Posted in Journal

The Interlude Between Death and Laughter

I just woke up dreaming that I was writing a blog post. You know how it is – when there is something compelling that needs to be done and you’re so lazy that your brain makes up stories and fools you into thinking you’ve done it. I’ve been fooled a lot many times. Throughout school, I would dream that I was getting up, brushing my teeth and getting ready for school only to wake up with a jolt at my father’s loud exclamation and realise that I had only 15 minutes left to do all that before the school bus arrived.

“I dreamt that I was ready”, I would shout, half-apologetically, half-incredulously, as I made my way to the bathroom hastily avoiding my parents’ gaze and an odd hand frozen in the air mid-strike.

I was supposed to go on a trek today. Two months ago, I finally discovered that Vellore had a redeeming quality after all, through my new landlady. (It’s weird to call her my landlady because she’s absolutely the best and deserves a name, so let’s call her NG instead). NG got me added to her trekking community one week after I moved in, and my first trek was 3 weeks later, on Children’s Day. I decided that I might not mind settling down in Vellore after all.

So, as I was saying, I was supposed to be on my third trek today, and here I am, lying in bed with a cold. I was perfectly fine till yesterday evening. Well, maybe I did have a sore throat in the morning and ice cream in the afternoon, but how was I to know I would feel so dartardly so soon? In any case, I had to change my plans after looking forward to it for weeks and paying the fee way in advance.

When I told NG yesterday that I might not come, she asked me to send a message to the coordinator and let him know. And of course, I slept off and dreamt that I sent him a text. By the time I realised that the message didn’t get synced across realities, the team was on their way downhill.

And here I was again, dreaming about writing the blog post and I told myself, NO. I will not be fooled by my conscience two times in a row on the same day. I WILL write the post.

Now that the background has been established for no reason at all, let’s move on to the content.

It’s almost nothing, really. I spent a lot of time with MB yesterday after a very long time. The level of normalcy in our relationship felt almost alien, it was like we were back in Pondicherry and living at a much simpler pace and time. Christmas had awarded him with a break (our personal miracle), and we ate out for the first time after shifting to Vellore – after exactly a whole year, would you believe? The food was sub-par – one side effect of having lived in Pondicherry is that restaurants at other places always fail to impress – but it felt good to be together; to ride together my bike to a destination other than the hospital and talk about nothing important. After lunch we came home and finished watching a movie. We hugged, kissed, slept, and kissed some more. Not on the lips though. I wonder about this a lot. We kiss each other on the lips only when we have sex, and affection gets diverted otherwise to any other random accessible body part. Cheeks most often, maybe arms, shoulders, fingers. Forehead. Chin. The little mole just above his lips.

I think I love that mole just a little more than I love him.

I had bought him a book on my recent travel to Pune. I always bring back things to appease him after a long journey, like you’d a child. Usually sweets and snacks based on whatever is special in the places I visit, and also any books that catch my eye at airport stalls. I chanced on one that I knew he would love – a collection of short essays on stories/myths around various temples in India penned by famous historians. I also had a novel delivered by Amazon the day I returned. As we nestled against each other at night, reading our respective books, the day felt like a dream. How we take normalcy for granted!

The Illicit Happiness Of Other People, written by Manu Joseph was an impulse buy based purely on the title. The style was exactly what you’d expect from the title, satirical, absurdist and even blatantly introspective. As if the writer had to vent a lot of stray thoughts into the universe and decided to create a host of people to do it for him. I kept quoting it to MB from time to time, eliciting chuckles from him.

One paragraph halfway through the first chapter made me stop and think for a while. I read it out to MB.

“But still if I die, imagine I die, you would be sad, I know. Of course, you will be sad. But not as deeply as people would presume. In this world, it is very hard to escape happiness. That’s how it is”

And then I recounted the incident to him.

It’s funny how some things get stuck in your head for no reason. This was one of those memories. There was this girl I knew from school whose father died of some ailment. I wasn’t aware that he was sick, but I presume he had been for some time. I imagined her at home, hugging her mother and weeping like they show us in movies. Losing a parent is right up there in the list of childhood tragedies. The next week, I saw her in the corridor during break, walking with her best friend, laughing. I remember being incredulous. Are you allowed to laugh so soon after losing a parent? Maybe she was happy that he died. Maybe she was tired of crying. Maybe she didn’t care enough. Maybe she was faking the laughter. But then, what was the right time to laugh after losing someone? How long might I cry after losing a parent? Perhaps there was some socially sanctioned equation involving different variables. My young brain quickly gave up.

In the dream, I went on to write something more about colour-coded rooms and complex relationships, but I’ve been awake for too long now to recollect any of that. So this is all. I think I’ll pop another pill and sleep again now, and see if any other posts come up.


A wayward thinker hiding behind the facade of necessary courtesies

3 thoughts on “The Interlude Between Death and Laughter

  1. Out of curiosity, where was the trek destination? Also, if you haven’t tried it out yet, there’s a hill with some fort remnants near the CMC Kagithapattarai campus. Worth a climb, I would say..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The destination was Kanchanagiri near Ranipet. It is the only place in India, and I believe one of the dozen around the world, where there are bell rocks, that resonate when you beat them. Was looking forward to it, but alas!

      And thank you for the suggestion 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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