Confessions: Lost chances( Short fiction)

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‘ Is it your fault.., or was it mine..? Whom do I blame for this sorrow..?’
– Translated from a tamil song

The basketball court grew translucently vacant after eleven in September… September made you feel different in the city.., as a watcher of people I pick up on a lot, all cities have the same traffic.., the same zone defense of public roads.., the same feisty cops pulling up bikers with helmets…, but God has different layers to each month.., the trees lose more leaves.., there are a lot more winds.., the waves of marina are are more lustful of the shore.., loneliness is much deeper in the underground caves.., and the antisocial appears every now and then when things grow still after the din grows low… A man who knew loneliness sat here often hoping to absorb the energy of sane souls, I knew him as well although he and I don’t really talk much.. I get the sense that the world that he occupies does not allow entry of people who talked.., he was a sad soul.., lost to a world that was indifferent to his plight.., unkind to his homelessness and harsh to his presence.., can’t really blame him.., but I wanted him to pour his soul into mine and feel my warming fire.., I was not exactly normal either.., I was a misfit myself.., a loner who preferred a ball and an empty court to people… Friends in my life were people whom I knew but who never knew me.., I was too deep to be understood, I was too distracted by the world to conform to their demands and expectations which seemed silly and childish in my eyes.., I was a man who knew things before they happened and who saw things before they were perceived.., I was whatever place I absorbed and I was whoever people wished me to be. The Park drew in folks.., the park did not catch your attention immediately, you would pass it by and it would not invoke any sensation.., it was bare, plain and possessed no juicy vibe.., like a plain woman you passed her by.., and then you encounter them and you begin to know them and you get the sense that you were guilty of perhaps discrimination but you’re safe since it happened in the secretive layers of your mind…. but this park was where I in all of Madras city found myself drawn to.. Perhaps this would be my own dream theater of performance.., where I can be the heroic motif that I pick in my day dreams.., where I create a legacy for my own knowledge but unseen and unrealized by those who frequent this same place as me.

There was always a buzz on the basketball court.., the eager to flaunt players held hostage by their domineering coach.., the visitors who sat on the stone galleries to ponder life’s mysteries.., the middle aged uncles who rested their vertebrae after a back breaking walk around the park to burn off calories.., shady cats whose eyes glinted with the spirit of marijuana and who scowled and mocked everybody that their eyes could see.., homeless drunks who argued loudly and later slept soundly in the top stair of the stone gallery.., local flower men who sold threaded jasmine buds to middle class city bred ‘Iyer’ ladies who slept on the hard stone floor.., Fatigued auto-rickshaw men resting after a tiring day…The court was my kingdom.., and I imagined myself to be the king of my court.., and it was my job to realize with the eyes of the heart the souls that walked through the court.. I would attempt stories from what I felt when my heart touched upon their souls.. I would also try to place each person with a song that I would spend hours searching for.., or perhaps crystallize them with a poem..By nature I am distant since I could care less about the formality of mere connectivity.. I could not understand why people had to spend so much time getting acquainted.., I know the bad ones.., they always try to make you love them and they always try to puff you up.., the rest are a mystery that requires patient chopping .., my mind is always afar since I alienate myself from the usual.., but there is a music to each soul that one can listen if one listens closely.., a hidden tale buried within each layer.., and I was determined to discern and navigate through the darkness of being.

