"Hey Jude", he sings. But Jude isn’t here. She never was. She might still. Life still stretches before her, with all its possibilities and impossibilities. Who knows what might still happen? Did I?
Did I know I will be on the sea-side of foreign shores this humid, stubborn late evening, alone? Did I know I would burn so many bridges and clamour for new ones that will take me to my island of solitude?
"One last song for all you beautiful people out there." He is not talking to me, is he? I am ugly. Inside. I wasn’t always, you know. All these years of "scuttling across the floors of silent seas" gradually eroded the sharp, distinct features into blunt, dull, nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine-thousand-nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine-in-a-million existences.But this is the way-of-life I have accepted. This is the secret formula that men call God, Allah, Bhagavan, Jehovah, Nirvana. This is the only long and winding road to sanity amidst the milestones of absurdity that mark our paths in life.
There are two kinds of people here tonight (late evening has been roasted, toasted, grilled and fried into the night) – the others and me. The one cardinal difference that sets us apart is that they are still living patterned lives, or as much of it as they can deceive themselves to live. Me? I have surrendered to the absurdity, the chaos that life truly is. Patterns, schemes, strategies, order bother me and bore me in the long run. I would rather that every moment of my life is totally unpredictable, completely out-of-the-blue.
A breeze from the sea has started blowing, as if in protest against all the stifled conversations at the tables, to give them a salty taste of unfettered freedom. But the conversations carry on, oblivious to the motion of the breeze, of the planet, of the galaxy – oblivious to the universe itself.
I look up at the night sky at times and see myself as I am – an insignificant grain of sand on the shores of the cosmic ocean. And that is the only time I feel true happiness – the way it was ordained to be. That and when I contemplate Death – the true deliverer. I am always happy when I think about my impending death. I am not trying to hasten it, far from that. I know it will come one day, "unannounced, unplanned for, like a scaring over-friendly guest you’ve brought to bed". I just don’t forget Death, like them.
The breeze keeps up its efforts. But the conversations don’t relent. The night has settled down on the tents on the beach, on the trees, on the gloomy lights, on the tables, on the cigarette butts, on the half-empty glasses, on the sand and on the breeze itself, except on the pungent conversations. Must the breeze lose out this way every night? Must no one ever smell its fragrance of faraway lands, of refreshing promises, of lives other than our own?
I will never know. But my time is up. It is time I went back to the four walls I call home.