Wallpapers and Chocolate

The new city is bustling with activity everywhere. It has been a few weeks since I moved here; twelve or thirteen I cant seem to agree on a number. I’ve been away from the place I call home for nine years now, a significant fraction of my life considering I’m just twenty-seven years old. Twenty-seven years old, single, with a moderately successful career ahead of me. I sat down on my mattress, which was spread out on the floor, a queen size mattress, just for me. It was a regular day at work, with some regular people, had very regular conversation, and went through lunch with the exact same machinations of the old clock that used to stand in the living room of my home nine years ago. Grandfather clock we used to call it. With a pearl white dial showing huge Roman numerals, the black wooden clock stood four feet tall from the ground and was almost a foot wide. The pendulum was almost two feet tall and made the perfect arc as it moved side-to-side, tic-tock-tic-tock.

I sat staring at the wall listening to the rhythmic noise of the clock, which was many years and many kilometers away. In that intense stare-down with the wall, I failed to notice the new wallpapers and posters I’d put on the week before, when I moved into my new room. As I came back to the city from my trance, the room came back into focus. It was quite a spacious room, a perfect square with each side equaling ten feet. A huge window with a slider lie to my right, covered by red curtains of two kinds, one with a very simple sinusoidal pattern, whereas the other had some kind of floral pattern which I could not comprehend. A large wardrobe stood right next to the space on the wall I was staring at, it was a wooden wardrobe of a strange orange tinted material with the nodes and notches on the wood following regular patterns; clearly artificial, I thought to myself. The space in front of me had a poster, fifteen inches tall and eight inches wide, carrying a very popular quote from a very popular personality. The purpose of the poster was to keep me reminded that only those who set out to change the world actually have a chance at doing it. To my left was a map of the world with a few flight trajectories on it. I’d been to a neighboring country a few months back, my first major tour, and lived out of a backpack for ten days and loved it. I thought the travel bug had bitten me and I was destined to travel the whole world. Not that I believed in destiny, or God or the Invisible Hand. I was wrong. I was destined to sit under a wallpaper of a tree and a few butterflies floating over my head, nibbling on one square inch tablets of homemade chocolate. I wonder which ones I like more, milk or dark. Milk, definitely, I think most of the times, but I keep coming back to dark for some mysterious reason that lies in the bunch of nerve endings in my tongue called taste buds. I finally tear my eyes off the space in front off me and focus them on the front page of the book in my hands.

From the Holy Mountain spoke about a lot of things; countries, wars, rebellions, religion and history, but what captured me the most was Turkey with its wars, the rebellions, religions and the history.

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Turkish Delights and Hot air balloons

We lay in our bed. Anjana and I had known each other for a few years now, but she’d never spoken about her childhood or about her family before. She’d been with other men before me, that I knew, but nothing about the circumstances of her childhood, and nothing about the members of her family. I do not know what it was that got her talking today, the cool daylight of a lazy Sunday morning, the sound of footsteps and the noise of carts making their way through the narrow cobblestone path below, I could not figure out which of these prodded her to open up. The noises were just beginning to grow as the clock struck seven.

She was 23 years old, many years younger than I. She was one of the most sensible women I’ve known. She was generally calm, but would stand up for the things she felt were important like a tigress would, for her cubs. ‘Beautiful’ was not the word that would describe her and I imagine that is not something she’d prefer too. She was graceful in her motions like a trained dancer, but clumsy with pencils, which only made her more human. I’d always wanted to know what kind of circumstances gave raise to such character in someone so young. As far as I knew, she was from a very well to do family and had stayed abroad for a few years as a child. But, that was all I knew, everything else had been like a puzzle, with a thousand pieces, of which only half were with me. I was standing at the door and to my surprise five men walked in carrying oversized gift-wrapped boxes, each a perfect cube with sides equaling two feet. From their faces, I could tell that each of them weighed approximately fifteen kilograms. Surprised as I was, I let them place it on the ground, in a two by two matrix with the fifth one sitting on top. The men left without a word. Anjana was already there, opening the box on top. As she tore open the cover, the floor around the box was filled with Turkish Delights of assorted kinds. There were pistachios, almonds and the plain colored ones, orange, pink, yellow and brown. A few seconds later the other four boxes burst open under the weight of the Turkish Delights and soon the room was filled with them. Thousands of Turkish Delights of all the colors one could find on a shade card. Anjana and I grabbed a few and went at them like kids in a toy store. The green one, then the orange one, then the ones with the almonds, and all them sailed through our throats like branches being carried by a stream.

The room shook violently with such noise that all the sounds from the streets below were drained out and all I could hear was tic-tock-tic-tock. I just stared in disbelief as the walls were ripped apart and the floor was lifted off from below where I stood, and all I could do was marvel at the beauty of Istanbul and my Anjana who stood in the foreground smiling serenely waving her hands as if to say good-bye. I looked around to find myself amongst hundreds of colorful hot air balloons floating towards the sky. When I looked below again, all I could see was a deep gaping canyon and then it went dark.