I was a born
(for Rhensis' "The
Booksie Contest Of A Lifetime")
Seeing the clouds
transform their shapes almost with consistency, more often than a
chameleon will, makes me project a smile subtly - a smile that is
not defined by the widening of lips but one that lurks like the
blood flow in mortal veins - present, yet unfelt; I keep on
looking at it letting alone the care and safety, I must be laden
with, when walking in the main road; I observe the slow drift of
the ephemeral clouds; I sighed, on comparing it mentally to the
inconsistency of human life; I shift my vision to see an empty
road; the same road will have hosted countless number of
automobiles, of all sorts, of all colours, of all brands,
whizzing past pedestrians, piercing the innocent wind, provided
the time is not past 11 p.m. Now it looks deserted. The moon
succeeded in showing me my way.
Oh! Here I stand
finally. The Roomedge Bridge. I wonder why it received such an
awkward name. Maybe room's edge? Strange names. I decide not to
research further; moreover, I won't be here anymore in my mundane
flesh, should a few minutes pass. More than I succeed, in feeling
the silky breeze linger on my visage, I feel water slide from my
eyes. "Oh, god, I'm crying! Oh, come on Arun, you're a man;
you're not supposed to cry" - an inner voice says. I'm not sure
if it is from my good will or bad will. I choose not to care
about it. In a few minutes, I'll not hear it anymore.
I grab the steely
rail under which runs the river Roomedge. I know this river and
this place more than anyone else here. The bridge is built such
that the road is a two-lane road; the steel rail that serves as
the boundary, runs horizontally on both the sides, at a height
that will meet a man's head. It can be climbed using two
horizontal shafts that lay equi-spaced from the upper one.
Me and my gang,
used to play here in my younger days where there are not much
automobile population as it is now. Oh my dirty mind! The moment
the words "me and my gang" materialized in my brain, it
redirected my thoughts upon Rascal Flatts' album! How insane am I
to think of them, when I'm in so depressed a state! Well, anyway
that doesn't matter anymore!
Oh, now my memory
serves me very well; very well, to my utter dismay - screening to
me the moment I hate the most! I see my figure standing in front
of that Mr. Brown, to whom I'm compelled to cede all my assets -
my house (almost a mansion), my Honda Civic, my 150cc Yamaha, my
plastic dies company, my everything! The only thing that he
didn't take from me is the ubiquitous oxygen.
It is my wrong ways
of living - gamble, women, drugs and doses etc, and they had
eaten my life away; to get away from numerous debts I was in, I
borrowed a huge amount from Mr. Brown. Well, I failed to pay and
now it had cost me my entire lifetime! Escape a hot pan only to
land on fire! The only asset that I'm having now is my abrading
confidence. Now I'm nothing but a skeleton wearing a coat of
black human skin - the grace of consistent ODs.
I'm now a homeless
man. I feel abashed to think that before a month I used to sneer
at the homeless. Well, God is just, at least, in my case. There
is nothing I could live for and no one who can lend me a
shoulder. I believe what I'm about to do is the best decision
I've taken my entire lifetime. All is never well. I stand on the
thin rail shaft seizing a column (that supports the bridge) that
stands to my left. The shaft provides space for just a very small
part of my shoes - I stood on the toe part of my shoes. I balance
using only my toes and the column-grab. I see Roomedge flow
serenely. It is very deep despite its' placid appearance. I know
it. I take in a large volume of air. By the time I exhale all of
it, I will no more inhale again. Here it fills my lungs. Okay,
I'm about to exhale. I decide to count to ten. Just ten
'Sir!' a voice
reaches my ears. Ignoring it, I continue. Seven.
'Sir!' again the
same voice. Five.
'!' I exclaim when
I feel someone pull me out of the rail and I land on the bridge
road. A human countenance appears in front of me - it is of a
girl's. A pale-skinned brunette with lean build meeting my
shoulder height in stance (I'm 5'8"). I stand in wonder - not
wondering about her beauty that gets aggravated by moon, but her
presence here, in this peak hour, in this particular situation.
I've always seen such scenes in movies.
