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Of Candles and Mirages

Fiction:

Biju Deka

That was a glass house. I don’t want to speak from a realm of memory which is more defined by uncertainty than anything else. I cannot associate anything with it. It may be just a dream. But a dream such that it runs through you, it demands your design, it pushes you, tears you apart and in return ask you to drown yourself in a well. But it is still not nightmare. It cannot be a nightmare. I was out of the very calculation to which the sun responds by arriving here every day. And I don’t have enough courage to ask the sun, “What purpose do you have here?”
We don’t have answers. That was a glass house. And that was a chamber of glass inside it. And there she was. It was between her and me, there were glass walls and earth which for a moment got manipulated in such a way that those walls would say nothing of the distance between us. We can just understand that it is a glass house and she had some business out there.
Now I need to speak of time. I never met her or I am not sure if I would ever meet her. There are walls of glasses inside my body and I often breathe without ever recognizing their existences. And how can I even understand, when the road in which I would walk would take me to the seas and in the seas, there would be nothing and nothing would be there, in that blind vastness that crawls under the skin and tortures all the rats within? I have rats in my soul. I am a bizarre conversation of my mind. And I have in no way, any possibility of dealing with the intensity within. Why under all reason, I want to be a mushroom under her sunshine? She didn’t know it then. Neither she was interested. But what was she upto? Where was she going? Why cannot she be a whirlwind and take me away to the suicidal space above. The space ever kills itself in a company bereft of our mechanized protections. The space is free to commit suicide.
And it doesn’t change anything because it keeps doing it all the time.
She walked out that room. She walked out of that chamber. She walked out of that house. And like a momentary lapse of our relevance, she walked without anyone noticing her. She walked out carefully and that busy street in front of the glass house noticed nothing. She left a dream that was mercilessly void. She structured herself against the laws of the world. She rammed all those steel balls into the concrete wall. She created whatever was never before there. She is human.
********
“What time it is?” She asked. That woke me up. It was a long flight. I looked at her face and for a moment I felt I know nothing of this world. It is an indispensable flight. We were meant to be together here. We were meant to live in floating islands of clouds. We were meant to rob the clouds of their ancestry. The clouds never retaliated. I looked into her eyes. And she looked back at me. Can a kiss isolate people from the rest of the world? I remember the forest near her village. We once went there. There were some strange sorts of animals there. They looked like people. They didn’t understand us. I have a memory. There was a meadow. And there was sunshine. I saw hundreds of mushrooms in that sunshine. I wanted to hold her hand and wait. I wanted to paint something in the air. I wanted to listen to all the sounds that glasses can make.
********
They have bulls in that village. She used to chase the bulls wild. The bulls would run deep into the forest. The birds would soar up. The sea would be silent. The guns would roar. But the wars will recede. She painted something into the wall. She painted herself in the wall. She asked the wall her name. She said to the wall to drift in all directions. She askedthe wall if it is a machine. She planted walls in that village. The village spoke silently to the trees about nothingness.
*******
I had a mirror. I would kill me one day. They published about me in the newspaper. They said only I can wash away the dusts from the mirror. I was growing some mushrooms within. My heart can deal with lies. I wanted to meet her. This time more than ever!
********
We construct ourselves as ghosts. Things happen over the years. People develop thoughts. People develop ideas. People run after the heard. Some goats have never travelled to the mountains. We find a lie to lead us. Most of us are formed by lies. The roads which have formed because I walked there are roads when most of other miseries of the world have shut the doors against the new entrants. We need to welcome a new race. We need to make evolution a documented practice. We should take the politicians to the lake to discuss, the future of sun and how to save the sun from the lonely, treacherous planet. We need to discuss.
Teesta wakes up.
********
“Don’t leave me alone in this home. I cannot stay alone. I have a problem with loneliness. You cannot just go like this. You are a big opportunist. You can understand no one. You can love no one.” She shouted once.
“But life is not like that. It takes us away from ourselves. It is not what we understand over the years. It is a process that has rules. I have to travel inside the chapters of my books. I am attracted by a mirage. I am divorced from life. I don’t understand life. None of us does. I don’t know what I have done to you. But you are the biggest mistake of my life.” I said, in a sudden outburst.
There were corners of the room. I looked at each of them. I looked at the corners of the room. They looked back at me. We crawled towards each other. Where is she? For a while, I was too damaged a soul. I am a sky without a sun. She may have landed in the earth. Will she burn the earth with her flare? What would she do? Does she understand my attachments? I am so attached to her. But she is like autumn. Where is she? Am I dying from within? I asked her. I asked her about her whereabouts. She showed me the wall.
