Feb 9, 2014

Every roof has the same view

Ben Marriott
The red and blue 1 cm by 1 cm square was put on his tongue and he braced himself for what was to come. Would it be an explosion of flavours or sour or bitter? His guess was as good as anyone’s.

A slur of random thoughts and images filled his brain in anticipation of what was to come. Till this point in his life, he had been keen on dividing and categorizing everything that he could possibly place into boxes for the sake of convenience. What he had figured out for himself was that he was a lover of nature, art and life in general, a borderline romantic, offensive at times for lack of concern at certain 'third parties' being in his vicinity and experimental to a limited degree, though this was usually more in his head than he actually projected. The facts were what he had chosen for himself even though his sheltered childhood would have begged to differ.

He had always prided himself in his quirks, which he never found the need to hide. People around him may not necessarily have been interested in getting into the details of his morning dump, sex life or future plans. But without too much thinking, he would share his story with anyone willing to hear. And reciprocate. The latter was a matter of primary concern because of his need for knowing things. Observing and the little mental notes were one thing. But to see someone vulnerable enough to share a part of their darkest side of their existence with him turned him on. Almost. It wasn't something that could be brushed away, unlike the tags he had imposed on himself.

Once the liquids had entered his system, time and motion as he knew it began to find themselves in altered states. During the initial haze, he momentarily discovered his renewed hatred for the life. There had to be more words, more travel, more venting of the intriguing journeys that his mind seemed to want to go on though physically, he was stuck in the quicksand and seemingly comfortable. He felt released in a way that he had never experienced, unable to quite pinpoint what was happening to him, unable (for once) to put things down as black or white.

And without much effort, he fell in love with the alternately grey and technicolour world in front of him. There was a cyclone of thoughts with him in the middle, wading his way into the eye in search of the unnerving sense of calm and joy that he sensed was beyond the thin walls.

Once more, the lack of comprehension and the power of the images being presented in front of his eyes took over. And he let it.

There was a game he recalled playing as a child. There was a circle in which mercury globules floated in vacancy (or water, he couldn't be sure) and the aim was to get them into the five grooves made within the board. The toughest part was having all five of the holes filled without spilling one of them out out of sheer frustration and impatience. But today, he felt at ease with the pace of things within him and around. Sometimes, it got rapid but in his little self-woven cocoon, he played and won the game against the night sky. The stars, the little globules; his mind, the prettiest non-infested playground he had visited. And there were even swings! To play with it or perhaps, eat a star or two would have been nice, he thought.

Now he was drifting, zooming in and out without the blink of an eye and superimposing all the images of childhood that seemed to be hitting him one after the other. He was older than he remembered having become. Life had passed him by and he hadn't even had the time to stop and take a photograph, for memory's sake or something.

There used to be a silly dog that belonged to the neighbours. Named Ruby, she would excitedly go and pee everywhere that she went. Quite a nuisance. But his little brother, who was even sillier in his opinion if you asked him, took quite a liking to Ruby. The dumb three-foot-nothing would often take her out on a walk. Once, when the bikers passed by the village, they ran over her and did not even stop to look back. That was when he severed ties with them forever. Till date, his brother hadn't bought a goddamn two-wheeler, he smirked.

He used to have an uncanny, often annoying way of superimposing himself into stories that he had heard. This was the case too often, in far too much detail. The drunk girl who had been left on the street and his friends had taken her home to let her rest. Instead of being grateful, she screamed like she was being molested and woke the entire neighbourhood up. Had that been so long ago? Had he even been there to witness it first-hand or had he just been told the story too many times? He would never know. But the one thing he did know was not knowing whether she had been tall or short, fair or dark, big boobed or not so much. Not that it mattered. Nothing did anymore.

For no reason at all, there was a rush of similar morbid and awkward tales of growing up. He realized that these were the memories that he had thought were simply erased the day his father died. The intensity of that moment as a thirteen-year-old with no concrete dream at the time hit him hard. It was too tough to forget the face, the skin, the dampness of it all. So he held on to it with dear life and refused to let go. Before he knew it, it was gone, leaving behind a physical void as well as a mental one that he could not grasp. Where had his childhood gone, he asked the stars? But the stars had no answer.

They merely whispered 'Every roof has the same view' in a cryptic way that only he was supposed to understand. It brought him down to the situation he was in - alone on a beanbag in a stranger's terrace looking at the stars and seeking answers that were actually being provided in a simplified manner. He was just like the rest of them, regardless of gender, age, appearance, nationality or any basis of division that had been imposed on humanity since their concept of society started to take shape. He felt stripped down in the most natural way, cradled in the lap of the only mother that was presently breathing life into his otherwise dead body. He could be happy now, living in the carefree blissful oblivion that he had always dreamed of. Nothing could stop him, except the high wearing off.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your posts off and on for over four years now and my my sorry!! I must say this was delightful to read.