Like a detached variegated feather of a possibly mythical, mystical bird that floats, dances in the air- a little exploited, a little caressed by nature, not stagnant, not firm, maybe fickle, almost always in turbulence yet in absolute peace; and then it comes to complete rest when it gets caught, entrapped by someone or something, depleted of alacrity, replete with insensitive senses, a sense of kinship, belonging, acceptance, of being overpowered, held, caged; Neil’s sight, the sight of a coherent, dull, fastidious, gullible, transparent, convoluted, sane, lunatic romantic walked, sprinted, peregrinated from one place to another, not waiting, not stopping, with unflagging spirit adulterated with mirthless vigour; and then it got stupefied, it froze, subtly, suitably, enchanted by some oblivious spell executed through a seductive, exquisite tool by a sorceress. Neil’s sight remained bound, albeit loosely, like a ribbon tied carelessly to a little girl’s hair by herself, in a desperate effort to prove her mettle and failing miserably; but that outrageous freedom urged his sight to cling, hang on to the hypnotization. The freedom coaxed him, teased him, mocked him; it was as if a challenge, a casual one, thrown at him, telling him that he would not lose if he quit, he would not be humiliated, humbled if he refused, and just by saying that it also said that it would be his greatest defeat if he did surrender. His sight remained fixed.
She was an embodiment of the sun.
It hurt his eyes to keep looking at her.
What she had, she held, what she had begun-
He was helpless before that, he had to defer.
In one of her hands she held a small paper packet, the usual ones made out of sold off or discarded old newspapers. It contained a delectable mixture of puffed rice, spices, pieces of vegetables and snacks. Neil’s eyes chased the movement of her hand holding the paper packet. She raised her hand, tilted her head a little backwards, then poured some of the food in her mouth. He could separate, see, each element of the food that got lost in her mouth. A sole soul, a diminutive speck of puffed rice, a stranded, estranged entity, nonentity got marooned, prisoned in the island of her moist red lower lip; but she was generous enough to liberate it with a swift movement of her tongue. Neil closed his eyes. He was defeated. No. Not yet. He resumed looking at her, after that sudden pause of stare. Her mouth shut, her jaws moved, she crushed the food with her teeth, and then the sublime paste slipped down to her stomach, grazing her throat, leaving marks inside her with incoherent ecstasy. Neil’s eyelids batted in a synchronized fashion with the movement of her mouth, lips. He listened to the gentle sound of bliss, the unchained pleasure.
How he wished he was the…
The bus started moving. Neil had forgotten that he was sitting in a bus which was about to leave the bus-stand in a few minutes. He was startled, but he was relieved. He was on the verge of defeat; he was succumbing to the colossal coercion, the fatal force. Escape, could he? Did he?
Neil knew that he had fallen prey-
to that primitive propensity,
the delicate desire,
the daunting, haunting urge,
that he could not successfully purge,
the feeling, the reeling, the peeling of the soul,
the object, yes object,
which he had ruthlessly ruptured,
then carried it’s carcass himself,
in his arms,
and unceremoniously cremated it,
the thing called ‘love’.
Apparently, it had come back to life. Suddenly he felt an emptiness, a void in his stomach.
The ticket collector of the bus asked for the fare. Neil handed the few coins that he fished out of his pocket to the ticket collector and declared the name of the bus stop he was to get down at. The ticket collector asked for 50p. The bus fare was Rs. 8.50. Neil had only Rs. 8 with him. He produced his college ID and got a student-concession of Rs. 2, which reduced the fare to Rs. 6.50. The ticket collector sighed, frowned, returned the balance and left. So Neil had Rs. 1.50 left with him now. He didn’t know what was he going to do, from whom was he going to lend money; he was drowning in debts already. He rejected those naïve notions and closed his eyes. Of course he had better things to muse.
Neil went back to his own world, again. He wondered about ‘love’. It had been a conscious choice of his, semi-completely consequential to his circumstances, to sacrifice love. Then why did he feel love again? Why?
But he just couldn’t deny his love. He loved FOOD. He loved to eat, but he was broke, he couldn’t afford food, let alone good food. He could starve for days and weeks and months, now.
How he wished he was the one holding that paper packet and having the food.
Food is a necessity, a biological need. So is love, may be, or may not be. Some ascetics conquer hunger and also desires. If love is a desire, they conquer that too. Neil was not an ascetic. But he thought that he had conquered love, perhaps; hunger, of course not.
He still had food,
when he could afford to,
when he could afford to,
but he didn’t feel,
the same zeal;
love, was not there,
it didn’t matter though;
he didn’t care,
he didn’t care,
and then comes love again,
or perhaps, to kill.
Neil was not hungry. Neil was in love, with food.