Archive for the ‘Laments’ Category

Deeper into Melancholy. Bearing the fragments of my heart. Embalming myself with my own hands. Burying my soul, one inconsequential inch at a time.

I would be like those red autumn leaves… falling silently to the ground. Almost glad to die. I would know how to cease to be.

I would be a ghost that sees everything without participating. Without contributing. I would feel emotions through a veil. Nothing would touch me, except like a light farewell kiss.

So disenchanted that reality would seem like an illusion. I would walk like a phantom through the mist. A body without substance. Without thoughts. Without heartache.

I would gaze and gaze… without being perceived or pitilessly dismissed. I would cry, clamour, sigh, or laugh… like a storm petrel lost in the clouds swirling over the sea.

Cocooned in my own invisibility. Impregnable. Invulnerable.

The blemish on my face, the squalor of my person, or the poverty within my soul… would not be of any import. Because, I would exist high above these fallible human concerns.

Sorrow would be a kind of happiness. Soft and soothing. A self-indulgence. Not angry raging, tears that drip like corrosive acid into the soul. It would be a pool of sadness that is deep, dark, and calm.

And, happiness would be a kind of gentle sorrow. Not filled with desperate hopes and tainted dreams. It would be surrender and acceptance.

I would not possess. I would not know the crippling fear of loss.

I would not be possessed. I would not be abandoned.

How would it be to escape this vale of human dreams and grief? This cup of agony? This utter and complete loneliness? This devastation of the soul?

I would not wish what is good in me to become the instrument of my undoing. I would not want love to turn into despair. Longing into spite. High regard into malice.

So, I would refuse the sweat and blood and crushing repercussions of life.

My melancholy is not defiant or redemptive. It is merely a departure to keep the bright images intact. It is an attempt to protect that which should not be mutilated.

I would sink below the distant horizon… beautiful like the dying sun. Beyond the reproach of human emotions.

I would be an angel again.

Copyright © 2015 [Violet Dolui]. All Rights Reserved.


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What does coming-of-age really mean? Does it signify a true understanding of the self? Does it imply coming to terms with your abilities and flaws? An acceptance of life?

What if this is never an option? This mellowing with time, attaining maturity or adult wisdom…

What do you do when reality gets suspended in a strange way? When endless longing does not lead to a resolution or even despair? Oh, there are many disappointments on the way. And, sometimes, there is despair too. And yet, the disillusionment is never complete.

There is always something… a glimmer, a fantasy that keeps beckoning. As if life is not progressing at all, except in your fantasy world. As if all the distressing and saddening experiences do not matter. Well, not beyond a certain point, at least. The people around grow and mature. But your world stays the same. You remain the same. A perpetual adolescent…. dreaming improbable dreams. Like a hapless Peter Pan.

Is this a great capacity for self-delusion only? Is this being incurably, hopelessly romantic? This does seem like a disease.

The hunger is so great. It gnaws on the soul and refuses to let go. An ache that constantly throbs beneath the facade of normalcy.

It is, in a way, pathetic. This desperation to hold onto the edges of a vanishing dream. To keep wanting to remember a face whose features are being eaten away by the sands of time.

You are partially suspended in reality.  Like a sinking island in a river that moves inexorably. You can envisage your own inevitable destruction, the end of your inner life. And yet, you are powerless to do anything. You are caught in a magical dream. You refuse to give up on the might-have-beens… on ghostly memories of experiences that you have never really experienced.

You know full well that to give up would be easier, safer. But you have always been a fool.

In a way, it is glorious too.

Your ability to sway to a tune that only you can hear.

Hardly anyone to acknowledge the flame in your soul, the deep need in your eyes. To understand how vast and keen and generous you can be. So what? Nothing lovely enough to keep your eyes from seeking and searching for ever. No sweetness to enter your heart and gladden it. No love to come home to. Except the kind that keeps you wandering, keeps your spirit from being quiet and content.

You are a defiant idiot. Slightly mad. Eyes filled with a strange light, hair in disarray. Grasping at straws. Surviving on discarded crumbs. So what?

Maybe, some day hope will indeed create from its own wreck the thing it contemplates.

Copyright © 2015 [Violet Dolui]. All Rights Reserved.

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It has been almost six years since my father passed away. It has become marginally easier to remember him these days. Tears don’t well up automatically at every thought of him. But a sense of unreality still persists. It is still difficult to think of his absence as a void that will remain forever. It is still impossible to quell the sense of overpowering loss or subdue that feeling of overwhelming regret, at the thought of his untimely death.

At this point of my life, I stand on the threshold of significant changes. I greet new faces and look forward to new beginnings. There are unguarded moments, however, when I sit contemplating the present and weaving dreams of the future…when images of my father and thoughts from the past, flash across my mind. And then the realization dawns on me that he can never be there to smile on my good fortune… or appreciate the wonderful things in my life. He can never be there to give me his all-embracing support and acceptance… or be there to comfort me in moments of sadness.

All that remains of the vibrant man, with that candid and brilliant smile,  are a few photographs, a few belongings, and a whole gamut of memories.

When I cook something and it goes unappreciated, I invariably remember my father. I remember how happy he used to be even when I would serve him something tasteless… just because it was something I had made. If I gave him a small gift, he would cherish it like it was the greatest treasure. After he passed away, I found among his personal belongings…. things that I had given him. Faded greeting cards… a torn wallet or an inexpensive and empty bottle of aftershave. He had kept them all.

Whenever I feel neglected, a bit forsaken or, taken for granted, I unfailingly  remember my father… and I am filled with bittersweet memories. I remember… his excessive pride in me, in my little achievements…  his belief in me, even when I did not live up to general expectations… his great love for me, even when I was following a selfish path.

