Monday, June 5

The Orange Wall

The Orange Wall is a love story of our lives and times that could become statistics
The Orange Wall.
I saw the color of the sky change from black to a light blue. The pigeons started squabbling against a closed window. Like passengers negotiating with the reticent conductor to let them in an overcrowded bus.

An effort to find a home. To nestle. Love. Lay eggs. Live. Happily ever after.

I felt a bad churn in my stomach. One that happens from not eating in the night and lying awake till the black sky turns blue.

I had been like that now. Night after night I would remain awake, turning and twisting on an empty stomach, thinking of the times when we were together in the bed. When I would snooze on your arms and you would gently put me back on the pillow. “You smile when I do that,’ you once said. I felt beautiful. It was the way you said it.

I got up from the bed shrugging off your thoughts. Tried to get busy with morning chores. Pouring the bland tea into the mug. Picking up the newspaper in the morning.

The simple things.

We never discussed the bigger things. “The big thing” was lurking on the horizon. Like the unwanted plant on an old wall, that sprouts right in the middle of it and shakes it. Gradually. Brick by brick. Till the informidable wall loses to the insouciant plant. And collapses on a valiant morning.

We were scared of the big thing. The insouciant plant. The collapse.

So we stuck to the simple ones. And we let them define us.

Like I loved to watch you shave. You loved to watch me watch. You would strike an inane conversation while shaving or I would hang around for something inconsequential. I loved the sight of foam on your face, the smell of cologne that filled my nostrils. It was so fresh, so new, so you.

I looked on with fascination. You looked back with amusement. We would talk to each other through the mirror.

I made another attempt to shrug off these thoughts. I switched on the FM. It was a unique leveler to drown thoughts. I could absorb myself in the warm honey like voice of the RJ ignoring the hollow conversation.

FM music filled my ears – badly churned songs dished out by a warm honey like voice.

Music brought us closer.

I remembered the quaint little booze place we went to those days.

Your were surprised at my sense of lyrics. Almost like a new bride who hits upon her mother-in-law’s recipe book in the old attic and tries out one dish a day with meticulous precision, you brought out the half songs in my memory…

It became our routine. Booze, old monk with soda for you, vodka with tonic for me … and loads of music.

You would start with a romantic song…Pal Pal dil ke paas tum rahtee ho .You would look at me flirtatiously… and put your hand on your heart. Till I would move on to intense numbers: Tum Aaaye to aaya mujhe yaad…. Gali mein aaj chand nikla…I would throw a rather victorious glance at seeing you touched while the singer crooned the sublime Dhalta suraj dheere dheere dhalta hee jayega.

I loved the boy in you, the boy who would close his eyes, pucker his eyebrows, shake his head vigorously and sing. From Inside.

We would drink into the night till the flowing music got replaced by rude shutting of lights and pulling of tables. We would then look for you car in the parking lot... I would scream at you for being drunk... while I slurred and bumped into strange cars myself.

‘I don’t think we are working out.’ I would say. “We will work at it”. You would reply.

And it was in the open air restaurant, host to drunken diners swaying to soulful songs scribbled on soggy napkins, I found love. I knew this was real. This was it.

We moved in together. Against all odds. We build our nest like conspiring children who bunked school and went out on a small boat. Away from the laws of land.

The maid switched off the FM. I didn’t notice when she came into the house. I didn’t notice that she had kept the breakfast on the table. I didn’t notice that she was muttering at my lack of interest in the household.

All I knew I wanted you back. No….I wanted us back.

The us that made us different people, made you do things and made me do things.

You painted the living room walls orange, spruced it with yellow lights, built a small bar, and bought our kind of music. I made the morning tea, you made the upma breakfast. We did the laundry together.

In the evening we watched movies or chatted like babies in our little flat at Mahim. In the nights our bodies sought each other for a midnight feral celebration.

We were no longer school kids on a misguided tour.

I was an in-the –face – rebel, a tourist of life while you were the system’s favorite maverick. One who pulls out tricks from his magic satchel, not to shock but to amuse. To make everyone around happy.

And all the while we were bonded by our own needs to shock and please in turn, to an imaginary audience till us happened.

What happened to that us?

If life was a sequential chain reaction consisting of points, I would be unable to explain which of the points were responsible.

Was it the day I spotted fatigue at the corner of your mouth when I screamed at you? Or was it your niceness, the need to keep everyone around you happy that made me want to smirk out loud.

