Sunday, April 10, 2016


“You know, home to me is memories of songs and familiar streets. Of tall trees and square ones. Of the fun of riding my cycle downhill from the 9th street of Newton all the way down to Marconi, feet spread on either side. Of the gradient of each road. Of coming home to find George Biswas singing "With a high hope" on the 33 rpm vinyl. Of the first footsie under Dhar Sir's bed that transported me to another land. It could have been Atasi or Sonali, but I have no way of finding out. Home to me is the fear of Mathematics and of rushing to Atanu's house for help. And of him making me smoke his dad's half cigarettes. 
When I speak with you, I have a tremendous urge to go home, only there's no home, just memories on YouTube, in forgotten songs that make my eyes well up.”

“Can you promise not to go to anybody else?” she suddenly asked.
"But, wait, didn't you say you aren't possessive just about half an hour back?"
"Oh, that was then. Now I think I love you."
"Err...what kind of love?"
"Oh, the possessive kind, I suppose? Like deep enough to say, don't go to that other woman.
Write to me about your memories."
"But, what did you say about love? Do you really mean it?"

She paused. I waited. I could see she was typing.

"Oh, that I can't tell. It is like Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, you can say. I can't determine my feelings very exactly."

And she logged out soon after. Schrodinger's cat was trapped in her closed chat window, strangely three-dimensional. But we will never know. And I lost my sleep that night, and many nights thereafter. This was love I hadn't known erstwhile. Of someone being able to defend her unpredictability with quantum mechanics. Usually, I was the one being mysterious. Now was my time to be hunted. Strangely, it wasn't fear. It was the euphoria of being tranquilized by an excess of lotus leaves.

A strain of a Julia Stone song wafted into the room:

"So come on Love, draw your sword
Shoot me to the ground"

So I started writing to her, and it made no particular sense. I didn’t know if I was cautioning her or pacifying myself. My heart just seemed to beat faster.

“Each new love comes with a strange humming sound. Like a buzz. Like a disclaimer, a fine print of sorts. Perhaps of the same old mothballed caution? Of thunderstorms and telephones that never ring? Yes, you know what I mean. It is repeated, this time in a careworn, raspy voice, drooping to almost the floor with the weight of collected wisdom, just about holding its own against gravity by virtue of its need to be heeded just once. An inch, perhaps. Do not fall in love again, it says.
But as expected, you don't. Heed the good advice, that is.
Mothballed stuff is never used, you argue, never have been, in a bourgeois household, like the unworn cashmere gets used to the damp comfort of a loft as babies grow up and give birth to new babies. And houses moved. Old luggage discarded with mixed emotions. That's where you leave caution and wisdom to spoon, strange bedfellows. Out of sight and forgotten. The image of the loft has a familiar dampness to it. Place it next to a leaky toilet, for good measure. There's seldom a Toy Story in real life, is there!
You turn off the radio and holler out to the first mate to flank her into the storm, full steam ahead. With each lightning strike, with each rising to the crest and tossing into the sea, the gentle whir of wisdom is drowned just like you cannot hear her engine anymore. And there's no disembodied voice from down below loud enough to tell you if the engine is running at all.
With each new love, remember to turn off the radio.”

And when I turned off the weather forecast and came back to the chat window, I unlocked the cat and let it go. It walked away or it didn’t.
She was calling out my name.

“I’ve baked you a shepherd’s pie. Come home.” And we logged in to Skype again.