Walls Speak!

November 15, 2010 Off By Geetashree Hazarika

“Crash!” fell the dust-bin as Kavya stumbled over it, but saved herself from falling down. She swore loudly and kicked the dust bin so hard that it rolled away; down the staircase beneath. Slipping and stumbling she reached the chemistry laboratory, and kicked the door hard as she entered. No one even moved a muscle. They were listening intently to the instructions given by the faculty. She quietly moved to her assigned position and sat on the stool. Everyone got back to their positions. She was in a foul mood; her father’s drinking was getting worse, this was the third time he beat her… she never minded the beatings… but the abuses he hurled at her, they tore her apart. He had problems with her friends, asked her to cut them off. She never listened to them. Her mother died just after giving birth to her. During one of his drinking fits, he even accused her of killing her mother and called her a ‘harami’. She sobbed till her eyes started to hurt. From that day onwards she was convinced she killed her mother… she was the woman who murdered the woman who mothered her. She stopped talking to her friends. She cut-off her contacts, but she thought they will understand her. But, they didn’t. They started to ignore her too. She would try to explain it to them, they would give her the fake smile and sympathy and would act like strangers. And her grades… she was a good student, but something was up with her lately. All her dampened feelings, guilt, frustration congregated and turned her into a sulky, brooding person. She never interacted with anyone, hardly spoke. She felt herself going down the deep dark hole of isolation and misery. It seemed as if she was damned or something, suffering from some dangerous contagious disease, that everyone was running away from, she felt aloof…. how can she bring this curse, this misery to an end?… there’s only one way…..
Her lab-partner passed the instructions; she grunted and moved towards the small cubicle labelled ‘chemicals’. Absent-minded, she accidentally dropped a bottle with some alien chemical name labelled on it and almost swore. She knew whatever it was, Ma’am won’t be pleased to know that it’s broken; she looked up to see if anyone was watching, nope! All of them were jotting down something on their observation sheets, and their professor was chatting with her fellow colleague.
As she bent down to pick it up, her eyes fell on the small portion of the wall visible below the cup-board holding the chemicals. Something was scribbled on it; she had no time to decipher codes or whatever ‘crap’ was scribbled on it. She had to get rid of this broken mess; she found a dust-bin and thrashed it inside, her hands smelling of obnoxious rotten eggs. Urrgghh!! She quickly washed her hands on the wash basin and sat down to work on the experiment. It was horribly boring! It was dull and unexciting (no blasts or color change or anything? Just mere observation after certain time interval) They repeated the experiment for the third time but still didn’t get the output; she rubbed her forehead in frustration. After the fourth trial, when the in-charge was still not responding to their repeated calls, she decided to take a stroll. She mumbled that she had to wash her hands(again!) and went towards the wash basin near the cubicle. She didn’t intend to do it, but she ducked down to look what she noticed before. What was written was,
“Life is beautiful”

Duhh… yeah sure… say it when your life is as awful as mine, huh! Angered, she printed beside it with her pencil she had in her lab-coat pocket,

“Screw it… it sucks!”

The bell rang marking the end of the lab class; she quickly gathered her stuff and walked away.

Next week.

She was 10 minutes late, and got a nice telling off from the in-charge. Damn her!
She took her seat, nudged her friend asking about the experiment; she passed her observation sheet. Kavya noted down the chemicals required, and headed for the cubicle. As she was taking out the bottles of chemicals from the rack, she remembered something and bent down.

“C’mon… it ain’t too bad, if you can see it from my point of view 😉 you wanna?”

She was amazed, the scribbler replied to her comment, cool! Intrigued, she took out her pencil and scribbled…
“Won’t hurt much, I suppose… :)”
It felt weird, but she seemed to be enjoying this… She couldn’t wait to see the reply in the next lab class…

Third week

She came to the lab quite early (her faculty was mildly surprised and smirked), and sneaked towards the cubicle. There it was,

“Our canteen-wali Aunty’s cow gave birth, her kids were fascinated and asked her how can their cow gobble up a whole calf… she couldn’t explain”

She face broke into a smile (which felt weird…she hadn’t much of cracked a ghost of smile in months), and took out her pencil to write…

“She could have told, her cow realised that she was a vegetarian soon after she gobbled up the calf ;)”

She laughed at herself at the ridiculous line she just scribbled.
She put the pencil into her pocket, and walked away smiling to herself.
She thought about the cow with the calf and the canteen wali middle-aged aunty with her incredibly cute kids and laughed to herself. Her new-found ‘scribbling-on-walls’, took her mind off things.

