“Civilization begins with distillation said William Faulkner….” The way he wrote it on the blackboard, I first felt as if I am in a management class and I should note it down, word to word… later, I did note it down but the feeling wasn’t the same. The white chalk on the blackboard and the handwriting suddenly changed and I felt I had heard a secret that William Faulkner said long back. It happens a lot and though it’s strange, I enjoy these secrets… no I don’t understand the secrets, all of them, immediately, no, I just absorb them quietly. I generally don’t remember all of them, especially on the occasions when there is a need to quote them but nonetheless a beautiful, warm and sweet feeling stays, the secret stays, forever.
The ink on my paper also talks to me but I rarely pay attention. And when I do, the ink has nothing to say. When it has something to say and when I also listen to it, a tear falls and erases it. Yes, tears can erase and paint beautifully.
I don’t know why, but I use the word beautiful a lot. There are so many other words like charming, pretty, gorgeous, lovely, graceful, even heavenly… how does it matter anyway, every word is beautiful. I scribbled some lines on the last page, it goes – ‘how beautiful the scene was but when I tried to capture it…it died.’ On that page then, I couldn’t write anything, not a word, I just doodled. The flowers, the creepers, the sky, the moon and the sun close to each other along with the stars circling them, a small boat and a butterfly all danced their way towards what I wrote and then stopped. I darkened the moon, till it looked very deep and I have plans to colour the butterfly.
What is he saying? What are we talking about? Have I missed something important? I flip the pages and peep at someone else’s book. To confirm! Ha! It is the same page, nothing has changed, he has been talking and talking; I felt for a moment that ages have passed, time rushed some centuries back and forth for me, swinging in different worlds I almost always forget to live in the present.
Everything is so cold for some never ending seconds, then why will I not want the warmth of the other worlds? The last page…and I float again.
Oops! The duster fell from his hand and we all smiled. I shared my smile with a guy sitting next to me. How stupid is that? Laughing without any reason…though I generally do that a lot.
I have a story in mind… it’s an image that has stayed with me for a time I can’t recall. An old man, he is tall but thin, his wrinkled hands and tattered clothes tell me something different from what his wrinkled face expresses – a smile. He is always smiling or is it because the wrinkles have taken such a shape or is it just my imagination. We are on the same bus and I never think about the bus fare because I just don’t but the old man with a wrinkled smile fixed on his face seemed to think about it a lot. For two-three minutes, he requests the conductor to allow him to travel without the bus fare and then from his invisible pocket of his torn coat, he takes out some coins and gives it to the conductor. I can’t hear the exclamations of the conductor, I am too engrossed to see the old man with a wrinkled smile fixed on his face.
The pages are turning, millions have written in it, the ink is dry and still alive… a lot has been said and there is still a lot to say… the blank page looks exciting and it says the most and aloud. I am listening. Are you listening?
‘Are you listening?’ Yes, I nod! He has written something else on the board but I didn’t see him writing again. “All truths wait in all things – Walt Whitman.”
Wait… for there is some truth waiting to get revealed in everything. I wrote this on the blank page, there I also drew a time machine, then the whole universe danced its way towards what I wrote and then stopped. I plan to colour it with light.