Closure

 

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It has taken me quite a while to write this post; kept writing and erasing and rewriting it all over again, abandoning countless drafts – just because I did not want to sound corny.

Five years back, at the very start of med school, I had decided to chronicle my days of undergraduate life on this blog – I had recently read Erich Segal’s Doctors – and I was very motivated. Consistent with my personality (and sheer laziness), this motivation did not last beyond two days (can be found here and here.)

As it happens, I wrote the prologue back then, lived the subsequent chapters and now I am writing an epilogue of sorts; just to tie up some loose ends for once in my life. Downton Abbey, Naruto, everything seems to be ending. It is a season of closure and I believe it is high time I offered the same courtesy to my resolutions, even if this particular one was made five years back.

What is so surreal about graduation is how vividly I remember some days; as if some iota of my being is still reliving them all simultaneously. I remember bunking classes and going to the BDS cafeteria just for their fries. I remember the never-ending surprise birthday parties. I remember the Reading Hall shenanigans, the Dissection Hall study sessions. I remember the Voice of LUMHS’ brainstorming meetings, the frantic art assembling for the Top Ten Ceremony. I remember the sneaky nails of the lecture hall benches that always managed to get snagged in my jeans. I remember the impromptu hangouts, the 1000-comment posts. I remember the petty fights, the long-held grudges. I remember witnessing the fights transforming into lasting friendships, the grudges slowly fading with time. I remember the happy moments, the missed opportunities, the crests and troughs of friendships.

Even as I reminisce, I realize how different I am from the person of five years ago.  My patience, my fortitude has slowly chipped away along with all pretense of diplomacy in the incessant drama of med school – I have learnt what battles to fight, what battles to retreat from and what battles to just … let go. It has not been an easy process and I am not sure I have got it down perfectly as well. But, hey, if there is anything I have learnt in these five years, is how to be comfortable with my own opinion and to stand by it.

Back then, I had talked about the fear of applying knowledge we acquire in med school on actual patients – now I realize that fear never really goes. You instead take it up as a companion, always there to remind you to do the best for your patients.

So, yes, I have no idea how cynical or conscientious or different I would be in the next few years, but I do know this: I will always try to remember these moments of five years as vividly as I do today.

 

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Of a Writer’s Mind: Antipoles

for Lambros

Discovered this via Brewed at 5 am – it was so unsettling, that it compelled me to write something about it.

What most do not realize that no pull is greater than the urge to pen words on to a paper; for inspiration is a fickle thing. It comes at the most unfortunate time and sly that it is, if not penned down at that particular moment, it disappears and never comes back.

I have built empires and destroyed them in my mind; landscapes, buildings, nations, creatures, and what not has taken form in my mind and has then crumbled with time. This is how terrifying it is, so utterly scary that what you create is so simple, so easy to shatter. And even whence that particular figment of imagination has scampered away, it leaves behind a vestigial feeling of regret, that you failed to grasp the idea and put it into words. Not much is more haunting than the ghost of an old idea – always there to pester but never perceptible enough for you to get rid of it.

However, the vice versa is no less difficult. You pen down the words; but it doesn’t end there. You nitpick, you edit, you erase, you strike down. And even when it is out for the world to read, rather than triumph, dissatisfaction plagues you. For, being a writer means that you are never really satisfied with your work. There is always a better word out there that you could have used, some phrase that would have been more apt. And this rattling feeling of something just not being right always stays with you.

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A tragedy in the making

They were afraid. Frightened not of the intensity, not of the ferocity of their love, but of the massive bubble that had encapsulated their lives. The entire world could see through the bubble; a loving couple much in love. What the world could not see, however, was the consequence their otherworldly love had on their lives. They needed each other to complete one another; their individual identities had been sewn in the quilt of other great loves.

Do not mistake me. They had forsaken their precious, separate lives to spend a life together. And it was indeed a wonderful life that they spent together.

But they paid dearly for it.

In their quest to become them, they forgot what he and she symbolized.

The world called what they shared a legendary love. But all they saw was a new tragedy in the making.

