Another episode with my (fictional) grandpa (i.e., myself) where I’m worried about how to fit in all the variety of dishes available at a dinner party buffet in my single, limited spaced plate…
I was on an unknown dinner party with people my family knew. I hated to meet those people as none of them really cared about my presence but still all of then would definitely ask me a series of question, almost predictable series, which I hate to answer.
So, I skipped through all the introduction and socializing hush-bush, and directly went for the reason I went there – dinner. I don’t really remember the occasion for which party was organized.
I was skipping through the tiles, jumping on the pattern, while ignoring all the people I’d bump into. I had hoped that they would just ignore me, consider me a psycho and would avoid talking to me. And till now, it had worked.
But then, my own Grandpa came to me and expressed a desire to talk.
Over the dinner, we talked about random topics from my life and he gave me advices in each one of them. I don’t actually remember any of those as they were not practical. They required me to be active, strong minded and willing to perform in my life, which was exactly the opposite kinda guy of what the school had made out of me.
The dinner was being served by the caterers and often a well-dressed waiter would come up and serve my plate with things that I didn’t want. Before I could say anything, he would just throw it all onto my plate. And then I’d be left staring at those things, thinking where to hide all this stash…
My Grandpa said “What happened, son? You look weird today… Not liking the food, are we?”
Me: *Shaking my head* “Nah… Nothing… No problem. I’m… I’m fine.”
“You don’t look like that, definitely…” And Grandpa resumed his dinner.
After a while, another waiter came and put things in my plate, and it was too late when I noticed that. He had already left.
“Would you mind? I hope not…” Grandpa said while putting a few bites from his plate to mine.
I shouted “No! I DO mind! My plate’s already full and you pushing things off your plate to me! No way I’m gonna complete this plate!”
Grandpa simply smiled.
I couldn’t bear it any longer and asked “Come on… Speak!”
Grandpa spoke with a bigger smile “Why is your plate full?”
“Because that waiter is serving out things without first confirming with me…”
“No.” Grandpa snapped in between.
“Yes! You look… Just in a minute. He’ll come back and put things in my plate without asking me anything! He’s just…” I tried to explain myself, rather poorly.
“You can always say ‘NO’… But for that you’d require to pay attention for his arrival” Grandpa explained.
He went on “Look son… In life, we are often bombarded with work, responsibilities and expectations. And sometimes, we feel that we are being pounded at from all the directions and that we cannot take it any longer. We wanna quit, we wanna leave the plate half-eaten. But that’s when you should understand – we can always foresee those servings and can always be ready to say NO to them.”
I looked at him, mouth half-opened. He found way of giving me life advice even at this diner!!
“But what if I couldn’t foresee the serving, and am left with extra food on my plate?” having a habit to argue at every point, I gave a poor defensive tilt.
Grandpa looked at me for a while and said “Is your plate really full then?”
Our dinner was complete, mine was a mess, but I had better things to do. I had to think upon my conversation with Grandpa, first of all understand what he meant by that last remark, and then use it in my daily life, where I always think that I am being barraged by tasks and that my plate is always full.
P.s.: Do tell if you happen to understand my grandpa’s advice…
God was unable to solve a simple problem in his world, which had now grown in to a big issue. Just then, a Kid gave him an innocent view, which God strongly felt as the need of the time.
God was frustrated with the way Humans had messed up with the world that he had created with such craft and devotion. God thought that the cruel face of deaths and despair of innocent creatures will somehow touch the humane in humans, but even when it did, humans couldn’t do anything to stop the mess.
Oceans were polluted, rivers dried up, species got extinct, but people were fighting over issues made by themselves. Humans turned into savage beings, didn’t care for anything, anyone but themselves, their things and their desires. Human wants had turned into inhuman impulses.
He sat at a deserted riverside, sad, thinking over the whole architecture of his creations – wondering what went wrong. The place was devoid of humans, and anyway no human soul could see God now, as those souls were not pure anymore.
A kid came running towards the riverbed chasing a squirrel. The squirrel quickly climbed up the tree beside the riverbed. Kid got angry at the squirrel and threw a stone at it, missed it. Then he sat at the riverside, sad and crying.
God’s heart was still God’s, and He couldn’t see a kid crying like that. So he changed his appearance to a man and went beside the kid. He asked the kid about his problem, to which the kid replied, taking out a nut from his pocket- “I am t-… I am trying to give this n- n- nut to that s- squirrel… but she j- just doesn’t stop! Why doesn’t it t- t- trust me? Am I that bad?!”
God smiled at the innocence of the boy.
