आज-कल का ट्रेंड सब पर भारी है,
हर कोई बन रहा राइटर और कोई कर रहा शायरी है।
कुछ लोग सिक्स वर्ड स्टोरी तो कोई दो शब्द लिख रहा है
पर मतलब कोई नहीं समझ रहा है।
कोई अपने आप को drenched thoughts बोल रहा है
तो कोई इंसोमनिक राइटर हुआ जा रहा है।
पर वो सुख और सादगी को खोता जा रहा है
हो रहे है कोलबोरशन और
नई कहानियाँ लिखी जा रही है।
और यह ट्रेंड तो सब पर भारी है
लोग ख़ुद को दे रहे टाइटल और ख़िताब है
पर सच्चाई से तो वे भी अनजान है
अंग्रेजी का प्रहार लगता है हिन्दी साहित्य पर भारी है
कुछ मोड़ लिया हमने अपने आप को कुछ इस कदर
ना तो शोहरत न अब रही नाम की फ़िकर
हम तो बस अपने जज़्बात लिखा करते है
नाम और शोहरत से अपने आप को कुछ इस कदर दूर रखा करते है
ना जाने कब कोई लांछन लगा दे
क्या पता कब कोई कॉन्ट्रोवर्सी में ही फ़सा दे
हम तो बस अपनी दुनिया में मग्न है
तब से तो बस जिंदगी में अमन है
Author Archives: Ajay Vyas
आज-कल का ट्रेंड सब पर भारी है,
All my fountains were in you. That is why we died. I shouldn’t have kept begging for more. It only made things worse. You were too busy reading dense books with incomprehensible words. You only saw romance in the rhythm of Garvey’s words. One day you’ll realize that I too am intelligent. I know everything you are talking about, when you talk about it, it’s not that I don’t. It’s just that laying next to you showed me that worldly intelligence is so null. And now that I understand that, I don’t bask in the satisfaction of knowing things, people and facts anymore. Instead, I love.
“Did you write my letters,” Ankit said scrolling up and down his Twitter timeline on his archaic white MacBook.
“Yeah they’re in the first drawer,” I said, “I finished them after my last class.”
The dusty dorm room was scattered with papers and books. No room for 9 a.m. conversations over last night’s pizza. Just hushed tones and backlash from ignorant social media posts. We met in high school. When all I needed was a bright smile and sweet words to keep him infatuated. Today, my relevance is granted by writing letters to legislators on his behalf. Studying his rhetoric and understanding his foresight to make sure I’m doing what he asked me to as good as possible. I was too embarrassed to tell him I just wanted what we used to have. So, I was a concubine to the liberation of his mind instead.
“I’m going home for my mom’s birthday this weekend,” I blurted out while sliding on yoga pants, “She’ll love to see you.”
“I’ll come,” he said not looking up from the computer screen.
“Alright, I might leave a little early to get my hair done.”
“Hopefully you’ll stop putting that perm in it,” he laughed.
“I don’t get perms.” I snapped back, “If you knew anything about women, you would know that.”
What he did know about women is that when we love, there is no end to it. And even when things are bleak, the slightest bit of hope sustains us. Ankit came over to my mother’s smiling widely and full of life. Roses were in his hand for her. He smelled of my favorite cologne of his. We ate fried foods without regret and played an aggressive game of Pictionary. He ran his fingers throughout my freshly pressed hair as we set in the living room with a few of my guy cousins playing the video game. I felt at home which is all I really asked for lately. Until all of my comfort was shaken apart when he whispered in my ear.
“You know,” Ankit said as the music and laughter throughout the house got louder. “It worries me to see my people so oblivious sometimes.”
Exhausted, I responded, “What do you mean?”
“Look at how your cousins are drinking and playing 2K while police are killing them in the streets.”
“Really? Right now?”
“I’m just saying,” he paused, “It’s hard to not think like this when you’re fighting so hard.”
“Yeah but you know what babe?”
“People don’t need lectures as much as they need love.”