He was one of those middle aged men who enjoyed mere banter. He had a charming and disarming way of engaging you.., He and I shared the same lonely space for quite a period of months, I wanted him to find it in himself to dare break the invisible walls that people erected around themselves.., He approached me with praise, a great conversation starter.., he wanted to understand why anybody would choose a public park to practice after 11.30.., a place well known for antisocial scum, insane marauding hooligans on bikes and bloodthirsty wanderers… I responded by saying that I could say the same about him to a certain extent.., A spark glowed in the darkness of that court which was a well-known magnet for unfinished tales.., broken hearts and restless souls… He would generally do his circular walks around the park with a distracted look, he found the practice difficult but he still kept at it.., he was from a small town deep in the south.., his language contained the soul of the town that he was from. The people there probably spoke from their heart.., lacked cunning and were delightful of people.., maybe they lacked the sophistication of deeper understanding.., for a brief while we clicked. Our souls are thirsty for as much of earth that we can find.., for in eternity our souls will suffer uncertain fates depending on our choices. I knew that a soul’s relation to the revelation of Jesus would decide one’s eternity.., but in the here and the now all souls starved and hungered for love and want.. They had a funny way of expressing it since immaterial realities kept pressing against their conscious shores…, but it was there and you had to learn to handle the bitter reality of people and their incapability of knowing their presence and their actions on another soul.

I am a chamber full of secrets.., many souls speak what besets their soul into my depths.., they share their hurts which are often painful realities that still torment their inmost minds..,I seem to inspire their openness.., and I seem to inspire them to enter into my inner stillness to phrase in fleeting lucidity their inmost torments which always found a way to confound their lingual capabilities.., for the moment they could find the perfect, most honest, most soulful and most heartfelt way of narrating their lives in his presence.., it would finally lift off and decrease in its intensity.

He remembered the first time he saw her.., he had known since he was 8…, it was not her eyes, her appearance or her behavior that he noticed…, he noticed instead how his heart fluttered when she walked past him oblivious to the nuclear damage that she was wreaking on his simple soul. Over a period of time the feelings became mutual…, he was 14 by then.., and she 13.., they held hands on the long mud paths surrounded by rice fields and sugar cane fields that led to their homes when nobody was watching.., he climbed trees to pluck mangoes for her and.., wrote her I love you hundred times… their love blossomed over the years.., he came from a conservative system.., multiple social walls stood in his way.., she was from another caste.., he belonged to another.., religion spoke about how he belonged higher.., but his heart could see no such reality.., his heart wanted her more intensely as the years progressed.., they promised each other multiple times that they would find each other no matter how far they got.., that the other would wait if something were to happen.., but as fate would have it education brought him to the chaotic city of Madras.., he would call her many times.., but there were no mobile phones back then.., the timing had to be perfect.., her Father owned a goods store and he would be out by 7 in the morning.., her mother was always at home.., but went at 2 pm to the temple for half an hour.., that would be their time.., even if her mother returned.., she would act as though the phone call was between her friends.., but one time her mother stayed back and long story short got wind of what was happening.., they beat her so bad that she swore to never contact him again.., but she was lying.., how can emotions such as love end in the face of adversity.., it is the very soil that it blooms and flourishes in.., he promised her that he would come back for her the moment he got a job.., but her parents got her married before he could make good on his promise.., marrying her off to some businessman…, heartbroken he wept, cried and wandered in sorrow and despair.., the years passed, he tried to forget her but to no avail.., how could someone forget someone who had inhabited his inmost being..? Who had loved him with a love all her own..? How could he overcome that which only made him linger.., stay and wander in a world of inner hurt..? He grieved like a man who knew not how to survive in a world devoid of his sweetheart.., he could not bear the thought of her in the arms of another man.., he could not bear another possessing her…, love was never meant to be shared by a third party.., Never.., His parents sensing his woe married him off to a proper Madras girl.., he hid his sorrow and began to live for his future.., family.., responsibility.., he had become so possessed by this intense hurt in his heart that he struggled to love his wife fully.., even though he had gotten over the deadly blow.., he could never forget his first love.., he shared this to me over a period of time and I listened as I always did like my life depended on it.., funny how strangers heal wounds that one’s own efforts seldom seem to. I know that the good Lord placed me on this planet to heal people, He did the healing.., I just had to reach out to the souls.., and I always could find them no matter how they hid their wounds.

