Thursday, December 18, 2014

Making Sense of Nonsense

I am silent
I don't comment
I don't like
For I dislike

Extinguishing lives
Young and old alike
Driving through the hearts
Sharp shooting spikes

Can one even start to think
Of explaining all this stink?
Of hatred that runs so deep
That it has its own course to keep?

In the name of God, they say
Playing Devil's advocate
Revenge for our hurts, it seems
Hurting so much that heart weeps

Soothing can these words be?
These smooth, double-edged swords?
Raking wounds, reminders of loss
Reminders that it could be any of us all

In routine we find solace
In denial there is paradise
Just mind your business, friends
And we will be rid of this nonsense

And so we shout
And so we complain
Then get back to our lives
Till new irritants arise.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Man in the Mirror

He rolled down his car window for some fresh air. It was late in the night, less traffic, clearer air.

He saw billboards splashed with faces of leading actors and actresses dotting the skyline. The commercial capital ran on the wheels of commercial art - the cinema, he thought with a wry smile.

He turned the corner and inhaled sharply. The face of Jay Surana stared at him, face angled flirtatiously at the camera, a shining burgundy blazer stylishly draped on the shoulder, black trousered legs at an angle to indicate he was just walking away.

He couldn't help admiring the perfect expression on the handsome face and imagine its effect on the women in the room. He knew women loved that expression, had heard enough and more about it, seen several articles discussing just this very look threadbare. Jay Surana. He had used that very look to reach the top in the tough world of cinema.

He shook his head in disgust and rolled up the window. Popular actor but critics' pet peeve. "No stuff, all fluff" - sobriquets that Surana had brushed away with seeming ease. Women would die for a look from him. But the intelligentsia looked beyond that and saw only a man cool and calculative.

He tut-tutted. He knew Jay inside out, knew his guts, his hardships, his hardness - the armour he had cultivated over the years to get to the top and remain there. It needed ruthlessness. It was futile to discuss that point.

He grimaced in disgust. He turned the air conditioner dials to make it cooler. His mobile rang. His wife's name splashed on the screen. Mechanically, he turned the Bluetooth on, and spoke briefly. "On my way."

"You are late," she reminded him.

"Yes, it got late. Technical glitches."

"She was there?" she asked in a more hesitant tone.

He chuckled. "Of course, I told you."

"You are coming home, right?" she asked softly.

His chuckle swelled to laughter. "What a question! What did you think?"

"Nothing... I am waiting."

His smile died as the call ended. He became more aware of the pain in his chest. Not his a way, it was his heart, but not the organ.

She had been there - Shreya Samarth; the no-nonsense Shreya who did not suffer fools lightly and whose straightforwardness could cut through swathes of lies.

The moment she set eyes on him, the fire in her eyes died and they turned cold like icebergs fractionally before she turned to face her fans with her characteristic animation.

Oh they carried on with the show - Jay Surana and Shreya Samarth, Rekindling the Magic. They were veteran actors, acting was in their blood. They could rekindle the magic and make it look natural enough.

And it had strained every nerve to not show how much the fire was consuming him - striking the right balance of intimacy and yet the respectable distance of talking about a co-star. Reviving memories...

Was that a tear, making its way out? Did he still have it in him to cry?

He reached home. His wife came eagerly forward and scanned his face. His cool look was back. He patted her cheek. "I am tired. Would like to hit the bed," he said and left her behind to enter the bathroom.

When Shreya and he broke up, something else broke inside him. Or did she break up because she saw that nothing would break him, that he was beyond caring?

He looked at the man in the mirror. He realised that when he met his eyes in the mirror, the fire died and there was only coolness.

Jay Surana did not like meeting Jay Surana.
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