I was reading to a room full of people when someone interrupted with a question about my first short story. I said something about being a novice writer and how I have grown ever since. When I resumed reading, the words fell out; the printed words rolled and fell out of the book. Some scattered on the podium, some on the floor, some fell on my clothing. I tried to resume the reading, but there were no more words left. I turned the pages back and forth in panic. The book had emptied out and the empty pages mocked me, ‘You built a career on stolen words, now the words got stolen from you.’
My Dear Love,
Looking back, it seems like we were little children trying to play house. But I am glad I stuck with you even though there were times when I wanted to run away from it all. I am grateful that you stayed with me for this incredible voyage we embarked upon, many years ago.
Although I describe this as a journey, it hardly comes close to describing a relationship so intimate, so constantly existent that sometimes it felt as though I would just disappear into this gaping maw. But we found our boundaries and learned when not to over-step.
In conversations with friends and family over a period of time, I have come to understand that there is a tendency to distort or stretch the truth. Such alterations make for interesting anecdotes and lively conversation. But, when it comes to regular interaction with people in daily life, staying close to reality keeps life’s flow relatively smooth.
Over the years after listening to numerous personal stories, I realized separating the husk from the grain can be really hard. I also realized that I don’t have to know the absolute truth about everything to have healthy relationships. All I need is a credible approximation of the broad reality. To ascertain this, all I need to do is to discount certain parts of the issues presented, according to the individual’s nature and character.
This is my current formula to get to the heart of the matter:
At first I take all things said in a conversation at face value. No assumptions, no presumptions unless the context is obvious or common in social parlance. In time, a pattern would emerge and some lack of consistency would begin to show, in the continuity of the narratives. Depending on the degree of this inconsistency, I assign discounts to the information presented to me.
The last leaf of autumn yellowed, curled brown, blew in the wind and rustled on a driveway in suburban Virginia. Ramesh stared at the fickle leaf absently for a few interminable seconds. Then he deliberately stepped on it, crunched it under the sneakers before going for a run around the neighborhood.
The trees stood bare, with skinny arms raised up to the skies in lament. The sun yawned lazily at the beginning of a crisp Sunday in early November. The neighborhood was slowly stirring to life. As he jogged through the sub-division, he wondered how many couple would be staying in bed, having breakfast as they made lazy conversation.
That was how it was for him until the final Sunday in summer; waking up lazily next to his wife, with the morning sun streaming through the bedroom windows. Right in the middle of that week, she announced that she was leaving him.
Ramesh was stunned by the bolt from the clear blue sky.