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Dipanjan Das

Hello Darkness My Ol’ Friend

Gradually the emptiness creeps back out of nowhere. It fills up to the beam, living no room free for movement. The distractions, escapes designed by the mind do not help. The night is inevitable in the end.
“Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again”
There is nothing to be afraid of the dark. It is an old acquaintance turned friend at times. So much time spent in its company, so many years getting to know the alleys and dungeons spreading all over the town. It felt like taking a walk around the broken concrete footpath on a grim evening in a city dying from its own dreams.

Sometimes it was like the dreamy nights with star filled skies. It would have been quite all right if not the air was filled with the melancholic tune of a violin weeping through the dry winds from a far off cottage. Unknowingly you walk towards the tune with your heart filled with memories and all that had to be. If only we were content like this all the time!
Darkness never fails to surprise! It still holds an unlimited amount of hidden and unexplored depths, raging currents and sucking whirlpools that can sweep you right off your feet and land you in the mercy of the pull or push of the waves. Then you have no choice but to drown. You are sucked inside, thrown away far into an unfamiliar territory where everything is unknown and threatening. Your lungs are filling up making you gulp for air all the while. The black gets into your eyes and makes its way to the heart and mind. It is overpowering, throwing you off your guards with visions that chill the bone out of your skin. You throw your arms and legs, try to scream, yet only a sigh comes out of your mouth.
Where does it end?
Slowly the moment passes and you find yourself back in friendly territories. The tune of the violin picks up as you make your way through the littered roads of a familiar city, dying trying to live its dreams. There is a very thin line of difference that exists between now and before somewhere, but everything just starts to get blur as the rain sets in.
“And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains...”

Night Walks With Me

“Night walks with me
And the moon leaves me
Just enough light to see,
And the shadow
My only company
And it moves,
Just like me
And it walks
Just like me”

The day draws to an end. I consider taking to bed for the best relief offered by life without the refuge of any intoxicants. Sleep, the ultimate escape from reality easily available without any effort. My bed mourns there waiting for me. So long it has not felt the touch of anybody else other than me. Years and years of endless smoke filled night passed in a frenzy of thoughts which are mostly unproductive, often tipping the balance on the side of darkness.

Today it is raining outside. “A bit of weed would make things more pleasant!” The thought sets in a chain of events necessary to reward myself with a joint.

Would it be okay to leave the door open and just walk out?

It has been a long time since those late night walks around the town with no one but few street dogs challenging my existence. The lulling yellow lights of the city have been transformed to neon white abiding by the rules of progress that comes with change in power. All the charm was lost in the process with the city now appearing a uniform haze of blue and white wherever you go.

I cross the rail lines and take a path that branches away from the main one towards a field. The rain has turned to a drizzle and the chilly breeze sometimes sends a shiver down the spine.

It is mostly dark. A few stray lights from the houses across the main road form a few bright patches in the middle of overlapping black. The sky is glowing red and that itself creates a sleepy hallow which renders a fine silhouette to the otherwise invisible. The pitter patter of rain has been replaced with a mellow, a more soothing and enriching yet soft ‘thud’ as the drops of water fall on the leaves of the trees.

The road turns to an earthen trail from here.

A few more yards till I reach a dark expanse of open blackness, which seems quite inviting at the moment. The feet sink into the mud and taking each step comes with a little effort. The soft warm clay feels cozy around the feet. I stand a bit and submerge myself into the feeling.

It is not easy to forget. The memories come rushing at moments like this. It is different than those moments when you see or hear something and your mind unconsciously makes a connection with a particular memory and brings it up. But there are no context here. It’s the feeling, the mud, the rain and the trees that have let loose a stream of interconnected visions more captivating than a 3D movie.

I wish I had a control over the flow of memories! It does not let me choose, but automatically plays frame after frame with a storyline created out of its own whims. It feels like one of those movies or series made out of a book where the two versions are intrinsically similar, yet differ in their views and opinions. It has to be remembered that memories do not have any emotions or feelings; it is us who perceive the memories according to our own set of thoughts and emotions and attach specific feelings with it.

But that can change too!

A memory which you enjoyed revisiting because it made you happy, now makes you sad or melancholic. During my college years the memories of my school days used to make me feel happy. But now, after twelve years of leaving school it kind of makes me sad and nostalgic. But that is also how I have changed which has lead to the change in feelings attached to those memories.

The flow of thought is cut short as I take a few steps towards the field. It has now turned a bit visible as the eyes have adjusted its exposure and set the proper ISO levels. There is a strange and solitary tree in the middle of the field standing for many years. It does not give any protection to travelers from sunlight as the leaves are sparse. Nor does it have any fruit to feed the hungry stomach or flower with smell or beauty to attract birds or lovers. It was kind of bare, and sitting under it will means I continue to get wet from the falling drops of rain.

Nor that I care!

My clothes are anyway wet and my feet tired. There is a stone under the tree sitting on which could be thought provoking! The grass is so tender below the feet that I could fall asleep while standing. There is no mud below the grass. It is a sheet of water, spread evenly all over the field. The brushing of the blades of grass combined with the water flooring makes you want to walk on it for hours.

A splash of white lights against the red sky and soon a gurgling thunder fills the atmosphere. I go and sit on the stone. I wish of lighting a biri, but do I have it in my pockets?

Luckily I find both the biri and my lighter. One advantage of biri is that it does not get wet in rain even if you are soaked.

A feel of warmth rushes to the brain as I inhale the first drag. The second, the third and the thought provoking stone begins to work! Anything can be thought provoking if you want it to and everything around me had the potential of forming thoughts for years.

There is no end to thoughts! It is the good part and it is the bad part. You can have endless happy thoughts or unlimited negative thoughts depending on your mood. And certainly, we do not have control over our thoughts. At least not until we are enlightened!

The air is filled with many ‘plop’ sounds as the accumulated water on the leaves form a big drop and plunge down into the pool of stationary water under the trees. The rain has picked up a bit and I can feel the drops falling on my body.

Why did I leave the house at this hour and come here?

I search in vain and try to come up with a reason. But it seems impossible, like many times in life when you cannot find a reason behind a thought or action. Maybe there is no use finding a reason at times. Some things are better off without a reason, left only to be felt by our hearts. And anyway, finding reasons does not always make it work or solve the problems. It only makes them worse. “Ignorance is bliss” – maybe it is good to follow the idea sometimes.

The far end of the sky has begun to change.

There is a strange glow which has turned the cloud in that part to grey from black. The night is ending. The trance is coming to an end. I don’t have much time! I stand up and try to think how long will it take for me to get back. I have to get home before sunlight and try to retain the night inside my room for as long as possible.”

Only a few minutes”, I tell myself as I start walking hurriedly back towards familiar territory.

    Dipanjan Das

দীপাঞ্জন দাস


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