Well I'll try. Cold wind here would be life in general, how it leaves one with so many gaps, voids, with the person pining to fill the numerous voids. The absence of fur coat might indicate the lack of support structures for a person, the silk representing the potential of being rich/ resourceful/ happy. You can also find it meaningful when the words are interpreted literally.
Pale wry crescent would be the moon in literal sense, or friends/ people close to oneself; whose light gets dimmed by the lights of a city (along with other things) or merely the street light obscuring it, in this case or the people close to you get overshadowed by the fleeting infatuation towards other people. Both can be considered a recluse on a background of darkness/ something that leads to aversion by it's nature, causing imperfection (blotching) of either.
Subjected to such conditions, one might commit a deed considered not so prideful in a community (be it addictions, crime, self harm, etc). The cracked feet (mentioned above) leaving an imprint (audible thumps) on the minds of people that dissolves all the deeds (be they good or indifferent) from past, crafting a new sculpture in their minds. Or it can be the narrator walking a road, bare feet, with no fur coat to shield from the cold, under a street light, in hours with no one around, where even his injured feet make audible sounds.
Thumping heart with failures would be the person trying to hold on, despite all that's going on. Jaundiced eyes indicate diseased person/ alcohol addict/ pathologic vision or view of the world, rimmed red would be diseased person/ red from crying/ the blood rushing to the eyes so the person can heal his version of this new world to a sustainable one (like the one in it's past). No corners left to cry would be helplessness eliciting itself, with no corners for tears to well up or no corners left to hide and cry. Dry lips might be a thirst for happiness/ love. Or it can be the cold constricting peripheral vessels with heart failing to supply the hands, feet, etc., with the person already sick (jaundiced eyes,etc) and poorly fed (dry lips).
Shadow of light would indicate the person hidden in spotlight/ hiding a part of self unknown to people close to it, etc/ splitting oneself into an undesirable part (shadow) that is derived from the mellow, decent person (light). No passerby/ people encountered in life can take a peek/ sustain an observation, at this part of self or no passerby can bother after you discard the cluster of emotions related to that. There would be not much crying/ pain/ agony/ remorse after leaving all the empathy behind (no rivulets to dry). Or the narrator finds shelter under the street light, all alone in the cold night, with the body devoid of all water, and the person too tired/ dehydrated to even cry for his/her/their sorry state.
Cold strides to the victim, leaving the humane part behind, the psychopath hunts, on a winter's night. Or the narrator is forced to commit crimes to survive, for the past behaviour of good will and morals could only,at best, get him/her/them to a state like this.
The choice would be decided by the title. Which one would you choose?
Cold wind riddled me With numerous pines Tugging at the silk With no fur coat to hide On a winter's night Another poor guy
Peering at that pale wry crescent Overshadowed by a street light A sweet recluse Blotching the dark sky On a winter's night
Audible thumps From cracked feet Echoing in the quiet Crafted On a winter's night
A thumping heart Pumping cold failures At extremities Suffusing Jaundiced eyes Rimmed red With no corners left to cry And a pair of lips That were always dry Aah another winter's night
Under the shadow of light I stood With no passerby To gawk at And no rivulets to dry
This winter's night With cold strides I left a human behind.
'When I was growing up, in the 1980’s, life was hard. My dad was in prison for smuggling drugs. It was so bad, we were so strapped for money, and mom had to give up another child for adoption, soon after I was born. She worked three jobs for twelve years straight to send me to school.’
‘Whoa Corey, this sob story, it ain’t affecting me. So, get to the goddamn point.’
‘I got into college on a scholarship. Only way I could have. There was no more money. My mom had saved it all, and then she died. All those years of suffering, and her heart just gave up on her. So, there I was. A college graduate with no money and no family.’
Tristan Baxter stood up.
‘Look Corey, I know you had a messed up childhood. I get it, okay? But, why exactly are you telling me all this?’
Corey put her arms on Tristan and forced him back onto the chair.
‘Do you want a drink Tristan? Cause, you are gonna listen to what I say, whether you like it or not.’
‘Just get to the point. God, you are such a..’
‘Okay, so a friend took me in. Two years passed somehow, but finally, I was building a decent career. I had money, real money, for the first time ever. While my dating life was non-existent, life was mostly good.
