What is Music?

Creation. Satisfaction. Rhythm. Melody. Peace. Solace. Exile.

These are a few one word answers by some people I know. but, what is music actually? These 7 words can describe it but are they enough? Are these the answers or definitions you will give once this question is asked to you? I Don’t think so.

The world we live in is filled with places to see, experiences to gather, sights to behold and people to encounter but that’s just not it. Everything to be seen and done carries a motive a meaning and a definition behind it and because of the society we live in above all else that definition matters the most as people say “if you can’t define something that’s probably because you don’t know what it is” Really man!? Get a life! It’s just funny while i am talking about definitions here i recall that recently in an exam of mine there was a question that said “Define Culture.” And i was like “how can i define that! I know what it is, duh. But really?!?”.  So, based on all of that i just wanted to see what music is? Just to get to know it more and probably even “define” it. Come on! At least i can try.

I in person listen to a lot of music. Whenever I am headed out I have my earphones on and something is rocking in full blast. When at home I play a lot of video games but even after that I listen to some more music on my television via YouTube. And I have seen a lot of people walking on the streets or in the train or in the bus with earphones on listening to something , looking at that and doing the same thing one question comes to my head “why do we do that?” I mean it’s good to listen to music at any given time but doing it everytime? Is it necessary? Or is it just another trend? I have heard people who travel long distances claiming that “no worries! I have my earphones with me” are they just listening because the road ahead is long or are they actually interested in it and pay close attention? I for one listen music for at least 8-10 hours a day and pay close attention to every syllable said and every single beat played I cannot fathom the fact of ignoring it and just listening to whatever plays. Good music and beats are what make me want to groove and forget my surrounding whereas well written lyrics and vocals make me feel connected to the singer and take me to a roller coaster of emotions and sometimes even send shivers down my spine. But do people do the same? I find it funny that I am asking all these questions  while I am writing this and yet again am listening to something. But it’s fascinating to me that something that is just rhythms and voices is an easy getaway from everything for us and is now such an integral part of our life that living without it feels impossible.

Living without it feels impossible I said but it’s not like music is something that came into existence recently. It goes way back. Before Jon Bellion “woke the f*ck up” or The Chainsmokers pulled us “closer” or before Alan walker told us that we are not “alone” while Mako was driving “into the sunset” and XYLØ was “between the devil and the deep blue sea while Poets Of The Fall were sentenced to “drama for life” for visiting the “carnival of rust”. Hell! It’s even before John Mayer was going through a “heartbreak warfare” asking “who says?” and “why Georgia?” while he was  “free fallin” and Daft Punk was going in “One more time working “harder, better, faster, stronger” Then there were the days when Billy Joel told us the tale of “The Downeaster Alexa” while singing the songs of the “piano man” whereas Laura Branigan was losing her “self control” and Elvis Presley couldn’t help but”fall in love with you”. And the funny thing is among these few artists mentioned, with their back to back hits music goes ways back. It wasn’t the rhythm and melody we love today or the EDM we rave on or even the Jazz we so fondly listen to. It was something very different something very simple and yet entertaining. Whereas what we listen to today is its evolution over time periods and yet sometimes we take it for granted which shouldn’t be the case. Who knows what it will be like 50 years from now.

Even though there is no lack of talent on the streets and in the industry the foundation was laid way before Justin Bieber or Maroon 5 or even before Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra. And even before the genres were separated, giving music flavours of alternative, rock and punk rock, hip hop, jazz, pop etc. Etc. You get the picture. But this is just the western part. The world is a massive place with different cultures and societies and music is present everywhere. Everyone has their own take on music all over the world. Africans, Chinese, Russians, Indians to name a few.

Something that’s present among us for such a long period of time shouldn’t be taken for granted no matter what and should be respected even more than it already is. I mean our environment, our nature has a music of its own that’s probably where we got our version of music. But we prefer to listen to ours than that of nature. Music is our day to day getaway and its a glue that binds us together. People go to concerts and just get lost in the environment even ending up making new friends and celebrating this beauty. How peaceful and great is that! Music has the power to bind humanity together and the artists and composers who are behind it are nothing but rare gems filled with talent which are really hard to find. So it’s ok if you don’t like something that I do everyone is free to have choices but fighting over it and proving a point and comparing two separate entities and arguing over which is better is just plain stupid in my opinion. You have your favourite artist, I have mine that’s where it should simply end. Music is a mind state, it’s a way of life and I am glad that’s it exists. And the best part is its EVERYWHERE! We have had so many great artists in the past and we have some really good ones now and will hopefully have great ones in the future too. Legends of the industry like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and John Lennon to name a few didn’t die they simply became music and will always be remembered through their voices and work.

So I am pretty sure I wasn’t able to define music but I did my best to explain it I guess. The name of this post is “what is music?” That’s something with a bazillion answers but I have just one question which can be answered. What is music to you?

 

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MEOW

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Sitting around the corner,

Right next to the coffee shop.

She shows up on time with honor,

And ordered her regular honey drop.

Twenty feet away,

I was sitting still.

When something unusual happened,

Which was adrenaline filled thrill.

She waved at me,

And said “hi!”.

Told me “java chip” was her favourite,

And asked me “if you want to try?”

For six weeks straight,

I have been looking at you.

Waiting for this moment,

Questioning “is this all true?”

You sit here everyday,

With your golden retriever.

What happened to her today?

Where did she disappear?

Those eyes went blooming,

A smile popped on.

Then a question came my way,

“Do you like dogs?”

I said i am more of a cat person,

But i liked your dog.

She had a very pleasant vibe,

Which wasn’t very odd.

I like cats too!

And she said the word meow.

Leaving me in a state of WOW,

Making me question “how?”

MARCHING ON

When you want to go straight,

But are forced to turn left.

In the beginning it felt great,

But the rain only gets you wet.

Going through the storm,

Getting drenched in water.

You see a bright light,

And march towards it faster.

