The Weeping Waters

June 29, 2008

Sometimes, in my flashes of forgetting, I couldn’t remember the first time I had slit her skin.

She told me there was no first time. No first of its kind. No beginnings. She introduced me to her realm of déjà vu — where all beginnings kept repeating from time immemorial.

Blood was her expression of déjà vu. Recurrence.

Her blood was strangely cohesive. They sprang from the association of her being, defied the gravity and froze somewhere in the air. They captured a block of air in my room and made a home. When the sunrays touched them, the red droplets kept glowing for a few hours until they turned brown. Drying. The patches kept lingering in intangible spaces of my room. They smelled of the sea.

Her blood was also volatile. I could remove the strains of the brown blood from my undiluted air by simply holding the burning end of my cigarette beneath it. And see them fade like my memories. But I’d never be able to take a puff of those used cigarettes, ever again. Their taste would change. And they smelled of the sea.

In the centre of her solitude, I had found a dusk. The red seawaters. The setting sun. She walked towards it. As I sat on the shore, I watched her from behind. I couldn’t help noticing the details. She walked straight. She moved farther away from me; closer to the sea. Her pace was constant, as was the rhythm of her footsteps. She stepped into the wet sand, then to the shallow waters and then to a place where the waves broke. Slowly, into her unchanging rhythm, I discovered two personal disturbances – One, was the realization that she’d never stop. The other, a question that I needed to ask her.

So, I got up and ran behind her. I reached near her. And even in my ever accumulating forgetting, I remember holding her right palm with my left hand. Perhaps, it’s the instinct. The instinct of feeling her warm skin. The instinct of touching her cold solitude. Her unwavering stance. She didn’t turn her eyes away from the sun, even for once, as I held her hand. She didn’t speak.

And therefore, I started walking with her towards our sun. We walked deeper into the sea.

When the sea had almost reached our neck, the sun suddenly sank completely into the sea, leaving some fading traces of red to the horizon. She suddenly, pulled her hand away from mine and started running towards the shore.

When she reached the shore she set her body free to crumble on the wet sand. As her body fell on the sand, it got fragmented and scattered into the sand. All over the places. I tried to collect the pieces when I reached near her. That was the time too, when I’d ask her the question, for the answer of which, I had wanted to save her. And only for the answer.

“Why do you want to die?”

She had opened her eyes slowly, making me realize for the first time that they were closed until then. I don’t remember if that would be one of our recurring first meetings. The beginnings of déjà vu. Maybe, my voice was unknown to her, as was my face. Faces. None of these occurred to me before she looked at me. But she looked at me as if she had known me for centuries and my asking of such a question was too common a fact. As if I’d been asking her the same question since so long a time that the answer wasn’t really important anymore.

But it was important for me to know. To ask.

“Why do you want to die?”

I repeated.

And I remember that repetition. Resounding. On the walls of my forgetting. Perhaps, she had answered me. Maybe, she hadn’t. But the question had become the way she wanted it to be. Unanswerable. Constant. Flowing. Like the red seawater. And her own blood.

She had come out of the sea one moonlit night. Naked and bleeding.

She had slit herself beneath her neck and above her breasts. Droplets of the sea played all over her body. Running down. Crashing, jostling, mingling, magnifying. Making its way through them was a stream of blood.

I never knew the origin of her blood. Was it her body or the sea? And were the sea currents so strong that they’d cut through her skin? She seemed wet. Drenched. She hadn’t seemed so wet that dusk, when she returned from the sea. Tonight, it seemed she too would melt down into her own bloodstains and flow back into the sea. And somehow, that leave-taking of hers seemed oddly perpetual. Recurrent.

However, she didn’t leave that night. She fell asleep beside me on the shore. I kept lying there beside her and watched her. I don’t remember how long I’d been looking at her. I don’t remember when I fell asleep beside her. And I don’t remember what those strange dreams meant. I felt someone was playing with my body. Slitting my skin. Making love to me….. whom I couldn’t see. I just couldn’t get my eyes open.

Next morning when I woke on the shore, half-naked, I found out my body had been disassembled. With pieces lying on different parts of the shore. And suddenly, I was not one but many.

When in my room, she wouldn’t let me turn off the light. She wanted to see her own blood.

“You know I can’t cry.” She’d always say handing me the razorblade, “Let my body weep the blues.”

I’d do as she said. She’d sit mute. Watching the blood flow down her skin.

She said her blood were also the memories of things that had been and things about to come. Of things that should’ve never been or would ever be. She said blood were her weeping waters. An ablution of difficult times. A difficult nation. She said. Silently.

Amidst all my collective forgetting, I remember one night. Distinctly. We were sitting on the shore.

“I wish you’d let me slit your mind too sometimes.” I told her.

“Nothing but my body belongs to me.” She answered “My mind belongs to everybody else.”

“Don’t you believe in yourself?”

She smiled looking at me as I said this. Somehow, that smile didn’t look natural on her face. And then she said something that even my celebrated amnesia couldn’t take away from me –

“The man I loved had been a soldier. He kept fighting when he had none of his comrades left beside him. In the end he fought not because he had any hopes of winning, because he couldn’t return unless dead. Because retreat is shame. In the end, perhaps, there was only one bullet that pierced right through his heart. It never mattered where the bullet came from. Actually, he had slit his own skin, his own heart too, to be called a hero.”

She paused for a while looking at the dark sea, then continued –

“Self. Belief in myself. Where does a self begin? Inside a body or outside? Inside one’s family, one’s culture, one’s society? Is self an individual term, isolated from others? And where are the places that our ‘selves’ reside? My mind belongs to everybody else. And I can’t help but slit my skin. Cause that’s what we are meant to do. In our growing up years, we’ve been taught to become sadists and masochists. I can’t help it. We can’t.”

She started screaming. The music of the sea broke into her screams. Creating silence. Breaking it. And creating it all over again.

