Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Letter to Heidi


Dear Heidi,

Years have passed since last time we have talked to each other. Peter might have become a soldier! Perhaps living in that same old house on the mountains or may be shifted to a new house in the town!

Sunrise on the hilltop may be still the same; bringing the same warmth and freshness every morning! and ‘shining through the round window and falling in golden rays on your bed and on the large heap of hay, and as you open your eyes, early in the morning, everything in the loft seems gleaming with gold’.

I hope you remember the day when you went with Peter and his goats on to the mountain, and on the top of it you found ‘the scent of the flowers seemed sweeter to you with every breath of wind that wafted it towards you’. When you refused to move, watching the flowers; Peter said “We have a long way to go yet, so come along! And on the topmost peak of all the old bird of, prey sits and croaks.”

I still remember, you were busy picking flowers and filling your apron! and when peter said; “You have got enough now, you will stay here forever if you go on picking, and if you gather all the flowers now; there will be none for tomorrow.”

You suddenly sprang to your feet and ran up to Peter with your apron full of flowers!!

I also remember telling my friends in the school about you. My friend Shahin Sha always wanted to hear about you. He used to like hearing about you and peter, and your adventures on the mountains.

Shahin Sha always doubted the mysterious nature of your grandpa. And he even said once that, there must be a secret for him to live away on the mountains. He doubted it a secret perhaps like the secret of ‘The Count of Montechristo’. He said your grandpa must have hiding something valuable like a treasure perhaps. In his view it couldn't be ignored completely the chances of your grandpa being a wizard! But I never believed it. I knew he was good and you were safe there.

A lot has happened in my life since you left the mountains, after my schooling I went to college, made friends, graduated, worked for three years and made some money, decided to resume studies again. Sometimes I feel, it is all about routine and very much cyclic. But I used to miss talking to you. Since you left the hilltop every moment appears to me to be just some other bizarre déjà us.

Shahin Sha went to Saudi Arabia, got married and became a father. Sixteen long years have passed, and in these many years you have become that same old stranger who once walked into my life unexpectedly.

I think it was a rainy night when we met for the first time. You were a stranger and reluctant to talk much. It was peter who made you laugh in the early days. And I remember your first day, after you had come away from your former home on to the mountain to stay with your grandfather; you felt bad and found everything strangely unfamiliar and took a while to remember where you are when you woke up in the next morning!

Shahin Sha always wanted to meet you and talk to you. But I never gave him a chance. He even offered me his ‘much boasted of’ ‘The Count of Montecristo’! It wasn't unfair from his side as a genuine deal! But I never fell prey to that offer. I hope you remember him and all these stories of him making a variety of offers to meet you. I hardly find any story interesting than yours, and for that reason, I still feel free to talk to you even after sixteen long years!

Winter was beautiful in Dorfli! Dreamy snowfall would make all white everywhere! If it was to be a severe snowfall to come, as soon as the first snow began to fall, your grandpa had shut up the hut and the outside buildings, and gone down to Dorfli with you and the goats.

Once in a winter in Dorfli, ‘the snow was lying so high around the hut that the windows looked level with the ground and the door had entirely disappeared from view’, and I remember that made you mysteriously surprised! And you felt yourself like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ seeing ‘white magic’ all-round you!

I remember everything and I wonder if you too remember as I do always! All these years have brought me enough to tell you word after word for years to come. Ever since that rainy night, countless nights passed with and without rains, I met new people at different stages of my life, made relationships, talked even to strangers and everything went past without me!

When I write you next time, I will write about Clara and Peter in detail! And I hope someday soon, we will meet and talk to each other, and I will be so happy to get my long lost friend back once again. I hope wherever you are, you keep smiling and feel like singing; and whoever you have become in these many years, you are doing extremely good and making new friends! I think I miss ‘a friend of mine whom I met in a rainy night’ and this writing is the least of it.
Your friend.

(Heidi is a character in the story ‘HEIDI’ written by ‘Johanna Spyri’ and translated into Malayalam by BM Suhara as ‘Malamukalile Appooppan’. I read this story when I was in the 6th standard as I got this book as my birthday gift and it was a rainy night in July 22 I started to read it

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Promise Never Kept

Weatherman promises a rainy evening! That means a cloudy afternoon and probably a clear sky in the night with enough stars, so that I can choose a lonely bright one to stare at!

