Can We Be Penpals – 4


It’s highy recommended to read prequels to this story here

As Vasanth walked home with the journal in his hand, his spirits were just as clouded as the sky above him. The lightning struck, threatening the onset of heavy showers. But When it finally did pour, the night had fallen; the heavens burst open and the rain tormented. 

Inside his room, Vasanth could hear the downpour; the deafening patter of it against the rooftops and window panes. He stood by the window, listening, eyes following the movement of water drops onto the window.

A thought sprung in his mind, and he smiled thinking of the mountains that now could be almost hidden, not just by the darkness of the night, but by the dark clouds that brought this downpour. 

Eyeing the black journal, Vasanth opened it. Once more, the familiar curves of handwriting met his eyes. He flicked a page randomly. Curiously enough, the entries were not separated by dates, as one would naturally expect, they were separated, in fact by a band of asterisk, which in themselves were oddly shaped; as if the hand that wrote them, couldn’t produce one asterisk similar to another. 

Vasanth read the entry, that appeared on that page-

It’s one of these sleepless nights, where my thoughts have sabotaged every attempt of drifting asleep. I hear them loud and clear. Troubling, it is, to have your subconscious play this mean game with you; a game where not you, but your thoughts are the Master.’

He read another entry-

I ran into a group of classmates today at the cafe. Ironically, after all these years when invited to join them, I still managed to fade into the background, Just as I did during school and the subsequent college days. 

I had forgotten how I felt back then. How the comparison that had somehow been imbibed into me made me feel inferior; lacking in several aspects when compared to all my very efficient classmates. I feared being the outsider, someone at whose expense laughs were earned. I realize now that even when school had ended long ago, I still held onto that feeling; A constant fear of being mocked, once my back was turned.

Maybe that’s why I am afraid of having company. Afraid that within their hearts of hearts they too will make fun of me.’

‘Every day feels the same,’ began another entry a few pages later. Days have started to merge into one another with very few nuances between them. I keep longing for a change of scenario. Twice this week, I have stepped onto a bus leaving the town. Twice I have stepped down even before the bus left the station. I don’t dare to face the change. And yet I keep desiring it.

Wrath. Another of the seven deadly sins; the one that has enslaved me since long gone, showing itself when the situation made it least necessary. I can’t help but wonder, what am I truly angry at? The situation or my inability to change it? I decide on the latter. After all, I feel helpless. 

Wild fury fills me during these moments. My hands itch to destroy something but instead, they pick up a blade. The metal feels cold against my skin. A shiver runs through me. A split second later there is a long scar, the size of my finger; red and stingy, red spots surrounding it. But it doesn’t bleed. I fail; even when it comes to harm.

Vasanth stared at the words, breathless. Words have power, he always believed that. But do words have this much effect too? For even in the roaring thunder outside, he felt he heard the words as if they were spoken to him, laced in every emotion that occupied the speaker’s mind. 

He continued to read further. 

The sun’s just peeking out from over the horizon. The sky has hues of orange, yellow and red scattered across. A cold breeze blows inside just as I open the window. There’s a silence hanging in the air, the silence that precedes the waking of the world. It’s beautiful. And I can only click a picture; the very first picture taken from the Polaroid I bought yesterday. I am pinning it to this very page, once I finish what I have to say. 

In the last few days, I have realised a few things. One of them is that I can feel loneliness, isolation and solitude; all three things. My existence shouldn’t be defined by any one of them. I am allowed to experience them. They are important to cherish companionship. 

But if I don’t allow them to define me then what defines me? Fear, I have realised, is too commonplace to be associated with individual identity; looks, beauty, too short-lived; mind, always fluctuating. What then defines us? Defines me?

I am starting to believe that in the end, it’s only two things that matter; two things that can do some justice towards defining the complexity of a person. Coward or brave. 

Is a person brave enough to walk against all odds, to risk everything just so they could find the joy in their life or are they coward enough to suffer at the hands of life?

My cowardice has been a part of me for too long, making me afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone. But amazing things happen beyond this zone, don’t they?

And so I am stepping out. Both of this metaphysical zone and this town; a self-prescribed journey. Finally, leaving, to explore the world, like Mom once did, like I always wanted to. 


For now.

Vasanth unpinned the Polaroid of the morning sky that was pinned there and smiled as he saw the hues of the sky. 

‘You stepped out of your zone a long time ago, even before you realised it..’, he thought, ‘..by sending the letter’.

The next day, he returned the journal to Mrs Murti, but not before scribbling something at the bottom of the Polaroid.

‘When you do return, I hope you found what you so desired.’

What happens next? Does she come back? Do they meet? Does she write once more? Is it the end of their correspondence? One can only imagine the answers. Perhaps then, there might be a story for another time. Perhaps not.

Maybe it’s one of those stories that do not desire a conclusive end; That is always happening. Always progressing. At times apart, and at times together. But never-ending. After all, how can we meet them again if it’s the end?

So let’s not call it a goodbye but instead, Adiós for now. 

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One thought on “Can We Be Penpals – 4

  1. It is never a good bye