I have never been a very intelligent person. Quick and critical thinking have never exactly been my forte. This was always true throughout my school days- at least on the academic side of things. I showed no promise. I had never been too vested or attracted to studies either. Even when my mother used to hold my hands when I would write, when I would do my home-work, I would retaliate and throw away my stuff. Studies were always something I would keep for the last moment. How I wish I could live those moments back and say I love you to me mom. Oh imagine, how much happy it would make her when I said it.
Oh well, Nevertheless there is also something called artistic intelligence. How about I try my hand at that? And what better way to do it than photography. At this new era unfolds it seems like it is a must for all edgy teenagers to buy a good DSLR camera and pose in front of other cameras to take a picture of them holding their camera so that people can think that they are really edgy cool when they hold a camera. I know truly mind-bending stuff. But on the contrary, I want to do it for the artistic value and not for the hipster points.
I picked up my phone and rang the number written on the poster. A lady with a very beautiful voice, who reminded me of the woman I had fallen for, picked up. I finalized the time and the place for the venue and put down the phone. “I am going on an artistic adventure!”, I said to myself.
The fact that I had not seen her was slowly eating away at me. It felt like I was incapable of performing advanced and complex bodily functions at this point. Because my mind was always preoccupied with her face and her perfectly streamlined body shape. On top of that, the interesting dream I had the previous day made it impossible for me to get her image out of my mind.
Unable to win the war against her mere image, my brain decided to swallow its shame and whipped me to move my legs towards the city rather than just sit there and do absolutely nothing at all. After all, I had gone to Thailand as a visitor not as a professional sulker, whom I was doing right now. It was a pretty good impression at that too. But then again, sulkers get nothing done so I had to move about from my cave at some point in time.
I proceeded to put my backpack on and put in all the important documents inside, including a map of the Bangkok city which I had picked up near the airport. The map honestly looked outdated and very vague. But it made absolutely no difference to me because I had my cell-phone with me to look at the map. I was just bringing it along for the cosmetic factor. It was simply for other people to look at me from afar and identify me as a tourist.
As I approached the river I saw an advertisement of photography courses in the city. “Hmmm, sounds interesting”, said me to myself.
I have dreamt many dreams. Real crazy ones at that too. The ones that don’t add up at all. The things that mathematicians have nightmares about. But then again, that is the whole point of these dreams, isn’t it? The whole point is to not make sense. If a dream made sense, it is real life. But what about the dreams we see when you are not dreaming? I am talking about the ones that lead to founding of multi-millionaire companies. A simple idea which comes to the mainstream blows everyone away like a level 5 twister. Not all of such dreams are good too. Some are just outright stupid have absolutely zero real life values.
I am in a dilemma on which one I should assign my dream to. Because it is a real crazy one, and the could be real one, and also why am I still thinking about this that is never going to happen one. Just hear me out okay. So, apparently according to my dream the woman, like me fell in love with me too. So she goes around searching for around the town showing my picture to strangers. “Where did she get the picture?” you ask. It’s a dream, it’s not real. Where do you think she got it huh? Anyways she finally finds me in my hotel room and confesses her love towards me. That is when I woke up. Nice timing, congrats. So I’m thinking what if this could be real, that’s a really interesting proposition. With that argument she could even be a serial killer, who knows? See why I am so stupid? Well, now you know.
I had just switched on the wi-fi on my phone. My phone started to ring almost immediately. The shrillness of the sound filled the room and it was very very irritating. I was starting to change when the call came in so I went to the phone without anything on my torso. I hurriedly ran to the phone on my bare chest and picked up the phone hurriedly just to make the hideous cries of my phone stop. In the haste I did not even bother looking at who was calling.
It was dad. Speak of the devil. He seemed a little different from the last time I had seen him. He seemed a little paler. His beard had grown longer and clearly he had not invested any time grooming them even the slightest bit. He was still in his office as it appeared in the background. I did not really want to have long conversations with him. But I could not just cut him off after I had already picked up the phone. Begrudgingly I decided to have a little chit-chat with him.