“Look kid. The squirrel might have had a bad experience with some other person before. That’s why she is afraid to trust you. She might be thinking that you will hurt it and so she’s running away from you. That doesn’t make you bad. Rather, your intention to give the squirrel food is what makes you a good boy!” God said patting the boy’s back.
Boy took a while to stop crying. And then said “But I don’t want to hurt it. My mom says that if I hurt someone, God will hurt me back. And will help that squirrel. Doesn’t squirrel know that?”
God said “It is true that God helps good souls. But still that doesn’t mean that good souls won’t get hurt. Sometimes, God takes time to help someone.”
Boy’s face turned inquisitive and said “But in that time, the bad guy would have done bad things. What’s the point of helping after bad things have happened?”
“Sometimes, bad things ought to happen to allow good things to happen.” God said smartly.
Boy couldn’t understand that, so he just shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t get that. Instead, why just not allow bad things to happen.”
God said “Not everything is in God’s hands. We as people need to change for making things right.”
Boy said “I would just advice God to restart the world and make things right this time. Put only good things in people’s mind, and devoid their abilities to do bad. When I am not able to do something, I also just restart with my work, with a fresh look at it.”
Saying that the boy went on with his little world… But God sat there thinking about restarting the world. Is that the solution to his problem? Rebuilding the world, while destroying the current world? Is that acceptable? Or just the need of the time?
An essay on my friend, loneliness, who cares for me enough that it agrees to lets me go, and whom I love enough to not accept to let go.
Our favorite topic for essay writing as a child used to be ‘My Best Friend’. No other topic used to appeal us that much as this particular topic, as we could just write what we felt instead of searching for words. We used to write all the things we could remember about that one person, nonetheless that might be a very few things to remember at that time.
As a child, I did not have that privilege of having a best friend. Whenever such a topic was tossed at me, I used to choose other options instead. And the word barely made any sense to me. Even now, I do not understand the superlative degree assigned to it. ‘Best’ means better than ‘better’, and even better than ‘good’. Superlative degree implies that it tends to stay highest in the category. But then superlative also means ‘exaggeration’, which made me wonder – is ‘Best friend’ an overinflated relation in our life?
Anyway, leaving the language disarray aside, in my childhood, I used to write this essay on my friend, Loneliness.
Loneliness has been the only constant thing in my life since childhood. It has been there with me in good times and in bad times. It tried to sneak away from the back door once or twice, allowing someone to swoop in into my life. But somehow in the end, things always led us to be together. And to be honest, I liked being with it.
Unlike my endeavors with other ‘Best friends’, our relationship has stayed intact after having sailed through the tough times that any relationship passes through. It allowed me to reorganize my life after the mayhem the storm left. It stayed, holding hands with me, when I needed it the most.
Apart from the mutual feeling of belongingness for each other, we shared a lot of common things – me and loneliness. It had two faces – one where it spread gloom and dismay wherever it went, and the other where it spread the light of hope and jump-started the brain to work towards betterment. I had similar bipolar symptoms. I used to be utmost boring at times, converting even the most happening event an excuse of melancholy And at times, the spark in me could light up a dull and regretful talk into a happening, fun ride.
We were great together. And I had always found peace while being with it. But recently, I thing something has jinxed our relationship. The sparking part of our relationship has dried out and we spend most of our time in quiet. Something’s not right about it, something’s missing – it keeps on saying to me. It keeps on looking outside the window, waiting for something to happen. And I wonder what wrong did I do to it, what mistake did I make, how did I hurt it, that even the loneliness is seeking to leave me!
I asked it what could I do to make it feel better, to bring back the spark between us, just like the good-old-times. But it doesn’t answer my question. It never did. It has always been like that, keeping to itself, peaceful. But somehow, things had always worked out between us. We both used to communicate despite our persistent silence. But now, I speak and I wish it spoke back to me. I wish it would tell me the reason before the final moment of dismay.
As this is how it has always been. This is how my life always turns up after a long story, not a happy ending. And I have always marked it as a beginning of another chapter instead of an end of the story. But without my best friend, without loneliness, and without anyone else being there for my support, I wonder how things will turn out…
A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.
After leaving the house of his parents, the bird had set foot in the world of opportunities, which could both help him fly high or dump him right on the ground. While juggling his world with arranging his new nest and the new life, the bird feels the need of a companion, for the first time.
Previous posts under this series:
He had just returned from his morning flight. He loved flying over the town in the morning, just when the first ray of light touched the highest trees on the ground. All other birds would wake up after the sun was up enough to splash its sunlight on the ground. By that time, he used to make his trip.
