Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Veritable Companions







It was a fine Saturday evening.
I walked into the park and made myself comfortable on the bench. The Gurgaon winters ensured that there was darkness before its time, in the evening. Since I was one for the weather others may call gloomy and depressing, I certainly did not mind.A week in Gurgaon can be sometimes too much for the senses. And the organs. And the mind. And the... I digress.For one, take the traffic. The Traffic. An all pervasive constraint, controlling the time and space of your existence, and eventually limiting what you achieve, in your short despicable life.
“Oh, is it now, Human? Short and despicable?”


When I look back now, I am not sure what surprised me the most. Was it the fact that the retort was addressing a random thought in my head? Or was it the fact that the owner of the voice jumped across me, in to my field of vision, with his black fur bristling and tail twitching?

He stared into my eyes with his shocking green pupils.

I do know that in the spectrum of mental health and alertness, I may not be a perfect 10, but I knew I was sane, at least till yesterday at work. Come to think of it, I used to think work drove me insane, but never considered the possibility that in fact it may prove to be one day a barometer of my sanity.
“You are sane alright, human. At least as sane as humans can be. “Said the Cat.

At this point I must make it clear that I’m not a religious zealot, nor am I a jingoistic patriot. A little bit of a football fanatic, but not the kind that skips sleep to watch a late night game. My point is, I’ve never been a vocal advocate for the human race. Yet, I felt offended that this feline dared to question the abject sanity of our entire race.I replied, indignantly, “Oh why, thank you kind sir. You seem to be an exception for your kind, with your nuanced taste in sarcasm. Shouldn’t you be out hunting rats or sparrows or whatever it is that your kind hunts?”

Can a cat smile? Yes, of course, if it’s in the company of witty people.

“Sorry, if you took offence, human. I was just musing on the contradictions of your kind. You complain about the traffic, and the other hallmarks of your civilization, yet your life comes to a crumbling halt without any of those.”
He had a point there. How would I get to work without a car? And traffic was essentially all the cars taking people to and from work.
He continued, “I’m not blaming you, friend. My worldview is of a different nature. Tell me human, why do you go to work? “
I responded, “To make money. You see, in our world, the quality of our life depends on the amount of money you have. “
He narrowed his pupils at me. “So, you work your miserable life away for this so called quality of life. The primal paradox, I like to call it. Why don’t you take a step back and think if it’s all worth it?”
I looked at the cat and blinked. But, but…! I enjoy the apartment I’m staying in! I like the fact that I can go to any bar of my choosing! And yet… The price I pay is with my time, essentially my life.
As I lay back on the park bench pondering these existential questions, the next character of this strange play entered.

“Wow. Wow.”

On another day, I might have heard it as “Woof woof”. But my perception of reality had been significantly altered enough that I recognized the words from the bark. He was a street mongrel, but somewhere in his parentage there had been some respectable aristocratic canine, a fact betrayed by his size and sheer presence. This new entrant strolled next to the cat, and stretched as any normal dog would, and shot off a discourse as no normal dog would.

“Oh Azrael, you have been spreading your miserable philosophies again? That too on a human? Why can’t you simply confine your negativities within that cat brain of yours?”
At the mentioning of his name, Azrael bristled again.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I listen to you, my unreasonably excitable friend? Except for the fact that you don’t really have much of thoughts or world views and you live life choosing between either chasing cars or begging for morsels from his kind. “Azrael spoke in his icy cat voice, shooting a glance towards me.

The dog wasn’t to be silenced that easily. “You think deeply about the meaning of life, or the lack of it. I live in the moment, breathe in every gasp of air with pleasure, not knowing which may be my last. And yet who is the content one, Azrael? Your miserable brooding face always brings my grandfather’s words to mind- ‘For us dogs my boy, ignorance is bliss. Remember curiosity killed the cat and not the dog, because we didn’t want any of that nonsense!’ Ha ha ha!!”

