Friday, April 28, 2017

Affirmative Action of Agony

Here I am. On the train, lulled by the gentle sway of the cars — a sweet caress of slow motion that contradicts the fact that the train is hurtling ahead at a speed that tolls a death call for one to step out of.

This is my cocoon, and it is in this trance-like state that in pseudo-somnolence I let my thoughts ramble.

Last year I wrote a paper on liminality in a character assessment of Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, a process and product that was in itself a paradox of sorts in recognizing the passivity of the liminal and yet its potential implied at threshold, and then applied to a woman who defied all definition through exploring extremes.

This liminal state is one I return to again and again. And in further exploration it is the simple pleasure of detachment that intrigues me. Moreso when this second truth is observed: the same can be said about my intrigue with love.

It has been too long since I have put pen to paper while in loco; years. It is in a strange turn of thought that caused me to wonder what the experience of revisiting my past voices would be like, only to realize I would in future not have anything to benchmark to this moment in time. This caused me to wonder what my voice would actually be, if I returned to this strange old habit of writing my thoughts down, old school, pen to paper, with all the generalities and trivialities.

In a moment of urgency, spurred on by this sensation that I needed to record this exact moment, I searched through my bag looking for those tools. No notebook, but a receipt from a date (its length a testament to its success) was enough to start scribbling the aforesaid.

The time between me writing on the train to me typing it here was in itself a moment of love. A walk where the time of day was at threshold; no longer day and yet not yet evening. A sun still above horizon but for not much longer, with colour painting the twilight darkening blue and grays ahead. Where the balmy wind thrilled with chills, memories and whispers of a season not yet ready to be relinquished, where gossamer tendrils and sprays of yellows and greens appear, hope amongst barrenness, and mostly a pause where April is at impasse with May.

I have refrained from resorting to music for once. In a long, quiet walk in the dark empty streets last night — where the world was already inside and the night was a companionship of fallen rain, music and petrichor — I reflected that music unearthed in me a very visceral, reactive suddenity. In one moment I absolved to be stone, in another moment giddy with DGAF adages, and in another yet I melted still in compassion.

I could no longer really attest to those emotions that mean to represent my being: there were too many.

Perhaps, I reflected while skirting a puddle that may as well be a black hole but for the dim reflection of streetlamps glinting off, perhaps this miasma of exhaustive emotions was the same black hold my heart had escaped to.

I, too, am tired. And yet, I find myself asking, what was the true agony? Was it in the tulmult of high emotions that took you around and up and down and tired you out, sometimes? Or was the agony really in preferentially holding on to peacefulness—a peace that meant a quiet agony of perpetual emptiness?

Friday, April 07, 2017


There's been this weird thing happening. Whenever I go to the washroom, there is something behind the shower curtains. I find my eyes returning to a certain spot inside the bathtub.  Often, it stays with me, what I've seen. I leave half-absentmindedly, mind absorbed with what I just witnessed.

Eraser. There's a physicality in the word, a beautiful sense of closure, perhaps, in the way the word rolls around inside my head.

I find myself wondering about the word. About how little it is used today. Instead we use "delete" -- an easy tap on a button to remove something unwanted. But erase, there is something physical about it, a manual act almost, summoning memories of rolled up bits of indian rubber on old canvases. Maybe it's sepia-hued. Sometimes, it's not.

Memory sometimes makes one feel that things cannot be erased. Old hurts, broken hearts, things that seem like even if they mend, they leave cracks, shatter lines ... they seem almost un-erasable. And yet, time is supposed to be that healer. Does healing equal erasure, is what I want to ask, yet I already have my answer.

Sometimes this act of erasing is a physical, conscious act. You can erase someone out of your life. Sometimes you have to, in order to clear out what isn't needed, in order to make space for the things that are important. Sometimes erasing is forgiveness. Sometimes forgiveness is the same act as erasing a person from your life.

And then this act of erasure means erasing regrets, erasing those things you cannot change. Erasing words exchanged, erasing kisses exchanged, erasing promises exchanged. And the strangest thing about this is that for someone so immersed in memories and holding on to dreams, the act of erasure is so damn fulfilling.

It is fulfilling to just let go of weighted sentences, of words riddled with meaning. Fulfillment can also come in living in this moment, in shooting out a smile to those who matter. Even to those who don't. It's in falling in love again when you don't expect it. In extending a hand to hold another person's hand, and also in retracting it without having any expectations whatsoever.

Damage eraser. That's what I keep seeing inside the washroom, behind the shower curtains. It isn't a ghost, or a supernatural phenomenon. Just two simple words on my Garnier hair conditioner, "damage eraser."

Damage, maybe it's sepia-hued. Sometimes, it's not.

music accompaniment: ben howard - empty corridors