The I of the Storm

13.10.2012

I have a confession to make.
Yes, I’m afraid there is just the one;
You see, I’ve run out of time,
I’m afraid of the morning, afraid of the sun.

You must understand the urgency,
it keeps me from rhyming;
but, as you would know, best of all,
It really is all in the timing.

I think I have a penchant for being distressed;
It seems as if I thrive in chaos, relish in the pain;
On good days, it seems like a clever battle plan,
Oh, Hide in the sunlight, only to fight in the rain?

After all, I am no girl; only a storm wearing skin,
and you were just the only place that i had left to go;
but you are always found out by your sins,
and, on your door, i shall cast a shadow nevermore.

But as i leave, i would just say one thing?
and i hope that you will understand my turning,
Is it such a crime to welcome the rain
when you find your world just won’t stop burning?

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Unforgiven II: Flashback

It looked like rain, Lord Stone thought distractedly, as he made his way towards the North Quadrant of the Castle grounds. He could see her at the top of the tallest tower, the deep red gown framed against the twilight sky. A familiar sight, he thought warmly, despite the cold and exhaustion seeping through his bones.

He climbed the long flight of stairs to the chamber at the top. Home, came the unbidden thought. For now, he corrected himself sternly. The war was moving North, and he would have to set off with his men, soon.

He flung off his cape as soon as he entered the room, not pausing as he moved to the balcony, where she stood leaning against the railing.

She smiled at him as he walked up to her and kissed her forehead, and somewhere in time and space, a heart shattered into pieces. But the two of them didn’t hear a thing over the thunderclouds that hung over them like carrion birds come to claim their prey.

They stood together in silence for a while, watching farmers and village folk scurry around in the distance, preparing for the incoming storm. Another familiar sight he would miss once the war began in earnest. Suppressing a sigh, he inclined his head slightly towards her, and she smiled without turning to face him.

“What?”, they said together, and her smile turned into a grin.

“Why are you sighing?” she asked, sniffing at him curiously.

“I am not,” he replied, indignant.

“Okay.. Why are you not sighing?”

He looked at her for a moment, before turning away and fixing his gaze on the horizon.

She followed his stare.

“Storm’s coming.”

“I know.”

“It’s not safe here.”

“I can look after myself.”

He shook his head, frustrated at her stubborn refusal to go back to the city, where he wouldn’t have to worry about her.

“I will leave soon”, he said, a coldness creeping into his voice that he wasn’t proud of.

She turned to face him, and he could feel her eyes searching his face for something he damn well was not going to let her find.

She closed her eyes and turned towards the setting sun again.

“I will wait for you. Here.”

I don’t want you to, he thought. I’d rather you be safe and happy. I don’t think I will return. And, I cannot take you with me. I won’t be able to protect you. I only want to protect you.

He said nothing. Only took her cold hand in his own as he watched her raise her face to catch the rain that had just begun to fall, fixing the memory of her smile in his mind and hoping she would someday forgive him for what he knew he would have to do.

She opened her eyes just as a flash of lightning illuminated the skies, and for an instant, he saw a glimpse of the path she could have taken, the severity with which she could ensure retribution. But then she turned towards him, only mercy in her eyes, and he knew he had nothing to worry about. She’d forgive him nearly anything.

Nearly.

Pyrrhic Victories

I dig my grave slower now, you know; Or,
Perhaps the speed of time is what has changed.
For I admit it takes a lot more things
To fill up the same four dimensions of space.

Could be a manufacturing defect,
The Lord knows I have an ark load of those;
But I always thought I’d hit rock bottom
All those lovely, colorful years ago.

You remember those days, don’t you, my dear?
The skies, wind and fire, the rain and desire?
Breathe, I jest; I know you have forgotten
And it’s my lone burden to light this pyre.

A requiem for a thought, more than a dream
Ah, we were not who I once thought we were
Still, I found us good, beautiful and true
Forgive my soul, Father, for I have erred.

Seeing things in one particular way,
We are both victorious, you could say in wisdom
Though I can’t help but wonder on good Fridays,
Whether your space tastes half as hollow as my freedom.

Light & Dark

The hungry raven screams into the night,
his eyes gleaming in the bright moonlight
The tired witch, she stumbles again
alone in a storm of hell-fire and rain
And the Angels that be, they fall and they rise
Even the ones, quite clearly, wolves in disguise
The World is a wicked place, and darkness threatens all
But may a hundred fires start, where even a spark should fall

A Dance of Memories

In crimson leaves from long ago
Lie shadows of things I used to know
Under the branches of the lilac tree
Where I knew you, and you knew me

I watch our shadows as they dance,
Wistful remnants of a long lost chance
I sit still in dull, insipid wonder
Fearing rain, but craving thunder

And as the night begins to grow
I wish I had the strength to go
But I cannot leave our pasts at play
You may go, but I must stay..