That scream would later be her salvation, too. As she would learn to step out of herself. Detachment. The only form of serenity.

And I wished her scream would be louder, shriller, harsher than it had been. So that all of us could have listened to its broken melody too. Resounding and filling up the nooks and corners of the streets. The town. The land. The world. The heart.

The feelings of déjà vu.

In the end, the wings took her inside herself. She flew right through her own nostrils.

The flight, she still recalls, was endless. She didn’t know that her inside was deeper and vaster than the sky in which she used to fly. It wasn’t exactly dark. A deep shade of grey. Heavy. Like when you fly right through the clouds about to puncture.

As she flew deeper in through the contours and detours of her puzzling body, she realized that her body wasn’t a sequence of places, but a panorama of moments. Interconnected. Inside her body was where the past resided. Sediments. All over. On her heart. Upon her lungs. On the walls of her nerves.

On the walls of her nerves, she also found a painting. That painting seemed oddly recognizable from her past although she found no semblance. It was a perfect black dot at the centre of the white background. And the painting had no frame. Therefore, the whiteness spilled out of the canvas. On the walls of her nerves. In no particular order. It was hard to tell where the painting concluded and the wall started.

“Your paintings always tell me some story” she had said him once, looking deeply into one of his latest work of art.

“Don’t ever call my painting a story”, he had reiterated “a story is always finite. With beginnings and endings. My paintings are infinite. A perfect picture has no conclusions tied to it. It resides in time and must go on forever.”

She couldn’t remember him painting this piece. She had been there with him whenever he had painted something new. She had flown through the window of his bedroom on the 57th floor. They had spent hours looking into the painting. Discovering life anew.

And this painting wasn’t a part of those thousand lives they lived together. Yet when she watched it, on the walls of her nerves, she knew it was a part of her.

Curiosity is always undeniable.

She decided to fly deeper into herself. And she realized at the same instance that chances were if she flew any deeper she won’t be able to trace her way back outside her body, ever again. Return would be nullified. The scent of the sky would be forgotten forever. Free air sacrificed evermore. Liberty robbed. But curiosity is always undeniable. And nothing else mattered to her then but answers to a question she knew not to ask.

And therefore, she flew deeper. Searching for a moment in which she would find him too. For the interiors of her body were nothing more than a panorama of moments lived. Random pieces of her own memory. Memory. The deeper shade of grey turned deeper as she kept flying. It was becoming more and more difficult to disassociate the grey from the black. She sensed blindness. But she kept flying through her instincts.

It’s hard to tell how long she had been flying, but slowly as the molecules of darkness became denser, it started hurting her eyes. And wherever she turned now, she saw white spots.

Her entrance to the realm of white darkness was slow but gradual. Slowness is optimism in a world where mobility is immeasurable for the ensuing white darkness all around. A promise of movement. She flew the whiteness. It felt as if she were flying through an endless white hall. And still there were no signs of him.

One evening when she lay with her head on his chest, and he moved his fingers on her wings, it had started to rain outside, heavily. She had got up and went to the window –

“Gosh! How am I supposed to return now?”

“The rain must subside.”

“I can smell the wet breeze. It’s heavy. The rain won’t stop in the next few hours.”

“Stop worrying and come here.”

She went and sat beside him.

“I’ll paint you a clear blue sky if the rain never stops.” They kissed.

“Won’t you rather paint off the fear in my heart of not being able to reach home?” she asked, smiling.

“Sure, if you lead me there.”

Where was her heart now? Or rather, how far was she from her heart? Could she find him somewhere close to her heart? Don’t we always connect the love to our hearts? But is it where it truly resides? Or is it hidden somewhere in this endless white darkness through which she flew?

And how vast is this ensuing whiteness? If someone were to look from outside she’d be nothing more than a perfect, white dot. Suddenly, she shuddered at this thought not just because it reminded her of the painting but because it reminded her of watching the painting. And rather than finding answers she found a mist of questions enveloping her.

Was the dot truly her? If she was the dot in the painting, then does she exist without herself watching it? Was she present in two places at the same time? As the watcher and the watched? Or is it two streams of time flowing simultaneously through her?  Is it a conscious decision for the painter to create this maze of unending? And who’s the painter? Is it him?  But why would he want her to get trapped in this cycle that never ends? Why must he wish that she meet herself over and over again?

And then, she remembered his words – “a story is always finite. With beginnings and endings. My paintings are infinite. A perfect picture has no conclusions tied to it. It resides in time and must go on forever.” And she realized something she had never known about him before.

All his paintings are inspired by some story. He paints because he doesn’t want a story to end, ever. His paintings are inconclusive. They go on forever. Repetition of the best moments. But a trapping in an unchanging stasis.

He painted this picture because he loved her. And she’d stay in his paintings, forever. Unlike in their lives, which was essentially a fairy tale and must end somewhere. Where else do you find a girl who has wings and visits your home every evening through your window? He knew he was just the side character in some fairy tale about a girl. He knew he had to change it to be with the girl forever. And therefore, he decided to create a painting in which the girl would stay forever, as according to his wishes and not of the author.

She realized it all, now. She felt a strange feeling of compassion for him. For she loved him, too. But she was addicted to being the reason of the tale. She was the protagonist. A girl with wings. She was not ready to let him become the protagonist of the tale. As much as she loved him, she knew he didn’t have powers enough to carry a fairy tale on his shoulders. And therefore, she asked me to end this tale.

… Right here.

The Symmetry of Smoke

September 16, 2007

She entered the world of muteness as if she had just stepped into glass.

It was, once again, like her childhood. In those days a few gypsies used to come and stay in a place close to their country-house. A place where, when they cooked, you could see the smoke rise from your window. And that’d suddenly seem so far that you’d find all the more reason to rush to their tents. Their tents were constructed in perfect symmetry. Each of those was equidistant from every other. Each tent resembled the other exactly. And in the centre of all these tents was the one tent that really intimidated her. The gypsies called this ‘The Maze of Magic Mirrors’.

