The scorching heat engulfed my existence. Left to right I turned looking for solace. None found, forward I walked to my initial destination. The warm, sweet smell of old books covered my hot quivering body. I inhaled, feeling complete and at peace. I let the words sink into my skin as I walked the aisles, contemplating the lucky book. I stopped in front of a particular book, one that did not whisper to me. Curious, I lifted it out of its homely alcove. Both, the title and the author’s name had faded away. Gently I opened the book. I gave my eyes a minute to focus on the cartwheeling letters. The a’s seemed to be running all over the place. I closed the lucky book and strode over to my corner. The dim sodium like light augmented the already fragile atmosphere. I settled down and forced my mind to concentrate on the a’s. It’s a different letter everyday. Yesterday, the g’s had a field day with me. It was fun in a way, but annoying when you are trying to get the climax right. Sensing my unsettled mood the a’s slowly inched to their respective places. The title surprised me. I had tried reading this book a long time ago. Gave up in fuming despair. I traced the inked words on the yellow page: The God of Small Things. I wondered what this book would reveal to my cluttered, rickety mind. My fingers were frozen and I tried to will life into them. They just refused to take orders. Maybe I wasn’t ready to learn it’s secrets yet. I started a conversation with my frozen fingers. They occasionally twitched and then went ice dead again. The growing warmth inside me excluded my frozen fingers and I couldn’t seem to understand what was the issue. This had never happened before and I normally could control my fingers. After many unfruitful tries, I gave up and let my mind wander. The a’s started cartwheeling again. There were very few of those on that starting page and they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. To be exact, there were just 3 a’s rolling over the page, pretending to be circus jumpers. Then the unexpected happened. The t’s joined the a’s in their wild circus fun. Another first for me. I blinked once. Twice. Thrice.
I could see an a hanging off of the end of a t at the right hand corner of the page, relishing this freedom. New experience it was. I think this was a first for the letters too. Intermingling for the first time. The warmth inside me had grown a bit and I had a bad feeling about where it was going. It never subsided till it reached a burning point, but I didn’t want it to get there. I closed my eyes and tried to envision a pleasant theory. The sun rises in the east. The rain falls down. E=mc^2. Love digs its own grave. My eyes flew open at the last one. I was short of breath and my body had completely heated up. I had nearly reached burning point. Helplessly I looked at my frozen fingers hoping they would realize the destruction they were capable of causing. Last time this happened I bid adieu to my notepad. White pieces of paper were floating all over the room. Looked beautiful, but I lost a lot of my work. There is something inevitable about that growing warmth inside you. Once you spark it off, it’s gonna have to blow. Those rare folks bottle it up and channel it. The a’s and t’s rolled and trotted back to the empty spaces. I shook my head hoping that the heat would disappear, hopefully evaporate like steam, reaching to the ends of the ceiling, condensing on the surface of an outstretched palm.
I felt my fingers move all of a sudden. Relief gushed into my system and I decided to let the book be. I rose and replaced the book that had bound its secrets from me. I felt no loss at the fact that this wasn’t the lucky book. Another first. I continued my search and ended up fruitless. The echoes of forgotten books called out, reread ones whispered, untouched ones
moaned. Their voices were so vivid and enchanting that I couldn’t help but look for them. Their moaning had a simple but captivating tenor. It was as though they were calling out to just me.It was as though they knew that I would respond to this call of redemption. I let my fingers run on the binds of the books, absorbing the scenes of despair and love and contempt that they exemplified for my information. The moaning had taken on a tone of familiarity. I tried to place the familiar notes but my memory seemed adamant on not remembering. It wasn’t a dark dusty corner as I had assumed it would be. Instead what
greeted my eyes was the record room or in other words the storage room. I looked around and found no one looking my way so I slipped in and was immediately struck by the immense presence of unbound paper. It was everywhere. Lying in heaps, in bundles,
in rolls, in open packages (I couldn’t say about the sealed ones). I was curious and felt that this was bizarre in an unusual manner. I picked up the nearest bundle and skimmed through it. It was an unpublished script of an unpublished writer. I looked around and suddenly the whole mass of papers made sense to me. Rejected texts that were tired of being overlooked. I felt sympathetic but what could I do. Read ’em all? I turned and walked out without realizing that I was still holding onto the script I had picked up. Took me a minute but then I decided to give it a go anyway. I returned to my corner and let the sodium light illuminate the title ‘Pardon my love’. I already had second thoughts about the story and I was proved right. One of those immensely pulpy stories that are oozing with predictable dialogues and scenarios. I felt as though my mind had stopped, frozen in shock. I didn’t even get half way through when I put it away and sighed at the utter nonsense I had just read. This was definitely not my day. None of the books seemed right and none whispered the familiar words I was used to hearing.
I left my destination and crossed the road. As I looked across the street I saw the whole place dissolve into a flurry of letters, zooming around in pure innocent joy. I tipped my hat and bid adieu.