The Creaking Chair - Part XXVIII

3:02 PM


9th November 1988

When I was a kid, I was rarely exposed to any foreign language movie or play
we came from a humble background and were just catching up to the so called ‘upper middle class’
and we had certain values which we adhered to and certain unsaid ways of living
that changed when I moved to Delhi for a couple of years
for my first tryst with life as an adult – that is when I could relate to the movies & plays I saw
this was also the time when I had fought with my father in my effort to join the armed forces

That was the beginning of a curve in my life that took me to twisted routes
of ups and downs, of joys and sorrows, of adventures and misfortunes
but none of them did I regret or feel sorry about even today
had I not taken that route, I would possibly not have spent my time in Paris or Madrid
I may never have met Paul or Jamie or Harshita or Vani ; I can go on with the list 
all treasures in my memory vault

I explored the emotion of love and the tickle in the stomach that comes with it 
during that phase of life; and I think all these experiences turned me into a hopeless romantic 
This was the time I was relishing in the absolute joy of writing 
and all my amoral interests used to ask me – ‘why don’t you send me love letters?’
How I could never explain to them that I always wrote them love letters 
but never attached the sentimentality of that name with what I wrote for them 
Love letters need not be an event I always believed,
just like love was not meant to be celebrated only on the Valentine’s day.

I specifically remember the debate I had with Venessa on a sun kissed morning in Madrid
that’s when for the only time I tried to explain how my love letters worked 
They were hidden in the notes I left purposefully in the books I borrowed from her
I know she hated any scribbles on her book – she believed books were sacred
but I always marked in pencil passages that was us, and scribbled my thoughts besides them

My love letters were written in small passages when I used to chat with her 
The text messages we shared were full of hints of what I could say in plain sight to start with 
which then moved to more overt expressions of adoration and desires 
then, of course, there were phases of frustration – when I felt my words were not registering 
or when she could not listen what I was talking about or maybe ignored the real meaning 
I would never know if that was on purpose or because of her inherent fears

But then the emotions finally settled in 
like sunlight falling from an open window in a darkened room 
these hidden text became more about care and support
of knowing when she would get angry and when she would want to vent out
knowing when to push the buttons and when to stop sharing my not-so-funny jokes
of knowing how to make her smile and doing it even though I knew she may not respond 
or decide not to acknowledge my efforts to make her day a little lighter

Of all the miniature letters I shared with her in this way 
the ones which I would cherish are on those days when she was just her 
not agitated after a grueling day at work or her struggles with her side gig
and definitely not on days when her spirits were high 
No, it had to be the days when she was just herself 
for those were the days, when my hints and my covert expressions of love made their mark
whether she acknowledged with a smile or a diversion in conversation was irrelevant 
those were the days when I was making progress in my pursuit for her companionship

And yet I was sure she craved for a love letter, if and when we openly accepted our relationship
while she always said that she wanted relationships to not kill the individuality 
and yet she was fiercely possessive
how did I know that and of other things she was – I possibly wrote in my year end memoir for the year 1962


~ Ashk

P.S. – The only time I did write a love letter was a 12-page note filled with poetry and excerpts from our first chats on a hand sketched paper backdrop

P.P.S. – Maybe the reason I never wrote an actual love letter post that was to hold the purity of the memory of that letter in my heart 

For the complete series, visit - http://www.ashksymphony.com/p/the-creaking-chair.html


The Creaking Chair - Part XXVII

6:50 PM


17th October 1988

‘Of evenings that smell of you’

Often times I have written about heavy clouds in an evening sky 
and many a times of winter or summer evenings 
all coming with their own character of restlessness, calm or anger
but there have been only a few instances when I have written of a casual evening
one that is uncharacterized by anything unusual, rather is surprisingly plain
As I remember now, such evenings belonged to you,
beautiful in it’s own serene ways

And such evenings were divided in two phases in my life
one was the phase when I spent those evenings with you 
whether you were physically present around me 
or we were separated by distance, yet connected by spirit
and the other phase is one with memories 
of you, of a distant me and of us 
of reminiscence and stories and letters on the balcony

But most of all I remember the evenings when I felt restless 
and you getting out of your evening bath would come to sit besides me and my chai
and the fact that your smell made me aware of your presence around me 
how that calmed my troubled mind 
I don’t we used to speak much during those evenings
but it was time well spent on the verandah
looking at the children playing in the garden and letting time flow in peace

Even as a kid I used to dislike twilight 
you remember one time, we even had a heated debate on how I don’t “hate” twilight 
rather how I “disliked” it for reasons you could never understand 
There is such a sense of sadness watching the sun go down every evening 
after shining with all its glory – symbolizing that time runs away – sooner or later 
and possibly it excited in me my fear of time running out
maybe that was the reason why I never enjoyed twilight