The tent was also a source of their primary income. Children who stayed inside various neighbourhood windows from which the smoke could be seen followed its trail to watch ‘The Maze of Magic Mirrors’. Inside the tent it was perfectly dark, except for a very bright light that seemed to originate from nowhere and invaded only a tiny, particular circular space inside the tent. And when you went and stood in that light you could suddenly see there’s actually a mirror in front of you. And in it, there’s not one but infinite numbers of you, standing in a cluster everywhere – beside, behind and diagonally to every single you. It was like a battalion of children where there was only one child – You.

When she used to see her manifold selves in the mirror, her first feelings were not of amazement but of pity. A pity which stems from concern; which, in turn, stems from some helplessness. She felt helpless as she thought she was her only self who could transcend the barrier of the mirror. She was concerned for all her other selves as if they were her own sisters. What a pity that they shall be trapped forever! And that’s when, for the first time, she could think of the world of muteness. Of absolute silence.


It was, once again.


She entered the world of muteness as she had done innumerable times before. And although she knew everything that was to happen, it all seemed equally uncertain. And ominous.

She had come down the road that promised to lead to his home, where beside a window he must have sat waiting, puffing a cigarette. She came down the road that promised to keep its promise. And when she thought of promises she thought of a mirror. When we make a promise we think of a future. In the present moment when we’re trying to keep that promise, we’re juxtaposing that future moment in the present times. So that the present resembles that distant future. In exact precision of a mirror image. When she lost her way, her mind was already preoccupied with a few other questions.

It was the beginning of dusk, and the road that promised to keep its promise but would no longer be able to keep it, was already lonely. And as she sank deeper into herself, she realized there were no directions.

What, for instance, would it be if one kept reliving a promise belonging to the distant future over and over again in the present? Say, for example, a man has promised his wife that he’ll bring her roses when he comes back home. So that he’s been bound into an agreement to bring roses to his wife every time he returns home. He must keep reliving the promise in every single instance of the present. And each of those singular presents would be a mirror image of the distant future. Like the infinite children of a single child.

And then, suddenly she stumbled upon a question that really frightened her. When we bring our promises to the present, the immediate – we’re fulfilling the promise. So that it no longer belongs to the distant future. And for every time that we’re fulfilling a promise, we’re actually annihilating the future. We’re annihilating the space where the promise had originally belonged. Is that how the children in the mirror annihilate the child outside?

She was brought back to her senses with this question and realized that she had not only lost her way but had actually invaded the world of muteness.


She was reminded once again of the promise she had made of meeting him. And she knew that she won’t be able to keep it once again. Like it has always been in the past. For every time that she had to take the road that promised to keep its promise, the promise shall be broken. And she would find herself walking deeper into the defying silence.

She could feel, as she walked, the last traces of sound recede farther away. The absolute silence is different from the absence of sound. Sound is a property that flows in time and diminishes through slowness. The absence of sound simply presumes that there are no sources of sound in the present. But what about the sound from the immediate past? The traces of sound still keeps rolling into the present however diminished in its magnitude. A silent morning could never be as dense as a silent night because the traces of sound are in different magnitudes.

The absolute silence is different because there are no traces of sound in its core. None at all. And its depth is immense. Almost deafening. And this is when she would want but find that she couldn’t scream. Or whisper.


The purple haze that gradually invaded could only have been a precondition of the muteness that had become heavier. Unbearable to be carried alone upon two shoulders. But then, as always, she’d learn she’s not alone in the muteness.

The first time she caught a glimpse of him was walking ahead of her. And he seemed so farther up ahead as if he were a property of the future. Like a promise. And she remembered her destiny was to walk behind him, silently, in the muteness.

He walked slowly as if he were tired too. She tried to increase her pace of walking to catch up with him and found that she couldn’t. And then she realized that they were all walking in the pace in which the silence dictates. They could neither move any faster nor any slower. It was a destiny that they all share in common.


And then she remembered the succeeding moments. She must discover others following him too from the various directions of the purple silence. Each equidistant from him, forever. All sharing a common weariness that grew like happiness on being shared. And even though she couldn’t see any of the others following her as of yet, she could feel the muteness falling under a blanket of weariness rapidly.

Since they were all following him from the various directions, he was the centre of them all. And since they were converging in him, the distance between each other receded. Diminished. They each came closer to the other’s weariness. The unbearable weariness of the solitary. And the aroma of the sweat.

She recognized this weariness too. It was part of her childhood. On a day she ran. Ran far too long. Trying to run further away. She thought the gypsies were behind him. Because she had stepped inside ‘The Maze of Magic Mirror’ with a stone in her hand and done the forbidden. And then as she ran, she just wanted to run so far away that the smoke that led her to the tents would be found no more. She wasn’t sure what her exact fears were. Was it the gypsies who she thought were behind him? Was it the sound that the glasses made as they shattered? Was it her guilt? Her liberty? The first sensuality of adolescence? Or something very different?

Now, as she walked deeper into the purple silence of weariness, she found the same questions returning. And the answers receding, as always. But receding answers bring more questions. What brings him here? Why must others follow him even though he belonged to her and her alone? Was he actually like smoke and they captivated by its symmetry, like children? And why must she ask this very question that she’s asking right now, over and over again every time she returns to muteness?

He stopped.

In a place where the purple silence seemed so dense that it seemed to bathe him in its light. And once in the light, he turned to face her directly. And then for the first time she noticed that it wasn’t him at all. It was her. It was she herself dressed in a man’s robe, standing in front of her. Smiling, looking at her. And she found herself smiling back, even though she didn’t want to. She had no choice but to. And then, she suddenly noticed standing beside her on both sides and diagonally, were many women who looked the same. Like her. All equally uncertain, smiling at the self who stood in their centre dressed in a man’s attire.

