Friday, August 31st, 2018
Life is a string.
Beaded with experiences;
Clips of beautiful memories;
Moments that took your breath;
Songs that melted you;
People who touched your hearts;
Beaded into it
Making it special and unique.
Down the lane of time,
Precious memories fade away
Breathtaking moments tick away
People just pass by
Just like the passing clouds Still,
Pouring little drops of rain on you.
Somewhere in the bottom of the heart
Leaving a Dejavu
A trail of memories here and there
Somewhere, sometime, Someone.
There was a knock on the door. My heart beat increased its rhythm. Mouth went dry and my hands started to shake. It was him. Rishi. I knew without opening the door it was him.
It could be anyone. People just turn up at the doors without informing these days. It was a time where there were no mobile phones. Communication to the outside world is banned. We grew up not knowing telephones, not knowing trains, not knowing how to operate a washing machine and dryer because there was no electricity. The Jaffna peninsula was blocked from the outer world by all sort of bans by the government. Economic ban, ban on transportation, ban on communication, ban on medical supply, ban on education and they made sure living is hell to ban us from living.
Hence I know it is him. The rhythm of the knocks and the sound of the knocks are so familiar to me . Three knocks each with one second gap. Very light knocks as if the person is being considerate not to disturb any one. It was strange that mildness and poise coming from a man who had a hard core combat training.
Being a medical college student my brain started to assess the situation to find all the proper reasons for the increased pump of my heart and realized that my brain had a malfunction too.
My heart was beating impatiently, my legs would not cooperate with the heart. I slowly stood up and went to the door. Sweaty palms made it difficult to turn the knob. Contrary to the norm, the rhythm of the knocks changed. Hasty but light knocks on the door said that the person on the other side is impatient too. There he was, on the porch with his trademark smile on his lips, sweats on his forehead because of the humid hot weather, darker than I remembered from last time, being burnt by the sun, rugged clothes and a gun. His same old brown eyes, very sharp and intense, showcasing his wisdom which made me scared of him in the early days, and now drown me in some dream land. He entered the room slowly without any rush. Why was he knocking so rapidly? Impatient to see me?
The gun scared me at the beginning. I would be looking at it with a disgusted look. Studying to be a physician, I believed in saving even the enemy, not killing. He realized that I hate the gun and would pass it to the boy standing outside to keep it. That was the only thing made me tolerate him at the beginning. At least he respects others’ feelings.
Here he is now. An intense look has replaced the initial smile. He was staring at me as if saving all the details in his memory. That is new.
After a very long month, disappearing without a word to me, he is back now. On some level, I have realized that asking those ‘wh’ questions would steer him away from me. They value confidentiality and security very much. They would not jeopardize others’ lives; rather they themselves would die to save others.
I never asked those why and when questions and he never volunteered with an answer. On a subconscious level, we mutually realized that these questions would shatter the invisible barriers. It was like a hide and seek game. Knowing and not knowing
But do I have the right to be mad for not telling me? Who is he to me? It is not like we are friends or we have declared anything about caring each other. He would just come, ask some stupid questions, sit there talking about current affairs, political clouds, the bomb that blasted the other day, military attack that took place somewhere at the dawn of the night, Nebalm bombs that killed innocent people anything and everything would be the topic. Then he would drink some tea and leave.
It seemed he needed a space to be himself, not guarded, not surrounded by boys who looked up to him for everything, forgetting his responsibilities just for a while and maybe to be with me? That was a question I often ask myself during the night, lying down on the bed thinking about him. Is he coming for me? Or Am I wishing it to be for me?
He would be very emotional if innocent people and his comrades were killed by the military attack. He would be sad and moody and sometimes would murmur words like “ we have to kill those beasts”. I would be so scared to even open my mouth during those emotional outbursts. Sometimes I wonder if he comes to me to vent out his frustrations. Outside of this room, he is a commander. His boys watch his every step in great wonder. Showing his emotions would weaken the morale of the boys. He has to be brave and courageous for the safety of his boys and his people.
But inside this room, he is just an ordinary guy with pent up emotions. I know he is a proud guy to show his emotions outwardly. At the beginning he did not. Stone like face was the only indicator that he is sad and angry. It took awhile for him to be less guarded around me. May be he relaxed in my company. Or may be my presence gave him some comfort or he thought me as a shoulder to cry on.
His eyes would be misting. His hands would clench. I would sit there silently listening. I did not know how to console. I did not know what words would calm him down. I didn’t even know if I had the right to hug him. Hugging a guy who is not a father, brother or a husband is a taboo in the society. My father never hugged me. I never hugged my brothers. He did not look like he needed some words of comfort either. After his anger is gone, he would give a shy smile embarrassed by his outburst. One day after we grew affectionate, he told me that me being there and listening provided him so much comfort and energy to start the next day with new hope.
Lately these visits have developed into a pattern. I would make some dinner for him. He would just sit there thinking about something, or talking about their dreams, which I initially thought was unrealistic, listening to some war time songs or just looking at me preparing dinner.
Each time he turned up at my door, sometimes with important doubts and sometime with silly questions, we both knew that there was nothing pressing for him to come here on his own, raising eyebrows. He looked like a silly Chessire cat with a smile on his face whenever he asked a silly question.
At the beginning I was so against it. A guy out of my league knocking on my door raised not only the eyebrows but also some questions from the friends and family. I did not like it. I was born and raised as a Christian, whereas for all what I know he might be an atheist. Later I learnt he is spiritual. He believes in the cosmic power that influences all the human lives. Yet he would not call it as God.
I was educated in a convent in English medium and attended mass in English. My habits and etiquette were very refined and polished making us the “English speaking Christian high class people.” Whereas, he came from a Saiva Middle Class of Jaffna Peninsula. Our paths never crossed before and never could have crossed. Both of us meeting and talking was very strange.
Waves will continue to crash…