On a serene Friday night, I was whiling away the hours on my couch. The lamp on the table gave grains of light which struggled to battle with the darkness. The voice of Isakov singing “If I go, I’m going” was my only companion in the minutes before midnight.
One, two, three… I start to count the stars on the clear sky. I wasn’t sleepy, and I had no desire to labor myself out of the couch.
My phone beeps.
I turn back to the table.
A lamp, a laptop, a phone, and a mug – a small, but a happy family of my table. I stretch my hands to pick up the mug and take a sip. Ah! The coffee is still hot.
I look at the antediluvian mug. I have this one for over a decade now, I think. It’s a white porcelain one with Happy Birthday written on one side, and a picture of a boy riding a bike on the other.
I squeeze my eyes to look at the picture. Do I recognize my younger self? I barely do. But, I remember the day it was taken.
It was the spring of 2009. It was a time when I was happy. It was a time when I used to laugh, not forced but innate laugh. It was a time when I used to smile, a lot. It was a time when I was in love.
I go back to the day the picture was clicked.
The board exams had just ended. I had only two things to do – immerse myself in Grisham and Marquez, and to watch United win the League Cup and subsequently the third consecutive Premier League, for the second time – the first team ever.
On one such evening, the girl I loved, decided to go for a ride on bike. We rode through the empty streets and its heightened quietude. Our laughs echoed, the crunching of leaves under our bike being the perfect interlude to our whispers. The spring breeze made her hair dance to the tunes of cuckoos. To any odd stranger we would seem two desultory lost souls, and correctly so. We were in the dreamland – riding to our sunset full of promises.
But that was a long, long time ago.
Is time a healer, or a mere cloak? A cloak – which shrouds the pain with a sense of serenity, only to be blown away by the winds of an abrupt storm?
The sands of time have covered up the scars, daubed the old memories with new, made the image fade away. But the mug made me go back, in a jiff. Aren’t we all slaves of memories?
I keep the mug on the table. The song changes to London Grammar’s “Hey now”. My phone beeps again.
This time I stretch to pick up the phone. A slight nudge to the mug. The mug … falling. I make a historic attempt to catch it mid-air. My fingers brush past the ear of the mug. I desperately try to grasp it … but I miss.
The mug lies on the floor – shattered. It broke into three big pieces with shards of glass scattered. My face is broken from the bike. Happy Birth is broken from the day. But the ear joins the bike and the day.
I sit there, stunned. The mug shattered, and my memories collapsed. Flashes of smiles, whispers, laughter, the spring breeze, and the face. Gone.
I pick up the broken pieces and throw them away.
It was a long time my friend, I bid farewell. You came into my life at a time when I was happy. You stayed when I was crushed. You are leaving now, only when you know I can be happy again.
It’s time to say goodbye, old friend!
I bring out a new mug.
A Game of Thrones mug.