She would often talk about the people she met on the way. Sat on water tanks while they took baths in the river below. Lived in tents with. Painted walls with. Some of them even had the weirdest of names. Like very un-Indian names. Yet, those would flow out her mouth like water, and I wondered if she never realized how un-used to I was to those names. She would refer to them often, very often, except when we were not focusing on us, just the two of us. Lovers, they could be, current and ex-es. Both, with equal impartial fervor. Like they never went out of her head. Women, their sense of couture. Their choice of earnings. Their taste in movies, governing philosophies of life, their dark dark secrets of the under-belly. As I sat opposite her, transfixed, protecting the secrets of absolute strangers, inside of my head, creating chambers to hide them in, trying hard and patiently, with intermittent loss of attention, to remember their names, and what people they were. Those people she met, are characters in my life too. Those, who I would never see or meet. Those, unbeknownst.
He, had two issues with everything. One, he didn't harbor the art of listening that well. Two, he couldn't stop talking. While doing so, these numerous, numerous people would flow into and out of our conversations. Like both of us knew them equally well. He would refer to them with their surnames first. I guess. In a matter of days, we would move on to funny versatile nicknames. Easier to catch hold of. Remember. Less tiresome. I would often convince myself that I am making a conscious effort for keeping a track of everything. While mindlessly stealing glances at my laptop, squeezing in a bit of work here and there, while he went on, or switching channels on the TV, mentally dictating what's going on in what channel. These people, the ones that are so a part of his life, outside of me, have gradually begun to seep into mine. Like they are someone very close. I see them, and I really do, through him. It's funny, because they have no idea who I am. Whether I am.
They all say, and say with such balls, that the world is a small place, and shrinking by the moment. But here I am, far and away, living with so many inside my head who are unbeknownst to me, strangers except for fragile threads of unconscious acquaintance through the She & He, that I love.
unbeknown (also unbeknownst)
· adj. (unbeknown to) without the knowledge of.
I am not saying that no one will love you how much I do. I am not saying that you will ever regret having lost out on me. I am not saying that an appendage like this happens rarely in our whole lives. I have no claims.
Only, some nights I merely wish these were all true. Unconditionally. But, now, tonite I know for sure that these things that I do not say, are indeed true. Every letter, every space between words, each pause and punctuation, is true. You will never find anyone who loves you how much I do. Even if you do, and there exists my competition, you will still regret having lost out on me. I haven't figured out the reason for that yet, but you would.
It could be because, every germ of passion in me awakens when you are around. The way I get drenched in sundry emotion, Baby, I cannot explain. I know, nothing lasts. But lets put that cynicism of a lifetime apart for a moment, this feels endless, undying. At least, for now it does, tonite it does.
Love, which seems to be the answer, is another question by itself. You know. You are the love of my life. Yeah, you. No one else can ever become what you are to me. And all my life, till now, I have been looking for you. Desperately. Running from corner from corner. Scanning faces of strangers in empty streets. Sitting alone on solo benches in parks, watching, un-involved, the passage of sun drenched afternoons. Writing poems, heartlessly; waiting, incessantly. I have been looking for you. With the basic assumption that love is the one answer. I seek. But.
Now, that I have found you. Yeah, you. I don't know what to do anymore. With you. With myself.
This love feels different, than the one I had imagined, inside my head. Long long ago.This has rough edges, feels incomplete. With flaws.
I used to believe, that flaws are beautiful. In fact, flaws are the only beauty. Perfection is a ghost. But, somehow, I stand un-quenched. Here, now. Standing beside you, I feel like miles away. As lovelorn as then. As untouched as then.
I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. So, tell me. What is it that I seek.
She has a faintly distinct memory of when she touched him. For the very first time. Straps in sandals are tricky things. First, she didn't even know why those straps were needed to be. Probably to hold her feet in place. But we are firmly grounded people, no one foot in the air. She thought, and always picked up those without knowing why. Every other day, the few lame seconds that were lost in putting those straps on, looking for a pillar or a wall to hold on to, (you know right?) she regretted a tinge even, the loss of time. One day, however. Was it on a temple stairs or something?, that they had removed their shoes before getting in. That after they got out, somewhat looking for a wall or a pillar to hold on to so that she could slide in those straps, caught his sleeve in a pinch between her thumb and index finger. For the other foot, placed a hand on his shoulder. And etc. In retrospect, it sank in. Through the pores of fingers, through the lines on her palm. In a delayed reflex, when it reached her heart, she felt the touch. Right there.
Later, his crumpled shirt. Smelt partly of perfume. And the rest, had whiffs of his sweat. Tingling her nostrils. Moistening eyes. For no plenty reason. Reason is never plenty. For anything at all. She never understood that part either (Second?!). The whiffs sank into her head. Through tortuously secret nasal pipes. And the touch sank into her head. Right there. Nailed it.
Touch, they say, is a big deal. Must be, and why not?!
that I love you;
Do you believe it
when I feel a plunge of
deep-set, ungetoverable hatred for you
For everytime you said
you would turn up,
For everytime you
made me feel that you were the one
And abandoned me sulking in self doubt
regret, grieving the loss of someone
Whom I never had to begin with.
This love, is back in season
for now, for tonite
And the morning that follows
may be, the evening that sneaks in after that.
But whatever after that?
There is a saying inside my head
that says that you'd leave
Because you've come back
You can't stay
Because, you aren't that material
You're fleeting, floating
Between existence and non-existence
You are only, because I imagine that you are
Even now, even this time.
I wonder, what would it be like,
when you're gone
How much longer will my poems get
How many long walks,
how much smoke
How much middle of the night, pointless whining
Will be just about enough to get over you.
when you will vanish, yet again, breaking my heart, yet again.
my Almost Lover
I mean, aren't we designed to fret. When we are sad now, we can't wait for desperately things to get better. And when we are ecstatic, we keep worrying about when things will get as bad as they were in the past. When and not if. Do you see the degree of conviction in what I just wrote, out of writhing spontaneity. Like, I am assured things are irrevocably screwed up.
Anyway, I chose the unaffordable substitute of happy: ecstatic. Didn't you notice? I am ecstatic. And counting my days.