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

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