Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Closed Doors

Excuses for not following rhyme
Please put up with this some times ;)

I wake up to feel the warmth of the sun under my rug. It was a cold night but it is a warmer morning. As usual I find my way amidst the mess (called my room) and get ready for the day. I find my breakfast in the refrigerator, placed there by the cook yesterday. I warm it and wash it down with coffee. It has been long since I saw good food. Not since my mom hand packed my lunch box to school. Though I ate more from my friends’ then. Well that is what every one else says too. So there.
The room is not supposed to look so bad. I pay the girl to keep it tidy, but then, I guess she knows I can’t oversee her much and seems to think the room her own. I would have kept my own room tidier though, wouldn’t I?
I sit in my car and my driver drives me to the university where I teach. I always loved teaching and ended up here when I lost my research job after a minor accident. I carelessly misjudged the quantity of a chemical I was experimenting on, and it backfired. I tried to sue my employer but realized I would lose and gracefully stepped out. I have not looked back, since.
Now then, I am back here, the good old place I graduated from, with many old chums around. It does feel like coming back home. Home was also good to go back to, sometime ago. That was when my beautiful wife would wait for me with candles lit in the room and rich food personally made, not by her, but by the expert cook from the hotel downtown. I fell in love with her over the years together in the same job. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and will ever see. She was always the better of the two, at the firm. In fact she headed the experiment that turned me out. Why did she love me? I was not exactly beastly looking, and was the most qualified of the lot at work. We loved each other but then things are not always the same. Post my firing, we could not see eye-to-eye in many matters and she eventually chose to part ways. I could not hold her back.
Today, I have to witness my students’ presentations on chemistry and grade them. I am all set to hear them out. I reach my destination, tell the driver to pick me up again in the evening and walk in. The bell has just gone and there is chaos. I hear Mary shouting a “good morning, professor” and return it. She is the sweet girl who does the cleaning in the garden. I like the fact that at the university, people make way for me as I walk. I nod to them and move on. My room is the fifth on the right and I mechanically walk to it. I have another cup of coffee before I take the class. There is the lift beside my room that takes me to the next floor where I hold my class. My students are as always, happy to see me. I know I am a lenient professor, not worrying about them copying from each others’ answers in the exams. I have always prioritized on them gaining practical knowledge. I enjoy our laboratory sessions together where I just sit at the table and tell them what colours their specimen should turn at the end of their experiments. I can tell that I teach well going by their avid interest and questions. As I said, today is the day of presentations from them. I sit back and relax. The presentations are interesting, most of them have made a big effort in collecting data, conducting experiments and consolidating results. They also put it across well. Only occasionally I correct them. I hear whispers from the back benches, in between. There are always some students who want to make their presence felt. I don’t bother to walk to them and show them out. No, I am not in the mood for it. I throw the chalk that is in my hand, backwards and hear no sounds after.
I tell them I will let their grades out the next evening and leave them. It is lunch time. I go back to my room, put down my books, wash my hands and walk out when John meets me. He is the professor for music at the university. He puts his arm across my shoulder affectionately and we walk together, slowly, to the pantry. We talk little, as is always the case when John is around. He is absorbed with one composition or the other and does little but hum. I have my lunch and discuss the day’s news with my colleagues. There are plans to see the soccer match being played nearby, in the weekend. I am offered a ticket too, but I decline. I say “let someone else go”. I attend a meeting with the department heads, post lunch, and as there is nothing else to hold me till evening, I call my driver to pick me up now. He says he is attending a personal call and will send someone else, if that is alright. I say no and hang up. I think for a while and decide to go myself. It has been long since I had a walk on those streets alone. I want to do it today. I set out when Mary offers to give me company. I say, thank you but I would take the trip alone. I walk till the park; there is no traffic at this time in the noon. The day has turned out to be cloudy. I choose to sit in the park for a while, breathing in fresh air and the scent of impending showers. I trip over something and barely manage to stay up. An old woman ( I could not have known her age but for her voice), offers to help me and takes me to a bench nearby. She says a blind man like me should not be loitering around without help. I flash her a smile and tell her I prefer to see it through myself. She laughs and goes away. I can sense the darkness creeping in early.
It was not always so dark. The experiment cost me more than my job. This is the same place where I had told my wife,
“You needn’t buy all those expensive clothes to impress me, honey. My love is blind”.
To which, she had taken my hand in hers and replied –
“There is no chemistry without colours, open up your mind”.
As the rain trickles down, I sit there playing back pictures from the past. I long to be my old self again, but then, I think of now and know that things are not half as bad as what they could have been. I tell myself “what the heck?” Nobody questions my point of view, now.
So there.

Once Upon A Hill

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
Walking by the pastures
It was much the same
twas the same old game
But for the usual chatter..

Jill was very grim
She was angry with him
He’ d sold her darling pup..
Jack had tried to speak
He had an apology to seek
This noon ,though, he had given it up.

Half way up
They saw the li’l pup
As it rushed close faster
Jill had not a clue
It had leapt out of the blue
To trail behind its master.

Jack waited for a sign
To see if all was fine..
He could kick himself for the mess
Jill looked up at the sky
Walked with her head high
She couldn’t seem to care less…

Atlast atop the hill
When their pails had been filled
And the pup thumped down in style..
Jack joined with a face that could wail,
Ready to wag if he had the tail
…….Jill could not hide her toothless smile..

Sixty years since they’d met
They could still fight over a pet
But then things would be alright
To see Jack and Jill
Together down the hill
Was indeed a happy sight ….