These days, I’ve started to find my reflection in surfaces I don’t look at.
An age old game I used to play with myself finds itself with just a lonesome pawn now, on an endless board of squares in black and white. Each night passes by wondering which square I shall wake up on, and each day in the routine of wondering why it’s neither black nor white. Some days I wake up as that pawn, taught to walk in a straight line and take things one step at a time. It won’t be easy to make it till the end but if I persevere, I’ll find myself changed at the end of it all.
But some days I seem to walk in circles, oblivious of where I need to reach but content in my melancholy melodies. Melodies that formed out of painted memories and slowly turn into naive ideas. And yet these ideas mean nothing to my overcrowded brain unless I talk to the faces in the windows, the turned-off screens of my phone, the empty plates of food and the rippled buckets of cold water.
Turning these naive ideas into something, whatever it may be (art, film, songs, writing – anything) is the greatest pleasure an anxious and creative mind can have. To be lost in conversation with yourself is surreal, to know what it feels to wake up on a white or a black square, and those few days where you try to walk on the crosses in between very carefully, not wanting to trip on to either side. It’s like if you could date an idea, an idea budding in your head as you slowly get to know it more and it takes shape into something you never imagined you needed in your life. These few conversations are the simple pleasures of an untethered mind.
However, when my mind goes quiet, I start to hate myself. Now, am I wrong to think only when I’m lost? Yet, at times, I still feel lost in these vulnerable times, unable to navigate the map for my own thoughts. It feels so weird to say I reached a crossroads where I can’t seem to read my own mind. And what am I to do when all does go quiet?
I guess, for now, let’s just pretend to walk straight like we’ve been taught to.
Niranjan R. Bharati is a 21-year-old writer, filmmaker, and artist from New Delhi. He has directed several short films in the past four years, all of which have been screened and won awards at several international film festivals around the world. He has also worked as an associate director for several commercials and campaigns in Mumbai.
Illustration: An interpretation of ‘Son of Man’ by Rene Magritte illustrated by Niranjan R. Bharati, titled ‘Son of a Mind’