Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From the diary of an exile

This piece was also published at NEWSGRAM

The fear of turning old has been recurring all through these last few months. Not that the grey hair would bother my ego, not even the flab of dry whitish-brown skin protruding out from the calcium-less bones. I for once haven’t tried being conscious of my looks or even the ever growing beard lately. Most of my life has been without any particular fear. In more liberal fashioned tone, it has been ‘fearless’.

As I’m driving away in the dark to seek solitude, the fear develops stronger. It brings some quick sweat on my face and the deep forehead, added along is some rattling effect on my nerves. With my right foot pressed hard against the accelerator on this empty city road far away from the city of my thoughts. The racing heart is faster than the car at this point. I wish to stop and run away to my ‘home’. Though I know I can’t.

There seems no ‘bring to an end’ to this journey. The farther I travel, more I seek to return. The time dissolves into memory. In this thorny path ahead of me, I see an identity-less non-stop journey into darkness. The journey itself begins in darkness of hope. An ironic life of a wandering soul!

Most nights are spent in the ‘white and black’ of the unseen past. Past being a predicament as much as the future.

I stare at the photograph of a rare sparrow sitting on the gate of a mausoleum with her back turned towards me; on the front is a ‘hazy green’. One of the many photographs pasted above my work desk. The haziness of this forced journey is unpredictable. In this concrete jungle, I do not long for another machine. All I yell for is my lost abode.

Is it the fear of turning old? Or, perhaps of being a ‘homeless’ at the fag-end of life; an ordeal haunting an exile. ‘Freedom is a prison for the exiles’, says an author friend.  I remain confined in that prison lark.

Just as the withered dislocated leaf of ‘Chinar’ which narrates the agony in its fire brown tint before being crumbled, the fear in me shall pass. The silent journey alone to my homeland shall never end. I shall remain young forever to recount the ‘untold story’ of a forgotten tribe. The tribe that existed in their homeland, not so far long ago!

In the words of Gulzar,

ज़िन्दगी यूं ना हुई बसर तनहा, काफिला साथ और सफ़र तनहा!
हमने दरवाजे तक तो देखा था, फिर ना जाने गए किधर तनहा!