Then, suddenly a feeling dawned on her. She was just an image. A mirror image. An illusion. That she didn’t exist at all. She was just one of the manifold reflections of the woman standing in their centre with a piece of stone in her hand. And she realized that her thoughts were only a reflection of what the original woman thought. Just as she can sense right now what the woman has been thinking of. She has been thinking of him, sitting beside a window, waiting, puffing on a cigarette. And she has been thinking of taking the road that promised to keep its promise, to lead to his home. And she has been thinking of her childhood. And ‘The Maze of Magic Mirrors’. And the infinite children of a single child. And the running away from the symmetry of smoke. And hoping there’s a place where the window won’t show you the rising smoke no longer. And hoping.

She saw the woman in a man’s attire throw a spherical stone, which she had been carrying secluded in her palm, towards her. And before the stone would crash onto the mirror that both divided and multiplied them, the woman turned around and ran for the road that promised to keep its promise.


May 29, 2007

[A tale for children who grew up too soon]

Once upon a time there used to be an uncle. He had a house. But much more importantly, he had two nephews. They were born on the same day, in the same minute of a same hour, in split seconds. But they were not twins. They were born to two separate women. Incidentally, both of them were the uncle’s sisters. Therefore, the uncle had two nephews.

The uncle had come to know of the birth of his nephews a few days later when the two letters arrived…. Each from one of his sisters who proclaimed they had become mothers to a little pink angel. The uncle smiled twice in a strange fulfillment as he read the two letters. He found himself longing to take them in his arms but both his sisters stayed in far-off places. So, he decided to send them two of his best roses chosen from his garden.

Before the mail containing the roses would arrive in their respective destinations, a telegram reached the houses of the sisters. Telegrams were the harbingers of ill-fate. So, the sisters cried before they broke the seals of the telegrams that still smelled, freshly of their brother’s garden. They had to sweep off the tears to realize that telegrams are written by businessmen – someone had proclaimed their brother’s death as if closing a deal. One of the sisters, picked up her newborn son in her arms, held him close to her breast and cried. Miles away, at that same instance, the other sister did the same too.

“Your uncle was a clever man,” they said to their children “he left behind no clues to his death.”

In a few days after the telegram, two more envelopes followed, each containing a rose, to the two sisters’ house. The roses were dry. And yet, they were the most beautiful roses that one had ever seen. The sisters walked straight towards the room of their children to let them have the roses which their Uncle very apparently had sent for them before he had passed away. It was the first and the only gift from him for his nephews. They must preserve it well. But whilst they wished thus, they were stopped by the maids. They said the children shouldn’t be exposed to the gifts of a dead man.

“’Tis a bad omen”, they whispered.

“No, this is the blessing he had left behind” the sisters retaliated, caressing the petals.

The roses, ever since, were kept in two precious silver boxes on the right side of the pillow on which the infants slept.

The infants grew up as the roses dried further, crumbling into themselves. They learnt to walk, talk and silence others with their innocent gestures. All day through, the two neighborhoods would reverberate in their giggling sounds. Falling silent only when they went to sleep in the night. Times when they rendered their obstinacy to their mothers, whispering their tantrums into their mothers’ ears. They wanted to listen to no fairytale, no folklore. They persisted on listening to stories about their uncle who used to live in a garden. And in a house surrounded by all the different species of plants. A house in which you had to always keep the lights on, throughout the day because the trees ensured the shadows of darkness rolled through the walls. And uncle lived in a damp, damp room which had three windows on three of its walls, each opening to some trees nodding their head in the perpetual breeze. The breeze, it seemed, never stopped and the garden danced to its sweet melody. The uncle sat in his room, late into the night, taking notes. But he never showed what he wrote to anybody. Not even to his sisters.

And their mothers’ ignorance was the seeds of curiosity sown in the mind of the children. Questions that rose up like smoke and lingered as mist.

And mist enveloped the times in which the children grew further, every night trying to look more deeply into the petals of the ancient roses, kept in two precious silver boxes on the right side of their pillow. Careful not to touch them, else they’d scatter like dust. And what constituted the dust that often flew about their room? And why must flowers turn to dust on being touched?

One morning when the mothers woke up they couldn’t find their sons any more in any of the places they would have been.

10:30 PM,

Dreams have been falling since yesterday. My garden’s all wet with its colors. I hear them. Colors saddened by the hues of emptiness. I’ve mastered the art of promising. Insensitive. I still see the horse. Its martyr fallen. I whisper into my dreams. A fresh gust of air. Never understood. Like forever. I stand with a torn cloth. Rubbing the strains off. Strains on the bark. Centuries rose upon my dreams. Like towers. Unchallenged. Never compromised. Unlike. Leaves of an autumn tree. Oh my children! I melt forever into sounds. Become shadows of the voice. I can touch dreams. Hold infinity. My garden’s a premise. A Premise. My dream’s the argument I held up, above my head, to restrain it. There’s sense in everything since yesterday. Sense. Touch, hear, taste, smell, look. Essence. Feel. Dreams have been falling since yesterday. Last night, I realized that all the darkness I had collected was drenched. Too drenched. All my fault. But I had nothing to cover my garden. No blanket. And yet there was no rain in the garden inside. Left dry. Dying seeds. When will the two meet?

The two sisters were meeting after many a years. Breaking their vow of never meeting again. And there were tears in a corner of their eyes. A few dead autumn leaves rolled over their feet. The wind was something between a breeze and the storm. They could feel it in the salty tears that washed their eyes. A cold touch that groomed their loss.

Two mothers who had lost their children recently met in a place equidistant from both their houses. The exact centre where they had met the last time before they had disappeared in directions, opposite. They said –

“Our children have ceased to be. But we had tried everything. Done all we could. And yet, can’t we be anything more than helpless?”

Inside, deep down, they wished that at least one of the children would return. And each wished that it’d be her son. They watched with keen observation at the dead autumn leaves that rolled over their feet, trying to find out which way the wind had been blowing.

