Hi. || Hi. || Is it you? || Yes, I am. || You look different. || Should I have been same? || Mmm… I don’t know. But you have my color. || In setting auburn, yes. || But it still looks content on your skin; that color – like a sheet of fine, wet porcelain covering a tired, antique statue. || And you look dazed, as if an army of nebulous thoughts have held you captive. || Is it so evident? || Yes. || I met a few people – Bernard, Susan, Louis… || …Jinny, Neville and Rhoda. I know. || Do you remember them? || They never left me. || Even after so many years? || Time has shuffled what was detached from me; what was within me, was always out of its reach. || So it all begun from where I stand. || And it walked with you till where I stand. || In the same form? || In what form you say? || I don’t know. But it feels like my mind and body dissolved its hinges and fused into that of those six people who combed through life with the precision of a surgeon… || …and the flamboyance of an artist. They let their vial overflow and got injected into your veins, sprucing your limp persona to rise like a volcanic sapling, splashing your vision with hues, bunched and scattered. You became them and you permitted it. || How could I not? Were you not present when we picked abandoned pebbles of insecurities on the way and held them hidden in our clothes of opaque vanity? Were you not a witness to the swinging that erupted from our trees of longing, long enough to allow crystallization with birches of affection in our hair? Would you deny the scene where we luxuriated at the thought of being serenaded by that young traveler, eventually kissing the rutted soil that he kicked with his indifferent boots on his voyage away from us? Were you not a secret enthusiast when we paused to bite into the luscious fruits of solitude only to experience a lonely taste hijacking our mouths in the most nauseous of sensations? Did you not skip a beat at the sight of us, lain ambushed behind the currant trees of ambition that were trimmed by parental legacy exposing our being to a twisted life bearing resemblance to an encumbered ball of alien proclivity? Did you not? || I did. With apprehension. And with h… || Then why did you not stop us? Stop ME? || Because amid everything, I saw you with hope. And revitalizing continuity. I am not surprised you let the streams of incredulity flow into the six, for they made the river that I am today. || But the streams were fledgling! Didn’t you see? In the vast ocean of my life, our pulses flickered like inconsolable dreams; now made and now thrashed. We were young, confused, hopeful, repulsive, always standing by the window of expectation, ready to be swept away even under the winds of anonymity and recklessness. We could not say the good from the bad. If only a wedge named Percival could have stood on our fertile surfaces, we could have perhaps…. || …not lived the life that you did. But who is to say what life we have to make? Isn’t life what we can capture in a diary and sing as a song? Isn’t it the crisp bed we lie on after a day of hard work? Why else should…. || …Life is not the view from the perch of simplicity that you elucidate in eloquence. The rules of the society are painted in huge, black letters on the wall that envelop our breathing. And they are not erasable. || But interpretable. || Perhaps. Did I do a good job interpreting it? Did I read the rules and still make mine? Inserting a letter here and recoloring a word there? Have I ever come close to understanding life? Ever? || Well, in the suns that rise and moons that melt, we found meaning of life. In the rains that drench and frost that shrivels, we found meaning of life. I have bathed in the sun-kissed day that danced in your bright eyes and you have shivered in the wintriness of my hunched shoulders. I have collected the shells you shed in the corners of your bed when no one was looking and you have swung the lilies from the roof I lay prostrate on to lull the world beneath. I have stood witness when you opened the doors to stray dogs and cats and learnt the art to welcome a stranger when it was time. You have shared my marks of jealousy like an unhealed wound that acts as the reminder of impending tests spurting from the corners of our aspirations. I walked along with you on the path of love and loss, family and friends, victory and failures, reality and drama and never lost sense of the road. The road, this road, that you have been asked to traverse, that I have traversed in its unevenness, coarseness, unpredictability and lengthiness, is a lullaby that tampers with our sensory beams and evokes reactions not written in our palms. You say I stand like an antique statue? Well, I have learnt over my dainty walks and strained tapping that empty eyes speak the loudest. And the stoic porcelain continues to draw figures on my body that no one, but my silent eyes, can decipher. When the sun hides behind the restless waves and the white foam strips its light into shadows, I can still make a drawing in the sand and not be worried of its fate. || Even in its transience, there is meaning? || Yes. In its transience, there is meaning. Because there are memories. I am afraid if I were to render form to memories, I would view it as a long vestibuled train which rearranges its compartments to derive a faster, nimbler run but never coughs enough steam to disengage any one of them. You see, memories are creations. And there is no better role to acquire than that of a creator. The very best. || But being a creator is also a bane; sometimes he has to let fall the axe on what is unacceptable. || But what pride would you have if you never created anything on your own? You love your warm coffee in the morning and the soft pillow at night. But try giving space to a fading rose in your vase; or a rumpled shawl on your shoulders. Perhaps, you can draw a familiar aroma or feel an acquainted warmth. And if you get neither, don’t fret; they get magically synthesized into memory pearls that keep dotting the steady and sinking steps you take on the shore of life, much like navigators to lead you where you truly belong. || Would they be illuminating forever? || Indeed. || That is a resuscitating relief. But… You look different. || Do I? || Yes. Wait! Is it you? || Yes, I am you.
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