It may also have been because of how I missed playing cricket in the evenings as a kid
or the fact that I started sleeping around 5 PM and waking up to dusk at around 6.30 PM 
or it may also have been due to the timing of the calls with her – she would know which her am I talking about 
I started using that conversation as a crutch to get over my sense of loneliness during those days
and then we stopped talking making my evenings even drabber 
but with you it was always different, we were never addicted to each other
we lived completely with each other – I guess that was the difference

And maybe that is why I do not write so much about such evenings

~ Ashk

P.S. – In a weird way, the best part of the day for me has always been after the twilight ends and the night engulfs you into its mystique


The Creaking Chair – Part XXVI

4:37 PM


07th April 1988

‘A commentary on struggles and injustice’
this was the pamphlet in my hand 
as I entered the market place in Toulouse on this Sunday afternoon
I was out to buy some croissant and wine for an evening of recluse
in my immaculately neatly kept apartment 
a fetish I had developed recently and was slowly developing great pride in

It was supposed to be a dialogue followed by a rendition of Warsaw concerto 
and the orations would focus on the themes of
‘human spirit and resilience’, ‘the fundamental nature of the oppressor”
and ‘the anatomy of a revolt’
to my Sunday slumbered mind these sounded quite grand 
but then the name of one of the speakers stood out to me 
We had dated for sometime during my stay at Marseille 
and I realized how organically had we drifted apart 

The fact that the passage of time between us was so vivid in my head 
was a revelation for me – I had barely thought about her for the last 5 months
and it had been only 5 months since we bid our farewells to each other 
The name reminded me of how we had met – on a metro reading the same book 
‘Incest – by Marquis de Sade’ – it was one of those unplanned book pick ups for me 
may be it was providence playing its subtle hands 
I was almost finished reading the book and she asked me while we sat in a café that evening 
what did I think about the book and I remember word by word what I had said

“The book for me started on a note that shook me out of comfort. Reading it induced raw un-supplemented emotions of fear, love and pity, slowly building up to anger and disgust. The best part of the narrative for me was the dialogue with the priest - provocative and questioning societal norms with logic and not emotions. There was something raw about the entire book”

And she laughed whole heartedly at my comments
How little you know about the struggles of human emotions 
as if you don’t want to touch the real surface and be content with what floats on water 
abashed and angered – I let loose a discourse on the genesis of human emotions & our responses
passionately peeling away each layer with great care and little remorse  
by the time I had finished, we were near the Old harbour somewhere in Le Panier
and the night goaded us along towards the sea and to many nights of passionate debates on human
emotions, the justice of struggles and of equally passionate love making

So when I saw her name on that pamphlet I knew I would be pulled to the auditorium
to listen her speaking with the same audacious ferocity on a subject she adored 
by the time I entered the venue, it was already twilight and my heart was pregnant with anticipation
of possible recognition, of awkward silences, of uncomfortable laughter and possible reunions
for someone who had just finished writing a section of romantic prose, nothing was an impossibility

2 hours later when I left the building to a moonless night 
I was troubled and knew the writer in me would be awake for the next few days 
trying to pen a soliloquy on the struggling emotions of the forsaken spectator in a revolt 
I felt a thousand thoughts brewing in my head on the real motives of struggles and revolutions
of propagandas and high collared talks of reforms and need for change in mentalities 
of the stories being told of the victims in a tone of superiority rather than empathy
like a trophy being displayed upon the deliverance of a speech which serves none but self-aggrandization

Two hours of the discourse pulled me away from my hopes of a romantic reunion
and rather edged me towards a shady escape for the fears of being spotted by the lady 
As I sat through, I was slowly transformed from a placid listener of a commentary to the oppressor in the play. 
I was the ringmaster of oppression in the commentary, the person who grew in power by deceit 
I had become the example amongst the multitude of generalized aggrievements  – without reason or action 

And all for the purpose of a proof of a paper written without consent about the struggling emotions of the victim at the hands of the oppressor
But did I have a say in the act of becoming an unsuspecting villain in the play of a revolution-in-making
was it even a necessity when I had passed the audition without my knowledge, for representation of a character that I might have resembled 
but in the long run it should all make sense, for the achievement of equanimity would demand a few sacrifices on both ends 
and the liberals and neo-liberals ready to salvage what would remain of the aftermath

~ Ashk

P.S. – I did end up taking a bus to Marseille to have a cup of coffee at the same café that night for closures 

P.P.S. – If you want still more understanding of what I really meant, my discourse on “The faux-perils of the perceived oppressor” was inspired by that night in the auditorium


If tomorrow never comes ...

