I haven’t yet lived in a city which I can claim to be mine. Perhaps Gainesville would come close being the only place I lived on my own terms. Calcutta-buffs, I know, will scathe at me for being ungrateful to the city which doesn’t cease to amaze me. Still, I don’t seem to devour Calcutta the way others have done. Something hinders me, I can’t surely say what it is – perhaps my inability to adapt nuances of the city at a later age than required. It is technically my hometown now, but having stayed there for only eight consecutive years hasn’t given me the chance to imbibe the city into myself. I long for it when I’m away and yet I feel the longing is just for the sake of it. It is in human nature to try and own – places, people, relationships – without justifying the ownership. I haven’t consciously tried to let Calcutta engulf me into its charming tentacles, consequently being open to immerse myself into any other city in the world.
Belfast was different from all the other cities I’ve lived in because I already knew the exact number of days I was going to be there. I did not seriously know what to expect from the short-term affair with a city radically apart from the ones I’ve been to. Visiting London confirmed the hypothesis we created, that united Ireland resembles more with Europe than the rest of United Kingdom. Belfast has all the European qualities, right from pebbled streets to open-air cafes and the afternoon drinking culture which is too lethargic for London to accept. The people have a laid-back attitude, they drink – morning and noon, evening and night – because they are Irish.
There are some things which keep bubbling inside, and at times, froth outside desperately. Shades of sky wrapping my mind in layers, intertwining with each other, a cloudy silver peeking here and there. Each bubble a blue, a sky, filled with voids that only I know of. Is it just me and Gainesville, or it happens to anyone tangled to a place? Why do I even bother telling anyone where i want to be.
Someplace, with the lilac evenings of Bombay, spread over inconspicuous chaai-ki-taprees, interspersed with the diamond lights on Arabian Sea.
Someplace, with the skyscrapers and steel of Manhattan, where a twentieth floor balcony lets you dream over coffee and sunset while watching cute chinese shoplets wrapping up the day.
Someplace, with the skies and rains of Calcutta, deep crimson-lined clouds (the rare ones, I want them) overcasting shadows with one another on busy streets and old, red buildings.
Someplace, with the tall shady tree-lined lonely roads of Gainesville, puddles reflecting a purple sky with an occasional fall leaf, floating.
And someplace, where you’ll be there to touch me with your playful smiling gaze.
Depression and more of it. Chocolate colored depression, not sweet either. It tastes like bitter cocoa and raw, which makes you wanting to puke awhile later. Layers of it, unfolding like slightly brittle, luscious dark chocolate, expose more and more bitterness. It is inviting though at the beginning, the enigma of it. But as you gorge on more in your excitement, it chokes you. There you are moving around, brimful of depression, wanting to unload it. But that is the catch. It is mostly one-way. Once it lures you successfully with its beauty and mystery, and you gulping the bait so naively, it won’t leave you, despite showing doors and windows. It will lurk behind the blinds of your soul, and peep gleefully at you, the poor you, feeling like a fish bone stuck in your throat.
You want a remedy? I have one, but it is not easy. You will need a soulful of love, pure and rich, laced with strains of belonging. While the love washes your depression away, the strains bind your eroded pieces together, not letting you crumble. There won’t be exactly the same assemblage of you later, still. You will be back newly awash with love, and togetherness. Isn’t that worth it?
The vastness of dead ends alarms me these days. It’s like an abyss, and I feel like I’m falling and falling, freely. At times, falling into a cushion, a warm quilt which wraps me all around, heals my bruises, feeds me with sweet nectar. And then again, the torque snatches me from it and hurls me down, into the chill and dark. I don’t know where it leads me to, whether there would be life, or a little warmth, just a little for me to survive. It tells me nothing, why I was chosen for the fall, for all the temporary deaths. It drags my quilt down too, at intervals, to resuscitate me. And that, my dear, is so much more frightening. How far will it fall with me, how far will it be able to survive the chill and save the warmth for me? How far? For I know, the abyss is way determined to see the end of me, it will keep pulling me downwards, till I succumb. Every time my quilt paints a smile on me, every time it tattoos me all over with love, they are removed so easily like watermarks by the darkness around.
Happiness seems to be like a whiff of a mild flower, it dissolves as soon as I can feel it, and leaves me behind in a whirl, trying to dream back the smell, reminisce the little globules of bliss.
I’m not well, and nobody knows it. The free fall gives me an irreparable dizziness, which churns all my emotions into one confused lump of knots. Stupid, strong knots, which can’t be resolved. And everything leads to the eternal question – why me?