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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Shorts 6 / Old Classwork 1

The third cue-word in this post was given by my English teacher in Class 10, as classwork, to practice for the composition portion of our ICSE examinations. Written in limited time by a much younger me, it qualifies both as a short and as the first part of my new series, Old Classwork. Being an assignment, the piece carries a title different from the cue-word itself, as we used to be required to supply. Though it contains certain word choices I would not make today, I have presented it here unchanged.

The second cue-word is mine.

The first cue-word was suggested by:
Ritwik, the all-knowing, all-encompassing, philosophically massive presence that pervaded the atmosphere of the CMI campus for over half a decade. A few of his myriad mysterious strengths lie in coding, gaming and dispersing gyaan. His chief weakness is being an extremely annoying brother. He wears ugly glasses on his ugly head. Disclaimer: this bio totally carries may carry extreme personal bias.

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Torture

It is a constant battle of tactical revelation. If I tell people too less, I miss out on the understanding that I unavoidably require to survive. If I tell people too much, they tend to guess what is wrong, and when; and then, it is worse then ever, because I've spread my darkness to other souls, and the guilt consumes everything else that I could or could not feel. All my life, too many that should not have been trusted (and, were not -- how strange) have convinced me that I am a source of inconvenience and trouble, a cancerous and depressing burden. Now, when light is offered, I can never tell how much is too much to ask without offering nothing in return.
Nice people. Gratitude. Friendship. Sympathy. Wonderful concepts, these, and also awful sources of torment and confusion. I am convinced that I cannot escape, and burden be I or not, a burden I sure do carry. My greatest fear is that the burden will have its way, and that is, on most days, worse than the idea of making some other lives a bit darker. If I forget all honour, what stops me from crying in front of others? Am I selfish? Am I a thief of happiness? Am I cheating the trade, gaming the system, swindling people out of light that is theirs? I shall never know, because my burden sits on my eyelids and my brain. It's on my throat, my limbs, my tongue, and it hurts. 
I don't tell you, but it hurts.

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Rewind

Right at this moment, all over your face and eyelashes, there are tiny mites living, crawling and having sex. All around you, electromagnetic waves are carrying speech, sound and words -- making memories, breaking hearts, and saving the world. Hence, the small and the seemingly insignificant appear quite important to you, if you think about it.
These days, I feel small and insignificant in the hierarchy of who you consider worthy of your company, love and approval. To you, perhaps, this moment is what decides if you will wish for a time machine, and to have never ever even met me. At the least, when you know, tell me before you go.


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Window

Pane of Pain, Pane of Joy

Could you imagine a foreboding castle, in an impenetrable fortress, rising before a stormy skyline with its imposing towers -- but without a single window?
Could you find a happy home, full of love and laughter, lacking only in that quaint little opening in the wall -- decorated with dainty curtains with frills and fringes galore -- could you?
Could you imagine how Rapunzel's story would turn out without a window in her tower, how journeys would have been if trains and cars had no windows, how school would be if the classrooms had no windows?
Sad thoughts, those. Sad, because conversations with the neighbours through the kitchen window keeps the homemaker entertained; because schoolchildren spread their innocent joy and cheer to the world when they yell and wave through the school bus's windows; because bereaved mothers, jilted lovers and betrayed friends weep beside the window, wistfully staring into the middle distance.
The window is a perfect little outlet for that yearning in all of us to be one with the world outside; despite our attachment to the safety of closed doors, we can communicate with the outside world -- feeling its vibrations of feeling and bursts of colour -- when we open a window.
The window is also an opportunity -- an opportunity to feed the birds, smile at strangers, be inspired to write poetry -- and for the neighbourhood's lovable five-year-old Robin Hood, an opportunity to steal a little something for his best friend, the son of his housekeeper.
The quintessential charm of a window increases manifold, and the window metamorphoses into a jolly theatre, when it is no longer stationary. Who can deny the charm of watching cows grazing in the fields, women drawing well-water, and people of all ages working in the farms, in the green little villages flanking the railway tracks?
The everyday person does not have the courage to brave all dangers and live in the open, but people like you and me will always have our windows. Families will always dine on mother's excellent cooking, the old man living alone will always play the piano, the ex-serviceman will always polish his weapon, while the stranger passing through the street looks at them through their windows.
As night falls, the lullabies sung to kids will always involve the bright white lights in the sky, playing hide-and-seek with the child from behind the window drapes.
Miserable is the man who lacks a friendly window.

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More cue-words are always welcome.

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