12:49 AM

If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, with all my might

I may not have been broken, but I was tired

And you must know I did not go away, without a fight

The epic battle of my life, ironic


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, to forget and forgive,

all trivial, in this state of mind

of all promises made and silences broken

all mistakes made and paths not trodden


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, to leave behind all my insecurities

Of troubles nights and anxious days

Of social pressures and self-imposed pains

Of words you couldn’t understand or fears I could not speak


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, to be ok with not being ok

But then the hashtags disappeared

And photo ops died, it was another cause they were rallying

While I sat forgotten in my bed still nervous to be called mental


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, to speak up and not bottle down my emotions

Of the million times I had the courage – almost

Of the thousand times I tried to reach out to the counsellor – almost

Of the hundred times I tried to tell you I need help – I wish it was not always almost



If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, to shoulder responsibilities like an adult

to make you smile when you needed me around

to make go away your fights, the responsible one amongst us all

to listen to your fears and share your joys – while I struggled to loan a genuine smile


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, to leave behind a legacy

Something of my own soul to be remembered of

Of words scribbled like jumbled expressions on melting ice

Of impressions of trust on people who could in me confide


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, even during those moments of late dusk

To give it one more day and maybe one more night

To not be called a genius maverick by some or a moronic quitter by others

To think of all of you and maybe a little of me


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, and that it was never you but always I

Of unsettled feelings resting upon unwarranted fears

Of courage not bred and actions not taken

Of weakness allowed to grow strong and dreams let go


If tomorrow never comes,

Know that I tried, with all my might

But by then, the tunnel was too dark and the story in my head too romantic

But by then, no words could reach me & the demons in my head too strong

But by then, I was finally happy & the thoughts in my head finally empty

~ Ashk


When I am sad..

11:05 PM

When I am sad I go back to those sheets 

in a forsaken hotel in a forsaken town

on a forgetful morning 

and to the sunshine through the broken window 

When I am sad I go back to your habit of sharing dreams

of nightmares of violence or dreamy weddings

on a misty morning 

and to the last drops of morning rain on the window pane

When I am sad I go back to empty words

scribbled along the edges of many a notepads 

on a sleepless night

and to the silence between those faded inkblots

When I am sad I go back to that empty house

on a shiny street, with facades and mirrors

on a moonlit night

and to the echoes of thunders, of peaceful sleeps

~ Ashk


The Creaking Chair - Part XXV

4:49 PM


The Creaking Chair – Part XXV

12th September 1990

There are days when your body and mind craves for a fight
it can be in a brawl in a bar 
or a war of words and emotions with your dear ones
but there are days when you just crave for some kind of a outlet 
of course you don’t want to really hurt anyone 
or get hurt yourself – physically or emotionally 
but you want to have that rush of adrenaline to cleanse your system

The feeling is like that of a rusty door frame 
the hinges are crying out to come out – to break into dusty forms 
and yet holding on too afraid of the sound of a falling door 
as if it would break the slumber of a sleeping giant in the room
and that can not be good, is it?

The dichotomy of emotions at that moment,
it’s like the sound of wind slowly gaining speed before a storm
they say silence is the deepest before a storm 
I disagree, I think it is after the storm that the silence really kicks in 
when you realize the magnitude and reality of the destruction caused 
before the storm is a sense of fear of what may become of the next few hours 
you circle around that fear looking for something to hold on to 
hopefully a belief or a faith that would not be blown away in the storm deserting you

The same sense prevails sometimes when you are looking for a fight
there is an unease inside you knowing that you are skirting on danger 
relationships are delicate bonds that tangle at the slightest strain 
the art lies in knowing when to stop when the debate kicks in 
otherwise by the time you realize the knots are too string already for any respite 
but there would be days when you would have the craving
to give into the dark side and join forces with the Sith Lord

I have a few of these skirmishes with friends and family over the years
it’s a blessing when they know your nerves are on the edge 
and they ignore the venom on your tongue 
but there are times when your anger needs to be on display 
for you to be confident more than for the others to be mindful 
the fine line draws or erases itself depending on how much you let it burn though you

~ Ashk

P.S. – I decided to start writing a few letters for Sahil. ‘WTD’ is what I am going to call it – Wisdom Thought Doodle.

P.P.S. – Star Trek is any day superior to Star Wars (Unpopular opinion but truth!)

For the complete series, visit - http://www.ashksymphony.com/p/the-creaking-chair.html

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