Friday, October 30, 2009

Murder Mystery

I read my first novel in class 6. I read this Hardy Boys mystery story. You know, a mystery story about two brothers, where they solve a case and all. I remember where I was sitting when I finished it. I was sitting in a sofa in my house, with afternoon sunshine pouring in through the window. I sat biting my finger-nails, turning the last few pages. And when I finished it, I sat there with the last page open for about 10 minutes. I don't know why, but I guess there wasn't much else to do after you finished a novel - a mystery novel at that.

And then, in the months following that one, I read quite a few novels. It was mostly Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew at that time. I read in the bus to school every morning, with every other guy in the bus gaping at me. They thought I was a mad person to be reading books in a goddamn school bus. For them, school buses were where you tittered at how your friend's tie was all crooked, or where you laughed on SMS jokes, or where you even puked. But you never read on school-buses. And sometimes I would go to sleep while reading. And when I woke up, I'd have a crowd of people standing near me, observing, no, analyzing my face. And then, as soon as I woke up, they'd run away, giggling. I'd feel this strange, sharp thing in my heart - I don't know what exactly. Shame? Regret? Anger? I don't know. I'd keep sitting there looking out of the window for a couple of minutes, avoiding their eyes. And then, I'd pick up my book and start reading again.

When I read at home, I usually read in bed. I'd lie on my side and read. All afternoon, all evening, and sometimes all night. When my father saw me reading, he always asked me the same question. "What is this? Is this an age to be reading novels at?" And I'd go quiet as hell, or just utter something like "Oh, Papa." and keep on reading.

I have this great friend called Raghav, and he was the one I got into reading with. We'd exchange books. I've probably read every single book he ever owned. We were desk-partners at school. Best friends. Best book friends. Best tiffin friends. Best fight friends.

I've never had a fight with anybody except Raghav. He usually won, but I wore on for some while before I gave in. He'd punch me in the abdomen, while I'd push him against the wall and try to kick him in his legs. Once we got fighting in class during lunchtime, and it was quite a show. Everybody watched. Some girls saw us with wide eyes, talking with each other and frantically waving their hands. There were geeks watching us, with their pencils stopped in mid-sentence. And heck, there were even some people eating while they watched us fight. It was insane, man. I never got hurt in any of those fights. But I hated those people's guts. Those people who watched the two of us fighting while they ate. I wish I could throw their tiffins in their face sometime.

And we started writing a book once. Me and Raghav. It was all crap you know. Just some strange old story about 5 kids solving a mystery. We got too loaded on Enid Blyton just then, and thought we could write something like that. All bullshit. You could never write like Enid Blyton. She made everybody go crazy with her stories. She wrote over 700 stories. I read only about 50 of them, but I can tell you. She was good.

So, point is, it was before I was even 13 that I tried writing my first book. Isn't that crazy. Crazy as hell, if you ask me. How many kids in school try writing a novel. They are more into writing numbers, and those "difference-betweens" you get in geography all the time. "Differentiate between Alluvial Soil and Red Soil". Yeah, all those things. Nobody even reads. Some people might wanna write something sometime if they only read. But the point was, nobody read in my school. They just preferred watching people read in school buses. And making them nervous all over, almost making them piss in their pants. No, nobody read.

So I was crazy as hell in school. I couldn't do without reading a book everyday. It was insane. I read like a maniac. My mom would have to lock my books up to make me go out and get some exercise. Sometimes, when I read too much, she'd talk about burning my books. And then I'd say something stupid like "Oh you wanna burn my books? Why don't you burn me instead?" And then, she'd go cold for a second. Then she'd come running to me and slap me on my face. And then, I'd go sulky for a few hours, until she came to me with smiles, toffees and big warm hugs. It was beautiful then.

Once I went up to my school librarian with an Agatha Christie book in my hand, and asked her what they were about. She called me aside for a minute, and then she wrote down on a sheet of paper she had. I still remember what she wrote. It was just two words - "Murder mystery". I instantly got why she hadn't said those two words aloud and written them down instead. She probably did not want the other kids to hear her. Especially, those wimpy, giggly girls who only came to the library to giggle and roam around barefoot. That day, I took "And Then There Were None" home. I distinctly remember going back in the school bus that day. It was raining, and my shoes were really muddy and all. I got out my Christie book out of my bag as soon as I sat down. And I read it, all the way home. It had very weird English. And it had very weird characters and all. I don't remember that much about the book anymore, but I remember the day I started reading it. It was raining, and my shoes were dirty, and there were thick droplets of muddy water on the windows of my school bus.

Books have always had me. They have comforted me, been friends with me, and all that grown-up kinda crap. All that serious, made-up bull. No. No. Books have not comforted me. They have not been friends with me. Oh, no.

I just liked reading, you know. Just like I liked those fights with Raghav, and those big wet kisses from my mom. Yes, there was once a time when I read to live. I took all the crap from my school bus mates to read. Yes, I read a story about 10 deadly, bloody murders on an island when other kids were giggling and roaming around barefoot. And Then There None. By Agatha Christie. Murder Mystery.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Innocence

I wake up, and as soon as I get out of bed I know something is wrong. I look around, dazed, for a couple of minutes. The mirror shows me the two big scars I have on my face. I hide them with the back of my hand. The window shows me the light of the day has left for good. A black mosquito flies restlessly between the glass pane and the steel net. The fan makes reluctant rounds, murdering the silence.

I step outside. The ground is chilly, and my feet are scared of going further. I choose to stop and look beyond. The sun is setting. Tall trees are heavy with motionless birds. The redness of the sun speaks of fiery sadness inside him. He cries. Of battles lost, and wounds freshly won.

I turn away from the mortal sight, afraid of damaging my vision. I rush inside, and leap into the warmth of the bed. My back feels at home again. I let my hair fall on the pillow, awry and wild. I close my eyes.

And I see springy, green grass laid out. In welcome of skipping, joyous rays of the rising sun. I see water abound, fresh with the smell of the mountains, with the stories of little squirrels. And I see mosquitoes wandering hither and thither, insatiable in their search for elusive moments of glory.

And then I start. For I see myself. Crumpled on the green grass, with my hands at my heart. And I see the oblivion in my face. I see innocence. I see white, pristine toes with ants crawling on them, communing with their sweet nature and one of its parts, me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If You Will

Get me if you will
Hang me on your wall
Keep me till I fall
Bury me
Deep in your mind

Hurt me if you will
Rip my throat
With a sword so sharp
just like the guitar
Murdered the harp

For if I stay on tonight
I'll make the night
Darker than you want it
I'll grab the dark and feed it
And fill your eyes
With poison so harsh
That you will wander naked
On a cold, dark marsh
Unaided by hope of any kind
Bruised in your body
In your mind

So get me if you will
Resent me not
'Cause I will not relent
Like the fairy who went
And killed herself in the fire
Burning in the hearts of hearts
Of men who liked her not

So get me if you will
Play your own cards
Grab your fate tonight
For it is an endless fight