My Year, in Words…
It’s almost gone, 2011, and try as I might, I really don’t know what to label it as.
Eventful it has been, my masters is over, and I find myself working. I have changed jobs already, been lucky enough to find something I love doing. I have been distressed, I have been lost. I have been confused. I have walked for hours in the Hyderabad rain. I’ve earned real money for the first time in my life. I’ve made new friends. I’ve run away from love, hunted by the demons of my past.
I’ve tried to hide from myself, and at the same time found a way through it all.
I have lived in three different cities, each one special to me in it’s own way, each having a story of it’s own.
I don’t know what to call 2011, it has been a slideshow of emotions – mostly sad, sometimes happy, but always special. But this also means I’ve lived life, and I suppose that’s something.
I have discovered, or rather rediscovered things that used to mean a lot to me.
Music. I sang a lot this year. At parties, at friend’s places, at get-togethers, on my own. Among friends in Hyderabad, at joints in Chennai. Some times this year, music was all I had.
Cricket. I donned the red and white of the Amrita School of Business for my last university game. I bowled reasonably well, batted very badly & lost that game. It hit me hard. My final university game deserved better. I wasn’t sad about the loss – that’s part of the game, and of life. But I was certainly disappointed. At that point of time, my game could have given me some kind of solace. It didn’t. Even my beloved game deserted me.
But these won’t be the things that will say ‘2011’ when I think about them, many years from now. I will remember 2011 for something else entirely.
For abstractness, for meaning, for imprints left in the mind.
My love for the written word came back with a vengeance this year, and having nothing else to hold on to, I clung on to it with everything I had. Probably more.
It was “one of those days”, as we call them – evenings when existence seems to question itself and your heart lurches in the misty memories of times gone by. I was chatting with a friend. Nothing big, just your basic depressing gtalk chat about the futility of it all, when she said something that made my heart stop.
Sai. Love is terrible, in that one taste of it is never, ever enough.
I don’t know in what context she said this. I don’t remember. Maybe I was just being my usual cynical self, but that string of words is an observation so deep and so true, the meaning of it is enough to knock you over.
Words have a way of doing that.
I found refuge in my books this year. I read so many, sometimes a book a night. There have been nights when I’ve finished a book at 1am & started another. It has been my year of books.
I’m so thankful that I read, though. I of course don’t remember the exact moment I became a bibliophile, but it must have been something like Alberto Manguel describes here –
At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book – that string of confused, alien ciphers – shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.
I don’t think there’s a better way that can be put.
I was woken up one morning last month by a phone call which asked me simply this – “Do you remember what you tweeted late yesterday night?” I didn’t. I just knew that I was sad, & I was sleepy. “I have sent you a mail, check.” I woke up and did what he told me to do. I checked.
Twitter has become something of a diary for me, and of millions like me around the world. It records my moods, my thoughts, my opinions, my every move.
Those 140 characters sometimes can become mirrors, reflecting things from the crevices of your soul, things you try hard to keep hidden.
My friend had sent me a curation of my tweets from the last night. It must have been a godless, moonless nightfall. For the darkness in my own words scares me.
Her haunting presence in your every waking minute. The knowledge that you never were for her what she was to you. That.
The trauma of beautiful loss. Knowing that as she walks in your head, she tramples on your dreams.
The World went on. She has moved on. But your heart screaming out what you already know – You will never be the same again. Never ever.
The letters she never wrote. The kisses that never transpired. A love that never was love. What happened doesn’t matter. What didn’t, does.
When words are all you have left. And flashes. Of memories, that is. Distant, cold. And the laughter that once ruled your life.
When all I want is for my thoughts to fade away. The flicker of a lamp, the damp of the night, her hold on my heart, the time that flew by..
The songs she demanded you sing. The rains she demanded you bring. When all she loved was what you gave her. Not you. It was never you.
Where that came from, or where it went, I do not know. But there it is.
From the contemporary science and fiction of Richard Dawkins, Ian Rankin to classics from Wodehouse, to some heartbreaking Rumi and Neruda poetry, I have uncovered gems, but some of the most beautiful pieces I read this year were not on paper at all.
This one, from someone I know only as mentalexotica, is something I just cannot have enough of.
Why I will write you four letters in one night
Because I cannot keep away from you. Because my nights are yours in thought and memory of the morning before, of the unexpected detonation of desire beneath the sheets at 6:49 am. Because my days are filled with disinterest and wild distractions both. Because your lips keep the memory of my tongue pressed upon them like unwithering flowers. Because my skin is stained by the fingerprints of your craving. Because breathing reconciles itself only with short, sharp pulls and forgets how to exhale. Because writing to you is not writing but an accident of words; colliding, spilling, revealing. Because my body is sore but my longing goes un-neutered. Because the amber-gold highlights of your hair spilling across your face tease a wicked game. Because the white in your smile is a reminder of the bruise on my neck. Because love is a four-lettered word when we make it. Because I cannot keep away from you.
I cannot keep away from you.
If that doesn’t take your breath away, I don’t know what will. I will not try to describe the words above. I don’t possess the intellect to, and I will fail miserably. I’m only a guy who reads. I’ll just get lost in the turmoil it throws my soul into.
It’s time to end 2011 on my blog. What better way than a poem? But first, a small story.
There was a boy, in London. He loved a girl madly, hopelessly. She loved him too.
And then she died in a plane crash in Canada, far away from him.
It was Christmas, 1943, World War 2. He wrote a poem in her memory.
The boy, Leo Marks, was a cryptographer. In March 1944, he used that poem, to encrypt secret messages for the Allies. He used the words he wrote for the girl he loved, to fight Hitler’s evil empire. He was fighting for nothing less than the freedom of the known world. It’s only a few lines, but they do not betray easily the secret they carry or the emotions they were born from. Read it once, and then read it again. Then read it once more. These words demand it.
The life that I have is all that I have
And the life that I have is yours
The love that I have of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have, a rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years in the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.