We were walking on a street somewhere. A great deal of dialogue had passed between us. He knew I had come to know how to wear clothes that defined a style. He had eyed a person—who too was waiting like me—with sly disgust when he had entered the room. I was watching from the opposite side and the tight wooden-glass door—used especially with an air-conditioned room—closed for some minutes.

I too had been in his place a few years ago. I did not worry about what quality of fabric one should be carrying in such places. I too had sweat that I used to carry to such places which were almost out of my reach. I did so not because I wanted a piece of the finest cake but a clearance as to how a life could be shaped. Such offices had that invisible power over many to carve their lives and I knew not their working history in detail but I knew they were the only ones who could lend one a card to better life.

I had been rejected all the time because I was naive and did not have peculiar interests. Certainly it was the kind of tongue filled with certain words that I did not have because no one had taught me how to carry it. Neither did I have an inheritance of finest ways to see the world.

The guy who had entered in the room was already perspiring and his underarms had left big blotches of wetness on the outer side of his cream chequered shirt. It was a low quality fabric and he smelled of fresh soap used by most of the lower middle class. There was a washroom on the right side of the hall and he did go inside to wash his face with water and dried it with his sweat carrying white handkerchief. His hair was oiled.

He came out after few minutes and the door closed behind him. He did not look at me but started walking towards the stairs in a slightly embarassed manner. No one could see him. He was dead for others in the manner I was once upon a time. In such situations a person usually fights silently for a space not to breathe—which is easy—but to live and know more about life. There is a history that such faces carry and it is to overcome them. Yet they meet blurred lines and closed doors. The first stage is not the first stage of nascent beginnings where everyone can participate. Its true meaning is known by those who have already tasted all stages beforehand throughout their lives. They do not lack confidence, merely a shiver for a while they can have. They are conditioned and nourished in care and with responsibility.

I went inside the office. I still had that past of lowness within me even though I had bathed in finest lather of a medium quality in the morning at my budget hotel. I had a healthy face now which seemed to hide it partially. It is a wonder and a fact that countenance is synonymous to how less scars and spots you have on your face. It erases anxiety. I might have, in my memory, carried the past but I knew it was acceptable now that I had worked on myself. Importantly on ways to carry a dialogue and to say things that webbed another in a constant amusement. I was a writer.

We were walking on a street somewhere. This was the dream that I had. He did not say it in the office but the word was out on his sleeves. He said it clearly as we stopped for a while:

“You will not get it.”


 

And Said A Child Has Come

 
Alone I sing and laugh. I dance. It is a cure. The only cure. Not all day but I manage in average possibilities when burdens are blocked awhile.

I

The child is always creative, it is a bubbly creature with nothing to worry about. It has ears that are full of stories pleasant and games joyful that it keeps running in a circular motion on the mother earth until it tires itself. It is a strong emotion against reality of now. Its days are limited as always. The circle eternal of Picasso ends. An adult you become, ears receive pain. Sensitive too much you have become, ears receive pain. Irresponsible being, do you know how to live in a society?

II

To aim for higher prospects living in a small town is a feeling of complete alienation. Why do you have to arrive here? There is world outside of blocks that are free. Why here? You compete with yourself but the eyes of others keep on looking at you as if you were someone else. As if you did not belong here and then you know you cannot belong anywhere. The meaning of home dies.

There is constant sorrow.

III

Having felt it too close, I remain. To belong nowhere. To not know what questions are allowed. To know what questions are not. To feel discord in the world and the self. To belong nowhere. To feel uprooted, being unable to belong anywhere being at home. Neither traditional community nor modern society, I become empty. What nation, what culture. Complete erasure. Black slate. Morality and vulgarity. In the middle you are lost. Choose one or the other. Do not stay in-between, say many.

How to rethread I ask and sound at once like an artificial person trying to learn things anew knowing that the results are the same. Loneliness. Loneliness. Loneliness. After. Solitude. I had met grief even before I arrived at home to know that it was and it was not. It allowed me to live and so I write here on this page on this very line that I leave with a dot now.

Visuals in text. Text on visuals one needs. What a wretched life it must be. Depart. Depart. Go. Leave. Will you?
 

An Old Moon

  

It was sublime orange
A walk when I had with two
To a beach of home

A sharp feeling of wreckage
Crossed the mind and anxiety
Lapped and hurled across the shoreline

There the orange turned red
Paving way for weight of life

And it was love later
Found in lanes of cliché
Where it went to look
For not a horse but a home another
On grounds that the body compelled
For no reason to win but to fail

So it is coming from there—the fuel
That it knows on which it can run
To live and lie
Beyond what is found

 

Language of Man

 

What remains ever and so
Is that what is written that is spoken

Moving through time altering forms
Breaking the canoe of letters anew each time
Shredding apart the voices unaligned

Until we meet a truth that lies on a lie
And what remains ever and so
Is that silence.

