Poove Sempoove: Raja, the healer, at his mystical best!

A write-up on Raja’s magical musical panacea, Poove Sempoovey, made immortal by K. J. Yesudas

-Mani Prabhu

The piece works best when it’s read with the song playing in the background…

We’ve all been there.

No one escapes that fateful night.

A non-existent alarm seemed to have gone off, and your eyes shoot open. You stare ahead momentarily, taking heavy breaths. All you can sense is a real-ominous aura. You instinctively shift sides.

Frankly, it seems like you have gone through a lifetime of dreams, but the fluorescent timer on the table says that it had been less than an hour since you came to bed.

You are almost shivering now. An awkward taste lingers on your tongue. Your chest doesn’t just feel right. Like someone had placed a massive rock on it. ‘Smothering’ might be right word.

But most of it instantly makes sense. Every little detail about the setting and its characteristic descent is way too familiar, to elicit any kind of perplexity.

But just one question…

Why now?

Why this sudden urge to go fiddling inside that memory-wreck, palpating all those excruciating wedges and chunks in obsessively compulsive ways?

You roll over in bed and try to brush it off. Take a grueling step back and attempt some emergency damage-control. As in the case with every other stealthy surgical-strike. But, you know it wont go off, that easily. Experience had taught you this bare minimum.

You toss and turn for a few moments. Writhing in pain. But again, why?

Why now, after all this time?

Despite these much efforts at ignoring the agony. After all the unspeakable struggles at healing.

“What is the thing with this idiotic subconscious of mine? Why is it not just leaving me alone?” The silent howl resounds through the eerie calmth.

Not even a namesake ceasefire with a fraction of your inner demons seems to be holding.

Every shot at denial effortlessly transforms into frustration. You continue to fake control over what your brain is apparently fed and processed; only to realize that you are not actually being given a choice here.

You are being forced into this again. By another ‘you’.

“Now, deal with those random jagged blades of shattered memories… visit those dark nooks and corners that had been long-quarantined… or else…”

Try figuring out that “or else”!

Yes, it’s quite masochistic. But you are helpless here.

You get up, stroll down the hallway and get yourself some water from the fridge.

“Breathe… breathe… Let go. It’s the past. It must stay there. Why keep answering its call?”

But the thing sure seems to know a thing or two about coming all guns blazing when you are off your rational guard.

How easy would it be if we let it go to voice-mail! Why let it get to you, when you know that it would have nothing new to say!

But alas, if only escaping the whirlwind of love, bitterness and regrets was that easy!

A part of you is almost screaming for mercy now. Why can’t you just shut it out? Really? Can you trick your subliminal mind into a cage?

After all, have you ever succeeded in closing your heart to the things you don’t want to feel? Haven’t you simply learnt to live with it?

The pain is now unimaginably crippling.

“Did I not give it my heart, soul, and sinew? And whatever that was left of me?”

But then, is there a gnawing difference between giving up and letting go?

“Where did I go wrong? Or was it never about me?”

Questions keep slamming a random flight of thoughts with hell-bent intent.

“Could I have done something so that things stayed the same? Was there a reset button, that I failed to notice.. Or conveniently, ignored? But again, how could I have possibly known?”

With no convincing answers at sight, you stagger back to your room. So what kind of fucked up message is the universe trying to send you, again and again.

“This war inside my head… could I silence it if I strive a little harder? Stop. Now. Just for one last time… can I wipe the slate clean!”

Imagine this moment – the one that you are frantically trying to make peace with – in some sort of vengeance, turning into a ruthless time-loop!

You keep coming back to where you started. “Let go.  No.  Let go.  No…” 

Boy, does it suck!

You start feeling like a bubble caught in the loop. Outside, it’s a void of memories, almost a cacophonous lot. Inside, it’s a deadly emptiness. You are lost somewhere in between.

You throw yourself back on bed. As you stare blankly at something on the ceiling, eyes nearly moist, it all makes sense in one eventful stroke.

If you are going through hell, why not make the trip at least worth the hassle?

You put on your earphones. Close your eyes.

And pass the baton to Raja to set right some of the goddamned mess!

The lines,

நான் செய்த பாவம் என்னோடு போகும்
நீ வாழ்ந்து நான்தான் பார்த்தாலே போதும்!

play out for the sixteenth repeat, before the earphones slowly slip out from your ears.

By now, you are fast asleep; a faint, gratifying smile spreading over your lips.

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