Silence Must Be Heard


It’s 7:25, oh, sorry, 26 now. Today’s sort of a big day. I have an outing with her. I thought Life of Pi was a book on math. Turns out it isn’t. You know, sometimes the brain becomes so blank and stupid and you can’t extract anything from it and the more you try the harder it resists the production of any idea? That’s my state now. Nothing to write. Wait, then I’ll tell you about those moments.

Imagine you are in the middle of something. Really in the middle of something. Like joking with friends, and you’re laughing so hard your tummy hurts, and one of your friends is going around the room doing silly stuff while another tries to sing a song, and outside there’s the patter of rains and the faint sound of traffic. Downstairs the TV is on and someone’s watching a Hindi soap you hate. You can recognize it from the music. All you have in your mind at the moment is what joke to make next. You are completely immersed, you see, in the person you are. That is to say, the friends you have, the jokes you make, the things you can make a joke about, the sounds of traffic and the rain you know since childhood. Because these are, after all, what a person comes down to in the end.

And then, suddenly, while you were trying to make up that joke, something happens. No, no pop, wham, bang. No ghost, wizard or likewise. What happens is that you suddenly slip from the mental state you were in, into a state I cannot describe. All I can say is that it is pretty high, from where you can see the whole hierarchy, the whole structure and arrangement of ever-increasing complications, shell within shell, that lead to this final conception called yourself.

In a single moment someone just yanks you from behind and you’re receding fast from all the associations, your family, friends, lover, jealousies, prides, regrets, doubts, problems, dreams, into a deep grey void, just like in the TV they sometimes zoom you up from a street scene to the city then the continent and then planet Earth. Just like that. Someone pulls you up from that joke you were trying to make, out through the gripping arms of your life, individuality and self that enclose you. Up, up, escaping shell after shell, till you are so high you can see the whole hierarchy from His point of view, see yourself gripped firmly in a thousand arms of your own life, immersed in the convincing reality of your self, trying to make a joke among friends in a rainy evening with the traffic outside and a Hindi soap that you hate on the TV downstairs.

That’s when you lose yourself. You know at that point with crystal clarity that you are nothing but one of the pieces of coloured paper that float through the universe. Each one around you is a coloured paper. The colours on them are the result of their experiences, their dreams, wishes, their friends, hobbies, their enclosing arms of life and self, and hence each of those coloured papers is unique in the whole universe, unique and unmatched, until they return to where they came from, and He washes all colour off the papers, reducing each to the same white featureless identical rectangle they really are. Then they wait for their next life of colouring, of being someone else.

Then the moment is over and someone just drops you back quietly to where you were, in the middle of trying to make a joke among friends in a rainy evening.

You look around, trying to recollect who you are supposed to be at the moment, trying to recollect yourself like a tornado victim gathering pieces of his happy home among the ruins, struggling to believe again the truth you just realized in the last moment was a lie: that you have a self.



The name I have given to this piece is from an Enigma soundtrack. The name reminded me of another piece which the title would have fitted even better. And then I realized that this piece relates strongly to that one.


This, that.


I usually try to ignore the fact that I’m not good-looking. Like the way I believe everything is a miracle and yet deep down I know I’m gonna faint if one happened in front of my eyes right now. In the same way, I think I have a faint potential for looking good which deep in my heart I don’t really believe.

Complex, complex. Everything’s so complex.

Visited my primary school today. South Point Junior. Rush of nostalgia. There used to be a huge, insurmountable wall in the compound. I found it today to be an arm’s length above my shoulder. I could easily jump over it if I wanted. How things change.

I’ll be leaving behind a really long list of incomplete things I would’ve liked to complete. I’m fairly sure of that right now. Potential items on that list would be

1         Learn German.

2         Learn to play the guitar.

3         Visit Antarctica.

4         Visit Egypt.

5         Know who I am.

6         Have a male best friend. (And I don’t mean a good best friend. I mean a best best friend.)

And of course,

7         Be good-looking.



I’ll be signing off now.



I had trusted Reason. Turned out there isn’t anybody by that name, and yet everyone else seems to know him. I swear I had all his contacts right here — his phone number on the directory, his address, his photograph, everything, before I set out for him. They told me to go to the End of Ways where he lives. They told me I needn’t call ahead because Reason would know I’d be coming; that was his job. And yet when I reached, I found his place empty and dark. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him. And then I discovered that the End of Ways was not the end of ways at all. It was a blind alley leading up to a wall, and I knew there was another alley on the other side of it. End of Ways was just a wall between two alleys.

