Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memory Loss

Am I the guy sitting alone in Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’? She is sitting opposite, not next to me. I hear her say, ‘much water has flowed under the bridge’. I turn away from the reflection in the coffee-shop window, my tired old face, the stooping crouch, eyes avoiding the stare. She looks much better. ‘Our daughter is sixteen,’ she says. I smile, hold back a tease. It would be lost on her. Her ‘our’ includes a husband and ‘our two kids’. She would tell her husband later, ‘he tried to hit on me, he said our as if there is me and him, what a joke’.
I talk about her letter. She remembers sending one, not the contents though, ‘twenty two years back, phew, how time flies’. I should have saved it. She had written, ‘you will always be my closest mate’, or something like that. I tell her that that letter saved me, that I was on the verge of suicide then. She blurts out, ‘you read too much into it’. We laugh about her wanting me dead.
I rarely meet people these days. Isn’t it better without closure? She might enter some dream. Or has she been erased? I look at the reflection. Am I the guy sitting alone?  


I can remember plots and characters, most of it if not all, but names and faces slip away fast as soon as separation is prolonged. I can recognize those at home and at work. I have kept it under wraps and under control. I avoid extended holidays. I should have avoided meeting my friends.
A guy named Anand called me yesterday. He said that Sandeep is in town, and that he has arranged a party, spouses included. Before I could think of an excuse, he fixed up the time and place.  
I do not have too many friends who would do that, and something he mentioned, about himself or Sandeep, helped me zero in on the right lot.
Both are engineers, like me. One of them always has tales about exotic places and ‘merry misdemeanours’. Last time, it was ‘a massage with extras in Kuala Lumpur, just three thousand rupees but fix it first’. His wife is usually there in those tales. She and the kids remain in the hotel. He slips out for an hour, ‘not too long to be missed’. The other guy is a nice chap, a family man with no secrets. I have an affair with one of their wives, nothing regular, only when it is convenient. It must be the cheated wife. I am quite sure I would not be in a twisted plot with the other one. It is going to be tricky at the party. 

At A Funeral

At last,
I fell in love,
At a funeral,
A rushed affair it was.

For once,
I was true,
Without doubt, hope,
A scary clarity it was.

At hers,
I was unsure,  
Alive, I died, tied,
A long wait it was.

At mine,
I held on,
We are ash, dirt,
A release it is.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Meeting an old mate
With the cool warmth of strangers,
It’s tragicomic.