The Boats

Two wooden boats were rowing side by side, slowly approaching two gates. The first boat carried men and women, and the second boat carried only women. There was not a sound. Not from the either of the boats, nor the sea, nor the air around.

The first boat- with the men and women- began to speed up, taking the lead. It chose a gate and began rowing towards it. One woman stood up when they reached the gate. She was slapped, and the boat continued through the gate. The woman did not say a word, and I did not catch her face. Not one person from the boat looked up.

The second boat, carrying only women, chose the other gate. Just before they reached their gate they saw a big white shark swimming towards them. All the women knew the shark was going to attack, but they did not seem scared. They sat still, looking forward.

One woman in a black hat, who had till then only showed a pair of lips giving away a smile sealed in black liquid matte lipstick, jumped up from the boat and landed on the shark. Her knife made a smooth landing on it’s back. The shark was dead. The woman lifted her head and revealed to me a face that I want to describe as beautiful but am too scared to.

Her black lipstick made her seem pale. She wore a dress that was off shoulder and black, her pale skin peeking through the lace. She stood on the dead shark, and using it as her step, she climbed back into the boat. Leaving her knife to sink along with it’s victim. The boat of women moved forward, into the second gate. The happier gate.

From You To Me

Puzzles of The Past

It is not completely objectionable to say that human beings have always loved to be certain of what they do. We love planning ahead, having a vague idea of what tomorrow may look like. To have control, or some semblance of it. So much so, that when a day goes rogue, fear and annoyance is inevitable.

Take even this Pandemic. The first words we used to describe it were all reflections of the crisis of being unable to predict the next day- uncertain, unprecedented, unknown. Even our obsession with the idea of time travel is the baby of our inability to deal with what is unknown to us.

And that’s why we choose to run. To stop living in the moment, because the moment is not being kind. We run away to a place where everything is predictable, where we know exactly what happens because it has already happened. We run back to the memories of our past- old music, old diary entries, old films. Forming little cocoons in bed, we scroll through old photos in our gallery.

I have always ran to the past. Increasingly during this Pandemic. I have nothing to look forward to, so I keep going back, keep trying to make sense of the people puzzles that I could not make sense of back then, the people puzzles that I had to leave behind because it was too painful to watch the pieces stop fitting in. Eventually, the puzzle itself would change, but I would find myself leaving each one incomplete in some way.

It is hard to find joy in past memories because of these unsolved people puzzles that keep popping up, like ads in a game. You’re forced to watch them for a minimum of the slowest 10 seconds of your life before you can quickly cancel it and get back to playing.

Sometimes, I decide to roll up my sleeves and begin trying to solve this hurtful people puzzle again. I put myself back in, reminding myself that I am not the same weakling I was. Confident in my 20-year-old self, I go back to help the 16-year-old me. I quickly pop out the questions that rose out of heart break and had left me stumped.

They respond, and the answer burns the same way it did at 16. Only this time, I am armed with the medicine of time. I can bury this wound under the band aid of the years that have passed. The puzzle still remains incomplete.

The puzzles of the past cannot change. That is after all, why we love them despite the pain. Sometimes we forget this and run back to solve them individually, without realizing that some wounds are necessary, and that all these incomplete puzzles have actually come together in perfect sense, just to complete the person that is you today.

The truth, you realize further down the line, was that the puzzles were all always complete, that you just had to view them from further away, with more faith in yourself.

From You To Me

The Day I Saw Colours in the Sky

A very long time ago I had a nightmare that something flew towards me and cut my neck, creating a single red drop peeking out at the world. Soon, it became a line of blood that drizzled down. I woke up immediately. For a long time after this I never saw any dreams or nightmares that I could remember upon waking. My sleep was pitch black.

And then in one peaceful afternoon nap, they visited me again. I dreamt of myself, sitting at the edge of my bed in my lavender walled bedroom. I was staring up at the sky through a big transparent glass window that opened just a few inches at the bottom. I could see everything through this window- the big sandy pit that doubled as a playground in the evenings, the beige and pink building right beside it, the two busy roads that were divided by a strip of footpath, and a row of big trees that lined the big football ground, attempting to block it’s view. There was no match today.

None of this mattered, because in this dream my eyes were fixed on two black birds flying overhead. The background was a clear, blue, sunny Dubai sky. I turned my head away to look at something inside the room. But when I looked outside, up at the two birds again…

Powders of rich and dark colors- red, yellow, and blue had been splashed across the sky. Two birds had become five. They continued to fly in circles above. They were unaware, or perhaps unbothered, about the color storm enveloping my building. I sat still, frozen in place. I watched, sensing deep panic growing in my heart. I could only see splattered colours forming gradients. Not the sandy ground or the football ground, not the trees, not the building. The sky was choked with primary colors in powdery textures, blurring the birds who were now black spots with wings, still circling the sky. It was as beautiful as it was scary.

I spent a very long time wondering what this dream was about. I never figured it out. It was simply a day where I had seen colours in the sky.