When you get near it,

It only gets farther.

And then you realise,

Mirage’s cannot be captured.

But with positive hope,

You head for the horizon.

Finding sunlight on the way,

And knowing you will grab it.

And just like that,

The weather turns warm.

Giving you more hope,

Take you away from the storm.

Though the horizon is far,

I know i will grab it.

Marching through the path,

Knowing that i have it.

GUNSHOT WOUND

CHAPTER 1: The Story.

“Barry was a really good boy, not necessarily the best scorer of the classroom or a star athlete but a quiet, charismatic, talented and responsible kid. But what happened in 88 kind of changed him making him more angry and aggressive towards the society but, we all understood what the kid was going through and all of us tried our best to support him through his time of crisis. But the real shocker was the events of February 89. I don’t even know what to say regarding those events, wether he was right or wrong, I have no idea! Even after all this time I remember him as the kid who was happy & made others happy even when he was conflicted from the inside & not as whom they quote him to be. He was never that kind of a person and my trust & belief still lie with him.”

– Ms. Jackson, head teacher, Arts department, UPS, California

“He was never a kid who could possibly do such thing,he always cared for everyone even when he himself was hurt. He could never hurt a living soul.”

– Mrs. Jane Williams, Barry’s mom

“I have known him since both of us were so young that we rode on horses made of sticks while wearing a cape around our shoulders pretending to be superheroes saving the world. He is not what the media portrayed him to be at the time.”

– Chris Taylor, Barry’s best friend

“Whatever happened that day was indeed done by him but, it was to protect me! It was cold and it left me aghast but I cannot blame him. I mean if not for him I would be dead already.”

-Jacqueline Carsten

All these alibi’s claiming Barry was this, Barry was that telling me that he was such a good person leaves me with a question that what moral aspect of us gets to decide what is right and what is wrong? But you right now might have the biggest question in your head that Who is Barry Williams? Well, he is just another kid from the city of Port Seawell but not just some kid rather a kid who did something that left everyone he knew in a state of sheer shock leaving them with no idea of what to think of him anymore. Let’s take a Trip back memory lane and find out who Barry Williams is & what he did that I decided to write this story for you to know.

And I almost forgot to mention and I am sorry that I didn’t introduce myself! I am Daniel Richardson of the GQ magazine, USA and this is something I stumbled upon one day and found it interesting enough to keep me awake at night to know more and dig deep into what was actually going on.

20th January 1970, an upper middle class couple Jane and Robert Williams give birth to their second baby and name him Barry. They have another son, Jonathan, who at the time of Barry’s birth is 4. The family resides in the Cape Clockwork district of Port Seawell which is a rather charming, safe and posh district of the city.

Port Seawell being one of the biggest cities of Southern California at the time had beautiful natural and man made vistas to go to. Spread in at almost 186 miles(300km’s) its home to nearly 1.2 million people. It’s a beautiful place to be at. One of the main reasons the city is so famous is because it’s home to the growing film industry “HOLLYWOOD” make it a hub of glamour & stardom. The city is brought to life every morning as the sun shines up through the Costa Rica Pier and dims down lighting up as it sets through the celebrity soaked mountains of Reynold’s Hills. It’s a bustling metropolis with people going by their commute come morning and heading back home evening to have dinner with their families, running the economy. Wide open streets, skyscrapers, fast food restraunts, bars, neon signs and palm trees are to be seen as far as the eye goes. But, as beautiful it is on paper just like all other places it has its underbelly too. The city is home to a vast number of crimes and has the highest crime rate in the entire United States with narcos running the streets. Though the law is strict and the police does their job the crime yet continues to remain at its constant rate if not grows up with murders, robberies, grand theft auto and drug deals happening on a day to day basis.

Amidst the shades of grey we got Barry who is raised in a catholic fashion by his parents. This was a move that was made by his parents to keep Barry on the right side while giving him the right amount of independence because the act of openly raising their children didn’t go as they planned while raising Jonathan which kind of made him a rebellious person but at the same time not someone who is completely out of control. Concerned for the safety and well being of Barry, Jane and Robert take cautious steps to make sure Barry stays well mannered and in control and does not go the Jonathan way.

Years move on and Barry goes to school and due to reasons mentioned earlier it’s a catholic school. Now for a person who has an elder brother and sees how much Liberty he asks for a catholic school kind of felt like a jail to him. With rules like waking up on time and going to church to pay your respects to Jesus Christ everyday and on how strict the rules of the school itself were regarding things like punctuality, homework, behaviour, manners and no sense of freedom at all. The nuns very strict too interrogating anyone and everyone roaming the corridors at given time and how the teachers were regarding attending classes and not wasting your leisure time on ‘distractive’ items. But, even after all this strictness Barry battled the tide and overcame the flow making a name for himself among the teachers and the father of the school. Every teacher knew Barry and they liked him for what he was. His grades were good in the exams and attended all classes daily making a good name for himself in the entire school. He was doing all of this for the sake of his parents as he didn’t want them to feel scared regarding him going the other way round. He barely spoke to people in the class and had next to no people he could call ‘friends’ in the classroom.

But he did have one good friend in the mix, a boy called Chris Taylor who was his neighbour in the suburbs he lived in. Now Chris’s and Barry’s parents were friends too and they were happy that their wards were good friends too. Chris was the same age as Barry but from a different school. Chris had his own ways and own views regarding life. He was free and used to spend a lot of time with his school friends enjoying and partying but he never ignored Barry for who he was as he knew that deep inside Barry wanted to be free too but couldn’t be because of the forces that were applied to him by his surrounding nature. Chris used to go on some parties with his friends and sometimes he used to sneak Barry in with him too. Barry’s parents never asked too many questions while he was with Chris because they knew that Chris was not a wrong person to hang out with which kind of helped Barry to socialise even more among Chris’s friends. Chris helped him show the fun part of life too which Barry missed in his upbringing.

