Dreams 2

The house was empty. but there was someone inside.

Our entry into that house was interesting. I could not remember through which door I went inside. It was the living room.

The room was well-lit and the angle presented was like a tilted camera. The room was empty.

We moved into the next room from a door at the center. Someone was standing frightened in the room’s corner. My grandmother said something and the shabby figure did not answer back.

The dream ended. I was left wondering what that figure was doing in that house. The house that I grew up.

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Lock and key

I could hear the key turning on the lock next door while I sat doing nothing beneath a shelf filled with books. I could hear the key turning as if someone’s hand was shivering.

In fact, there could be no ideal way of turning a key on a lock. It always sounded like someone was in a hurry to open the door and get in or away from the outside. I had tried to test the symphony of a key turning on a lock. For a couple of times, I locked the door from the inside and told my wife over the phone that she should use the key to open the door while coming back from office. When she turned the key on the lock, I listened to her odd way of doing it. It was different from the noise that I often hear from the next door.

I knew the young man who was trying to lock the door in the morning and then open it sometime before noon. Just like other neighbors, I never opened my door, or my window, or appeared on the balcony to know what the man was doing or who was opening the door. I just listened to that sound of the key on the lock. I could not remember whether I had heard the sound of the key after that. May be I was sleeping, watching TV, browsing aimlessly, or reading a book or that wretched newspaper that I always wanted to stop reading.

The man was not alone in that flat. There is a woman, his wife, and a kid in that flat.

Scene

A long, winding highway. White line on the black road. Brown hues all around, undulating earth and evening Sun.

A car darts into the scene from the left. Something does not look right.
The scene shifts to the right, as if someone is looking to the right from the back seat of the car.

A man in black coat is running parallel to the car.
The car driver looks back, the man in coat reach the edge of the road, towards the car.
The man holds a long rod.

In the next 20 seconds, the driver screams as the man hits the windscreen with the rod.
Everything goes slow.

We enjoy the unequal mitosis of the glass. The driver loses control. The car skids to the left of the road.

In the next 20 seconds, we see a pool of red as the man kneels down, hit with a bullet on the stomach. Red splash on a white shirt.

The man does not want to live; the close-up of his face says. I don’t want to live.

Surprise. Blackness.

The Library

In a library, there are corners or areas that people frequent less. May be people are afraid to walk alone to dark or ill-lit corners or they don’t want to explore less comfortable territories. These less explored corners are not empty anyway; there will be books stacked in these areas, books untouched, tight against each other, as if they are children looking for some warmth. There may not be lights or glass windows letting in filtered natural light. You might see an empty chair.  Somebody must have sat on it and read a book.  There may be a table close to a window with books scattered on top of it.  Did the same lonely person use the table and the chair regularly?

If there is a window, you can stand near that window, hold a book, and look outside  – at a road busy with people and vehicles, or at the library backyard full of shrubs, or unkempt sheds made of sheets, or aluminum plates, or empty bottles. Sometimes, the windows may be dirty, dust-laden, and rusted. You might also see a few dogs sniffing the plates or leaves containing food leftovers, or just sleeping. There may be birds clinging to branches ready to fly down if the dogs lose interest.You might also see something stirring inside dry leaves. You see it only once.

You might see the evening sun depending upon which window you stand. You turn your head to see whether the sunlight caresses the books on the shelves. As you turn your head back, your gaze falls on the golden letters of a spine cover. Nobody seems to have taken or lifted that book from the shelf for a long time. May be that is the book you wanted to read. Looking at the spine cover, you know that it is an old book. But the golden letters look fresh and inviting. It is never a ploy.

You hear a sound, someone stepping closer but hidden from your view.  Or a reptile inching closer to bite or to feel the warmth of your body.  Slowly, the moisture of the corner and the books get into your head.  You step back and see whether you are late. You still want to remain there. You know that if you hide somewhere nobody will notice it.  If that is the case, you have the entire floor at your disposal for the entire night. You can then sing and dance like a madman throughout the dark floor of the library. You have hundreds of books, old and new, ancient and reprints, books with missing pages and torn pages, books with that refreshing smell. What will you read? If you decide to read only the first page, how many will you read without sleeping that night?

You decide to leave and go back. You know that the books also would love privacy. When the library is closed and all lights are switched off, the letters may start speaking.  The words may arrange themselves in paragraphs.  Who knows? They cannot remain silent forever confined to dusty and unclean shelves. You look back and feel the hushed tones from the end of the room.  Someone might have risen from those books and may be following you. Someone who likes you and want to see that you leave the floor safe. The books may be saying that you will be back before it is too late.

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The Bridge

It became their own bridge and they seemed to be happy about it. They used to walk, run, and jump on it. Once in a while, they carry the dead in a pattern resembling a well-rehearsed orchestra to give the souls a respectful resting place.

The flow was erratic and was never regular to an outsider like me who stood under a tree and watched the bridge, a thin, brown rope tied to two adjacent trees by my grandmother. One of those trees had a big round stem and the rope looked like a necklace adorning a milky white neck. The other end of the rope was tied to a small plant which swayed in the afternoon and evening winds. As I started watching them more and more, inhaling the vibrant aroma of flowers in bloom and trying to understand the erratic traffic on the bridge, I became more concerned about the thin plant with a pencil like stem decorated with a few pale green leaves. The situation was a bit unequal with the balance held by the bigger tree. I felt that the mass of the bigger tree and the force of the wind that made the smaller plant sway wildly might break the bridge on which dozens were still engaged in their erratic dance.Some were pretty fast and eager to collide with others; others were more mature and calculated; others stopped for a while and exchanged messages.

The life that danced on the bridge glistened like golden globes when the canopy opened and let the sunlight hit them. I cannot say that it was a canopy in the real sense of the word. There were trees all around that small garden, and several big trees and their leaves enveloped the trees holding the bridge. I liked one of those big trees on which big yellow flowers blossomed once in a year. The aroma was unmatched when the yellow flowers blossomed, but like good feelings, it lasted only for a while. Faded and weak, they would fall to the ground in a few hours or days. I remember the tree, which grew upwards, at times, when I inhale or sense the same aroma. I don’t know from where and how it occurs. May be I get it around a corner, a market, a flower market, or near a restaurant. It is difficult to ascertain whether the aroma came first, or the color, or both occurred simultaneously.

While life withered and regenerated around, the bridge remained busy.

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The Window

There were trees outside that window up in the room. A window from where morning sunlight wafted in mingled with layers of smoke. Was it smoke or was it just an effect? I am not sure. It had the same physical state as the light that flickered from the cinema projector when I looked back. A whitish-yellow cone from where white particles stirred in a pattern. Atomic effect. Nowadays, I remember watching that light while I was listening to the four-band radio. The brain cells that recorded it displays that scene more often now.

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