 

A Long Remembrance

  

Act – I

Lalita arrives.

The bell is rung. School departs. Telio comes out. Lalita had been waiting for him near the low parapet, musing away in her memories, her fingers tracing the sole central pillar. Telio moves towards her. Stands still.

Lalita: You did not tell me how it comes. Last night, on the idiot box I heard they were going to cut it out from the next budget session.

Telio: Students passing by them. What were you teaching to them?

Lalita: There was this historic segment today. I had to flush my level, even so it became a tyranny at times to tell them that two facts were not two but one. I finished them early today.

Telio: You know, you generalize quickly. Let them decide how many. That is why you heard that news while I was not even aware about it. You are making me uncomfortable now. He keeps rolling his fingers in the pocket, albeit Lalita knows but could not tell him how annoyed she felt seeing this.

Lalita: Strongly taps him on the left arm. Why I think so. Ah! It could have been better if I had made them write both the facts in their native language. Yet, this does not answer my question. You are just giving up your ears with that excuse. And now you are talking as if you are actually giving them speares for their life.

Telio: Arrgh! You have it—to make me a cretin like as if I did not know how hard it becomes when I speak about atoms and particles on the same pitch. They prick my ears now.

Lalita looks dissipated while running her hands behind her back to scratch an itch.

Lalita and Telio depart after their monotonous recitation of each day. They are private-aided teachers to this school, founded on the principles of Gomti Mata who used to live in the nineteenth century and belonged to a clan of Koli. Koli’s thrived in their lives running from one taadi tree to another. In the evening they used to come while collecting half-filled pot of neer. Men and Women drank until they felt satiated. Gomti was a child then and she could drink four tiny cups to her heart’s brim. She went on to become a brave woman. Children and men alike passed their regards to her, either through pure neer or a chanting mind.

Outskirts. On a quiet riverbed near Sarangi, mosquitoes were taking their rounds. It had become a nest of soreness, yet aloof people came to spend their time. Telio and Lalita knew the place but out of sheer tendency to hide under covers after eight, they did not visit. The atmosphere still had a tinge of airiness filled with neer and bidi. Lalita enters a line in her diary and shuts off the day: the base of requiem is truly known by the hysteric.

Act – II

It is spring now. There are no flowers in the school compound. The garden is yet to be cultivated unlike the village running on ample stretch of mogri. Telio and Lalita will be leaving the village soon to go for another one. It was their bond which had grown with a fine tradition of sharing a common goal—true education. Lalita and Telio have arrived early to clear administrative work. They are both elegantly shuffling the files and entering proper accounts of received payments, salaries, committee grants, attendance roll. Only the flapping of files is heard clearly, their voices run parallel to each set.

Lalita: puts down the tea glass. Almost sleeps on the papers. What do you think about the future of this village? Will it remain as ever without changing its core principles of community threshold?

Telio: without eyeing her. He continues his work. I don’t know. It is possible to imagine a peaceful coexistence. It is just a hunch.

Lalita: Why do you intuit always. It seems as if you waste a lot of time on the hightable of science. Never you give me a concrete one.

Telio: Ah! Forget it. You will come to love it I know. See. This reminds me of someone. He holds a page and touches it over and again. Do you remember Kunika—the girl from Hamao?

Lalita: in dreamy eyes. Kunika could be the one who led your heart away.

Telio: Oh! Stop. You see, you never remember our classmates. You remember she was slapped by that magical Fera once.

Lalita: That who was full of marks?

Telio: Yes. You know that at least. The ranker in our times. Such an arrogant child—me, me, me. Even the whole school lapped her up with awards.

Lalita: Why are you becoming like a mad horse? Where are you running to?

Telio: ignores the comment. Leave that talk for another time, even you are becoming like her now as I see. You do not remember that event even though we were having a fine talk on Chikoora’s music beat. We were sitting in the bus, waiting to depart for home.

Lalita: Why do you make something so digressive. Come to the point for you are taking me down to a lane long ignored for fourteen years. Gives into the temptation. See, I know how Chikoora played his flute—I can never forget that melodious soar. It is like a flow and it is becoming still in my heart as days go by.

Telio: Ha ha. Chikoora did have that fluid tune. I remember once we were playing shakti-shaktimaan, and he wore a plastic bag on his face and suddenly started whirling on the low parapet. We were eight then.

Lalita smiles.

Telio: After three-four moves, he fell in the black greasy pond. Even before I could laugh he rose up and ran away in the home to wash his comedy. Everyone in the family enjoyed that show of his.

Lalita: becomes happily-sad. Why oh why. I miss that play now. It was joy then you see, he also used to speak in that funny English accent—a direct import from the tv set. He kept his sisters amused by doing that videsi curved lips.

