Differently Same by Rajarshi Banerjee

Hence I begin writing. Consciously jumbling up the flowers to sew them at random. The garland would look funny otherwise, wouldn’t it, with all the roses at one end and the jasmines at the other? Imagine a Rubik’s Cube. Of the quintillions of arrangements, only one enjoys the status of a solution. It is convenient of course to identify the solved cube. All the pieces placed exactly where they ought to be, and nowhere else. No anxiety. No loose end. No lingering doubt. But the cube I imagine is rather charming with its pieces scrambled – the multitude of colours in a playful collage; haphazard patterns potent with the possibility of so much more, with every turn. Hence, every time this page turns, I live another life. Here I breathe; with every reading, I respire. It hardly matters who rewrites the storyline, or how often. My imagination rewrites itself anyway. The distinct fragrance of each blossom blends with others on the garland, and the confusion is the essence. No matter how a puzzle is solved, it is inevitably unsolved every time. No matter how I string my images together, the cord needs to be sheared umbilically. Only in disruption, coherence is recognised. Reading, like life, begins hence.

Yet, no line of control divorces writing from reading. A reader reads my imagination. I rewrite. Reread. With every turn, I return; to see how the cube looks now. To shift one piece, many more swing around. Frustration and amazement overtake each other to see the cube rearranging itself. Precisely sewn blossoms slide off the loose end into a muddle. Every solver changes the puzzle. I change too. My interaction with my cube is ceaseless. This exchange animates the storyline; maintains the cardiac pulse of crests and troughs. Yet, a reader’s dialogue is what rewrites my story, even before encounter. Starts with expectations. Revises the storyline midway, with doubtful anticipation. Finally gives up, in a presumed futility. Or often continues the story rhythmically on my behalf even beyond the last line. Flowers in untied chains hardly stay intact where they ought to be. With a sudden tremor, the string breaks, and I am lost. I find myself gasping for breath. I cry in the bizarre world, where I don’t belong. Or do I? This is my death. No, I guess my birth. Which is my life? The one on the page? Or, the ones rewritten? In an eternal flux are my overwritten lives; no line can bind them, yet.

If reading had been a linear endeavour, as hinted by a story-‘line’, my imagination would be like a solved Rubik’s Cube, decoded and presented. Each colour secluded, ghettoised. Neatly packed; delivered straight to the passive reader. An unwavering line with no palpitation. A calm regular pulse; never trying a reader, lest any fluctuation should prove fatal. Shocks cannot retrieve every reader; neither can they initiate every dialogue. But, if a cube isn’t turned, it remains unresponsive. Inert. Like my vision. Like my life. Helplessly lying paralysed. Until I wonder, what if. What if I dare? What if my pulse stops? What if I never finish writing? It’s a broken cube I’ve been turning all along; some pieces will remain missing anyway. Even if the flowers rearrange themselves. Even if these paragraphs switch places. When the lifeline exhausts itself, this storyline does too. Perhaps that is how a story goes – some pieces obvious, some longed for; few in order, others not. All the pieces placed exactly where they ought to be, and nowhere else? No anxiety? No loose end? No lingering doubt? What if…?

About the Author

Rajarshi Banerjee is pursuing Mphil in English from the University of Hyderabad. He is interested in exploring aspects of Reading and readership. He loves (un/re)thinking about and experimenting with narration and narratives. The intersections of Visual Arts, Science and Literature are also his favourite areas, along with Posthumanism. Calvino, Borges, Eco and Kafka heavily influence his writing. He is also indebted to Roald Dahl, O Henry, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, O V Vijayan, V M Basheer, Sibram Chakraborty and Banaful.

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