I used to make promises. But I could never make you believe that I am a man of my word. Among those promises which I failed to keep always, not a single one would qualify to be called fake or untrustworthy!

But tonight I think I can keep some of my words. I can see chunks of clouds piling slowly up in the sky. I can feel wind blowing all around taking my words to distance, may be too far a place where my promises once made sense to you; where I promised that I would walk with you all the way to the end, I would hold you unto me all along and so on.

There must be someone else too somewhere, Watching the same star at the same time in the very same night! So must be there someone on a shiny day too, watching the same pile of cloud, perhaps from the other side of the earth, or may be on the very next terrace! You never know! It's just a remarkable coincidence of no logical reason!

I could be that someone, if you could ever be that 'someone else' and watch what exactly I watch and stare at what exactly I stare at. I find no other way to tell you that, what it's like to be someone who could never keep his words, and no other way to let you know that, there's not a day in my life goes by I don't feel regret.

Terrace space is always a free space. People use it differently. Some of my friends make phone calls on the terrace, behaving completely detached from their immediate surroundings, even forgetting on which part of the earth they walk. Some others do exercise sometimes. And I can see these all the time; but I would prefer to stare at that lonely bright star at night and that white pile of cloud in the day hoping that you would be somewhere else watching the same star or cloud at the very same moment.

I think I just miss something I never had! Don't ask me how I can miss something I never had. I miss it, I miss it all the time and this is the least of it!

Missing has so far been an obsession; never happened up to its intensity. But now when all of a sudden, stars in the night and clouds in the day along with its companionship blown away in the blink of an eye! And that's how you realize missing is for real; forcing us to keep pretty much to ourselves or rather forces me to keep much to myself to be specific.

Someone would struggle to transform this private feeling of aloofness to a decent, civilized and conveyable public language; because I find 'missing' is so persistent and the only way to overcome it, is to surrender and submit to it.

Weatherman's promise seems to make no difference this time too! There was no cloud in the evening and no stars in the night either. A dark sky made it all, remarkably usual as it always. Bad luck again I guess!

Weatherman, a bad man always; never bothers to keep his promises!

I hope your days and nights are as beautiful as they have been in my dreams and promises I made once.

You keep reading me, for what I hate the most would be the writings of mine which you read not!! So as I made you promise to me once; you keep reading it; as I may not be able to predict what would be my last word to you; you keep reading every bit of it.

Since there is no cloud in the evening and no star in the night, I am no longer able to make it this time too. I couldn't keep my promise. this is no longer a night here, It's almost dawn and it is too late; but still I apologize for promising you again, that I would continue to write.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Ruben!

It was supposed to be my day; but they had all the fun. Paul was singing ‘shervone koraale’! Dominick was dancing with Eric and Basith. By the time Lashak made ‘Druvzuska’ cakes and apple pies. And it was almost dark outside. Before we finished cakes, delivery arrived! Chicken and chips for all! And we celebrated the day, for it was on that day I got a call from ‘Amazon’. And an additional job was always luck.

Ruben was not there. I had asked him to come over for the day. But he couldn't make it as he was not well. He was happy about my Amazon job when I called him and asked me; if I remember the days when we carried a bundle of resumes every time with us, and dropped copies everywhere in Luton, Milton Keynes, Dunstable and High town. Job hunting kept us busy always. Finally Ruben got a call from ‘Sports Direct.com’ at Coventry. We spent some busy days and moments of uncertainty together.

He said missing those days. And that made me feel sad and I said “those days will be forever missed and never forgotten; and hope you would get better soon.”

Ruben and I did ‘job hunting’ together. Job hunting was not an academic time pass; it was part of university life; like assignments and seminars.

One afternoon Ruben took me to Milton Keynes. He said he had an appointment there. And a part time job was knocking around. He was not sure about the number of vacancies but knew that they were recruiting people, so thought of taking me along, to make it together.

It was high time that we hardly took any rest after the classes, spending everyday out searching for a part time job. And we both were desperate that we received no calls.

We met with Fred, the floor manager in ‘Honey Top’. He asked us to leave a copy of our CV, Passport and NI number with the lady receptionist. He took us to a hall where we were asked to wear a long white coat, hygiene caps and safety boots.

It was a huge factory! And freezing inside! There I saw a lot of people in different lines doing the same job all the time. Making the sandwich! The belts in each line were carrying neatly placed bread. They were filling different varieties of vegetables, sauces and mayonnaise on top of them.
The belts moved so fast that they couldn't make it sometimes. They even missed one or two slices! They made mistakes by filling wrong sauce or wrong piece of vegetable.

