Shomprakash Sinha Roy

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I don't know if it's okay to feel the way I feel when I feel bad.

I mean, sure, I try to smile a lot about the ocean of happy possibilities embedded in everything that happens around me, without risking the regrets befitting an eternal optimist. And I have my reasons for believing in the charms of the universe; I do. I may not have always been privy and graciously aware of those little delights, but I feel like I am now? And now, more so than ever before, the little unsettling faces of my life's general expression have me questioning my entire concept of... emotions. About the way I feel.

I once thought it was okay to feel bad when your mom/dad got upset with you.

About the little things and the big ones. The chocolate-thefts from the refrigerator and the first hint of cigarette smoke. About the first time they caught you with porn, and the times when you don't brush your teeth on time. It didn't matter how bad my 'crime' was, or how 'much' pain I had caused them, I thought it was okay to feel bad because they felt bad. That simple.

That is no longer true, and I feel outraged and confused at the same time. My father has always been a sensible man as far as hearing me out was concerned. My mother, well – she has had her share of trysts with severe emotional trauma, enough to scar significant moments of my salad days, but she has always loved me, and in that love, she has always managed to find an iota of a reason to be okay with whatever cause or effect I was trying to spit out, ever. And it doesn't help that I miss them too dearly at times, because we are living through a time and age that I still don't fully comprehend; the transition of generations that has been mocked so cruelly by the speed at which it all went down, it has left us in a weird place. An unfortunate place where we have chosen neither intrusion, nor sorrow. And there was some joy, some grace, some happiness in knowing that you shared that unfortunate space with them, that they were in it just as much as you were, that somehow, in your misery, you were miserable together. But when that glass shatters and hurts you in corners you didn't know could get hurt, it draws blood. A lot of blood.

There's that kind of blood running through my head right now. And I'm a little upset about it. Don't know if that's okay. Don't know if I'm supposed to feel bad about it anymore.

It's a thin line.

The Terrible Truth About Driving Schools (Fiction, In Progress)

There is a story here. Much as the ergonomic alphabet-distribution of my keyboard chooses to defy the presence of anything remotely fictional, I insist that there is a story to be told, and that it began at a time when I forgot what a ‘blur’ really meant.

What constitutes a blur, exactly?

Can you choose this word to define a moment, or an incident that’s just hard to remember? Or is it something you find easy to forget? There is a difference, you know. Back when this story began, I was able to draw that distinction with minimal effort. Back then, I also believed that the only story that mattered was my own – a fallacy that I have since then learnt to let go of, as my newbie quirks were torn down during the better part of a ravishing decade.

My name is Siddhant Roy. If you belong to that rare circle of people who have had the misfortune of stumbling upon the ramblings of my younger self (this includes my friends, some of whom I have systematically named in those misadventures, because there just wasn’t a better way to do it, a few interesting people whom I’ve met briefly, albeit deep enough to plagiarize from their interesting lives, apparently, and people who… well, are readers I will forever be indebted to, because they chose to give my writing a shot), you might already know that my life has been a perpetual window of self-indulgent wonders, comprising events that only seemed interesting to me, chronicling struggles that should never have been mentioned in ink, and a few mishaps that could have been completely avoided in hindsight.

But there is another subset within this above-mentioned group, a breed of people whom I can definitely count off my fingers, that has never failed to remind me that while it may be stupid to share these stories, it would be criminal not to. On a completelly unrelated note, these people have also had the pleasure of carrying out some very deep, insightful critique of my personal choices (with a reasonable amount of accuracy), and they have never, ever agreed to teach me how to drive. I think that decision may have something to do with the fact that I’m still alive and well right now, and in reasonably healthy form to make these sequential keystrokes with minimal effort.