Azrael spoke coldly and without emotion. “Your happiness is an illusion, dog. You have chosen to take the blue pill of hedonism and revel in your ignorance. I simply don’t have the freedom. Because I know that there is no meaning to this life or universe, existence is a suffering. Life itself is a futile exercise in finding the meaning of existence. The real question is, to give up everything and die, or to continue the suffering?”

Since I was the sole representative of the human kind in this discussion, I felt I had to make my voice heard for the sake of our race.
“Of this I’ve always wondered, and often in the recent times. Our reality, or rather my reality is my perception. What if I’m not really hearing you two, a cat and a dog debating on existence and life, and instead I’m actually lying in a hospital bed being administered a powerful sedative right now? How could we know anything for certain? “
Azrael licked his paws, while the dog wagged his tail in agreement, while the dog wagged his tail in agreement. As we were pondering each other’s thoughts, in came running the next philosopher.

For some strange reason, Gurgaon has an abundant population of pigs, which are in a perennial state of motion. Sometimes, they are running for their next meal, while other times they are running away from being a canine’s next meal. Sometimes they run to begin their next passionate romp, while other times they run from being forced into someone else’s romp. Yet for a species that runs more than Haile Selassie on a daily basis, they stay in remarkable shape. A remarkable circular shape that is.
He froze for a minute, eyeing Azrael the cat, the nameless dog and me alternately. The dog being the most congenial of the bunch put him at ease immediately.

The dog yapped happily, “Relax, sir. Shall I call you Hamlet? I’ve always wanted to meet a pig called Hamlet, if you catch my drift. Anyway, you are amongst friends, so you may cease your timeless canter for some moments.”

The freshly christened Hamlet dropped himself down into the grass, partly from relief and partly from exhaustion. Azrael invited him into our discourse, summarizing succinctly our somewhat conflicting and divergent views succinctly, and probing the pig for his own opinion.
He continued, “So you see Hamlet, the dog feels that life is to be enjoyed in a hedonistic way every moment, while I’m in a state of indecision in regards to die or not to die owing to the lack of meaning in life. Our human friend does not have any real intelligent opinion, which is not very surprising. So, what do you think?”

Hamlet took in a deep breath and mused, “ I’m inclined to partially agree with your view, Azrael the cat. While most of my kind are hedonistic pigs (!), I’m burdened with the thoughts about the meaning of existence, and in my short life I haven’t found any. Yet, I’m convinced that to die is not the right choice. In this is infinite void of meaninglessness, I create my own meaning around myself. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, I don’t really matter. But who cares about the grand scheme of things? My life is around a single individualistic focus, which is my own existence. So I strive to achieve a meaning for my own existence by existing and surviving.”

A truly remarkable and nuanced view, I thought. My own thoughts about this topic was quite unformed and uninformed compared to that of my companions. I looked up at the skies to see a few stars glittering, with the light from a million years ago. For a moment, I felt tiny and insignificant, and I let it sunk in.

I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder, to see the guard. “ Sir, I must close the park, it is late.” I looked around, and saw no trace of Hamlet, Azrael or the congenial dog. Again, the guard tapped on me, and spoke in an irritated tone, “ Sir, I need to go home to my wife and children. “ I smiled at him and thought, yes, the meaning around our own little lives. I took a deep breath and walked out of the park, into the night. I could hear a cat gently purring in the distance.





Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ishmael




I sat on the wooden bench, the only one in shadows and looked out at the sea. The golden light of incandescent lamps lit the path along the sandy beach of Fort Cochin. I could see the flies around the lamps, teeming around the filaments as if they found their saviour, only to have their lives extinguished by the flaming heat within. Much like most people I know.  I hear the sound of the waves against the sandy shore. In the horizon, I can see the yellow lights of the distant shipyard. I see the twinkling lights of the floating buoys, and I see the guiding light of the lighthouse. But I also see the faint light of boats in sea, each of them a beacon of hope for some family, some child hither.
My bench was in shadow, cast by the branches of the gaunt old tree. It suited me just fine. My name is Ishmael. Like my namesake from Captain Ahab’s crew, I too share a fondness for the sea, as I do for all things beautiful and elusive. Speaking of beautiful and elusive, here I sit, waiting for one such elusive creature.