Now, there was one more person who equally supported, helped and made Barry enjoy his life and that person was no one else but his elder brother Jonathan. Surprising isn’t it? That both the brothers were poles apart but yet one stood for the other. That was because Jonathan hated the fact that his parents are not letting Barry live so he took justice in his hands and made sure Barry lives his teenage life the way teenagers are meant to live. He used to sneak him out and show him the city sometimes taking him to places where he couldn’t go by himself as Jonathan had an understanding of the city as well as what should be done and what shouldn’t be taking care of Barry’s age but giving him the right amount of entertainment. Jonathan and Chris were also friends as they were neighbours and Were kind of alike in terms of thinking so they used to coordinate with each other on what should Barry experience next and what their next move should be to get him out of this prison system that he was so used to.

Chris and Jonathan were the only two people Barry knew the most except his parents and he shared a strong bond with them particularly with Jonathan as they lived under the same roof. They were secretive of Barry’s ‘second life’ from their parents and behaved differently in front of their parents and differently away from them but that brotherly love existed no matter what with Jonathan standing for Barry when he is being lectured regarding something and Barry staying up at nights waiting for Jonathan to come back home and cover for him. Jonathan loved his little brother more than any other person in his planet and Barry did the same.

Barry, Jonathan and Chris were known as the ‘hermanos’ among their friends which means brothers in Spanish. Now, I have never seen or met Barry before but from what I heard he was a smart young man with blue eyes, blonde hair, a rigid and thin structure and a sweet little smile coming out of his face at all times. That was pretty much the description I got from anyone whom I asked from. Going back to the story as Barry saw the social aspects of living thanks to his brother and Chris he developed this mentality of opening himself to the people which developed an interest in him towards acting, doing plays, writing and opening and expressing himself towards people. Being in a catholic school he didn’t get many opportunities but whatever he got he took it. He found acting to be the one thing he was good at and felt free with. He also used to writhe short stories and diary entries every night and then step into the shoes of the characters he made for his stories and play them putting himself in their spots just to see how to feel if he was them. By the time all this happened he was 14 years old and Jonathan turned 18 so it was time for him to move out and find a new place for himself but his parents made him stay as he was never trouble for them.

It was 1984 and HOLLYWOOD was blasting out blockbusters after blockbusters with movies like the terminator and Indiana Jones and ghostbusters coming out. Jonathan took Barry to most of these movies and as Barry watched them he really felt something down his spin and ballparked that he wants to be an actor. Now, in a city like Port Seawell where people’s dreams came true and opportunities lied round every corner it wasn’t a big dream that Barry had in mind. One day he thought of everything he knows so far and what he needs to learn how and decided to join a theatre to sharpen his skills and he presented this idea in front of his parents. His parents were shocked coming this out of Barry and were completely happy and supportive of his decision and found the best theatre which was the Oriental theatre at that time and made him join it by the end of the year. Barry was extremely happy as he finally knew what he wants to do and is moving towards his goal. He used to practice day and night without stopping to play the small roles he got in the plays that were done at the theatre and used to mimic the characters played by actors in the movies while he watched the movies in his house or at the cinema hall. As the time went on by he got lead roles in the plays with great praise on what he played by his masters, critics and his parents. As he saw the light coming his way he started dreaming even big like going to Broadway and eventually joining HOLLYWOOD to do big budget flicks. He was 16 years old when his parents decided that he needs a little more independence now and since only two years of his school are left they got him out of the catholic school and entered him into PS high school which was one of the most reputed schools of their district. Barry was so very happy by this decision so was Jonathan and since Jonathan and Chris showed him the openness over the years behind their parents back Barry took little to no time to fit in among the people of that school and made quiet a lot of friends and a name for himself in that school to. This time the name didn’t come from his marks but from the acting that he was so good at and being one of the best schools they provided him many opportunities too and also add him do his own plays and skits in the school premises. Barry was finally alive as he felt so good from his life for the first time. His marks took a toll as this was senior year and he was more focussed towards his acting side but no one really cared about that so much as both his parents and teachers were happy that he is doing good at least somewhere rather than nowhere.

1986, and now finally Barry is the Barry he wanted to be and not the one his parents wanted him to be. His parents were still not convinced of him going to all parties and night outs with his friends but it wasn’t the same either as his parents also understood that he needs to be open and not cocooned so he got his fair share of freedom too.

He used to hang out with Chris and even with Jonathan. The kids were 16 but they loved sitting at the pier having beers and talking about their lives and sharing thought with each other. Jonathan on the other hand was 20 and earning so bought himself a 1982 Corvette stingray coupe. It at the time was almost a 15,000$ vehicle but Jonathan got a used one which was in mint condition yet the car was nearly 5000$ so he borrowed some money as loan from his dad and spent the rest from his savings to get the beauty he wanted. The car was red in colour and was a beautiful and yet powerful machine. Jonathan loved it like it was his child and wanted Barry to drive it too so he decided that he will teach Barry how to drive. Barry was shocked when Jonathan approached him with this offer and immediately said yes and started learning how to drive. It took Barry way too less of time to learn how to drive and since was 16 he got his learners license. Barry always wanted to take the car to his school but both his parents and Jonathan never allowed it as they felt it would be ‘showing off’ which believe me is true. I mean during those times if you see a school going kid drive a corvette you know he has money. Instead his parents allowed him to take the car out with Chris but that was possible only when Jonathan was home. Jonathan was very open to the idea of Barry taking his car for a spin here and there and was also concerned for his well being as the car was quite a fast one but at the same time he wanted the kid to enjoy so he used to leave his car and go by bus or train to his workplace sometimes.

