I still have the ‘special name’ – but I know this is the end. The theft is inevitible and I attempt to gaze the gem knowing I need to hand it over. But Anarkali, these are the hands that held it once my dear. Maybe I should never wash them till I hold you, will then you know how she smelt and felt?
I know this is not the right time to type this post, but then again the deviant me has never really bothered. I want to write it, despite knowing that I am counting the last few hours of my childhood. It is still ‘alive’ in the sense of the word. But then this post, when read out to my Anarkali would be of the time her BB was with her mom.
I read poetry all morning today. Rilke, Naruda, Silvio, Tagore, Akhtar, Gulzar, Rumi – it was almost ferocious - intensity with which I devoured poetry at dawn. I knew it was needed, so that tomorrow when I pick up my tattered poetry books again and refuse to barter them for new covered ones, I have a reason to keep them close – a memoir of these last hours.
Those wrinkled hands which has cupped my face six months back and re-iterated te name I love, a zillion times – I remember that scene. Why did I act so foolishly that day in a room filled with million others, as they smiled at my childishness? Was it my attempt to make sure that Charulata, who lay in the womb was aware of the ‘name’ her Mishka loved to be addressed with? My special name is breathing its last on the ventilator as I type this – but it is essential, for I’ll atleast have something to hold onto when I come back empty. This shall be the time-reference of when the ‘name’ was still ‘alive’.
I remember the last sleep on her lap, her fingers through my hair. Parkinson’s was often defeated when the neurons got excited at the mere touch of what she referred to as ‘Bengali hair’. There was a small despair in her voice about the ‘walls’ I had built around me. There was an attempt to make me understand that pearls still lay at the sea bottom, despite my rough outside demeanor. There was a wish in those eyes that I let someone discover it and not push all divers back to the surface. Invisible sharks are worse than real ones. For a split second I thought of giving in. I thought that maybe what she said was all that I needed to heal the scars that have marred me. But guess this post tomorrow shall remind me, that the ‘last wish’ to see me walk down the aisle is long gone. Guilt? Not really. Would have been there had she not seen those walls – she did and somewhere she understood as to why suddenly this zeal to overwork and exhaust. The person who really knew the me which none of you over there know is just there as a ‘visitor’ now as I type this, but essential it is for tomorrow when the ‘wall’ is attempted to be broken down again and I face ‘who are you’, I can merely smile and walk away – just like you do when a child asks you whether there is really an old woman sitting in the moon.
I left the “Bengali” newspaper untouched today. I’ll read it when it’s not needed to polish my native linguistic skills anymore. For then when I mispronounce and falter, it’ll be on the words printed on the day when she was around to hear me and cringe and even at times break out into bouts of sarcastic laughter.
Suffering – she hated me in that. She said I was too soft. This is needed now as the hospital calls me on the other line – a proof that I am weak and yet stoic enough to type this as I am urged to leave. I am praying for a suffering to end, at the cost of an abrupt end to my fairy tale, my dreams of my prince, of a perfect palace and those ballerina shoes that shall never be made by elves to fit my size again.
Suffering, what form does it take? Who dares?
Pain, what nuances accompany it?
With what eyes does sadness search us out?
With what colour does it paint its strange peace?
How does sadness walk?*
I wonder as I set out to walk today – alone. The security around the fotress is high and alert. Still the most precious gem stands to be stolen. The vigilant me stands head bowed. Strangely I do not crave strength today. I crave numbness and extreme solitude!
* Translated from Silvio Rodriguez’s famous Spanish piece – Let the Guitar Raise Her Hand.