I asked him what the purpose of the sudden call was. I wanted to know if something significant had happened in his life. But as expected, nothing extra-ordinary had happened to him that time either. He just sits in his chair in his office 24/7. Nothing ever happens to my old man. He has always been that way, more so after my mother’s demise. After 1 minute of Hi Hellos and How are you’s, he drifted his narration towards his business and about the market shares and inflation and all that business gibberish. At this point I was done with the call so I stopped him abruptly and bid him adieu and told him I was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I , of course, was just avoiding him. I crashed unto the bed like a log and promised myself for a better tomorrow and dozed off.
After I got back to my hotel room, I had kind of made up my mind on forgetting the woman I had met that day. Love cannot be forgotten. But love cannot be forced as well you know. Love comes and love leaves at its own accord ungoverned and untouched by the forces of nature- unfazed my human laws. But they do have human laws on stalking and it is frowned upon. So I left the rest to destiny and the alignment of the stars and such. Any more forceful pursuit by myself would jinx it, is what I convinced myself. I believe that to be true for the most part. Of course, it was not all sunshine for the heart. As expected it rumbled and tumbled inside my rib cage voicing its retaliation against this decision. But, sadly to its misfortune the brain reigned superior this time around. “If it has to be it will be. If it’s meant to be it will be. If fate desires so all the weird gears of the universe will work their magic to make it happen and voila next thing you know you got the girl in your arms, drowning out your liver in champagne and you lungs in cheap cigar. But for now lie quiet!”, said the brain assuming command of all the senses from here on out.
It was a fail-safe mechanism set up by the brain to keep me safe after my previous heart break. It was a real train-wreck. So to keep that from happening, the brain tried to run things at such times. I did not mind as long as my head was straight. Hey, I wonder how dad is doing!
Her lips were still twisting and turning when my eyes were observing it. “They are still moving”, my eyes were reporting back. At that moment I realized that she was still speaking and I was completely zoned out. Holy crap! How stupid am I? Oh my god! I just caught the tail-end of her last question. “Stay?”
“What? Where? Why are you asking me this?” was everything I did not say. “Huh?” is what I did say. She looked at me like I had just landed for Mars and had asked to see their leader, which I am sure I did not say, even though I was zoned out. She repeated her question and said, ”Do you have a place to stay?” I do not know why exactly but her asking meant so much more to me than she actually knew. My heart with weird machinations and such decided that the chest was not its rightful place and had to find a higher place to settle. So, the neck is where it set up shop. “Yes, I will marry you.” Barely escaped my lips when I had to forcefully cage them and lock them up. Oh, it was very brutal believe me.
At this moment I realized that I had set out to do something else. I had set out to see the world, to keep them all under my belt. Would I be able to forgive myself if I did not achieve that. Then again it doesn’t mean I am giving up on going everywhere; I am just putting things on pause, right? I decided to stay in Bangkok for sometime more and see where things go. But, definitely not in her house, that would just be weird. So, I politely declined her offer and started looking up the nearest hotel. Would we meet again though? That was the real question. Actually no, what was her name? That is the real question. Goddammit, during the coup of my heart, I did not even listen to her name. Stupid stupid.
“Congratulations! You just played yourself. You got just got into something you have been avoiding since the last five years. Good luck getting out now!”, my brain was applauding me sarcastically. But I had no time to address my brain. My focus was more on my hands-on organs-my eyes and my ears. From the moment she had said “saving grace”, I had not listened to a single word she had been saying. I was too busy admiring her eyes. Her brown-almost dark eyes sparkled with such radiance that it cut through me like little invisible knives. At this point I had to avert my eyes towards less intimidating parts of her face. Little did I know that every single part of her was equally radiant and equally intimidating at the same time. It was as if she had the face of the most attractive beauty pageant winner and really buffed night club bouncer both at the same time. Amazed? Confused? It would be strange if you weren’t.
Her lips perfectly arched on the right spots both on her face and in my heart. She had no make-up on her which was evident due to the wrinkles that was showing on her forehead and her cheeks. I would say she looked just perfect that way- no make-up on. People, of course, would differ with me. It’s actually ironic because her shop was named “Be impure” and I loved her in her purest of states. This became more clearer because after my eyes made their way towards her neck they did not like what they saw because of the tattoos. “The tattoos are blocking her beautiful neck. Can’t see. All is foggy.”, was the official correspondence from my eyes to me. I agreed cent percent.
All said and done, my heart intervened and claimed absolute dictatorship and total control. “This is love”, it laid down the law. “Congrats! You doomed us all.”, said the brain still applauding sarcastically. I am in love and I feel great. Then fireworks!
