Aug 25, 2014


He was like smoke. 

Every once in a while, you'd think you could see him clearly enough to reach out and touch. He had a way with strings and words you know? He would balance his Fender on his knee and strum something ever so quietly. He would play for us sometimes. And when he was in the mood, he would sing too, in that beautiful deep voice. For a moment there, you'd think you could see him for the person he was, through all that obscurity. Just a blink, a heartbeat - you'd reach out, and he was gone. We all stayed there on the sidelines, strangers to him and his mysterious life. 

Him and the rest of the world? It was never meant to be. 

I remember that one time, we all had camped out on the roof, back in 2003. It was a beautiful crisp late November evening, just the right nip in the air. The neighborhood was having a blackout, not unusual back then, and someone suggested taking the party upstairs. I saw him smoking at the far end of the terrace, and I came over to borrow a light. I noticed the calluses on his fingers as he took one long drag. He looked at me, and it felt like he could see right down to my deepest, unspoken secrets. Down to every bruise on my bones and every scar on my heart. I felt invaded. I was going through a brief goth phase, but the purple in my hair and the black of my attire did not help - my tough-girl exterior seemed insignificant, childish even. He flustered me. He almost said something, I remember, his lips parting slightly. Right that moment, someone suggested he play us his signature tune, Layla, and it was gone. He were in his unreachable place again.

Layla, you've got me on my knees. Layla, I'm begging, darling please. 

It is funny how at times it feels like it was 2003, yesterday. Just a couple of hours ago. But it isn't. Whole months & whole years have passed in between then and now. He slipped in and out of the group at random, as most of them always did and no one took much notice. When someone asked, he told them he'd be back. He was always on the go, a nomad, always with a next-destination planned. Always alone. Always mysterious. Everyone always believed him, because you know... it was him. Off biking through the mountains or writing songs on the beach. He always said he could not stay still, stay in one place for too long, put down roots. "Boundaries bore me", I remember him saying. Between the lurches and lulls of time, no one realized they had not seen him for over two years.

I was probably one of the last ones to find out. It was almost 3 months before someone told me. Oh by the way... did you hear? That guy? That guy who used to sing? He overdosed on sleeping pills. Words caught among themselves in my throat, after all which question best defined what I really wanted to know? When? What? Why? 

Isn't it funny how they pull out this one little thing about a person, when they pass away. That suddenly defines their entire existence, in a nutshell. I smile to myself.

That guy who used to sing.  


It's such a huge arrogance, to love someone, and there's too much of it around. There's too much love in the world. Sometimes I think thats what heaven is - a place where everybody's happy because nobody loves anybody else, ever.

~ Annie.

P.S.: This is not a new post. It has been lying in my drafts for over 3 years now. Recently a friend called asking for help with suicide helplines for her friend, thats when I vaguely remembered writing this ages ago. I came looking for it, and there it was.

If you are depressed and need to just talk to someone, my inbox is always open [icemaiden(dot)87@(at)gmail]. I will not judge, I will not pry, I will not advise if you do not want me to, and most of all, I will empathize - because I have been there. And guess what, I made it out okay. A little battered, a lot scarred, but alright - and stronger. So trust me, if you have a sad story, I will beat you at it by telling you mine... so just ping me, I will listen. If you are in Mumbai, and someone you know needs help with suicide prevention, call Aasra. Your grades, your first love, life in general? It WILL be okay. I promise. Just hang in there.

You amount to so much more than you believe you do, my dearest one. :)


Now Playing: Layla | Eric Clapton (MTV Unplugged) 


Red Handed said...

I remembered a person when I read this..I am glad she is fine now...and that she fought away the depression.

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