Your phone is unreachable. Even the whatsapp message is undelivered. In this age of instancy, where the messages reach before even one could reread them, where their meanings are dissected even before the writer understands it in its entirety, your offline moment is a matter of fortune & celebration.
Instead of worrying about your disappearance, I’m happy. Happy that without forgettable conversations, a hopefully memorable letter is being inked. Happy that the words that were egging the tips of my fingers have finally come out. Happy that after a long time, I wrote something fairly long, and irrelevant (if you decide to infer meaning from this), but still of relevance, if you read it in jest. It’s of relevance because it talks about you and me and has a rather poetic word as its inspiration. Unreachable.
The word that came first through a foreign source, a pre-recorded voice. A word that sounds what it means. Unreachable. Un-reach-able. That which cannot be reached. That I cannot reach. That leaves me with choices. Choices to let go of this absence. Or to panic. Choices to lose my mind, or lose myself in the downpour of words of little relevance and larger promise. I choose to let go. You were home while we were talking. Tired, drowsy, unable to write, unable to sleep. You must have dozed off, as has your mobile. Sleep is a good antidote to tackle the guilt of no writing.
My room has your belongings here, spread around as if this were home to them and they are to stay. Your bag, your bottle, your scattered notes. Next to my possessions: typewriter, twelve-string guitar and an OCB. Your toothbrush is safely tucked next to mine, where lie two dotted ones, used, swollen, stranded next to the washbasin, beneath the loofah. Every time they are used, I fill those with water, make a yo-yo out of it & test if it’s indeed waterproof or not. It can hold two liters. Yes, I tested its tensile strength a decade ago while I was a Physics undergraduate. I have been paranoid. I fear one day there might be a thin stream dripping out of the elastic sac and we’d have to think beyond just the night. A medicinal morning or many mauve months. Ruptures aren’t the greatest news late into the night, you know. Neither are pills in the morning.
You were here for the past few days. I introduced you to my friends, cousin, relative. I felt comfortable doing so, surprising myself. So many people have slipped out of my life, as if I were trying to catch water in the fist, in the last couple of years that I got used to losing or leaving. I didn’t care to introduce anyone. Frankly, I wasn’t sure of them. Rather, myself. You, however, broke that glass curtain of unsurity. After almost 3 years of tossing between she-loves-me, she-loves-me-not and I-love-her, I-love-her-not, finally I met someone in you who not only loves-me-loves-me-a-lot, but whom I could love.
When I dig further, I could figure why. I couldn’t get along with too interesting folks lest I bored them to death. Nor could I stand less interesting folks, for they would tire me with their conversations. You struck the sweet spot between the two, being the right kind of boring, my kind of boring, obsessed with the bare essentials and lukewarm to frivolities that make other people croon. Neither Kafka made you gaga nor did my French typewriter. Yes, BB ki vines did. When introduced, you too felt comfortable with my friends & family. I realized why we fitted. We share the same upbringing, same values (except for cleanliness where I owe it to the boys hostel of IIT-D), same socio-economic ethos, same non-materialistic way of living and even the same writing app. Sorry for the marketing plug, but now that you know me, you do know how it’s unavoidable. I’m a marketer more than a writer. Any surprises that you call me a chindi bania?
You are still unreachable. No, I’m not anxious. I am leaving in another week, anyway. It’s good that you are unreachable. Unreachability in the same city gears me up for the unreachability while long distance, lurking around the corner of this month. Unreachability doesn't bother me. It's the phrase ‘long distance’ that I am scared of.
Balcony Letters #39 Click #BalconyLetters to read in continuation.
#BalconyLetters No. 38
I haven't written to you for quite some time. I haven't seen early mornings for as long too. The videos of Open Mic are still languishing. I have to edit and release them. I will be doing that today. Once I wake up. I have not slept the last night. Spent it in watching two movies back to back. Badlapur and Shahid. Not the best way to spend time as a start-up entrepreneur. To my excuse, I was a little zonked out.
I have been writing prosaic poems about you of late. My editor says most of my poems aren't poems. They are striking prose, forcefully broken down into a poem. I agree with her feedback. Poems don't knock my door. I'm a fiction writer at heart. Meter isn't my forte. I think in plots and ideas than in words and phrases. Strands of words rarely come to me. My language sings but often goes off rhythm. It doesn't follow the metronome. This is one reason I'd never taken becoming a musician seriously. I have grown up fiddling with instruments, playing more than 12 of them. But the intricacies of half-beats always escape my mind. I remember jamming with my friends in high school and every time I had to pick a note in between two falling beats, I'd miss. It infuriated me. The problem bogged me at college too, where I was the filler of my hostel band, playing whichever instruments that we didn't have an ace player of. From a pianist in the first semester to a rhythm guitarist in the second to a bassist in the third to a sound checker in the fourth when the fachchas took over and I had no other choice other than becoming a closet musician, erasing my musical past.
I moved to writing in the fourth semester, estranging myself from the music scene altogether. I was safe in my cocooned space of writing, where I felt less judged. Less judged by myself than others. Writing has a great way of deluding you into being good when you know nothing. It deluded me as being awesome for the first three years of my writing life until I figured I was shit. Thankfully, it was quite late to give up as I had already advanced a bit on my writing and publishing journey. Leaving then for being not good enough would have wasted my three years of slogging with words and plots, with stories and novels, with features and travelogues, with witty one-liners and shitty poems. I slogged further on for the next seven years.
Now that I have written about my fears, I believe this letter is more about me than you. You might be asleep right now, leaving aside the frustrations of the day, distancing yourself temporarily from the disharmony in your present and anxiety about your future. You might be dreaming of love and peace, or nightmares, marred with indifference from your beloved and obsession from your stalker? Or are those dreams of hope? Of changing the world with your words and being with the one whom you love.
Last night you'd messaged me: "Finish your tasks sooner and come here." My reply to it was: "Watch the video I sent". A half-cooked saltless gravy. Right now, with my tasks pending and 7 wasted hours in a fruitless pursuit of entertainment being nowhere close to where you were, I wish to whitewash my earlier reply. Could you edit the former tasteless one to one with an aftertaste: "I'm here, watching you sleep." I might have just learnt some poetry by watching you.
Balcony letter 32
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Requesting fellow writers not to post their quotes with this hashtag as I have been working on this series with the same name for 3 months now.