he was not happy.

I reached December 10. There were just two lines scribbled on it.

It read: It's a sense of déjà vu. But when people choose to walk away from you, all you can do is wish them well in life.
*The lines by Bahadur Shah Jaffer mean:
Tell these desires
To go and settle down somewhere else
Where is so much space
In this scarred heart?

About this blog

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed