People ask me why I keep visiting Goa, over and over. I tell them there are multiple ways to see the same place. Even a mirror reflects only one angle at a time, you need to turn and twist until you see the whole picture.
Goa is a place where energies combine – sex meets spiritualism – and one feels a general sense of belonging. It got me thinking whether it’s the place that makes the people, or is it the other way round? Maybe people don’t really belong to any place, they belong unto themselves. I seem to belong everywhere and nowhere. I constantly find myself in the strange and eccentric company of musicians, poets, models, entrepreneurs, creators, and I am merely the onlooker, the dreamer, the realist, the observer, the invisible writer in a crowd of outliers.
Today I sit in one of the hippest cafès in Goa, typing away on my laptop – the only brown, rotund, tar-smoking, coffee-drinking city-dweller on the brink of death and external existential crisis, among a sea of white, fit, tan hippies smoking pot, braless, fearless, babies on one hip, dreadlocked and loose-lipped, and for a minute I experience the familiar dread of not belonging – but only for a minute. How shallow of me to pass judgment from the outside, how obtuse of me to label the aesthetic as empty shells, for I have found pearls in the most unlikely places.
And so I just relax the furrows on my brow, sink into my chair and put on a smile. At least for this morning, I am comfortable in my own skin and happy to just be me, and for now, that is enough.
Mirrors have strange qualities. They reflect and they invert. Every person becomes a mirror to at least one of another’s traits.
I’m lying on a beach bed, sipping a beer. I have run away, all by my lonesome, to a beautiful resort in a small Goan village. Everything I need, and more, is right here. My insecurities lie abandoned, hundreds of miles away, in a home I may not return to, in a city that no longer feels mine, and unnoticed by friends that once felt like home.
I watch gorgeous young bodies tanning in the sun, flaunting taut stomachs and flawless skin, and I have no inhibitions and not a care in the world. But I watch healthy minds wasting on beach beds, browning, browning, and I wonder what they contemplate when they lie beneath the sun all day long, I wonder what happens of the endless rumination, and I wonder where it all goes. And I look down at my own self, and look, I am still tightly wound, the strings still threaten to unravel at the first pull, and still I continue to stack the blocks, waiting for the game board to collapse.
And then I see it, the inversion, my mirrors by the seaside. There’s the crowd, in twos and threes, and then there’s me, the outsider with no category. I have seen my reflection, now that I’ve stopped trying to belong. I have learnt something from the ocean. I hold up a mirror to the ocean, but my reflection stays invisible until called into existence.
Continue reading Part 3
I know you. I know you well, almost as well as I know the back of my hand, or how my tongue knows the edges of my teeth.
You are the lone tear that rolls down my cheek without warning. You are the characters I create to escape my bleary present. In fact, you are all my characters fused into a grey nebulous mass at the back of my mind. You are their voice, their story, their tragedy, their laughter, their strength. I know you; I created you. I know your purpose. I know your beginning. I know your reason to exist.
I wanted no part in your creation. But I had no say in it. And now look, you are no longer a wisp of thought, a broken consciousness. You are a tumor, little grey one.
Now I know. Finally I understand. I will be the first to go. I will go first, so that you survive, so that you outlive me. Not because I want a part of me to stay behind, but because you shall have meaning. Because when you end me, you shall break free.
I was sitting in my usual corner in the café, when I noticed something interesting. A woman was sitting at the table opposite mine, quite unnoticed by me until the person she was waiting for showed up. The door opened, he walked in and she flashed him a brilliant smile that shone in the semi-darkness – pearly white teeth, dimpled cheeks and wrinkles around her welcoming eyes.
I cannot remember the last time I smiled that way, or was even smiled at with such delight. I realize I greet people with curt nods and save my smiles for the moments that are truly deserving. And now those moments have simply passed me by, waiting, hoping and finally surrendering. I have amassed my own smiles, my own unabashed laughter, affection and naiveté. I realize I’ve been trading silly for sullen and smiles for scowls.
I do not remember leaving a trail back to my store of smiles. Maybe I can trade my frowns again. Maybe I shall dance in the rain again. Maybe someday I will smile for no reason and make that my moment to treasure.
It’s lights out and I’m high as a kite, and I keep thinking about me, you, us, him, her and them. This whole generation, the so-called millennials. I keep wondering if we’ll ever stand out. When will we make our point? Is it cigarettes? Travel? Artistic expression? No. Social media? SEO engagement? NO! What, then? And did the past generations know it at the time? Did they know that they would make it to the eternal eras? Maybe they just skipped a heartbeat, and maybe our generation is yet to die out. But I miss the Woody Allens, the Linklaters, and the Scorceses. And where are the Mitchells, the Dylans, and the Floyds, the Armstrongs, the Mandelas and the Musks, and the Hawkings, the Einsteins and the deGrasse Tysons? Are they hiding in plain sight, or have I turned deaf and blind towards the good, the wondrous and the beautiful? I wish I knew. I wish I knew if we are all doomed, doomed to fret wistfully over the adolescence of our times and the beautiful nostalgia of the past.
Inch by fucking inch, ants crawl over the burnt flesh of my fingers. They take their time; it’s not like I can move my fingers or even flex them. Left with a throbbing hand and not much to do, I thrust my other hand down my pants and masturbate. Using my left hand feels unfamiliar and amateur, but I get myself off fantasizing about a stranger groping a shy young girl on the subway. Sick. Twisted. I know. There’s more where that came from. Perhaps it means I was abused as a child and have daddy issues. But no point dwelling on these things. The sky glows orange, then pink and my eyes fade out onto a portion of wall which reflects the changing colours. Words come to me then, words that dance before my eyes, shapeless words forming, burning, rearranging, searching for something worth fighting for. Words that fight sleep, words that scream at the walls of my mind, words that whisper to the voices inside my head, words that coax my fears to come out and play and words that are too shy to be tasted by my tongue.
Our shadows tangle
into an obscene dance
thousand caresses take flight
in half a second’s glance
I’d mistaken midnight nudity
as penchant for the perverse
but your soul sucked out
the poison in my verse
and my silhouette
bathes in the moonlight
it stands tall and pure,
yet eclipsed by the night
Is this how you see me –
just a unicorn shadow,
a darkened face in
a distant window?
But I’d rather be a silhouette
than a mere reflection
I’d rather be words
than a lilting temptation