I did my best to console him.., I spoke nothing .. there was nothing that I could say that would reach the inmost depths of him and pull him away from what he felt, I only listened and allowed my silence to do the healing.., I allowed my warmth to speak what I couldn’t.., what could I say..? I only felt myself grow sad.., there was a certain amount of sadness that this court seemed to attract…, I was a lost soul myself.., but I knew that Jesus healed.., you just had a sense for these things that was more than reason oriented.., I understood his moral reality.., He was married.., had kids in school and was a normal functioning member of society now.., but he would forever remember the lost chance.., and what could you do about it in this wild jungle..? Love more deeply..? Take more chances..? Marry for love..? I didn’t have a clue.., all I knew was that life moved on.., I had more souls to meet and more stories to glean. But what I encounter and see will always bleed within me.

The Grand Weaver – A witness

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I often find myself wondering. How on earth did I reach the place that I am at right now..? Me with my filthy habits that have hampered my personal, spiritual, creative and professional growth, my miserable life choices that led to immense pain in other people and their lives, my fall into alcohol, drugs and a dark depression that never allowed me to live a peaceful day in my life…, I have struggled with suicidal thoughts for years…., I have battled feelings of fear, inferiority and self hatred for years… Explaining my life to people often leaves them shaking their heads in merriment, they think to themselves… “Look at the exaggeration.., the lies.. and the excellent over dramatic presentation that he uses in order to pad up his so called witness… We knew him all along, he was no such thing”.. they seem to say – Such foolish self absorbed hypocrites these fools often are who always want the spotlight on themselves..Lol.. I have never met people who have ever like really listened to me.. Like know who the real me is.. I can count an ex lover, a few select friends, my parents, my pesky sister( who has always had my back and seems to have an uncanny understanding of me along with my mother) and my beloved doggy in that list of people who seem to be interested in grasping the very personal part of me…, there are usually time periods of interest and then they resort to their former nature of being interested only in themselves..I am not exactly depressed that people have not understood me… I have always done my own thing and not pushed myself on others, I have learned to be bossy but I have no clue about how to be controlling or bossy by nature or instinct… I have tremendous weaknesses in my life but I lack a social sense.. All that I am, I have learned either through experience or through careful observation and self examination.. Within myself I am entirely comfortable and without any qualms.. I can spend years alone and not feel bad about a thing….In my life, I have met many Pharisees and Self centered individuals who have often times knowingly and unknowingly damaged my soft heart.. Being the fighter that I am, I struggled and battled the pain on my own, attempting to create something beautiful out of my pain…But the burden was too much… Since I was placed in toxic and difficult places constantly…, By God’s exceptional Grace… He graciously intervened and took me into His flock. Through long hours of encountering His Patience, His unconditional love, His gentleness, His Fantastic Friendship, His Pure love for me without any expectations… I have become confident that He does love me.. although I still doubt the whys and expect Him to give up on me soon.
I feel ashamed often to stand as if I actually belong in Christ’s Kingdom.. I have always felt that there are people with far better credentials than mine such as Obedience, Devotion, Holiness and Personal Growth in their life… They seem more disciplined in their walk, they seem more in control of their moral nature ( something that I have trouble turning off), They actually have the assurance that they will reach Heaven.. Not me though, I have terrific doubts about my entry …Ha ha ha. Each day is a battle with darkness and my own mortality… ..But I mean that in all seriousness, I often check my mom’s place in the bed at midnight to make sure that the Rapture has not happened yet… We will see how it goes.