He felt something he couldn’t explain in words, when the morning cold breeze and the new-born sunlight used to touch his feathers. He would just close his eyes, spread his wings fully apart and just go with the wind. And when he reached the end of his town, he would open his eyes and see the naked beauty of the sun, no buildings or man-made aesthetics to blur its beauty.
He cleaned his nest with a flap of his huge wings and settled back the twigs for the next night. Soon it will be time for going for the morning ritual – food, work, food, work and food, before it would be time for taking rest again. He watched other birds in the nearby nests. They had started to wake up.
He loved watching them wake up. It was half the reason for his early rise from his sleep. The birds around his nest used to wake each other up. Those staying alone used to show off their place and strength, in order to attract females and keep other males at bay. While some notorious ones used to invade other’s privacy by flying into other’s marked spaces. And it was just seconds that a fight would start between the owner and the encroacher.
But he didn’t like watching all that. He enjoyed watching the couples wake-up. It was an amazing sight, funny sometimes, and adorable too. One of them would wake-up and slowly caress, gently stroke the other’s head with its beak. The other would slowly open its eyes and the first thing it will see in the morning would be the his love in the eyes of its loved one. And then they would entwine themselves in the rickety ride of beak-lock, entangling their beaks and pushing each other up and down.
Gross! It used to be his first reaction to such acts of other birds. Rumbling inside other’s beak without the morning gargle! But then he felt something else too watching them. His heart used to slow down watching the scene. And a strange crunch would start out of nowhere in his stomach. Probably, he missed all this in his life.
During the day, he would think about how his life would be like if he also had a companion in his life. His early months after he left the house of his parents were hard. And he felt this dire need of being with someone. But he always pushed away those feelings thinking that he had to make his life first, and this was only temporary reaction of his mind upon leaving his parents. But then, those thoughts never stopped after more than a year from that time now.
He had met several people on his way to this town, before he finally settled at his current space in the corner of the balcony of an abandoned man-house. But none of them made him feel weak at heart. None of them were compatible to him. And he moved on easily from all the occasional beak-locks and making out times with some, he didn’t care enough to remember. But he was waiting for someone whom he would never let go. And that made him feel incomplete everyday.
In the evening, when he would return from his long flight of searching for food, having fought several fights with some annoying birds on the way, and finding his purpose of life, living his dreams, he would see the sunset, alone. He would sit on the chimney of the house, and watch the sun burn the last rays of light. He would extend his wings to touch the light as it would slowly rise towards the sky, leaving the ground to embrace the darkness and wait for another day, another morning when they will meet again. Although the sunset is always beautiful, he would feel low at heart having to watch it without someone by his side.
At night, he would arrange his extra twigs to form a structure of another bird, a portion around his side, and would close his eyes, letting his feathers feel the touch of another warm being, imaginary companion by his side. It was the only time during the day, other than the morning escapes, when he would actually smile without a reason…
After-all, the truth was harsh and he knew it. Life wasn’t all generous all the time. He understood he had to accept how things were in his case. Due to his nature, no one was ever gonna be with him forever. He wouldn’t let that happen…
An epilogue on my encounter with a butterfly, symbolizing a lost opportunity, or a deemed opportunity, may be a false perception… Taking a permanent place in my dreams.
The water molecules were colliding with each other. The electricity in the clouds charged up the molecules and after continuous colliding, a drop of water was formed from all the vapour collected in the clouds. That drop was carried in the clouds in the form of semi-liquid vapour and when the clouds could no longer hold on to the water drop, and the wind couldn’t carry the clouds further, the drop bade goodbye to the clouds and left out on a long journey to meet its mother earth…
On the earth, there was a creature resting on a flower-bed. It woke up and flapped its wings up and down to welcome the beautiful morning. The creature was a beautiful butterfly…
Just when the butterfly got up from its flower-bed, the drop that was falling from the sky fell on its wings with a splash and few tiny drops from the whole drop flew on to the butterfly and watered its face. The butterfly turned its face away from it in surprise and then smiled at the nature’s Good Morning Wish…
The butterfly got up and took a high flight in the sky. It felt the sky, the wind, the sun and the environment. It was so fresh and overwhelmingly beautiful. As the butterfly cherished the nature’s gifts in its way, other creatures on earth enjoyed watching the butterfly! One among those creature was a me…
I was watching the butterfly so keenly that I forgot all my time and commitments. It flew just by me not even noticing me, may be noticing but not making any difference… It was all lost in its own world! It was enjoying the nature and the environment; frequently stopping by other places that it might have been attracted to. I was jealous…
I tried to move closure to it. I wanted to see it closely. I wanted to hold it in my hands, not to trap but to show it my affection. I tried several times, but my efforts were wasted. As it didn’t trust me and found me just like other humans who wanted nothing but to trap it and put it in a box. It couldn’t see my feelings so it just started flying away from me.
