We are the mashup of all the things we let into our life.

We are the mashup of all the things we let into our life.
The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more ---William Wordsworth

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Wandering Zephyr

 It was a lovely night, one of those nights, dear reader, which can only happen when you are young. The sky was so bright and starry that when you looked at it the first question that came into your mind was whether it was really possible that all sorts of bad-tempered and unstable people could live under such a glorious sky. The mention of bad-tempered and unstable people reminds me that my behavior during the day and in fact during all other days has been reproachful.

When i woke up in the morning, i felt strangely depressed, as i did every morning. The disheveled hair covering my forehead, the reek of piss and vomit from my bed indicating that i didn't changed them since a week, and the disorderly state of my room completed the picture of a man depressed with his life and an enemy of himself. I must confess that i liked my room this way, for it made me aware of my conscience and i didn't trust the maid. She would barge into my room every morning to clean it which resulted in my cursing and swearing oaths at her till tears glistened in her eyes and i was forced to stop and let her clean it. Oh how a girl's tears have the ability to pierce the strongest of hearts!

I am spiteful. i am vile, base and impudent. I am a sick man. Forgive me, dear reader, as you must be cross at my disdainful demeanor  but it really relieves me by expressing myself so. I have not been able to make a single acquaintance during all the years i have been living in Baltiysk, Russia.  But what do i want an acquaintance for? I know the whole of Baltiysk without them. Every Sunday night i would go to Hob's market where half a million workers, men and women, with their children spill into the streets like a flood, flocking to certain parts of the town, all through the night, till five o' clock in the morning, eating and drinking like beasts. The people swarm round the open taverns and into the streets, eating and drinking everywhere. It was as though a ball had been prepared for them, the public houses were as gay as palaces. I, however, did not take part in the festivity and felicity but rather enjoy watching the expressions on their gleaming faces but at the same time feel sorry for my unhappy state.
Suddenly, new jobs were being available in the country and the whole town leaving for them. It terrified me to be left alone, and for three days i was racking my brains in trying to find if something was wrong with me. I would no longer see and meet the old familiar faces that i used to see every morning, and it hurt me to even think about it. It is true, i am a complete stranger to the people on the street, but they are not so to me, i know them rather intimately, for i have made a thorough study of their faces during my wanderings in the street. I am happy when they are happy, and i am sad when they are sad and downcast. This particular old beggar used to wave his cap and blanket at me whenever i left my house, and i did the same to him.

The houses too, are familiar to me. When i used to walk along the street, they seemed to be running before me. They would gaze through the windows and practically say to me, " Good morning, how are you? I am fine, thank-you  They are going to add another storey to me in April", or " I was nearly burnt last night, oh how withered i am now, i was so terrified!"
It seemed as thought everyone and everything had left the city for good, as it looked like a desert now. Perhaps they had started to dislike my company and my presence  After a day or two, the houses too, had lost their charm and gaiety with which they saluted me every morning and looked forlorn and sad. I had no excuse to go to the country, as i had no cottage or relative to go to.
Days and months flew by but the deafening silence which prevailed in the city was not broken, for i strained my ear against the window pane for the slightest sound of their arrival. During my lonely walks in the day, i noticed that even the birds had stopped singing, as if they were hurt that nobody liked them and had forsaken them because  of their incessant noise.

After getting dressed in my usual clothes and an overcoat, i left the house in search of them. for it was impossible that they should forget me. I walked for hours and hours  and, as usual had for some time been completely oblivious of my surroundings, when i found myself near the toll gate. I felt cheerful at once and stepping beyond the gate, walked along the road between fields of corn and lush grass, unconscious of any fatigue and feeling with every breath i drew that a heavy weight was being lifted from my heart. There is something incredibly moving in the way nature, with the coming of spring, suddenly reveals herself in all the glory, splendor and blossoms out with flowers....She reminds me of that girl, ailing and faded, upon whom you look with pity and compassionate affection, but who in the twinkling of an eye, becomes by some  magic chance indescribably fair and beautiful, stunned and fascinated, you ask yourself what power it was that made the sad eyes gleam with fire? what caused the rush of blood to her pale face? What brought the passion to that sweet face? Why her bosom heaved so wildly? What was it that filled the face of the poor girl with life and vigor and forced it to light up  with so brilliant a smile and so contagious a laugh? You look around and wonder who it could have been, you begin to suspect the truth. But the brief moment passes, and tomorrow perhaps you will encounter the same forlorn gaze, the same remorse in her eyes and traces of vexation in her movements. And you feel sorry that the beauty, so suddenly evoked, should have faded so irrevocably and so to little purpose that she did not even give time to fall in love with her.
Suddenly, a loud boom occurring at intervals reverberated across the land and shattered my reverie. It happened in a bell-tolling sequence, perhaps it was a bell tolling. A wedding? A hanging? It could be anything. A tear glistened in my eyes and the cheerful countenance which i had just now, faded away. I turned around and walked back the way i came, dejected and dispirited   eyes downcast.
And so, i would always wander away in search of my dear friends and in search of solace, oblivious of my surroundings, drowned in my own thoughts, until the 'sound' would reach my ears and would force me to retire back to my home.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Whisper of the Sirens

KAZAKHSTAN,                         (1)

From the ramparts and their jagged towers, the village of Balkhash presented a wonderful sight. Woman paced through the market, a blue blur of burqas. Children guided goats through the crowds, struggling to avoid the throng of cyclists . Pigeons wheeled in the sunset. Various birds squawked from treetops in an evening chorus joined by barking dogs below. Some street mongers pushed trolleys along, selling scrap metal and pieces of plastic. Sheep entails hung over the bicycle handlebars of a butcher's shop. A  row turbaned 'white beards', the elders of Balkhash, sat on a mosque rooftop talking among themselves while they waited for the call to prayer. On the mud roofs around them,  boys of all ages ran here and there, shouting and chasing each other wildly amidst the smoke drifting upwards from the kitchens below. Many were flying home made kites  which fluttered in the breeze, gathered around the sun like excited moths. In the distance, lights were being turned on in the sixteenth century mosque. Further off, hovering over the Balkhash like a dark cloud was the black crayon smudge of the Paripomosus mountains.