I remember how alive he was, even during those last days. His mind was sharp and inquiring and he would enthusiastically take part in all my plans…. as much as his weakening health and dwindling strength would allow him. He would want to hear about my activities, my thoughts. Only now, I can fully understand how important it is to have a listener who grants you complete and undivided attention.

How he loved old films and songs! He would hum along with his favorite singers and reminisce about the bygone days. There was a part of him that always dwelt in the past. He had faced disappointments and hardships… that had made him somewhat disillusioned. But he never for a moment ceased to hope or dream for my future.

I look at his photographs and remember how young he was and how handsome. My father was as good looking as a movie star. And no, I am not exaggerating. He had a broad forehead, and an aquiline nose…. his dark eyes would crinkle with laughter, and his hair was always so well-groomed. His black, wavy hair was his secret pride… I can still see him… standing in front of a mirror, bending a little and, meticulously combing his hair. Even when illness took away his health and looks, his hair remained black and beautiful. I would, sometimes, tease him about his swarthy complexion. He would get a serious look on his face and insist that he was not dark but ‘coffee-brown’ and that his European friends really liked his skin tone. How we would all laugh at this little conceit!

My father was a great admirer of Uttam Kumar, the Bengali movie star. He would always want to watch the reruns of Uttam Kumar movies on the telly… so much so that I would get slightly rattled. Because, at the time, I would prefer watching programmes that were more exciting than boring black and white classics. It’s only now that I truly appreciate the craft and thought that would go in the making of those films. It’s only now that I understand what a wonderful performer Uttam Kumar was and how right my father was in admiring him. These days, when ever, the handsome face of the late screen idol flashes across the silver screen, I think of my dad. How I miss watching those lovely Uttam Kumar films with my father, by my side!

I go through my father’s old files and certificates and am repeatedly reminded of his many achievements and talents. In his youth, he lived in a glamorous world and met celebrities and VIPs on an everyday basis. He was used to gourmet food, sumptuous ambience and yet, there was nothing he liked more than the simple pleasure of spending time at home, surrounded by his loved ones. He really loved us, his family and when I look back and think of all the things that he had done for us….. I feel a deep sense of love and gratitude. Not once did he deprive his family of things that truly matter… like good food, books etc. Once in a while, he would make my sister and me wait for a second new outfit or a Walkman but that only taught us about the value of things. My father abhorred wastage of any sort and he would insist that we finished our food properly, before leaving the dining table. He gave us valuable life lessons in his quiet, firm, yet unobtrusive way.

Strangely, even the demise of my father has brought me closer to an understanding of something significant. That death is not just a vague, unfamiliar occurrence but a reality that I need to be prepared for. One day it will come to me. But if, at the other side of the veil…. in the middle of all the darkness and overwhelming terror…… I find the familiar, dear, dear face of my father, then I don’t have anything to fear. Death has, in a way, lost some of its sting. Of course, I fear the idea of loss still but there is a kind of hope too. A hope of meeting my father again.

Now, I see my son, toddling about, busy as a little bird, flitting from one object to another. I see the same broad forehead, the well-defined curve of his upper lips, the determination in his chin, even the same squarish palms…. and I can’t help but think of my father. There are so many similarities. I just know that had my father been alive today, he would have simply doted upon his grandson. Because he was not only loving but also knew how to demonstrate his affection well. He knew how to laugh and make others laugh. My boy would surely have been one pampered little guy! However, these wishful thoughts only make the well of sadness inside me threaten to brim over.

My son will know about his grandfather through photographs, that do speak a thousand words… through a few personal items, that can be so revealing. Also, I hope to tell him stories that will help him build a near-complete picture of his grandfather… stories that will also keep memories of my father burning brightly in my heart.

Copyright © 2013 [Violet Dolui]. All Rights Reserved.

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Capacity for Cruelty

Recently, I came across a video about a dog named Baby. She was rescued by her present owner from a puppy mill where she had been kept in a cage for nine whole years as a sort of a breeding machine. This is the story of many other dogs like Baby. They are just kept alive to reproduce at every heat cycle and their puppies are sold over the internet or at pet stores. And after they are unable to reproduce anymore, they are either shot or starved to death.

After Baby was rescued, one of her legs had to be amputated because she had developed severe osteoporosis during her captivity. She had never been let out of her tiny cell, leave alone allowed to play or exercise outside. Even her vocal chord had been severed so that her whines and cries would not disturb the owners of the puppy mill. Baby now has a loving home but her sad eyes and permanent silence cannot fail to tell of her horrible past.

I was also reading about a poor stray dog that was shot forty times in the head with a pellet gun. Her limbs and snout had also been tied up and she was buried alive in the dirt up to her face.  Luckily, she was rescued and she survived the unimaginably terrible ordeal. The unknown assailant who satisfied his murderous urges on a hapless creature is still at large and will probably never face justice.

Such abominable happenings truly make me despair for humanity. Who are these psychopaths, cowards, and sadists among us? What kind of a person takes pleasure in inflicting pain on a loving, kind, and loyal animal?

Cruelty towards human beings is bad enough but something about animal abuse touches me on the raw. Maybe because animals are so helpless and dependent on us. Maybe because they do not have the words to voice their distress.

I come to know about so many atrocities everyday that I have become somewhat jaded. Indifferent to the sufferings around. But every once in a while something occurs that shocks even my inattentive, listless soul. And makes me ponder about our great capacity for malevolence and barbarity.

Is there no hope?



Copyright © 2011 [Violet Dolui]. All Rights Reserved.

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