I have my memories around the dawn of the New Years.
On the eve of the millennium i stood in a neighbors terrace and the sky was alive with colors around us.I was a kid then, and there were the two of us. Me and a guy with whom i grew up. I was excited then to imagine a thousand years unfold before me, it was like spreading a unending red carpet and let you walk on it. I was walking all around their little terrace to see those little flames flare up into the sky and burst into colors, mostly red, green and blue. When it was 12:00 we did hear cheers in the air around the distant suburb. I wished him and we smiled at each other. Then for some more time i sat with him on the stairs and was carried away by the sky, by then that night was the longest i had spent outside my roof. Then came a lot more ceremonies for cutting down the umbilical cords, for yet another new year to fall on the ground with pink blood and flesh. Apart from a few other indifferent midnights, there was this midnight when we were on a high and dancing madly to the tunes on a dimly lit floor, the midnight where i left my friends early and came home to begin the year by blankly looking at the countless stars, the midnight at beasant nagar beach where i was having a bowl of fish looking at the sea, as the crowd erupted with joy, the midnight when we threw a bash at the mansion house, honked the car in the middle of the streets, played stupid music and greeted everyone with cheers, and the midnight of a new year where i walked with a friend of mine in search of the adobe of his lady love.
This new years eve, i fell sick. The plans for the pub or at least even a dinner with my brother looked remote. I took my pills, covered myself with two sheets of blankets and held a book on top of my chest. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham. The book moved very slowly, at times it pulled my hands and took me into it and at times it let me stand at a distance and observe. Time moved, on angular movements on the clock which i hid behind the pillow. I was reading this page, where an unhappy orphan kid sits alone with pain. His care taker, a barren elderly women who has never had a kid tries to console him. The kid loses his mind and shouts ”I hate you, i wish you were dead”. The poor lady who has never had the privilege of been treated like a mother breaks down at her failure of not able to be one. she sits down, she breaks down to tears. An odd silence fills the room. The kid feels sorry for her, he goes out and kisses her. She takes him in her arms and weeps her heart out. Her tears were now partly of happiness, the strangeness between them is gone. I kept reading and i came across these lines quoted here verbatim “She loved him now with a new love because he had made her suffer”. I closed the book here, those line felt spiritual. Doors kept opening inside me, one after another, deeper and deeper and at last there was this goosebump felt beneath the skin. That may just be a line up of few words, but it took me far beyond from the meanings it professed. It kept pouring with new meanings, i related my universe with those lines. I travelled back in time to the place where Maugham sat in a corner room filled with solitude and wrote these lines on a brown sheet of paper while the smell of dark ink still lingered in the air. The book had given me a moment, a pure literary moment, a reason for which people still write and read. I may now even stop reading the book. It felt good, divine. When i closed the book it was a few more minutes to midnight. The new year was standing backstage waiting for its moment to open the screens and walk into the stage. I was feeling great, elated and very clear. I slid myself into the blankets, it was really cold beneath the tiled roofs of my village house. I lost track of the minute leading to midnight and was slowly fading into the night. Sleep floated across the eyes, then Arun, my brother slowly opened the doors, came near me and said in a feeble voice Happy new year da. I smiled in the darkness. Cuddled myself like a kid fighting the cold, and slept.
On a different note, my parents are building a new house. They are generous enough to let me have a room of my choice in it. I have never had a room for myself, i have always shared my rooms or lived in rooms built for other people. I had always fitted me inside stranger’s walls. It was quite an experience for me to figure out how i want my living space to look. To sketch out the boundaries of your wilderness within the walls. I took into account the time of my life i live in, the interests and passions of my life, my character, my intuition, my solitude, my laughter and my tears. I close my eyes and the walls get erected in the glowing light. I see a wide room, not a square one, a heavily sun lit rectangular room. A rectangle one with compartments in it, compartments into which i can segregate my dimensions. As i enter comes the one for the everyday ordinary me dresses, office cards and a couch, then for the me who indulges in life my PC, a bed holding my secrets and the third is the most aspirational me filled with a weird stand holding all the books i have secured till this point, poster of a most beloved movie and a philosophical tree with no leaves standing in pot. This is how it looks in the glare, with lots more to fill in. On the other wider end the room has this wide life sized balcony. A balcony which is as wide as the room, a balcony which can be sealed off by a sliding glass door, a balcony which cuts an arc with the compartments of my life, a wide balcony, like a widescreen monitor placed just opposite to my bed. A balcony which opens me to the world and lets the light of the world sneak into my living. I imagine going to sleep with the wide and clear sight of the rain slashing down from the sky, i imagine waking up to sunlight as a songbird sings sitting on a corner of the room. It sounds very romantic. I know, but that is how i vision it. But there are no Roark’s around to let the vision come true. Architecture here is about building rooms where anybody can live, its more about the techniques of it than the purpose of it. I wish this room gets built, and i live at least a little part of my life inside the walls i envision now.
One last thing. I have not written here for long. Blame me, i think i became very prejudiced on what i shall write, the problem comes when you overrate yourself. Which i did. I wish to write more, yeah the wish happened as I was walking through my alley and saw myself confined in different chambers. In one where i was keenly looking at some still art, in one where i stood holding the bars and staring at myself, in one where i heard myself chatter and laugh, in one where i was hiding myself in a corner of the dark room. maybe weeping. As i walk down my alley i see this unoccupied narrow chamber and its windows are open. There is this huge beam of light that intrudes, almost blinding me from a distance.
Now, i start walking towards the light.