Monday, December 23, 2013


There was a day two weeks back when I was told some forms of love are illegal; I thought what it'd be like to love someone, to touch him or her for years in secret places and feeling shivering magic run through one's veins and then being told one day that no one wants you to love that way, that people will tell you how to touch him or her, how to place your head on the side of his/her neck, how to look at him/ her after you are spent from hours of lovemaking on sticky afternoons...and when you have done what they have told you, just the way they want it; like it's not your body and his/hers but all of their bodies forcing themselves on yours, all their voices being pushed down your throats in long forced kisses down reluctant loveless mouths. Only then will they say you have loved, only then will you have really loved. I didn't have an answer to how it would feel, I don't know what it feels to be pushed to the other side of law because of loving, because of having one's own way to love.
I cant think of a thing more violent.
There is a library in Calcutta I went to and didn't know about the existence of its Delhi branch. Someone told me they are shutting down and selling off their stock. There is nothing sadder than seeing shelves of books with gaping vacant spaces in between stacks. This is a library that loved its books- neatly wrapping each book in clear covers, stamps that don't go overboard and issue slips that are cut to size and pasted without any damage. To see them parting with these just because too many people in this city have too little time to waste on reading, is perhaps the deepest pain I have felt in a very long time.
All books have stories that go beyond the print. In libraries one can literally hear them breathe; you touch them and you feel someone else's fingerprints on the leaves- left behind perhaps on a rainy evening beside fogged windows when there was nowhere to go, imprinted over tea with a little bit of the milk tea brown on the pages, as a keepsake. You turn each page and there are sounds of busy roads, terrible traffic jams braved through by casting one's eyes on the printed word, all dealt with from one seat in one corner- settled within canopies of permanent black, bubbled amidst the buzzing of the intoxicating fill of the vanilla like smell we have rubbed our noses against.
And to think that all this will go, into boxes and bags- shredded, torn and glued to hold grocery, to bleed into machines so that they can be rolled back into being nothing again, creates this mist between one's eyelashes that descends and pours out in silence. Some drops find their way into the letters- making love like there is no end after all, becoming at once the smell of vanilla and the taste of salt. Seeping into dog eared skin, locked in a kiss in its bid to be immortal and eternal.
And all I can do is say nothing when I hold my stack between my frozen palms, my shoulders drooping from the weight of stories.
I have known nothing sadder.


Su said...

Your words are hushed in the beauty of that silence that has been boxed up in christmas presents for too long and forgotten. The pain of re-criminalisation could not have been put forth in a more heart-wrenching manner. This is beautiful. Please publish.

Subhalakshmi Roy said...

This is beautiful. Poignant and beautiful.

Office e boshe kyano janina dillir jonye mon kyamon korlo.

Which library?

little boxes said...

Eloor, Kolkatay ekta ache Jamir Lane er kache.

Subhalakshmi Roy said...

Ei I used to go there! Shoot they were in Delhi?! Jah!

Elendil said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Aruni RC said...

the magic of bookshelves, the hushed whispers of the worsmiths. oh yes. and the other magics that come to oneself only in the detached afterglow after loving. when things are fragile and transient and one can appreciate the frailty of existence and yet the urge to live life.

ach, ignore the rant. beautifully written as always.