Tuesday, December 26, 2006

:: the loud silences::

The whisper was strong enough to pierce the silence that inhabited the dark corridors. The dull aroma of dying paper filled the night that settled around like quiet fog.
‘Yes yes…you…over here brother!’ the whisper continued.
Nehru looked around and found Gandhi looking back at him with a grin.
‘Aren’t you asleep yet?’ asked a visibly surprised Nehru.
‘Oh…’ moaned Gandhi exhaling a deep one. ‘Sleep left me ages ago. It has been close to a decade when I slept in satisfaction of being useful.’
Nehru smiled back as a response to Gandhi’s complaint. He knew what Gandhi meant.
‘It seems that everyday this place is getting quieter and darker. Don’t you think?’
Nehru looked around.
‘I don’t know,’ he responded after a moment of reflective inspection. ‘It is active during the day time. I have heard people walking around. Some of them pass by here as well. I am sure you have seen that too. You are right across me!’
‘Sure…sure…’ Gandhi’s feeble whisper echoed back. ‘They come and go. No one stops here anymore. No one wants to hear what we have to say. Makes me wonder what it was all for. Look at the dust here. Looks like a haunted place.’
‘Hmm…’ said Nehru. ‘Well...I think we did OK.’
‘Of course!’ screamed Gandhi hitting a high tone. A pitch that echoed in the gloomy silence of the corridor like a child's cry for help.
‘You are the one to talk!’ he continued. ‘You got to be the Prime Minister for God knows how many years. Of course you had it OK. What did I get? I spent a lifetime spreading peace and truth and got a bullet in my chest as a reward.’
Gandhi mumbled something to himself which might have been a vent of frustration.
‘Oh come one…’ Nehru said trying to sooth the old man down. ‘Did you know they are making movies on you these days. Your philosophy. They call it Gandhigiri!’
‘What? Really?’
They both chuckled briefly.
‘Ah…Gandhigiri. Guess no one seems interested in Nehrugiri, eh?’ said Gandhi feeling a little better.
Nehru was silent. He smiled back.
‘But still…’ continued Gandhi’s cracking whisper ‘I wish they would come visit us sometime. We have so much left to share! So much to give. Some of our concepts are universal don’t you think?’
Nehru nodded in approval.
‘I wish we could be used again. The silence these days is the loudest thing I hear. It keeps me up all the time.’
‘For God’s sake!’ they heard a disturbed voice pierce through their chatter.
‘Will you two be quiet! I am trying to get some sleep here!’
‘Oh! Mr. Tagore! How are you doing?’ asked Gandhi who seemed glad to have annoyed Tagore.
‘If you must know. No one visits me either. So I too am not doing good,’ responded Tagore faintly.
‘Not surprisingly. Which one are you?’ asked Nehru.
‘Geetanjali. And you?’
‘Discovery of India.’
‘No one seems to experiment with truth anymore,’ said Gandhi closing his cover. ‘It’s all over. All over…’
The three continued looking into space as the other books in that part of the library continued to sleep in undisturbed peace.


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