The Silent Breeze

Be quiet for a while. Listen.

Category: Prose

The Mutation Of A Dream

THE DREAM

 

The dampness of the floor kissed my weary veins as my tall frame cajoled itself to rise up and start walking. There was an invisible wave blowing through the room and outside it. The walls and the bed beside mine were floating coyly inside the silky wave. There was no one on the bed which should not have been the case. I walked through the wave effortlessly and reached the door of my room. Outside it, the hallway was equally empty, barren and somewhat lost. The walls were gray. Perfectly painted and gray. At the corner, stood a cupboard. It was partially open. I peered into it and there were abandoned cobwebs. The cupboard was a dark gray. Finally, I moved out onto the balcony. The view was indeed splendid. Scores of trees lined up their manes beholding the gray worn leaves that wandered about with the effervescent wave. There were solitary bewildered (or were they free?) leaves riding on and in the wave while the trees never seemed devoid of them. A sea of trees with their gray leaves and a constant quaint rustling sound filled up the environment. There was a chair waiting for me. I sat down. Peacefully lost.

 

THE DRAMATIZED DREAM

 

The eyelids parted to give way to a humongous enchanted spinning vortex. It was pitch dark and the vortex kept on turning ever so slowly gnawing away at the bits of foreign particles floating in the air but too miniscule to be discerned by the common eye. My groggy eyes kept on staring at this sensation as my body lifted itself up and attempted to get off the bed. My feet looked ghoulish and mutated but they did not feel any different. The floor was the surface of the sea. I could see clear pristine life below the liquid grooves. There were small fishes and big ones and other randomly shaped creatures floating about freely in no direction in particular. My feet moved over the sea of water in an effortlessly buoyant manner. I walked across slowly, playing with the invisible waves, as they came along lazily and seduced me as they flew through my mind. My bed was in the distance now or maybe it had lost itself in the horizon. Fare thee well, my comforted companion.

As I walked further, I chanced across a second bed. It was identical to mine and it resembled a barren and deserted tract of land shunned by humanity and languishing in the shadows of deprivation.  Where was he? This was his bed. Where are you, little kid?

I stepped out of the water and out of my room. The door was embroidered with pictures from the old days to the new. Photographs of memories adorned the frame. It was an exquisite and bewildering sight. The door was open but the designs and the carvings scared me. I flung myself, sweating, through the door, eventually landing on the water with a loud splash. My clothes were dry much to my dismay. I longed to taste the wetness of the clear water on my clothes which would slowly mould a shiver down my spine. A deep sense of sadness filled me up as I came to terms with the opacity of this surreal environment.  The cupboard in the corner beckoned me like a newlywed. As I neared it, the door of the cupboard creaked open to reveal the guarded cobwebs of yesteryears. As my wrinkled fingers crept through these strange, random and delicately silken cobwebs, a startling paradox came into light. My hand had touched a time-triggered bomb.

The explosion and the grand symphonies of existence came together in one loud ear-splitting reality-shattering bang. For many seconds, there was an outpouring of bright light from all ends. The sea and the vortex had coalesced into a big ball of light and fire. As with time, the effect diminished. Through the haze emerged a forest dotted with gray trees. The water had receded to give way to a sea of leaves floating in the breeze. The fiery rage had given way to the soft sounds of the breeze in between the branches of the trees. As I stood on the balcony, I saw a figure emerge. The boy, naked and glowing, walked towards my house.

The kid was finally back home. It had found itself.

Advertisements

An Ode To Thought

There are certain times in the day when I stop doing whatever I am doing at that point of time and jump into a vortex of thoughts, all bound up in each other to form a complex grid. The blank white wall in front of me dissolves and becomes vapour. There is no tangible boundary, neither is there a reason for the existence of one. In that complex grid, I find myself wandering on meadows and hillocks that blend into one another time and again, periodically and sporadically.

Then a concoction of faces start appearing in front of me. Some of them smile, some cry and some look at me with hollow eyes. I let them come at me. They walk through me and leave as abruptly as they come. My senses are no more a part of me. They are independent characters in an effervescent story. I watch them flow effortlessly through the grid, filled with curiosity and devoid of direction. Pictures, memories, words and smells play in front of me, like a rusted motion picture. The reel falls off the projector and  I pick it up.

