Friday, April 03, 2009
Farewell Of A Nomad - Part 2
13th May 1997. Bangalore.
I wept bitterly.
In those five years, much weeping had fallen in my lot.
We landed from Ahmedabad in 1992. In the story of my life, it was at this point in time that the villain made an entrance. This was none other than my father’s relative, a sinister evil woman, a dark soul. A wolf in a sheep’s clothing.
Father was now concerned only about relatives and what they would say…
Suspicion.Vigilance. Admonition. Estrangement.
Of the many English words that I learnt from my father, two words are significant.
‘Soliloquy’ – meaning monologue, as different from dialogue. Very casually my father mentioned that in theatre when a single character talks to himself, it is called soliloquy.
I realized that I had become that character and my life had become one long soliloquy. There was no one to listen and I talked to myself most of the time.
The second word was ‘Write off’- Father was a banker. He said to me “In banks when customers don’t repay their debts after many reminders and the bank gives up all hopes, we write off such customers.” After a brief pause, he said, “And I have written you off”
I wrote my first three poems. Void , Nostalgia and Meloncholy. In that order.
At 17, I was a cynic.
I had done badly in 12th exams and disappointed everyone. Engineering was ruled out. There was an atmosphere of gloom as if someone had died. Yeah. My future had just died.
My first love. Krishna – I had been stealing glances at him for 2 years now and he had been doing the same thing. Nothing more. I had been hoping and praying at the end of two years something would happen before we left college. On 10th May 1997, I saw him walk away from the CET exam hall towards the medical seat that was waiting for him with a spring in his step, without as much as saying goodbye to me.
I, the defeated soldier, dragged my feet to my balcony and reclined in my chair as my heart sank into a bottomless well.
At 18, my world had come to an end. There was no hope.
We were shifting to Mysore.
Two days before my departure, I met Ramya while crossing the road. It was as if we had known each other for long. She showed me a mirror. I dismissed the image I saw. But I believed in it several months later.
“You are a lovely bud. I look forward to the fragrance upon your blossoming” were her last words in my autograph book.
Today I understand that some people come into your life for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime. This girl came for a reason. To show me my next level.
I tried to cling to her but in vain. She had to go. Her purpose had been served.
The bus moved. I took no notice of the moving pictures in the window. I refused to look ahead. I was holding on tightly to Ranjini, my best friend in college, Sharath and Prakriti …because all these people played some role in the story of me and Krishna…which was no story at all. And Krishna – I would never see him again perhaps – my heart bled…
I would cling thus to an unhappy past and broken dreams for a few more years to come before letting go…
2003. September. Mysore.
This farewell was different; the first one of it’s kind. I was the only one leaving.
I was leaving behind my home, my family and my charming city, Mysore in order to join Cognizant, a software company in Bangalore that had offered me employment on the campus of SJCE, where I had just finished my MCA.
Initially I had found the city of Mysore dull and boring. I waited eagerly to go back to Bangalore.
But someone above, interested in my good, knew that small plants cannot grow in the shade of big trees.
The calm, quiet, humble, simple, uncomplicated city of Mysore was what my tormented soul had needed.
I don’t know when I let go of all the broken pieces, when the waiting died and when I embraced the love and life of Mysore.
The bud had blossomed.
6 years ago, when I had just arrived in Mysore, I had written 3 poems.
A Struggle To Conquer Destiny – It was the expression of a cynic.
Life is so unsteady and uncertain
Man proposes God disposes often
Death is the ultimate truth of life,
Sorrow the ultimate truth of joy,
Separation the truth of every encounter,
Disappointment the truth of every hope
We are puppets pulled by unseen strings
We are caged birds with clipped wings
Love Understands And Therefore Waits – This was simply a work of art that sorrow had produced. After the arrow had been pulled out and the blood dried, beauty would remain. Nothing more.
You may disappear into nothing
And vanish into void
I shall still wait for you
Years and years after you’re gone
For the sun descends everyday
With a promise to return the next dawn
Today, when I look back, I am happy that the Sun descended for good and when the dawn happened, it saw a new Sun.
Dangerous Heights – This was the declaration of an incorrigible optimist.
All my castles built in air
Came crashing down to earth
I’d soared high to reach the stars
But barely touched the clouds
She’ll rebuild her tower great and tall
Never to crumble never to fall
She waits and longs for her turn
While the world awaits hr return
A tower was built, not all that great, not the kind I had imagined, but surely, it was never to crumble and never to fall.
December 1st 2008. Airport Road. Bangalore.
It was a rare case of beauty created by a combination of nature and manmade edifice.
Golden Enclave. An apartment building on airport road. I was lucky to be a neighbour of this landmark.
On the one side stood, one above the other, several neatly built dream homes with plenty of open space around, a swimming pool at the far end and gardens for children to play.
The tall eucalyptus trees lined all along the other side exuded such peaceful grandeur. There were other trees in the same line, whose gracefully falling boughs almost touched the windshields of cars parked below, in a long straight line.
It was a pretty picture.
Many an evening, I had taken my evening walk here.
Every day, I would look up to see the tree tops of the Eucalyptus as I breathed in the fragrance diffused by the tree. I would slow down my pace as I arrived close to the smaller trees to behold in delight, sunshine filtered by the foliage of the trees. I would stop to pick one of the flowers on the ground below, light lavender in colour, almost white.
I would miss these evening walks.
Leela palace was 5 minutes away, diagonally across the road. Its peach coloured, walls, ornate archways, pillars and climbers that hid most of the façade created a work of art. In the midst of ugliness.
It was on the main road full of traffic, pollution, commercial slum and people. But as you crossed the door of the palace, you were transported into a different world. They say it was built after the style of Mysore palace. Yes. There is a resemblance.
Entry was completely unrestricted! What a luxury!
No matter what time of the day, what season of the year, it was breezy inside the palace.
I have no count of the mornings, afternoons and evenings spent here, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone, sometimes in Chai bar, sometimes in Barista and other times in the lounge, facing the garden of neatly mown lawn, palm trees, lotus ponds and a water fountain.
I would miss the ambience of this place… soft lights, chandeliers, the painting of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the erstwhile king of Mysore, the cool breeze, the solitude the place offered…
I would miss the Airport road itself, the row of Ashoka trees and sodium vapour lamps at it’s centre.
At least twice a year, the Jackeranda and the flame of the forest would burst in bloom and pour forth blossom laden boughs from the NAL boundary on to the main road. My camera would have to find newer trees and newer blossom.
I had shifted my accommodation several times in Bangalore as my office shifted.
But only this time, I turned around to look behind as the tempo rumbled on.
Like the waters of a never settling sea that recede to it’s depths with a delusion of permanence, only to be heaved to the shores…to retreat once again… to be churned yet again…
Like the life of a nomad…