I saw a man there, walking slowly all over the place, looking around and checking dispatch lot and shouting often. He was not wearing white like others. The people he was handling and shouting at often didn't understand what they were doing. They made mistakes, struggled to keep up. But for him, in there, it was simple and easy. He walked freely; relaxed whenever he wanted. He gave instructions and earned respect. And many among them would certainly hope that, one day they could be that man. He acted like a real hero supervising many people.

When we came out in the same hall, taking his caps off, Ruben said he liked the place. And he was interested in night shifts. Milton Keynes was just one hour drive from our university. And if we take a weekly pass its almost affordable in ‘Arriva’ (Bus service). Ruben was already ahead calculating even the expenses and savings. I was not sure about getting a chance as I was not asked to pop up by Fred; neither did I have an appointment.

Fred was verifying passport and NI (National Insurance) number in his office. Ruben was called in. It took almost ten minutes to finish the interview. Interview means explaining whatever we saw earlier inside; hygiene, safety and some other basic instructions. When they ask; “Any Questions” interview is over.

How was it? I asked him when he came out.

Forget it; Ruben said.

When I asked ‘why’; he said, “They have only one vacancy at the moment”

I asked him “Is that a reason to forget it?”

Ruben was quick to reply and he said; the guy who gave him the reference told him that it was not that difficult to make it for both of us; because they need shop floor laborers all the time. And that was the reason why Ruben took me with him to Milton Keynes. And he felt bad that Fred wasn't ready to take two.

Fred came out and told me not to worry as he had my CV with him and said he would definitely make a call whenever a vacancy comes up. That wasn't unfair from his side.

Ruben was asked to show up on coming Thursday.

Any way Ruben did forget it; he decided not to take that offer; though he shouldn't have done that. But I couldn't forget it. This is how I would remember Ruben always.

Ruben was my batch mate; we studied different subjects but attended classes in the same floor. We became friends on a Halloween day at the students center. I hope wherever he is; he is doing good and making good friends.

And now when I got a call from Amazon, they decided to celebrate it, for Amazon job didn't require me to shift from Luton. Amazon wasn't far and they were happy for me.

‘Shervone Koraale’ was at its best of times. Everyone was singing it and everything was fine except, Ruben couldn't attend the great ‘Amazon party’.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

An Extended Existence


Proclaim! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created man out of a mere clot of congealed blood!

Obsessed or not obsessed really matters. When you doubt your memories; obsessions do what a ventilator does when you are medically vegetative. It gives hope, time and assistance to extent the existence. It gives an option to rewind and restart. And it gives a chance to repeat and reappear. And an unimaginable repeated reappearance begins to build existence.

Why do we have ventilators in our hospitals? It makes an extension; perhaps a mechanical extension of existence. And therefore it creates an external subsistence. And it gives hope of recurrence and survival. And hope at times gives everything. And your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are all about that hope.
An extended existence is always conditional, limited and restricted. But the hope is unconditional, unlimited and uninterrupted.

So, when you are obsessed and persistently double checking things; you create an extended existence of your own alter ego. When you doubt your memories and continuously double check what you have done, like me, you are obsessed too. And no one would ever tell you that; whatever you have done is absolutely well done.
I can see only repeated reappearance and persisting sameness everywhere. As if I am trapped in an impassable maze; which is dangerously confusing.

Wherever I walk and whatever I see force me to rewind to the beginning, to double check and to realize, how tiring is this treacherous confusion!
But it is nothing but hope that makes it repeat. The hope for a fresh beginning; without doubting memories, makes us to rewind it. But it repeats the doubt and makes everything reappear. And an obsessed one would always be in a maze, which is an impassable one; which will be forever confusing and never be solved.
An obsessed one may not reach the destination of hope. But hope will insist him to rewind and recheck. Hope will make him sick and helpless.

There is a fringe of accessibility in obsession; beyond which no psychic vibration can really answer you, if you ask, am I really gone nuts? And once you infringe the boundary; you would even refuse to ask, am I really sick? And when you realize that you trespass the sacred obsessions; you would forget to ask, am I really a goner already? Rest is freedom. And you realize that you are no longer obsessed and free at last.

And what you need is everlasting peace and prayer.

