insomnia

the fazr azaan cuts through the quiet dawn morning, and silences the band playing on a neighbor’s rooftop. they’ve been going at it all night long – the remains of a gaye holud/bachelor party somewhere in the neighborhood. i imagine a whole silent city of bloodshot eyes in the morning, silently cursing the intent revelry that’s kept everyone else up all night.

but i’m not up late because of the music. my almost hermetically sealed windows and the sound of the air conditioner have drowned them out quite well. i’m up late again – or is it early in the morning? – immersed in something else.

someone else.

my mind still resonates with her final murmurs and sighs as sleep envelopes her. i remember i didn’t wish her a good night, but she was already asleep before i could. but there are bigger things for me to worry about.

for as long as i can remember, it’s been my second nature to critically deconstruct everything i say and do, usually before i do it. but this time, i haven’t given myself the opportunity. and that makes me worry; after a near eternity of guarding my emotions so closely, i’m finally letting them take full rein and lead me on. but that scares me – what if i end up getting hurt again? after a lifetime of unrequited affection, what if this ends up following the same road? what if i end up doing something completely stupid and thereby lose the one person in a long time who’s managed to inspire and excite me enough to let my guard down long enough to actually feel alive, for once?

worrying about everything is possibly my quintessential characteristic. but right now, i can’t seem to concentrate on even these concerns. the promise of a brand new day and the prospect of hearing her voice again eclipse everything else.

the soft plucking of a guitar mixes with the final notes of the azaan. a soft imperceptible rain falls and distorts the flickering decorative lights from the wedding house. dhaka’s in the grips of another very late post-monsoon depression, and the light slowly coming off the eastern horizon reveals a sky scarred with clouds.

but, as the band strikes up again, i think that, this time, i’m going to be all right.

on writing

the lamest excuse i could possibly come up with for not writing more on this blog would be the most truthful one: really bad time management. i could have come up with something more original and even slightly more exciting, like a tremendously active social life, or a blooming love affair, or even a sudden influx of new best friends, but none of those would be truthful. seeing that i haven’t written any new fiction in over a year, if truth were to desert my writing as well, that would leave me with absolutely nothing to write about.

but no. the excuse for my continued absence would have to be my lack of effective time management skills. or rather, given the amount of time management i’m already engaged in – balancing work, classes and the band – dedicating time for writing seems to have fallen through the cracks. despite an intention to poach a good friend’s own practice of writing at least 1000 words a day, i haven’t been able to live up to it yet. it seems that, once my time is split between classes, work and the band, the remainder is dedicated to a free-for-all assortment of other activities: shaving, for example, or spending time with the family. writing falls into this list. however, it’s mostly always at the bottom of the priority list, given that watching movies or reading books provides more convenient and enjoyable distraction.

in the meantime, my short story acid somehow got published in the eid special of the new age, an english language daily. [i realize, of course, that linking to the published story here effectively destroys the last shreds of anonymity that this blog had, but i’m certain that if anyone still reads this blog today, they already know me.] i’ve had mixed feelings about the publication. first, i’m not certain how they got their hands on it – i don’t consciously remember submitting it for consideration. second, given that it’s my first publication, i’m of course quite excited. but finally, i’m not certain if i wanted it published in the form it is in currently. as part of my procrastination about writing new stuff, i keep telling myself that first i’ll revise all the old stories, but i never get around to that either. and i’m certain that most of them need revision.

except club rio, of course. even if i wanted to change that story around, the only message i ever wanted to get across through it is covered in the first few lines, whereas the rest is just an afterthought. but others, like the night it rained, definitely need a lot of work on my part.

but now that something has finally been published, i feel it’s about time i started writing again. for the past few days, i’ve been dreaming up a new story, again set in bangladesh, and, like acid, concerned with a burning issue. although i haven’t started work on it, i plan to do so shortly.

in the meantime, the response from the elders on the publication of acid has been, to say the least, very interesting. my father told me, “the plot was good, the writing was good, the ending was good, but you didn’t need to put sex into it!” as that was the first time i ever heard him use the dreaded s-word, i consider it a huge achievement. a professor also called it “very mature writing”, which actually means, i presume, that it constitutes reading material for the very mature. and all this fuss about something that may or may not have happened! for god’s sake, they were only lying in bed together and kissing, not explicitly naked, and at one point they “finished” doing something. that doesn’t mean they had sex! it could have been a billion different things – thumb-wrestling, for one. and several other things that escape my mind at this moment. but no, the perverted minds of humans automatically assume that they were making babies! god.

one last thing before we close for today. i’ve tried out a variety of writing styles – from the onion to maddox to even any random political blog you come across. but none of that is me. so, henceforth, i’m going to be writing in my own style about things that interest me, just to see how it comes out. if you’re still reading a year from now, i’m sure you deserve an award.

come to think of it, if i’m still writing a year from now, i deserve an award.