Monday, May 09, 2005


I never quite realized that the routine exercise of washing clothes would take me down the memory lane, through the vaults and labyrinths of my being. Among that bunch of soiled clothes soaked in the detergent there was one shirt I had preserved for years-your favourite green shirt you gave me the day we parted our different ways. Tattered and weathered , there was a different feel about it every time I wore it.

I remember the first time you wore it. Faded jeans and this green shirt tucked in. The green you wore that day was to show you how dreary our minds were.

Animated drawings ...meshed up with obscene comments one usually hears only in the dark or mad ramblings in the daylight. The way you broke down that day shocked and intimidated by the unexpected behavior by the ones whom you considered your own folk, the very ones you helped out going well out of the way many a time…the way you sat down right on the road weeping still remains a moving episode in the vaults of remembrances archived , but not chronicled. I could hardly console you then..could one ever cheer a 100meters dash sprinter who began to crawl all of a sudden?

You never tucked in that green shirt again.

I could possibly forget those moments of fun and laughter, but this episode does touch a chord deep within letting out a silent sigh all the time. Such were the broken moments of oneness, though much of it still remains unexpressed, yet delightfully ruminated on.

You looked funny the next time you wore the green shirt because it looked overtly oversized, the tip touching almost your elbow…and the laughter it triggered was the death knell of it all…you never wore the green shirt again. I remember, I too made a remark, that you appeared like a kid. You still do, no matter how easily you hop across continents as a globe trotting professional. May be my remark did hurt you then, but believe me that is one frozen moment I still cherish…like a playful kid who tried so well to get up from a little fall.

You never wore shirts again!

...neither the green one nor the red one though both reflected well the bright hues of the kaleidoscopic patterns of your being. I thought you had thrown the green shirt away for, such was the rage with which you fumed forth, such were the sobs of mute agony that eventually silenced you.

Much later, you handed over the green shirt to me washed and ironed and told me “ now you keep it”. That was over 6 years ago. It stayed with me ever since then.

Never did I realize that you were planting a speck of green at the edge of desert chose to traverse… 6 years of many sojourns, estrangement and unexpected meeting again. I was really happy to know that you are alive, that was the best I could hope for during those years of your virtual effacement …when I had no means to even know about your existence.

Today when I took the socked green shirt from the bucket, it was just another impatient move to get done with the chore of washing clothes as fast as I could. But as I began to scrub it, I could feel myself swirling into the gravitating depths of the past. I really could not believe it, a faded green shirt that is the relic of a collapsed castle and remnant glory soon assumed a delicateness more intense than any of my choicest new clothes ever elicited from me.

I took out the green shirt on to the washing floor…the first scrub and the first squeeze, I saw green water oozing out just as if I am washing it for the very first time. A shirt I would have other wise thrown off, had it not been for that fact that it was given by you, for all its withering out and shading out lay before my as if it is the very first time I washed it. It was as if my forlorn being was squeezed and scrubbed out of its dreariness…perhaps to make me realize that in the middle of freezing winter, there was in me an invincible summer.

I felt as if every wash… every drying up had only multiplied its green pigments, and some how I feel for sure that it will be just that way henceforth for this is the only incorrigible way I could now feel the kindling warmth of your being.