Friday, August 26, 2011

Two Soldiers

Have you ever read the story Two Soldiers, written by William Faulkner?
I just finished reading it. And I am sitting with an empty tissue box, still sobbing. 

I have been studying subjects like 'Creative writing and English Literature' where you have to read different books and short stories and poetries and read about different authors and study and analyse thier work.

I've read many stories. And all in all of them, I have placed myself in the shoes of the characters and the protagonist. This is a very common thing to do. All the readers enjoy reading only if they can actually feel the character and read with empathy.

But today, it was different. This story does NOT put you in the little protagonist's shoes, but also reminds you of the little fears. We often feel over-protected these days. We are so bound to ethics and norms and all the DOs and DONTs, that we often forget what fear and danger is. Infact we even protect our computers with anti-viruses! Therefore; there is no scope for threat. But there are inner threats, for which no software has been created till date.
One of these threats is, the threat of losing your loved ones.
We all have cried and weeped when we've been away from our loved ones, even if it were for a few minutes.

I was on a trip to Nasik, when my dad came and anounced that he's taken our admission in a boarding school. It was hard for us to believe this, as we'd never ever even dreamt if living away from family, living away from home.

I cried. Like I usually do. And gave birth to swollen eyes that were convincing enough to let me go back home with my family, leaving my sister alone, all by herself.

We'd played together, shared secrets, fought, hurt and scared each other after watching horror movies.

She dressed me up in all my dance, fancy dress and drama competitions. And let me tell you, she was no make-up artist but she always won me 1st price in EVERYTHING.
Sometimes I was a Barbie, and at times, a snake charmer. But I always looked the character I played. 

My snake charmer-do was her favourite. She got to try all the lip-stick shades of my poor baby skin.

Like I have said earlier in my post Families ARE important, she was the one who introduced me to Cinderella, Snowhite and the long haired Rapunzel.
She would go complian about my little mischiefs and most times, 'cause of her, I was beaten to a red bottom. 

But there was also a time, when she would become a savior instead.

She would polish my little shoes, carry my school bag, make place for me in the school bus, hit big girls with her water bottle if they wouldn't let me sit or would try to harrass me.

She met me in the intervals, bought me lunch from the school canteen where she had to barge into the group of hulky bulky people who would THROW their hands out for food. These kids made gluttons look thinner. She would place the plate of Samosas and Donuts in my tiny hands and would rush to her class. Most times, without eating anything.

She stood there inside the gate, while we kept waving our hands outside the car's windows. She smiled as though she was very happy.

Just waved back and smiled.

Smiled as we went further.

Like we didn't know she was shedding big tears that rolled down her cheeks continuously.
She was there all by herself. No maa, frying french fries for that fat-so. No daddy, yelling at her for misplacing her stuff. No little sister who would run around troubling and irritating her. No baby brother who would stop crying when in her arms.

It was difficult for her. And so it was for me. I wanted to run to my sister, and get her home with me!

I was strong, strong in my heart. I wanted her any how. But I used that strength against my emotions. I'd promised my sister I will takecare of maa and never let her cry. I'd promised I will buy my baby brother lunch, just as she bought me. I'd promised I will help daddy filing his important documents,  job she'd been doing uptill now. I HAD to keep my promise. I had to grow up to her age quicker than I thought I would have to. 

After a few years, she came back home and now I was the right age, according to my dad, to be a boarder.

Staying there, I learnt to be more practical. I stopped feeling home-sick in few years. I got strong enough to face the bullies, and strong, very strong, like a concrete wall was my heart, which seldom cried.  

Now that we have each other, we understand one another. We think about practical things alongside emotional. We are mature children, who don't play, but often tickle each other while laying on the bed at nights and laugh while watching movies and go out shopping together. These are the special moments now. She still brings back chocolates home from office. Just as she brought them whenever she had a class-mates birthday in school.

Things haven't chnged alot. Somethings have. But love doesnt change.

She always loved her privacy. Shes been reserved all her life. She always kept secrets. She wrote her diary which I longed to read. And I did. I confess. It's terrible to accept I read it. But I did. And those weren't secrets. WE lived in there. And ofcourse, the little things that happend to her everyday.

But some how accepting her change of attitude and the trial of reaching her after crossing the huge space she's created between herself and all the others around her, seems really difficult. She aint selfish and neither is she arrogant.

She's just grown up!

We HAVE to understand that her priorities have changed. She may still act like a 5 year old when in a swimming pool, acting foolish, pretending shes drowning. But she's NOT a 5 year old anymore.
Last night she and I fought over her laptop. I'd forgotten to shut it down for more than 48 hours. 

I cried (again).
She yelled (again).
Then maa had to scream louder than both of us to reach our ear drums and beat them till they managed to hear just her voice.
And then we slept.

I woke up with swollen eyes. She woke up and put on her invisible armour, ready to face another day, another battle. I thought she did not care of how I felt that morning after the ill night.

I read Two Soldiers immediately after she left. Cried and cried. Missed her. And then I heard my phone beeping;
                                                        "Have you eaten baby doll?"
See? She's just learnt to put petty things behind! She knows this little fight would not ruin our relationship. She wants me to learn to take care of things. What's wrong in that? If I keep thinking of how she yelled at me, instead of understanding the feelings behind this little message, I would be mis-understanding her and ruining our bond. She may be having her lunch break, and she's missed me.

If I stop seeing what she fights with me for, and notice that she still FIGHTS, I will see my fat-so, cribbity, orgress sister who I've loved the most in this world!

If my dad can put her in a boarding, try to act stronger than he actually is, at his heart. Thinking she needs to be strong and independent, he SHOULD understand, shes become that strong and independent, like he always wanted her to be and can very well manage herself with her desicions. He cannot expect her to be sensitive and practical both at the same time.

