Monday, November 21, 2005

My Story

I am old and forgotten now. But I have had quite an adventurous life; and a long one too. This is my story – not in entirety but only glimpses of it.

Every life is shaped by the environment in which it develops and I was no exception. My formative years were inundated with varied emotions and experiences. I was, and in fact, I am a huge bundle of emotions. And, I loved observing the emotions within and around me. When I looked I found curiosity, fervor, affection, joy, grief, fury, passion, misery, anxiety, fear, apprehension, malice, jealousy, greed, shame, lust, pride and betrayal – each thread of emotion intertwined with many others and all the threads defining my very existence. The experiences which life threw at me every day further embellished the diversity of emotions within me.

The wanderlust within me enriched me with knowledge of the world and exposed me to the beauty of life’s inscrutable contradictions. My life was never static – with every new encounter I changed. I reveled in the joy of my own maturation! As I grew, my faculty of observation – observing both inside and outside of myself - matured. I enjoyed the drama of life and its actors. I had this innate ability of absorbing the histrionics of life around me and presenting it in a convoluted, disguised form which appealed to others.

My first encounter with love left an indelible impression on me. I had seen her in exulting times when she would dance in joy. I had seen her in times of depression when she would weep bitterly, hiding her face in the pillow. She was a bubbly, caring, sensitive girl who grew up to become a charming young woman.

The transformation was gradual. She was softer than ever, calmer than ever and dreamier than ever. She was in love and she had not experienced anything like this before. She would talk to me about him for hours at a stretch, looking at me with eyes that were vacant – lost in his thoughts. She would think of the long, ecstatic hours spent with him, incessantly dream of their future together – until past, present and future became one undivided stretch of phantasmagoria. Even a few days of living apart due to their callings, were times of agony for both of them.

How it could happen, nobody knows. One day when he went to meet her, she wasn’t home. He waited for her to call on him but minutes turned to hours and hours to days and still there was no sign of her. His anxiety turned to desperation. His days were spent in searching for his sweetheart and nights in Kafkaesque deliberations. It was a blow which devastated him not only because it was severe but also because he had absolutely no clue about its why or how!

After innumerable quirks of fate the details of which I shall skip, two years later she was found talking to some of her acquaintances. She was more pensive. She was talking about him. She had not betrayed him. She said, “I have exhausted all my emotions for him.” All of a sudden, all she felt was a void. What triggered it, she herself couldn’t understand. She wished she could explain it to him but refrained from doing so because she knew that he wouldn’t understand it. This tale of capricious and transitory human love and all its mystifying intricacies has remained etched within me till today.

After I was no longer impressionable, the only thing that changed was the outlook of others towards me. I felt that everyone saw me in a different light and I would always wonder what I really was, or rather, what I really am.

But that happened after that great day! Yes, it was a great day in my life – for that day I became famous. My name was on the tips of the tongue of all who mattered. Newspaper and magazine articles, drawing-room-conversations of the elite – I featured everywhere. I felt I was omnipresent then. One moment I felt that I was in the hubbub of New York and the very next moment I felt cozily lapped in the tranquil shores of Goa. Fame was wonderful!

But fame transformed to anonymity and pride to jealousy. Soon I was forgotten and replaced by others – some known to me, some unknown. I remained only in the dark shelves of forgotten memories. Oblivion exasperated me; it paled me with rage and jealousy. Some did utter my name in passing, but seldom was there any hint of my past glory. I was as transitory as the emotions within me.

Oh, my fervent apologies, I haven't introduced myself - I am a story.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Story Tree

He thought it would be an ordinary journey. Standing behind the pillar he watched the train snort arrogantly into the station. With each snort he was reminded of his grandfather's words "You will fail in the city and return penniless"; with every heavenward whistle, he heard his cousin, "Don't worry. Come here and I will get you a job at the construction site." Now he had a 34-hour journey to prove one of them wrong, and he expected the excitement at the end of the journey. He looked at his ticket once again: compartment S9 berth 23.

He would preserve this ticket. When he would succeed, he would frame and hang it for all to see, as a reminder of the fact that greatness had humble origins, of the day when he set out to seize his destiny. His lips quivered with emotion as he carefully counted the money in his wallet, yet again. Four crisp hundreds and two crumpled fifties. At seventeen, it seemed like a fortune to him. He would carefully plan his expenses. He felt as energetic as the strong breeze that hit his face. He stumbled backward, as the wallet slipped from his hands.

(Continued from Meera )

The train saw an exciting demonstration of Raju’s reflexes. Falling backward, he extended his hand, and although unable to leap forward, caught his wallet by its edge. Years of wicket keeping had made him alert and nimble. His head fell on his bag and pushed open the cap of the bottle of flavored milk which he had meticulously prepared the previous night. The milk flowed happily on the platform and until it gushed down to the tracks creating a spectacular waterfall for the insects below. He rose, picked his bags and walked through the milky way to board the train.

I would like to pass on the Story Tree to Pratibha & Srinivas.

(Everything below the dashed line above should be copied and pasted with every accepted tag)
This is a Story Tree and is best nurtured as follows:
1. A blogger can add only 90-100 words (not more or less) at a time.
2. All previous snippets of 90-100 words need to be copied before the new set of 90-100 words are appended.
3. Each entire snippet should be linked to the respective author (and not just the first sentence or so)
4. Characters, scenes, etc. can be introduced by an author
5. Bizarre twists, sci-fi, fantasy sequences are best avoided.
6. A tag must be accepted within 7 days else the branch is a dead branch
7. After appending 90-100, the Story Tree can be passed on to at most 3 bloggers.
8. If more than 1 branch leads to a blogger, s/he is free to choose any one of them but cannot mix the snippets of the individual branches.
9. The Story Tree is best left to grow than concluded10. Please attach the image of the Story Tree above with each accepted tag (the link address can be copied and used).