Monday, December 22, 2008

Shadows, Lines, and the Paranoia

Well, I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky. I was looking up and staring at the stars. There were so many of them that night. As if they had all gathered to celebrate some iconic achievement of one of them. Even when pinned to that orange sky, I could count so many of those small red dots. Yes, there were red stars that night. They were like small pieces of cherry someone had used to decorate a huge orange pie. They winked at me and I smiled some. Like a school boy who had just been handed his favourite ice candy. I wished they would wink at me some more. Occasionally, one or two of those red stars came loose and streaked across the sky in a brilliant flash of purple light. But all this happened so quickly that I never got the chance to complete my wish.

I looked around eagerly, looking for something else, just like I was in the habit of doing. Everything had to be made picture perfect, isn’t it? There was a lone tree in the distance that almost gave the scene the look of an Impressionist painting by Monet. But the sky was now slowly turning into a dark shade of crimson, subsuming all the stars within it. I grew somewhat apprehensive of the change and waited for something to happen. It was just then that a dog started howling in the distance, signalling everything ominous that would happen. I cursed him with all my heart, and willed him to silence.

Then you came. And the sky turned a dark shade of orange. Very dark. My smile turned into a frown. I wanted you to go away. You, with those jet black hair that swayed gracefully at your command. You, with those almond eyes whose expression I had tried many a time to fathom. You, with that almost perfect smile and the less than perfect husky voice. You, who marched to the tune of your own beat and seemed to me the perfect balance of elegance and simplicity. You, who had always been the one with the eagerness (and quotient) to make the most of all things small, short-lived, and meaningful. You, who reminded me of everything that was imperfect in my own life. You, who made me think of reasons why I was not smiling anymore. You, who had caused my lovely orange sky to turn into a dark gloomy shade.

I tried noticing more things about you. So that I could use the right words. But my faculties failed me once again. I had never been the one with an eye for details. It had always been you, the silent observer of all things mundane and majestic. I just pretended to go along. So that I could make conversation and engage your attention, even if it was for a small while. And yes, I wish I had said all this before. But I never really got the chance. I was too busy catching up with the scheme of things and working them out to my own advantage. But we digress too much from the dream. The one in which I stood beneath an orange sky.

You came to me, smiling vivaciously. Why was I so cynical in that moment? Was it always the same? I was thinking again, and I cursed myself silently for it. I waited for something dramatic to happen. For something to pop out of the now ominous orange sky. It was a dream after all. But nothing happened. You just came up to me and ran your fingers through my hair. You talked about how beautiful the sky had looked just a moment ago. That lovely orange sky. And how the red stars had now almost dissolved into the huge canvas painted right across our eyes. And how you toohad been unable to ask for a wish from the purple shooting stars.

You talked as if you had been hiding behind somewhere all along, watching me stealthily and softly chuckling to yourself. And slowly talking about it, we lay down on the soft, perfectly green grass to soak in the view better. I was still wary of your presence but your smile erased all doubts. I noticed how the sky curved around us and enveloped all that we could see in its ethereal glow. We were careful not to touch each other for we had still not mustered enough courage. And yet, some higher power commanded that we should. So I took your hand in mine and told you I had things to share. Things that had been left unsaid for so long. Things that would make you revile me. I told you your worst fears might come true today. When you had come smiling to me. Beneath the lovely orange sky. When I could not be sure whether it was night or day, dusk or dawn.

You seemed a bit uneasy at the prospect of having to listen to one of my tirades once again. How was I to know you had a different agenda on your mind? I am not psychic or anything. So I jumped headlong into the quagmire and made you indulge in myvanity. I told you how I had lostthe secret to my happiness and how it was slowly eating me inside out. I told you everything. Even the Paranoia that had been subsuming all that was me, steadfastly. How I had cried one night and stifled my sobs so that they did not wake up others. Yes, I even told you about my fears and what those fears were keeping me from doing. I told you about dark, depressing things I had so far revealed to nobody. So that they were unharmed by its pernicious influence. Yes, I told you about that too.

And when I had done everything, you turned your face away from me. I realized it then. With a pinch of salt to go along with the understanding. My stream of conversation had been consumed by my insecurities and fears. It had been a relentless assault on your patience. The gravity of my words had been a load I was not willing to shed. I had taken the hammer and badgered it time and again against your tolerance, being too uptight to notice how I was stymieing your free will. How I was jealous of your vitality and spirit, and yet was afraid to accept so. How I was slowly poisoning the very thing I had come to adore about you.

To compound my guilt, I had never even asked why you had come here. To meet me beneath that lovely orange sky. Your face turned a deep purple. I looked on aghast, wondering if it would change its hue to something more ugly and sinister. But no, it just remained that sick shade of purple. And then you spoke. You spoke the foul words I wished I had never heard. They burned me in places I did not know existed. I am sorry for being so poetic but I can not think of anything else now. You spilled venom at the weakest moment of my life. I had feared that all along. Perhaps it was the only reason I had been keeping you and others at a distance. Wanting something and fearing it at the same time.

I tried lifting a stone, to chuck it away in disgust. But I could not even throw off the weight of that crazy stone. I saw myself wasting away as your shadow began to dissolve into the soft perfectly green grass. You were smiling, almost mocking my incapacity. And I hated you for it. I turned away from you but your laughter started ringing out in my ears. It was then that I did it. I gathered whatever was left of my strength (and confidence) and used it to hurl the stone your way. However, before it could have hurt you in anyway and made me feel guilty about it, your face dissolved into that lovely orange sky. Your eyes became two big red stars. Your lips became some constellation, the smile on them the sparkle of a shooting star. In a split second, all that was left were you stood was the contours of your face, some lines.

And then it was all dark. No red stars. No lovely orange sky. There was no moon either, red or white, to bath the lone tree in its silver light. I was afraid then. I was afraid I had let my fears haunt you as well. And so many others. In the pitch black dark of that starless moment, I stood silently. I listened to my heavy breathing, now very sporadic. I called out to the people who cared for me and whom I had ignored. I repeated out their names, as loud as my fear would allow. Yet, nobody answered. It was scary. It was as if I had been put in a painting I did not know the way out of. But something even terrible was about to happen. Suddenly I could no longer hear my own voice. I wondered whether I had gone deaf or mute. I had no way of knowing. My voice gone, I began to grope around in the darkness. I could not see my hands. Not my legs for that matter. For an incredible second I heard you call out my name from somewhere close by. I stopped, hoping to hear your reassuring voice once more. Nothing. I heard a faint giggle then. Was it yours? I knew I had to find out. But as soon as I took a step in that direction, I fell into an endless tunnel. The proverbial rabbit hole. I kept falling for what seemed like an eternity. No sound. No light. With a dull thud I felt solid ground beneath my wasted self. I wondered what place I had landed myself into. Almost as if someone heard my thoughts, a pale yellow light bathed the ground beneath my feet. And I saw something diabolic then. Your name had been spelt out on the ground. With my bones. I cried. I shouted. And the very next moment, my dream ended. Well, the one in which I stood beneath an orange sky.


  1. Abstract but very well put down. I'm sort of getting into the habit of saying this, but this is again one of the best from your hand.

    The flow of the entire thing is brilliant!

  2. Yes well written. No doubt. I've read it so many times, I could recite it as if my own. And each time, I discovered another facet. That's a nice thing I'd say.

    However, it reaffirms my faith in the fact that there could be no better name for you than Marvin, the paranoid android.