Tuesday, December 27, 2016

By the Riverside

His name was Kim. Eternally going around with a fishing stick, a roll of string, hooks and bate, Kim was destined to be himself. He was determined too. For him, to live was to fish. Kim woke up to fish. He slept to wake up the next morning to fish by the riverside.

One day, while fishing in the woods, he saw a girl. He knew it had to be her. The girl for her. His girl. She was fishing too. Alone in the woods. Jumping into the river to swim, throwing her fishing line far, catching big ones with ease. He knew she was his.

But he had no courage to talk to her. He hid himself in the woods by the riverside, just to watch her. He moved from one tree to another to see her better. Then she left with her catch. He sat around for some more time and left with a swollen heart. He couldn't forget her. He was fallen. Fallen flat for her. So flat, he forgot his fishing stick in the woods.

Then he made inquiries to find out about her. Not many knew. But the fishing gears store guy knew this much- She used to come around to fish. Was from far. Came there just to fish by the riverside.

What he heard made him happy. She loved fishing. He smiled to himself. But he didn't get to meet her again. She remained a dream within his heart. A patch of hope and love. An oasis.

He wrote an advertisement in the local newspaper for his missing fishing-stick. Hoping to get it back. May be someone found it in the woods.

Then, one afternoon, he found the fishing girl at the door of his cabin by the riverside. She held the newspaper advertisement in her left hand, and the fishing stick in her right. The same old beaten fishing stick. His fishing stick. And a smile- a knowing smile.

*****

This is the story of my parents. A mother who knew she was being watched while in the woods, and a father who knew that the girl in the woods was his. The story of my parents. A story by the riverside.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

ജീവിതം നമ്മെ പഠിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്

ഒമ്പത് വര്‍ഷങ്ങള്‍ക്കുമുമ്പ് ഒരു മെയ് മാസം.

അമ്മ ഉമ്മറത്ത് കസേരയില്‍ രണ്ടുകാലും കയറ്റിവച്ച് കൈകള്‍ മടിയില്‍ വച്ച് കൂപ്പി എന്തോ ചിന്തിച്ചിരിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. യാത്ര പറയാന്‍ പോയതാണ് ഞാന്‍. പഠനം കഴിഞ്ഞ്, അടുത്ത കോഴ്സിനായി ഞാന്‍ ചെന്നൈക്ക് പോകുന്നു. പതിവുപോലെ അമ്മ ചായയും പലഹാരവും തന്നു. ചിരിച്ചു. എന്‍റെ സുഖവിവരങ്ങള്‍ അന്വേഷിച്ചു. സുഖമാണോ എന്ന് ചോദിച്ചപ്പോള്‍ മങ്ങിയ ഒരു പുഞ്ചിരി മാത്രമേ എനിക്കുതന്നുള്ളു. ഒരുപക്ഷേ ഉള്ളില്‍ നീറിയ കനലിന്റെ ഒരു തരിയായിരിക്കാം ആ കണ്ണുകളില്‍ വിഷാദത്തിന്റെ നേര്‍ത്ത നിഴല്‍ വീഴ്ത്തിയത്.

നിശബ്ദത നീണ്ടുപോയപ്പോള്‍ യാത്ര പറഞ്ഞ് ഞാന്‍ ഇറങ്ങി. വാതില്‍ക്കല്‍ നിന്ന് അമ്മ എനിക്ക് എല്ലാ നന്മകളും ആശംസിച്ചു. എന്തോ ഒരു നൊമ്പരത്തോടെ ഞാന്‍ നടന്നകന്നു. എന്‍റെ സുഹൃത്തിന്റെ അമ്മ എന്‍റെ അമ്മയെപ്പോലെയായിരുന്നു. അടുത്തൊരമ്മ.

