Shadows are often like memory. In the indistinctness I confused
the town for another. So many details were familiar. They surprised
me. I almost felt I knew the people who walked in the growing darkness.
Memory plays strange tricks. I rested for a moment on an old bench
and wondered if all towns were not the same.
These days I forget. Earlier I made copious notes of the places
I visited. I took down dates. Indicated the hours of the day.
Years later I found I did not know the words, the quick sketches,
the unfamiliar hand. When I read them I imagined another place
another time without memory.
In Varanasi I searched for temples. Among the heat and people
I was alone. Barefoot, worrying about my shoes, I stepped
on old slippery unreliable stones.
It did not feel real – thousands of pilgrims for endless years.
Later, on Dussera ghat of Ganga in a brief silence I was crowded
by ancient voices.
As evening descended I composed a quick poem and left it near the
Blue hot summer night.
A moment on Dussera Ghat –
For a traveler dates and time always come up. The season to travel
to a cold place. The time of the day for shadows. With a watch on
his hand he feels he makes history. My diaries filled up quickly.
Looking back, all I see are dates and time.
Summer touches me today as if we have never touched before. Or
as if we never parted. I used to think travel was all about difference.
Today I have done away with my watch and calendar. My diaries,
without memory of dates and time, are words that repeat themselves
endlessly among seasons.
I blink at the sun
Look back and what do I see?
Shadow of a little monk.
The barber was amused and curious like all small town folk. “You
don’t look the type,” he said after he tonsured my head. I do not
know what he meant, but the children followed me as far as the corner
of the street throwing pebbles.
Diaries write about people.
Along with others I also believed this. But when I go back to
early pages I only see words among their own memories. The I trapped
in ink has nothing to do with the hand writing new words in black
The water is cool here. I drink a bellyful. Wipe my hands so as
not to get ink smudges. And write again.
I had been in love with her once. We again wear the smiles that
we once wore on our young faces. Today they sit uncomfortable among
I gaze at her ugliness and she looks at mine. “I have to leave
early.” She seems relieved.
I walk towards the station in the fading redness reassured that
we burn the bodies after death.
Relationships are difficult. I have a fear of them – like a young
eye that persists in your memory while out there it slowly grows
tired. Like my skin that shows wrinkles no matter how hard I rub.
Remembering is perhaps only remembering that.
What have I been successful in eluding? All my life I use the
same words again and again, remembering their leanness, their hunger,
their touch, or their fresh smell. Running from my words I have
only added them up again and given them another memory.