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.

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! 

The Silken Carpet of the Dark

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The night is when I am truly alive,
I find myself speaking to ghosts from memories past,
conversing with dreams and hope,
longing deep and more,
The night is what I am made of.
I speak often to God,
sinking slow into the billions of atomic shores
that are not enough to capture his infinite, unfathomable
heart.
I pick apart each thought,
the heart is no longer a maddening
series of shocks, reactions and preoccupations.
The weight of the world has eased off my heart,
I lose myself in the furthest stars,
whose crinkling glows pierces my own heart.
I act deranged, trying to stuff all the empty silence into
the inward chambers of my heart… I long to inject them
whenever I weep for Freedom when the ambulance sirens return
in the hot and dusty mornings,
when the difficult, self worshipping egos cloaked in
religious righteousness return and clamor for obsessive attention,
when the sickness, the poverty and the inability of my own
brokenness returns and I see myself with hatred and sadness…,
Tell me how I can fit the architectural depth of the uncommon peace
that the night offers into my Dreamer’s starry, murky, unspoken heart.
The night is when I truly desire to live,
the day is but a labyrinth for me to maneouver through.
I am clueless and lost, who are all these strangers..?
Why can’t I remember their faces..?
Who will remember me..? Who can look past my mask..?
When will God appear to me…?

– The Poet of the Unseen