*********
Many people died here. This is a house. Somebody lit it up. Everyone would want to kill us. The guide told us. We should wait and listen to the conspiracies of the world. We should listen to the wars of the worlds. We should chase the storms out of this planet. We should paint the world with our nuisance. We should gun down the messenger. But I had a question to ask him. I am forty five years old now. My eyes are full of ashes. She locked me inside this planet. And this planet can do nothing for itself.
The sun would burn us all down. I dialed her number. A voice declared that she is kidnapped by some astronauts. But for what reason? Her existence meant the only significant existence in this world. How can it be an exception now?
********
I am dead inside the morgue. The chamber is cold. But it felt so good. There was once a river there. I drowned myself there. But something allowed me to be alive again. I don’t understand Teesta. She is difficult. But I am difficult too. We two are some dangerous forces of the world. We two can wake up the world from its slumber. It’s not a good thing. But I love her. I asked her, where can we go from here? Something woke up inside the morgue. It is a horse and it started running furiously. I want to ride a bicycle and reach that slope of the town from where the other side of the river looks like a dream.
*******
The Talmud says “Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, Grow, Grow”.
I have never understood myself. Those streams of consciousness are never allowing me to live. How can I ever meet you if you are not here in this planet? There was a storm in this land. It revisits often. What can we do to storm? The songwriter asked the storm to deliver its energy to him. The storm listened. The songwriter knew it to. Why do I fear storm? Why cannot I ask the storm to give its energy to my body?
Why Should I even die?
*******
What happens to our emotions? Did Teesta ever know it? She went again back into the glass house. I have those walls of glasses inside my body. I don’t recognize her well. There is stream that flowed down from the mountain. There was a river that walked up to the horses and pleaded with them to understand the world better and asked them to run and keep running. She felt so torturous of the clasp of humanity. The tears dried up. The mountains are washed away. Future doesn’t have a place for us. It’s a mutiny. Its mutiny.
Let’s collect all the calamities of the world to be kept in a safe place and be trapped there. She lived in this planet. I never knew this. I cried like hell to get her back. I waited for her in the platform. The train kept carrying loads of people. The tracks felt that the world is a disgusting place. The tracks asked the signal engineer to stop the process and bring all the trains in the world to a halt. They kept running behind their shadows. Each one was trying to catch one’s shadow.
Teesta is still asleep. If there is one world, this is the only world. If there is one life, this is the only life. Teesta knew it. I know it. And Teesta is still asleep. She wouldn’t wake up to me. She wouldn’t greet me again in her life;Teesta would race back to the mountain. The fortune-telling lady would ask me about my kids. I will give her the hills. I will ask her not to ask for anything more. There is so much about people. There is so less to know. There are so many people here. Everyone has a story. Everyone is alone. There is no meaning in anything. Everyone has no business being there for anyone else. But people stays, The train kept running. It never comes to a halt. The sea told us finally, it has nothing for us. Teesta is still asleep. I looked at her face. I wanted to kiss her. The mirrors of the world are chasing me. I am not one person. I am thousands of them. I am the mob against myself. I am a colorless wind. I am a shining mountain. I don’t know her. I have never met Teesta. She is in my brain. She is a dream. A dream is not a dream. A dream cannot be just a dream. The sun is not homeless. It waits for Teesta . She collected it from the sky and placed it in her basket and she carried it home. Someone rang the doorbell. Teesta opened the door. She saw me. The astronauts then kidnapped her. Teesta saw me. She didn’t recognize me. Neither did I. We never recognized each other. The train runs over all the letters I could have written to her.
Nothing mattered to Teesta. She said we are all dead from inside. She took me to the walls. She nailed me into it. And then she laughed and then she laughed and then she attended all my wounds and she asked me about my ancestry. She said it doesn’t matter to which race I belong but the world needs a new race very soon. Teesta drove the vehicle to the city. I wanted to greet her with all my silence. But she stormed into me like, we have met after ages of seeking each other. She crawled into my eyes and she took my touches to the windiest places of her existence. We crawled into each other. We are the mountains and the rivers. We are the song and the sequence. We are the sounds of the pebbles falling into the pond. The pond started to whisper in our ears the song of decadence. They formed the society. Teesta knew nothing about how monarchy runs. She just kept watching. I tried to hold her hand again. Teesta is gone. She has to explore more of the world. Teesta wanted to swim in that sea of manhood. She wanted to meet all the men and women from the old seers to the peons. No one works in this country. She knew it. She knew it well that I am but a piece of paper. She wrote her dreams into it. She wrote about all the years of life, when I never met her. I thus fell in love with her. I thus wanted to grow old with her. I wanted to decipher more into deaths and oblivion. I wanted to collect wild mushrooms. I wanted to ask her, if ever we meet, what purpose she has in the glass house, because if I remember well, she was once murdered there.
They took the boat to the river. I called for her name. We get into the boat. When it was midnight and then it was full moon, I elaborated the chronicles of all the boats that have sailed in this troubled waters.
We never woke up afterwards.

About the author

Ankur Kalita