When you say nothing at all
You say it all
With a cursory glance
A cursive stance
And then all I can do
Is to look at you!
‘He wrote these lines for a car?’ I asked with incredulity spiking my tone.
She replied, ‘Well, he is the sort who treats the inanimate too as if it has life in it. Maybe that’s the reason he is still out there in the cut-throat world of advertising.’
We were talking of Vyom, my wife’s first cousin who had been staying with us the past year now. The sheet of paper with these lines hand-written on it was lying on the dining table and that is why it was now in my hands. There was a rough sketch of a car hand-drawn on it… but the sketch wasn’t nearly as good as the six lines were. I read them again and again… and again…
There was surely something human the lines were desperately trying to communicate. ‘These cannot be about a mere car,’ I murmured as I read them another time, ‘I must ask Vyom more about the real inspiration.’
‘No, you won’t do anything, you won’t go on and ask any embarrassing question,’ shot Specky who was tuned in to my murmurs too.
‘he cannot be talking about a mere car here,’ I insisted. I got up, went to the Study and started looking for a short poem that I knew I had written twenty-eight years back. That was before I had got married. But the poem was written after I had met Specky. I searched but couldn’t find the paper I was looking for. I have this habit of scribbling poetry everywhere… on paper napkins that I ask the stewardess to get for me in a flight or in a scratch note-book or on a torn piece of newspaper or even on an unused CD. So I have now a veritable collection of diaries, note-books, CDs, napkins, and protesting bits of paper waiting for the day I will sit and give the words on them a life on the hard-drive of my laptop.
‘It’s a tedious process,’ I said aloud, ‘can’t go on typing out the hundreds of poems that I have written. But I must do it someday.’
This was when Specky entered the Study and smiled, ‘So you’re lost in your lost poems again?’
I looked up from the sea of papers and said, ‘I’m not able to find that poem. I remember the shape of the poem. I can see it in my mind. But I don’t recollect the sequence of lines nor the words that were in those lines. And now I don’t seem to find that poem anywhere.’
‘Search your old diaries.’
‘You looked in all the files?’
‘Yes,’ I said, and showed her my blackened thumb and index finger. I didn’t need as my troubled face showed it already. Specky thought for a while and then she quietly asked, ‘Any words from that poem that are clear in your memory?’
‘Yes, I can’t forget that the poem was about a first glance and a cursory touch, I said, and added, ‘I wrote that poem on the day we first met.’
She went and pulled out a file of the letters that I had written to her. Letters written in the mid-eighties… and as we read them together I found that my thoughts were clearer then. I was so fond of romantic words. There was love sprinkled all over the pages.
I said, ‘I’m not able to write like this now.’
‘You don’t have to. I mean, you don’t necessarily have to. And then the headlines are so different now,’ she answered even as she continued to scan the old letters.
‘Yes, the world is getting harsher.’
She pointed to a few lines and asked, ‘Are these the lines that you’re looking for?’ And then, after all these years, I read them out aloud…
isn’t it funny how just a nod
or simply a few words mumbled
will form an unseen bond
that on new paths makes you trod?
and however rebellious you are
or think you are –
that strange sensation of
a first glance
a cursory touch
always keeps coming back to you
until you admit that
you’re in love
‘1984,’ I whispered and looked in her eyes.
She smiled and gently asked, ‘Why were you suddenly looking for this poem?’
‘Cursory,’ I said, ‘the word cursory. It has something more than merely mechanical in it. Vyom cannot possibly have written those lines for a mere car. Those lines are not just a jingle.’
She just said, ‘OK. You ask him yourself.’
I waited for a few moments and then said, ‘No. It’s ok. I know the answer. And it is always so great for a mystery to unravel on its own.’
05 July 2013