Of Stranger People and Familiar Eyes..!


Eyes are the portals to a human’s soul, they say. Roam around on a busy street some fine evening and you see so many of them. Staring. Gazing towards nothingness. Inquiring. Searching. For people. For things. For souls? Like minded. Different veined. To go down on a sweet respite trip with. To settle scores with. To love. To hurt. To heal. Running amok. Chasing. Searching. Searching…

On a train, that traces repetitive tracks all day long. All year long. Different faces, similar ambitions. An entire train full of dreams. Some seeking perpetual glory, some dark, deep eyes simply struggling to make ends meet. The dreamers and the strugglers. And yet, looking out at the same rote learned landscape. Same signals and the very same yearning eyes along the overcrowded roads. Acknowledging each of their existence through bleary, tired, misty eyes. Roaming round the campus, you spot another set seated on a barely lit bench. Away from all the clamor. On a date, these eyes try to look everywhere else except towards the person they are with. A loner’s eyes. No relationship or ambitions is strong enough to bind them in a lifelong commitment. The rolling stone, gathering no moss. No extra baggage.

Another: restless, impulsive; never stationary. Searching for things beyond the darkest realms of human existence, things that shouldn’t be sought. Things that are too big to be handled, at least now. Involuntarily drawing attention to the hickey that’s supposed to be hidden. Total amateurs. And then, there are those pairs that impassively take in the chaos around and yet somehow stay innately rooted to those sockets they belong to. Because they know what they got to do, and they will do it – no matter what type of lemons life plans on squirting in their eyes. These got tricks up their sleeves. Their eye movements like a ballerina in an entranced dancing spree. Like the fluid movements the bartender displays while mixing up concoctions ready to take you a universe beyond the bounds of sense and sensibility. Everything planned and executed to the t. And yet displaying the haphazardness in the way adrenaline hits you when you go take that plunge from 40 feet above, ankle-tied only by a single piece of rope. And yet, you go for that plunge. The brave-dexterous -dispassionate-doers. With deceiving eyes.

Unknown country, unknown place, no fixed destinations: go board up the next bus you find coming your way. And one day, out of the blue – you happen to lock your gaze with a human with facade as impenetrable as cold, hard granite. You keep drilling, with no end in near sight. Literally and figuratively. Different, detached, neither happy nor hurt. No chaos. Only peace. And yet, radiating enough passion and un-orderliness to put the entire surrounding’s entropy levels to shame. Interrogating. Asking life’s dubious questions that can never be answered. Intimidating. With all that wisdom and rich set of experiences behind them – putting your mere survival to shame. Provoking. Daring you to try messing with them. Despite that, you know they can do no harm. They are at peace with their existence and intend to maintain it any cost. What do they remind you of? When we were in school, I remember my Sanskrit teacher telling us about the Chatak bird (Pied crested cuckoo), and how it quenches its thirst only by drinking the rain drops plummeting downwards from Heavens above. In a way, comparing it to the likes of spiritual seekers who renounce all worldly passions and possessions. There. That’s the creature these eyes should belong to. But the human soul latched to those make it all the more ethereal. The hermit’s eyes. Yin and Yang in perfect balance here.

I lie looking in the eye. And I am extremely proud of it. (“Jis jhooth se kisi ka ghar basta hai, wo jhooth jhooth nahi hota” ideology believer. Albeit, in dire situations only.) It’s a life and sanity saving skill, if you ask me. Plus, looking straight in the other soul’s eye makes you all the more convincing. Or so you think. Until you finally see them. One gaze at those eyes, and you find your entire hoodwinking, blasphemous game shatter to the core. Head first collision with the unavoidable. A weird concoction of the amateur, the dreamer, the struggler, the hoodwinker, the loner, the passion-pumped ones, and the hermit. No, you can’t run away from these. Quickly try averting your gaze. Look somewhere else, anywhere else. Not here, not now. Because the questions these eyes ask have no answers. At least not yet. And there are so many of them. Ranging from relations, ambitions, the good and the bad, Yin and the Yang, Batman or Superman (Deadpool maybe?), biryani or pizza, night out or holed-in-the-corner-read-the-book, existential or nihilist, narcissist or philanthropic, and so on and so forth. I can’t lie looking in these eyes. Nope.

Why do they look familiar, why so demanding?
Oh, I get it now. Damn these mirrors..!

And yet they say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder! Hah!


P.S. Amazing cover image credits:

Painting by an extremely talented friend, who also happens to be a super-cool teacher, and undoubtedly – an amazing human being – Shweta Majahan!

Thank you, you. 🙂


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