The Wooden Almirah
We had a wooden almirah at home. Wood as wood would. Silently strong. Strongly silent. It spent its shiny youth happily dreaming about dating the likes of Ikea, UrbanLadder, Pepperfry. Unconditional romance. Holding tight the six square-cut, orthodox glasses on its chest. Embracing a mysterious closet in its lower chamber.
The almirah was arguably way wiser than the humans who owned it but way too arrogant to be spoken to. Tall and sturdy. As a child, I tried several times to strike a conversation with its pretty, light-brown doors; disappointed, I would start beating its legs. A handfan made of dried coconut leaves was my stylish whip, and my dangerous AK-47.
Dhichkaoon! Sound on my sound mind. Loud mind.
I imagined pain on its varnished skin and cried at my cruelty, at times. As my anger would no longer linger, I would bring my mother's favourite Boroline cream, pretend to be worried, and gently apply the sticky paste on its artistically preserved skin. The almirah had books locked inside it. I was made to believe that I could read them when I would be of a certain age and maturity. My curiosity inspired me to become a thief. I would silently steal the keys and pull out the thinnest of the books, place it inside my text book and, at one go, quietly gulp the stories frozen in its layers. With time and my increasing interest—from Pinky to Apu and Durga—thin became thick. Thicker. Thickest.
My earliest memory traces to vast literature on Hindu Mythology. I admired Lord Ganesha a lot. The Gentleman roamed around His parents in a circle as a proxy for travelling around the world. Lazy but surely a smart Chap. Slowly, I made solo trips to different worlds and planets narrated by different writers. I fell truly, madly, and deeply for words.
Words are powerful. They create. They destroy.
The words we tell ourselves become our story. Sometimes, fiction. The fiction knocks on the door of the mask we wear but never hears the story on the other side of the mask. The story of our life. The brain fighting the mind, the heart fighting the brain, the intention fighting the attention, the noise fighting the silence, ..., the desires fighting the needs become the mask.
The mask we wear.
Then, the mask wears us. And, wears us.