Welcome home (Sanitarium)

Airports make me sick. Modern airports leave the walker-by with so many things to gape at, stare at and drool over, that one loses hold of the actual scene in hand. And before you know it you have lost a friend, and a companion, to miles of ocean between you. You have not waved that picture-perfect goodbye that you had practiced all week, you have not said those award worthy lines of parting and you have not smiled once all morning. The shops, the general ambiance, the artwork skewed all across, are very distracting. Someone please take a note, airports should henceforth be designed like hospitals; crisp white walls and dirty floors that ensure that your mind is hung on nothing other than the tragedy that lies ahead of you.

[….]

I was speeding down the highway, a sudden urgency to get back to my current camp. OK! for all those already pointing fingers at me, for being the road-rage consumed beef, I wasn’t driving anything above speed limits, its fast enough to get around in time. The recent loss of my sensible music had left me listening to “classic” rock from The City, whenever did Stayin’ Alive count as classic rock. Now, now, don’t get me wrong again. I love the Bee gees for their pop feel and Stayin’ Alive is unarguably one of the classics that catapulted a bunch of people into stardom, but I digress. So, back to my driving in to town and listening to some mind numbing music. I usually give myself the leeway of letting my thoughts out loose while driving back, especially now that I know the route and the bumps and exits like second trait. It was during one of those thought flooded moments, that I almost jumped off my seat. I must have definitely scared the driver behind me, with that little sway, but the rising moon, up ahead, was a beauty beyond words.

It was comic-book material, huge and crisp white, enhanced by the light blue of the sky. The craters were as clear as pictures in Science text books and the size definitely got me off guard. The moon hadn’t obviously grown in size over the last month, so it was clearly one of those sights I had never seen before. I had to put my camera to some better use right away. I followed the moon down the next half a mile, waiting for the next service area up ahead. I parked in unstated urgency, jumped off my car and frantically looked up above for that bright spot.

It was missing alright. The tree cover and the thick canopy din’t help much either, but I could not locate even the bright light in the sky. I looked around at other passengers, getting off their vehicles to get a drink. Had anybody else seen it at all? Was I hallucinating after all? It had been a tough weekend indeed. But I wasn’t that bad, especially not when I was driving. Right? I walked all across the perimeter of the service station, staring at all directions above me, waiting for that body to come to view.

Unknown to me then, a thick cloud cover had formed above the area, rain laden and dark. Heavy with all its material, it slowly sank closer to ground, engulfing any bright blue of the sky in its stocky grey. I got back on the road, disillusioned by my recent folly. I watched the last streak of blue give in to the rain clouds, and realized that I had seen the first few seconds of the moon rise, before clouds shrouded everything above and beyond.

The whole incident left me stunned and sad in more ways than one. It was like one of those sunrises I had woken up early to watch, only to be met by the thick, dull grey of the clouds. It was a feeling of meeting negatives at every turn we take, every act countered by a stronger, all encompassing force. I felt too mortals for words and rode the rest of my journey in a bewildered silence.

[…]

I slowly sneaked out of my room, bare foot, quickly aware of the wind chill. The drizzle had left the pavements still wet and that added to the wintry feel. I quietly sat down on the steps, snuggled up against the railings, and yet letting the wind freeze me out. There were too many things on my head and the running nose, with its splitting headache hadn’t helped much either. I sat there and stared out aimlessly at the dimly lit parking lot.

First day, two down. That much at least is progressing well enough. I need to keep off all that though. Will need to keep reminding myself of those days and then those other days and that person. That should be enough to fuel me forward steadily. Note to self: Check on how H is doing in this front. First day, twenty new. Decent start. But its time to realize that there are million others out there. So twenty at a time, on a regular basis in required. I verified that the piece of code works. Now I need to check other places where the similar issue exists. Will also need to make sure that the sheet is up to date. That post processing still lacks that one zing I am looking for. Need to start from scratch and check if I get there. Is it time to start P365 already? The weekend deadline is finally here. Don’t want to rush things in the last minute right. Will need to wait for the reviews, spruce up the last one and get going with the filing. Man ghazals make you very introspective!

I let out a deep sigh, collected the complete self together and walked back indoors. Rang the bell to my apartment, opened the door and locked it behind me.

Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope.

Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.

In the end that’s all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth.

In the end that’s all we have: to hold on tight, until the dawn.

– Shantaram.

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Nothing else matters!!!

I would have safely assumed it to be mere coincidence that made my iPod played “Nothing Else Matters”, (If you need to me told sang that, then please go back to school), at those wierdest and saddest moments, times when I needed a hand around my shoulder, listening to my rants. But the strange timing with which the song plays, beating all algorithms that the makers built into song shuffling, makes me think if my iPod had a mind of its own after all.

