As events unfold around you, you sit down and take stock. Sometimes, you have a part to play. Most of the times you remain a silent spectator. It begins to unnerve you as time passes. A sense of restlessness creeps in and you begin to edge out to the corner. You start disbelieving things for they are only things to gawk at and passively witness.
You are part of a chain of events, if not its main subject. You realize that things are riding on you and one wrong step can take you back years. You trundle along the road as if it were paved with needles. Conscious of your efforts, heavy strides and small steps are what remains of you. Slowly, the day catches up on you. You lie down to rest awhile. Closing your eyes, you look out at the distance – there where the sky is still lighter, the plains bathed in crimson halo.
You are looking at someone. Someone you knew from long back. The someone has of course changed a lot, yet you can recognize him in an instant. The cut of his chin, the stoop in his walk and the noise that his legs make all remind you of an age long back. You forget about this someone. Now, parts of your brain has been activated – parts you never knew existed, memories you are surprised you have preserved till date. There’s nothing extraordinary about this one memory that this someone has thrust back into your life. In it, you are involved in just one of those many other banal activities that men do to while away their time. With a jerk you realize that your ‘someone’ has quietly left the scene while you were absorbed in that silly little memory. You give the missing one a single fleeting thought but before long your thoughts are back into the age of that memory. Suddenly you feel a massive jerk and a spurt of rapidly dissolving, forgettable snippets flood your mind. You realize the pointlessness of it all – as these memories hold no special significance howsoever much you assign a responsibility to it. They are there because they are there. Still, you find it difficult to let the random memories just be.
Time passes and you realize how much you have started living in your memories. It’s easy and lets you forget about your present. It demands no resources other than letting free your own mind. It makes you tired nevertheless. You close the book and wander off to sleep – only to be awakened by a crash from the distant past. Its the crash that took your speech away. You can hear the last words that you ever spoke before hurtling down the road and into that wooden house. The car smashing itself into the glasses of the greenhouse. You open your eyes and shut down the television. Needing a walk you open your door to stroll along the lined pavement. A white-washed building in front of you delivers into your nostrils an acrid smell that transports you into a slimy hell-hole you once lived in. The smell, of cockroach and of moisture comes back to haunt you in front of the chlorinated pool of water. You jump in to avoid the building. Once inside, you close your eyes for a moment’s tranquility. There’s a splash and someone joins you in the pool. But you cannot see the person as he is standing so close right behind you that turning would itself mean a crash. You feel a force pulling you further inside the pool. You thrash your way out of the bath tub you were taking a hot bath in.
It’s a sundowner today. You call up your old chums for a cask full of beer and some old stories, just to drag you back to where you started. You take pleasure in re-visiting the places you used to frequent. Locking in your legs, dragging your hands on your side and hopping along the cobblestone pathway, you are a kid again. The light in the house in front of you does not got out. It stands there, in the middle of the day, lighted in its fluorescent glory. Someone switch it off! You scream and your scream goes unheard. You try to run away from the block only to find yourself running in a circle. Exhausted, you sit down by the decrepit fountain in front of you. The bird-shit now dots the place where once the clear stream of water used to eject. You are old now, you realize as you look at your wrinkled hands, the veins prominent in its visibility, the shaking steady as ever.