Now Jonathan himself was a pass out from the PS high school and now was going to PSU for his degree in commerce particularly towards banking as from what I heard he was pretty good in calculation and he also had a part time job at the Bank of America as an assistant for an accountant. Basically his job was to cross check some numbers here and there and make sure there’s no needle left in the haystack and since his job was part time there was no massive workload on his shoulders. His job timings were from 8-12 in the morning and from there he used to go to his college which started at 1 and ended somewhere around at 5. It took him somewhere around 15 minutes to reach the bank in the morning which was fairly close to the downtown area of the city and from there he used to take the freeway which led him straight to his college and takes about 20-30 minutes of his time and the way back home was simple as he took the interstate which directly connected his suburbs to his college. When he used to leave his car at home for Barry he took the train from the station of Cape Clockwork to downtown which was 5 stations and roughly took 20 minutes and then walk to his workplace and from there a bus to downtown station as in noon he preferred bus over walking and then the train straight to university of Port Seawell which was around 7 stations and took him around 35 minutes to reach his college. Either way Jonathan’s commute gave him enough time to relax between ferns and enjoy his day to be in college or at the bank. Oh! And his way back home was simple a train straight from the university to his area or a bus that took the interstate like he does when he has his car and drops him to the bus stop near his house. He decides wether to take the bus or train based on the kind of day he had if he is tired he took the bus as it was easy but took a little more time but if he was energetic he takes the train which is crowded but takes him home faster.

As the days were going on by the Catholic kid that was Barry was changing into more of a free bird. Not the one who used to fly in the open sky but the one who knew his cage and used to go out for a flyby from time to time and come back to the cage when the time was up. Gone were the days when he used to pray to the Jesus Christ “Bless us oh lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ,our Lord. Amen.” Before every meal he had. The food became more of something he had on the fly rather than sitting with his family on the dining table like he used to. He also stopped going to the church daily like he used to but he believes in being a good Christian so he made sure he goes to the church every Sunday to pay his respects to Jesus and confess his sins. Every week a sim was repeated saying “forgive me father it’s been a week since my last confession” which used to be “forgive me for becoming who I am becoming and not the person who my parents wanted me to be.”

Why did he have such a confession every week? I mean was he not happy on which path he was headed as all I heard from his friends and family was that he was way too happy of what he was becoming and not conflicted about it. When I spoke to the father of the church he told me that he felt that Barry was kind of a secretive person which is kind of true if you ask me, I mean he was a different person in front of his parents and different while he was out. And the other thing that father mentioned was he felt that those confessions were more of his guilt speaking rather than him meaning it exactly. Strange.

Jonathan considered what his brother was doing per Sunday so he used to join him ever Sunday and head to the church with him with his own batch of sins per week. He was never a believer in God or never felt that a master power or a puppet master exists that controls us from above but for the sake of his brother and to follow his believes he used to go with him just to give him the right amount of motivation he needed. No people except Jonathan knew what Barry used to confess every week. Jonathan understood why Barry did that and he tried almost every week to convince him that he wasn’t wrong but with no positive results. Jonathan never forced Barry towards making sure that he was wrong as he found that Barry is right in his own ways and should not be pressed to be proven wrong.

Life was going on by simple enough for both the brothers to coexist and finally be open to each other sharing their behaviours and mentality. Barry was growing up and coming to his age and was growing mature day by day. Since Jonathan was a pass out of the same school a few teachers knew Barry as well giving him an edge in the classroom and expecting that he does good enough at least in one field if not be an all rounder like his brother.

1987, and Barry enters his final year of school with hopes to get admission in the arts department of university of port Seawell he start d focussing a little bit more to get good grades as he was already good in his acting department and it was necessary for him to score above average grades to get a scholarship and get admitted into college. Since his family background was stable enough there was no need for him to worry about his student loan as his father was happy to cover it for him and had no problems spending on their sons and since it was a matter of their education there simply were no holds barred.

Barry’s schedule became hectic as the days went on by with serious focus towards his acting and theatre and at the same time making sure that his focus stays towards his classes and tuitions too. The kid who used to spend a lot of his time wandering out with Chris and finding new horizons was now stuck in a routine of going from school to home to tuitions to back home and then locking himself in his room practicing for the exams. And then there were the days when he visited the theatre to practice for his plays and those days were even more jam packed with things to do and finish the available homework, but among all of the hecticness Barry was never suppressed by the load as his catholic days came in handy helping him. And moreover since he was inclined towards acting he was convinced that there is no success if he doesn’t give himself in, sacrificing his sleep and living on edge 24*7.

Only a few months left to his examination Barry gave in everything he had. His target was to get at least a 3.0 GPA in the final. Jonathan, unknown of the arts department saw how hard his brother was working so he also decided to help him by contacting a few of his friends who were in arts from back in his days of school. He setup a meeting with 2 of his friends and Barry in a nearby cafe and took Barry there on a Sunday. Jonathan’s friends guided Barry on what to expect from the examination and giving him their tips and guidances towards how to tackle it letting Barry know on how much work he has to put and scaring him the least possible but since they passed a few years back they also told him to work even harder than what he should because the system changes yearly. As the days to the finale came on by Barry became more and more confident on what to do and was steadfast towards his goal. He made sure that no stone was left unturned and approached the problems with full confident.

Finally the day came. The day Barry was working for, for the past months. March 1987, and Barry is fully prepared for the test. Back in the day in arts there were 4 subjects and one practical presentation which depended on what the student picks including music, writing, acting and news anchoring. In Barry’s case as we know it was acting and that was the one place where he was 100% prepared and was at his very best. The 4 subjects on the other hand were law, social skills, entertainment and management. Barry was very strong in entertainment and even social skills and was quiet good in management but law was never his strong suit. Within the month of March all of his exams were over with Barry scoring strike after strike after strike according to him. Now, was the time for results. Barry wakes up and gets ready and goes to school with his dad to collect his annual report. Confident get nervous Barry hopes that things go his way. Now since was so good towards his acting he scored 100% in his practical and exceptionally well grades in his written tests giving him and overall GPA of 3.12 which is pretty high. In pure joy Barry screams “YES” and becomes very happy as he sees the path to his future being paved in front of his very eyes. Wasting no time he informs Chris about his report who is waiting for Barry outside and he couldn’t wait to tell Jonathan about how well he did. Jane and Robert were extremely happy too, seeing how well their son did and how happy he was. Barry goes to church and thanks Jesus for all of this as his believes lied with his gods. Jonathan bursted out with happiness when she heard how good his brother did and gave him a massive hug and best wishes for his way ahead. Both Jonathan and Barry’s parents promised him a gift of his choice which Barry can redeem at any time. Jonathan was even more happier as he will get to spend more time with his brother as Barry wanted to join UPS same as Jonathan.

