Saturday, September 24, 2005

Weather With You


Walking 'round the room singing
Stormy Weather
at 57 Mt. Pleasant St.
Now it's the same room but everything's different
You can fight the sleep but not the dream

Things ain't cookin' in my kitchen
Strange affliction wash over me
Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire
Couldn't conquer the blue sky

There's a small boat made of china
Going nowhere on the mantlepiece
Do I lie like a loungeroom lizard
Or do I sing like a bird released

Everywhere you go you always take the weather with you

-Neil Finn/ Tim Finn

Late last night as we pulled in to Marine Drive, after a bit of a coming of age experience at Red Light, Tim remarked, - Beautiful weather. Indeed, as I looked out of the window, and saw the silhouetted sky line of Malabar Hill, I couldn't help agreeing. The sea was tranquil, the breeze soft and balmy. And there were promises of a clear morning sky all around. I smiled wistfully, thought of the above lines and knew what had caused the wind to change its mind. The afternoon's abrupt conversation has prompted RV to take the first flight to Bombay. Time is running out, but well, at least she is here. Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you.

Let me narrate a story.

Narcissus must be the biggest ass in the world to have passed up an opportunity to spend the evening (and probably his life) with the one woman in the world who'd drop almost everything to be with him. But thats the way it was. And to be honest, the things that really mattered, hadn't changed much. Echo is full of "good-looking-woman" vibes, though she claims ignorance of any such concept. But in the case of Narcissus there were no such instances. In fact, like most better looking woman- more intelligent man relationship, the equations were vastly lopsided- in Narcissus' favour. Forgotten, were the long lines of admirers, and frequent callers- the handsome, winsome men, all that mattered to Echo was Narcissus. To his credit, it was entirely reciprocal, but he was more inclined to stick to his idiosyncrasies, a lot more than Echo. She had given up so much in life, just to be around, and never mentioned a word. He had done so too, at various points of time, but well, gone on and on about it for weeks afterwards.

He had resisted meeting her parents for years, citing his discomfort with families, given his long abstinence from anything which remotely resembled kin. He had held on to his "nothing-matters-much, nothing-much-matters" attitude, even as Echo fumed and fretted in frustration. He refused to sign-up for Skype or buy a laptop when she moved overseas. He had almost always taken her for granted and reacted strongly if his assumptions in this respect had been proven otherwise. Echo still recalls the two months for which Narcissus had barely spoken a straight word, following one such incident. Narcissus now refuses to remember any such spell, but well... Let’s put it this way- he had always been difficult.

But overall, it was a beautiful relationship between two people, who for the casual observer of the human behaviour were considered absolute soul mates. Every time they went out together, they were quite a dish. Echo was definitely the most beautiful woman in any gathering, and Narcissus when he chose to be, had an electrifying presence in any party- either on the dance floor or through his wry sense of humour, which cut to shreds the most stoic of his subjects. When they danced, everything around them seemed to dissolve. It was almost as if nothing mattered but their togetherness, and the music to which they would sway heart and soul. It was as if they dancing in the hall in his house, alone, hand in hand, every step in tandem and every heart beat- synchronous. And when Narcissus was in no mood to socialize, Echo would read it instantly and drag him away to the nearest balcony, and they would be found, laughing, sharing jokes or most often singing out loud- over multiple drinks and cigarettes. However, in spite of the various illusions they harboured, they knew that they weren’t signed up for life, and never would be.

No one quite figured what went wrong, or even if anything went wrong at all, or when. But one fine day Echo decided to get married. And that day, that day- Narcissus cried and cried. Like Echo often had. Narcissus cried all night, and the following morning. And just kept mumbling some thing deliriously. Atferwards, he never ever brought up the subject, or had not shown any reaction when some one inadvertently mentioned it. Yes, there were those people. Echo went away, quietly, wondering what went wrong. Narcissus shrunk into his corner of the world, not bothering to find out- what happened to Echo, when she got married, to whom, or if at all. That she had decided, was enough. Somehow it was a blessing in disguise- he excelled professionally, scaling heights which none his age had ever achieved. He resumed work on his book and managed to finish it too, however choosing not to do anything with it afterwards. Echo moved to NYC, enrolled herself in a film course- something that she had always wanted to do, and some thing that Narcissus had always wished she would. But did little afterwards. She shot some small footages, and it always seemed to viewers that there was always this gaping Narcissus shaped void in all of them.

And then a few years later (he had lost count, and she had measured the time by days passed by), she was returned. Not like Estha, but in a very different way, returned.

(To be continued…)

Current favorite and almost appropriate, read last night:

At thirty-one when some are rich ...
by Philip Larkin
At thirty-one when some are rich
And others dead,I, being neither, have a job instead,
But come each evening back to a high room
Above deep gardenfuls of air, on which
Already has been laid an autumn bloom.

And here, instead of planning howI can best thrive,
How best win fame and money while alive,
I sit down, supper over, and begin
One of the letters of a kind I now
Feel most of my spare time is going in:

I mean, letters to women—no,
Not of the sort
The papers tell us get read out in court,
Leading directly to or from the bed.
Love-letters only in a sense: they owe
Too much elsewhere to come under that head.
Too much kindness, for a start;
I know, none better,
The eyelessness of days without a letter;
Too much to habit ('Stop? But why on earth...?')
:Too much to an unwillingness to part
With people wise enough to see my worth.
I'm kind, but not kinetic—don't
Enlist a word
Simply because its deed has been deferred;
Ends in themselves, my letters plot no change;
They carry nothing dutiable; they won't
Aspire, astound, establish or estrange.
Why write them, then? Are they in fact
Just compromise,
Amiable residue when each denies
The other's want? Or are they not so nice,
Stand-ins in each case simply for an act?
Mushrooms or virtue? or, toadstools or vice?
They taste the same. So summer ends,
And nights draw in.
Another evening wasted! I begin
Writing the envelope, and a bitter smoke
Of self-contempt, of boredom, too, ascends.
What use is an endearment and a joke?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

“There is always some madness in love. But there is always some reason in madness”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Dear ‘The One’,

There is a welcome change in your post today. Must be the absence of melancholy and the presence of poetry. I cant help wondering why unlike many others, your posts don’t have a dash of humour. Maybe you take life and yourself too seriously. Or maybe you’ve been through a lot in life. Whatever, you have the ability to captivate and hold.

Like all love stories, your story is indeed very interesting and touchy. Narcissus, comes across as a strong person but also an egotist(i might be mistaken though). How can one ever harbour any ego when in love? I am told that love make you lose yourself, then how does your protagonist retain his?

Echo seems extremely pleasant and beautiful. I wish you had chosen a more feminine name though.

But I really hope you aren’t one of those sadistic writers who'd draft a tragic end just to make it more romantic. It is sinful!

But then would a ‘Romeo & Juliet’ ever attain the heights it did if both lived happily ever after. It’d be one of those popular fairy tales. I wonder why though. Maybe because pain is more easily felt and understood than happiness. And then it stays longer too. Or maybe one just needs to be in love to figure that part out.

Looking forward to reading the concluding part and i hope you make it a happy one,


P.S. – Try not to be too hard on Narcissus. Despite being himself, one can not but help feeling for him. There is a certain endearing quality to his character, which it seems to me, has been lent by Echo’s touch of love and warmth. Echo and Narcissus deserve to be together!

Your poem (which ofcourse isnt yours) seems a bit abstract and so i'd rather abstain from making any comments, except one. Endearment it seems is often without purpose and logic. If one is trying to find that in matters of heart, then one might have lost the war long before he fought it.

10:03 AM  

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