Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Writer's Desk

I stared at the blank paper in front of me. Surprisingly enough, it stared back with equal innocence, as if it were waiting to learn a lesson that it would never forget. I could almost make out its twirling lips, and the childish eye brows, and the playful eyes, through its ruled lines, and margin.
I lifted my pen and saw the paper jump up with excitement as I breathed out. The innocent smile had miraculously changed into a happy grin, like that of a kindergarten child awaiting a prize from his teacher. I smiled back with the serenity of the teacher, as she hands out the prize to a jumping kid. I stroked the ends of the paper like she would fondle a new student on her first day at school. The eyes looked back at me with admiration and awe. I uncapped my pen, and rested my hand on the paper making sure that I wasn’t hurting it in any way, or folding it from any side. Dog ears and crumpling edges, they hurt. The paper smiled gratefully, and stared at me with unconditional love. It was ready.
I smiled as a thought crossed my mind. My mind began to set itself into WRITE mode, and all that remained to be done, was pen the thought down. I looked at the paper one last time, and satisfied with the eagerness in its eyes, I began. The paper chuckled and laughed and gloated, as I wrote out my initial thoughts onto it. I wondered the reason for such hilarity. I soon realized that the whole writing episode must be a rib tickling experience for the paper, in its true sense.
As I continued to vent myself out, I briefly saw the paper undergo a mix of motions, best compared to those a child undergoes as it trudges through her initial years of schooling. It laughed boisterously at times, and wailed loudly at other times. It hummed playfully for some time, and acted snobbish the remaining times. When my thoughts paused for breath, I noticed the paper heave sighs of unrest, as a child would on his morning games workout. I ruffled its edges, assuring it that it was in safe hands, as it looked on hopefully. Then my mind began to race again, and I continued to cast my imprints on the once plain and white paper, now blue with my thoughts. When I ended, the paper seemed tired and rugged, like a fifth grade student returning home from a hard day at school. I consoled it by running my hands all over it, but it was all blue with color, desperate to tell a story, dying to babble something out.
I read it up to down, not even barring a single full stop or punctuation. When I finished my read, it seemed content and satisfied, as if its purpose in life had been fulfilled. Its smile exuded the confidence of a teenager narrating her experiences of her sleepover to a pretending-to-be-stunned father. I smiled knowingly, as it stared back at me with utmost happiness and vigor.
I then read it once again, like an examiner would recheck a student’s answer sheet, and frowned like the examiner would on catching a blunder. The paper seemed apprehensive now, and looked at me with shivering lips and fearful eyes. It seemed to have realized what it’s fate was coming to, and pleaded me to let it stay. It had the emotion a twelfthie goes through as she realizes that time to depart has arrived. It begged to stay on, as I tore it out and threw it away in the dustbin, wherein lay a million others like it.
I only heard a feeble cry, as the paper seemed to battle its way through the big bad world outside. Leaving the security of my desk was indeed very painful for it.
I grabbed another paper hurriedly, ignoring the paper’s cry as it made its way out of my cocoon. I nervously looked at the time, and wiped drops of sweat from my face.
I couldn’t afford to lose my job as the columnist. I must come up with something in another hour.
As I wrote again, the paper in the dustbin seemed to look back in nostalgia, and seemed to be calling out to me. It didn’t take me long to realize that it would be calling out forever, but I mustn’t listen. It must brave the horrors of the world outside.
That’s growing up.
And this was a farewell, indeed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Nobel