Nights bask the streets of Fort Cochin with a haunting beauty. Like a lady behind a curtain, she beckons you with her candle lights. Yet, as you reach for her, she fades away into the darkness. But the woman beside me now is not fading away. I can feel the warmth of her touch on my arms. Even in the darkness, I can see the twinkle in her eyes and her slightly crooked smile.
Some would say I’m a man of poor morals. Some would say I’m a godless man. They are both right, of course. I define my moral lines, the ones I shouldn’t cross. And it is well off what the society would have drawn. I’m godless because I don’t pray to any saviour in my time of need. I whisper a silent curse to myself, and set about making wrongs right. Perhaps this is why this woman is clasping my hands tightly as we walk along the walkway. More golden lights, more flies and more death.


Her long black hair flies across her face. Her eyes are on the road ahead, yet I can feel her mind’s eye on mine. Her slender frame and the gentle curve of her hips are intoxicating, even in the dim light of the street lamps. I’ve never had a dearth of female company. I’ve known quite a few female friends and have known some as well as a man could possibly know a woman. I’ve always enjoyed sex, but I’ve enjoyed them moaning my name, screaming my name in our moment of harmony, in that moment of excruciating pleasure.
“Ishmael!” they all called. None called me baby, none called me darling. For I was no one’s baby, no one’s sweetheart. I was Ishmael, and in that moment, I would know the persistence of my existence, my place in the universe.


We had reached our room for the night, in a house over a century old, built by our British overlords. The floor laden with a hand-sewn carpet and the room’s ceilings high above, with a majestic mahogany bed in the centre adding an aura of royalty to the setting. She glided across the room, to the bed, glancing at me with her expressive, intense eyes. The air in the room was filled with palpable tension, an electric need for each other’s body and soul. I sat next to her as she lay in the bed, and touched her lips. They were wet with anticipation, yet dry with thirst. I reached for her mouth with mine, and kissed her slow.


“Is Ishmael your real name?” she asked after. She was lying peacefully, my arms around her, her eyes on the slow ceiling fan above. I could see the tiny strands of hair on her hand, and hear her slow breath. Her body was warm, and her scent was of jasmine flowers. She turned, and looked at me in the eyes. “Is Ishmael your real name?” she asked again, with the persistence of a child.
“It has been for a while” I replied, regretting the words as soon as they were out. She sat up in bed, and I could see the questions in her eyes for an instant. And then she went back to being comfortable, perhaps sensing my discomfort. Life was peaceful, again.. Yet in the lingering depths of my mind, I could still remember that day, the Father in white, and Gabriel beside him. Gabriel, it has been so long..



Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Chair At Nescafe



On many a wintry sunday morning, I found myself in the chair by the “nescafe”.
From the chair, I saw the morning, and through the morning the world.
The wide open field lay before me, bound by a canopy of woods.
A lone old tree in the heart of the field, reaching to the sky with its leafless branches.
The field was life, the realm of possibilities.
Our lives are bound by the woods of certainty, yet some have crossed to see
the exciting world beyond.
And the lone tree is the spirit you need, to rage against the dying of the light
even when the leaves of youth drift away from your body,
Strive to touch the sky, let nothing hold you back and live a life less ordinary..!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Persistence Of Life




The Green Desert

I wake up with a throbbing head, looking up where stars would have been on a normal night. Except this was not a normal night. Except this is no night, nor is it normal. I knew he would be up there, like every day of my past in this place. This place...

I know you are burning with questions. Who am I? Where is this mysterious place? And who is it that I look up to, literally and metaphorically every day? I wish I could answer all these questions. You see, I seek the answers to precisely the same questions. I do not know who I am. I do not know how I came to be in this desert land of green grass. Everywhere I look, I see nothing but blades of grass growing with perfect harmony. Once in a while, a breeze graces this land of nothingness, and the blades wave in maddening unison.