Telio: confusingly sad. I remember. I hated that really. That is why I had washed it away from my tongue when I learnt through an empirical study on innate quality of inheriting the principles of native language while learning another one.

Lalita: smirks. You always like to show what you found eh. I agree Chikoora was seduced by that language, but why are you forgetting that later he went to Vatika and started a university based on an expressive algorithm. He even removed the barrier of language and like a true artist, he went with his melodious flute to creolize the essence of local community unlike you. She observes a file and waits for a while. Before again opening her ears.

Telio: I know. I wanted that too but I had things to do. I had to jump in science because it gave me the pleasure of teaching modes of physics experiments with an Albertian essence. That old lucky chap was so flushed with dynamics of hair-growing impulse on his tongue. It amazes me how well he laboured for humanity when he said that one-day wars will happen with sticks and stones. I see a positive googly by him. How beautiful, Lalita, it would be if this village remains as pure as it is. Finishes the last file of the heap. Clears clutter on the desk. Fixes his gaze on the daylight pirouetting through the back window curtain.

Lalita feels disinterested. Cheers Telio again.

Lalita: What did you have today?

Telio: Overnight chapatis. Why?

Lalita: I figured, then it is alright. Because you seem to lose your tongue these days.

Telio: What is wrong with my tongue? Have I cut open anyone’s wound or what?

Lalita: Ah! This I like. Retaliation. You are made for that, Teelu. Only your digressive tongue runs a havoc when you start sharing your pseudo-science table.

Telio: I know. I could have taught English better than you. Fate remained and with no Vatika, I was devoured by English academia for their filth. Therefore, the more I detest this language the more easily I can teach them science.

Lalita: Detest as much you like, but leave open the lush morale of humanities.

Telio: I never got that sense like you. I could never. After all the years of corrupting myself with sordid affairs of letters. In basics, I love it. Like a grandma telling stories to little ones.

Lalita: Well in time, you must engage me for one night. I would love to sleep hearing your lori. Hurrying her eyes, putting remarks on the roll.

Telio: Indeed. But before that we might have to leave this place for good. We must not run as shadows in this pure light.

Lalita: It is so. Aha. So, this is where you were taking me—when you asked me about Kunika? Finishes the attendance records and snobs at the pen, murmuring something.

Telio: Ah! Indeed the devil tongue it is, as you say. I forgot. It was during that bus ride, I saw Fera slapping her without any reason. Poor she, accepted it so calmly and shockingly, that I felt for her. She is the one who is going to Nepal this year. She will maintain this small abode after doing her PhD.

Lalita: On whose grace is she doing this?

Telio: Last I heard, a grant was referred to her by me. She might have got the price.

Lalita: How long have you known her?

Telio: A year before we came here.

Lalita: In five years you never told me. I wonder whether I really know you at all. It is jealousy, you understand?

Telio: Come, grow up. You are too much faded by poets and drama. You have not known human touch for long—apart from me. Tell me, why did you leave that man whom you met in Rimka?


Lalita: So it is my ascetic nature that bothers you, Mr Telio? Let it be. Pastness is a flavour that enriches me nonetheless. Rubs her palm over her face like a child.

Telio: A stubborn child. I can tell Kunika will survive in this place.

Lalita: She would with all your love.

Telio leaves for his class. Lalita clears her table. Books and pens are shelved again for the thirtieth time in nine days. In a month, they will be heading towards a new project in Filooda region—a distant countryside in the dense forest of Vanikkar community. Leaving their third child, they aspire to survive at least for other three decades.

Act – III

Rooheena comes forward, leans on the table and sleeps for long hours. Shiva leaves for a long night walk. The tape recorder is burning till its neck. It had been running since last night. The new morning in Kulchha might arrive with hope for them. Their chancing upon similar recorder for the eighth time in different schools made them healthy. She felt Kunika in her blood. Next morning, Shiva paid a visit to Kunika’s grave and remembered his days of adolescence when he wanted to flee away for another country.

Later, in their investigation in Krushipur, Roohina came to know why Kunika did not arrive then. Someone else had arrived and so on it went. Roohena and Shiva are lonesome wolfs of night and day, metamorphosing from one skin to another. As community-oriented teachers, they habitually tackle their only gift—the tape recorder set repeating the same thing—for filing cases next day in the court. Tomorrow they will not only open the closed chapter of Dharti Prakash Vidyalaya but in afternoon will also rush for its third annual day event at three.
 

Extinction

 

If you come ever
know that the derailed lane
brims on mosquitoes, gutters and flies

If ever you think to come
learn how hushes and gasps
narrate being unto their webs
remembering that this line is not a body here
neither a letter an agency

If you come ever and need to stay
try to know why dead bodies live here
to breathe from a gap, a hole

that is not magical but a surrendering sight.