The sentences were strangling me. The chains formed a loop creating a Nefertiti neck that craned to look for eyes and found heads instead. My eyes read thoughts that were concealed, congealed, thoughts that shone and thoughts that were rusty, thoughts that felt smooth to the touch and those with hardened edges, thoughts that said so much but conveyed nothing, thoughts that went round and round. The eyes were in a spin. It seemed as though I had eyes everywhere paraphrasing ideas.
The sentences were strangling me. I tried breathing the polluted air and that too made me want to write. A broken toenail, a pink nail varnish, a new dress, an old dress, a hole, a crevice, a dog, a bone, droplets of pee and rain showers, torn letters, collected notes, cards, skin, flesh, the country, the world, failed states, falling currency, trends, bends, films, art, literature, research on the vagaries of vagaries. Every darned thing inspired me.
I was a bunch of files renamed with hyphenated numbers because I was constantly updating. Yes, even the nail that was growing back, as though anyone cared. But, then, I was writing for myself. Ah, the folly! The lie! I was not. It was to tell whoever was reading that I had something to say. Were people a bit too indulgent, or were they humouring me as I went off at a tangent, over which I have no control, and that I in fact took such joy in for it challenged me to face new roads?
The sentences were strangling me. I could not go to have coffee without the froth of the cappuccino mocking me as the latest Muse. It happened that day. I was about to jab in the ‘Notes’ on my cellphone when I found tears brimming over. Tears don’t alliterate with coffee; tea might have been different. It was at that moment I made a call, a matter-of-fact call enquiring about something. And I realised that these little somethings are what keep life going. I have treated them as outcasts because I had made writing the centre of my existence.
There are about ten articles/essays on topical subjects that I left midway; some, just short of a last paragraph. There are many more personal reflections about minutiae that have begged me to complete them. I wish I could tell them that nothing is ever complete. This is the first time when I have forsaken words and not behaved weird, like in the past. No cold turkey.
On Sunday, as I was returning from the rare social event I attend, I looked out of the car window and saw large crowds at Marine Drive, Chowpatty beach, on the promenade near Haji Ali Dargah. Kids holding aloft huge balloons, families at street-food stalls, mouths bulging with watery delights – some were ready for home and hopped into cars and scooters, the latter unmindful of rules carrying wife with infant in arm, one child in front, the waist circled by dad’s arms, and another squeezed between the two parents. The cops did not seem to notice. Sodium lights cast a golden sheen on faces. Were any of them writers or wanting to be?
I took some photographs, blurred by the speed. Then aimed the camera at myself. I wore one earring; the other had fallen off, was recovered, but had broken. I spent an evening at a formal function with one earring. But the picture was a shadow, and the eyes invisible.
The sentences were not strangling me. There were no eyes that were looking into heads. They were watching streets, wheels, lights. Just for what they were. The tears were brimming over. I am now writing on them.
© Farzana Versey