Chantal didn’t finish the story. After gazing through the few lines that she had written, her search for a known voice abandoned her.
She sat near the window, still holding her pen, playing with it in a steady rhythm, Chantal thought of something and rushed back to her seat. She wrote in her notebook–
It appears as if the joy within
Knows nothing about the war within
Pausing for a moment, she then closed her notebook with a rough jerk. Chantal got up and walked back towards the window, this time leaving the pen behind, letting it rest on the table.
Her gait reflected her confused, unsure, restless state of mind. Chantal took a deep sigh and then without giving it a thought, wrote the word ‘Incomplete’ on the windowpane; a hazy layer of fog on it allowed her to.
Chantal’s eyes fell on something interesting, something which was moving towards her house, she smiled. Her hand poked her cheek as she pondered over the matter.
Suddenly, she opened the window and shouted, ‘Hi, how are you? It has been so long…’
A muffled voice replied, it made Chantal laugh heartily.
A smiling Chantal then closed the window and ran towards the door, opened it and left. Her footsteps on the wooden floor made a fine music.
Only when I couldn’t find the pen today, I picked you to write my random thoughts down. Not so sharp, but nice and silvery, I wrote some charcoal rich lines.
That you are not related to permanence, that all the lines written can be erased and that I was thinking about permanence before I reached half of the page, made me ponder.
Life was different as a child, when I scribbled, played the dot game on the last page of my notebook and the famous noughts and crosses.
I was chaotic and fearless, almost heroic when you and I first met.
The journey that started with you and the sharpener versus me and the eraser faded humbly away.
Then it was me dreaming and toying with you, all the while pretending to study. You were also delicious, the woody taste mixed with many dreams, you became my best pal.
Together we circled round and round with the help of the compasses and halted the sun, the earth, and the moon in my notebook.
How and where did this happen, I am not sure, but I dropped you somewhere when I forgot to see the sky, the mountains, the river, and the birds.
A memory knocked quietly, and I had a word with it. Remember the drawing of a mountain range, a river flowing by, a small house, a few trees around it and birds in the sky, and a tiny boat sailing in that river?
Yes! I said.
Then came back the doodle stars – small and big, shapeless and funny – and I was in a wink’s time deluged by colourful butterflies dancing around the crayon flowers, the happy trees swaying with the wind, the cartoons copied from magazines and comics exploding with ‘boom-bang’, the abnormally proportionate national flag and curiously round mother earth.
I never began without you and my friend eraser whenever I drew.
Time snatched you away from me and warned me to study, learn, grow, and get a job. It was the time-bombs’ fault, not mine.
Deliverance came to me one fine day and I was free. It was all too funny and therefore, I laughed madly.
It happened after some years of that time-bomb explosion. I noticed I wasn’t dead and nothing was as bleak as it looked. I wanted to draw!
I took a deep breath and reached a fork in the road and saw you there. Delighted, I picked you up and the rest you know.
The last sketch I drew was sublime for me.
I have started enjoying the illusion once again and living the ephemeral me happily, thanks to you, Pencil dear.
“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 seems to be thinking 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.
When choosing my flower’s colour /
Blindly I pick all – the sun decides /
Which one suits me more.
A storyteller, following the ancient tradition of cave chroniclers, standing in vrikshasana (the tree pose) on a hill top (it is sunny, but windy), breathing in and out stories (relishing it all, but at times overwhelmed), declares animatedly that she will continue to – tell stories, share rare story gems, and connect with the pacy universe while also keeping the website ad-free.
Big thanks to my readers. Stay tuned!
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Chiming Stories (formerly Home Chimes)
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