Fourth week

“Hahaha… guess she isn’t as bright as you…(she blushed)…I saw the 12th c boys jumping over the walls, intending to bunk classes, but landed right in front of principal’s car… imagine his fat face fuming with anger”

She guffawed loudly. She pictured the scene and couldn’t help giggling. Lord! This fellow… oh wait… was it a guy or gal?! Should she ask? But what difference would it make? It’s fun anyway… plus it’s more intriguing, when some things are pushed behind the veil. Let it be a mystery… she thought excitedly.
She smiled to herself,and scribbled.

“OMG! How do you happen to be at such places at that exact moment? Incredible!”

Fifth week

She almost dashed into the lab, her professor was getting more and more suspicious at the sudden change of attitude of this particular girl. She was always sulking around, stumbling into the lab half-heartedly. How come this change? Her scolding and telling-off had finally paid off, the lab in-charge thought gleefully.

“K.V. times… anywhere… anytime… right from your bathtub to the smelly cellars of chemistry lab… we are everywhere…:D:D:D”

She smiled to herself, and scribbled.

“ROFL…I’ve never heard of it… are you under cover agents or something?”

Sixth week

She anxiously checked the wall….
No reply!
Her heart sank. What happened? What’s wrong? Why was there no reply! The person changed his/her mind (see,it’s weird now, she told herself, she should have asked. It’s difficult to picture the person with the state of mind) and thought better of it? She couldn’t concentrate on the experiment that day… she was getting restless…

Seventh week was a holiday… 🙁

Eighth week

She was the first one to enter. And eagerly went towards the cubicle to check.

She did a little dance in excitement.

“Sorry…was down with flu, couldn’t attend previous week’s lab class… and yeahh… We are sort of secret agents..;)”

She was so glad to see the reply, she scribbled eagerly.
“Oh sure!! I believe you :P… Hey something has been bothering me… I am not able to picture you K”

She wasn’t quite sure if she wrote the correct thing, but heaved a sigh of relief of finally getting the question out of her system. She couldn’t wait for the reply.

Ninth week

She was disappointed but at the same time amused to see the reply,

“Let your imagination run wild…. J Hey, let’s keep pen-names… I am Charlie’s angel Charlie Russell (lol)
And you are the nasty scribbler… hehe… What say?”

She scribbled,

“Ahoy! Captain Charlie! But I am not very glad being called nasty!! ;)”

So Charlie Russell and the nasty scribbler hit it off. A quick glance of the wall after the end of like three months…

Nasty scribbler says…
“I never knew penguins can do that….”

Charlie Russell says…
“You bet… plus they bow at each other before copulating…now how outrageous is that!”
Charlie Russell says…
“There’s a sale in the local village market. They were selling fake Calvin and Kevin t-shirts, and when a tourist wearing the actual branded Calvin Kevin tee came by, she pointed at him saying to others, ‘Look he got it from me, last year… still brand new!C’mon …10 ka 3..10 ka 3….”

Nasty scribbler says…
“Hehe… The guy must have been pissed.”

Charlie Russell says…
“It was a young lady. She gave her a murderous look, poor woman”

Nasty scribbler says…
“Kill me!!”

Charlie Russell says…
“I am sure you didn’t mean it ;)’’
Charlie Russell says…
“Our servant boy promised to get me authentic wild berries from his village… he never returned… he was caught up between gang wars between different village clans and ….”

Nasty scribbler says…

After a series of such hilarious, delightful and some sad exchange of thoughts through the wall, she was a changed person, she couldn’t remember for what reason she was so frustrated and angered months ago. Charlie Russell made her notice small things around her that she always overlooked and brooded over her miseries that made it worse.

Small things that make living worthwhile… Charlie Russell told her some incredible things in such a manner that left an imprint in her mind, she started to look at simple gestures like care, sorrow, patience, love, humour, anger in a different light. She grew to love everything around her; she saw hope around her. She was feeling things around her; she was coming out of the darkness…
But, one particular walls-speak;

Nasty scribbler says…
“Life is indeed beautiful…”

Charlie Russell says…
“Damn…I am gonna miss it.”