Someone will try to
commit suicide and the hero or heroine will save the victim at
the very last second. A bomb being dispatched at the final second
count - the hero will hesitate to decide on cutting a particular
coloured wire among many other colours for about one minute,
sweating to his death; and finally will cut a certain colour
anonymously, and guess what, it always will go off. I'm quite
bored of it. And well, this scene didn't go up until count one as
in those hackneyed Hollywood films.
No, I will not be
alive. I'm wasting God's oxygen. I'm adding weight to mother
earth unnecessarily. I nervously fumble into my black hair. My
black visage goes grey.
Here her lips go
through various motions. Oh! She's speaking! Standing in
surprise, I really don't hear anything that she said. I keep on
looking at her. She repeats the same. I initially try to brush
her aside. She keeps on nudging me with her sound. I sneer at
her. She's not to be deterred. I give in to her finally. I tell
her the truth. She laughs.
'Ha ha, is it such
a big problem that you can't solve?' I attempt to answer but she
lets me not. She adds, 'There is nothing in this world that
cannot be set right. You think yours' is a big problem?'
That's not a
question. I know it. She won't let me defend my side.
'Actually-', darn it, I know it. She will never allow my voice
reach her ears. "Girls always are. They always speak way too much
than needed and it mostly will be self-boasting." I form a
conclusion. I know that it is a pot-boil, baseless, unjust,
groundless conclusion, but yet as I like it, I cling to
'Dash it. Never
mind.' She again interrupts me and speaks, 'Look at you. Do you
really think you're miserable?'
'Yes, I'm the most
unfortunate human on earth.' I rush with words before could she
'Well tell me what
bothers you. What makes you decide to die?'
Though I don't want
to tell her anything, something inside me prods me to tell. I try
to fight with that inner voice but fail. I decide to tell her
everything and when I become conscious, I see that I have come
way too long from the bridge! What, I have unconsciously kept
with her walk. This is really insane. She didn't drag me, but
what made me walk with her? I ponder. I can't understand.
walking and some unknown power keeps me following her feet. I
told her my whole story. My desperation. She absorbs whole of my
story. And she laughs!
'Your will will
find you a way.' I'm clever enough to decode her wordplay. I nod
and she continues, 'You think you're more cursed than a person in
Sudan who can't even find his meal?' she gives me enough time to
think over those words, 'Do you think you're doomed to misfortune
than a ten year old girl who is getting sexually abused this very
second at any part of the world? Problems worse than what our
president has to cope with?' she dramatizes the previous
sentence, 'More desperate than the civilians of Iran being killed
unnecessarily? Have you shed more tears than an innocent mother
over her lost child? You live a cursed life more than a child
with inherited HIV because of its mom's immoral living? You think
'Ok, ok ok, just
stop it. Yeah yeah yeah, they all are more worse than me. So
what? I don't give a damn about others.' I trudge her array of
questions, clearly irritated of her philosophizing
'So, suicide is the
'Yes it is.' I let
an awkward silence fill a few seconds and I say, 'What the heck
bothers you? Get the hell out of here.' It produces no effect on
her. She smiles smoothly.
'I'm happy to find
a guy who is with the same mentality I'd before a year.' She
says. I see her starkly in disbelief. She tells her history to
me, 'you're just bankrupt once in your life. I went thrice and
bounced back thrice. The third being my worst losing. I thought I
never could spring back. I too came and stood in this bridge on a
certain Saturday night. A girl saved me from it and now I'm close
to being a millionaire just because of that save. I never thought
I can recoil to my higher status.' She keeps on talking about her
life and I really have no idea why I'm following her. Though I
realise that I'm in her control, I can't help it. She has
something in her. Some invisible powers. Powers that conquer me
subconsciously. She stops, turns to face me, and indexes to a
house, an-almost-mansion. 'You're welcome. This is my house.
Please come in.'
