The clock in my room observes a twenty seven year old wearing mismatched prints and a pair of precariously placed reading glasses, poring over a book with her mouth half-open, till a few hours before dawn. If these discrete hours of reading every night are gathered and calculated, it would amount to nearly two years of uninterrupted reading. Two years of my relatively short life had been spent in scanning words of unseen men and women to crowd my imagination with new stories, lives, places, ideas, stirrings, perspectives and often discovering a hitherto unrealized or unexplored thought, or a trace of familiarity. It brings a new plot to my life where things head in a specific direction, reach a climax/anti-climax, and i don’t have to wait for ages to see how things will turn out; i can skip decades with the flick of a page.
Real life introduces new plots and unexpected twists too. But they don’t come frequently and take ages to develop into something substantial; also the restlessness of not knowing what is to come is just too much for me. It is our prerogative to decide whether our life will be an open book that stands revealed and unapologetic about its contents; or be as private as an adolescent girl’s journal, with stories that are open to a select audience of choice. I have chosen to be an open book after years of being the latter. But what are its contents? I open my journals and all i read are accounts of the people i have met, the conversations i had, the funny thing that occurred, the disappointments; people walked in and out of these pages with no definite pattern or purpose. My days have no specific continuity as i run helter-skelter through life; there can be a wide discrepancy of the events of one day from the other. Milestones are often insidious and realized in retrospect. And so is love. He might be an irregular visitor on the pages of my journal, but all of a sudden i mention his name with the intimacy of an old lover. I miss the transitions. My life’s plot is confusing even for me to follow; it’s all over the place, going in every direction, and hence stagnant.
It is somewhat tragic to be reading old journals, only to be acutely reminded of the passage of time, the surges and dwindling of hope over the years, the unforeseen curve-balls, and the things that never amounted to anything substantial. Love had come into my life, and i waited with bated breath, wondering where it would lead. A few departed with the usual fuss and drama, and the hurt reached an early crescendo before ebbing away. They were easier to let go. And then sometimes things fell apart without a distinct snap of ties, without drifting apart, without monosyllables replacing conversations, and without a heap of failed expectations; they were just a clean and abrupt end; no explanations, no mess; it was just that over, and just that uneasy.
I am here now, experiencing these feelings, having these thoughts, writing these words; and a hundred years ago there must have been another girl pouring out her heart, believing in the permanence and relevance of her world. Where are those thoughts now? Didn’t they end with her life? I am just another person and my thoughts will end with me too. It is alarming to dwell on the impermanence of our hopes, thoughts, love and secret desires;and i feel like spilling out the chaos in my mind, the love in my heart, so that it doesn’t wither away with me. But then i wonder if it is even wanted, whether it will be valued, and grudgingly accommodate the word repression in my life. And continue my quiet reading about lives where things happen.
“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life”~ Fernando Pessoa