Thursday, January 26, 2012

Long Lost

Did you see me as you passed the giant rocks and the waves? I was standing by the edge, watching the blue and grey ship sail across the sea. I live here…where there isn’t much else to do, and there isn’t anywhere else to go…peace, some call it.
I thought this would be a letter. But it’s turning out, in my head, to be a memoir. A memoir of what we’ve done together. My people tell me, I am an old wreck…counting my days, frustrated with almost everything in life, including my stomach bugs…that’s only gone worse over the years. Remember, how badly I was hit when we had that insanely spicy potato curry by the college gates? That’s right. I haven’t forgotten.
You need something to hold on to. Even if they are merely memories…so completely intangible! Talking of holding on, I left my walking stick the other day at the neighbourhood park. Didn’t really feel its absence at all! So it’s holding on to intangible things that creates such acute mess in the head.
The festival’s starting in this town. Only a few more days to go. Tripti tells me, business is therefore looking good. Some good news there! If you ask me, this is the best place in the whole wide world to do ‘fish-y business’…pun totally unintended. A couple of my trawlers are returning. I can see their white masts from where I stand.
Do you remember how Kirti, Disha and Atul once hid in one of those trawlers, while we adults were having our own Christmas party? The mothers were quite mad at the children for a while. Disha told me that was the first time she learnt to smoke, Kirti having taught her with elan. When I look back, I was surprisingly cool to hear her talk about it. Were you as cool when Kirti and Atul told you their bit? I’m sure you would have been. We are similar dads in so many ways.
I remember how you enjoyed Harper Lee, and how we always argued about who is a better Atticus…Harper Lee’s or Robert Mulligan’s. I remember how we used to spend endless evenings watching Sir Alec Guinness walk across that bridge on the Kwai and drop his stick on the water… I remember so many things Bishwa…the hankering for pocket money, the tough times, the poetry, the first dates…weddings, children. But this painful parting of ways was never in our diaries…was it?
They have a sea-storm alert within the next few days, and fishermen have been warned. Therefore, it’s getting a bit too breezy in here for comfort. Or maybe it’s just my old bones…quite intolerant of anything out of the ordinary. I’ve gotta go. Tripti is waiting, smelling of talcum powder, sitting on that old couch with her rose-coloured teapot and hand-made butter cookies. I will see you, when I see you. Leave you with my favourite lines, made unnecessarily popular by an imbecile Hindi movie director -
‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there.’
-         Rumi

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