There are times, when you fall for somebody's talent, so deeply and so intensely, that you're never sure what to say when asked 'Why do you like them so much ?'
Sameera at Life in a Jiffy is one such person for me. She is a balanced writer and a beautiful human being. She is getting married to a lovely young man on 28th July 2012. Shower her with all your best wishes and lots of love. Just like me, Sam too was a little skeptical about guest posts, but I'm so glad that my first one is from her pen.
Thank You Sam :)
The air was still. The floor polishers, hammers, saws and drills that groaned throughout the day rested silently like tired young children who had played longer than what they could endure. The wooden support structure that served the purpose of enabling movement up and down the partially constructed building creaked as I bent forward. About three storeys high, I was inclined at an impossible angle. Achieving it by resting my hands alternatively on the wall each time I scraped out the extra cement on the wall. My eyes squinted in the flickering light to observe the protruding portions of the wall. My hand followed the vision and a subconscious nod titled my head as my fingers felt the asymmetry of the surface. With a tiny metal piece that was strapped with sand paper on either side I started my chore. Blowing away the chipped off excess cement in a practiced manner after every screeching stoke made on the wall- yes that was my job.
It is thrilling to know that a slight imbalance could cause my body to be converted into mashed red lump on the ground way below and liberate my soul? I carefully shift my feet to the next portion of the wall. I pass a window in between. Too early for its glass to be fit, but I see a faint reflection on it. My black hair appears grey with dust and rough carelessly grown stubble gives me a rather grotesque look. Big white eyes bulge out of skull as I stare at my own reflection. I think that’s what happens to most of the boys when they become men, built bit by bit into a figure which is an accumulation of fragments of dying hope and rumble of dreams.
I dare not think of the dream with which I had left my village, my home and my people at fifteen. Three Rupees tucked in the inner pocket of my underwear; I had the world to take over. I starved, I crumbled, I stole…I regretted and corrected. But, I never cried. It was the dreams and the hope that kept me from weeping. You know that hop in my walk and belief in my mind that tomorrow I will be big man? That was that tender age when I had the fate in the grip of my fist and hope in my heart. I smile and brush away those memories and gaze back at my reflection one last time before I slide ahead. I start grinding the sandpaper on the wall. I don’t realise my movements are faster and the pressure of the rub is greater till my hand aches. I don’t want to pause. I don’t want to think.
But my mind walks through a boulevard of dreams abandoned dreams. “Amma I opened a small puncture repair shop today.” That was the first call I had made home in the two years that I had been away. No response was received from the other end just faint sobs of joy and sadness - joy for having heard from me and sadness because, perhaps she knew what I didn’t know back then. I never called her back apart from a drunken call in which I just wet my eyes but didn’t speak a word. It was the day my shop was rolled over so that the road could be widened. Not a word of warning or hint was given. I just came one early morning to find my assets broken. Worse I had to pay for customer’s cycle that got damaged in the event. My little margins accumulated over time vanished into thin air leaving me with nothing but just three rupees like three years ago.
Failures followed chipping off my zeal to fulfil my dreams little by little and I stood near the labour market as the last resort to earn money. Pick me up for any work I’ll do it. I just didn’t want to go back home to the faces that would mock me, “Didn’t we tell you, it will be a waste. City Boy eh? Big man…? You should have tilled fields here, married a girl and taken care of your parents.” I wanted more than that and when I chased it, it left me with nothing? Life is unfair. “Will you work in construction, Rs.100 per day?” I nodded, my head had jumped into a truck occupied by many men, women and children. Over the years I shifted from cement mixing, laying bricks, and painting walls to anything and everything that makes a building. I have lost the track of time three, four I can’t tell how many years have passed.
Phoo, phoo, I blow of the scraped cement and bring my mind to the present. I catch my own shadow on the wall I sculpt to make it smooth. Shadow-a black contour of man, a faceless, unidentified man. I continue to grind on the surface, slowly – meticulous, smoothing my hard memories with the action and fading away into the night sculpting the dreams of what that man in the shadow could be. Hope, I guess it still resides in me somewhere.
Written as a part of Captured Writings.