The Last Page

Early morning winters never really inspired Kabir to do much. Waking up felt like a monumental task, made more difficult with the chronic back pain that he felt each time he attempted another new journey into a new day. With antique furniture pieces surrounding him, it seemed like Kabir was stoic, accepting whatever fate had in store for him, not really progressing or changing with the times. Sometimes when we don’t see the time to change, it can make us feel a lack of motivation to progress further on.

One particular area always caught Kabir’s eye the moment he woke and sat up on the edge of his bed each morning: the little study table by the corner. It was reminiscent of the old Colonial days where a neat pad lay with a fountain pen stand on a solid pine wood table, the ones where you could still smell the old pine, evidence of lasting in strength for many years despite all the moments of happiness, sadness, despair and endurance that went on in that room. Years of neglect and attention though meant that dust collected steadily; brown stains appeared on the once fresh crisp pages of the pad, the smell of new evaporating over the years. The lack of creases or folds in the corners  was further evidence that Kabir never attempted to lay hands on the pad.

While Kabir was only in his 40s, his movement across the room resembled that of an old man past his prime, wilting towards the time when he could finally call it a day and seek abode in the infinite consciousness of eternity. Such was the perceived misery of his life, the loss of pursuit of high dreams of being a well noted and published author.

Kabir grew up in a notable and recognized family of artistes and renowned scholars; his fondest memories were of those moments when he would sit in the open terraces of the fertile grounds of Punjab, the fresh air of crop fields, listening to the melodious readings of his Grandfather at their family home. His Grandfather was a voracious reader, a deep  intellectual and philosophical thinker, and always felt there was a special writer in his young Kabir.

There was always a beam in young Kabir’s eyes, paying that child like attention while listening to the words that emanated out of his Grandfather’s melodious voice, reciting old folklore stories; some of inspiration, some of a majesty that few were privileged to witness such as Kabir’s Grandfather.

But on this particular morning, like any other morning, recollecting those memories would be bitter sweet until Kabir realized where he was sitting now, this mundane routine of his life. While earlier there was a sadness, it had become an acceptance, an almost this is my life now approach for him.

Life sometimes takes us on journeys we least expect, perhaps unable to understand the emotions we will endure. For Kabir this journey started 10 years ago…

***

Kabir and Sukina, a couple that were  admired and envied both for their immense and deep love for each other, and for the beautiful young family they raised. Sukina, a young junior to Kabir in University, fell in love with Kabir’s extreme intelligence and poise. Handsome as well, but witty and charming, it was no surprise the effect Kabir had on Sukina. The attraction was immediate, and from there a deep bond was sealed in their undergraduate years. 

Both were ambitious, seeking fame and glory in the world of writing. The difference though was Sukina lived life with the flow, never really getting attached to what could be or become…Kabir had big dreams, even visions of being a notable bestseller and grand writer, sometimes becoming drunk in the imaginary success and wealth he would acquire once he would get there. Sometimes such wild imagination can lead us astray, resulting in our downfall, not realizing each of us perhaps has a different path or life purpose.

As Kabir and Sukina ultimately built their marriage and life, Kabir’s lack of finding a break for a writing career leading to stardom over the years ultimately made him question where his life was going. In many moments of frustration fights ensued between Sukina and him, before he turned to the bottle, hoping the numbness felt would dissipate the pain he bore deeply. 

Some pains are more ingrained over time, and Sukina had her own emotional pains while seeing how Kabir was slowly taking a treacherous path. After taking years of physical and emotional abuse from Kabir, Sukina felt the toll on her to the point where she finally asked Kabir for divorce. Kabir never really recovered from that moment in life, thinking all was lost until he became a recluse, only momentarily visiting his children, and building a life away from the society he once felt a big part of. 

***

Waking up this morning was different though. There was a yearning deep inside of Kabir. This yearning was unfathomable. He gazed again at the study, focusing intently on the dusty pad that lay exactly in the center where it had been, not having moved all the years. One treasure he always paid attention on was the fountain pen in the stand, an old gift given to him by one of his renowned mentors, a well known poet in his times. A gift Kabir truly cherished, and perhaps the one ornament he held dearly close to his heart in these years of being reclusive.

The morning was beginning to feel surreal, like the pen was calling out to him. The last time Kabir ever laid pen to paper to write creatively was all those years ago before that heart breaking moment with Sukina. Trying to write again always reminded him of that painful moment. Sometimes there are pivotal moments in life that become the triggers either for pursuit or decline, forging sometimes unforgiving paths.

And sometimes there is an epiphany, a call from within, or a Higher Source that offers us the chance for redemption, however small a step we take.

Kabir mustered himself, taking small steps, however painful his back was. He slowly progressed in the direction towards the study table. The calling urged him harder each step, encouraging him to move quicker. There was definitely something he wanted to get out…like a power that sometimes takes over when new vigor and ambition are seeking us.

Pulling out the chair, Kabir noticed the dust accumulation and swiftly wiped it off with his bare but rough palms, a symbol of the lack of attention paid to himself over the years. Not for a moment did he care; his attention was on THAT pen!

Sitting down, there was a feeling of comfort, but a different comfort he hadn’t felt in so long. He gazed briefly out towards the small window frame, looking out into the tiny garden now looking like a ghastly mess of shrubs. He had a hesitant laugh, but his attention soon turned to the pen…

A few minutes passed and Kabir seemed fixed in a trance, like sitting in his own deep meditation. His frail arm slowly lifted the pen…holding it felt right and slowly he began to write his first few words on the crispy brown paper. Perhaps this was the start of a new but brief chapter?

Like an artist in the zone,  he slowly moved into song, writing with poise and flow. This was his moment of redemption. Was it his Last Page though? One never knows when the ‘Last Page’ in life is, but every time when we don’t feel like turning over a new page, there is always some calling, some thing that always urges us to keep writing our stories, setting our destinies, however murky or dusty the road ahead seems!

Perhaps Kabir found his calling again, his new journey to unfold, maybe writing and leaving new stories for many of his future generations to listen to, just like his Grandfather made him listen to all those years ago!

Realizing this, Kabir ensured the Last Page was still a while to come.

All Rights Reserved- Copyright 2017