10:15 PM,

Yet into the unknown they went floating. The log of wood in the river. Carrying the memories of a fall. Disseminate me into you. Lately the promise of a few seeds has been forgotten. But for the replenishment. The replacement that’s natural shall follow. Hand in hand. Arms. And disarmament. The restoration of natural order. The eternal return. Nietzsche. Cyclic time. To satiate the fallen martyr shall the horse return. To remove the strains on the bark shall the past. To remove the strains on the dark. Light. Lightness. Undo detachment. Bring down the fire. Bring down sun. Religion. Religion. Legion.

The two nephews reached the fields exactly when the dusk began that day. They were frightened to see each other, for they looked alike – exactly like the other. And even though they had never met before, only having heard of the existence of the other from their mother, they didn’t find it at all difficult to recognize each other. And they each knew that the other was equally conscious of The Invitation.

The consciousness of The Invitation never had a beginning for them. It was like a strangely sweet breeze that had been visiting their room all these years, in the night, when they tried to sleep. The breeze played inside their room for a long while and later, invaded their heads. A few dreams would float in those canvases of winds. An undeniable silence would converge at its center. And nowhere was a silence they’d found denser than this. And then, their mothers told them the stories of their Uncle’s garden in which the shadows rolled through the walls and an Uncle who captured those shadows in his diary. Silently.

11:00 AM,

Lately, the ink shall disappear from my pen over and over again. But the night leaves back her darkness in my garden. I pick some of it up to fill pages. Darkened pages. The strangest hues of intangibility. The keeper of the weapons have hidden a few arms in it’s darkness. Thought I’d never find. Thought they were intangible too. They’ve filled their guns with religions. And filled my sacred darkness with flashing sounds. I know…. I know they’re here for the fallen martyr. They’ve planted mines in the earth. My innocent plants – they take in the poison everyday. I can see the scars running deep into their boughs.

My dear sisters, you’ve infected yourselves with bravery. Where shall the meek go?

The nephews were infants when the first telegrams had arrived. It carried the news of their fathers’ death. Both of them had died on the same day, in the war field. As heroes. Telegrams had become the harbingers of ill-fate for their mothers ever since.

When the last telegram had arrived last evening, they knew it contained the carcasses of their last hopes. The death of their children, proclaimed by a businessman. Both of them had died on the same day, in the war field. As heroes.

“Our children have ceased to be. But we had tried everything. Done all we could. And yet, can’t we be anything more than helpless?” they said, as they met this evening, after many years. Breaking their vow of never meeting again. They had tried to keep the two children’s past apart. They wanted no more soldiers in the family. No more telegrams. They had created an uncle for their children, made him live and die in a serene garden. Done all they could. Done. Completed.

Nothing they did was enough to take away the consciousness of the invitation. The presence of a religion they needed to fight for. The holy scriptures. The pride. The bullet.

10:30 PM,

Dreams have been falling since yesterday. My garden’s all wet with its colors. I hear them. Colors saddened by the hues of emptiness. I’ve mastered the art of promising. Insensitive. I still see the horse. Its martyr fallen. I whisper into my dreams. A fresh gust of air. Never understood. Like forever. I stand with a torn cloth. Rubbing the strains off. Strains on the bark. Centuries rose upon my dreams. Like towers. Unchallenged. Never compromised. Unlike. Leaves of an autumn tree. Oh my children! I melt forever into sounds. Become shadows of the voice. I can touch dreams. Hold infinity. My garden’s a premise. A Premise. My dream’s the argument I held up, above my head, to restrain it. There’s sense in everything since yesterday. Sense. Touch, hear, taste, smell, look. Essence. Feel. Dreams have been falling since yesterday. Last night, I realized that all the darkness I had collected was drenched. Too drenched. All my fault. But I had nothing to cover my garden. No blanket. And yet there was no rain in the garden inside. Left dry. Dying seeds. When will the two meet?

The Thriller Novel

May 16, 2007


The cops came looking for the summer breeze. They turned everything I had in my room upside down.
“This place’s so dirty”, one said holding his handkerchief firmly on his scarred nose “don’t you ever do the dusting?”
“Not since she left.” I said
“What is it exactly that made her leave?”
“I don’t know. She said she had seen me making love to the summer breeze.”
“….. which is true?”
“I said, it depends.”
“What d’ya mean….. depends on what?”
“On the circumstantial evidences. Are you going to arrest me now or should I go and finish the painting? I’ve an art exhibition tomorrow.”


Voices played inside her head even when she sat on the roof. Voices she couldn’t discriminate. Nor own.
At times she wondered if they were the voices of all the people she had killed.
“Is it you, Kelly?” she’d ask.
“No. I cannot be there inside your head.” Kelly would answer.
“Because you’ve never killed me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m still alive. And I’m sure that I’m living somewhere.”
“Oh Kelly, please forgive me. I’m so sorry. I just can’t seem to differentiate the living from the dead, anymore.”
And then, the voices would disappear. What would follow is the terrific silence. The silence in which she’d wish she’d once again get to kill someone.
“Who?” she thought.
Moments later, she shrugged.
“It doesn’t matter. Blood needs no calculation.”