The liquid is brewing in my mind. The smell hits. The faces come back. They explore me once again. I am now thinking of all that was good, is good and whether the future will contain a morsel of happiness. Simultaneously, I think of all that has gone wrong in me, around me and without me. I see acid and darkness and bloodcurdling screams. They are glued to the good parts like Siamese twins. Would a surgery be good enough? Or does it require the loss of a life?

 —

 I am out of the vortex now. The latte in the paper cup has gone cold. Damn it! Stupid cold latte. I feel cold. The air conditioning is not working properly it seems. There’s a message on the screen – “Your session has timed out. Please login again.” Time had run out. Eviction was only a necessity. The balance has to be maintained. Maybe not in the virtual world, I realize. I trust the mouse and the keyboard. They help me to login again.

My mind is a beehive of radioactive waste. I think of things that hurt me, hold me tight and strangle me. I think of all that has become weird. Things that were not meant to be but are. Things that are a reality even though they look better in a book of fiction. Even then, I see the colour spreading wide. It is there. It was always there. The colour is constant just like change. These random and weird thoughts mixed with the memories of the past and the future confine me in a room under the earth where the damp walls smell nice and the sounds do not pervade. I am in me when I am in the vortex.

The latte goes into the dustbin.

Published in The Cauldron, India (May, 2013)

An Excerpt From A Writing

(1)

The momentary swallowing of pride made him toss and turn in his bed for hours on end. It was nearing dawn. The light peered through the gaps in the curtain lending a strange red glow on the walls of the room. It was an unnatural feeling. The incident had robbed him of his sleep. Maybe the kid was right. He was a lie. The world was real. The people were real. The kid was real. He was not. The blood in his veins seemed to turn into mud, refusing to move forward. His heart beat slowly. Maybe it realized the futility of it all. There was not a drop of sweat on his weary limbs. He felt a strange feeling of peace course through his body. He could not stop it. He wanted to feel shocked. Instead, he felt happy. He could feel the weight of his body sink comfortably into the softness of the bed.  In spite of it all, he lay wide awake pondering about it like a broken record playing on an infinite loop.

Shy streaks gave way to proud harsh beams of sunlight, rudely awakening him from the shallow slumber he was immersed in. He felt lighter and buoyant, probably for the first time in his life, even though it was the dreaded Monday. His disheveled hair gave perfect company to the smell of empty booze bottles lurking at the corner of the room. He had forgotten to turn off the laptop last night, not that it really mattered. There were three new messages.  Two of them were related to the office chores of the day and the third was the usual stern mail from his boss. He browsed through them nonchalantly.  He was running late already. Reluctantly, he dragged himself around the room with a bid to getting ready for office.

He was three hours late. The maniacal movement of the hands and the utterance of piercing insults by his boss failed to stimulate the desired reaction in him. He could not hear or comprehend much of it. Not that he cared to. It was as if an invisible protective veil had sprouted its roots all around him, thrusting him into an impenetrable cocoon of positivity. The stifling cubicle did not feel stifling anymore. He could see the kid sitting on the desk in front of him, swinging his legs playfully. “It’s good to meet you again”, he said. The kid looked up at him, smiled and said “Tell me about it!”

There was a sudden banging of fists on the desk. He looked up startled and saw that repulsive scowl on the face of the boss.

“You’re shameless, man! How dare you keep on smiling while I’m shouting at you?”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I didn’t mean to smile. “

“Do you realize the gravity of the situation, you twit? Your job is probably at stake here. You’re more unproductive than your sorry ass! …and all you can do is stand there and smile like an imbecile!”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly agree to the comparison with my buttocks but yes judging from the hard facts placed in front of me, I wouldn’t dispute the latter part of your comment.”

“Eh? Trying to be a smart aleck now, are you eh?”

“Not exactly, Sir. I believe I’m a dumb duck.”

“You echo my sentiments, boy!”

“I’m gratified to know that, Sir.”

That was the last time he entered his boss’ chamber.  Walking out of that door, he felt like he was shedding a foul-smelling mutated skin. As the distance from the door increased, he could feel the new smell envelop his body.  It grew more and more prominent with every passing moment.  The expressionless cubicles gaped at him and murmured in hushed undertones. His steps grew lighter as he approached his cubicle. Gathering up his things, he could not help but grin a little. He felt pity for everybody else in the office while everybody else felt pity for him. The world was indeed based on cosmic balances.  He felt guilty of not being able to betray a stray feeling of remorse as he walked out of that place for the last time in his life. Yes, tears were being shed inside and a void had been created. Strangely enough, he did not feel as morose as he should have felt nor did he feel like basking in the sympathy showered on him by his co-workers. He felt a surge of freedom run havoc in the vast meadows of his mind. As he walked out on to the pavement, his eyes fell on the kid, leaning casually on a wall belonging to that majestic building from which he had only just emerged, patiently waiting for him all this while. They smiled at each other.