The year was 2012. I think that’s where we left off the most recent inquisition into my story. I was working as a voice process specialist for a commercial tech support organization at the time, pretending very distastefully to be a part of the “IT/Services” industry, my only proof of concept being limited to a half-decent paycheck. Dropping out of college, although a seemingly exciting prospect in 2010, had not exactly played out the way I would’ve wanted it to. A few things that gave me some solace at the time was that I was no longer shacked up in a PG. The unique satisfaction of renting out one’s first apartment in Bangalore had found me at a time when I could only afford to stay in rooms that were old, damaged, or forever damned by way of mean-spirited humor. My annual visits to Bhilai had just been re-initiated after a brief hiatus, all thanks to my father who was instrumental in keeping my mother calm and helping her digest the news of my departure from formal education. And in those trips, one thing I recall with unintended precision, were discreet smoking sessions with dad where I would just rant on and on about my weird living arrangement with five other fully grown men in a 2 BHK apartment. But pops always chose to look at the bright side (or maybe he just had exceptionally pimped up foresight), and told me to milk it till it lasted.

My fears at the time, as I recall now, were more on the lines of how long this ‘milking’ would last.

It was November, and we were out of cigarettes. Hitesh-da, the sole mouth-fagging inhabitant of a nicotine-dependent circuit, was busy explaining to me why exactly it should be me, and not him, to go down and buy some more.

To be continued.

Eyes, black eyes, won't you stop staring at the abyss

as if it wasn't there.

Ears, red and bleeding brown, won't you stop flapping at the midnight sun that just won't listen?

Pain, dear pain, will you ever accept that cease and desist we agreed upon many moons ago?

Life, black life, will you stop pretending, stop acting like me, when I behave alive?

Eyes, black eyes, will you stop being blue, at the drop of a lid, till it just isn't true?

I've wondered about all the things I would tell you, to sort of try and explain exactly what it is that draws me to you, that has drawn me to you for the last twelve months.

And now that we're here, this is not something I can tell you. I can tell my self this.

This is not the town I chose, or the home I dreamt of, neither the dreams that kept me alive nor the nightmares that I scavenged for reason or desire, perhaps ambition – yet, I am with you, and I am home.

I love you.

Shom.

It's real, love. Very real.

It is a matter of surprise, then, that the definitions of love that yearn so much to breathe within me, are somehow lost in the inexpicability of every moment when it sweeps through me. I cannot tell her what love is, but sense it flowing right back at me in my immobility, for when she touches me, my body cannot move, my mind does not want to, and my heart has already skipped the shell and taken over. In that one moment, I become her, almost, and feel loved as if I was in love with myself.

And yet, the same thoughts fail me when she asks me, bright eyed and dazed quite as myself, what love is.

It's her.

It' all her.

The world before I knew her? And the world now? Every inch of it looks the same, but feels different in the way that I now feel everything. Not in a way I've felt much anything prior; almost as if this is the first thing I've ever felt. For however unreal everything around me, all things contained through time and space, through memories and dreams, through night and day alike, were once just a tale, and now that she has emerged, it's all real.

As a child, I found amusement in dabbling with the trickery of cards and playful illusions dubbed as magic, but the excitement of it all was dampened by the childlike confusion of not knowing what most things were and why they acted the way they did. Growing up certainly didn't help much, because pain is a great teacher but it does not impart the wisdom to heal, or to be happy. It is perhaps the law of whatever governs nature, then, that she was meant to tell me everything with the silence that maybe once created this universe. And she did, and now I am content with magic around me, not the kind I can control or be vain of, but the kind that puts me at peace when I see a leaf fall, or a cloud pass over me, or anything in the world that ever happens, and know why. I no longer wonder.

It happens, most everything happens, to keep us together.

Never thought I’d have a reason to walk past windows from my past and find a reason to smile about memories yet to come.

Never thought the small town college freshman deep in me would find the simple joy of a Pizza Hut offer quite as brilliant as the years gone past seemed to be.

Never thought Kingfisher Premium would replace the single malts I never tasted, as drinks to really cherish.

But then again, I should have known.

You are, after all, my happy surprise.