Barry applies for his admission in UPS and due to his great marks and great acting skills he gets the admission and a great scholarship in the university. A new phase of Barry’s life starts as he marches on his way towards his college. He had this fear in his heart of starting everything from square zero but that fear ended in no time as Barry Along with all the other kids in the college just mingled with each other with no hesitation and taking no time in the process. Barry made good friends right within the first week giving him a good group of people to hang out, talk and have fun with. College was going good and in Barry’s way making him yet again a popular and proactive boy of the college. He made a great friend in a boy named Sam who was from London and was in UPS for a temporary period of time as he had no other option but stay in UPS because he wanted to get admitted in New York university(NYU) but couldn’t get in so he planned to work for it and apply again the next year while not wasting his time sitting at home. Sam, though originated from London was residing in Port Seawell for the past couple years with his family. Now you might be wondering why Port Seawell if he wanted to end up in New York? I mean these universities were coasts apart with UPS being the leading of west coast while NYU leading the east coast. Well, that was because Sam had a wavering mind about what to move forward with. While moving to the United States he wanted to be a lawman but while in his high school years he realised his interests lies towards journalism and best place to do that was NYU. So that’s the reason of him being in UPS while aiming forward for NYU. Sam already had a friend in the classroom, a girl, named Ayesha. Ayesha was Indian by origin but was born in Port Seawell making her an American citizen, she was short in height maybe 5’4, with hair that were as long as her shoulder and had her own personality. She was smart, quiet and charming. Now, the biggest point to wonder comes, how does Sam know someone from scratch while he is someone who comes from out station while she was born and raised in the place in a time when there were no cellphones or Internet? One answer is they were sharing the same school and decided to go to the same college too or better yet were from the same neighbourhood. But nope, that was not it. Back In the day there was a system called “pen friends” in which a person would write a random letter to an address and hope for a response making them contacts of each other if not friends. Now Ayesha started it. She just sent a letter down to an address in the Shady Curtains district of the city while she resided near downtown. And you guessed it that address was of Sam’s and he responded to it pretty quick. So over a few courses of letters they got to know each other and in time started getting together and basically becoming best friends.

I will get to their story later for now let’s get back to Barry. As mentioned Barry and Sam became real good friends right of the bat which was one of the worst mistakes Barry made. Sam was more of an egomaniacal and two faced person but he knew how to hide that side of him. For the longest time he hid this personality of his from almost everyone and specially from Barry. If we go towards his physical traits he was somewhere around 5’8 in height and was thin and used to rock a bald and edgy look. From what I heard from people he was basically one of those wanna be cool kids who actually was an asshole. These are words of the people and not mine! But this two faced personality of his made quite a name for him in the former months. Barry was never a judgemental person or a person who can sense danger from afar until he himself takes the fall. So, Barry and Sam became close so did Barry and Ayesha. Ayesha on the other hand was smart, sensible and quiet. Technically, she was the better end of the deal for Barry rather than Sam. Barry shared everything related to his life with Sam. Everything including the past the present and a lot of personal things too. He held him in the same esteem as he did Jonathan and Chris little did he know that it was going to kick back hard to him. A month and a half into the college and a person of interest enters the classroom. A girl who is the key to this story, a late entrant due to whatever reasons. She was a year elder than all of them though And it was no one else but Jacqueline Carsten.

Remember how I mentioned Barry wrote diary entries? This is from one of those entries:-

December 25th 1987,

 It’s Christmas and I am having a good time. Just like any other Christmas this one started with me heading to the church. It doesn’t snow in California but the weather this year is just chilling, probably one of the best Christmas weather we have had since I don’t know when! The cold breeze itself is calming and relaxing enough. The city looks beautiful as always surrounded with ornaments and Christmas trees. Even after such a good day I feel empty. Like something is missing, something tearing my head open from the inside. It’s been 5 days of our vacation and 10 more are to come. If this is how the rest of them argon a be then I just don’t want to stay at home. Just put me in a cryo sleep and wake me up when the time comes! Why is that you may be wondering? Well, the honest answer is I don’t know! I at first glance thought I am missing Friends but that’s not true. I have Jonathan and Chris with me and they mean more to me than anyone else. But yes I am missing someone and that person is not my friend. It’s Jacqueline. Or at least that’s what I think it is. I don’t know why this is happening it may just be my subconscious so what i am going to do is I will try and sleep and wake up with a fresh mind and hopefully all of this will be gone. See you tomorrow!”