Oh yes, I said I can’t answer them all. Here’s one I can.

He watches over me every day, as fiercely as an archer guarding his castle. His blood red body gives way to orange wings that move effervescently in the sky, keeping him afloat with a strange ease. He looks at me with those deep, sad eyes and some unknown force beckons me to follow him, as he starts forward every day. As day turns to dusk, and dusk to night, he perches himself on small rock and closes his eyes. I follow his lead, and catch some sleep.
So that is my routine, and that would be my routine for the foreseeable future. A man stuck in a grassy savannah, following an orange bird to nothingness.

Except, today is different.

As I walk, and as he flies, I notice that the landscape is changing. It was just a single blade of grass at first. A blade of grass, longer than the others. With a drop of blood on it. Soon there are more blades of these abhorrent grass, covered in blood, some with shattered glass. My eyes swim, my head throbs again. I sink to my knees and stare at the orange bird. The bird is less of a bird, and more of a boy. A boy with an orange shirt. The boy with the orange shirt. He no longer flies, but gingerly walks to the horizon. And in the distance, I see a clock. The boy is almost below it now, and I look at the clock. It is ticking, but the hands are gaining pace. Soon, they are furiously rotating away, and I sense my time come to a dwindling end.


The Ending of the Clock

The on-duty nurse was cleaning the room for intensive care when she noticed his vital signs. For a few moments, everything shot to normal to give her a pinprick of hope, only to have it erased in the next moment. Soon every reading, every machine in the room said he was lost to this world, beyond this life.

Orange Bird

The mother cried herself to sleep for one more night. Like every day, her dream was of her little boy. His orange shirt and his effervescent smile, as he left the door of their home to bring her groceries. His orange shirt, daubed in crimson and carmine, when they brought her his body. It came as little comfort to her today to know the man who drove the car that took his life was rid of his misery today after a month in coma, shifting from his life in the limbo to his afterlife.




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Why do we love sunsets





Have you ever wondered why we love sunsets so much? 

Maybe it is the last stand of the sun against the dying of the light, his refusal to fade gently into that night. Oh, how we love underdogs! Even when it is certain every day that he will be vanquished, he fights like there is hope. The great tragedy of the evening, played out like a Shakespearean play, acted out against the backdrop of the azure blue sky. Like a medieval tragedy, following a brief interlude of red stained shades, it ends with the curtain of the night.


Maybe it is the crimson hues painted across the sky by an unknown artist who finds a fresh palate every day. They say all great artists have troubled minds. Art is the reflection of their inner struggles. For some, it is a moment of perfect harmony, rising above the cacophony of their inner demons.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Illusions





“Magic is an illusion,” He said,” Full of tricks and unreal things.”
“So is Life, “She thought, “It’s the same. “
“We try to be with people to be under the illusion that we are not alone.
We fall in love to believe the illusion that we are now complete.
Most of us believe in the collective illusion that there is a big man in the sky who can set things right.
The illusion of owning things, when you know you came here alone, and that you are not going to hold on to anything when you leave.”
She smiled.

Daddy looked at his little girl smile and thought, “She’s too young to understand.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Carnivorous Island




As a young child in search of wondrous books, I had stumbled on Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. The book promised to restore your faith, and I was at a crossroad those days- a crossroad where I would stay for a considerable amount of time. Little did I know that I was holding a life changer in my hands. It was the book that questioned the faith, ideas of believability and the nature of human-ness. It was a book that asked you to ponder about your beliefs, and how you arrived at those beliefs. But for now, let’s just look at a little (though definitely not insignificant) chapter in the book.