But In my life, I have understood that I don’t need to compare myself with another person since life is drastically different in another heart, another soul and in another mind.. So many things push us into waters that we are not often choosing from… We all have different ambitions, drives and ways of approaching life.. I questioned things, I spent a lot of time in Day Dreams, Imagination, books, ideas and seeking Knowledge… I found everything interesting.., I kept diaries to pen down my growth, I wrote bad poems that lacked form, rhythm, rhyme.., I loved Life.., Nature.. Love.. Books.. Sports.. Passions have always ruled my life and will always do so.. Whereas they had the strength, the concentration and the will to power themselves to be acceptable in society’s eyes..and to achieve crucial steps that provided a comfortable, lucrative and a happening life. I have no desire to be like them and I find the same feeling reflected often, although I can sense a few of them respect me for being brave at taking major risks in my life. I love my friends, in my own way.. I have never been envious of their success, I have felt bad that I have not been a better son to my parents since they often desire the same things from me…But apart from that, I enjoy helping people.. Counselling them… Using opportunities to share Christ… Studying with feverish obsession the gospel, theology, culture, music, movies.. Anything to promote my Lord.. I am here to do.. Anything to help further His cause here on our tremendously, indifferent world I am here to do… Although such choices bring me tremendous pressures, anxieties, pain and suffering… I am humbled by the opportunity.. I count it an honor and a privilege…All of these would not have been possible if it were not for encountering Christ who helped me see that my life was important to Him… He spoke to me in His word that I was His…What a great incomprehensible joy..!! What royalty a lowly, stuttering, stage fright containing, shy, dreamy and awkward kid is offered..!! Whenever I see my wealthy, well settled Classmates from both schools.. I find it disheartening that I have abandoned my ambition of proving them wrong for every insult and rude attack on a shy kid once upon a time.. Every rejection and bad word.. I wanted to repay with power, material prosperity and achievements.. It fueled me for years… , I never forgot the way in which it made me feel… But , when I met Christ…. I saw that it was making me go to darker depths.. Rage.. Envy.. Greed…, It was eating away at the character that I have always prided myself on having.. Everything fell into place…, I was able to forgive them even though they might never know their part in my life’s story.. It’s okay .., they did not know any better.. They have troubles too.. Nobody in this life is exempt…Everything that I am.. I owe it all to Christ…, I don’t know if I will make it to Heaven, that is not my reason or my agenda in serving the King of Kings.. I am here as a loyal dog with flaws and weaknesses to partake in His work.. but it is a true honor to serve Him and to know Him in this lifetime.., He has enriched my existence in ways and dimensions that I am yet to perceive.., He drives me, fuels me and makes me want to be better than what I used to be.. I am not there yet, but I am slowly reaching there…, I hope Ill be there.. I have my friend always cheering me on…, believing in me… I hope that He does not run out of patience.. Since I can be a terrible learner.
I am telling you this with joy dear friends… Every bad choice, every mistake and every debacle.. The Long long years of unfruitful living.. Of being repressed, not having people to listen to my pain.. Not willing to share myself with everyone… God has used them to anoint me, to fill me and use to reach people who have never known the depths of His love… I viewed myself as a complete failure, and I wanted to kill myself.. I was tormented by the thought that I could not repay people for the evil that they did to me… Writing me off like I can’t fight back.. For a major part of my life I have always believed that others were far better than me… It was very late in my life that I decided to battle such a lie…, I still have the humility to acknowledge the uniqueness of others and their gifts.. but I know who I am right now…. In Christ I am infinite, otherworldly wise, cared for and deeply nourished and love… so my strength comes from being at peace with who I am… My current life has its everyday wars, battles, struggles, temptations, pressures… I mess up often… I struggle to be who He wants me to be.. But I enjoy being Like Him… It seems to offer hope in dark places.. It makes the world a magical, lovely and beautiful place.

