I am itching to write something. I have not written anything in a long while. But I don’t know what to write. It is just a longing that comes from within, without an agenda associated to it. So I stare at the blank screen for some indefinite time and then type these few lines in a jiffy. What if they were to vanish too ?
Nah! It’s not the writer’s block. I have enough stories to tell. I just do not know how to put words to most of them. I do not know if I know how to tell them.
So I shut my eyes and try to think of one thing, just one thing that is lingering in my mind. A picture. An event. A single thought perhaps. And then I see the same picture again and again. The inside of a beautiful cathedral, the hymns of the afternoon mass, the sunlight through the painted stained glass windows, the chequered floors, the high ceilings, the folded hands atop the beautiful crafted wooden benches and the lone wheelchair at the end of those benches. An elderly person on the wheelchair sitting by himself as the proceedings of the afternoon go on.
When I had captured this picture I had not noticed his presence. Like any tourist, that afternoon this picture was my attempt to bring home a memory of my visit to St.Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. After taking the picture, I looked at it on my phone and that’s when I noticed him. I looked up and saw him in person. He sat there almost invisible. No one around him, no one by his side. Had he come alone? Or was there someone with him ? Why was he stationed at the back alone by himself ?
I will never know the answers because rarely do I go up and ask people their personal stories. I surprise myself when I occasionally do. But nevertheless my imaginations are not shy like me.
I am always fascinated by own imaginary self. The questions that pop up in mind. The thoughts and the stories it weaves together. And then finally how it all connects back to my own life. In some way or the other.
That afternoon I wondered if this was the face of the concluding years of life. Is it really lonely up there or does it only appear to be so? Is it difficult to be surrounded by too much noise one day and then be engulfed by vacuum on another. Is it beautiful to sit back and marvel at life’e experiences or is it scary to witness everything coming to an end. I imagined myself there, just for a moment, I was numb. I did not know what to feel.
Quite contrary to what I was imagining my future life to be, in the present, I had a seven year old clinging to my arm and two year old wrapped around my feet. I non-hesitantly admit that I long to be alone sometimes. Just to be able to sit down quietly in a corner, to take a breath, to mull over something or to simply be alone.
And that is perhaps the irony of life.