Never Mind The Night

This post is a continuation of this post.

Five years later, if anyone would have asked Lekhchand about the essay he’d written he’d defensively laugh over how childish his vanity had been. Yet, he would say, there was something beautiful about false confidence of a novice. After all, the day had proved to be a landmark in his journey of finding a fuller expression (he disliked calling it merely learning how to write better) as an artist.

Much of his life now would be spent only during nights- he strongly felt that the nights made his feelings a lot deeper, connecting thoughts and fantasizing on possibilities were often interrupted during the day, and most importantly at night there was no source for validation and no need for it either.

On one such night in the first week of March, a love song had inspired in Lekhchand an intense adventure of thought. They would by serendipity alone meet one fine day after years. Overwhelmed by emotions,  they would not be able to hold back the love they had carried in the recesses of their heart for so many years. For a brief period, Lekhchand felt happy as if the day was tomorrow.

On other nights though, Lekhchand didn’t feel so positive. He blamed the countless movies and pop songs for giving him the idea that there was such a thing as love- where two souls become one body, a jigsaw part fits into another, a match made in heaven, the only aspect of nature where the disease and the cure are not mutually exclusive.

He also blamed himself for not being an adept swindler. He blamed his parents for hindering his education in this regard, let alone giving it. After all, if he was a good enough swindler he’d synchronise his idea of love with that of the girl’s and all talk about love being real or unreal would be rendered hogwash.

There were times, even more depressing- where even after all these days of pining and frustration, he’d let go off an opportunity presented right at his door. He would try his best, but it would fall flat. Hope became a silly thing at such times.


The only redeeming thing after all of these problems he had was his writing. To describe a failure exactly was his aim. And, weren’t all the people he was inspired by similar failures. The great Van Gogh himself had said, “What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.” He was sure that even though Van Gogh was a painter, a library could be made out of writers who had similar ambitions with their art. Whether they were as good as Van Gogh or not, was irrelevant.

On a whim he decided that he’d write a novel. He had developed a method for composing short stories. He could rattle out a paragraph of insight on any character he wished, could send his mind back to any moment of his experience in order to recapture it, and had a way with expressing moments where a mind reasoned with itself- this aspect he liked best about his writing.

Novels, though had intimidated him. How to make a character go from one chain of thought to another? How to introduce not just one character, but many? He could make it a series of events, but that would be the same as writing a book of short stories. “So what?”, he told himself in order to negate the thought. A book must capture human experience, and by writing about a hundred small instances, he could very well write a novel. It may not have a climax towards the end or the setting up of events which will lead to another, but weren’t books like that something he’d like to read. What plot did English, August have after all. “Life does not have a plot. Why should films have one?” was what the great indie director Jim Jarmusch had said. On that thought, he mentally reminded himself to download Stranger than Paradise the next time he went online. And began to think where to start his novel from. How could he learn how to write them, until he took a crack at it. In the process, many of its mysteries and possibilities would be revealed to him. That was certain.


Coming back to life

I woke up at 6 am today- not to catch a train or a bus- but instead to have more hours in the day to do things. Personally, it is a huge change in my psychological stance. I was the sort of human being who felt happy at sleeping for 12 hours as that would leave me with less time to kill. The world was not a great place to survive in after all. Not more than 10 days back, I slept at 11.30 am and woke up at 9 pm. Breakfast became dinner, dinner became breakfast. There were a range of reasons that I gave myself to justify this habit of abandoning life in the sun- one can feel about things more deeply, connecting thoughts and fantasizing on possibilities can be more ambitious and prolonged, there is no source for validation and no need for it either.

I still stand by those reasons, as they were not based on anything other than experience, but somehow now- these reasons are not strong enough for me. Such a life, has allowed me to grow in some things much before my peers, and in certain things I have been rendered awkward and timid. I realized it’s gravity on happiness only recently and no more am I going to put up with that.


PS: It’s a slow process this, and there’d be more posts on this theme before I finally grow out of it.





Make Hay While The Sun Shines

Lekhchand was happy to receive respite from the last 2 periods of the day over the next two weeks. That, these periods happened to be mostly Mathematics only multiplied the happiness. The annual day was approaching, and more than half the class had departed to various sections of the building, to prepare for the event. Since Lekhchand couldn’t sing or dance, the only avenue left for him was to be involved with was drama. Anyone with an initiative would be given a role, most will be given at least a dialogue, and a few of the teachers favorite pupils would be given sheets of them.