Was it our claustrophobia with orange painted walls and love reeking laundry or a deep rooted primitive need to confirm to all that was standard…all that was in a template?

A chasm grew between us….deep, wide and fearful. At first we both ignored it, and stuck to the simple things. Later we acknowledged it to ourselves yet avoided any discussion with each other.

We were so scared to lose us that we made it our impaired child.

We are like strangers living under the same roof. I know you are getting dressed in the bed room getting irritated that I am being lazy around the house and you will be late again.

I am not going to work today. And since you would come to switch off the computer irritated at my carelessness…. I would want you to read this and understand that I don’t intend to do anything normal or routine till I get us back.

I want to make a new start. Will you give it another chance?

PS- The orange paint in the living room is coming off. We need another coat.

Thanks in advance.

US

17 comments:

shikha said...

Shuchika,

1. Thanks!
2. A very different piece,I liked it:)
3.It Reminds me of some lines..
When the Bond of comfort streches beyond comfort itself...
We start sapping energy out of each,
and the "US" in us knows,
it's time to move on...

4.I liked the way you ended it..with the orange coat.

shikha said...

Ok..my head thinks faster than my fingers can type...add "other" after each in the so called poem:)

When the Bond of comfort is streched beyond comfort itself..

We start sapping energy out of each other and the "US"in us knows

It's time to move on..

To another life...

Where you and I could be just that You and I
and not "US"

shuchika said...

wow,

that was as profund as it could get....

thanks for driving me to write, too much to do... needed that push.

shikha said...

This means we get to read a lot more of you:)

geminijesus said...

Hi
This was the Best

swati said...

hey, this was very poignant,and like all your writings very personal...i almost felt apologetic ...like i was eavesdropping on a very private conversation..so powerful was it...and i loved the ending..mesmerising...

scorpio said...

An intense, personal piece, so very rich.

Ajit Chouhan said...

Ye kaha aa gaye hum uhi saath satth chalte.....Don't know why but this song was playing in my mind while I was trying to assimilate the thoughts.

This reminded me of Krinamurthy's definition of love.

Excellent but honestly dont feel like working after reading this...

Had no clue that shaving cream foam is so appealing :-)cause i hate shaving even once a week.

Anonymous said...

hey there,

just been to ur blog while searching for film related stuff.
realized we were quite close (geographically to tiss, love the place) at some point of time...

ironic that ppl are closer on the net, yet the same thing happens, ppl dont meet people as much as they shd.

cheers to this random connection...

k

Anonymous said...

hi,

you continue to haunt through your sensitivity and honesty.

like to get updated on ur life thru the blog.

Here's wishing u an ornage wall all ur life.

take care :)

The One said...

First reaction - "Oh Boss.. Bahut Sahi Likha Hai."

T.O.

Raps said...

Shuchika,

This is a good piece. It is full of blue. It has pangs but alas! it does not bring out the pain of separation. I don't mean bollywood movie style but the sense of desperation to be together if you really want to be together. I felt from your piece a certain amount of phew! I have now time for myself... the pleasure of reminiscence which probably was not allowed in the togetherness. I always felt there is romanticism in separation and in remembering what we left behind and that romaticism almost slips out of our hand when the edgy relationship becomes mundane day-to-day burps and farts. It is the law of nature that the game of love will be over once routine sets in. We choose whether we oil our old station wagon or buy a new SUV... :). freedom is a double-edged sword... pardon my cliche.

White Magpie said...

What a wonderful write. I read your earlier stories too. You've got a way.

IRIS said...

This is SUPER!!!
Brilliantly written:-)

Reshma Anand said...

Rambling around...trying to find something nice to read...i chanced upon your blog. This piece is brilliant! That Love dies a death many a times - as much in seperation - as it does with two people being with each other. very well captured.

'us mod se shuru karien...phir yeh zindgai...har shai jahan haseen thi..hum tum the ajnabi'

MJS said...

Beautiful story!!!
I choose to believe that this is a work of fiction, though there has been such a strong tinge of reality to it, that I somehow wondered - "Does she know me?? How can she write about me so accurately?"
Anyway, Good work. Hope to read more of such stuff!!!!

Anonymous said...

well written .. but more philisophy kind of are u turning paranoid .. u must see a doctor ... wake up ..life is about reality ...