Empathy is the Enemy

If I shut my eyes real tight, and think of the rain, I can see the World that I once used to be part of. I can see the gray, cobbled path lined with green trees, swaying in the wind, their branches laden with red, violet and yellow flowers(1) scattering with the blowing wind. I can see the green stretching out for miles and miles while I stood on top of our little world, with the kind of  engaging and attentive company that would make war-chiefs and rulers envious. I can see the light through shadowy trees in the distance, on the ground far below. I can see the moon, always watching, always listening. And, all those shooting stars, and all those wishes.

I remember being stranded due to the rain; it’s only then that you have the opportunity to really watch it. On terraces, in class, on my birthday, and once, a long time ago, an evening that seems to be branded into my mind forever. It was at the very beginning, nearly six years ago. Everything was new. And, my dreams hadn’t even been begun to breathe. The World was wide, and I stood at the brink of a glorious, beautiful journey. Nothing failed to delight me. And, I especially loved the rain.

Humanity hadn’t proved its collective callousness to me yet. No one I knew had ever been murdered in a dark alley simply because they dared to fight back. The AFSPA, which I was just beginning to hear about, seemed to me the most horrible act of brutality against the citizens of the Indian State. I didn’t know about the insane rate of prevalence of custodial torture. Didn’t realize how the Rule of law could not be said to be in place when it was available only to certain factions of society. Didn’t know how low the value of human life really was in this country. Or how the government didn’t care. Didn’t know, didn’t know, didn’t know.

And, now, six years later, I still know so little. But so much more than I used to. And, I find myself so much more ashamed of my species. It’s not despite the good we can do. It’s because of it. Because even though we are capable of amazing things, at our worst, there is no species alive as brutal, thoughtless and mean as us.

Apathy and Compassion have both moved me to action in their time. But, today, I feel most affected by the apathy of compassion, and the compassion of apathy. I can’t care about things anymore. It’s truly a pointless affair. But, I remember how I felt before, and I know I have to do something.

As human beings, we can barely take care of ourselves in this bizarre, weird world. But, if I had next to nothing, or if I was being wrongly exploited, I’d want people to at least bother to notice and recognize that it was wrong. And, are we not supposed to do unto others as we would like done to ourselves?

What I miss most about the me from six years ago is the way the World came alive under my feet, and before my eyes. Today, I see nothing and avoid everything, reacting to only those things that I cannot ignore. What duty do I have to anyone except myself? None. None at all. But, if this is a game, and we’re allowed to challenge the rules, and I hate them as they stand, well, it’s up to me to at least try and change things.

I’m going to end with an analogy that may seem oversimplified/childish, but it’s totally true. Life is a party with free entry. The cover charge is eventual death, and for that price, you can do whatever you want at this party. Now, there are going to be the organizers, there are going to the popular people who influence the organizers, there are people who are going to be in charge of the music, etc. Now, this party could be completely to your taste, in which case, having a blast is amazingly simple. But, if you hate the scene in its entirety, you have a few options available to you:

1. Wander around until you find a small group of people like yourself
2. Do what you can to make the party more fitting to your taste

I found myself a group, and I do what I have to in order to do what I want to. Always have. But, at some point of time, I think it stops being enough. I think it stops being enough that you can do what you want as long as you don’t get caught, when you’re not harming anybody. I hate victimless crimes, because these take away from all the instances of real brutality on our streets, where real people await justice from made-up systems that continue to fail them.

I want to be young again, because I miss the way the rain felt on my skin, and the wind in my hair, and the Universe coursed through my veins.

I want to be young again, because betrayal leaves a horrid after-taste, and I am tired of disappointment.

Sigh, as that song says, “I’m not upset at you, life. I am amazed.”

Who wants to sleep in a city that never wakes up, blinded by Nostalgia?

~~~

(1) outside the acad block, next to the basketball court and behind my hostel building, respectively.

9 Things that Make me Feel Free

1. Wind in my hair.

2. Standing in the rain when I have nowhere to go.

3. Nietzsche (though he sometimes makes me sad, too)

4. The Ganga Terrace

5. Breaking (mostly) inane rules

6. Defying Authority (when it doesn’t make any sense!)

7. Catching a nap, snuggled up with my doggie

8. Fighting/Reading

9. A hug from a loved one who wants nothing from you.