And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
Monday, September 19, 2011
Story by Unknown Genius
I suspect the Deeptesh
Thin shards of glass flew into her skin. At the moment of impact, she fell nothing. Everything seemed to have coalesced into a void. And then, as the sensation began to sink in, she felt pain. Terrible, unthinkable pain. Pain was beautiful.
AS LEENA STOOD on the bridge, she felt beautiful. The sky in the far horizon was melting into the Ganges. The sun had set leaving a crimson afterglow. She could almost taste the soft tobacco sky as it flowed inside her mouth. In the distance, a small dinghy was sailing in the crimson waters. Quietly it sailed towards the vanishing point of light and vision.
And you must vanish like smoke in the sky
Which no one holds back
Leena watched the boat vanish moment by moment and felt a great sadness. Now the boat was almost gone, beyond human vision and her eyes strained to catch the ghostly shape melting away. She could feel the boat sail along the curve of the river at Liluah. Further still, the boat will come to a narrow stretch where the river bed had dried up on both sides and the water was green with algae. The banks will still be hot from the golden sunbeams; on the ghat there will be women wrapped in saris taking a dip. Then children will come running in when they see the boat; their faces pink and white with fatigue.
Evening will descend on the bridge as in other places. Silver moonlight on the estuary. Leela standing on the bridge, a childish figure. Her hair is tied up and she is wearing a deep blue dress. She is fair complexioned and of short stature. Faces go past her. Memories. Men smelling of hot coffee and cigarettes. Porters in khakee dresses. Gunpowder lips. Time rolling down like liquid rust. Slender legs. Laughter thrown like a universe wrapped into a paper ball of time. Papermoneylust. Pink seahorses with dark, green vagina. A ghost-woman with a pendulum in her womb. Infundibulous time. Skytimewomen. A sentence ending with comma and full-stop,,…,
When she re-gained consciousness, she was not sure about where she was. There were dim lights in the room. She could see a woman in white uniform coming towards her. Death can’t be ugly, she thought.
In her dreams, she always rode on paper-horses. She always knew time was a strange paperboat. And her friends called her a paper-girl. She had always loved magic. She had written a poem about a paper girl in the rain. Her friends had liked the poem and called her paper-girl. Paper-girl. Paper woman. Gosh! What a name. She never believed life being real. Life for her was a huge joke and totally unreal. Emotion for her was placid as paper and real like rain. In those important junctures of life, where there is a possibility for a hundred decisions and indecisions, she would always tend to follow the dictates of her conscience ahead of anything else. Science and religion was for her pure magic. How time was elastic and even space could bend fascinated her. Time and space was like paper, she thought. When she would grow up, she thought, she would have a paper baby one day.
And then it happened two summers earlier. She was nineteen at that time. She had just entered college and was studying for a degree in English. Life for her was just a humdrum affair. And then things changed one day. Almost like magic.
On the bridge, time stood with Leena. Time convoluted into a coughball of consciousness. Time moved like a bitch, it always does. Time eats, sleeps and menstruates. For time is time, nothing else. She could feel time. Liquid hands tugging at her dress. Away bitch, she cried. Separation anxiety. A man was sliding in through the doorway. Time. He slid off his pajamas, his breathe warm and moist on her cheek. Time. He had only hands, big large hands with which he painted. Squashed the universe into a ball and pinned it onto his neck-tie. What is your name, man with hands? I am Prufrock, people call me Alfred. Thank you. I love food and dolls. She was trying to resist. Time. Bergson’s huge eyes. Sleep on the walls, bells ringing. Loyola was a good man, with claws. Time bites.
He dined at cheap restaurants. He had killed his father for killing the old queen. Yet he was timid, with weasel eyes. No, I’m not Prufrock, you imagine. Lips trembling to ask the over-whelming question. Do I exist? Are you real? We’re in love, yes, no, who knows? Tooraloom Tooraloom tay, famous words now. Yes, I remember. Doctor stares into her eyes, what do you see? I’m on a bridge on the Ganges. I’m in the water. I’m with Prufrock under lovely skies. Schizopreneria. Border-line, line, border. The mermaids are thinking, singing, lust for the fleshy curves of time. Who is Rakesh? Rakesh Prufrock, no Prufrock, mon amour.
Remember. White light. Great hand of time. Remember the name. Rakesh Malhotra, CEO, LNT Cement. To be husband. Remember. Another bright light. Lips on omphalos. Engagement. No? Grew up in Lousiana. Not religious, but a good man. Good looking, same scar behind the left ear, see? Prufrock, Prufrock. No. Your childhood pen-friend. Chat-friend. Believes you are the only truth in life.
Then the accident. Hemorrhage. No, I’ll explain the character. My Prince Hamlet, I’m not dreaming. Believes in art, not a public servant. Grew up under sunny skies and lamp-lit rooms. Fifty almost, but how he turns me on. Met him along blurry lines. Courted women and went to bed with most of them. But loved me the most. We were seated on the wrong side of the room. You could stare through him like glass and see the streets and women flow like arguments. He had the breath of chalk and soul of the yellow fog that rubs its tail in the sunlit breeze. You could feel him wound up like the soul of a bird in the yellow fog and slither out of smokeless chimneys into the city. He was at motion and rest as he filled the room like music...women with braceleted arms and bare breasts in lamplight, had golden hair and spoke like dust. The music flowed through trees, through empty streets and teaspoons of vanishing breath. The universe panted...the universe rubbed her breasts and arms on the naked body of time, the universe spat out a symphony with golden hair and panting lips, across the slender, white fingers of the sea. Infinite, my love, infinite my lust for silence, as flesh penetrates flesh and metal penetrates the soft belly of light, on that baked afternoon in Algiers.
You are a bridge, on the Ganges. You’re the quiet centre of harmony. Useless images. Rakesh Malhotra, CEO, with neck-tie and collar walked out. I have had enough, he thought. No more shit. On a cold November morning when he was ten years old, his mother had beaten him for telling a lie. He had cheated on a Maths test and his assignment was cancelled. He had not confessed the truth to his mother. What followed was ten days of silence; he refused to talk or touch food. This was the same obstinate desire to achieve his ends which would later take him to the top. He was already flourishing in his work when he met Leela. Or re-met let’s say. He and Leela were classmates once and more than that- their spending time together on...
Anikesh stared at the paper. Those were the good days. He almost strained to remember. How difficult it is to create her again as he remembered her! The smiles, the strokes, the beliefs, the years. His novel will sell. Sunlight fell across Ashima’s face and he had an overwhelming sense of pity for her. Her limbs lay inert as she stared with lacklustre eyes from her wheelchair, mumbling indiscreetly. Her words have a sense of their own. It was tough to understand her as she was now or she was back in school...let alone trying to give a voice to her inert consciousness. Wild, restless consciousness. Yet words weren’t false; she had lovely eyes, wanted a good job and stable career and...and she believed he was Prufrock. Yet she was unreal, he thought, more so on paper. His publisher had already phoned him twice that day. Puffs of dust went up into the sunbeam in the dark room as he turned the pages of his manuscript. Prufrock he thought. Ashima was right. Her mumbling getting worse. Sound of tap dripping.
Do I dare disturb the universe?
Her lines always. Will be always. Damn that tap that disturbs the silence. Every single word is...enough. Time is water and silence. Red, blue, green. What do you do all day sitting there, said Ashima. Dream. He fancies strange things. Like I’m mad and all that. Ever since his unemployment...Ashima on the wheelchair mumbling. Who is lying? You or I or both? What is the game darling? My novel will sell.