It wasn’t a dream


Life is complicated. Generally. But it wasn’t then. We were under the stars, open shower, disco lightening and heavy rock inside our heads. Three drinks down, the rain drops seemed like one big blob hanging down heavily from the sky. Why can’t we just shoot up to the skies and remain there? Who wants to be on the earth anyway? I remember thinking then, trying to balance myself on my wobbly legs. My friends were at a distance. So insignificant. So earthly.

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I wanted to distance away from them. The spirit in my belly nudged the spirit in me, and I climbed the last narrow rung to the water tank. There I was, so close to the sky, so far from the earth, so far from my family, so far from the insignificant others. Life was good, life was normal. I remember feeling the hardness of my phone in my pocket. For a second I remembered by girlfriend. But she was far away. Was she insignificant too? 

The drops pelted harder and I felt lighter. Like a baby in a crib. What will my mother be doing now? What about my sister? Does she have a boyfriend? Suddenly, like a defunct radio, my brain switched to Rod Stewart’s Love is. He was singing in front of a shop that sold bananas. So funny. I remember laughing loud. I wanted to slap someone on the shoulder and laugh. I wanted someone to see me laugh, see me so happy and carefree. “You bastards…!” I remember shouting. No one turned, the rain stole my voice. Funny thing, the rain is. 

That was the last I laughed like that for months to follow.

……

Now, the stars have been replaced by fat blinding bulbs, the dark sky has been covered by curd white sheets. The drops have stopped drumming, instead, there is a tensed mix of whispers and rhythmic beeps. My neck feels heavy, and limbs rusty. I can’t laugh, I am trying. I am sleeping.

The sheet of rain was to blame. I did not see the contours of the tank. I slid slowly to the edge, slapping my thighs, laughing, shouting at the boys, laughing again.

I can feel warm fingers on my cheek, what I can’t feel is my front tooth. My head is a ball of iron. I see a man in white coat and stethoscope.

I am in a hospital.

From the corner of my eye I can see familiar faces. That same red shirt. It looked darker last night. Now, it is a bright shade of yellow. What made him buy that? I drift again.

I hadn’t been hit that hard and that fast ever. ‘Thud’ now had a clear definition in my head. I landed on the sunshade on my side, and rolled down like a pebble on to another.

Thud! again. My muscles wailed. Only I could hear them. The sky was suddenly getting farther, the ground closer. At a dizzying speed that too. Thud!. This time I hung on. My right palm bore my weight and fear.

Skin on cement. Scrapes and scratches. It was time for the final fall. 

This can’t be. I have an MBA paper to write next week. And that mail. What will my manager say? Wait, I haven’t called my girl friend. She will be worried. SIT UP! I can’t. I am frozen inside an ice cube. It’s not that cold though.

It’s comfortably warm. Peaceful, and warm.

My nose was inches away from the very wet ground. I could smell the cement and blood. Slowly, pain shot through my nape, along my collarbones and down my shoulders. Tiny sharp arrows released from a bow.

I wanted to shout, but I also wanted to lay there for as long as possible. Be one with the cement. Could the earth just split a little and take me in?

I see tears. I smell family. I see my mother with pink nose and puffy eyes. She sees me, and her brows cringe, eyes fill, and a kerchief covers her mouth. My sister stands beside her, with pink nose and puffy eyes. It’s awkward. Dad’s nose is not pink thankfully, but he has a vein popping out on his forehead.

The dream will soon be over.

But I had already fallen, and not woken up. I was scooped up by a set of hands. Not strong enough to carry my frame. I felt like a slice of butter melting out of their hands. Stretcher was a blessing, a cushion of clouds.

Had I finally reached the sky?

(The story is a work of fiction and includes no autobiographical elements. Fortunately, none)

Change


You are running, trying to dodge, panting and shrieking,

You try to camouflage, you try to fool, you try to calm the soul which is freaking

You try to climb, you hang on to a rope, as the floor beneath you is creaking

But change draws on you, enveloping you with darkness,  like the dusk which is breaking

 

You try to argue, you try to pacify, you try to convince it to move aside

You try to fire,  you try to stab, you try to prevent it from getting inside

You try to make a deal, you try to bribe, you try to convince it to stay outside

But change , shameless and stubborn, sweeps in to permanently reside

 

You try to adjust, you try to be at ease, you try to find comfort with the new ambience

But inside, you burn, you regret, you can fool your mind, but not your conscience

You try to forget, you try to replace the thoughts, you try to cover the erupting emotions with silence

But change, without an ounce of mercy, continues to rip your insides without your acceptance

 

You try to look, you try to notice, you try to hunt for the signs which melted your heart

You are shocked, you feel troubled, you feel vulnerable, the time has pulled you so much apart

You try to seek a connection, you try to bring the past, you try to place the blame on someone’s part

But change, though the actual culprit, stays mum, enjoying the confusion as if it were an art.

 

You try to pretend, you try to keep a bold face, you try to see things as if they were right

You argue with your past, you shut your agonies; you force a smile and try to look bright

You know it’s irreversible, there is no second chance, you welcome it ignoring the inner fright

Cuz change says “I am the only thing constant in this world, and  yh, everything will be alright.”