There are a shocking number of works which I’ve started writing and never got to write any further. I would at times go through these incomplete writings and wonder (and sometimes even laugh) at what I had written. I once came across a writing in one of my very old diaries and failed to recognise my own writing. I thought even my handwriting looked very different from what I knew was my handwriting. It took some time and rewind mode to finally connect the writing with the context and thence, with the fact that I wrote it.
Recently someone told me that the best part of writing for him was to keep writing and then, read it a few years from now. Having done that so many times myself, I know that it is a process of self-discovery, a process for finding the many “me”s in me. Today I’m sharing with you a writing from one such half-written story. As far as I can remember, this one was written a few months after Living with Smoke was completed. One might notice the frequent mention of smoke in this writing and think I have a thing for smoke. Well, I haven’t. And I don’t smoke; used to, but not anymore. Why? It is a bad habit, but it’s also a very dirty habit. I have felt ashamed walking around with the smell of it lingering aroundLike I found out very recently, it is not “cool” to smoke anymore. At least I do not feel it is. This writing would probably be the last time there would be so many references to smoke.
The point is, the writing below is a work of fiction. There is no connection with me whatsoever and no connection with any of the events in my life nor the lives of anybody who lives close to me. When it was being written, I called it “Mark of Spirit”. Please do not expect me to remember why. Read and comment, dear readers. Good Day! Good Night!
The air smelt of smoke. I couldn’t say for sure, though. I had often had such mixing up of senses. That is, to say, under certain circumstances during my life I remember that I could smell smoke all around me. This, a friend would later me, was what they called “synesthesia”.
Life has dealt terrible blows several times during my life. I would stumble a little and then, pick up again. There was nothing unusual about this. This smoke in the air was, however, thicker than usual. It restricted my breathing. Loss of something close to your heart is considered harmful to your heart. The poor ticker did not just work on physics. There were other forces that ailed it, sustained it. Smoke in the air, again… I sniff hard. I take in part of the atmosphere around me. Nothing happens. I still live. Should I?
It is difficult to pinpoint the nature of my queasiness until you know certain entire portions of my life. The blows I mentioned that were so much a part of my life taught me how to stay steady. But, as I said, there are certain forces out of human control that can blow everything over. I felt the queasiness again. It’s the smoke, the smoke in the air that cannot escape my nostrils.
I rush to the bathroom, splash water in handfuls, several times over the face. I blow my nose. I look into the mirror at the other me. The ‘me’ I thought was always different, the exact opposite. Does he know what he is going through? Can he pull through? Can I pull through?
I move back into the bedroom and realize that the smoke is part of me. It is not in the nostrils; it’s not in the room; yet it is a part of me. I looked at the pack of cigarettes on the side table. I lit one up and think with ease now. At least now, I know that there really is smoke.
All men go through depressing states of mind at some point or the other during moments of loneliness. Someone suggested I was having some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. Duh, all that I had gone through in life had not taught me deal with simple, small losses? I wouldn’t believe that.
What I couldn’t understand was why it happened, when everything really looked like it was falling in place. There was the sign of a perfect world. A world I had never believed in, and a world she introduced me to. A world she promised me and a world she delivered. Why of all the time did this happen when everything was in its rightful place? I was right. Nothing is perfect. Too perfect is too good to be true. Without her, nothing is perfect, nothing is ever the same.
Someone recently told me about the way our deeds catch up with us. That’s a wholly spiritual way of looking at it. There’s no physics or chemistry in such matters. It is proof that there is that immensely powerful force everyone calls God. As I said, it is entirely spiritual. My deeds catching up with me gave me the frights.
It is possible, isn’t it? Well, if it is, then I must remember and forget everything in a little while. New mountains remained to be climbed. New blows needed to be dealt with. Life was calling. Before all that, for one last time, I must remember everything and forget… forever.