Driving it Home

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The car is floating on the water. The wheels are moving faster than how much the driver is pressing them to. The rain is blinding everyone on the road and the traffic doesn't want to admit how slippery the road is.

What is the power that comes with the steering? There is responsibility more. And yet for some, it's an exhilarating experience. It's as calming as the first, deep inhalation of that smoke you've been yearning for since morning. When the hands grip the wheel, gears turn inside the driver and he knows he has instantly become more superior than he was before.

When he has the means to go anywhere he wants to, he does exactly that. He changes his life and starts counting places. He knows the city like the back of his hand. If he is running short of time, he'll take shortcuts that will baffle him more than anyone else. He knows the routes. He's becoming sharper.

He finds increasing confidence of people in him. Only a few years ago they'd step in gingerly, but now they don't even think about that issue. In fact, nobody pays attention to the fact that he's driving. Sometimes, he doesn't too. 

And, yet, when the car is gliding on the puddles of water, when she asks him to be careful when he returns alone, he remembers how that sudden warmth of the blanket feels when he's fallen asleep on the sofa and his mother covers him up at night. He remembers the afternoons where he'd bathe late by the veranda and the winter sun would dry his little frame when he was done. 

There is enough power in everything around him to jolt his head to attention and remind him how time moves. Every single detail has a secretive narration that can make him busy for hours. If he wants to make use of this fact, all he has to do is sit down and read it up like a book. Even the drops of water from the rain running off from the windshield have a story, care to listen?

Checkpoints ask you to stop, wait, look around, and then proceed with assurance. The ultimate goal is to remember the feeling, not the facts. They'll be the ones which will surface now and then, bobbling up beside the ferry, seeking attention, but so patiently.

Doubt

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In tasteless cold night,
The cover of stars in sight.
I wipe the moonlit dish,
Of the single neglected wish.

Again morning I wake,
With aplenty promises fake.
Today we'll cook things new,
Today I'll watch dreams a few.

Why is the distance sublime,
When it's still thin a line?
Failing when you're a dot,
Smiling with space naught.

Pale Shadows

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There's a secret that he keeps within. It is the strength derived from the secret that makes him go on. It isn't a facade that makes him smile as he lines up the groundnuts before his shop. He is genuinely happy for himself.

His lips are moving to nobody in particular. One might assume he's talking to himself but there's no talk either. He's laughing under his breath. His lips are quivering as breath escapes him in short bursts.

Why do we assume that a man wearing a muddy rag, squatting on the side of the road, spreading groundnuts on his towel, not more than five kilos of them, would be sad with the state of his life? I found it hard to look at him when I approached him from a distance as I sweated profusely under the hot sun.

It was only until I actually faced him that I noticed that his eyes were shining. And disturbingly, it perplexed me to no end. I walked on and turned back twice to see if something was amiss. But he was happy throughout the five minutes of my brief witness of him.

Admittedly, I've never been so happy with the way things are. Whichever way I look at myself, I am not satisfied. But that man took a hammer to the wall and brought it down. I'm facing a room full of mirrors that reflect different versions of me.

All of my reflections come from several points in time. They're waiting. Blinking in tandem. What does it take for me to realize what's worth being happy, they mean to ask. But I'm still stupefied, looking at that man on the road laughing at me.

Somewhere in the room of mirrors is the correct part of me that I would approve to be the fittest to be joyous for. But why do I need a room of mirrors at all? What is wrong with the present version of me? And why is that man still laughing!