“Wrapping my ideas into a single thought and spilling them on these pages has become a kind of hobby for me. Neither gifted with acute talent of creativity nor that of using decorated words , I can’t paint my writings in any better way than those of my colleagues who so easily succeed in doing so. Due to such awkward burrs , one will find my writing coarse and as a writer , I feel it is my duty to ask you to pardon the questionable errors with a humorous mind for a novice dreamer.
It was 22nd September , 2012. The blanket of grey Cirrus clouds had veiled the Sun and the city was enveloped in a gloomy and dark weather for the day. It drizzled from time to time. Children got a rainy day at school , and splashed and jumped at the puddles formed at the odd corners of the roads. I was dashing through the streets , jostling by the crowd, with my briefcase upon my head. I was asked to cover a talking session of an author in the Memorial Club and try to convince him to give me an interview , and I was running a lot late. This young author had published only one book , titled ‘The Inaudible Roar’, where he had criticised and ridiculed a lot of the prevalent social norms. His rational thoughts caught the reader’s attention and the Club had asked him to sit in one of their talking session. My editor asked me to be present there as I was a senior field reporter. As I entered the Club ,I saw that there were around twenty people sitting in the small reading room. There were reporters standing along the book piles and in the centre was the author himself. He was a man in his late twenties , dressed in a prim and proper grey suit wearing reading glasses.
The session had already started and as I entered , I heard somebody ask, “You have talked about a lot of superstitions in your book , what’s your idea about God and the society’s indulgence in all the religious activities?”
The author thought a little bit and finally said , “ Pertaining to your first question , I will tell you that I am just a speck in the universe , too little to even form an idea about such an entity, whose existence may never be proved , but who continues to provide hope to the people on Earth. That being said , one should never make their life around God. The argument of the existence of God and Satan and believing them is a matter I leave for the pundits to answer. I can , though, give you a far baser, but interesting fact.
Satan has always proclaimed his love for doing evil things. Anything bad happening , any black cloud , anything dark has been attributed to Devil , and by far he has kept to this nature. But for God” he paused , and sipped the water from the glass on the table by him . He ran his hand over his moustache and continued. “
He is shown by the people as the benevolent and the caring one , who provides food to the mighty eagle and the minion sparrow ; who cares for each and every soul. His greatness has ever since been over exaggerated and repeated again and again through the millennia , emphasising on the fact how he lives within everyone and how each and every action of his is for betterment of ours. But believe me when I say that he does not live within me , within you and by the stats of the number of accidents or the famine in one part of the world or the war in another, within anyone. If you talk to god , you’re a believer , if God talks back , you’re delusional. So , when they try to scare you by portraying Satan into believing in God , do remember who keeps his end of the deal.”
The whole group broke out into an applause and smiles. I was amused by his straight forward and cynical approach when I thought of asking him a question. “ Do you believe in love ?” .
The room again fell silent and all sets of eyes were upon him. “ Parasitism is a non-mutual symbiotic relationship between species , where one species , benefits at the expense of the other , the host. Love is a parasite. In the words of mythology it can be said that Cupid’s arrow was lapped with thus mentioned parasite. It latches on to his host , slowly but eventually starting to influence the behaviour of the host. The rational mind no longer survives as that parasite gains ground and the host starts doing foolish things that no sane person would do. And just like a parasite , it lives as long as its host survives.”
I was stunned and irritated. Never would I have thought that somebody could have had that differential for a concept like love. It is for these stereotypical people that the concept of love is no longer as it was before. The room was silent for the next few minutes with nodding heads, with occasional interruptions by the ball pens moving over the papers. Finally the chairman of the Club stood up and thanked everyone for coming and concluded the program. The author was still sitting , as the reporters huddled around him. Slowly they dispersed , and he stood up.
I took the chance and went to him. “ You don’t believe in God , you have very low opinions about the society and civilization and your opinion on love seemed rather from a biologist than an author.”
“ But do you believe in human , not the whole mankind but a single person ?”
He smiled this time , “ Where ?”
I was startled , “ What?” .
“You obviously want an interview. I just wish to know where and when and I will be present.”
He figured me out too fast for my comfort. “La Plada , 8, tomorrow evening?”
I nodded. He left , leaving me in the hallowed room with my racing thoughts and the age-old books to giggle at my stumped face, both fuming at him and smiling at my silliness.
Next day, the cloud was still hanging like a curtain on the window of the sky, the wet spells continued , causing water logging in certain places around the city. The whole day I spent thinking about his words. How can a man be so strung up with reality that he has barred himself from imagination , emotions and love ? How can rationality even account for the fun he was missing on ?
Questions like this dogged me , and my editor specifically ordered me to get those answered. By the time I reached La Plada he was already there. My white top and skirt was matched by his black shirt and trousers. He showed his civility, holding my chair for me. We talked about one other’s aspirations for some time as the order was placed.
