Tikes finally makes the hike.

It has been an interesting year. I am not really a bird whose feathers are wound up by an oil spill. But my helplessness is far more insidious. More like a doll which is forced into taking a space trip. My cosy fur turned coarse last winter, aerodynamics is out of the book. Limbs have applied for voluntary retirement. I am a far cry from my youth.

Well, I am not old actually. A bit frustrated, you could say. I am still strong enough to lift an elephant. Just that my will is weak enough to let thoughts escape my ribcage. My rotten sternum isn’t that great a watchful protector anymore. What hurts more is the stories that escape my mind.

Stories incomplete. Stories untold. Stories mutilated, weak and left to fend for themselves in this harsh world. My stories are my children. My craft is their guard against the vagaries of this life. Without this protective sheath, they wither and die. And I am left to see them suffer.

This has been the norm for the past year or so. One thing left undone was the expedition to the shiny hill that lie at the other side of the lake. Not exactly there, but this place is scattered across the sacred geography of this nation. If I were to protect my love, I should have gone there much before. As you can see, I didn’t.

Just like my unfortunate stories, my love was left in the rain for a long while. When the rain was done soaking her to the bones, sunlight pared her. Cauterized by ultra violet, she lay there as the wolves slurped her melting eyes. Then the climate decorticated her, the winds returning her skull to the rooftop.

And me, spent in my stories and in my own world would never go there to rescue her. It is unfair to blame me too, for my philosophy was taut. If there ought to be investment in love - it isn’t love at all. Love ought to be low maintenance. A constant that shall stay, a baseline of life and living. That love needn’t be nurtured. That it shall nurture everything around her. She was the epitome of beauty - the only plausible definition for heaven on earth.

But boy, I was mistaken!

As I floated across the dirty roads of Bangalore, a certain vision hit me. That love is not to be taken for granted, but should be nurtured, cared and loved as much as you would love your own very heart.

Doesn’t matter if you eat healthy for your heart or rather eat well and exercise. Or pump up medicines to keep it in prime. Methods are very well yours, but just like your own heart, love needed to be loved, nurtured and taken care of. I didn’t do that. I failed. Just like my stories that die in thousands around me, my love died too.

I was on the backseat of a cab. I couldn’t sit right, so I pressed my occiput to the headrest and watched the traffic take shape around me. The black van of St. Peter’s undertaker took a brief stop near my window. The surreality of a black mortuary van amidst an anemic sea of white cars struck me hard.

The van hissed a bit and the traffic was quelled as if responding to some voodoo. It smirked at me and flew past my queasy Tata indica. This stupid car is indeed an insult to my motherland. I wondered if Megasthenes would approve of this outrageous choice of name for this pesky little pest of a car!

Suddenly, the traffic isle started to churn. My stomach responded in kind. The cheap wine shot back through the esophagus, burning my throat, epiglottis and the assorted set of teeth. As if that wasn’t enough, my mind told me to gulp down the vomit. I obliged, gargling a bit before swallowing it down.

My body fought back against this perversion of a sick mind. If love is the war between minds, body is the collateral damage. The atmosphere was dark and hazy. As the time flew past me, bending in a vortex around my neck, I found it difficult to breathe. This time was cold to my skin, but not enough to make me shiver. When I wasn’t noticing, it made a quick move and filled my ailing lungs. This is catharsis!

A gathering storm engulfed the traffic system. As my vision faded, I saw cars levitating around me in mid air. Their tyres were still rotating in vain. A strange nostalgia of unfinished tales were visible in their half burnt grooves. These flying cars are not the innovation that we desire anymore - they are the ghosts of a past that we dread. As the pandemonium broke loose in the outer ring road, I dived deep into my own mind, looking for solutions. If this enigma is to be solved, I have to comb by mind up and down.

My mind, with two year old memories hold the key to this puzzle. Things that happened in the last two years are missing from the tinderbox that is my mind. I looked in vain for a while and gave up instantly. As people kept dying in scores around me, I chose the path that I was most adept at choosing. This path to which I turned back again and again as life threw fresh conundrums at me. This was the solution, this was the final solution - not really a solution, but it shall fix the situation for the time being.

I turned back and ran away.

Written on November 2, 2018