I gain victory in Christ.. He uses every damage and darkness to change me, His methods are unorthodox, unconventional, strange at times, severe at times and fearsome at times.. But He is always battling with me, testing me, refining me.. Never giving up on me.. A worthless loser.. A somebody that nobody ever took the time to know and befriend… Taking wondrous care in creating a product that is every bit as selfless, genuine, deep, compassionate and sacrificing as He is.He can do the same to you.. He can change your life.. He can lift you up from Hell’s dark depths.. He will heal you of every lie that Satan has been feeding you with over the years.. “Poor family, Bad looks, No confidence, Finish off your family loans by yourself.. nobody will ever help you.. You can’t make a difference… You are going to Hell…” … He can be your everything as He is to me… In all honesty, I am not worried that I don’t have a Facebook dp that has a European continent in the background, I am not sad that I won’t marry the girl of my dreams that I fantasized about for years on end and missed out on in college.., I am not sad that everybody that I have ever known rarely understands the real me.., I am not sad that I don’t have albums of photos at world famous places… I am not sad that I have given up on my ambitions.. I got everything that I will ever need in Christ..Nothing compares to Knowing Him… Absolutely Nothing… He alone is enough for me.

Trouble

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Have you ever felt the cutting sting of misery..? Or felt this persistent harassment of something unseen…? Have you ever felt troubled by something right from the moment that you woke up…? Have you ever lost faith in the Lord and started to wish for a much easier path…?

I have been feeling all of these things over the past few days. No matter the depth of the previous day’s spiritual connection, each day feels like the first day of my faith and I find myself becoming spiritually affected as each day progresses. There are spiritual hurdles in the Christian life that never stop. Satan wishes to drain us emotionally and spiritually, in order for us to lose hope in God and Jesus Christ. There have been days when my cross seems to crush me, the most difficult part of the entire process is that almost all of it is mental. I find myself struggling to find the right words to describe in accuracy the details of whatever it is that I am experiencing, it is so subtle, so invisible, so unpredictable yet familiar that I find myself hurting more from perceived abandonment than from the grief itself, I find myself feeling an everpresent pressure and tension that is constantly .  I find my solid ground disappearing as I find in my personal life I am afflicted by terrible fears that I struggle to overcome. Bits of my recent failure in a public speech haunt me, bits of
nagging hurt over a friend’s comments still remind me every now and then that my passion for a sport is of no use in his high and mighty pharisiaical eyes, reminders of a young kid’s stubborn disrespectful rebelliousness aggravate the idealist within me, struggles of a writer caught up in a aesthetically dry yet spiritually fulfilling career exhausts me, reminders of all the horrific mistakes of my past tell me that I have no right to ever be happy. And on top of that a senior work colleague of mine, recently commented that the only reason I was able to help people was because of my degree in Psychology and not because it’s God’s calling for my life. I sometimes seethe with broken fury for the words uttered without careful thought and understanding. But I can’t have hard feelings about it, nobody is as understanding as the Lord is, in all my years I have rarely come across someone who wishes to listen and understand before talking. These are things that I can handle, the problem is that I feel as though God has to be sought all the time and that angers me on a deep level. I feel like I am doing my best to stick out for Him, and yet He does not speak to me like I wish for Him to. I know that in my heart of hearts that I am being very childish, but can’t a spiritual infant desire the physical presence of His spiritual Father…?

For the past few days I have had loads of people coming to me for spiritual guidance.  These are people who are willing to give up, on the surface they appear normal but in their deep heart they have had enough. I feel their despair deeply, and my heart weeps for the burdens that they have to carry.  I feel like I am crying for people whose tears have stopped and they carry on in hopeless anguish. I know that I have to more communicate warmth and understanding to the people that the Lord sends my than choosing to appear like a wise know it all.

In my own heart there are the usual voices of condemnation that are all set to make me lose faith and courage. I sometimes feel terribly insecure during the counseling process. Do I have all the answers…? What gives me the right to boldly ask people to share their problems with me..? What do I do if I don’t know the answers…? What do I do if I can’t understand what people are troubled by..? Since when have I ever been really good at anything…? But like the rose that broke past the concrete…  I know in my heart that I know, feel and grasp what they are going through in some deep, unknown way…  I just don’t believe that I am good at anything.. Ever.

But I gain hope … I can see past masks and barren plains… This is my calling…  I’m the Lord’s helper.. His humble servant…  I am here to serve Him… To serve others…  And to lean, depend upon and love Him… So I guess that I don’t have answers… But I have ny heart and passion…  I guess that in the end that is what should really matter.. Those are the only things that the Lord asks for!