It had been a dream job, one of those things that drove you onward in times of hell and the cliched rat race that gets you into the system. What if I had another bread earner in hand, a compromise my mind called it. I was too naive then to realize what was it in this one that attracted me, the money, the culture, the brand, beats me! But it had been the place to be and having crossed three rounds of hurdles and having almost been there, with one last round between me and the offer, it seemed too good to be true. The call had to come mid day, an hour’s break in the hostel to let the nerves cool down. We laughed around in light banter, prepared for questions that might arise. The hour turned into two and four, till I eventually heard about the contemporaries who had made it. Clearly I hadn’t. Compromise had to be digested in now, for there might not be another chance afterall. iPod in hand, I let the company lose and walked out to the divine abode. Play – “So close no matter how farrr..!!”

I had let another man break my heart, I had shed my first tears for someone other than my closeknit family. A strange sense of helplessness arose as it sunk in, that I was vulnerable to the world and its plays. As I stood waiting for my ride back home, it hit me hard that the race does not end when one sun sets in. It is run with every rising day, it is a challenge to run for, day in and night out. Play – “Couldn’t get much more from the heart..!!”

A couple of years down the line, I stood at a similar juncture, hurt and pain steaming out of my eyes. As the train pulled in to the station, it dawned on the lame soul that it had become too much of a regular now. The tears rolled down as I walked out of the house, the mind wondering how I could hate someone from the heart, love the same from the pit and never manage to ignore. As each stinging word, demeaning me of going away, pricked, the heart stood there listening, numb to these worldly means of torture. The train pulled off the station, Play – “Forever trusted who we are..!!”

I had woken up a little too early, hadn’t slept at all to be honest. The ghosts had stuck along when I hit the bed, they had followed me through LaLa land and knocked me up in time for the sunrise. And yes, It can never be more perfect than waking up early to a cloudy day. God’s way of beating into you the truth that no matter how hard you try to keep the sunshine riding and the song in the air, there will be days of utter despair. The dull, gloomy ones where there will be no light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining would be yet another delusion and even the birds would take their day off. I look up at the end of the horizon, for any sight of the much needed welcome break. A deep sigh and Play – “And Nothing else matters!!”

The me!

Times when my mind wanders off to neverland. Back to days eternal when the body strolled free. There were no deadlines to be met; no fellow students to beat in competition; no grades to make; no bills to pay. It was the easy path out of troubles. The experienced showed the way and i just walked. A hand held me tight on every path i tread. Every cry was soothed; every mistake was covered up; every dream was attained; Life was bliss alright.

Then times of condititional troubles began. There’d be those times when i would be left astray alone in the world, to defend for myself. Protect my favourite pink toffee from the enemies on my own. No more was my life at peace. Things had to be fought for.

Moved on to times, where there was an array of numbers to distinguish me from the rest of my kind. That girl who stayed 2 points ahead of me was always the loved one. I understood not this system of discrimination, for where we all not from the same roots? The tight comforting hold from the Gods loosened up. I had more trouble swimming those waters. But I learnt.

I won something I knew I dint deserve. A mortal had designed a means of determing my efficiency in sustenance and this so-called system of examination had passed me capable at it with flying colors(As the cliche goes!). They called me an Achiever, and pushed me one step higher.

At this stage, I knew I had done something a lot others of my very own kind hadnt. Had gotten into one of the best tutorings in the city; the few of my kind actually looked up to me. But the mind was lost. What was I doing here.? Was this where the mind wanted to be.? No. The answers were nowhere to be found. And I survived. A bug in a mass. Ran with the crowd, cawed when I heard my neighbour. And they called me an Achiever.

The next day I was into a place I would call my alma mater years down. A place I would go visiting with my offsprings and successors. They took me in coz I was supposed to be just the one for it. But what was I.? God You there..?

It was there that i tasted the sweet bliss in Freedom. I no longer needed the comforting hand to take me around. It hurt to depend. The world was hell and I wanted to survive on my own. Yes.! I needed no support. I could make my changes, call my shots, ride my own wave. I had tasted the life of free will.

Rock ruled. It brought out the liberal me. I could take anything you shouted at me with a composure you never knew of. Some called me a Rebel. Was I wrong to do things my way? Was I wrong to stand on my own and put my shoulder down when I felt the weight.? My head still nods a no. And thats what i did. Be myself.
At the end of this journey, when I look at myself today, I am tired. For I have lost a major part of me. The Free Me. The Real Me. The Me.!