(2)

It was already afternoon and a red dim melancholy had captured the imagination of the sky.  The sleepy atmosphere was rudely awakened by the thunderous gurgles emanating from the heavens. The sporadic orchestral performances gave way to crystalline drops of water which clung lazily to the rusted window grill for a short period of time, after which they hesitantly dragged themselves down to the bottom edge of the boundary of the window. The unlucky passer-by, with the lower part of his pants adorned with patches of muddy water, darted across the street all the while engrossed in deep thought  while the auto-rickshaw driver moved about lazily, unrolling the patchwork curtains meant to act as a barricade against the rain pervading the inner sanctum of the vehicle. Slowly, the intensity of the downpour increased and the streets grew empty. The rapturous silence that had descended upon the street was broken only by the sound of the incessant rain.

Mr. Banerjee was restless today. He looked at his watch. The minute-hand moved ever so slightly as if to taunt and tease him, reminding him of all those empty years. He had weathered many a storm and today, standing underneath a makeshift battered canopy, he waited for his son to come back into his life again. The steaming cup of tea coursed through his body, filling it up with a passing surge of warmth.  Opposites come together in an unheralded random manner. The warmth of the liquid coupled with the cold damp day transformed reality, for a moment, into a blurry ethereal vision. It was like an orgasmic pleasure that blended in and forced its way into the dark cobwebs of the mind, purifying it and cajoling it and thus catapulting it into a momentary heightened state of eternal happiness.

The Last Grey Scene

He walked in tune with the waves crashing on the shore. Even the sand shrugged away from him as it slipped past his feet. His shirt seemed to have a mind of its own as it fluttered in a wayward fashion.  In the distance, some trees rustled in consonance with the wind. He wondered whether they really meant it or just went along with the flow. Was it possible for freedom to be completely void of boundaries and definition? Or is freedom that one subtle string of enigma through which every organism is intricately bound to one another?

He had been walking for quite some time now. There were not very many people loitering around the beach at this time of the day. It had an unnatural sense of calm that beckoned him closer. Either way, he thought, he was the last person who could be termed as normal. Somewhere, in the horizon, a faint trail of smoke drifted lazily up into the orange sky. The ship was moving in an easterly direction, towards the pier perhaps. He suddenly felt the urge to soak his feet in the cool clear water for a while. Time was of no value anymore or maybe it had stopped completely, without telling him why. Either way, he did not feel the urge to jump back into the neon world just yet. A busy life does not allow luxuries such as this. Now he was finally here, soaking in this alternate reality. He took off his shirt and let the water caress his chest. A shiver ran down his spine. It was a good feeling, a new one. He tried to laugh but he was not young anymore and could manage only but a despairing grin. There was him and there was his life – two separate entities forcefully brought together to fight for a lost cause.  It was like two gladiators fighting against each other, knowing fully well that they were both going to meet the same end in the same heartless manner.

Thoughts poured in and out like a torrential river uncertain of its own course of action. The gentle ripple of the water lulled him into a dreamy state. It was a day such as this, in the autumn of 1972. He remembered his sister playing in the sand and his mother shouting after her. She had never really let them feel the absence of a father in their lives. She was such a strong-hearted woman. His sister, too, was just like their mother. How he adored them. If only he knew that that was the last memory he would have of them, he would have probably let them know how much he loved them. The water felt nice now. He had longed for some peace such as this; like a quaint home where he could carve out a place for his own.

It was nearly dark now and the sun had retired for the day. It had forgotten to bid adieu to the old man, just like everyone else who even bothered to get acquainted with him. He got out of the water and put his shirt on.  The water drops clung on to his shirt, resisting to let go as long as they could. He ran his hand across his hair, marvelling at how little things had changed around the beach. He felt happy today, a genuine happiness that filled his body with a new fervour.  He walked on. The beach did not seem to end today just like there was no end to freedom. Somewhere in the horizon, he could see two individuals. Intrigued, he walked towards to them.  He knew them and they knew him. He smiled.

 

Copyright © Samantak Bhadra 2013

%d bloggers like this: