The ‘him’

 

All my life,I have come across different kinds of people.it didn’t take more than a second to accord them a tagline – ‘friend’.quicker it gets,the shorter they stay.Armed with a reader’s digest to anaesthetise my brain,I noticed a short person with a child’s smile carefully slipping the chair and settling like a feather. Consequently,Ana flings the seat resting adjacent to mine forward and collapsed with a face of clenched thoughts.

‘these boys! Stupid boys’

With eyes fixated at that five foot figure,I questioned her what had gone wrong.

‘he let me down again’

With impatient ring of amplitude,she vent out her insecurities like a child.

I laughed internally.

Our conversation was further complicated by another friend who thoughtlessly managed to flare me up by bringing in topics like ‘love’ and ‘the predicaments of being a single’. She continued with hardly a pause. Demands for watching a romantic genre based movie poured in. I blinked slightly at this odd demand. A few metres away,john waves like a lunatic. Then the incredibly pretty Charlie joined our little bunch. She hurls the reader’s digest to which I responded with a face of stirring rage. And to aggregate things,she slides her music player headphones to my ears. A romantic song played. I’d prefer to call it a ‘head splitting sound’ and I was wrapped in a blanket of an unbearable sound. Intense hatred prickled beneath my scalp. Dropping my voice to a whisper,I said,’do you want me to tell everybody about the farewell thing?’.

She mustered a nervous smile.

In times like these,the secret she shared with me is my strength. Left with my own thoughts,my mind turned to that five foot person whose eyes followed the words of the book he was into.

With a cigar smouldering between his fingers,john went to him and snatched his book.

‘this is my favourite’

I expected him to refute with a blow or a kick. My heart skipped a beat when he coldly responded with a smile

‘you can keep it then’

Something drew me towards him. Please don’t mistake it for an infatuation.

I quickly found out that he was living all by himself which wasn’t surprising. A man of few words. Its been six years since he decided to live on his own despite of belonging to an immensely well-heed family. Starring at his living place,I could make out silhouettes behind the curtains. As he returned from college,he lands on the table scribbling something on the paper.

Back in the college cafeteria,john breaks the airtight seal of his love- Pepsi with a soft hiss. Ana moves her fingers on the strings of the guitar which was a present from her boy friend. Two tables away,’he’ sits with one of his hands squeezed beneath his thighs and the other scribbling on the paper. Occassionally,he fixes his eyes on the table in front of him where a bottle of water beading with condensation. His pair of slippers are worn out and the shadows beneath his  eyes which seemed permanent echoed that he was labouring hard. But why?

Like a shadow,I took track of him. I sadly realized that I was ‘stalking’him. After college,he fluctuated from working in a book store to a grocery shop. Back home,I continued my hunt through facebook wherein gladly he had an account which was last touched in 2009. How destiny treated him. His pair of fancy nike sneakers which I had constructed from his  profile pictures  was replaced by a pair of slippers which looked a hundred years old. I was disheartened over the fact that the little living place sits opposite to a super colossal villa that his father owned. It was strange that I was not pulled to question my neighbours on how things went wrong but rather I wanted to know what he was scribbling all along the day. As he leaves his place,he nods and smiles at his neighbours. He had these long lashes like girls and bluest eyes. Arctic blue.

When our meals have arrived,Ana eats half and pushes the rest around her plate. I quickly glanced at him whose choice of meals looked healthier,appetizing and above all,cheap. A glass of water. His face switched to one of disappointment at the sight of Ana’s act. His long fingers toy with the stem of the glass of water.

His place was a dirty concrete building. Series of shelves holding dust welcomed me. My heart jerked like a hooked fish upon the thought of him finding me in his room. I quickly gathered those papers on which he had scribbled with a promise to return them before he shows up.

Incredible.

His work wasn’t a mere scribble. A combination of poems and stories on people whom he came across in his ordinary life. He wrote about a man on the street. Our college gardener. About an ordinary woman who sold paper handicrafts for a living. About a man who was stuffed to the eye balls with drugs. About a pregnant middle aged woman he barely knew. Each line he dropped echoed an emotion. The afternoon in the company of his works had been magic and I wanted more. It was amazing how he transformed the people he barely knew to protagonists. I ensured I put those papers back on where it belonged.

Buried in the blue rain suit accompanied by  a child riding his bike around in circles,I waited for him to leave. My fear was certainly a product of over heated guilty but was overpowered by the thought of wanting to read more. I ran to the messy table where those papers lied. I quickly picked them and read. The words run……

“I take her to be ninteen. I wonder why she had this strange aversion for love songs. I know she lied about the movies that she was demanded to watch. To fit in,she lied. Whenever i look at her,she quickly turns away…”

The silence stretched out.i didn’t want to read any further. A slight worry plays on my lips. My joints grew stiff and my skin was marred in excitement.

……”i wonder why she follows me after college……”

Thank god,he refused to complete it. The words still followed me along the way back home. I tossed and turned and wandered like a maniac.

After a month or so,i discovered he was diagnosed with parkinson’s disease. His twitches stopped him from holding his pens steadily.as days slip past, the body tremors weren’t under control. His left arm will launch by itself upwards. The spasms take time to ease and he was confined in the hospital for like eternity. I gathered the courage with my heart pounding with my fist clenched in excitement to meet him. I entered the deserted room through swing doors with the smell of the disinfectant.

‘i like your works. I am sorry I have been through them.’

He gestures me to pull open the drawer adjoining his bed. My feet moved unsteadily. I found myself reading the labels on syringes and meds. Beneath it,lied piles of familiar papers tucked from classmate note books. My stomach rose and fell  uncontrollably with each breath.

It was my works.

The one I scribbled when I was young.

With a smile plastered on his face he said,

‘i like yours too’

 

 

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AS SHE MOVES,THE WORLD IS IN AWE.

She wipes the beads of her perspiration with a towel.  With eyes and lips still moving to the rhythm of the music played, she graces me with the brightest smiles as we settle down for a quick chat. Having firmly established herself as a dancer in Christ University, Keerthi Rajeev begins to narrate a story of her struggles, her life as a dancer. Initiated to classical dance at a very young age, She was inspired by the power of dance and it’s close association with emotions.  Her eyes light up as she reflects upon the gold medals and trophies she clinched as a teenager .

Belonging to team Rudra, it was no surprise that her team was placed third in Blossoms 2017. There was no stopping for her. She went on to be placed first for classical solo at the Intra –Deanery level for Blossoms 2017.

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“I communicate through dance. I heal myself through dance. I breathe dance.”

During the Inauguration of IN-BLOOM and CARNIVAL PARADE 2017,held on Feb 1,2017,Christ university witnessed what is perhaps a display of passion and fire. As a person, she is enthusiasm and positivity merged into one. Just like any dancer, success doesn’t come without  pain; She have had her share of challenges. A woman of staunch commitment to what she does, there is hardly anything that can bring her down. Realizing she was destined to move the world through her dance, her family have been extremely supportive.

What struck me is her humbleness and the aura of vibrance she carried wherever she go. “ Wherever  I go, I want to inspire people. Dance is an amalgamation of emotions and human feelings which i give utmost importance to. I wish to learn more,help more people and contribute more.” She asserts with a smile.

 

“I’ll call for pen and ink and write my mind.”

As a writer who believes in persuasion rather than entertainment, I combined my passion with literature and was inspired by it’s rewards. Just like the works of Shakespeare or of poets and playwrights who spun the words to change mere flesh and soul into characters, appreciation for literature has expanded my creativity. Literary works-whether poetry,fiction or drama illuminates our insights ,pushes us to discard our unhealthy perceptions only to receive a clarity in life.

Inspiration puts wind beneath the wings of both a writer and a reader. To write,you have to read.; as you read, you criticize, doubt, question and delve deeper.  Thus is the power of words: we are at the peak of self discovery and slowly unleashes the potentials that were otherwise untapped. It’s been said that the window of humanity lies at the heart of literature.  Through literature, values of characters and their interactions can persuade us to give up on our old ways. If literature has expanded the boundaries of a writer, it has added meaningfulness to our lives in ways more than one.


In India, the educational system has butchered our creativity. Students are under the snarls of a mad rat race to choose between the two clichéd professions: Medicine or Engineering. It is alarming that today most of the medicals school or IT industries are a home to phenomenal writers and poets who perhaps let their passion gather dust. Literary lovers can write or talk about everything. When your life revolves around the beauty of words, you grow to intelligent writers and deep thinkers.

Perhaps literary travel is the most cherished stairway to places untravelled which offers a possibility of enriching experiences.  Literature is so powerful that it  influences our personal development .

 

One has spent much of their childhood years curled in their beds impatiently waiting to hear our parents recite stories.  Fairies, kingdoms and dragons flash before our eyes at the slight mention of them; just like how we giggled, cried or frowned as the stories progressed, little did we know it sparked thoughts. We started thinking in stories;

 

Literature pushes superficial readers into deep thinkers. Gregory Currie, a professor of     philosophy at the University of Nottingham, recently argued in the New York Times :” The emotional situations and moral dilemmas that are the stuff of literature are also vigorous exercise for the brain, propelling us inside the heads of fictional characters and even, studies suggest, increasing our real-life capacity for empathy.”


Reading with reflection helps us to enter into perspectives that vary from what we have been taught. Like an enlightening tool, literature opens the door to wisdom and ethics.  

Introducing one self to literature boosts our vocabulary which mirrors our intelligence. Literature have withstood the ravages of time and encapsulates ideas that challenge you and is relevant in today’s world.

Professor ARNOLD Weinstein thoughfully quotes
“Classic novels are restless creatures, trying out new forms of expression, challenging our views on how a culture might be understood and how a life might be packaged. What is the shape of experience? How would you represent your own? “

We have many phenomenal writers and poets because they were inspired by great literary works at one point. They created master pieces when they started thinking for them self.

In the movie, Freedom Writers, a young teacher inspires the downtrodden students to pursue education beyond high school.  She read classic novels like Anne frank which was an excellent means to connect with her kids better and this allowed them to reflect on their own experiences.

Clearly, literature is the beacon of the spark of  knowledge.
There is no place as beautiful as where the author’s world and the reader’s mind juxtaposes.