Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The city sleeps like an old man with blocked sinuses. In deep slumber it seems to rise, monster like, producing sinewy sound. That is when he gets up, and in the darkness, he sits in the balcony, taking care to hide himself from the drunk watchmen who assemble every now and then outside his house, making lewd comments about women. A marriage party is passing somewhere nearby, and there is a distinct sound of a brass band playing old filmi songs. One of them is about a lover beseeching the breeze to shower flowers over his beloved.
He has been a lover himself; he realises what it does to men – this thing called love. He is turning old now. Days pass by, one by one, leaving wrinkled footsteps underneath his eye sockets. His back has given away, and his hands tremble with excitement or even without. And like the city, his sinuses are blocked, too.
An hour ago his friends have left. Friends who sell plastic and write poetry. Friends who are about to become parents. Friends who are diabetic. Friends who have witnessed neighbours killing neighbours. Friends who have too much alcohol and don’t speak a word. He juggles through them, his own poison in his hands, and a cigarette held between his lips. He sings for them, sometimes, when the music within him becomes overbearing. He sings for them when he cannot handle the love he has within himself.
In bhool bhullaiya galiyon mein
Apna bhi koi ek ghar hoga
Ambar pe khulengi khidkiyan
Khidki se khula ambar hoga…
And now they have left. There are empty glasses everywhere. The floor is strewn with food crumbs and cigarette ash. A phone charger hangs from a plug. The walls smell of perfume. There are shoe marks on the rug.
After they are gone, he just lies down on his back, in the middle of the room. He looks at the ceiling fan which badly needs dusting. He closes his eyes. Home. House. Here. There. He doesn’t belong anywhere. He just needs to love. But now, there is no one to be loved.
That is when he gets up, and in the darkness, he sits in the balcony. Thinking of love, flowers and old filmi songs. The city snores all around him.