There’s this girl behind the bar and I think she must be the new Cafe coffee day because they took down the We’re Hiring sign out front and I’ve never seen her here before, and that says something because I come once sometimes twice a week. The only reason I don’t have a lot of patience right now is because she keeps dropping the portafilter (you really have to get it in there right and pull like your life depends on it) and the partially packed espresso is all over the floor and it’s distracting me from the conversation I’m trying to hack. I’ve been listening to the couple sitting at the table in front of me for awhile and I’m doing that thing where my headphones are in and sometimes I type so it’s very, very inconspicuous. But, I’m listening. Hard.
We’re at CP my favourite place, come here all the time. I like it because it’s quiet. It’s not the place you go to have a serious conversation so I don’t know why they’re here. Maybe they don’t know. It’s more like a library with a coffee bar and (now) shitty Cafe coffee day. I like the quiche they make on Wednesdays and I like how I don’t have to order a soy cappuccino anymore they just bring it over. I know what you’re thinking, soy, but one time I tried it just for the hell of it and I’ve never gone back. I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning and the birds are singing so lovely I swear they opened the window in here just for them. I would have sat outside at one of the European type tables, it’s that kind of nice with the sun and the breeze and the girls in sundresses, but I had to charge my computer first, and now I’m pretty hooked on this heated conversation…
“I’m not ready,” he says, pulling his face down with the weight of his fingertips. He is facing my direction so I’ve been observing and so far I notice his hands. He likes to run his fingers through his hair and play the piano on his thighs.
I can’t see her face but I know she’s pretty. Something about her hair maybe. It’s a soft, golden blonde and it looks perfectly straight and perfectly cut and you hope that it’s natural even though you know that it’s not. I can’t see her hands but her left foot has tapped at a steady tempo for the last hour. Maybe it’s the one thing keeping her from ripping his eyeballs out.
“I’m keeping it,” she says, tapping.
“You are, Arjun. I’m telling you right now that you are.”
I don’t know whose side I’m on. I don’t know if I have any strong beliefs about it I’ve never really thought about it. That’s the thing about being a guy I guess. You don’t have to think about it until something like this happens.
I take a quick look around to see if anyone else is doing what I’m doing. There’s an older guy in the corner with a newspaper and a chocolate croissant left untouched, but I doubt he can hear much besides his nasal breath and ruffling papers. There’s a woman at the table next to him with black and gold-rimmed glasses and a cat necklace (she’s a regular too but we’ve never acknowledged it), and I know she’s preoccupied with what is supposedly a novel about the fourth dimension. And really that’s it, just us, except for the Cafe coffee day teaching the new Cafe coffee day how to make a latte and I hope they’re not listening in on this because she needs focus!
“You know how I feel”
“You know I disagree.” His fingers playing piano. “There are other options.”
I do like Arjun and he says all of this in a very matter-of-fact manner I really don’t think he’s trying to make her upset, I think he’s trying to be honest, but what do I know? Her left foot has picked up the pace, double-time, and I find myself bracing for impact.
“I’m having the fucking baby, Arjun!” she screams. She stands up and in one fluid motion throws her hot, black coffee in his piano-playing lap. He, more or less, screams too.
“You’re fucking crazy, Ankita!”
Now everyone is doing what I’m doing.
The old Cafe coffee day runs to the couple’s table, while Ankita runs out. For someone who just burnt his scrotum, he is awfully calm now. He takes the napkins and thanks the old cafe coffee day and pats his lap and takes a deep breath. He runs his fingers through his hair and gathers his things and leaves just as quickly. I stare at the empty table with the wet napkins and the spilled coffee and the ultrasound photos she left behind and I’m not sure I like Arjun anymore. I don’t know what to think so I just sit for a while.
Eventually, I pack up my things because I tried to leave an hour ago but Arjun and Ankita happened. It’s still a beautiful day, despite the mood here at CP, and I could use a little fresh air. As I’m wrapping my headphones and taking my last, lukewarm sip of coffee, I hear the all too familiar sound of a fallen portafilter.
I swing by the bar on my way out to grab a breath mint.
“See you next week.”
These are the ways we love each other.
We are sitting in the same room, not talking. You are playing video games and killing dark things on screen, whilst I am writing away every violent memory that has crept through my mind in the last ten minutes. There is no pressure of conversation. There is no necessity in this. It is simply being and we are both dealing with our demons in our own ways. The difference is, we understand that – without talking about it.
