Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's sunset and he's walking on Mount Road, towards the Nungambakkam flyover.
The traffic is heavy. It usually is at this point in time. People heading home. Heavy bus traffic, honks blaring. Of course, he can't hear anything, he has his earphones plugged in.
The buildings yield, the traffic thins, the road widens and that's when the sky opens up.
Glorious evening sky over Madras.
Sodium smooth and radio blue, crow speckled, leaping from east to west.

Almost as if all that the sun wanted to do that day was lie down and die, and let itself bleed slowly across all of eternity.
Sattendru maarudhu vaanilai ...
There was a time when such unbearable beauty would have torn his insides apart, left him feeling unhinged and unmoored, filled him with an urge to tell someone about it, tell someone that the world was beautiful and that life was thrilling.
Somewhere, somehow, all of that has changed.
He was sitting at the Ispahani Centre bus stand, earphones streaming songs from Minnale.
His office used to be around here and he would often catch a bus from this very bus stand on a Friday evening to go to the beach or just take a tour of the city.
It was drizzling and he'd cycled through the other hit songs from the movie and was a little absent minded when Ivan yaaro started to play.
Roughly two minutes into the song, he sits up, pauses the player, slides the song back a little on his phone and replays it.
There. No mistaking it.
He pauses the song, and plays that bit over again.
Nenjae nenjae unnai, ullae vaiththadhu yaaru ...
Almost as if Harini, otherwise peppy and playful in the rest of the song, threw a little bit of her soul into that one line.
Almost as if she wanted to lay herself bare for that one line, her voice straining, searching for that bit of pain to paint a pointless line with.
Yaeno yaeno yennai, paarkka seidhaai unnai ...
There was a time when lines sung like that would have turned him inside out for life, left him feeling a little less desolate and made him want to lay himself bare to someone in return.
He smiles to himself.
Somewhere, somehow, all of that has changed.