Two months back, I started having bouts of fatigue, severe vomiting, and shortness of breath. Visited a doctor, guess what? Leukaemia. Of all the people in the world, God had chosen me. Blood cancer. Terminal. I asked for alternate options.’
‘So you are dying?’ There was no emotion in Tristan’s voice as he said it.
‘Shut up and listen. The doctor referred me to an oncologist. Some new treatment method is coming up apparently. Experimental medicine. Asked me if I wanted in, as part of a clinical study. Expensive as hell, though. What do I gotta lose? I said yes. It involves some kind of blood transfusion based on a familial match. Draining out the cancerous blood cells, yada yada.’
‘You got no family, though. So, you are basically screwed, yeah?’
‘I searched, you know. Tracked down this family who took in the kid my mom gave up. They said he had left home after turning eighteen. Hadn’t a clue where he had gone. I was preparing to give up, until one day, I saw the news.’
‘You love stories, don’t you Corey? So, what was there on the news?'
‘A picture of the Sacramento Stabber. Welcome to hell, big brother. Welcome to hell.’
“You should have come with us to Kheerganga. It was too beautiful. The place and the experience. I have fallen in love with Himachal. That beautiful place.”
I said as I started driving home with an office friend and colleague in the backseat. A man I’ve known for about three quarters of a year who joined my workplace as a junior and a guy I loved mentoring. He had been skipping the plans that we office colleagues used to plan.
“Harshit, it’s not that I will not love to hang out with you and other people. I would love it. Going to places like Kheerganga too. It’s just that I can’t right now. I hope I can discuss with you.”
“Obviously, you can. What is it?”
I took a left towards the Shipra Underpass.
“…Remember my parents come to my place a few weeks ago.”
“Yes. I do.”
“I came to know that both of them are suffering from Bone Marrow Cancer.”
I took a moment to slip in. The conversation suddenly changed. Cancer is a terrible thing and not one that we expect in our daily conversations. The weight that the statement carried pierced right through my heart. He is a good man with a good heart. But that’s not how life works. I didn’t know how to carry the conversation forward. He was the elder sibling to a younger brother in a family of four. Things like these are capable of changing everything you feel and your perspective on life.
“…Okay. Which stage is it? ”
“ The cancer is in the first stage. There will be medications for both and both can be cured. ”
I sigh with relief as I move right from Windsor Road. Cancer is a terrible thing and the thought of losing both the parents is a catastrophic and scary thought. Even the thought is so scary that I can’t even understand. He told me that he would move to hometown in Assam for a while for taking care of his parents. He would leave the job too. A journey I wished would have worked somewhat longer.
This event was going to shape my conscience over some months of my life. Some months later after he had gone, a moment came into the life that I expected was still some years away. Family circumstances will take me right from the front. The worsening circumstances brought my life to a halt and a feeling of pain. We are vulnerable when it comes to those we love inside and outside the family. The pain was so sheer that it took me days to be okay with it. There were storms raging in my mind for days. It became so difficult to focus at the office in a profession that is completely about focus. I couldn’t get my mind off things and I was struggling to not let my performance dwindle and to keep my mind sane. After years, I had felt pain. This intense. This sheer. I thought about him. I thought how could he even manage to sit in the office and focus on work for days with those circumstances hanging on his neck. That was a sign of a strong man but I felt what it would be costing him to afford this strongness. My problems are nothing when compared to him.
I’ve seen and observed people all my life. There are those attention seekers who will do stupid things and behave in an absolutely horrible way to seek your attention and account for their bad habits and circumstances. Blaming others for their decisions and consequences. And then there are these people fighting their worst battles and yet will meet you with a smile in the morning. I’ve known few people hard as a stone and too difficult to penetrate amidst all pain and yet fighting their battles. Often people who kept bragging about all the pain in their lives had shallow feelings to even feel it.
Anyone who says pain is a beautiful thing should be stabbed right in the chest till he bleeds to his death. Pain is not beautiful. Nobody wants pain. Still, I learnt that pain was a powerful contextual reminder of what really matters, whom we love, what we love and how we love. The very dichotomy of our lives. It’s not the joy or happiness that brings us to a moment to have a fresh look at life. It’s pain. People spend their limited time doing things they don’t like for people they don’t like to satisfy some stupid conventions. But there is a question we should take to our bed before we fall asleep. What really matters? What and who really really matters?