So I came back home and told them about it. They refused to believe me, saying they had found out about End of Ways long ago, had been there and that it really was the end of ways. They told me that I had just lost my way. I refused to believe that. And then I came home, and found that all his contacts were gone. There was a blank space on the telephone directory where his number was, his address was a blank piece of paper, and his photo had turned into the picture of an optical illusion I had once known as a kid. It was those three pillars. Each of them had three distinct feet planted on the ground, but if you followed the middle column upward, it sort of disappeared and the three pillars ended in a solid rectangular bend. I searched my mind, and nothing but his name came up. I’ve forgotten his phone number, his address, and what he looked like, although in the past I had all of these by the heart. I’ve almost forgotten that there was such a person called Reason, except that I catch his name being spoken out loud in the street, at work, on the underground train by people who still know him very well. And I feel a vague association with the name, but nothing more. I haven’t forgotten him, because he isn’t a memory. I’ve just stopped believing that he ever was. He has suddenly vanished from my life altogether.

And sometimes, when I’m awake late at night, I think of him, and wish him back. Because he was a father, a protector, a tall unwavering assurance of order and purpose. And then he slips into my dreams and I see his home, the End of Ways, and I see that there’s nothing beyond the end, that the wall is only an end and not a beginning of something else. And I see him smiling at me, and he says ‘I’m right here.’

And I smile too and dwell in the utopia of his purpose and control till I wake the next day.


I’m Published!

Yeah, I’m published, for the first time in my life, at last. Pardon the contradiction. The news is, I. Am. On. The. Statesman. Today. With Reboot. On 8th Day, the Sunday supplement, 20th page. I’m famous. If you wanna read it, you could buy a Statesman from anywhere around the country and take a look at the Sunday supplement. I called most of my friends and told them. 1 None of them had read it before I called. 2 None of them seemed to be subscribed to The Statesman when I did call. 3 None of them has called back yet. Oh, what the heck. I’m happy that the literary piece that’s sprawling over one and a half pages of a national English Daily today came off the same place that this piece is coming off now: my computer. And trace it back to my mind.

If you thought that’s the only reason I’m happy, well, you’re — what, not right, of course, — wrong. If you are perceptible enough to understand my Two Of Us, you’d know that this ‘she’ that comes up often in my writing, I broke up with her in July for reasons that weren’t lack of love on any part. And since that wasn’t the reason, we had to come back together. So I patched it up. We’re back.

Did you hear that? We’re back. Ha, we’re back! We. Are. Back. I’m gonna go jump off the nonexistent garage roof now on that nonexistent hang-glider.

Oh, I haven’t told her yet about Reboot. I’m waiting for her to find out. She’s subscribed to the Statesman. All sensible people are.




Where are you? Who are you? Among all the questions that crowd in your head all day, do these never knock? When will you give them time? When you are no longer in a where and are no longer a who?

 You know, I get mighty scared by all of these. I’m supposed to do concisely the following:

1        Go to school safely.

2        Do all I am supposed to do at school.

3        Return home safely and on time.

4        Study as much as I can.

5        Go to my tuitions.

6        Score as much as I can in exams.

7        Have a really good Higher Secondary.

8        Not watch too much TV or sit at the computer for long.

9        Not think about girls now.


The problem is with all the things I do outside the list. One of those things is flee, flee from the questions I had once helped germinate, the thoughts I had once initiated, The Chamber I had once helped open. Maybe you won’t know what the bloody hell I’m talking about. Yeah, you won’t, ‘coz those are not normal thoughts of normal people. Those are the thoughts of kinda normal people with dark, hidden, far-from-normal facets. Chambers, alleys, dungeons in the head. They keep asking:


What does it matter in the end?

Are you different from God?

Who are you?

Your girlfriend is the same thing as you, isn’t she?

Where’s happiness?


I’m dead scared sometimes. No, no, I whisper silently and bury my face in the pillow when they wake. But they don’t go easily. And sometimes they come hard, and take away things. Parts of me, my dreams, my happiness; pieces from the meaning of myself. I lie alone and stare at the sepia of the sodium streetlight outside the window — the colour of dreams. And I clutch at the absent person beside me, knowing there’s nothing but air, the pillow, or a bottle of water in my fingers. A few miles away, I don’t know how peacefully she goes to sleep. I wait for sleep to come, hating it and hating to stay awake. I cling to The Matrix with a black fear unknown to the ones who can’t fathom out my mania for the movie. I force my thoughts away; I mentally put my hands over my ears and start shouting to drown out whatever they are trying to say, like a child being told a ghost story he doesn’t want to hear. I fall, I scramble up and fall again. I dare not look in the mirror and find it’s just an empty black hollow.

Sometimes I wish I were capable of only achieving those nine items on the list and not any more. I hate, hate, hate The Chamber.


And yet, I wonder…