Though some inner
voice stirs up against, my feet goes in involuntarily. She asks
me to sit in a black couch, and asks for a pause. I see her
silhouette go into a well illuminated room, which I suppose as
the kitchen, and I continue my glare at the same direction. Here
she comes out with a tray on which stand two porcelain cups. I
quickly comprehend that it is a drink. Cheers! Applause! What a
She hands over one
cup to me. When I receive it, I can assure that it is coffee from
the smell. Before sipping, I research the flower pattern that is
printed on the cup. Satisfied by its' exquisiteness, I decide to
taste it. She gives me a book that lies on the tea table here. I
see the cover of the book. It read "Chicken Soup For The Soul". I
decide not to judge the book by its cover and give her a look
that, I believe, will appear to her as inquiring. I'm quite
successful using my eye brows to my needs.
'What are you
looking at? This is a very important book that you must read. It
has short inspiring stories of all time. Real stories.' She tells
and leans towards me. Maintaining an acute angle she continues,
'You read it once and tell if you still want to die.'
I understand she's
trying to trade my temptations to a silly book. I project to her
a sheepish smile. 'Ok, so this will make me want to live?' I see
her extrude a sarcastic look, and I decide not to mock her and I
add, 'I, I'm sorry. So what made you take care? What bothers you
if I decide? I'm just another stranger to you.'
snatches the book of my hand and shuffle through the pages as if
showing the book to a kindergarten child. She ignores my question
and asks, 'Do you know what kind of stories does it has?'
'Inspi stories.' I
cut half "inspiration" for the sake of brevity.
'I think you know
Babe Ruth - the legendary baseball player.' I nod, 'he holds the
record for homeruns. He holds another record that is most
important for life - never give up. Yes, he not only holds that
record but also is the man with most number of strike-outs.' I
give her an apprehensive nod. She gives me a little time to
consider it. 'And, have you read The Scarlet Letter, the greatest
novel of American literature?'
I had heard of it.
I say, 'heard of it, but haven't read.'
'Well, the author
Hawthorne actually considered himself a nobody. He used to throw
all that he wrote in garbage. It is his wife Sophia who kept on
collecting all of it and it had become what we see. Don't think
that you're a failure. Nothing in this world is a waste. Don't
ever think that you're one.'
I realise that I
begin to believe her words. She goes on to saying something about
O. J. Simpson, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln etc. Though physically
her sound enters my eardrum I mentally do not grab anything. Her
words have some power. She slightly shakes me bringing me to
earth and says, 'There are millions who don't have legs, do we
not see them live? Thousands with no home, but yet chose to live.
A billion without vision, but have they all decided to die just
because they can't see TV? Your attitude resembles to that of a
child that cries if candy is snatched out of its hands.' She
pauses a moment, and stands. I too raise myself from the couch
and stand above par to her. She hands over the book to me and
says, 'You're already perfect. You're whole. You have everything
you need to make a life. You will live. You must live. Don't
argue about my eligibility to advice you. I too had tried suicide
once in my life.'
I've always noticed
it - when few speak, no matter how well informed and interesting
they are, we just do not tend to listen to them; when few speak,
no matter how crappy they are, we just would lend them our ear. I
believe she belongs to the latter case. I feel my head nod, my
eyes grow acute, and my palm provide a great grip on the book as
if not wanting to let it go of my hands.
'Before you go.
Listen to this. The most inspirational song of all times
according to me.' she says and acts her fingers on an I-pod. I
have heard this song. It is the "Champion" from the Chipmunks.
I've even memorised the lyrics already. As always the chorus is
the one that grabs my attention:
Some people love to
Some people wait
Some people love to
Some people give
And two more
Some people, but
I was a born
I hear the whole
song to satisfy her and bidding her adieu, get out of her home
with the book in hand. I even did not say "Thank you" or "Bye".
No, Nothing. I entered her life as a stranger and leave now as a
stranger. I even don't know her name.
I walk in this road
with the chorus echoing again and again in my mind. And keep on
mumbling it again and again. I race my way in that empty street
save for street dogs. Some unknown feeling washes over me and I
say to myself, 'Yes, I was a born champion.'
A/N: 1. The story
about Hawthorne is made-up. It's just the character's words to
chin up the broken man. Of course, Hawthorne is a failure and his
wife helped him financially with her savings whilst he wrote it.
The garbage throwing thing etc, were not true.
2. Roomedge is
fictional. Just had typed the 1st term my brain coined...
3. OD - over