In his childhood, he’d make exact errors on every mathematical problem he was told to solve. Even his teacher was baffled.
“You need infinite imaginations to make such absurd calculations.” She’d say.
And it was not an exaggeration. Each of his mistakes was carefully calculated. So well crafted that the possibility of any other error but the one he had committed would be nullified. His teacher would have to go through the heaviest of books in permutations and probability, and yet she had nothing to prove him wrong. It was impossible to be wronger than him. Because English had never defined a word called ‘wronger’.
“One problem could have exactly one perfect error” he’d say, “nothing less, nothing more. Once you get to it, you can feel the beginning of all fallacies.”
That is exactly how he had learnt to paint.
“A painting is the mathematics of distances….. between the root and the tree, between the bird and the sky, between the color and its absence, between the river and that drop of tear on the man’s cheek. And you could infuse movement in it once you discover the perfect error in it. All of us were nothing more than a painting until god made the perfect error. He made Eve do the same too, to introduce the concepts of reproduction. There could be no creation without the perfect error. It’s hidden in everything to be discovered. It’s just that we never do so because we have been taught to be afraid of errors. When we land into an error, we are told to learn something from it so as not to return to it. Instead, if we were to delve deeper into the error we’ve made, we’re bound to find the perfect error. And we would find natural creations. All my paintings linger in the glory of the perfect errors.”
He had written a book once called ‘Human and Fallacy’, but whoever started reading it said they couldn’t find its end. They said the book repeated itself with the page number being in a perpetual ascending order.


When your corpse was brought in my house, you had turned your head and smiled at me. So happy that I could recall you.
“Well, I’ve to do something ‘bout you, else you’d start leaving your stench on my paintings. Where would you like to stay?”
“In your garden.”
“That place’s already congested with the trees you had planted last summer.”
“Don’t worry. I’d find my place down the roots.”
“Who did this to you?” I said looking at your wounds, “you’re bleeding profusely.”
“Oh! Let’s not talk ‘bout that.”
“I wish I had some medicines. I’ve also misplaced my first-aid kit.”
“So….. you still care?”
“I’m….. I’m just afraid of blood.”
“Those are not your words”, you whispered.
We both smiled. I could sense my heart beating faster as I did.


The cops came in the evening. They said they’d like to question her about the murder.
“Murder! What murder?” I asked, taken by surprise.
“Don’t you know, she was killed?”
“What’re ya talking ‘bout?”
“Yes. She was. And you are one among the suspects’ list. Now, if you don’t mind, can I talk to her?”
“But I’ve already buried her.”
“Don’t worry. Our men would bring her here. Where’s the shovel?”
And thus, you were brought, still smelling of the wet mud that covered most of your skin.
“Gosh! Didn’t he even think of giving you a coffin?” The cop asked you.
Meanwhile, I thought of the rain that fell this afternoon. And the maddening fragrance of the first wet mud. The Frenzy.


Their first meeting was a mistake that repeated itself, ad infinitum, like the book he had wrote. He had been sitting that evening in the shade of the summer breeze. And he had been painting the summer breeze. For the last few hours he had been mixing the different shades of the colors. Waiting for a perfect error that would create the exact shade of the summer breeze.
She came following the summer breeze. Since the summer breeze went right through his paintings, she passed through his paintings too. Later, when his painting was completed, since he didn’t know her, he mistook her for the summer breeze. It was a perfect error – The beginnings of the perfect love story. And the beginning, as she had told elsewhere, does not lead to an end, but create newer beginnings. Perhaps, there was never a first time when they had met. There was only a sequence of moments – each preceded by some and followed by the other. And each time, for him, she was the summer breeze.
Each time, she’d pass away like colors on his drying palette. He wished his paintings were yet to be completed, forever and evermore. But time did to his paintings what a full-stop would always do to a phrase. For time was always the hole in both the barrier and the bridge to the accumulating moments. And then, to set them free, like birds from a cage, in a kiss.
“Too much of a perfect error in there”, he thought. She nodded.


After you completed the bath, we all sat on the porch talking. The cops took the lead.
“Do you remember the events that preceded the killing?” they asked you.
“Yes, I was with him, making love.” You answered pointing towards me.
“Okay. That sure is news to me. You never informed us of any such incident, sir.”
I was given a harsh glance with that statement. However, I couldn’t make out if an answer was wanted of me…. And what exact answer was wanted of me…. And who wanted it. I fumbled a little.
“I liked you a lot better the day before yesterday, sir. I thought you were much smart then. Which reminds me – how was your art exhibition?”
I could sense the sarcasm flying in the air. A few drops of darkness were assembling in the horizons. It was much too silent in my garden. Exceedingly calm. I knew this atmosphere well. I knew she had wished to come. She had wished too long. And nobody stops her when she wishes thus. None.
The summer breeze is coming. She had sensed the break in the rhythm of my breath. She had sensed my heartbeat as I sat with the cop and, more importantly, you. She had sensed that I was trying to defend your point of view. She knew I’d fall. Fall down the edges. Of my Frenzy. Our home. Frenzy. I had refurbished. Frenzy. With her. And I was about to stumble. To fall. If she doesn’t come. The edges were calling me again.


The first time they had made love to was to the fragrance of the approaching storm. Few of his paintings that were on paper, were fluttering. Creating a sound of liberty. They knew that they must cover themselves up before the storm. He knew he had to set the summer breeze free before the storm. And she knew she would lose to herself.
The first sounds of the storm were unmistakable. The first dissociation, unavoidable.
She left, you stayed.
Still beneath the weight of incomplete recognition you lied. Looking into your blank eyes. Without the shine. Lifeless. You were never the summer breeze. You were her gown. The robe she wore before she came to meet her lover.
They made love in the storm, that dusk. Dusts converging on their eyelids. Rain washing them through. Rain washing his paintings, too.
“You must come back to me”, he said “for without you she’s faceless.”
You had smiled, darkly.
You will never be her but I shall keep being him. It was an error that never seemed perfect enough.


You never wanted to open the window to her, last night.
“Own me, not her. Make me your soul”, you said while she whispered on your glass window-pane. Your closed windows trembled on her sweet, cold touch.
“Let her in, Kelly”, I said moving my fingers through your hair. “Let her in, if you love me.”
And I found your eyes becoming just as hazy as your glass window-pane. But tears always meant you’d listen. You got up and opened the window to her. And as you stood motionless like a shadowy figure in front of the window, I found the summer breeze glowing on your skin and the shine returning to your eyes.
And I was once again becoming him.
“Tonight, I’ll hide”, she said, “and you shall find me in the deepest of her chasms.”
I accepted her challenge. Our love shan’t be confined to the shackles of skin. I slit your skin in the places she could be. You never made a sound – telling me she wasn’t there. Whole night long I kept on searching but couldn’t find her.
I was losing my perfection in erring.


