I’m exhausted. Forty five hundred words in one day. Phew, man, I should get a noble prize. Well, few clarifications, I wrote this chapter in one hour and I do not have the strength to sugarcoat and ornate every line. So, bear with me for this one. After all, all these chapters, they are first draft for something bound to be great. Oh, I just cannot stop. Narcissistic Piece of…. You fill the gap.
I had just finished typing and putting my phone on the coffee table when the creek of the staircase made me realize the reality with which my confrontation was inevitable. Radhika was coming upstairs. The moment of truth. We all look for certain something, to fill that void, you know, but my silent friend, nothing in the world can fill the emptiness that is left by someone close. It’s a hard reality but one we need to keep in touch with. The way to move on is to know when that reality sets in. That was the moment it was meant to happen for me and Radhika.
I’m a journalist, so it makes sense that I’ve also tried my hand at writing fiction. After all, that’s what we do every day. Now I never ended up writing better than Sandhya. Even my attempts at poetry were mediocre at best.
I still believe that love is an instinct which camouflage something more primal in nature. We love what we like, we like what we understand, we understand what we know, and no matter how much we say otherwise, we know ourselves more than anyone. We love something which is similar to us, or something which we want in our life. Most of the poem I wrote were simply for Radhika, my wife, my heart’s companion.
We have somewhat similar personalities as well, creative, a little sarcastic and honest. There is only one contrast, she is an optimist and I am a pessimist. It was actually nice to be able to be open like this with someone else, to let your guard down and be honest about your humanity.
I still remember the way I asked her to marry me, no matter how much we all like to believe that our love story would be all Bollywood makes them to be, mine wasn’t very difficult. Radhika and I, we studied in the same college, same subjects. It took us a while to be where we were but, in retrospection, I’m glad that we finally were. Sometimes we get along best with people who are completely different from us. She is the one for me. Radhika. She is everything I stood against. The confusion, the thrill and the horrible longing we all hate to admit.
The confusion of loving someone is difficult to explain. The sense of finally belonging somewhere, after so much self-doubt of being a teenager, seems very daunting. That’s all the struggle there was to our love story.
We figured out each other for a year and a half maybe,
We were walking past the gallery, after a class, when I gave her a little piece of paper, I know, talk about clichés. She read it, and then there was a long moment of silence between us. There was one of those pauses, long thought contemplating moments, pauses you know are meant to be the start of something significant. Something big and altering.
This is what I had written on that paper.
To smell of your skin, I pledge, also on your smile.
Will you be a part of me, so we could stay together, a little while?
And to make sure, you stay happy, I will always try.
Because you already know, to you, I never tell a lie.”
I know, you think I’m a weirdo, asking out a girl like that, but it worked in the end, didn’t it?
We all end up knowing the most widely acknowledged work of an artist, doesn’t makes it their best work. We all know Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code but not Deception Point, we all Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone but do we know the White Tiger, Midnight Children. We are all followers, so we end up accepting the things which are more acceptable by our fellow beings of great earth, greatness filled with big bloated egomaniacs.
History is filed with examples of Great men who committed suicide. David foster Wallace, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Robin Williams. I can probably write a list of at least fifty, I guess, but let’s not waste our time doing that. Wallace’s death didn’t hurt the sales of “Infinite Jest.” In our world, even a fucking death’s a commercial opportunity. As I said previously, human psych is just too fascinating. Even the critical reception of the book suddenly became praising.
Constructive criticism. I mean what the hell is that? Rants of a respectable boring person. So often these days, being critically acclaimed simply ends up meaning the work which would be most acceptable and suitable for mainstream market. You keep your belief to yourself, and everyone is your friend. Everybody says they believe in free speech until someone says something they don’t like.
Looking back I don’t think it was my best effort, for example, I wrote this little piece for her last night.
“Ode to My god
Words tremble, they shy from you, in whispers they crawl.
Dear Delilah, you breathe my life, in vows of trust, you burn bright.
You lift me up, by the wings of your innocence.
In your tales, in your song of life, my soul rapt itself, in your skin it burned and dissolved.
Tears that filled the empty space, they became volatile by you.
In all my years of judging, all I did was wait for you.
I pray this moment holds itself in time, an ode by love itself.
Making a broken man whole again, an ode to you.
A prayer by me that scarcely holds to God, but true to you.”
Now, this one I like.
She was just so easy to, hmm, figure out, you know. I have never understood the fascinations of girls. Make-up, clothes, partying it just never seemed normal, um, acceptable for me. I needed that connection, you know, wanted might be a better word, but it is true nonetheless. She, my heart’s companion, was the perfect image for me.
That’s important for me, figuring out something, understanding it, reasoning in its favor or criticising against it. I need to understand things, I don’t feel very good if I don’t. You don’t have to be old to be wise, you just need to be erudite.
All I want is to know the time when things made sense. There’s a harsh truth, I’m to be blamed for many things in this life, and intentionally hurting my wife was never one of them. What I wouldn’t give for one more peaceful walk with her.
Now it might come as a surprise to you, but I’ve never teased a girl in my life, never whistled behind a girl walking away, never drank, never smoked and the biggest of them all, I’ve never peed in a public place. First time I talked to a girl, other than my mother and sisters, I was sixteen. Funny huh, by sixteen most teenagers these days lose their virginity and it took me that much to speak to a girl.
I had switched off the light and Radhika stumbled through the darkly lit room, which was illuminated by a nightlight and by the light from the street light beaming through a thick and closed curtain. On hearing her approach the bed, I adjusted myself on to the right side of the bed. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the faint darkness and once it did, I just stared at her blankly, for a moment, distant and confused.
She finally spoke, “What’s wrong Atul?”
“Too much, Radhika.” A brief moment of honesty, finally.
An episode of frantic coughing did delayed the dilemma for a while but once I drank the water that she offered me, we were back to the predicament at hand.
“Well,” I said as I brushed my hand through my hair as she turned and moved to the middle of the bed to wrap her arms around my chest. “You do know you can talk to me about anything, right?”
I couldn’t hold back any more. The air around me felt like a cage I could never get out of. The situation had just gotten too grim for me to restrain myself any longer and I simply blurted, “I’m sorry Radhika, I’m sorry for so many things, so much, um, it just, uh, you know.”
She moved her right hand to my cheek and asked, “Easy, Atul, you are sorry for what?”