For the uninitiated, Life of Pi is the story of a boy Pi who escapes a ship-wreck in a boat stuck with a tiger, a zebra and an orang-utan. Drifting in the high seas and nearly dying of hunger and thirst, Pi and the tiger stumble on a wondrous island of tropical greenery. Delighted at their fortune, the two take their time in making themselves at home, enjoying the riches that the Island provides them. It is inhabited only by Meerkats, which are extremely social creatures who are notable for their erect stance, acting as sentry for the tribe watching for imminent dangers. Pi notices that despite the beauty of the island in the day, something is amiss at the night. The Meerkats rush to the trees and leave the ground, causing a perplexed Pi to follow suit. Over the course of the story, he understands that the Island is a carnivorous one, drugging the inhabitants who are unable to escape to trees in the night and digesting them. Terrorized, Pi realise that his own life is in danger. He wonders why the Meerkats are still living in the island despite knowing the terrible secret that the island houses. He realizes that the Meerkats are too complacent with their lives and probably have not theorised about a life away from the Island. In his moment of realization, Pi leaves the island and the tiger follows him to the boat.


Quite an implausible story, many might add. Given the whole nature of the story is mystical and the chief narrator Pi is unreliable in his recollections, it is quite difficult for most to understand the significance of this particular chapter. So was the case with me, until a sleepless night caused me to open this book and read those lines again.


Religion- what a relief it must have been for the ancients. At an age when people could not decipher what the globe of fire that rose in the east and gave light and heat to the world, when people could not understand who it is that showers rains upon the parched lands, religion offered an explanation, a refuge. At a time when moral debates and philosophies had not yet emerged, religion was their sole beacon of light. Promise of an all-powerful being at the helm must surely have brought some comfort to the men of old. The fear of retribution of a vengeful god prevented men from pillaging their neighbour’s wealth. For the common man, it was an oasis, an island. After years of drifting in the high seas of fear of the unknown, subject to the capriciousness of ignorance, the fruits of religion and god must have seemed sweet to the common man.



Slowly, we all turned to Meerkats, comfortable in the sunlight of faith. Some of us may have noticed those who were consumed by the carnivorous island. Religious riots, the crusades, the executions by the Church, the purges. Yet, we chose to stay, too complacent to consider an alternative. Like Meerkats, we stood and watched at the distance for a predator, unaware of the dangers lurking right beneath our feat. We bequeathed our power to reason, our power to theorize to this island. Yet, some of us Meerkats have escaped. And in these modern times, whence Science has developed to such an extent that it answers most questions logically, we should realize there is a raft for us to escape. Of course, it is a choice that only the brave can make. The meek may inherit the earth, but the sole legacy that the Meerkats may inherit is one of lack of will and complacence.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The House on Avenida Azcapotzalco- Part1



Memory is such a curious thing. Just yesterday night, I forget my backpack somewhere in the campus with no memory the next day of where it was. Yet, I remember every single detail of those days spent in La Resistancia at Avenida Azcapotzalco in the company of amazing people from around the world. But that’s a different story however, and the house in question was not the benevolent Resistancia. Come to think of it, I’ve always had a writer’s fetish about houses. The abandoned Mohan Villa near my old home, the Glass House of the nameless architect.. Speaking of memory, I wonder how much of it was memory, how much was imagination. They say that time smoothens out the edges of your memory, so that remembrances are always fond.


It was a beautiful January evening in Mexico City, with a weather that precariously treaded the line between sunny, windy and chilly. Quite enough of a fine weather that we decided to take a walk down to the magnificent Parque Bicentenniale a couple of miles away from our home. We being myself and Esther, the sweet yet very strong headed German girl who had the persistence and patience to drag my lazy self from a comfortable afternoon nap to a healthier yet less comfortable alternative. We jogged, correction, she jogged and I walked right behind the lady along the streets that were already becoming familiar to us. On the way, I barely noticed the house on the way, yet somewhere in my subconscious it must have struck a chord of emotional resonance. It was on another walk some days later though, when I had the time and opportunity to fully appreciate what treasures the journey to the park brought me.

This time it was with two other people, Rishab, my Indian friend and Paulina, a freshly acquainted beauty of a polish girl, that I was trudging along purposefully. It was the dog that first caught my attention. Or to be accurate, the elaborately patterned sweater the dog wore. I stopped and stared, like how any normal soul blessed with the usual dose of curiosity would do.


[To be continued]..

