The Creaking Chair - Part V

1:13 PM

18 June 1988

Was it sandalwood or Rose?
The smell of incense sticks – a lazy Sunday morning
One where I woke up before 1 PM; a rarity
The days of youth come with their own little jar of idiosyncrasies
Its own set of preformed notions about rules…
Just like my grandson frowns at me for being such a pain, as he says
Nagging him to wake up early, to do his bed, to not leave food on his plate

I always wondered why the flavor of the incense sticks
always was sandalwood in the writings
And never Rose or Jasmine…or Mogra for that matter
Was it because it sounds more imperial or royal
Or was it because I read selectively
Picked up authors who would never write about
Mogra incense stick spreading its scent in the backdrop
of an Indian student living in an English household

But the ideas was not about the incense stick
Or the ideosyncracies of the aged
Or the preformed notion of rules in the mind of my young mind

I intended to write about my fight with Paul
on Religion
To be or not to be is the question
He could quote Shakespeare or Dostoevsky where you never imagined him to
I used to admire that – still do – it’s just that we don’t get to talk much now a days
Alzheimer’s has taken him to its own world of Shakespeare’s sonnets and Pablo Neruda poems

But we did have a debate that day
On Atheism, on the roots of religion,
On how I was a passive agnostic (I still don’t agree that those syllables together make any sense)
They sound like a glorified way of calling yourself an atheist while still being religious

But we did have an argument that Sunday morning
On whether the lighting of incense stick
First thing after my Sunday morning bath
With the mud colored towel still wrapped around my then athletic waist
Was an abominable attempt to run away from my identity
An argument on how I was trying to hide my nakedness  
in the garb of the rising fumes of burnt sandalwood

I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”, and I’ll do it till he feels guilty
I knew for sure that he added the second half of the quote
But couldn’t refute for I had not yet read ‘The Godfather’

Out of all the Sunday mornings I spent with Paul (8 to be precise)
This one is etched like yesterday night’s dew on my fading memory
I guess I should pay him a visit
I could check if he is still a pious atheist or has Alzheimer’s made him forget that too…

P.S. Go to 1952 for the real fight – My diary entries were much more factual & less philosophical back then – but then those were the days of preformed notions of rules for the young me..

- Ashk

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

The Creaking Chair - Part IV

1:07 PM

07 March 1949 

Sitting on the patiya on the tea stall
corner of the Jamnabai street
cigarette smoke having a duel with mental fumes
Anger - a newly discovered emotion it felt
The blacksmith pounding hammer on red hot iron
inside his head explosions of hatred intermingled with fear

The sound of the passing train
Like the wheels of revenge running in my head
'Why did I never embrace this feeling before,
Is there any emotion as vivid as this?'

Drop of hot chai fell on my feet
bringing him back to the moment
sweat drenched face of Golu, the chai wala's son
running around dodging people, balancing 5 tea glasses in his tiny hands
If only he had known how angry I was

Like the simmering heat of the Sahara desert
shaking with rage my hands were a rebellious soul
The sound of shattered glasses echo in my head even today
Poor lad didn't know where did the stars strike from
Looking with innocent eyes for explanation

Fear finally winning the duel
Would have apologized had only I had had a voice
parched throat,
The rebel now trembled with guilt
With bashful eyes and arrogant disbelief, I escaped

Anger fueled guilt and guilt fuels anger
I came to you,
Today was the day I cried for the first time in your arms

P.S. This is the first time I have had a fight with you, and u remember how angry I was when u made that cake for me when we met after the fight, with all those sinister plans in my head.
Today wisdom taught me to be angry at myself, and you taught me to handle anger

P.P.S. (Added 23 July 1998) - Now you know why I never drank tea.

- Ashk

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


Writer's Block

11:11 PM

The lamp flickered rather ominously,
threatening to burn out any instant..
two hours and forty minutes,
that is how long he had sat there...
Just waiting for some inspiration to dawn,
some sensible flow of rhythm in his words
to draft them into what he would vaingloriously call Poesy...

Winter rains, he was told were a writer's paradise,
Did he need to be told?
He had reminded himself so umpteen times...
Mist for mystique,
The patter of rains for music,
The algid breeze for thrill,
The shiver at its touch for concupiscent arousal,
The morning sunlight through the fog for the gentle love...

Yet all in vain,
there was no cadence,
words were as jumbled an expression within him,
as were the random spread of vibrant rainbows on the morning dew,
each holding multitudinous reflexion,
withal lacking speech...

'A slave you would become to verses',
he was often told,
'what crime?' , he would argue...
only to be shot at with glaring eyes,
'Its engulfing you,can't you see?
God,I had only heard of cocaine addiction!!!'

Reflecting through,
he had not slept for the last two nights,
this being his third;
if only he managed another 34 minutes of insomnia...
Night and sleeplessness had worked for him,
more times than he remembered,
then why not now?
It was obfuscating....

'Its turning into a duel,more than love'
he remembered them say,
'Your words are battling your verses,
in this perpetual struggle,
creating symphony that someday would overpower you'
'But they are just a flow,like music,
the intoxication can't surpass the craving for spirit...'
his meek counterargument...

The lamp finally went out,
unnoticed in his trance,
he still sat with open eyes,
inking on parchments like gibberish scribbles,
he did keep awake for another night....


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