Dangling conversations“….with certitude, Dai, I confide in you that I shall commit suicide at some point of time, plausibly at twenty seven, not because I would get all depressed or heartbroken but that, I would feel enough of love. Maybe too much love will kill me,” I said, rather dryly.
“….with certitude, Dai, I confide in you that I shall commit suicide at some point of time, plausibly at twenty seven, not because I would get all depressed or heartbroken but that, I would feel enough of love. Maybe too much love will kill me,” I said, rather dryly.
He laughed and argued his case against me. He never said that life was beautiful and it ought to be lived till one’s cough ran dry but there was always a sense that it ought to be lived beautifully. It had been lucidly evident from the onset that we were contradictory not just in nature but in essence too, black and white, bliss and malady but we were there for each other and I always felt we were destined to meet, not I for him but he for me.
He was my senior on academic grounds but he was also senior in life as a whole. He always did his hair to the left, meticulously and his narrow Sherpa eyes always gleamed, it was uncanny but I thought it always gave life to everything. His brusque skin evinced that he was made to conquer and perish in the unfathomable crevasses of the Himalayas.
“The life of a Sherpa is very hard but you see, only in difficulty one discovers the quintessence of life,” said he as his dimpled cheek made me blush over my own narcissism. It was truly remarkable as to how this sturdy, little man with heart of a cupid and mind of Mephistopheles could teach me anything and everything with his simplicity.
Before our lessons commenced, we met every morning at eight forty-five, just across the east wall of Singha Durbar at a café. The café was spacious, tables arranged in columns, gods riveted on walls, meats marinated and dangling through a gaunt steel shaft which protruded in between the riveted deities. An old wooden desk was used for reception which evinced its slackened structure, plausibly rotting, edges splintered. Just across this antique desk was the walkway where we sojourned prior to attending our lectures. It was run by a somewhat sprightly couple who never seemed to lose their sense of serenity as they often greeted us with their heads nodding to and fro and amicable faint smiles followed, of which, I often thought as suggesting that they were somewhat in blithe spirits to serve us sweet and piquant tea and a morning cigarette.
I have often been subjugated to a morning cigarette, which I think offers the best start to a student on a regular college day, often insipid, orderly and unremarkable. It has something to do with one’s heart, it’s sheer drumming subdued, everything becomes lucid as a libertine, enlightened before a riot breaks and what follows is quite sublime as it should be felt not written, I guess. The inconspicuous blue smoke and cinnamon vapour always juxtaposed to create oneness within ourselves.
However, contradictions were copious yet it was uncanny how and why we were united like brothers. Our talks were sporadic and succinct and it never wore us down. We would skim through our own conversations yet it was poignant as morning cigarette can be.
“There’s a girl I know at college. She likes you. A fatal crush, I hear,” he said, giving me his contagious smile.
“Don’t tell me about it,” I answered dryly, lighting one up.
“Why,” he inquired, chaffing his snubbed nose.
“It takes the fun away,” said I, rather bluntly.
“What are you talking about,” he asked, swaying his head as some motorbikes stormed into the corners. He was already accustomed to my naïve, loathsome and ostentatious ideals. But, he knew I was dead serious every time.
I cleared my throat and glozed over the thought. “Well Dai, you see, now there’s someone, a girl, who likes me the way, say, Adrian liked Rocky. I don’t know who she is. For me, it’s full of possibilities, you see! I like it that way. Such ignorance is bliss. I can go around assuming whoever it might be and all pretty ladies shall be mine. Now, why would I want to know who that one is when I can have them all?” He gave me a grin, I smiled impishly.
“So what about the one you like?” There was a rejoinder after some silence. “You know that she knows and what do I know, it’s a circus. You don’t even try.”
“It’s altogether a different matter,” I retreated.
“Of course it is! If only you could see the way you look at her. You look like an imbecile! In fact, you assume a face that someone makes when one’s on acid,” he cried.
“Well, do you know the story of Sisyphus?” I asked. “Yes, you’ve told me a hundred thousand times,” he replied promptly and unabated.
“Well then, you see, I like it that way. I don’t like fulfilled desires, such a tragic idea to have one’s desire realised,” I said, ardently.
“What kind of nonsense is that?” He rose from the chair, evidently to get away from me and into the heart of dreary lectures.
“What am I going to do with a girlfriend? I don’t even know. I think my story is more romantic than that of real lovers. It would have been sublime had she been interested in me. But, she has her ways. Don’t you think? I tell you, it will have more permanence than any other love story. With certitude I can say that I will love her till the end of my days, until I shall have her in my memory. It’s a desire unfulfilled and it will remain as exciting as it is today. I don’t need to know her. To know one is to know one’s follies. I will never doubt her innocence nor will I tire from her. I will always know her as a sprightly, little kid from college,” I said, with resolve.
“And she will never know you either,” he laughed.
“To know me means to know the trivialities of life. Why would I let that happen?”
He thought it was not a romantic delight. It was vanity. It was wise on his part not to fret about it because he knew that I was a mere boy, outright vile, nihilistic, and ludicrous and he was the one with real balls. It wasn’t always like this. It was mostly about life, travel and football. When it came to life, we’d laugh it away. When it came to travel, he would show me a whole new world from the rising sun to the rising moon. And when it came to football, we’d go crazy like pigs on acid.
“I sprinted through three defenders, did some Cristiano and crossed the ball, from wing play, only for the striker to head the ball across the line. Instead, he dodged the ball and let it be.” He explained.
“Why did you not head the ball, I asked,” said he and went on, “I play football with my feet not with my head. With my head, I think. How will I think when I play with my head and how will I play when I can’t think, the striker replied to me,” said he, assuming a startled and furrowed countenance.
“What then,” I sighed.
“And I gave him my foot for thoughts,” he answered as he gave a broad smile. I couldn’t help but laugh till my guts ached. I could only imagine what lesson he might have taught that poor, cocky guy. He wasn’t Hulk but he sure was a Sherpa, which is almost the same, I guess.
He also had a way with women. They liked him. He wasn’t a sycophant nor did he appear portentous. He was simple but there was a subtlety in it, raw and yielding. Where he thought, I made a Gordian knot. Where he prayed, I cursed and where he smiled, I scorned. So, one early morning, in our usual tête-à-tête, I asked him brusquely, “Dai, why are women attracted towards you? Yes, you are good looking in a certain kind of way but there are more handsome guys. You can do the talk, but I have seen better. What is it? I entreat you to give me the formula.”
“You are funny sometimes. You should try to be funny more often. It suits your temperament. Well, you see, they like me because I am always happy.” He said imperturbably, but in a paroxysm of poignancy he added in his favourite French, “Tout comprende, c’est tout pardonnder.”