When Kishore Kumar and Ada Limón met on a Sunday morning
An essay on coming alive
Headaches Are Not From God. Sayre, OK 73662
I am waiting for my laptop to get its shit together. It’s Sunday morning and Time is a child’s fantasy. Bright sun outside, winter in the house. Perhaps, the walls are a transition, a middle ground, a nowhere? I don’t know. I am looking out of the window, and I am browsing emails, looking for answers to questions long sent. Nothing. As of yet. Hope, you see. I am full of hope, and hence, I am heavy and light at once.
Anyway, I am looking through Gmail. There’s an email from Twitter about an account I do not follow. And I click on it because the thumbnail looks interesting even though I know it’s just one of those mindless things.
I click. It’s stupid. Those silly mobile games whose ads clog our feeds. “Games”.
I scroll through the Twitter that has opened in my Gmail, a plant sprouting from a seed you spat from your mouth because the dustbin was far and it felt nice to spit at the earth with a seed whose fruit you might get to eat…
… and the next thing I know I am listening to a podcast by Ada Limón. She’s saying, “I have to say there are days I'm just tired…” beyond that I can hear Kishore Kumar go, “Lena hoga janam hume kai kai bar,” and then Ada says, “I don’t want to be a woman or a man or a girl or a boy or a daughter or a mother or any of the categories that we are given” And I am thinking of the Sunday outside, and how bright it is, the world in 4k witnessed by my 360p eyes because I am not wearing glasses and I am thinking of my best friend who told me about his friend who lives in a nice house with a gym and a swimming pool for just 8k, a rent shared with another friend, somewhere in Cochin, and I am thinking of the blue of pools and the blue of seas and the blue of the stars above the blue seas and I am 12 and in Lakshadweep, and my ears catch Kishore Kumar singing, “badal, bijli, chandan, pani, jaisa apna pyar”, and Ada is recounting a story where, “once I made my mom cut all of my hair at nine…” and I am thinking how all of this will make a good story, all these sounds and all these sights…how all this will be a story told to no one in particular because they weren’t there and not everything needs to be told; not everything needs a teller.
Now Sunday without time.
No deadlines to end.
No Christ on cross. Even God is free today.
Ada says, “I want to believe in possibilities. Endless possibilities.” And I am thinking how nice all of this is, how nice this moment is. Ada, and beyond her Kishore, and beyond him another December, and beyond that a winter, beyond it all… a life.
I suddenly feel like I am in love with life. I went on Instagram. I am losing followers the way some lose hair. Someone’s shared an uncredited excerpt of a poem which is actually by Ocean Vuong and all my mind registers is, “Dear God, if you are a season, let it be the one I passed through/ to get here/ Here. That's all I wanted to be./ I promise.”
I like the way Kishore says, “baadal bijili chandan paani jaisa apna pyaar”. He means it. He means those words. I too want someone to say words they mean. Maybe that guy did when he said he missed me when I logged into Instagram after god knows how long. One isn’t allowed to leave Instagram, else they’ll risk oblivion. A day is an eon on the Internet. Time is a quantifiable entity on the world wide web. Fiddle with it, and you’ll either have a monument to your name or only the ruins which Ozymandias left behind.
Most of us leave behind nothing. Stories that die with the winds and the seasons. Or by the second, if I am honest. Someone will remember you, then that someone is no more.
Sometimes that thought frightens me. Right now, I just don’t care. Or rather, I am not afraid. Or rather, the fragility of everything is reaching for me, and I care enough to acknowledge it. Not acceptance… that’s for the wise.
And I am not wise. I am 25.
A few more IG stories. God, how boring.
Everything about Instagram screams mind numbing. I am done with being numb.
Kishore is still singing. Ada is sharing a poem written by someone. “Today this… today that…” it goes. I don’t feel the words; I just feel good to be inundated by such sounds and voices. It’s Sunday outside and inside. All bright and blue.
The way Kishore says “baadal bijli chandan paani”… I feel it. I feel the clouds. The thunder. The sandalwood. The water. All cold and soft and…profound. Like this winter. This Sunday morning. And the thunder…bright and glorious, a spectacle that inspires feelings that are hard to transfigure in words. Maybe that’s why he says, after all those words, in a voice like a prayer, “jaisa apna pyaar…”
I can imagine him running through the field, a boy stung with mad love, pointing at the clouds, the skies, the sandalwood between his lover’s eyebrows, and the water in the river, and his beloved is laughing at this love struck fool when he grabs Love’s hands, and says in all solemnity and tenderness, “jaise apna pyaar…”
And I hear Ada say, “Today my livewire mouth…” followed by another “Today…” and a long long silence.
And I rush to my laptop, and wait for it to get its shit together and while I wait, I think back to the words I sent to this person who said he missed me. I told him that while I am losing followers the way some lose hair, I am free.
And for the first time, I mean it.
I am free.
Ada has stopped speaking. Kishore has moved onto another song. My body is here. My mind is wandering places. The Sunday is changing…the sun is rising and rising… the day is passing… but what is Time today?
She’s free from the walls, and the dials on our hands, and the numbers on the phone.
She’s free. She’s here.