ഒരാഴ്ച കഴിഞ്ഞ് ചെന്നൈയില്‍ വച്ച് ഒരു സുഹൃത്ത് ആ അമ്മയുടെ മരണവിവരം വിളിച്ചുപറഞ്ഞപ്പോള്‍ ഹൃദയമിടിപ്പിനൊപ്പം ശ്വാസമെടുക്കാന്‍ ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടിയപ്പോള്‍, ഓരോരോ ഓര്‍മകളില്‍ അമ്മ തന്ന പലഹാരങ്ങളുടെ രുചിപോലെ അവരുടെ പുഞ്ചിരികളും വാക്കുകളും നിറഞ്ഞപ്പോള്‍ ആയിരം മൈല്‍ ദൂരം ഒരു നിമിഷം കൊണ്ടില്ലാതായിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ എന്ന് ഞാനാശിച്ചു. അപ്പോഴും എന്‍റെ കൂട്ടുകാരന്‍റെ നൊമ്പരത്തിന്റെ ആഴം എനിക്ക് അളക്കാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല. അവന് കരയാന്‍ ഒരു തോള്‍ കൊടുക്കാന്‍ എനിക്ക് കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല. അവനെ കെട്ടിപ്പിടിച്ച് അവന്‍റെ കരച്ചിലടക്കാന്‍ എനിക്ക് കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല.

ജീവിതം അങ്ങനെയാണ് അല്ലേ? ആഗ്രഹങ്ങള്‍ ആഗ്രഹങ്ങളായി അവശേഷിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പ്രതിഭാസം?

പക്ഷേ, അങ്ങനെയല്ല ജീവിതം എന്ന് തെളിയിക്കുന്നതാണ് അനുഭവങ്ങള്‍. രണ്ട് വര്‍ഷങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് മുമ്പ്, വേദന നിറഞ്ഞ ഒരു ഡിസംബര്‍ മാസത്തില്‍ എന്‍റെ ചാച്ചന്റെ വേദന നിറഞ്ഞ നിശബ്ദതകൊണ്ട് ഞങ്ങളുടെ വീട്‌ നിറഞ്ഞു.  മരുന്നുകളുടെ ഗന്ധം നിറഞ്ഞ ആശുപത്രിപ്പുലര്‍ച്ചകളും സന്ധ്യകളും കടന്ന്, കണ്ണുനീരൊലിക്കുന്ന പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട മുഖങ്ങളുടെ മങ്ങിയ കാഴ്ചകല്‍ക്കപ്പുറത്തു വച്ച്, എന്‍റെ ചാച്ചനും വിട പറഞ്ഞു. ഇനി വരില്ല എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞ്, ഇനിയും ഒത്തിരി സ്നേഹം തരാന്‍ ബാക്കിവച്ച് ചാച്ചന്‍ പോയി. ജീവിതം നിറഞ്ഞ ശൂന്യതയില്‍ എനിക്ക് കരയാന്‍ ഒരു തോള്‍ അവനാണ് അന്ന് കൊണ്ടുവന്നത്.

ഓര്‍മ്മകളുടെ ചില്ലുകൂടയില്‍ ഒരിക്കലും മായാത്ത ഒന്നായി ഞാനത് സൂക്ഷിക്കും. കുന്തിരിക്കത്തിന്റെയും ദുഖത്തിന്റെയും ഗന്ധം നിറഞ്ഞ സെമിത്തേരിയില്‍, ചാച്ചന് അവസാനമായി ഒരു മുത്തം കൊടുത്ത് യാത്രപറഞ്ഞപ്പോള്‍ എനിക്ക് തലചായ്ച്ച് കരയാന്‍ അവന്‍റെ തോള്‍ അവിടെയുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ബലമുള്ള ഒരു താങ്ങായി. ഒരു ജന്മത്തിന്റെ കടം ഒരു നിമിഷം കൊണ്ടെനിക്കുണ്ടായി. പിന്നീട് ഒരുവാക്കുപോലും പറയാതെ പഴയൊരു അമ്മപ്പുഞ്ചിരിയെ ഓര്‍മ്മിപ്പിച്ച് അവന്‍ മടങ്ങിപ്പോയി. പക്ഷേ ആ അഞ്ചുനിമിഷത്തെ കടം ഒരുജന്മം കൊണ്ടും വീട്ടാന്‍ എനിക്കാവില്ല.

ജീവിതം ഇങ്ങനെയാണ്. ഇങ്ങനെയൊക്കെയാണ് ജീവിതം നമ്മെ പഠിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. ജീവിക്കാനും, മനുഷ്യനാവാനും.




















ചിത്രം ഇവിടെ നിന്ന്

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Craving

The darkness of morbid evenings! He twisted and turned in his creaking old iron chair cursing the evening, and all the sadness it brought with it. To make the curse perfect, he spat on the dirty wall next to him, and looked for a beedi. He liked a beedi between his index and middle fingers whenever he felt emasculated. And he smoked a lot!

