By Tinky Ningombam
Growing up, my urge of writing found me penning down different imaginary characters. Some were realistic, others make-belief and quite outrageous at that. One such was my attempt of building a dark caricature, a protagonist of its own standing, a character by the name of Jeremy.
I believe story-telling to be always a re-creation. It is many-a-time pieced up with bits of narrations, recollections and hazy memories. And what is History but narratives? When you create a world of imagination, you constantly find yourself re-inventing your stories. Aestheticism and exhibitionism aside, creative release acts as a good way to create voices that you will not be able to in real life.Sometimes one cannot remember faces or places. It is something peculiar or unique about that person or place that fills in the memory of it and them. And with it comes images, words, sequence of events that never happened but sometimes your memory plays tricks and you believe that that is exactly what happened. Childhood memories people say are mostly such constructions, one seldom remembers events as a whole, only in parts.
Jeremy is one such of my imaginings. He has been one that has always accepted the many shades I attribute to him throughout the years. He is like anything that changes, one that is amorphous, fluid. And time and again you shall find him through me.
Jeremy: A tribute
Jeremy. Somehow I couldn’t stop telling your story to the rest of the world.
Young Jeremy looks through the silly peephole. The little hole in the creaky door, the only way he could look out to see if anyone came to drag him out again. He didn’t like himself out. Inside he was safe. He existed…at least inside the dingy hole he called his home. Or so he thought.
Jeremy would walk around. Up and down. Up and down. Wondering why they would run after him with questions. Questions, oh, so many questions! “Look what you did to the walls? Why did you?” “Look at what you did to the room? Look at what you did? This is what you did.”
And no matter how fed up he was of looking; at trying to look and not seeing; at trying to be left alone and yet feeling afraid, all of it started getting under his skin.
“Look at what you did … Jeremy… you are supposed to look… Open those squirmy little eyes and look….” “Now you aren’t supposed to see the other kids with the fancy boots and their fancy toys… but look at what you did, Jeremy. Those holes you made on your pants again. The bruises on your face.”
“Don’t you have a mirror? I’m sure you have a mirror my dear…. “I’m sure you do….”
And poor Jeremy. He was scared to look. It was easier to be scared. To be scared everything. The yelling always turned louder.
It got quiet and better at night or so he thought. Black trees, Black sky, Black clouds. He always liked the colour Black. It was the mystery. And the Night … it was black too and inevitably mysterious. “I like the stars too” pondered Jeremy. They are bright. I can’t tell why I like them, but like them, I do, he thought. If only I could tell them what I wanted. “But tell who?” thought he.
“Sleep” scared him, his prayers were always for rain. “You ask me why?” “Don’t you know why? Because when it rains, the guns stop working, they do. I read it. I think I did. Don’t they?” “I will build a wall, a wall with huge rocks so that when I sleep… I wouldn’t get killed.” No he didn’t fear death, it was not the end of life that he feared, it was his day-dreaming, he didn’t want it to stop. His dreams didn’t deserve to die. He was happy in the small world he made for himself. It was big enough for him. If only people around him will shut up and let him talk. He didn’t need an audience. He didn’t need applause. He just wanted to speak and hear himself speak. And have just one other who understood. Not someone who just listened but understood.
Jeremy hid underneath the sheets nibbling on a bread crumb. “I am not supposed to eat this now. But I am. No-one knows.” “I have to be a better boy. Mother says so. I try. Honestly I do.” And I should stop talking to myself thought Jeremy. “They say it’s bad.” Suddenly like a mouse’s ears which points up on the slightest hint, Jeremy juts his head out “Is that a gun-shot?”
( The author dreams of an ideal world where each one becomes a better human being; one that is free of hate; one that respects another; one that commits to the society; one that stands for the Just; one that fights for the Truth. Let’s welcome the New Year by atleast trying to be a little better version of ourselves.)