This was rather one of the small entries he did but a strong one. Barry was never the kind to get attached to people he never knew but there was a strange connection he felt with Jacqueline and that was because of something that happened in November. Just like any other day these kids decided to go out and spend time with each other that day extended and became a night they spent too. All 4 of them Barry,Sam,Ayesha and Jacqueline planned to spend the night at Sam’s as Sam’s parents were out of town. They had their fair share of fun and had too much to drink that night. After those drinks Barry and Jacqueline had a conversation, Ayesha told me, that no one was aware of. It was like the both of them were the only ones who were present at the time while Sam and Ayesha were doing their own thing and was the first time Barry ever spoke to Jacqueline openly. What was the conversation no one knows except the both of them but Ayesha did mention that Sam tried a couple times to break it but was unsuccessful. Why would Sam try doing that? Well, maybe because he was drunk hut no one knows why. Ayesha said maybe because he was attracted to Jacqueline a little but not in a way that he wanted to be with her but he couldn’t see Barry getting closer than what he already was. But that’s not true either because it turns out that over the years Ayesha fell in love with Sam and they started dating in January 1988 which was a couple months after this night. My guess would be that maybe Sam was jealous of Barry as in January itself he made a spoof of a story and told Jacqueline that which made Jacqueline hate Barry. According to Ayesha that story wasn’t true and it was and was done by Sam for some nonsensical reason to show Barry that he was not the one to be close to her. And Ayesha always regretted that she couldn’t tell Jacqueline the truth because she was so much in love with Sam and didn’t want to cross him. But later on she did anyway because she realised how self centred of a person Sam was and how stupid she was to fall for that guy. Barry trusted Sam and shared things with him like he was his own brother which paid of real bad for him at least for a few months of his life. He lost a lot of time which he could have dedicated to someone whom he wanted to be his actual great friend. Maybe Sam did it because he couldn’t see losing Barry, as Barry was definitely more inclined towards knowing Jacqueline than to spend more time with Sam. Whatever the reason was it was stupid and completely unnecessary according to everyone whom I spoke to who were aware of the situation.

Anyway, I will get to that part later right now one of the most important entries I saw in his diary was the one which he made at the night of 27th December 1987. This entry just left me in a state of speechlessness and chuckled me a bit when I read it:-

December 27th 1987,

Remember when I mentioned I feel restless in these vacations? Remember I said the reason for it was Jacqueline? In yesterday’s entry I didn’t mention a single word about her but today I cannot hold myself. The more I think about it the more it makes me feel that yes the reason is true and it is her. Hold on a second! You don’t know who Jacqueline is! Let me tell you who she is. She is the cutest, the hottest the most badass girl I have ever met in my life. And you know how my life has been when it comes to girls. Avoiding. Jacqueline is someone whom i met for the first time in August. October was the month when I spoke to her for the first time as she invited me and everyone else to her house for a house party. November was the month when for some reason she sent a shiver down my spine and made me feel home and now here I am telling you about her in December. She is tall 5’8, 5’10 maybe I don’t know! Her hair is long enough to that it covers her entire back when she keeps them open which is most of the time and they are pure black In colour. The way they sway when the wind blows and she adjusts them back to form just takes my breath away. Her eyes are black and are so charming that they carry their own personality, wide open and big. When you look at them it feels like they are smiling at you. And when she wears her glasses which is sometimes it makes her look that more nerdy and cute. Speaking of smile, well let’s just say I smile when I see her smiling. It is the cutest thing that you will ever see when you see her smile and her bunny teeth pops out. Ha ha, yes, she has bunny teeth but not the kind that always stay out rather the kind that pop out when she smiles. That oval face with rosy cheeks and the most balanced and perfect cheek bones which go up when the smile pops will just make you want to see her smile over and over. And all of this is complemented by the voice. Melodious and seductive. One of the sweetest voice I have heard coming out of a persons mouth. I don’t know, it’s just, I can go on describing her for pages after pages but you get the picture don’t you? I just feel so shy telling you all this. I don’t even know her that well. Every time I try knowing her I just end up chocking and or acting stupid or doing something that I never intended to do in the first place. Sam and Ayesha and Jacqueline are close enough and they consider me equally as a part of the gang but I don’t care about Sam and Ayesha right now. All I care about is knowing Jacqueline and spending more time with her! I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me? Do I….? Well let me not go that way at least not for now and let’s keep this conversation a secret between you and me ok? See you tomorrow!”

Well, it ended with a question saying “do I…?” Let me tell you something Barry yes you do! It made me chuckle as he met her in August and we get this description in December. Among the few other entries I read of him he described Sam and Ayesha pretty quickly but this one took time. From what Ayesha told me was because he never cared for her existence till that night at Sam’s place. I don’t know what to say about it. It’s just so sweet reading all of this piecing out everything on why and how the events ended up. According to Ayesha, Barry took his time to mingle with people. Even if everyone knew him he was always shy from the inside and he always took the most careful steps to avoid any sort of quarrel with anyone as he always wanted to see people happy and stay on their terms.

August was when Jacqueline entered the class, September when Sam and Ayesha got close to her, October when Barry spoke to her openly for the first time, November when Barry felt comfortable with her, December when allegedly fell for her, February when they had their fight due to Sam. It was a silent war. Sam never apologised for what he did and gave stupid justifications like this was needed and you will never understand why I did it. Ayesha was quiet in that course of time giving minimalist reactions and stick to both sides that is Sam and Barry and Jacqueline on the other hand, well, livid is the word. I cannot blame her for that, I mean imagine you consider someone as a friend and the next day someone whom you hold in a higher esteem than him comes and tells you that he said certain things about you which is a lie but your faith lies with the liar himself. What did Sam say to Jacqueline? It remains a secret. I never got a hold of Sam and Jacqueline never told me this much in the little time I met her. But after February Barry changed. He stopped trusting anyone and everyone. He was calm when it came to Sam but from deep down he was burning with rage. Jacqueline on the other hand was not willing to listen anything Barry was trying to tell her so he stopped trying and started showing that he doesn’t care but from the inside he was sad and desperate. I don’t blame the guy for that. Every opportunity he had with her he missed at and every time he tried making an opportunity he botched big time. This is what happens I guess, I mean a decent guy always makes a fool out of himself when it comes to this. Jonathan was the one person who knew about Jacqueline and was always supportive of his brother and he was in shock too when he heard of what Sam did. He asked Barry if Barry needs help but Barry simply denied. Jonathan and Barry came to the college together as I mentioned and after this incident the excitement of going to the college was faded away from Barry’s side. He just used to go when he felt like it other times he barely cared. Any opportunity Sam got he showed to Barry that how much he means to him and all that but Barry was done with him so he never took any of that. Chris also noticed that Barry’s behaviour is changing but he could never help him because Barry wouldn’t listen to him either.