Life was such for him. He started on a high note, but had a few hurdles from the beginning. He graduated from a good University with a first class, and found a job that paid well. But within a year, he fell sick. His backbone was giving him trouble. His company gave him a month's salary in advance and sent him away with an "all-the-best" card. Nobody wanted a liability on them.

He spent his savings in the hospital. When discharged he looked for a job, but ended up getting the smoking habit instead. He did odd jobs, ran errands, taught a few kids and earned a living.

When he looked back into his life, he saw only smoky discreet images. He was never clear about his life. The only proper job he had was sort of a joy for him, but it did not last long. He was worn out and tired of life.

There were no beedis! He felt helpless. He didn't have money. He had nothing to eat. He began wondering about his life as if it were a movie script. Where would the script writer take his life from there? There weren't many characters, there was no heroine and no villain except life itself, no twist and absolutely no beauty! This script would be a disaster. No script writer would hesitate to tear it up and throw it away. " I have reached a dead end", he said to himself with a sad smile.

He decided to go to the shop and beg for a beedi. He was hungry and felt dejected, but all he wanted was a beedi. A simple beedi could set his life alright. Walking half naked to the shop, he thought about the beedi he was going to smoke. A beedi that gave out golden smokey clouds into the despair of his lonely sadness. He could see the impending joy of his life. A beedi was all he needed.

Shop was across the road. He could see it. There were rows of Dinesh beedi packets arranged in lines behind the shopkeeper. A packet cost three Rupees. But he just wanted one beedi. "The shopkeeper would be generous", he thought to himself. "Afterall, I have given him a lot of business", he thought with a spark in his eyes.

He set his hopes high on the goodness of the shopkeeper and crossed the road with the image of a golden beedi in front of him.

*****************

THE shopkeeper had seen the half naked man coming towards his shop. He knew what he was coming for, and kept a beedi ready, along with a few words of advice and scolding. The shopkeeper always scolded him for not making the most of his education and talent. He was capable of achieving much more. He had a smile on his face imagining how he would come and beg for a beedi, and how he would refuse and pretend to be angry.

THUD!

The shopkeeper saw the half naked man landing on the road, right under the tires of a lorry. He turned his eyes away in shock as the lorry ran over him mercilessly and sped away without stopping!

The beedi fell from his hand as blood spread over the road. And a few words of advice and scolding escaped his lips slowly. Those words were emasculated, as if they were craving for a beedi.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

As if There was No Tomorrow

That little dot in his heart began swelling as she disappeared from his sight. The colourless dot became big and black and globular. He felt suffocated. As he strained to follow the dust trail of her car, he realised that she was alone. "I am alone."

Why does this happen all over again breaking my heart the hundredth time into uncountable pieces! He swore as tears rushed to his still eyes and gushed down his stubborn bearded face. "She comes, she goes. I remain here like an island waiting to be inhabited."

The swell in his heart became unbearable. Rubbing his migraine infested temples he staggered back to his bed leaving the front door open. He didn't feel like eating, drinking or having a bath. He just felt dead enough to fall on to the bed. The bed still retained her scent, which saddened him even more.

Should I drink? He asked himself. Or should I have some medicine? He couldn't bother to answer his own questions. In the agony of being alone with a migraine and a blotch in the heart, he disappeared into deep deep sleep.

*****

A few miles away, on a moving car, another migraine was pounding its way into the core of her sanity. She felt like opening the door of the car and jumping out into the heavy traffic. She held a handwritten letter in her hand. One page in black ink. She was clutching it so hard that it crumpled so badly and was wet from the sweat of her palm. He had given it to her before she boarded the car. With thumping heart she read it. She cried so loud that the driver pulled the car over. "My heart would wrench and I will die."

Every time she left him, she would decide to stay the next time. But she was never able to decide. She was sad to leave him alone, but life had to go on. And she had to leave.

She looked at the letter one last time, shredded it in her hands and threw it out the window. Then looking out at the rocky hills by the roadside, she did what she always forced herself to do- turned her heart into stone by holding her breath for a really long time. It helped.

While the tear drops on her cheek dried in the wind, she drifted into deep deep sleep.

*****

At home, in the kitchen, a few black ants were trying to get what was left in a small glass bottle of poison. They too slowed down gradually and slept- as if there was no tomorrow.