I sensed that it was no use trying too much towards the butterfly, because I knew that it was way far my reach. But still, my heart thumped for its beauty, I could never stop admiring it. In a way, it won’t see me gazing at it…
After some time, as I had gone into a complete motion-less posture, it came close to me… May be it didn’t see me or may be it wanted to play with me more and taunt me that it was not within my reach… Or may be it felt my emotions and was considering befriending me… ‘May be’s were many. But I ignored all my instincts and gave it its space. Not to mention that my eyes always found ways to take little glimpses of that beautiful creation of nature and give an image to my retina with an instruction to make a permanent portrait of it in my mind…
The beauty of its wings and the amazing contouring design swept me from my feet. I had seen nothing like this in my whole life. The shape it had and the patterns on its wings, its big black eyes and those two hairy antennas – were all so amazingly stunning! I again started to try running behind it. But soon as I tried, it swiftly and elegantly went far from me.
I sat down in disappointment. I consoled myself that it was just a butterfly. And I would see many such butterflies in my life…
At night, I closed my eyes, thinking may be get some sleep tonight. As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw vivid colors forming different patterns and different designs, all a stunning blend of colors and shapes turning into its face, its body, its way of flying, and everything about it.
The color patterns that were forming due to a sudden change in light in the room, were a delight for my eyes. I enjoyed making them, watching them. It continued for a while then slowly the saturation started dropping. The colors were now blurred and less bright from how they had started to be. Then slowly the darkness overpowered them…
As the darkness grew over the colors, the patterns formed a ‘B’ like shape and just them the ‘B’ shape cloned itself into a reverse ‘B’ shape. Both the ‘B’ shapes merged and formed a big oval-like shape, filled with beautiful color patterns. A thin line, cutting the oval in equal half, started to grow bigger and the two sides of the ovals started moving in a carousel way…
All of the Phosphenes and Entoptic Hallucinations that I was seeing were nothing but the beautiful structure of the butterfly! I dared not to open my eyes and face the darkness surrounding me…
I hope that some day, the butterfly will come stay with me. I wish to see that butterfly, forever, by my side! (I went to sleep with that wish, as that’s the only place my wishes come true…)
At the traffic signal, a man used to count the time in his mind along with the displayed countdown, waiting eagerly for it to turn Green again.
Read on to find out why he used to count the time along with the timer and why once he wanted the time to stop there.
He turned the accelerator knob towards himself, and trying to turn it more and more, wishing the bike to run faster. But it didn’t. By the time he could cross the puzzle of other confused newbie drivers, the traffic signal had turned yellow and the traffic police had raised his hand signaling the vehicles to stop. He was diligent towards the law and so he slowed the bike to stop at the red-light.
He was the first one at the signal. All before him had somehow got past the police and had rushed past the cross roads, some even breaking the red-light. Slowly the empty spaces around his vehicle and the crossing in front of him started to fill up with more vehicles. He hated those drivers who went past the stopped vehicles, only to stop ahead of them, blocking the pedestrian crossing area.
He started whistling. It took him away from all the noise of horns (which made no sense as the signal was red, no one was gonna fly out of their way), heated engines of cars (which made no sense either, the signal was gonna stay red till a few minutes), the cries of the kids in someone’s lap, sitting pillion to the rider (which made no sense to him, the kids, they are just stupid to cry all the time without any cause, he thought).
His whistle soon took over his mind and him away from all these noise. He enjoyed the ups and downs, the variations on the scale of the song, the beautiful tune that several sounds made when joined together, the words that he spoke in his mind while whistling. It all was beautiful, the music was.
This was his routine. But that day, someone else was also listening to him at that time. He didn’t notice. But a girl on her bike, standing right next to him, was listening to him with her full attention. She had even removed her helmet to hear it clearly. She enjoyed music too. And this was something different, yet musical and amazingly beautiful. There was a smile on her face all the time she listened to him.
The countdown was still twenty more seconds, and people had already started inching past the yellow line. Only he waited till it actually turned zero before starting his bike. He ignored the people around him, punching their horns at him, giving him angry looks. He started moving and looked to his left in surprise, someone was staring at him. He gestured her to move and went on with his way. But in his mind he thought about her all day.