All praises due to Allah, Lord of all words; The one God to whom praise is due forever.



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Silence of the Lizards

I used to believe that god has given each and every living being a fair potion of grief and solitude in a life time. But I don’t feel it anymore; because I think lizards on my wall have had more than their share. They are terribly alone, sad and suspiciously slow. It seems that they are being confined to an insurmountable solitude and a perpetual grief.

I sometimes think that, they are wasting their entire life by being extremely alert all the time. Some other times, when I see them staring relentlessly, I feel that they are waiting for ‘someone’, without knowing who is that ‘someone’ and when and why is he coming anyway?!

Their never ending surveillance and uncompromising observation even without blinking at harsh tube lights is bit scary sometimes. For it appears to me, to be an ‘informed waiting’ for an approaching destiny; which will be an unbeatable one, for sure. They crawl to a slow and refrain from making any noise; and move as if they encountered a terrible bad omen. They look scared and spreading scary silence all around all the time.

Now I know how much solitude is too much; because I see it every day with scaring silence of the lizards. Even if there are two lizards on the wall, they are apart. There is an illusion of separation which divides the wall and makes them apart. Each of them seems to be the sole survivor of an apocalypse or a holocaust and abandoned after having lost everyone and everything.

The enduring silence persists all along, and day by day I get used to it. There are different ways to be brave and different ways of being brave. And I believe that, they are brave being silent; and persisting silence will bring endless endurance, to both of us.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Ayo

Ayo was my good friend. She used to give me good movies and sometimes selected songs of 'Boney M'. "Still I am Sad" reminds me off Ayo singing in the kitchen in a bright, pleasant and extremely fresh Sunday morning.

I played music every evening since she left '59 Tavistock Street'. And in that evening, 'Boney M' was singing 'still I am sad'.
"Now I found the wind is blowing time into my heart
When the wind blows hard we are apart
Still I am sad"
And I just slept off.

It was Ayo’s boyfriend who woke me up. He came to collect Ayo's letters.
I gave him all the letters addressed to Ayo since she left Tavistock Street.

Late in the evening is not really a good time to wake up. But before even forced to realize that lonely ‘nowhereness’; it should have been understood that; it is not really good an idea to sleep late in the afternoon.

Ayo was my good friend; and she left Tavistock Street last year. And after that, there was hardly any music heard early in the morning. And weekends remained lazy and lethargic. She used to make 59 Tavistock Street pleasant and maintained it till the time she left. She used to play ‘Boney M’ and ‘Akon’ every morning. She asked me not to cook during Christmas eves and New Year nights. She used to make ‘Concoction rice’ and her special ‘Plantain cakes’ for me. I remember, she likes Chinua Achebe very much as someone well-known from her place. She used to give me old classic movies. But during week days I hardly met her.

Ayo came to 59 Tavistock Street long before I did. She was not the first one I met when I moved in. It was Falu; And he actually welcomed me to 59 Tavistock Street with his own way of strange smile. He smiled at me and said “my pleasure” when I said “nice to meet you Falu”. He used to visit me often even after he shifted to Canary Wharf. And I often asked Tomy, Falu’s one and only sister, if she hears from Falu recently.

Late in the evening I would always find it difficult to figure things out. Everything appears strange and scary late in the evening. And I feel it a time when you realise the intensity with which you committed to memories. You would find yourself terribly homesick. And the worst part is perhaps that, sun sends strange lights that peep in to windows making weird shadows of shapeless edges.

I don’t remember the first movie Ayo has given me; but it was ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, she gave me last time.

One night when it started snowing in Tavistock Street, it was Ayo who called me down and said ‘it is all white out there’ already. And when I looked outside it was like cotton balls floating all around. That day I heard the sound of silence for the first time in my life, and the silence was remarkable and uninterrupted and that December lasted long with the silence of the snow.

Ayo’s boyfriend was happy and said ‘it was from bank and O2 (mobile service provider) you would get maximum letters on a regular basis. He left saying he would probably pop in next month. I asked him to tell Ayo that I would definitely miss her ‘Plantain cake’ this December.

It is no longer an evening now; it is almost night. And shades would certainly have some shapes. Tommy was getting ready to leave for night mass. It was already dark out there in the Tavistock Street. And I think this time I really miss my friend.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Obsessions

Obsession is no longer about double checking things sometimes. Obsession is the willingness to commit to the memories and the reluctance to forget. And obsession is the acknowledgment of the repeated reappearances of the past. Many a time obsessions give a pause to all reliefs and make way for the reappearances of certain encounters, disappointments and even helplessness of the past. And in a state of being obsessed, memories would refuse to stop haunting us.