I woke up in my lab that morning. I was lying on the floor. I just couldn’t recall what had happened last night, but the whole place was in shambles. Hydrochloric acid was all over the table, as if it were determined to make a sea of itself; and I could smell burnt sulphur around. My face itched with some salt crystals, probably Mohr’s Salt, I smelled pungent and my eyes were watering like they had been subjected to third degree torture. Most of the reagent bottles were on the ground, broken ruthlessly, with their contents already spilled out. The lab was in utter confusion and my memory a total mess. I shook off the crystals from my coat, and wiped my face with my dirty lab coat in a desperate attempt to sort things out. What had happened last night? It almost seemed like a hurricane had struck my peaceful abode.
I dexterously made my way through a completely dismantled laboratory that had been one of the cleanest I’d ever seen, some twenty four hours earlier. It no more looked like my laboratory. It seemed more like an ancient fort, dying a silent death. I shook my head at the unholy thought, and rushed up the messy staircase, that would take me to my house. I nearly slipped twice, because of a gooey mess of all kinds liquids on it. When I finally accomplished the task of reaching my house, I was surprised to discover that no hurricane had struck my place of resting. It seemed much like the place I had seen yesterday morning, before moving down to my lab. But the conclusion puzzled me even more, as I just couldn’t understand how my lab had become a scientist’s nightmare in merely twenty four hours, of which I remembered nothing. Intrigued by the mystery, I walked back to my lab.
I reached my desk hopping and jumping over pink and green colored floor, and looked around for a point from where I could begin cleaning up the mess. I threw one look at my desk, and the sight was too devastating to think of anything else. My pen stand had been wickedly broken into two, and my notepads lay there, as if they were looking for their identity. My rough papers, over which I had toiled the previous week, were all blue with Copper Sulphate solution all over them. I slowly picked them up, and began to squeeze out the liquid amidst the sheets, as I simultaneously threw my beloved pen stand into the dustbin. I caught hold of a rag from the window sill, the only dry object in my whole laboratory, and scrubbed my desk like a professional cleaner. I left my rough notes clipped at the window sill, so they could be dried, and referred to later. Although the paper was stained blue, and the ink had almost washed off, never mind the ‘Waterproof Ink’ sticker on the pen that owned it. I moved on to my reagent shelf, and realized that the rag was no good any more. And it was stinking more than me. I skipped up to my house, and came back with a handful of rags, and set my mind to work I wasn’t really used to.
An hour later I sat on my chair, and glanced around. My day as the sweeper was finally paying off, as my lab looked like mine again. At least it was recognizable. I sat there, panting furiously and tried very hard to recall last night’s catastrophe. I couldn’t remember an atom. I mentally calculated that I couldn’t have caused this chaos myself, unless I had a split personality, or I was clinically insane. Since I couldn’t settle for either, I decided that someone else had been here. I disappointedly realized that I would never really find out. I wasn’t ever good at Sherlock Holmes stuff. Nevertheless, I strained my brain to think of someone who could do such an evil thing, and million names came to my mind. It’s a bad bad world…
Since the time I had announced the topic of my research, I had suddenly acquired a whole new set of enemies, in addition to the already existing million. They all seemed terribly outraged, as if I had stolen away their share of fame and snatched away their Nobel Prize from them. My organisation dismissed my research as a mere fantasy, and refused to pay me for my work. That was my last meeting, as I had resigned that very day. I had offensively argued all through that meeting, trying to prove my point to the clan of idiots sitting in front of me. But they hadn’t paid any heed to any of my assertions. Today, they would be cooling their burning asses.
I smiled divinely as I realized that I had accomplished something the world thought was impossible. An extension to the Theory of Relativity was incredibly intelligent. Even Einstein would be proud. I was finally at par with the man I idolized even when I was in my mother’s womb. My dream of being another Einstein was finally coming true. It was a path breaking discovery in the history of mankind, and I could almost see myself walking down the aisle to receive my Nobel. I made a mental note to begin preparing a speech, as the day wasn’t too far. I recalled the previous day, when I had boisterously announced to my ex-organisation, after years of toil and hard work; that I had finally achieved what they had mocked me for even dreaming. I guffawed at my desk, as their gaping faces came to my mind. Their faces spoke of envy. Envy: because I had arrived at a place, where they could only dream of arriving.
As I played with the pen in my hand, the only undamaged one from the lot, I had a frightening eureka moment. I almost suffered from momentary paralysis, as I shatteringly thought about what had just occurred to me. I nearly died a million deaths in that one second, after which I reached for my locker, the only part of my laboratory that I had forgotten about. The heart of my laboratory.
I ran towards it, like I would be winning an Olympic Medal any minute, and stood in front of it breathless. I opened it in a split second, and shrieked in petrifying horror, as an ugly mouse jumped out of it. As the mouse jumped on my shoulder and leaped to the ground, I stood in bewilderment, staring at the sight unfolding in front of my eyes. My locker was as pink as a rose, a result of it being flooded with Potassium Permanganate. My research manuscript was in pieces, literally, and it spoke of last night’s horrors. A tear trickled down my cheek as I lifted my now-in-torn-state manuscript, and gazed at it with utmost love. For the last five years, I had locked myself up in this two storey house, away from those idiots who doubted my abilities, and toiled day and night for what now lay in my hands, soaked wet in pink water, and torn into a zillion parts. I cradled its remains, as I witnessed my miserable five years going down the drain. The research had been my religion, and I had worshipped it like a true deity, only to be rewarded by being allowed to witness its sad death. I fell to the floor, as my confidence decayed down, with the fastest half life ever. I wept and whined and cried and sobbed, shrieking for everything to be undone. Not even a molecule of hydrogen moved from its place.
I left my religion on the floor and stood up, wanting to be taken away from the lab immediately. I made a depressing decision to forget all about it, and move on. I couldn’t see myself spending another five, or even one year, or even a minute re-doing all my research. I wiped the uncontrollable tears from my eyes, determined to start life anew. I even had thoughts about giving up science altogether. Maybe being a scientist wasn’t all that great after all. I could do gardening, or sell eggs. Anything that didn’t require passion. Passion was synonymous to betrayal now. I turned to close my locker, wishing that I had got a secret lock or something installed; so that whoever had been here wouldn’t have succeeded in his cruel intentions. I sobbed even more when I realized that even if I found out who had done this blasphemy, I wouldn’t be able to retrieve my research from him. He hadn’t stolen it. He had destroyed it. Distraught, I looked at the locker one last time. As I was just about to close it, I saw a tiny brown paper lying in its farther corner. I picked it up disinterestedly, and opened it. What it read, was the cruelest thing I had ever read in any language or book.

‘Maybe being another Einstein isn’t all that easy after all. Einstein would have surely had a lock on his ‘lock’-er. That’s what they are for. Too bad our wannabe Einstein didn’t realize that yet.’

I crushed the note, and wept for my life. I wept for my dead research. I wept for my destructed lab. I wept for my pen stand. I wept for my five years. I wept for making a decision to sell eggs. I wept because I would be following it. I wept for god to see. I wept for myself. I wept for my Nobel.

Maybe the note writer was right.
Maybe there never could be another Einstein.

[Whoever said that science was boring :P I did, before I wrote this. :D]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Aanchal speaks

This is your post Aanchal. What is called a guest post. Thanks for it. :)

Imagine a pink A4 size sheet, just like the one you gave me. :P
Here goes:
Abhilasha, you're a wonderful person to know. And if I had to define you in one word, it'd be "fascinating". Or, or, "different". :D
We haven't known each other closely, but whatever I know of you, is that you're an amazing confidante and a good friend to have. You're calm and probably a good decision maker. You don't try to talk senseless unlike me, and trust me, that's a good thing. According to the few things that Disha tells me about you, I can say that you're very empathetic and the perfect person to talk to when you're low.:)
That's it, I guess.
I'll miss you.
I'll miss everybody who's leaving!
Miss me too!
Love, Aanchal.

[I thought the idea of a guest post was extremely silly, before I did this. and it isn't all that silly, you know..]