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The Witch’s Son

He found the boy huddled in the battered wooden closet, trembling at the sight of naked steel he held in his hand.

‘What is your name, boy?’ Juan asked of the boy. Bare-chested, with only a pair of patched-up breeches clasped around his thin waist, the boy looked not more than ten years of age.

Terrified, the boy opened his mouth, but no words came; his eyes still lingering on the long sword Juan wielded. All that managed to come out was the doomed sound of a hunted animal. Juan sighed and sheathing his sword, squatted besides the boy. “What is your name, son?” He reiterated.

The boy’s lips quivered, ’H..Henry, m’lord.’

“Ah, that is quite the regal name you bear, Henry.” Juan smiled kindly.

Henry responded with a sniff; the terror in his eyes had somewhat waned. The smile never left Juan’s face – it was a smile of persuasion, a smile to put the boy at ease. After several moments of silence, mustering his courage, the boy finally spoke.

‘Are you one of them?’

Juan who had been looking around at the shabby room, fixated his attention back on the boy. His stoic eyes stared into the innocent eyes of the child. ‘Yes,’ he replied tersely.

‘I saw it. She forbade me, but I still saw it,’ the boy said, his words echoing a strange detachment.

Juan said nothing.

‘They dragged her out and tied her to the pole. And then they set fire on it. She burnt and they laughed. A witch, they said, she was. A witch,’ the boy uttered in a hollow voice. ‘She had asked me to hide in the cabinet and not come out. But I wanted to see. And so I sneaked out and saw what they did to her. She forbade me, but I still saw it.’

The boy’s eyes held no emotion, neither of grief nor of fear; his countenance indifferent, except for a lone tear that streaked down his sunken cheek. Never had Juan seen such a pitiful, defeated existence. It was as if the boy knew what treachery fate had played with him.

Juan hesitated. He knew what he must do. Vermin cannot be allowed to live, he remembered the edict that was stamped on his mind. Yet he hesitated. He would have gladly slit the throat of a sorcerer, but this was just a boy.

Silence reigned for a while.

‘Do it,’ the boy whispered.

Juan was shaken out of his preoccupation.

‘Do it,’ he repeated; the boy no longer slurred his words, a curious boldness had swept across his frame.

Juan understood and unsheathed his sword.

 The boy was the witch’s son, after all.

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typewritten love

This is how I picture it:

He leans over a glossy, beautiful typewriter, that basks in its vintage glory. He puckers his face in concentration, as he goes over the dozens of requests made by complete strangers. He leans back. He, maybe, sways his head a bit to the left and chews at the end of the pencil he has nibbled at for the past hour, while creativity did its rounds inside his mind. He, then, maybe, just sighs a little; nay, not of exasperation, nor of boredom, but of the inability to choose one of the many requests. He finally picks one that he believes will resonate the most. He straightens up. He mounts the paper on the platen. And, then he starts pecking away at the keys.

The ambiance of the room, where he writes on his beloved typewriter, is fascinating at that moment – the moment when thak thak, the sound of the keys, impregnates the air; the moment when he pushes each key, as lovingly as an artist would paint strokes with a brush; the moment when he  types each word with the realization that somewhere, someone may get inspired by it.

And, once he finishes typing, he smiles.

He knows he has typed something meaningful.

——————————————————————————————————————-

This is what he typed for me.

mytypes4'

Thank you for the love, Typewriter.

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a john doe.

he lurked somewhere behind in their shadows.
unknown. unnoticed. unheard of.
for many, he had just been a stepping stone. a drab rock, fit only for them to stomp on.
for some, he had just been a catalyst. a pitiful substance that never changed itself, yet changed their lives.
for some, he had just been an abandoned puppy. a pathetic, lost creature who was  petted and stroked and fondled for some time until forgotten again.
for a few, he had just been an object of ridicule. a whimpering lowlife, a prey that always managed to get caught on the hook.
for a few, he simply did not exist. avoided, maybe. a void, definitely.

a silhouette. a fleeting shadow. a forgotten face.
that is all he was.

in life.

and.
in death.

a john doe, eik laawaris laash.

 

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