Obsession is not upsetting thoughts that appear frequently, anymore. Obsession is the compliance of genuine courtesy to the past we left behind. Everything we see, whatever we hear and wherever we walk is another sequence of repeated reappearances. Obsession is the willingness to accept the similarities. Everybody is obsessed and forced to feel déjà vus all the time.

I am obsessed, and if you are obsessed too; never be reluctant to commit to the memories. It is the obsession which makes us believe that we too have loved once and we too have walked that way and we too have lived and we too have the right to be remembered. And obsession makes us reluctant to forget. And we exist for we refuse to forget.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Silence of the Snow

Surprise that, Orhan Pamuk came to Tavistock Street on 22 July. And asked me not to remember the year, for later it would perhaps appear nonsense to realize that, he gave me his 'Museum of Innocence' even before he actually started to write it.

It was a strange dream. I was watching Pamuk's interview and his speech after having received the Nobel prize; and just slept off.

I don't know the reason for all my dreams being strange and eccentric.

It was a birthday gift. And I was quite sure that nobody would get it as a birthday gift at least for next five years. So it was a unique gift; rather the only gift I would refuse to thank for. But I told him that I know the fact that acknowledging an ‘act of giving’ like this is a gentleman act. When he was about to leave, I scribbled on the wall; I may be obscure, dubious or even irresolute; but I would never be reluctant to remember and commit to memory.

It was Ayo’s boyfriend who woke me up. I gave him all the letters addressed to Ayo since she left Tavistock Street. And Pamuk was still on the screen thanking his readers and well-wishers after having received ‘Nobel prize’. And he was concluding by saying that “he writes; for he is afraid of being forgotten”. Since battery was almost empty I plugged it in once again.

Late in the evening is not really a good time to wake up. But before even forced to realize that lonely ‘nowhereness’; it should have been understood that; it is not really good an idea to sleep late in the afternoon.

Ayo left Tavistock Street last year. And after that, there was hardly any music heard early in the morning. And weekends remained lazy and lethargic. She used to make 59 Tavistock Street pleasant and maintained it till the time she left. She used to play ‘Boney M’ and ‘Akon’ every morning. She asked me not to cook during Christmas eves and New Year nights. She used to make ‘Concoction rice’ and her special ‘Plantain cakes’ for me. She liked Chinua Achebe very much as someone well-known from her place. She used to give me old classic movies. But during week days I hardly met her.

Ayo came to 59 Tavistock Street long before I did. She was not the first one I met when I moved in. It was Falu. And he actually welcomed me to 59 Tavistock Street with his own way of strange smile. He smiled at me and said “my pleasure” when I said “nice to meet you Falu”. He used to visit me often even after he shifted to Canary Wharf. And I often asked Tomy, Falu’s one and only sister, if she hears from Falu recently.

Pamuk always find it difficult to pronounce certain words. ‘Civilization’ was a classic example. He talks like a child sometimes, and appears extremely humble in interviews. Late in the evening I would always find it difficult to figure things out. Everything appears strange and scary late in the evening. And I feel it a time when you realise the intensity with which you committed to memories. You would find yourself terribly homesick. And the worst part is perhaps sun sends strange lights that peep in to windows making weird shadows of shapeless edges.

I don’t remember the first movie Ayo has given me; but it was ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, she gave me last time. One night when it started snowing in Tavistock Street, it was Ayo who called me down and said ‘it was all white out there’ already. And when I looked outside it was like cotton balls floating all around; and the silence was remarkable and uninterrupted and that December lasted long with the silence of the snow.

Ayo’s boyfriend was happy and said ‘it was from bank and O2 (mobile service provider) you would get maximum letters on a regular basis. He left saying he would probably pop in next month. I asked him to tell Ayo that I would definitely miss her ‘Plantain cake’ this December.

Pamuk concluded his speech in Stockholm Concert Hall. And I switched it off and thought of watching it next time when he visits me in my sleep. It is no longer an evening now; it is almost night. And shades would certainly have some shapes. Tommy was getting ready to leave for night mass. It was already dark out there in the Tavistock Street. And I think this time I miss my friend.