Then it came, first the crackling, croaky whir  a large intake of breath and them, the melodious voice of the muaddin calling the faithful to the evening prayer. As the call continued, a tide of men, swelling by the minute, flowed across the city towards the mosque, and the white beards descended from the roof to pray. High above the street, a man stood on a flat rooftop, elbows atop the low parapet, surveying the scene with delight. He was clad in torn shirt and  jeans and raising his cellphone to his face he muttered something and closing his eyes, pressed a button. 

It seemed like everything and everyone had stopped. The time had completely ceased to move forward and the only sound that was heard was the ticking of the second hand until the minute hand moved forward and then, it all happened. An immense explosion erupted near the mosque in a ball of fire and all the shops, stalls, cars, people and houses disintegrated and disjointed as a beast pulls its prey limb from limb. The fire and smoke spiraled up into the air and the twisted, blackened remains plummeted to earth with breathtaking speed. Madness began.


Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport.   (2)

As the big DC-8 sank down, i glanced round its crowded interior. The bulk of passengers who shared my belief in the madness of flying, dug their fingers in the upholstery or in the seat, while the others who were not, sat with excessive nonchalance like those who are ever ready to face their impending doom.

The DC-8 landed with a short bump and taxied on the runway to the airport where it was to line up with the corrugated disembarkation tube. The exit door opened and i stepped into the tube and came out on the terminal floor, passing  tow or three airport employees who eyed me suspiciously. Oh well, its their job, i thought, and moved on. There was a man standing at the end of the platform. He was of middle height, with dark hair and black, cold eyes. I recognized him immediately : Nathan Lloyd. He was dressed in a black suit and overcoat but his forehead was accumulated with beads of sweat and looked worried. As he came forward to greet me, his worried countenance jelled almost instantly into an expression of pure shock. It was then that i observed , almost subconsciously, that he was looking to his right and not at me.  

In that small fraction of a second, i caught a glimpse of a man in grey suit to Nathan's right with a pistol raised to his head as he pulled the trigger of his silenced  Walther. He jerked convulsively and fell on his face on the floor, as the assailant made his escape. My senses were numb and i couldn't react, waves of nausea engulfed me and my stomach was in a knot. On noticing the dead body riddled with bullets, the whole terminal was soon enveloped in furor and madness. In this commotion, i lost my bearing due to the pushing and nudging of people running by but soon regained my balance and on impulse started towards the door of the second terminal.

On my way there, i found myself correct as the first terminal was flooded with screaming people. Suddenly, i saw the man in grey suit making his way past the door of the second terminal. I darted towards it and tried to pass through but the damned door was blocked by a person trying to enter. A girl. I dodged to the right and she dodged to the left. I dodged to my left and she dodged to her right. Check. You can see the same performance take place any minute on a city pavement when two over polite people succeed in blocking each other's way. I looked up to see her face but right then, a heavy, blunt instrument hit my head and i fell on the floor, lying unconscious. 


When i opened my eyes, i found myself seated on a chair with my face on the table in front of me. I guessed myself to be in a cabin of  a boat or ship with a single light at the end of the room, as it was swaying side by side. I tried to sit erect but couldn't, and my face and body ached painfully. My head was swarming with unconnected places and people and my thoughts were a kaleidoscopic whirl. I couldn't focus correctly but on shaking my head, i made out some pictures on the table and two large hands picking them up and putting them down. There was a brass knuckle on his right hand, from which i judge, i got the bruises on my body.

Silence reigned in the room save for my muffled groans, and after a lapse of some time , a hoarse voice spoke in an Italian accent from the darkness in front of me. He was probably fat and short necked.

"You scoundrel! You failed us, dammit. You've failed us ALL!", exclaimed the fat guy.

I tried to speak but couldn't find my voice.

"Kazakhstan, the Mosque, You ruined my plan. Nathan Lloyd, shit, he was YOURS, goddammit! It was a good thing i tested you, you mole. Look for yourself, you twerp!" 

He threw the pictures at me, and i found to my surprise, that it was me in every picture. How could that happen? I gasped in horror and recoiled in my seat.
"Ten years of my planning gone down the drain. Ten years! Hell, you were my best man, Brain. I relied on you. But, no....NO! You do not get a pardon this time. This time...you sleep with the fishes!" He shouted in anger, and pounding his fist on the table he cursed at me in Italian and pointing his burning cigar at my face, whispered in my ear the words, " Brian Cain". 

Brian Cain. Brain. Oh God, no, this cannot be. And then, it all came to me. Everything. And before i had time to assemble my thoughts together, i was lifted off my feet and thrown into the sea. Struggling against the current in vain, i kept myself afloat and saw to my horror, barrels of oil being emptied into the sea. I was slowly losing my balance as the waves pounded and engulfed me, and the last thing that my eyes could register was the light of a flickering flame coming towards me. Everything turned black after that.                                                              

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...