“Do you trust him?” the cops asked you.
“Not half as much as he trusts me”, you said
“But he had killed you, last night.”
“No. He had killed her.”
“The summer breeze.”
It was true. For even though the atmosphere had every sign of her arrival, the summer breeze didn’t come that evening. She was dead. You had made me commit the perfect error. I felt defeated. How I wished I would kill you, too. But I couldn’t. It was impossible. You were never there inside yourself. You always lived somewhere else. Inside me.

The Distance

At last, she decided to mosaic her bedroom floor with his letters. They had been enabling her past. A past which she wanted to rob of the form and the structure. She wished she would find his amnesia, left behind in his forgetting, lying in full carelessness, on the creases, in between the folds of the letters. Manifold. But as always he had forgotten…. To leave back his amnesia. She decided to create her own amnesia.

She decided to tear his letters, off. Carefully down the creases. Exactly from their seams. So as not to hurt them.

He had written each of his letters in pencil, in some nights. He wrote them all in the light of the candle. She could still sense the smell of molten wax on them. All his letters bore this strange broth of a fragrance: of wax and lead. Each of his letters he had written in the form of dialogues. Each one he had decimated in acts and scenes. And she knew he had been writing one of his greatest plays in the form of letters with her as the protagonist and him, as her fool. She loved living in the play. She loved to take a dip in each of the words that made the letter. Words written by a trembling hand. His hands trembled most of the times. More so when he was excited. His words quivered down the line just as his hands did on her skin.

Once, he had written a story on her belly. It was a pseudo-whirlpool that originated from her navel and spread outside as loops. It tickled her when he began. She giggled incessantly but as his orders were, she didn’t open her eyes. She started to read the words from the feeling of them being written. She had never felt words on her skin. She had never read words with her eyes closed. She had never imagined words moving on her body with each of her breath. And as the words moved, so did the story. Slowly, the story kept running deeper into itself and she found that she could laugh no more. She was becoming a captive in its thoughts. The farther the whirlpool spread, her expressions were more choked in tears.

“What’s happening to me?” she had asked.

“Words have just engraved themselves on the other side of your skin. They’re now playing inside your body.”

“But how come it feels as if the words have repositioned themselves to create new meanings? Why is it that the way of your thoughts feels so distant?”

“Are you sure that you feel that way?”


“….. Which means that the curse has befallen”, he had said, shaking his head, forcefully.

“What curse?” she had to open her eyes.

“….. Of the creation becoming greater than the creator; of a son who would despise his father, of a barrier more powerful than the distance.”

“But if there is distance there must be nearness, too.”

“Yes. That’s true. But there’s something else that you need to learn: The distance moves away like time. One day when you wake up from an empty night’s sleep, you’ll know.”

He had bid her farewell, unbolted her door and stepped out in the naked darkness that majored the night. The hungry darkness like a perfectly camouflaged man-eater had taken him. And as he faded slowly, she knew he’d never return.

He had written each of his letters in pencil, in some nights. He would say that he loved the music that was created when you wrote with a pencil in the dark. “Each word”, he had whispered into her ears, one night “has its own music.” Even after he left, his pencil written letters that really was the somber script of a play kept coming. And slowly, as she went through the dialogues she realized that he was losing her to the character of the play. He had that dangerous amnesia and she had become its aftermath. Day after day, as she went through his letters she came to realize that he was forgetting her slowly and was replacing her with one of her many imaginary characters. But this, somehow, turned her on. She wanted to know who she would become in his play, until the catharsis.

Then, one day, the letters stopped coming. And she realized that he had forgotten her address.

The catharsis was incomplete. And she understood that she must live on as an incomplete protagonist of the play. She tried for days, months and years. But then, when she couldn’t take it anymore she decided to tear his letters off carefully from the seams and mosaic her bedroom floor with them. She’d love to watch them in their perfect formlessness and let her past lay scattered on the floor.

Only when the words had repositioned themselves on her skin did he leave. “Let my memories scatter, too.” She wished.

When she finished mosaicing her floor with his letters, night had befallen. So, she lit up a candle to take a look at them. After looking at them for a long while from different corners of the room she suddenly realized something. The play was very well crafted. So that if you looked at its torn pieces from any of the directions it would still have an artistic flow of thought and more importantly, a plot. However, the genre would change – it might become a tragedy, a comedy or even, a monologue based on the direction from which you watched it. And all of these would happen because the distance between the scattered pieces of the mosaiced letters would change on being viewed from the different corners of the room.

The distance.

The next morning when she woke up she found that the distance between her bed and her bedroom window had increased. The window had moved farther away from her bed. And so was the case with all the walls. They had all moved away from her. Then, she considered the chances of this being a dream as she would often find happening with the protagonist in many of his tales. But no, this couldn’t have been a dream. She was never taught the art of dreaming. And so, she walked towards the closest of the distances and yet with her falling steps they all seemed to move further away. She would have to put her steps carefully so as not to step on the letters

“The distance moves away like time”, she remembered him saying.

“Reality has now become one of his prophecies”, she thought “What could be any worse now that I was trying to forget him?”

It became worse everyday: the distance kept increasing. And that included the distance between the different pieces of the letters on her floor. Their plots expanded and their spaces expanded. She had to be less careful these days on where she put her feet.

On some evenings, she would sit on her balcony, looking at the sky. It seemed to have moved away as well. She wondered how so very far he might have moved now that the distances have increased. She wondered if he still wrote letters and dispatched them to random addresses since he didn’t remember any particular addresses. She wondered if he still created the musik of dementia when his pencil moved on the white paper, whether he wrote much slower these days, whether words had replaced her, and whether time too, had moved away with the distance. She wondered. And wondered how she had been wondering.

