"It is his memories that help me feel his presence. And the sublime fragrances of those memories make me fall in love with him again and again." , Dated: 7th Jan, 1985
Bluish ink was strewn on one of the pages of your old tattered diary. Was it your attempt to demolish the monument of some of your memories? Word by word you must have raised a castle with wide open windows and it took you just a splash of some ink to bury it in the coffin of time forever. A pale green dried peepal leaf rests on it. A tombstone may be.
The ink and the peepal leaf were both engulfed in the mist of time. Time! I have always strongly felt that time has its very own fragrance which seems different to different beings. How the combined fragrance of them all can always teleport me to an era where I was a fountain pen connoisseur and my nights were the passionate strokes of colors on the mesh of peepal leaves!
You, who have not mentioned your name in any of the pages, how dare you remind me of someone who is long gone, leaving behind the box full of fountain pens and tethered peepal leaf paintings to stay with? I can smell the fragrances of your nameless existence in these dried, tethered, and old ink blots, words, pages, and this leaf. Please don’t take me to down memory lane anymore. Sometimes it hurts too much.
On a page dated 31st august, 1985, you have written how much in love you were with this corner of your house.
“This corner of the puja ghar is my own li’l world. Today, I hand painted it with my amateurish childlike strokes to give it an aesthetic look. Ochre yellow, black, and hints of red. Maa dismissed it at her very first glance. Said, I just ruined the whole look. Oh! How my heart sank. Poor Maa, she doesn't know a thing about Modern Day Art. Ok, See, I just got this small table from the store room. So from now on it is going to be your new King-size bed. Don’t you worry; I will pamper you lavishly with new fountain pen, leaves, and loads of flowers. Do you want me to paint your case as well, dear Diary?”
Well, I love the way you write. Nothing so great about it... but its simplicity kind of connects me to you. I wish I could touch you. I wish I could smell you... from beyond the pages of your diary. But what is it with the usage of the words ‘amateur’ and ‘childlike’ together? I am pretty sure, you, girl, are in love with redundancy. Yes, pretty much just like me.
Ironically, your ‘corner’ which was once a part of your pujaghar, is now an ignored corner of my store room. I have simply stashed every box of my memories up there. Locked, per say. Your Modern(Day) Art still exists, deep buried in the layers of dust and cobwebs. Your diary’s king-size bed is now dilapidated beyond recognition. Will you be fine, if I tell you that now in place of your diary, her small antique kerosene lamp is rusting on it? I just don’t go there anymore. The leftover kerosene smell invokes dizziness in me. It’s lethal as it frantically makes me search for her. One fine day she just disappeared. Just like that. Tell me please; is it really this easy to leave everything behind... just to be with the clouds? It’s dangerously haunting. And I have just caged them in that room. I am sorry, if I have hurt you. But that’s how your words make me feel sometimes. Your words lack the basic quality to comfort a rugged soul. I am pretty sure you were a dangerous woman, just like her.
Hmmm... so, you girl, are an ardent lover of mogra flowers. How uncanny! The more I explore your diary, the more I am scared. People associate the fragrance of it with love, romance, and piousness. I, for that matter have always been allergic to it. But, you know, I can’t deny that even today when the vine in my balcony blossoms and the fragrance fills the air, her presence engulfs me in a very sweet way. It reminds me of how passionately we have been in love with each other. I guess we still are. It’s just that there are layers of unknown worlds in between that separate the two of us and that we both simply cannot cross it. How much I want to; perhaps she as well. But it does not matter.
Well, you! Girl, I just want to say sorry to you for invading your personal diary. It was my serendipity to be able to put my hands on this treasure trove. The rag-picker, I am sure would not have valued it ever and so please be sure that I will take care of it till my last breath. Today I am in mood of sheer honesty and hence this is what I want to tell you,
It is your diary, girl, which made me live through her memories. And the sublime fragrances of your memories tied together in words make me fall in love with her again and again. My tears are a proof of that. And my occasional flash of feeble smiles...well, I just don’t know what meaning to give them. I wonder if I am nearing towards her.
Today is just an ordinary day. Nothing special... as far as I dig deep. Still felt like wearing this mauve colored shirt. May be I will prepare some favorite green tea with loads of ginger and black pepper. She used to pour in a generous dash of lemon juice in it. When she was around, I never liked it a bit. But with the passage of time, her absence made me to admire the tangy taste of it. Strange, no? I know it is strange. That is the irony of human life. Huh!
You know, the truth is I still don’t like the taste of it. What! you just called me a lier? Listen then, It is the fragrance of it.... of ginger, lemon, black pepper, sugar, and green tea- all mingled together to raise a heavenly concoction, that I am mad for. Actually we first dated over cups of such a heavenly green tea on the bylanes of Saket, Delhi. While she gulped cups after cups of it, I, for your information, dived deep in the lethal aroma of her.
One more thing, girl, there is a secret for why I wore this mauve colored favourite shirt of hers today. And I guess you deserve to know it. I just read one of the pages of your diary. And can’t get those lines out of my mind. Perhaps I don’t want it to. Yes, it soothed me in a very pensive way.
Thank you, Nameless Girl.
तेरी कमीज़ की सिलवटों मे आज भी 'मोहब्बत' बसी है