What is life? What is the difference between a living person and dead one? Is it his breath? Is it his heart-beat? Is it his body’s stiffness? Or is it something else- something that transcends our understanding of time and this universe? Is it our essence? Our soul? If so where is our life essence located? How can I touch my soul?
These questions were eating me from the inside as we were making our way to the nearest hospital. The ambulance was filled by me, the sick guy, her, and the paramedic. At this point no one said anything to each other. There was not total silence either, the silence was filled in by the wailing of the ambulance’s siren. The guy I performed CPR on was safe from harm at the moment.
After ten minutes of the ambulance ride, we reached the hospital. “How was the ambulance that late? Bangkok is a fairly populated area. There had to be a hospital nearer.” I know I know. But you need to understand that traffic jams are a worldwide epidemic. It apparently has deep roots even in Bangkok, unfortunately.
We unloaded the guy from the ambulance from the ambulance and rushed him to the emergency building. After that, we sat in the waiting room of the hospital awkwardly in silence. “Did I kill the guy? Did this happen because of me?”, she wasn’t saying anything but these words were as clear as the un-ozoned UV-rays from the sun; through her eyes.
Finally the doctor walked out and said that the guy was out of danger and was asleep now. He also said that the guy was diabetic and had an episode of cardiac arrest back at the shop and had nothing to do with the tattoo. He informed us that the hospital had informed his next of kin and we could go now.
At this moment, she turned back to me with her lushful, monsoon eyes and said- “Thank you! You are my saving grace.” Oh my god that voice. Birds hide in shame after listening to that voice. Beethoven rolls in his grave because he can’t do a professional collaboration with that voice. Little did she know she was actually my saving grace!
I wouldn’t have been surprised if the sign leading into the shop read “Visitor discretion advised: Shop too lit”. But the shop was cutely named “Be impure”. Confused right? Me too.
I walked up to the reception and looked around. There were all kinds of pictures hung on the walls. Ranging from peaceful artistic paintings to colors thrown all over the canvas in the fit of rage. Looks like they cover all age groups here. The windows were completely sealed off because who needs sunlight anyways right? It was impossible to read the original color of the walls because the colored lights were masking them all.
But I was actually searching for her rather than surveying the shop. The girl on the reception desk asked me what I wanted. I was about to conjure a broken answer when she ran out from the tattooing room. “He is not breathing!”, she was saying frantically. “What kind of business do these kind of people run?”, I said to myself. The receptionist picked up her phone to call the ambulance. She ran back in so I followed her in. Don’t ask me why.
A man who looked around 40 was lying on the floor, his tattoo half complete. “He is not breathing. What do I do? What do I do?”, she was saying still out of breath. At this moment I remembered the First Aid training we had been given back in high school. I had not paid much attention to the whole thing but I remembered CPR because it was pretty interesting. I promptly checked his pulse then administered the “30:2:5” on him.
On the second cycle, the man came back still gasping for breath. The ambulance could be heard just outside the door too.
“Hey, girl is that a phone in your back pocket, ‘cause that butt is callin’ me”, one of my friends from back in Nepal had mouthed in my ear when we had seen a highly endowed girl walking down the street. Looking back I only now realize how sexist that was and how stupid we used to be. Only now I realize to truly appreciate someone’s beauty you have to leave the box of naiveness. Because no words existed in my naive compartment that could describe her beauty, no words that did her justice, even remotely. This is truly thinking “outside the box”.
I did not exactly know what I was doing. But, nevertheless my mind urged me to go inside the tattoo shop as well. God installed a brain in me to direct and stuff. Who else am I gonna listen to rather than my brain right. I mean I cannot refute real science right? So, I did not. The insides of the shop looked like a completely different world than the one that literally existed just two steps away. The place was spectacularly lit. It was like when god came down from heaven and said “Let there be light”. Then Light cunningly started its journey from that very store knowingly to meet her first than sparkled less unto the next place.
I know what you are thinking. I am talking about science and brain and stuff one second and start rambling like I just got my brain lobes hastily rearranged on the second. I cannot dispute your argument oh generous sir! I can only say that this time it wasn’t my brain running things, at this moment my heart had taken over with its swift and very very effective mutiny. Not that I am complaining though.