We are leaving a restaurant in the middle of Delhi (C.P), after a beautiful day and I see her, the girl who haunts my memories. My whole body withers in fear and as you look up in her direction, she is gone like she was never there, just a memory. You wrap your arm around me as we walk, not asking any questions just understanding. Later, Facebook reminds you of a memory you would much rather forget, and as I pull you close into a hug, I can feel the storm shaking inside your body.
We are in a Doctor’s office and you’re silent. I know how much you hate it here and how everything about this place makes you need to hold the broken pieces of you together even more fiercely. I touch your hand and you look up at me, lost, then look away again. The silence isn’t the problem. The memories are, and it takes someone who hates being in this room as much as you do understanding that. You say to me “I’m sorry I brought you with me.” I smile and squeeze your hand tight. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” I didn’t fall in love with you because you were perfect. I fell in love with you because you were so honest and you never ever hid your damage.
We are lying in bed, both wide awake, not sleeping. Caught between nightmares and the moon, the Sandman has forgotten us completely. After a while of restless shifting, you get up and go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I stay in bed and watch the ghosts of our pasts shift in our bed, waiting for you to return. When you do, we chase them away with a midnight film – an old black and white movie. We both know that getting up tomorrow is going to be a pain, that we will be exhausted at work – but there is no fighting insomnia when it is immersed in our bodies so deeply.
Some days, we look at each other like we are about to say something and then stop – almost as if the clock in our heads have told us not to speak about it yet. The difference is, there is no pressure to speak about it until we are ready.
You see, the way we love is different because we are broken. Whilst others love in flowers and songs and conversation, we love in silence and helping each other pick up the pieces. Our love is a quiet journey in healing. Our love is where we wait for the other to fix themselves and help them grow slowly.
You see, we are damaged, so we love a bit differently. These ways in which we say ‘I love you’ aren’t perfect. But they are balm for healing, a balm for dark memories.
You once asked me, “How can you love something as broken and damaged and unhinged as me?”
It’s easy, my darling, you are damaged and broken and unhinged. But so are shooting stars and comets.
There is a certain way that love should hurt. But when we are desperately in love, it’s hard to differentiate the good hurt from the bad hurt.
You see, we are willing to put up with a surprising amount of pain when it’s coming from someone we are in love with. And that’s the problem right there: we know that loving someone can be painful, but what we often forget is that the pain should not be coming from the person themselves.
The pain should come from the idea of losing them. It should come from the places that your mind travels to when you imagine trying to live a life without them. The way you feel when you’re getting on a plane and they’re not coming with you. The way your whole body hurts when you know that they’re hurting. The way it feels when you wake up and see them sleeping soundly beside you, and you are so happy and so grateful and so worried about losing this moment that your chest aches. The feeling of the wind being knocked out of you when you think they are possibly in danger. The way you seem to watch yourself often choosing the more difficult and less appealing route, rather than the one that’s most convenient for you, because you know that it’s better for the two of you in the long run. The feeling of putting your heart in their hands, and believing that they won’t break it, but being scared anyway, because it’s always a possibility.
That’s how love should be painful.
But it’s often painful in other ways. Ways that we convince ourselves are normal and okay, even when they’re not. We let them make us cry, over and over again. We let them start arguments that are pointless, or unnecessary, or simply just a way of preventing us from getting closer to them. We let them run, and we wait for them to come back when they have nowhere else to go. We let them build walls, and we break our spines trying to climb over them. We think the tears are what make us closer, the ugly and cruel fights are what bring us together, the running and the closing off are just ways to make us understand how much this person means to us.
We romanticize the pain. Because we want to give it a reason, a story, a place of importance. We want to make the pain necessary, even when we know it’s bad, because that’s so much easier than walking away. We ignore the protective measures that our life has built up around us – the uneasy feeling in our gut, the way that our infatuation with them feels both sickening and like an addictive high at the same time, the worried looks from our parents, the concerned and sad faces of our friends. We forget that we are feeling these things and hearing these hesitations from the people who care about us for a reason. We convince ourselves that everyone else is crazy, that we are the only ones who see the real them, that this pain is only temporary and that they’re not always like this.
We forget what real, honest, true painful love