They pass the first year and move to the second. As planned Sam leaves for NYU which makes Barry a little happy. April 1988, Barry starts his second year. He scored something above average in the first year and hopes of doing better in the second. Ayesha and Barry stay together in the classroom and talk while Jacqueline and Ayesha also stay together which leaves Barry with a little room. After a month of Awkward conversations Jacqueline finally comes to Barry in May and asks him to forget everything, move on and act normally. All Barry is left to say at the moment is “OK” as he wanted this. But he asks her that he wants to give her an explanation which she simply rejects saying “I don’t want to hear anything about it, I am over that situation now” Barry, though accepting her terms is always jaded from the inside as he wasn’t the person who was wrong here and wanted to explain himself. But he gave that up too in time. Even if they started behaving “normal” again there was always this sense of weirdness and Awkwardness between them. Barry tried his best to stay normal but he couldn’t because of two reasons. First one being he never got to explain himself and second he never felt that everything was right. A few months pass and Barry starts focussing on his acting workshops yet again. But September was when everything hits rock bottom. 22nd September 1966 was when Jonathan was born. So, obviously on 22nd he decides to go on a party with his friends after college. He asks Barry to come too but Barry asks for a party with him and Chris later and he decides not to go to college on 22nd as he felt a little sick too. Jonathan tells his parents that he will get late and leaves for his day while Barry spends most of the his day sleeping and resting. At around 8 o’clock Chris come to see Barry as it was past dinner time. They sit in the room and talk to each other for a while. Barry explains his current situation with Jacqueline and all Chris could say was “give it time” and “stay relaxed” but only Barry knows how much of hell it feels from the inside. At around 10 in the night news his parents see that an accident took place in the interstate with details coming down shortly. Considering that it was just something that happens daily they don’t give it much thought but in 20 minutes they receive a call from the PS central hospital telling them that their son was part of the accident. Panic spreads across the house and Barry’s parents rush to the hospital with Barry and Chris. In the hospital they are notified that their son is in the ICU and is in critical condition. Tears is all that is coming from James eyes while Robert tries to stay strong and Barry and Chris tries controlling his mother. Everyone waits outside the door of the ICU hoping for good news but the stars weren’t with them on that day. 12:33 am, 23rd September 1988, Jonathan Williams is declared dead of cardiac arrest and excessive blood loss. Mourning couldn’t describe the condition of the Williams family. Barry and Chris were left in shock as they couldn’t even possibly imagine, not even in their darkest drama this happening to their brother. Jane and Robert just lose themselves and couldn’t fathom the fact that they lost their elder son.

Jonathan was making his way back home from the interstate as I mentioned he used to earlier. Listening to music on the stereo of his car while driving in the speed limit an 18 wheeler which was transporting a few cars loses its control and hits Jonathan’s car from behind, making Jonathan lose control of his vehicle and sending him flying into the divider. Jonathan’s head hits the steering wheel and he is left unconscious since then till he was declared dead later that night. Meanwhile that 18 wheeler flipped as it lost control sending all the cars it was carrying flying and creating one big chain of accident behind it. 11 people were declared as deceased including Jonathan while around 48 people were severely injured including the driver of the truck who says that the breaks stopped working.

23rd September the Williams held their sons body in the morgue and called in friends and family to give them this tragic news and held the funeral on the 24th. Jonathan never had his coffin ready for obvious reasons so they got him one and buried him in the central cemetery of the city. Tears and screams are all that can be seen on the faces of the family members. This was an unexpected turn their life took. I mean which parents would want to see their own kid die in front of their eyes. Barry on the other hand, quiet, he had never been this silent in his entire life with Chris standing with him crying and yet trying to support Barry. The coffin was open and everyone was saying their last words to Jonathan. Barry goes close to him and touches his brothers face for the last time. Jonathan had a big stitched wound on his forehead and Barry just touches his face says “remember how you promised me that you will gift me anything I want when I got admitted in the PSU? Here’s my demand brother please don’t leave me! Please come back.” and sheds two tears. As the coffin is finally buried in the grave that was digged by both Barry and Robert the tombstone reads

Jonathan R. Williams 22nd September 1966-23rd September 1988, beloved son and brother and a hard worker“.

From that day on Barry’s life changed. He couldn’t be himself anymore. He lost all faith in God and gave up praying, he stayed angry most of the time and spent his time alone in his room. The dinners and lunches were silent in the Williams residence and the sad and unhappy air stayed in the house for a long time. Barry lost his smile and technically the Barry everyone knew died with Jonathan. A much darker version of him was left behind. Making this the worse year of his life by any and every term. He lost a great friend due to which he lost the girl he loved and he lost the only ray of light in the cave, his brother, forever.

Sometime in October he decides to go to college with all his friends and teachers giving him condolences. He barely heard any of them and from that point on he spent his time staying silent. Ayesha always stood by Barry but Barry was so torn from the inside that he never noticed it. Ayesha told Sam about this and Sam sent Barry a letter which Barry out of anger never read and tore apart. Jacqueline tried her best to get Barry back while giving him his time but was unsuccessful too. But this incident bought Jacqueline back to her senses and got her close to Barry. No offence but wow! Girls take a long time to convince and it took her almost a year and his brother dying! Well, I have nothing to say in that. Ms. Jackson, Barry’s teacher, always saw him as the golden kid in the classroom. The kid who had so much inside of him and yet never knew and or was bothered by it. And she saw how this incident changed Barry. Everyone was shackled by Jonathan’s death and Barry was the one who was effected the most but everyone wanted him to come back to life, which if you ask me takes time and is not easy. Jacqueline once said to Barry that “it will be ok, I feel what you are going through” to which Barry responded angrily screaming “you don’t!,so don’t even pretend” apologising the next second saying he never meant it but Jacqueline understood.

