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.