Last year, Lekhchand had played the part of an old man with 3 dialogues which he had been made to  mutter at least 300 times over the course of these days. His mother had been proud, and couldn’t stop praising him for being so clear on the microphone. He was embarrassed by it, because he knew it wasn’t much of a challenge. The old wife of his too was someone he did not like being associated with.  Oh! How his heart would have been gladdened if the wife had been the girl he liked. He’d had daydreams where his wife would be replaced, and in would come the girl he so desperately wanted to be in his vicinity. Soon enough, these daydreams died and Lekhchand went through the days of practice with resignation and boredom.

This year though, he decided that staying in class and playing games like Pen-fight was a much better use of time. So much he’d grown, he would think to himself.


Shalini Garg did not like to be given substitution duties. She had been a trained Bharat Natyam dancer, and would have loved to choreograph the invocation dance. But, when she had mentioned her desire to Mrs. Dutt, she had apologetically said that Anjum had been doing it for the last 4 years.  Shalini was promised a chance for some later event. So many convocation dances happen.

But what good was it to see things that are in the past. In another 5 minutes, she would have to leave for 9th B. A class she had never entered before. She collected a bunch of notebooks that was pending correction, took a sip of water from her bottle and bid goodbye to the 2 other teachers in the staff room.

Entering the class, she saw a bunch of kids at the back playing pen-fight. Having seen this game before, and being irritated by the sound of pens crashing and falling, she decided to cut their party.


Lekhchand was shocked and angered by the teacher (whatever her name was) for taking away their pens. Taking note of her movement, he had saved the Parker from confiscation just in time. It wasn’t his, but he’d saved it, and for which his friend should be grateful.

Instinctively, he followed his friends to request the teacher to return it. “Never again” was promised, and the teacher returned it after telling them to write an essay on “Make Hay While The Sun Shines” in 500 words.


Shalini had learned to not give too much leverage to indiscipline but these sorry, requesting faces of students had always melted her. What would she do with the pens anyway. She had ordered to make a better use of them by writing an essay.

Her mind drifted towards thoughts of her home. Her husband would return from his official tour from abroad. She remembered not being too happy with him, the few days before his departure. He had shown no sensitivity, no eye for her reactions, all the while only making calls, reading mails and politely asking for tea and various bills in between. He had expressed in a few gestures his guilt at not paying attention when she had wanted to bring up the topic, but that he never took any action established that he was doing something much more important.

It was amongst these thoughts, that her face drifted to a boy smiling to himself while writing. And, it was for these images that she’d taken up the profession. How innocent is the way in which these minds work. And, what joy was it to provide jolts to their mind.


An essay given by a substitute teacher without the constraint of compulsory submission had provided Lekhchand with a unique opportunity. He didn’t see the point to proverbs. If you want to say “grab the opportunity when luck is there” then say that. Why this, “Make hay while the sun shines” nonsense.

He decided to ignore the meaning given in his textbooks, and see only its literal meaning. And, thus he began, not knowing actually how hay is made, but surely the sun and its heat had a lot to do with it. Further inquiries suggested that a certain brand of oil must not be kept near the hay because it was advertised as a cool oil and would nullify the effect of the sun. Lekhchand felt a strange thrill, as he put the word ‘nullify’ on paper. He was confident that not many in his class could use it appropriately, and he had only newspapers and magazines and thriller novels to credit for this.

He ended the note with an instruction that was inspired from the WWE advertisement he subjected himself to every day without fail. It read- “Whoever you are, whatever you do, please don’ try this at home.”

He found his efforts extremely hilarious, and was delighted to see a couple of his friends taking too much time to read because they were laughing uncontrollably in between. The mention of the ‘cool oil’ being a deterrent, he noticed was popular among everyone he showed it too.

One thing was clear to him, that nothing- not even scoring that fluke goal in a games period, or receiving a fresh copy of that Harry Potter book after a year of waiting- had made him happier than this.


Looking back at the previous month, I am beginning to realize that my whining tendencies have increased at a pace that should raise a few eyebrows. (Mine have been raised, at least.) Be it for my ‘once again’ dwindling attendance, the rising pile of bills to be paid and assignments to be done, blog posts that I am never able to finish because of an internal choke, subtle goof-ups in a social environment (How many times will I tell myself, that confidence doesn’t need a source of a good thing. It is in fact the source for many good things.), and the list goes on. Whenever a mistake happens, due to my own lack of judgment or bad luck, I look down on the ground (or at anyone around) with a smile and say, “Bummer!”.

Today afternoon, while drinking a Coca Cola in order to counter my lethargy, I had one of those moments where I said ‘Enough is Enough. Tomorrow onwards, I’ll seize the day. Tonight, shall be mine.’ I reminded myself of all the things that I find lacking in me, and made a plan about how much time it would take to conquer them. Surely, the hard work required couldn’t be as much as what I have undergone in order to develop an instinct for good art.

