Sometimes, you find yourself walking the streets at 6 AM, when the sky is still dark and there is no other soul in sight. Your feet sound unnaturally loud and a smile travels from the edge of your eyes, down your cheeks before dying at the edge of your lips.
It is a kind of wildness that exhilarates you, sending a surge of dopamine flooding into your brain. For a few precious minutes, the city is your oyster, and you are a king who doesn't know the first thing about being a ruler.
Sunlight falls gently on the old buildings, and the shadows are strangers, shifting swiftly from one church to another. You don't say anything, because there's nothing to say. You simply wait and watch, as the new day takes its first steps.
Time slows down, imperceptibly. Before the deadlines come crashing down, you must find the split second of silence, that evanescent peace that exists between the end of one song and the beginning of another. Your heart must live in that moment, before if flits away like a mockingbird embarking on its last flight.
It's the season of rains. The pitter-patter of the rain and the petrichor that marks its presence, are an invitation for my umbrella to come out of its shell and make love with raindrops.
But it's not just the umbrella that wakes up from slumber but some memories too.
Like an unwanted guest they walk into my life, filling my favourite spot on the sofa with instances of the past, scratching the paint from walls that (once) proudly wore numbness.
I thought that I had buried that wicked lady named "memory" but, enunciation of your name, is all it takes, for my efforts to be termed as "futile". For past to come marching in front of my house with memories chasing him like lovesick puppies.
I always thought that full stops were the end of sentences. End of stories -- no matter how abrupt, or how forcefully you insert them. Full stops, to me, were always equivalent to endings.
But memories? They guiltlessly convert full stops into imaginary commas.
They're known for framing endless sentences about how things looked beautiful in the past, how your present, is nothing, but a broken castle built on the gnarled remnants of hope. That is, perhaps, why the castle crumbles every now and then. for past is a bully who is known for troubling your present with occasional kicks of memories.
My heart, now, is that closet full of rotten goodbyes and overanalyzed "what ifs"
On days when it rains and my umbrella flees with the rain, I let my past destroy my present
I have a brass door hinge with me, with a few dents layered about it's body.
Today, around seventy years ago, I got this hinge with me. Across the border, clutching it in my fist, holding on, hoping on.
It was my half of it, the other was with my elder brother. We both had split up, thinking that being alone would increase our success of travelling into the new nation.
I still remember that day vividly, where sweat dripped down my face, breath coming out in pants and a threadbare, yellow vest hanging loose across my shoulders.
I was barefoot, the only thing I had on my name was that brass hinge. We, my brother and I, had been separated from our parents - they'd led the revolt away from us, hoping that we'd live on.
Too young to fathom the depths of what was occurring around us, we had left. Stepping into ditches, eating cold meat from our first kills - we'd begun together.
Only to reach a decision to split after the fifth day, for one of us didn't want to be the reason for the other's downfall.
Making a promise to meet in the capital, we'd split up, running for our lives, hoping for it to settle.
Alas, I'm old now. And I still have my part of the hinge. Throughout the course of that week, I had travelled, chasing another group heading for this country. Hiding in their coattails, I'd stumbled across into the capital, famished and cynical.
Wary to trust, I'd registered myself, doing odd jobs while waiting in the camp - only to fall asleep later in the night with the hinge in my hands. Dreaming about the times that were, I only woke up to pools of my sweat.
Freedom, that's what everyone was calling the massive change in the world's order. In my particular worlds' order, it was a loss of everything I ever knew about.
Suddenly, in the course of a month, my life had been uprooted, shifting from asking naive questions like, "If it rains in our place, does it rain in the whole world?" to mulling over thoughts like, "Would I ever meet anyone I know, again?"
From that day, it's been nearly seventy years - I don't remember the number. Yet, I'll always remember the date. Fifteenth of August, when the country attained it's freedom and when I lost everyone I knew.
I hope, till this day, that my brother made it through. That, he still has his old hinge. That, when we meet - be it down here or up there, we'd be together, our hinges would be together.
Somewhere in the world it's 3 a.m and a little girl begins to etch something on her old teak-wood table and no, she isn't heartbroken. In fact, today's been the best day of her life. Today, for the first time, her hazel eyes witnessed the falling of snow. She danced and danced with her outstretched arms, spinning and jumping, pulling her father by his coat and forcing him to join her little fiesta. They ran around the little cabin till the ground was covered with their footprints, one large and one tiny pair. And then, when her heart was content, she stood still and let herself feel the kiss of snowflakes on her face, and their caress on her arms. With the snow hugging her long lashes she watched the world before her turn a beautiful faerie white.
Late into the night she looks out of the window, into the dark, imagines how the sky puts the earth to sleep under a blanket of frosty magic, she imagines the world becoming a canvas of white and how the sun in the morn would sculpt it back into its original state. She thinks of planes and skis and gummy bears; of her father and the stories he tells her every day. She thinks of how someday she'd like to have a child of her own and show him the snow.
Years later, when she tells her son what falling in love for the first time felt like, she won't talk about a man; she'll talk about that evening, about snow and her father and cosy wood cabins. He will eventually find himself staring out of the same window his mother did, and find his name etched onto the old teak-wood table, the Japanese word for snow. He'll rush to his mother and wrap her in a tight embrace and she'll hold him just as tight, and whisper just loud enough for him to hear, "Yukio".