1989 starts and the city goes on high alert as Colombian president Cesar Gaviria announces to finish the fight for once and for all with the narcos and extradite Pablo Escobar to the United States. This sent every major city on high alert as the narcos were big in these cities and they came onto to streets asking for war. Barry’s parents asks him to be safe out in streets as this was happening as they were still moving on through the tragedy that took place. And they saw a how angry and alone Barry became so they decided to surprise him on his birthday by arranging a small little get together style party for him when he wakes up in the morning. 20th January and all of Barry’s friends including Chris, Ayesha and Jacqueline and few of his family members are waiting downstairs for him to wake up and come down. As he climbs down the stairs he sees all of them and they scream “SURPRISE!” And Jacqueline approaches towards him with the cake. Barry smiles for the first time in all of this time as he was actually surprised by this and particularly was happy seeing Jacqueline there. He talks to the people and all of a sudden he bursts out crying for Jonathan which happens for the first time. Everyone gets him quiet with Chris and Jacqueline taking the lead and gets him back on his feet. Chris and Jacqueline meet each other for the first time and since Chris knew how much Barry cared for Jacqueline and what he felt for her he poked a little fun in the mix. By saying things like “Barry told me a lot about you” and directly poking Jacqueline which gave Barry a smile.

From that point on Barry became a little happy and tried moving on but he was still very much scarred. His silence never broke but he started being part of many coming events and spent a lot more time with Ayesha and Jacqueline. Little did anyone know that within the next 30 days everything will change. Forever.

As Ayesha realised how wrong Sam was when it came to Barry she planned on getting Jacqueline and Barry together. All 3 of them spent a lot of time together knowing each other better and February started and Ayesha finally got a plan to get them together and leave the rest to them. She made a plan of going out to the pier and asked Barry and Jacqueline to meet her on Sunday, February 19th but the twist was she will never show up leaving both of them alone for a day. That’s clever Ayesha, I will give you that. They show up and wait for Ayesha, but Ayesha never shows up, confused and angry they decide to spend the day together and deal with Ayesha later. They walk, they talk and they just get to know each other more on a personal level. Barry had the perfect opportunity to tell her that he loved her but he didn’t. Why? I don’t know! And then Barry tries to get what Sam said out of Jacqueline which Jacqueline avoids yet again. She feels thirsty so they decided to go to the nearest convenience store to get something to drink. While they are paying the cashier a man wearing a mask enters the store with a gun and points the gun at the cashier and asks him to give him money. The cashier acts stubborn so he takes Jacqueline hostage. Both the kids were already panicking and when Jacqueline was taken hostage she just got extremely scared whereas Barry was pinned In his position. The guy in the mask had a partner with him who was waiting for him outside the store in a car waiting to escape. Meanwhile, the cops were alerted and two officers were headed right for the store and here in the store the tension was rising as the cashier was not willing to pay and the guy was panicking as the time was running out. So, to show he means business he shots Jacqueline in the stomach leaving her bleeding and screaming in pain. Barry with all the anger in his head for the events that took place just couldn’t see Jacqueline in that state and never wanted to lose her too acted out of rage and his muscle memory kicked in. He jumped towards the guy and smashed him into the wall punching him a couple times. His friend who is waiting outside hears the gunshot and the sounds of the fight and he sees the cops coming so he escapes leaving him behind. Meanwhile, the guy fights back and sends Barry back from where he came from. Barry falls down and sees the gun that he dropped so he quickly rushes and grabs it and points it at him gaining the upper hand. The guy removes his mask and says “you cannot do it boy, you don’t have the nerve for it” as he gets closer to Barry. Barry at that moment is just conflicted in his head, his mind is racing, calculating all that happened while his anger taking an edge over everything that is happening. Meanwhile the cops enter the store and Barry just shoots the guy 4 times. It was a revolver with 6 bullets in it, 5 of them were shot. The cops enter with their guns in the hand about to shoot Barry when the shopkeeper screams “he’s not the guy!”. Jacqueline in a state of pain looks at Barry and asks him to stop while Barry unable to listen to anything and in pure anger walks towards the guy who was still alive, looks him in the eye, points the gun on his head, while the guy says “you are one of us kid, you are a killer!” In pain. Jacqueline screams “barry please don’t do it” and the cop jumps towards Barry to stop him from doing this. But it was too late. Barry pulls the trigger. Showing no remorse, drenched in anger he doesn’t even give it a second thought and leaves the man dead. Jacqueline goes unconscious as she loses a lot of blood and is rushed to the hospital. The guy who was killed was Joe Chill one of the local, small time narcotics dealer. On that day Barry was arrested for murder based on Article 2 of the law of California. The first 4 shots that Barry fired were considered as an act of self defence but, the fifth shot was an act of anger because Jacqueline was hurt which gave him complete motive to kill the person who hurt her which was Joe Chill, he shot him when he had the option to not shoot him making it a second degree murder and sending Barry to the penitentiary sentencing him for life inprisonment in the state of California.

Jacqueline survives the gunshot and starts recovering in the hospital, thankful that Barry saved her life but in horror of what she saw. Barry’s parents left with nothing left to say, hiring the best lawyer they could to save their only son but failed and loses both their kids. Ayesha cries and counts it as her mistake wondering what would have happened if she would have showed up or not planned this. Chris questioning of the events that happened as he lost both his best friends who were his brothers from another mother. And everyone else Barry knew was left in a state of speechlessness.

I am no judge in this scenario but this story left me questioning. Was what Barry did completely his fault? He murdered someone, yes but was it him while doing it? His mind was destroyed in the passage of months that lead to this event otherwise he wouldn’t have done this. It’s 2004 now, and the law has changed and evolved a lot over the years. Barry has spent 15 years of his life in prison at this stage. He has done his time now is it necessary for him to spend the rest of his life in prison too? I have an appointment planned with Barry Williams next week, when I go and see him in the penitentiary and hear his side of story and then we will see what’s to be done. Till then I will leave you with this story and one question.

What you would have done if you were Barry?