Surely, such uplifting thought is one thing, and it’s execution over a period of time quite another. Yet, such sense of the ways of my personal nature isn’t helpful, I must begin with a clean slate and try to set things right and take every obstacle  not as a signal of failure, but as a challenge that must be overcome. Eventually, such an outlook will become a habit.


Dinesh was struck by a thought that seemed to him filled with poetic intensity. If he could complete this journey (only a walk from his friend’s place to his home) with success and confidence, then surely the girl that he was trying to get will finally feel a mental spark igniting a strong feeling for him. The reason this journey seemed terrible to him, and difficult enough a sacrifice, that it’s completion will force a change of heart in the girl was his fear of dogs who were very likely present in his way.

He told himself that if he did it, his thought would pass through the mind of the girl. He knew from her confession itself that he did play on her mind, but one can play with positive or negative results. He wanted this time to be one of the biggest positive peaks. After all, one cannot control everything if one plays by graceful methods, some element of luck should also play a part.

He wondered how many people did this, make personal deals with the universe. He was confident of it being a common practice. This was the birth of superstition. And, in his experience it worked. He could remember clear instances where he had violated his rules, and suffered and clear instances where he had followed them and conquered. During the US Open finals, he had stopped himself from smoking in the tense ridden five hours. To pump himself through it, he said “If Andy could do it, so can I.” Was this madness, he thought. And rationalised it by ‘it was a very subtle madness unique and available only to humans’ theory. He also found it an excellent way of adding some drama to life.

The dogs had eluded him for the most part of the journey, but he was wise enough to not start feeling too confident. Luck had screwed him over many times in the past, when he started to get confident midway in a journey. Any journey. Dinesh was now struck by how this journey was a metaphor for his journey of life. Such a thought felt strongly gave an immense beauty to even streetlights and the potholed roads it lit.


From his experience, Dinesh knew there were two turns were the presence of dogs were probable. As they approached, he started to mutter the girl’s name and gained strength. Drama and effects were the only way to escape life.

He crossed the first turn without any issue and with extreme silence, but when he was crossing the second one, he decided to play a smart move. Instead of taking the road which was surrounded on both sides by a few dogs, he thought it smarter to walk from the space reserved for a crowd to gather outside the few shops that were there. As soon as he put one foot in that space, the dogs started barking.

What an elementary error he did. Dogs were territorial. They bark if you step into their area. And they have a sense of ridiculing abnormal behavior. Despite knowing this from hearsay, he had for the first time experienced the heat of the mistake. Not knowing how to cross a road full of dogs barking at him, he retreated slowly. With experience he had managed to control his urge to run.

Once a safe distance away, he tried to think about how to complete his journey now that he couldn’t go back the same way for quite some time. Thankfully, there was a restaurant that stayed open till 4 in the morning, and was not far away from there. He drank a glass of water there, and lighted up a cigarette.

He knew the delivery boy well since he had ordered a lot of things from there over the past few months. If he would go in the direction of his house, then surely he’d ask him to drop him. But, there was some time before enough orders were collected.

One thing that depressed him was that his resolve to influence a change had been foiled. The universe had spoken. Just like his life, he had not been able to go the full distance because he had put a foot wrong. The game was not yet over. He could walk back that path. This time without infringing in the dogs territory. But, he couldn’t muster the courage. He had a lot of cold sweat over him, and the phrase ‘he stank of fear’ seemed most appropriate for his position. It would be silly to take the brave chance now.

Someone could pass by on a bike, and he could take a lift, but that didn’t seem appropriate to him. Surely, he’d be taken for a madman. But who cared, people do help a madman and I’d give him a story to tell. Even if someone happened to walk, he would take their company and gather courage from their presence.

No man and no bike passed that road for the next 20 minutes. Or what felt like it. One car did and from the speed at which it went, the driver was bound to be drunk.

Distraught and dejected, he felt like calling his roommate who could come and pick him up on the bike. But, wouldn’t he utter a silly abuse under his breath while coming out to help him. Maybe, but who cared. That is what friends are for. At worst, he could make an excuse and pretend to be sleeping.

Dinesh was embarrassed to do it, but still persisted and called. To his utter delight, the response was very helpfully in the affirmative. When he said, that he’ll come, Dinesh thought ‘Wow! What a messiah. A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ and relaxed after a long time. The universe had spoken against him, but this token of humanity had made the world at least momentarily a better place.