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sun, Sands and Salsa!




                                   

Mexico- It’s not a name that always pops up in the mind of a quintessential Indian traveller. And so it was with some apprehension that I set forth for what would become the most treasured pages in my book of memory. The apprehension was lifted as soon as we arrived at Distrito Federale a.k.a Mexico City- by the ever helpful, gentle folk of this land. Right from our host-buddy who picked us up from the airport, through the ever smiling and helpful staff at IPADE, we were overwhelmed and spoilt. Of the seven students selected for the program at IPADE, 3 of us were staying in Mexico City, while the remaining 4 studied in the campus at Monterrey, which is to the north of Mexico City.

I stayed in an apartment block five minutes from the school, with almost all the other international students- Indian, German, Italian, Polish, and American and French, it was quite a cosmopolitan experience. Friendships were forged easily, as we found out, amongst each other, the pleasure of learning customs and cultures of faraway lands. Of course, as soon as the classes started, it was another learning experience. The subjects were quite different, and so were the approaches. Here, the case method was the backbone around which the entire course curriculum, time-table and the academic culture was built. But then came the weekends with the promise of Mexico City’s famed nightlife- the never ending nights in Mama Rumba, the salsa club where even yours truly was made to shake a leg to the rhythm of Latino music, and the many varied pubs and clubs of the city with the beautiful Mexican people. Mexicans take their weekends very seriously indeed, I found out to my delight.

Mexico City had many more to offer, the ruins of the Aztec past and the Castle of Chapultepec amongst them. The castle was on top of a hill in the centre of city, and served as the palace of the ruler. One could enjoy quite a view of the entire city, while perched on top of the Castle. It was a city bustling with life and passion, every minute. The Zocalo, historical centre of the city and a witness to many battles during the revolution was the living, beating heart of the city. Once, we were strolling through a mysterious and beautiful neighbourhood called Coyoacan, where we came to stumble upon a rare sight- a group of Mexicans, performing an ancient ritual of connecting with their past, chanting songs in the near extinct Aztec tongue, asking nature  to bless us and punish the ones that hurt us. It was as time had stood still, with the smell of camphor and burning tropical leaves in tandem with the brisk, strong and graceful warrior-like dance steps of these people.

Every long weekend we managed to travel to places far away, in the company of our friends from the dozen odd countries. The colourful buildings preserved to date from the 18th century and the narrow cobbled streets make the city of San Miguel De Allende beautiful in a sense one has to see to comprehend. The city of Guanajuato was another traditional Mexican town I had the good fortune to visit, with the unique Callejon De Beso, i.e.  the alley of the kisses and delightful Mexican food. Puebla, a magical town separated from Mexico City by only a volcano (!) offered unique gastronomical choices. The Mexican food deserves an article by itself. For a person flexible with their eating habits, this country can provide some very tasty and spicy meals. Another trip to remember was Acapulco- the famed resort town of the pacific coast. Tropical beaches with extremely jovial citizens made the short stay in Acapulco very remarkable. In Acapulco, even the local transport buses have a party going on within all the time.

In IPADE, matters were getting interesting- presentations of companies such as Microsoft, BCG and Deloitte, followed by cocktail parties with the absolute top brass of these institutions. The college kept everyone busy with competitions, and finally exams. After the classes were done and dusted, we finally had the time to travel to the south of Mexico, the Yucat√°n peninsula which was home to the ancient Mayans. We set out on a road-trip across the Yucatan, armed with the little Spanish we had picked up. We ran into quite a lot of adventures en route, the car breaking down in the middle of nowhere amongst them. The azure beaches of Caribbean were a sight to behold, sparkling with the shade of blue I had previously seen only in paintings and wallpapers. Tulum, with its majestic Mayan ruins atop a cliff, which leads into a stunning beach down below and Cancun’s Kukulcan Boulevard remain etched into my heart and soul. Diving into a Cenote of crystal clear water to see the labyrinthine caves beneath, beholding the mighty Chichen Itza, a marvel of Mayan architecture, and the serene ruins of Ukmaal, nestled inside the jungle- There are many vignettes that refuse to fade away from the mind’s eye.