Finally I asked him my questions. He sipped some of the complimentary red wine and looked out of the window. The Central Park was just outside. The trees and flowers were fresh and alive , being bathed for two days now. Couples were walking hand in hand , snuggling under their umbrellas. The traffic was light and the smoke bellowing from the vehicles got dispersed, as soon as they were puffed out, by the rain that had started again.
“I was orphaned at the age of 8 and I and my brother grew up with my grandparents. I lost them too , when I graduated. My brother was then reading in high school. He had immense feelings for a girl in his class. He used to tell all of that to me. I tried to give him tips and how to tell her. I understood that he loved her, he knew that he loved her , the girl knew that he loved her. So did her boyfriend.
One day , the boyfriend said something ugly to both of them and left her, becoming suspicious that she was infidel. That’s one of the perks of love , people say they will love you to till their last breath and move on before their next breath. She blamed my brother for the whole thing and slapped him in front of the class. This could have been just another High school romance mishap that happens in between teenagers but my brother took this rather seriously. The only remedy that occurred in my little brother’s head to this tragedy was to take a free fall from the top of our apartment.”
He paused-choking-,“ From that day , I have tried never to involve emotions in any decisions.”
I changed the topic of discussion and had a lively conversation about the frivolous nature of crows and the society views on sexuality. He dropped me off at my apartment. As I scaled the stairs and the surge of feelings that was building in me, I wondered if this would be the end with it being a professional interview or if there would be something more.”
He paused. He slowly turned the pages. Finally he found the page.
He was blind
With visions to see
Sitting amidst the cacophony of life
He chose to be blind.
I shall startle him with light
Will teach him to see
Because I am in love
With a blind man who can see
The smell when Spring arrives , I am sure , incites tiny bursts of chemical which react furiously in our brain , making us experience waves of emotions. The nature also seems to enjoy the mirth, with tiny leaves and buds appearing on the twigs and the branches. I was also swept away by that smell. It has been nearly six months since I met him and I doubt if the stupid has any idea how madly I have fallen for him , how many poems I have written for him , how many nights I have spent sleepless wondering how to tell him and if he will love me.
I wish I was a poet , I could have written something worthwhile and beautiful as his writings. I guess that’s the perk with us girls. We seem not to know how to state clearly about our feelings when in love. Those “butterfly in stomach , heart skipping a beat” moments send us off-track. We become angry at the boys for not understanding us when in reality we don’t even give them a hint and then we laugh at our own misery. Finally , I have thought of a way where I would not be in front of him when he learns about my feelings. It is an old trick , but it should be effective to bring him out of his seraglio. I would mail him a bouquet of rose with a fake one among them with a postcard ‘Will love you till the last rose wither.’ The next time I write , I hope it will be with his love.”
He closed the book. He took off his glasses and kept them on the table. Everyone in that room waited with bated breath for the author to speak. His face showed his struggle , trying to keep himself composed.
“ What happened next , she could not write and thus is not in the book. That very day when she sent those flowers to me, she had a nasty fall in her office and broke her elbow. The doctor easily fixed her bone but during that had some suspicion. Under some expensive scanner which finds out cancerous tumours and growths , she lit up like those angels they show on screen. Only the irony was that she was going to die.
She had some rare form of cancer which has metastasized to nearly all her major organs , but caused no outward symptoms. She was in the last stage. The breaking of her bone sent off a timer and the cancer attacked her whole body at the same time. With her organs failing, she was kept on life support. The next day, I went to visit her, but the cancer had already destroyed most of her memory cells. She could not recognise me.
Three days after, she died due to multiple organ failure during a surgery. You might be wondering why I am publishing her stories in a book. By her last wish , all her writing stuff was given to me. In them , I found poems of an excellent thought and style. By the burden of society and time , the creative budding poet in her got incubated. Though I found her introduction to herself as a writer pretentious I kept it as it was. I thought the world should have a taste of this “novice dreamer”. I found her personal diary among them and published all of them in a collection of poems and stories.”
The listeners sat quietly. A deep feeling of sense of the inevitability of death and its suddenness fell on all of them. The reporters were silent too. They had questions but could not be impertinent enough to ask them. Finally one of them spoke , “Do you believe in love?”
There was a sharp intake of breath. The author smiled to himself. He looked around the room , at the piles of old books and the reporter’s face , expecting an answer. It was in this room a couple of years ago someone asked the same question to him. He then looked at her face on the cover of the book. “Love is like a parasite. It lives as long as its host survives.”
The author’s reply was greeted with a cold sigh from someone in the room. He stood up and buttoned his coat. The reporters closed their copies and the chairman came forward. Suddenly , he looked up. “And once the host dies , it finds the other one, him, to live in.”