The next day, the scene was repeated. But this time, he saw her while whistling and had stopped instantly. The girl gestured him to continue whistling and he had continued. He loved whistling and she loved him doing it. They met every day at that same signal at the very same hour of the day, where for one-two whole minutes they would share a musical moment.
From watching the countdown, waiting to race away from the traffic signal, he started counting the timer in his head, wanting it to run slower, wanting the time to stop. He wanted to just whitle and watch that girl give him the most amazing smile he has ever seen in this world. There were people who loved his whistle, but he had never felt the way he felt for her and her love for him whistling.
As the timer in his head reached the last few seconds, he would gracefully end his song and bade goodbye with his eyes, to which the girl would reply similarly with her eyes. They spoke nothing, yet it felt to both of them that they had an amazing conversation with each other. They went on with their opposite paths from that signal, with a smile on their faces, a rare sight for that crossing.
From loathing the signals on that road, he started loving the red-light and the traffic. He wanted the rush to stay. He wanted it to be like this forever. And the day when they didn’t meet, he felt very bad that he didn’t whistle at all that day. Those two minutes at the red-light made or broke his day, all depending on if he meets her or not.
And a similar day came once when he couldn’t see her. He was late, and would surely miss her if he didn’t drive fast. So, he went past several shortcuts, didn’t wait for pedestrians and dodged his way past confused newbie drivers to reach there on time. He was just a crossroad away from that signal. But there was a lot of traffic at that signal. People were gathered on the middle of the road and there was total chaos of vehicles.
He took a detour, and reached his signal, ditching that jam-packed crossroad. He checked on his clock, for a hundredth time now, and sighed a breath of relief that he had reached on time. But she wasn’t there yet. So, he waited for another red-light, probably she was late too. But she didn’t come, probably had taken a day off. He left for his routine, restless to meet her tomorrow. He was finally gonna ask her out, tomorrow for sure.
The next day, it was raining. He reached the spot on time. The traffic was less, and signals were empty, but she was not there. Probably she would’ve gone early today due to the rains, he thought.
The day after that, he reached the signal again on time. But he couldn’t meet her. And it was the same news the next day, and the day after that too. He felt sad and wanted to find her. But he didn’t even know her name or contact number. His days went sore and in distress, as he was helpless, unable to find the mystery girl whom he wanted to share his life with.
One such time, he was restlessly looking around at the red-light for a sign of her. He didn’t even count the timer in his mind this time. All he wanted was to see her again. An old man came riding a bike and stood right where she used to. He was bothered that now even if she comes, she won’t be able to stand right next to him. He looked at the old man in anger. He saw that the old man had a sad face and probably, tears out of his eyes. Or may be it was just due to the wind while driving.
He looked at his bike. And for a moment, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was hers. May be he was mistaken. But that same rusty chocolate color, that lightning sticker on the side, that broken leg-guard and a golden cloth tied up at the mirror clamp. There was a newly formed dent on the front body and the side-light was broken, mirrors skewed. But it was definitely the same bike. He wished he could remember the license plate number.
He looked at the old man and couldn’t resist asking “Umm… Sir? Morning sir. If you don’t mind, may I ask if this is your bike or borrowed? A friend of mine owns a similar colored one and I am a little confused about it…” He couldn’t complete his sentence. The old man broke down and started crying right there at the signal.
The red-light had turned green and there were several horns blowing around them, telling them to move, but he was more interested in something else. He asked the old man “What happened, sir? Are you alright?” and slowly patted the old man’s shoulders.
The signal turned red again. And there were several curse-words being thrown at the pair from surrounding drivers.
“The… The bike is… was of my d… my daughter…” the old man uttered with great difficulty.
It was the old man crying, but he felt a choke in his throat. He couldn’t speak anything. He understood what had happened. He was stupid enough to not realize this earlier. The dents, the broken side light and the new scratches told him the story and reminded him of the day it happened. He knew what had happened, but he wished it hadn’t.
“It was my daughter’s. She recently met with an accident and she… she died. I am taking it to the broker… Brings too many painful memories. You knew her?” The old man asked him.
With some resistance at first, he shook his head, unable to speak anything.
The signal turned green and the old man slowly rode away. But he didn’t move. He couldn’t. He stood there, waiting for the red-light to turn back on, counting the timer in his head, and tears from his eyes…
Now he goes past the same traffic signal everyday, waits at the red-light, sees fellow riders around him, but doesn’t count the timer in his head anymore… Doesn’t whistle anymore.