Life moves on, just like in the end of the story, where the author is on his way home. We donot know what happend then, whether he ever got the chance to meet his elder brother whose got into the army again. We donot know whether he took care of his mom and dad, just as brother asked him to. But we know, he will sooner or later accept the fact that he aint with his brother anymore.

Our life will keep rolling, like a wheel with no breaks. But if we remember there's something bigger than any materialistic property we own, there's something we can always count on, no matter what! We will know there's love.
Lots of it!
Waiting to be touched.
Waiting to be felt.

After all of the fights, and all of the arguments and all of the practical issues that needs to be brushed every minute, there is a soft corner in all our hearts that needs love. People dont HAVE to say they love you. You got to feel it yourself. You got to look over the petty things.

Maybe this is what you call 'Growing-up'. Where priorities change, ways of expressing love changes, behaviour in public changes. But LOVE, my friends, remains the same.

My journey continues.... 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poor Mr. Old

Am I a killer?

YES I AM. Do you know why I say this? I say this ‘cause of what happened a while back.

Accidents do take place. Many times.  In many places.  They are called ‘accidents’ because they aren’t done deliberately. But what if you miss killing’ someone whose going to complete a century in a few more years in not a very ‘accidental’ manner? Would you call that ‘an attempt to murder’ case?

 I think I would YET like to call it an accident, ‘cause wait! Why would I wanna kill an already withered man?!

Now before I write about the CRIME I just committed a while back, I’ll give you a slight description of Mr. Old.

We met in a long distance train, an Indian train to be specific. Where you find little rats moving swiftly and nimbly, freely around all the places without any fear. Maybe we Indians are quiet inspired by the rats we ‘pet’.  The smaller and browner we are, the more are we fat and strong. And not just fat and strong, smart and quick!

Now coming back to the ‘Curious case of an 18 year old who AMOST killed Mr. Old.’

I was running inside of the train with my four other Domadia’s behind me. Mom, Dad, monster sister and stupid little brother. With TWO huge bags in each of my hands, barging inside the train as though the train’s gonna to leave the very second it lands on the platform!

Now even though the train left almost after 45 minutes from the platform, we were happy we managed to get in on time. So what if we look like crazy people, right? Was anybody else, ANY different?! When too many similar people get together, they make a CROWD. Leaving NO space for embarrassment or feeling abashed of yourself.

Now I very swiftly and quickly, like the rats in our train, threw all the bags on the seats that ‘hung’ on the top (never been a basketball player, but always a good aimer when it comes to throwing stuff into the ‘basket’!).

So fast we placed all the other bags under the seats, unknowingly that we are accidently destroying the Rats villa, or rather the Rat dynasty!

I yelled out our seat numbers standing right in front of our seats and a bunch of people flew from our seats and landed onto the others that were yet unclaimed, or maybe yet un-yelled.

We were then introduced to this little family whose head was not a very ‘head’ anymore.  He was almost like the new-born in the family. Well taken care of, carefully fed, etc etc. And he also happens to be my Mr. Victim of the day! 

So fragile that body is I tell you! As he now lays peacefully, protected, much more than before, as his family knew, there’s someone EVIL enough to kill that little-old creature, who can barely hit a fly!

Now the very ‘smart, quick, furious’ me, wanted to make some space for the fat me on the ‘hanging beds’. So I picked up all the huge water bottles and tried placing them on the steel holder, that again, ‘hung’ in the middle of the cubicle.

WAIT! Before you start imagining everything hanging, let me describe how the placements in an Indian 2 tier AC compartment usually are.

A rectangular cubicle, with two beds in either length. 1 on the bottom, and the other on the top, ‘hanging’. One breadth’s open to the rest of the train, and the other’s got a window and some holders.

Now since the holders were quiet high, or maybe I was too short for them, I ‘accidently’ THREW one of the TWO litre water bottles on the holder that ‘coincidently’ tumbled down STRAIGHT on Mr. Old!

Lucky him, he swiftly moved like a rat to the corner of his bed even though he couldn’t move an inch by himself until then!  (Indian he is. Indian he proved.) Maybe it was just the human stimuli that made that quick move.

But he made it that night.

And he stayed awake that night then after, until morning, and left us no peaceful sleep.

But he saved me from guilt for all my life!

I blamed myself for his unpleasant sleep, that also caused him falling from his not-so-hanging bed later in the night and also for the unpleasant sleep everyone in our coach suffered from ‘cause of Mr. Old’s VERY disturbing cries.

He would act as though there was someone holding a TWO litre water bottle in her hand,  aiming RIGHT on his puny bobble-head and in a way that she would aim on the bull’s eye, without missing on her target. Somehow, SHE resembled ME quiet a lot.

Every time I got up in the night, and that was when my baby brother woke me up (for reasons you may understand without me mentioning them),  I had to slide into the different hanging beds, where even an infant can hardly move his baby legs when he wants to cry (excuse my exaggerations, it’s nothing but my frustration. WOW, I just made a rhyme!). I almost felt like Mrs. Incredible, the one with an EXTRA flexible body. And every time I did those stunts, Mr. Old would open his puny-wrinkled eyes and look at me with fear. SO MUCH FEAR.

I tried my best to show the best of my sympathising expressions. But I guess those were even more scarier. Remember Lady Macbeth being the serpent behind a flower?

His family was nice enough to understand the ‘accident’. Well now that we’ve got down the train, carried on our own paths, I just hope and pray he doesn’t meet a co-traveller like me again.

I also pray for that poor withered man’s soul to find peace soon! This life was only making it worse for him. But if he wishes to do anything more, any undone work he has to finish or a wish that needs to be granted on him,  may god help him finish it soon and grant all his wishes.

I better go now, got to rush quickly into my bed like a rat!