Narcissist

He’s like me. I think that’s why I’m into him. That’s why I couldn’t get him off my mind. It nearly drove me crazy, you know; the desire to spend more time with him, to get to know him in and out. But, he’s like me. So of course, like I expected, he didn’t contact me for a week. He didn’t contact me until he wanted a shag.

That was okay with me. I knew when I replied to his message the first time, what I was getting myself into. A one-night stand, a little bit of fun keeping it a secret and that’s it. We weren’t looking for a relationship; neither of us.

In fact, I’m still not looking for a relationship. Heavens! That would be disastrous. My approach or obsession, if I may say, is of the more clinical type. I want to get under his skin and find out what makes him tick. I want to push him and pull him until he’s tired and I’m tired. I want to poke him until he bleeds and then, repeat that until he bleeds more.

Hmm…reading what I wrote might make you wonder if I hate myself. I don’t. I’m just fascinated with myself. Nothing greatly special about me; I guess I’m the easiest lab rat available to myself. It’s easy to put myself under the microscope rather than interact with humanity. But, this find- somebody like me! I could call it an obsession, but really, it should be narcissism.

However, since he’s like me- I know what’s going to happen. He will keep me on the hook, at his whims and fancies and one day, he’ll get bored of even that and he’ll forget my existence. So will I, of course, but, it might take a little effort from my side in this case. It won’t be as natural as it usually is.

It’s interesting being on the other side. My pride keeps getting rents and knitting itself back together. Yes, it’s all very chaotic, very messy and very, very interesting.

 

*END*

Why Aren’t You?

You useless person,

There are so many beautiful things here

Why aren’t you?

 

I don’t know who I’m talking to

A stranger in the future that I might miss

A friend in the present that I do miss

I don’t know who should be here;

Who am I talking to?

 

I go from place to place

Revelling in my own company

But, the beer I ordered feels alone

Without a companion on the other side

I roam from bookstore to bookstore

Losing myself among the bundles of old and new

Buying too much, thinking too little

Maybe you should have been here

To hold me back

 

I still don’t know who I am talking to

Who could give me company in a bar

Companionship in a bookstore

I’m talking maybe to that random stranger

Who one day may not be so random

Or so strange

 

Is it weird to wish to be alone?

But, sometimes miss humanity?

Is it weird to miss something there never was?

Is it weird to miss what might be?

My feelings seem to have gotten ahead of themselves

Popping up from a place that doesn’t yet,

Exist.

 

You useless person

There’s so many beautiful things here…

Why aren’t you?

 

But it’d better if I ask

Who aren’t you?

Who are you?

 

*END*

09:32 PM, A Random Note To A Best Friend

There are always those people who’re the floats in your life.

You’re mine.

When life seems like it’s bent upon pushing me down and drowning me, I desperately clutch at you, hang on to you for dear life. Because I know you’ll let me. Because I know you care. Because I know I matter in your life.

As of today.

Soon, a time will come when you’ll be gone too. You’ll get married, you’ll have a husband, kids, an entire family that doesn’t involve me; that is more important than me.

I know that time will be upon us soon.

Until then, accept these random messages I send you, the miss you’s and love you’s and the forever and ever’s. Until that moment comes, let me cling on to you when life throws me to the waves. Until that fateful time when I’ll lose you, let me cherish every moment I get to be important to you.

Until then, my friend, I love you; I miss you; and I expect you to answer my call.

 

*END*

Survivor

I asked her if she went to school.

The girl selling roses on the street at 20 bucks a stem replied that she’s in seventh standard and she’s studying in a nearby government school.

She didn’t look 12. She was barefooted. But, she spoke Hindi in the land of Kannada and knew how to make a sale.

When I bought the roses from the persuasive kid, she asked me for a hundred bucks. She said her mother promised to buy her slippers and books if she had a hundred bucks.

I couldn’t bring myself to believe her. In my profession as a psychiatrist, you hear too many stories of money being drowned in a bottle. So instead, I made her an offer- I’ll buy her what she wants; no cash exchanges.

As she led me by hand to the nearest convenience store, I asked her more questions: what does her mother do? What does her father do? Does she have any brothers and sisters?

She was clear in only one answer: she had no father or brothers.

And the younger sister didn’t count.

Her eyes were big and round, lips curved down and a frown on her forehead when she said that. She was playing me for my sympathy. Because there were no strong men in her life who could take care of her, she believed she deserved my sympathy.

I wanted to tell her it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I wanted to tell her to never wish for an absent father when she had a mother who sent her to school. I wanted to tell her, a brother probably wouldn’t be able to sell as many roses as fast as she did because she was smart and persuasive and knew to use those skills. I wanted to tell her that she was strong and she didn’t need to look up to a man to be strong for her.

I didn’t know how to tell her all this.

So, I know that she’ll grow up strong, a survivor despite her odds, but, she would never realise it. I know that the moment a man comes along, she’ll surrender her spirit until it’s broken by him. Then, she’ll rebuild herself, disillusioned, but still a survivor- just never realising that she was the strong one all along.

I hope with all my heart that I be proven wrong.

*END*

08:39 AM, Me and My Blank Sheet of Paper

Sometimes I stare at a blank sheet of paper like I’m waiting for it to tell me something; as if it’s holding secrets and if I look at it long enough and hard enough, it’ll give up those secrets.

Sometimes, it does. Most of the times, I appreciate the potential that it holds and then, close the window. Or book.

