Friday, January 19, 2007

She Sang for the Last Time

“How few, of all the hearts that loved,
Are grieving for thee now!
And why should mine, tonight, be moved
With such a sense of woe?”
~ Emily Bronte

Her pale, diminutive figure drew compassionate glances that entire evening. I have never seen her wearing black… yet, here she was- dressed in her mourning attire, receiving bouquets of white roses and condolences.

“Does it not break your heart to see such a young girl…widowed so soon!” someone whispered to me, and left before I could answer.
What could I have answered?
That perhaps grief has lent an unearthly beauty to her eyes…
That there was a touch of moonlight on her pale skin this night…
That I perceived memories flowing in her veins…

She moved towards the piano and threw open the window facing the instrument. Everyone stopped to look at her as she sat down at the piano and ran her fingers lightly over the worn out keys… humming to herself a soft tune for some time. And then her clear voice rang out as she sang.

She sang for the last time that night. Somewhere her voice got lost amidst tears…she broke off and fell into a reverie, only to begin again. Sometimes she sang clearly, her soulful voice haunting us all- there was an unmistakable tinge of melancholy that pervaded all those verses she chose to sing. Her tears traced their ways down her cheek like serpentine rivers…salty streams…

She refused to close the window facing her. The harsh, bitter wind whipped her face and she simply said: ‘It keeps the wound fresh…’
For the first time in weeks she let her hair loose, they hung like twined brown tendrils, softly caressing her neck, her cheek…those gentle tears too…

Next morning we found her dead. Her delicate figure leaning against the piano… the window still wide open. No wind blew this morning. And here she sat, blue with cold…her tear-stained face lifted towards the skies.
I pried open her clenched fist, those numb fingers opened to reveal crushed rose petals lying in her stained palm… and a smile seemed to hover on those blue lips.

How unbelievable it seems when we say that she died for love, that she died of a broken heart…perhaps she will rest in peace. Perhaps not. Perhaps on such cold December nights she will come back to this room and sing for us…loud and clear, emotions clouding her voice at times, the wind chilling this very room… singing of something so commonplace…singing of love that rises like a phoenix from the flames…

Sunday, January 14, 2007

idle ramblings...

Hmmm… I seem to be posting more personal stuff here than writing the stories I was initially supposed to. But, this is probably because blogging is actually an efficient outlet- I feel much better after having typed frantically on my keyboard for at least an hour. This also explains why I stopped maintaining a diary- something I have been doing for the past five years. Daily.

Well then let’s get on with business. I was wondering what kind of a year 2007 will turn out to be. 2006 had been…let’s just say… ‘happening’. Why?
Because so many things happened.
I passed my board exams, escaped the clutches of law… i.e. I was supposed to get into law, specifically NUJS- probably would have been there too by now, slogging my way through the mush, had I not firmly put my foot down and opted to stay on in J.U.
This kind of broke my dad’s heart, and I hated myself for it for a few days. But J.U.D.E. is where I am meant to be, I guess he too understands and appreciates it now.

My best friend passed her boards too, with great marks, befriended a guy she really liked, he proposed to her in December… and she refused. Don’t ask me why! I think she’ll melt soon and give in.

As for me, I made wonderful friends in J.U. They are more close to me than most of my school friends… and I feel blessed and lucky to be in a group of such like minded people- people who appreciated me for what I am. Life did rock in 2006!

But 2007 began rather strangely- Valentine’s Day is just one month away and everyone I know is ‘breaking up’. Kind of sad really. And people who are not breaking up are getting over their crushes. Humph. It is gonna be a lackluster Valentine’s Day this time.
I certainly hope things change for the better soon.

Oh! I forgot to mention something. I have got ‘blogging buddies’ now. Ha-ha! Go figure it out…except suki and lost poet of course. Suki was right- no one else seems to read our blogs, sometimes it feels as if our blogs are actually group discussions restricted to ourselves! Not that I’m complaining but why don’t others read them too?

Right now, I AM forcing some of my school friends to read my blog or else… I might just resort to tortures like the rack…*evil smiles galore*

If people have friends like me, who needs enemies?

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It rained heavily that night. It was a torrential downpour, something so unusual in these parts. Perhaps it rained for a reason. Perhaps it rained for me. I walked through that narrow lane after fifteen years… will I still be able to recognize that house? Will she still stand over the balcony, looking forward to my visit?

Countless seasons have brushed by me…by us… it did change me… but her? Does she still smell like those lemon blossoms she hid in her sari? Does her wet hair still caress her face, hanging like limp tendrils?

I walked on for some time, reflecting on my past while the raindrops shot towards the street like bullets… my salty tears indiscernible from the drops that splashed my face. The empty street heightened my isolation, and somewhere I melted into nature herself. I was the rain…I was the storm…
The raindrops kept on pelting me- numbing me to their soft sharp blows…my muddy shoes whined perceptibly, the umbrella hung limply from my arm.
I wished it would rain harder- hard enough to drown me…keeping me cold and wet till sleep or death, the latter more preferred, overcame me.

I saw the end of her sari trailing behind her, following her languorous footsteps the way memories do… I heard her soft voice spell out dreams and felt her breath on my cheek… or was I imagining it?

Will she look forward to my return?

I saw her flushed face near a window, half opened to cool the air inside… or was I dreaming again?

A house loomed large in front of me like a giant rising from the abyss… I remembered the verandah…there it was… decrepit though. The windows were closed, the door securely locked. She locked me out even now. The house looked vacant- perhaps it had been so for a long time. Not another soul shared the silence amidst which I stood so lost.
The rain blurred my vision for a while.

I do not recall when I had reached my hotel. Or how. All I remember is a comfortable bed, solid oak chairs and a bulb that glowed dimly at all hours beside the mirror. I recall seeing a frail, pallid creature in the mirror…a vacant, listless look in his eyes… and I remember my nightmares. Or was it reality?

A twenty something Sheta… an affection that lasted a few months, something that happened fifteen years ago. I needed someone to share my story with. Almost feverish with passion and overcome with torrid emotions I began writing.

I met Sheta almost fifteen years ago. A fine young girl, with doe-like eyes… I called her my ‘dusky princess’… many a times have I visited that house that looked so forbidding and forlorn now. She lived with her grandparents there. Did we fall in love? She did. Did I? The question still reverberates in silence…even after so many years…
She was my muse awhile. I might have painted her portrait a thousand times, trying to capture every emotion that flitted by. I might have dedicated to her a hundred poems, and she wound them all up with a red ribbon. I might have gifted her many wild roses…so safely she pressed them in her diary… and I have kissed those red soft lips and run my fingers through her hair…

I returned to Calcutta after spending about six months in those hills. Without telling her. I was too afraid of facing her wrath… I never saw those silent tears fall, or her lips open to half utter a word…

I had quite forgotten her in all these years, but something changed it all. Last month I received a small envelope, enclosed within were some yellowed pages… and a red ribbon binding them all…
Within days I rushed back to this place, haunted by memories… haunted by guilt. And I walked through that lane again… the only difference being her absence.

‘I look and see it there, shrinking, shrinking,
I look back at it amid the rain
For the very last time; for my sand is sinking,
And I shall traverse old love’s domain
Never again.’
- ‘At Castle Boterel’
Thomas Hardy