The facade of the five-storied looked dilapidated. The paint had formed a crust on the outer walls, and the building looked naked. He passed several multi-storied commercial structures with fancy exteriors and flamboyant interiors to reach his destination. A dark yellowish muddy water was flowing in the outer lane. He had to gallop past that to reach the entrance. He was flaunting his best attire for the interview, and this looked far below expectations. He pressed the elevator button, and it creaked. Suddenly he had an ominous sensation that the elevator will give way when he steps in. He fought the thought and reminded himself of the objective. This was his fifth interview in the past three days. He had graduated a few months back, a degree out of circumstances rather than interest. He had finally decided that it’s high time if he wants to realise his dreams.
He has been here before,
Into the surrealism of the dream long known.
With wings to fly, and a spirited drive.
He never gave in, never too bold to try.
The song was sung for a while,
To yield in and die.
He came out on the fifth floor; the stench choked his nostrils. It was worse on the inside. A bulky, dark-skinned woman was sitting behind a desk, which looked nothing like a reception. She was in her mid-twenties but looked older. She had the expression of an overworked and underpaid professional. When she saw him enter, she gathered her best possible fake smile as a token of welcome. He returned his practised smile and inquired about his meeting schedule. She jumped through her laptop keys and mumbled something on her hand-held. He was asked to wait for a while. He sat on the couch nearby and scrolled through some old magazines. His anxiousness increased. He had been rejected a lot in the past few days, and he wanted a launching platform to start. His spirits were low, and it showed on his face.
The winters are on the surge in Mussoorie. He is standing outside the varsity gate waiting for his friends. He had just stepped on his teens; overflowing vigour characterised him. He was of medium height, though he yearned for more. The early beard hair was showing up, and he flaunted them, feeding for attention. Then he sees her with her beautiful pearly eyes. She wore black pants and a navy blue t-shirt with a brown blazer. Her white home-woven muffler was keeping her warm. She had a puff of disregard on the tip of her nose, a rebel without a cause. A slender body and curly hairs added to her beauty. She wore Kohl on her brown eyes, and they glittered in the sun like a chest of gold. She looked a true Taurus; determined and adamant. Her blazingly gorgeous beauty stood her apart.
He was timid, but this was a different day. She was standing there, not concerned with anything that surrounded her and this caught his attention. In his newfound confidence, he moved forward, and a sudden rush flowed through his veins. They were neighbours who always ignored each other passing through the streets. He said in a puberty-hit hoarse voice, ” Hi, I didn’t know I’d see you here”. She was dumbfounded, yet she gathered herself. “Do you know my name?”, she smiled. He couldn’t take his eyes away from her smiling face. In those brief moments of her smile, he had decided that he always wanted to see her like that.
When she spoke, he smiled, and her words felt like the droplets of rain on the dried-out land. When she smiled, his eyes showered with happiness. She had become the focal point of his life. He fell in love.
Usually, love before 20s is pure and tender. There are no expectations, no desires, no selfishness, just pure love. There are no parameters of compatibility, monetary matters and even the calculation of the probability of living together. This love is not cautious. It is not an arrangement or a pact.
The receptionist returned, breaking his air of thoughts. He was called in for the meeting. He collected himself and went into the chamber of the publisher. The publisher was a shabby looking middle-aged man with a weak built. His face looked hidden inside the unattended hair growing from his scalp and face. He was sporting thick glassed spectacles which looked good on him. The meet went on.
The downward trip in the elevator was no fun. The creaking was even scarier now. It reminded him of the creaks he had witnessed in his roller-coaster life. Having developed an early interest in writing, he started well. He was 7 when he jotted down his first words. If happiness is what everyone seeks, he had realised very early what his happiness is going to be. A spark had ignited inside him, and it will poke him all his life to commit.
He had tried blending in but always remained obscure to the understanding of others. His perceptions and observations were different. Or, he believed in speaking his heart. Of late he had picked up silence to his rescue. He could not talk about things which he did not relate to.
He found solace in writing. In time, he could write about his new experiences with life, pain and loss, the heartbreak, the insecurities, the joyous thunders, the silence, and the strengths.
He had met many publishers, but nobody seemed excited with his unconventional writing style. Many suggested him to write mainstream, the prominent genres. He could not comply. Without his natural style, he would be soulless. The thirst of his soul can only be quenched by the words that he put in. He did not take it just as a career choice, rather he was following his dreams and the struggles followed him.
The dream never vanished. It had many ways to extract the unprecedented emotions out of him. He was overjoyed at times just at the thought of realising it; other times he had a sunken feeling when he was moving far away to get closer to it, a tomorrow he had always imagined. He didn’t judge, he observed. Life happened, and he could not be regular in his endeavours. Years were flying by him, and the realisation that he had not moved forward was very unsettling. The fears crept in and out and left him hollow.
He left the building and waited outside for a cab. The mercury levels were sore, but the cab ride was soothing. The breeze hitting his face calmed down his nerves, and another memory flashed.
A part of him died the day she left him. It had inflicted enormous pain on him back then, and it was still painful whenever she crossed his mind. It starts when he remembers her unmatched beauty and persona, slowly transcending to the realisation that she was not with him. For many years he had crawled in his bed waiting for the night to end. The tears never came out but slowly made him devoid of emotions. He smouldered, and the pain made him stronger but machine-like.
The day passed casually, in thoughts of the course of his life, the turns it was taking and shaking him up at all the speed thwarts. He lit a cigarette to get past the thoughts. He had every leisure in that small room of his, but it lacked vigour. He was a nocturnal and daytime projected itself to him as the unproductive phase. He started when the night started gaining strength. The soothing sensation of the moon inspired him and calmed him down. A solitary creature of the night, he kept awake, thinking. He started, then hit a baulk, then restarted and often came up with some magical words. He lived for such moments; however few they were now.
He relished his evening tea with another cigarette. He had often questioned his ability, but the answer kept him going. The sun was going down and leaving its traces through the last edges of the door. With the dying sun, his spirits rose. And he set out on his trip into the unknown, buried bounded emotions within, overflowing to be crafted into words. When the moon rose, he knew he had found a companion to guide him into a tomorrow of dreams.