Her eyes bore at Charlie’s reply. Her heart sank. What does it mean?? She was filled with horror.

She tried different ways to decipher the meaning. She brushed away some really nasty and horrible thoughts, but they kept coming. She couldn’t stop thinking about the latest addition to the wallsspeak (a name they gave to the wall with their comments and conversations scribbled all over it, and nobody seemed to notice it anyway… well it’s not always that you break a bottle of chemical right in front of the cubicle and bend down to find out a wall with ‘chats’ scribbled all over it). Those scrawling letters were still vivid in her mind. She couldn’t make herself reply to it… She didn’t even sleep properly; she tossed and turned, came next day to the class with blood-shot eyes.

Next week

“I am taking you silence as shock. I can understand, it’s difficult you know. But I will tell you…
It’s nice to meet someone like you before I leave. Life is beautiful, but there are some patches that are hazy, grey… you can’t even find yourself, you can’t even recognise yourself. I am stuck here, and I really want to get out of here… Real bad. But there is no way out… except one… and I am desperate ….”

She quickly wrote,

“Tell me what’s wrong… I will help you. I will do whatever it takes to get you out of there… just tell me what is bothering you… Please don’t do it… it’s not the right option… Please think clearly…”

She couldn’t sleep the whole night. She still couldn’t believe it. The one who taught her how to live is deciding to depart…! This was insane! She refused to believe it… it’s not possible, it is not how it happens… it’s wrong… What’s the problem? Drug addiction? The person might have done something very wrong…?? But what…? Knowing that something very wrong is going to happen but you can’t do anything to stop it is a horrible feeling! How she wished she would have known this person… somehow… school records? But she didn’t even know the name, she didn’t know if it is a he or a she? She didn’t know anything except that the person comes and writes down small intricate things for her that changed her life; teaching her importance of her life… ‘Life is beautiful’… She felt a rush of gratitude for the person. She was choked, she couldn’t think clearly. She felt a sudden pain in her heart. It’s strange how you haven’t seen that person, haven’t even met or known him/her, but you still feel this much for the same. It was weird and bizarre, but she didn’t think about that now. She was screaming inside, asking for help, thinking wildly to stop it from happening. She will go mad now… some one should know about it… She can’t tell anyone… oh god! What was she to do?

“very sweet of you dear… but no…no one can get me out. Remember everything I told you. Give importance to everything around you… this is my last message to you. I will always remember you; you are some one I don’t know, but I would like you to remember even after I am gone. Life has showed me many queer, amazing things, but alas…. I took a disastrous leap I shouldn’t have taken… Live your life like never before; it’s worth it… you will know it… after all that is what matters in the end…

P.S- you are so naïve;) I could tell you are a girl 😉 Don’t just trust anyone who scribbles on walls… Remember! 😉
Charlie Russell.”

She dreaded the day when she will finally hear the news in school. It’s bound to be out ‘so and so killed himself/herself’, jumped from somewhere, hanged himself/herself.
She waited and simultaneously kept posting on the wall, but there was no reply to her frantic calls. Is Charlie Russell gone already? Why was there no reply? She waited and waited. There was no news of any kind of suicide or suicide attempt. Days passed, the walls yellowed but Charlie Russell never replied. She was left with an empty feeling in her heart. She waited… but to no avail…

It’s past 15 years. She would still drop by the lab, when she would come to visit her parents, and check the walls below the cubicle. No reply from Charlie Russell, but she could see the fading snatches of conversations exchanged 15years before. She felt the surface with her hand, brushed it, closing her eyes, felt her fingers tingle as if reliving the past, feeling the rush of excitement she felt years ago when she bent and reached to the wall to reply with her tiny pencil.


“Mummy, c’mon! What are you doing? Daddy is calling you. We are going to the mall with grandma… yayy!! Hurry up!!”

Charlie Russell was anonymous. No identity, no face, not even remotely related to her but no one left a greater imprint in her life than Charlie Russell. She got her life back, she learnt to live…. But Charlie Russell left it all and headed to the Other side.

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