Then, when she walked into the bedroom, she would find in the expanded spaces of her mosaiced letters, new acts of the play have been introduced. That night, she sat on the floor reading the newly discovered acts of the play in the candlelight. But it would take infinitely more time for her to move from one torn piece to another. She realized that time had now, full control over her. And that she was infusing into the time itself.

All of it came within that one unconditional revelation. She understood catharsis.

She remembered once again the days when she received letters from him that she thought that slowly he was forgetting her. It was not true. He could never forget her. So, he was forgetting himself, voluntarily. Fading. Melting himself into his letters. And taking himself to her. Letters that had become his creator; letters that wrote themselves; letters that were his home. And then, one day, letters stopped arriving. It wasn’t because he forgot her address but because in his last letter his melting was complete and he was all there in her room, without her knowing it. But she knew now. She knew it all.

And all at once, she recognized what he had said – “The distance moves away like time.”

“When distance moves away we come closer”, she murmured.

All this while she had been shrinking into herself. Melting, too. Because she was a part of the play, too. She realized that all this while the moving distance had brought her closer to her self. She had been a reader for all too long and now, it was time that she became the protagonist of the play. This, suddenly made her laugh out loud.

“We’re all fictional characters and we never realize it. That there are people who are reading my life as a tale. That I was always a tale that started as a whirlpool on my reader’s belly…. On your belly”, she said looking into your invisible eyes.

And saying this she faded into one of your letters that you’ve been reading all this while, here.


May 5, 2007

[This is anything but fiction]

Narcissus was born inside a mirror. Many people who came to see the baby were disturbed on not being able to take it in their arms. They didn’t have access to the other side of the glass and so was the case with Narcissus. What, however, frightened them even more was their own absence inside the mirror. As if the mirror was a barrier between them and the baby. They realized later that the mirror itself was Narcissus’ mother and like all mothers it protected the child from the big, bad world.

Time passed and the town grew up with Narcissus. And Narcissus grew up with the townsfolk. Some claimed they cared for Narcissus much more deeply than they did for their own sons and daughters. They had watched him smile, weep and celebrate. Silently. Narcissus was deaf, for there was no sound on the other side of the glass. But all the same Narcissus was a beautiful baby right from the day he was born. The townsfolk could forget all their incompetence and incompleteness as they watched him smile. When he wept, unable to provide him with the warmth of the human touch, they recognized their incompetence. And as he celebrated his personal world on the other side of the glass, they became yet more incomplete. And then, he smiled again.

But as he grew up, people realized that Narcissus had become more powerful than the mirror. His beauty had overgrown the space on his side of the glass and now spilled on to this side. He had imposed himself inside the head of the townsfolk and went with them to all the places they went. There were people in the town. He watched each other with their eyes; smelled how each had its own fragrance; felt each one breathing on the other’s skin; but most importantly, for the first time, he heard voices. Voices inside their head. Voices, undesirable.

Voices, undeniable.

In their growing frenzy, he found that each claimed that Narcissus was in their head. They also claimed that he wasn’t present in anyone else’s head. Each claimed that he owned Narcissus, now. At these times Narcissus wished he could speak. No, he couldn’t. But he had other powers. He knew all of them would have to slee……

I couldn’t complete the story last night; so, I slept. Or perhaps, I couldn’t complete my story last night because I fell asleep. It was a sound sleep. A sound that was unbearable. A strange form of silence. It crashed into itself a thousand times creating even smaller grains of silence, each of which was the mirror image of the other. And the only thing I noticed as I slept was that the silence became deafening. Even when I woke up in the morning the silence reverberated in my ears.

I woke up to find myself on my writing desk. The pieces of paper on which I had been writing were scattered all over the floor. They were the different parts of the story. I remembered that I had written the beginning and the end of the story; also, many of the parts in the middle. Last night, as I wrote I had been assembling the pages in their correct sequence. So that when I finished writing all the parts all I had to do was connect the separate pages with the appropriate verbs and conjunctions. But that was not to be. A wild wind last night had scrambled all that I had wrote. I got up from my chair to pick up the sheets and I saw myself in the mirror.

“Where is Narcissus?” was the first question I had to ask myself.

“Where am I?” I had to ask myself, then.

“Why was I present where he should have been?”

“Maybe, he is present now, where I should have been.”

Slowly, it occurred to me that the replacement was complete. I was Narcissus, now. The man whose smile was oblivion; whose silence was music and who was more powerful than the mirror. I was so glad with this revelation that I suddenly felt the urge of letting the world know who I had become. Narcissus, the almighty. I put on a dress and went out.

Once on the streets I started feeling as if I was walking through the mirror. I found Narcissus everywhere. I met thousands of Narcissuses on the streets. The entire town had transformed. They had turned into him.

I had, too. I had become a part of the collective him. Identity-less. Like ants. Not an individual anymore.

And yet I couldn’t hate that face. It was mine.

Then, weeks passed…… like soldiers, marching. In synchronization with each other. And in these weeks I found my story getting completed gradually. One of the Narcissuses would come and write a paragraph or two and go away. Another would come to pick up from where he had left. When the story was finished I suddenly realized that there was only one character in the story: myself.

And there could be only one reader: Narcissus.

Somehow, it all seemed so futile. I had written a story on which I had no control. It became what it wanted to be. But not what I wanted it to become. I wanted it to have all the beauty and the brevity that each of my other story had. But not all stories that are finished, complete. As for this one it became the more incomplete the closer it came to its completion. I sat down in my darkened room that night and wept. I have created a crooked child.

And in my crooked mirror the Narcissus that was me wept as well. He no longer had that common face. He looked different in every mirror of the separate houses. He would have to assume the face of the person who used to live in that house before he had transformed into Narcissus.

It is true that as Narcissuses we have all become creators more powerful than the mirror – We can steal the identity of the person living on the other side of the glass.