Looking Back with Adele

I’m completely distracted. Blame the friend who sent across this ethereal piece of music – Adele’s Someone Like You – my mind keeps skipping and turning at odd bends, and I don’t seem to be able to do much about it.

And all this while I’m supposed to write a requirement analysis report in time for a team meeting! Impossible task. I’ve decided to grant myself the leave to conduct this piece of automatic writing while the thoughts and feelings last – and while people desist from interrupting my furious typing thinking of some great business prospect shining on our collective fortunes.

The piano in the background is the magic, really. It’s eerily similar to the notes played for the background score of the Nicole Kidman starrer “The Hours”. That time when an avidly cigarette-butt smoking Virginia and a little girl watch a dead bird in a garden. And again when she fills her jacket pockets with stones as she walks into the river.

Talking about rivers, it reminds me of a former boyfriend who sat with me at a river-side café and ruminated on how time flows. He’d remarked how all rivers looked alike and how striking it was for a watcher of life to realize that sitting with one person by a river, and looking back at a time when you were sitting with another person by another river, probably in a different part of the world. “That’s nothing new,” I’d said, not charmed, to which he’d replied, “The sameness is. It’s strange how same life is when you see it from the perspective of the river.”

Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead.

Another friend is reading Life of Pi. She’d fallen asleep over the unfortunate passage in which the hyena eats the zebra and sloshes on zebra blood. She woke up this morning to the memory of that description of a death-stained morning in the book – with the zebra moaning its last moans. Of course she woke up and came to work without having had a chance to read what happened next, so she tried catharsis by downloading some bit of the horror on me.

I asked her to try spirituality for a change. I find blogging more useful though.

I keep obsessing about death – I don’t understand why. Images flit across my eyes – images that had better never stay. Yet how bitter-sweet it seems – the day when I was called back from Calcutta owing to my uncle’s worsening condition. My father and I had been waiting outside the hospital, drenched in rain. It was winter and the earth smelled sweet from the unseasonal rains. We went out after a while in silence. We wandered aimlessly in the adjoining woods, until I stopped at a roughly hewed podium with a single stone wrapped in dried up flowers and garlands. Obviously people worshipped here, and I longed to find someone who could, for once, communicate with a god or someone like him on my behalf.

No, I didn’t know what to ask for. To ask for a long life didn’t make much sense to me at that time, although I was only in college. I yearned to be back in the magical corridors of our old college building where a certain pair of eyes would, I imagined, be waiting for me. So that’s what it boils down to – my perception of bliss. With a nasty little ogre to add that much-needed twist to the tale.

Only yesterday was a time of our lives. We were born and raised in a summer haze bound by the surprise of our glory days.

That was a long, long time back, and yet death commands my soul. Five months of vegetable existence, with little dignity, no memory and absolutely no channel of communication – my uncle was reduced to a quivering bit of sour-smelling flesh sustained on a life support system. We waited patiently for him to die. I’d hold his hands, and feel the warmth flow out, like the cool currents of a river. And each moment I’d dream of hands that would hold on and never let go of life.

Don’t forget me I begged, I remember you said, “Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead”.

And then it all went into the corporate main drain to be recycled into something rich and strange. Not a creature of these narrow straits anymore, I am nervous and shy at this unchecked gush of memories. I’m wary of having to negotiate all those bends again; to re-evaluate my decisions and indecisions – seems nauseating to me now that I have grown into a productivity freak with a clear favouritism for Microsoft Excel charts.

I guess I’ve had to make one too many makeovers in the meta-narrative of this one life. Sometimes I delude myself with psycho babble. And sometimes it’s only just my father’s words: “Look forward. The past has nothing in store.”

Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light.

In many ways, I realize, it is cathartic and somewhat easy to let go those pent-up things inside of you. Sometimes you make music, sometimes just noise. What goes unsung is the stiff upper lip of one that holds back – and refuses to relent.

What dreams drive the heart-rending voices of some that inspire such memories? What passions drive some to paint with their heart’s blood? What fortitude, what vision, what unspeakable act of forgiveness makes one to love despite all the meanness that life inflicts?

Actions speak more than thoughts, I realize. As the music dies in the wake of status report meetings and coffee breaks, I strain to hear the voices from the far end. The music is soon drowned out by the staccato rhythm of the workplace. And again, I bid another reluctant farewell as I stride ahead.


Hi, I'm Sampurna and I'm from India. I love to write, paint, and play with my dogs. Catch up with me at Halfastory's Blog. Happy reading!

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2 comments on “Looking Back with Adele
  1. packosix says:

    Oh Dear Author. This is beautifully authored 🙂

    I could hear the notes too.But “seems nauseating to me now that I have grown into a productivity freak with a clear favouritism for Microsoft Excel charts.” stopped the music midway 😛

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