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It was a room without windows and doors. It was large and had four corners that I prefer calling four walls. Does that make it a room or a box? How does one enter and one leave, then? There was no entry large enough. Isn’t it then like box? But even boxes have openings and peep holes. So what does this become? I was sure it would result in some poignant or profound if I thought for a bit. But I could only think of silly things. Like an abandoned home. Like a crowded brain with no escape. Like a prison. Like a place to torture bad children. Am I just being demented now and not silly? It is possible. I just stared at this large, grey object. It seemed like an idea trapped in itself.

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I stood in the middle of the square in the centre of town. I stared at the world whiz past me. Cars, bikes, people, birds, buses, dogs all continued their lives.

It took a while to sink in that I was nothing but a speck in the world. To tonnes of people around I didn’t exist or matter. I decorated just their backgrounds. Photos could be clicked at that moment and I would only be a passer-by in their memory. A blur in some and insignificant to others.

The realisation was not saddening but relief inducing. I watched the world continue to be even as I stood transfixed in my thoughts, in my selfishness. A weight lifted. A shadow emerged.

I could just be. Without any responsibility.

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I walked towards the lighthouse in quest for a guiding force. The signs weren’t enough. I needed more.

I made excuses for myself. For quite a while. I dunked my head in water to drown my mind.

Head heavy with water, I emerged. To find everyone had left. It was like a calamity. No living being in sight.

 

I set out again towards the lighthouse. Hoping for direction this time. The fog was yet to lift. I impatiently waited.

The roads ahead of me diverged. I couldn’t, wouldn’t choose. Each seemed worse than the other.

I burrowed my head, like an ostrich, waiting for the crisis to pass. It didn’t.

 

I wanted somebody else to make the choice. Hence, I looked towards the lighthouse. But they shouldn’t. Not even a random lighthouse should have such pressures.

I needed to just wait. For the fog to lift. For the water to drain.

 

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Some moments in life I feel like I am reliving a previous occurrence. Over and over again. Not in beautiful relish of the moment. But in sheer agony that the same moment has presented itself again. And nothing seems to have changed. My reaction, my thoughts around it, my emotions. All crumpled up in a similar fashion come pouring out. It isn’t a joy to analyse it later to choose what to change. For clearly, I have learnt little from the previous moment. But the familiarity of those wounds, the recollection of those memories, the recognition of the repetition, make it frustrating and revealing. I wonder what attracts these moments to me. Or what compels me towards them. Whose power is greater?

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The only ghost I saw was one dressed in melancholy; she wore a shapeless purple sheet and red boots on her big feet. She wished to scare me away, so I ran and stepped into the shower. I heard a story once that ghosts were afraid of a bath. She stood outside the door to will me out quickly. 

‘I only want to talk to you; I feel lonely’ she said.

‘Ghosts get lonely?’ I asked.

‘I do. There are no ghosts my age,’ she said.

‘I am your age you feel? So haunting me?’ I asked.

‘Not haunting. Just want to talk. I noticed you could use someone to talk to too,’ she said.

She was the only ghost I ever spoke to. But that was only our first time.

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If my brain exploded, I could sit face to face with the insides of an unusual breakdown. I wondered time and again about how the insides of my mind reacted when I read and wrote. Chaotic it would be, I was positive. I would have loved to observe the reactions of the lobes of my brain to my thoughts. I would notice a part tingle when I felt the constant urge to write. A wonderful story or a rage filled rant. I would then see another heave as I read the same thought articulated elsewhere. On the Internet, perhaps. I could observe the reactions to my peeks in anger, the drops when disappointed and the numbness when I hit a known dead end. I could then rewire my brain to not go through these range of emotions while seated in front of my laptop with the broken fan inside it whirring in the background. I could then allow myself to not feel discouraged.

Or is there an other non-magical way to do this?

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I turned to find my

shadow lurking,

it scared me for a while.

A fire rose like

a volcano through me,

Unease took over

as it charred my insides.

My dark shadow and

demolished soul

floated together outside,

formed an apparition

and glared at me

with those frigid empty eyes.

They watched

as I burnt alive.

All of me couldn’t survive

the test of the

inner voice.

They observed me pay

the price of my sins.

They saw the

volcano rise.

And watched as it consumed

my body whole.

162 of 365

I hear the dead inside my head even without being near a cemetery. Their voices are clear and distinct. When they enter my mind, I feel a tingling sensation for a few seconds. Then my head feels heavy. Once inside, they announce themselves. I don’t know why I continue to talk to them. Perhaps it is because they are my only friends, who keep me company when college gets boring. I dare not tell my parents or anyone about my talents. I am sure no one would believe me. I am positive they would have me tested.

It is a strange talent, speaking to the dead. It is even stranger that they respond to me. It is fascinating to see the extent to confide in me, a 19-year-old boy. But they must be happy to be able to converse with anyone. Do the dead talk to each other? I must ask one of them the next time. It never occurred to me earlier. I am proud of myself for keeping this secret though. But it does have it’s ulterior motive. I am not too fond of having needles stuck into me or of being called crazy. One of my visitors told me that was future if I even whispered this to another soul. So I zipped my mouth shut.

I enjoy talking to the dead. They also have interesting stories to share. All the naughty things they did that no one knows about. I feel mischievous and special being the only one who knows them. Many of them have regrets and sad thoughts about the life they left too early. When I die, I hope I don’t feel that way. I also hope, I can talk to someone. Just like those dead already have me. I am sure I would be lonely otherwise.

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Often, she witnessed glimpses of how those around her saw her. It tore her apart. Could she really be that cold, calculating and manipulative? Shrewd, selfish and bitter? She refrained from accepting their thoughts. After all she couldn’t change how they perceived her. But their impressions sent her on a negative spin, one she couldn’t avoid. Time and again, she failed to control the chaos that ensued. She digested their opinions of her and collected her own thoughts about herself. One morphed into the other; she was impressionable that way. She turned the microscope on herself again. She spent inordinate amounts of time analysing how to ‘fix’ herself. Finally, she caved and pretended for a while. Eventually growing tired, she withdrew her pretense and turned cold again. The cycle continued. Nobody understood. She alienated one and all. After a while, even she didn’t know if it was their opinions of her or her imagined opinions of herself that perpetuated this pattern. Contorted, confused, she became comfortable in the complexities of her mind; she resisted change from outside and refused to do the spring cleaning herself.

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A heaviness settled in. I couldn’t explain it to him. I surrendered and claimed desperately, “I feel uneasy.” His advice poured in. I listened for a few moments and then drifted deeper into this heaviness I bore. He didn’t get it. There was no other way to explain myself, I reasoned. I felt exhausted imagining the hours of conversation to explain this. Would it be useful? Would he get it? I couldn’t imagine a positive result. Earlier, I didn’t bother explaining it. I made excuses, I chose to not embrace it. Now, I was face-to-face with my inability to lie or wriggle my way out. But the mountain awaiting me was treacherous and steep. I had to take it step by step. I couldn’t avoid it forever. I doubt that without trying to explain, I will ever be able to convey my emotions. So I must try; even if I fail doing so.

“I feel heavy and I can’t do it,” I managed. I got a raised eyebrow and a confused expression as a response. Today, he didn’t get it. Tomorrow, I must will myself to try again.