The thing is, usually when I do this, rather than looking for something to write about, it’s because I’m being overwhelmed by the thoughts inside my head. There are so many of them, running around, hopping and jumping about, pulling things out of their places, turning everything upside down; and I don’t know how to stop them. So, I stare at this blank sheet of paper and wait for clarity; if not complete clarity, then at least some, so I can put things into order again and make sense of it all.

Imagine yourself knitting with the cat playing around your chair, and before you know it, your wool’s all tangled up and your cat is trying to pull itself free. That’s how it is- I’m the cat and my thoughts are the wool, tangled and suffocating. When I look at the blank sheet of paper, which holds nothing but the hint of possibilities, it calms me; because here is a place that’s empty, that has no direction or correction, no right, wrong or reason, nothing but an easy placidity that I can breathe in. It calms me.

It helps me regain some order in my brain- lock up the boxes that were opened, cover up the corners exposed and forget things I’m supposed to have forgotten. In the process of setting things right, sometimes, I use that paper to write. Most of those writings never see the light of day because they’re just words put on paper as they spill out. A lot of those sentences are long, run on, end in question marks and don’t make complete sense to anyone except me. A lot of it is incomplete because I finish it in my head while something else is pushing for expulsion. It’s messy and soon, it’ll end up crumpled up in the dust bin or the recycle bin. But, it’s done its job. It’s released some of the pressure and that helps.

The times when I don’t write however, I just stare. I keep staring at that piece of paper like it’s my salvation. And it is. Because after some time, I can open a fresh sheet of paper which hasn’t yet been stained by the sight of my desperate eyes and put my thoughts down, in a way that makes sense- to me and maybe even to you.

And so, I can breathe again. I can take on the world again. I can hide my insecurities again without the tag showing. I can be perfect again.

**

Is Anyone There?

The desert spreads out in front of me

Grains of sand in my shoes, in my eyes

Lodged in my hair, scratching past my throat

Am I alone? Am I alone? I ask the wind

It blows by quickly, in a zephyr, leaving me stranded

Unanswered

 

Is there no one? Is there not one other person?

I’m begging the sun, my eyes dry

Tears having evaporated a long time ago

Am I alone? Am I really all alone?

 

I breathe, and I breathe

I try to pick that scent, that human perfume

Maybe it’s wafting by here, towards the horizon

Or there, by that sand dune

I look around wildly, searching for him, her, any one

It’s my imagination. It’s all my imagination

 

There’s nobody here, the sky mocks my pleas

As it beats me down, holds me down

My ears to the sand, waiting for respite

For the sound of voice, maybe a song, just a whistle

Fine grains fill up their insides and no sound passes through

I clean them every other night…worried

Scared I’ll miss that sound when it comes

Now? What was that? A call? My name?

I’m hallucinating, hallucinating…

 

No one knows my name

No one knows I’m here

Alone…alone…I’m alone

 

The desert spreads out in front of me

Is anyone there? I howl at the moon

No one…no one… the wind whispers in my ear

As it passes by

And leaves me alone too.

 

*END*

Dance

It’s a dance…

You know it’s going to happen and you watch it unfold step by step even as you’re the one dancing.

A look here, a smile there. An extra message sent to capture your attention, an extra detail that you say caught your eye. A conversation waiting to happen, a tryst building up to materialization.

It’s a dance…because you take that one step forward knowing your partner will take the next two.

A compliment passed subtly, an invitation left hanging. A careful ambiguity in wording, cautious enough to spell charm, but repel rejection. An invitation accepted, gently, casually…just friends, just friends calling upon friends.

It’s a dance…because the rules are there and admired while falling apart.

Distance maintained initially, careful to touch, careful to look. It’s mutual, it’s comfortable to ease into each other, a camaraderie-filled pat on the shoulder, a joke shared while the knees touch, leaning into each other…a sip here, a sip there; pull back and watch it happen.

It’s a dance…you know what’s happening now, what comes next and you’re eager for the jump, for the swing, for the dive.

Fingers slipped here and there. Drinks shared and stories shared. A secret given up here- the first in the arsenal, just enough give to pull you in, just enough promise to hold them out. Whispered laughter and a look that lasts too long. You know where you are, ideas confirmed and looking forward to more.

It’s a dance…fingers held and led, following the 1,2,3, the 4,5,6, the order and the rhythm familiar to you, familiar to them.

A gentle leaning in, a gauging of response, taking a step forward, waiting to meet a step towards. Lips brushing softly, tentative, careful; it’s still the trial, the rehearsal, a practice play to get the feel, to settle in.

It’s a dance…of being led beyond the lines drawn, willingly, voluntarily, consensually, sensually

A word whispered, a sensuous shiver sent down the spine; a touch that ignites the fire buried within; a hug that gives in to its desire held back until in poor camouflage; lips moving beyond the lips, whispering nothings, saying everything…the cloak is down now, fluttered open against the fierce wind, knocking back your senses, but holding you in place. No time for subtlety, no patience for subterfuge, no energy to spare for the charm abundantly employed before.

It’s a dance…of rules, of passion, of desires building on an open fire, stoked with witty words, ambiguous charms, kindled under the promise of friendship and the tease of something more, fed by the embers of ego, of impulse, of that something more; flaring up in lust, tempered by thought, soon lost in the blaze, unthinking, but feeling, just feeling, just feeling…the dance…

What we do, you and I, this thing, once in a while, simplistically choreographed to the rhythm, familiar in its beat, in its practice, building to a salsa, dipping to a waltz…what we do, you and I, is a dance.