Eventually, it was time to bid adieu, to all the amazing friends we made, to have one long  last embrace to remind  ourselves of what a precious time we had. As I was arriving at Delhi, a signboard at the airport captured my emotions in their truest sense- it said:

 “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Memoirs of an Amnesiac-1





The mad man walked on, uttering unintelligible curses at the stone walls of the tunnel. There was heavy rain outside, and it was beginning to get cold within. In the distance, a train was coming, chugging along noisily through the tracks. He wanted to cry, but he could not find tears. He wanted to shout, but he had no voice. Most of all, he wanted to talk to someone, to anyone, but he had lost his words.

They were walking away very fast, from the several eyes chasing them. He had clasped her hand very tight, and he was almost dragging her through the tunnel. Not that she minded, though. Enjoying every moment of their bliss, she realized how cold his hands were. Was he a little worried, to be holding on to her? She was beginning to wonder, and then she saw the steps. He noticed it too, and their gait became slower. He looked at her with a playful smile, and let go of her hands. She must have been waiting for it, for the moment he left her, she darted away to the steps to the top of the tunnel. Not before stealing a look at him, ofcourse.


Outside,It was raining heavily. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

The person you never tried to know




Some of us are blessed
With a rainbow of friends,
Some with a winter’s blessing of ferns.
Yet sometimes we wish for a person so special,
Someone who will make every moment be treasured,
Yet none of us seek that friend we are born with,
A part of our heart and a part of our thought.
He is none but ourselves, the little voice in our head
That many a time we pretend we never hear,
And never have we guessed in the wildest of dreams,
That one day we shall befriend ourselves.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Life's little pleasures








I’m dreaming, in my bed. It is a pleasant dream, for it involves many of the pleasant people I’ve met in this short journey of life. Gently, I’m woken up, by soulful music playing from the phone. It’s Enya, singing of “A Day without Rain”. I sit up and look out of the window. It’s sunny, with a few clouds in the distance giving one a playful promise of rain, sometime in the day. A quick shower and other daily tasks, and it’s already a good day. So I get my pen, book and a glass of strong tea with extra sugar. The weather is delicious, sunny with a tinge of the cold from the downpours of yesterday night. The trees and the bushes all around the house are wearing an unabashed shade of green, the kind of green that makes you realize how beautiful your little state is. It is impossible not to write in this weather, and impossible not to write straight from the heart. There is music in the distance, from a temple I’ve always used to go as a child.


Its mid afternoon and my story is almost done. Just as I am about to put the final touches on the tale, the mobile screen lights up.  The name on the screen is a name I’d be glad to see anytime, any day. A text for a tryst in the evening, making a good day near perfect. I smile to myself, because sometimes smiles are not to be held back.


I park the majestic Royal Enfield near the footpath near the beach. It’s another lovely evening at the Calicut beach, and the vivid colors of the sunset make my heart leap with joy. I walk, through the sidewalk adorned with benches and lamp-posts, towards her favourite bench.  She is already there of course, but her face is turned to the other side. She expects me to come from the other side, but what is Love without some little surprises? I’m already feeling jealous of the evening wind, which is playing gleefully with her hair. I walk up and sit by her side. Without turning aside, she breaks into laughter.


The evening has crossed over to dusk, and the stars are already out in the sky. The vendors of groundnuts and sweets still sell their wares, while people continue to throng the beach. It’s going to be a beautiful night as well, I realize quite happily. She is now leaning on my shoulder, having exhausted all her stories. I’m as silent as always. The silent movie actor, as she calls me. I’m content with life, blessed with all the little pleasures that a man can ask for. After all, this is what life is all about. Those little pleasures that we’ve had once, only to be lost in the passage of time and space. Those little pleasures that we’ve always wanted to have, but never granted by the oft cruel wizard called fate.



I smile, thinking this is too good to be real. And then I hear a song in the background.  I look around the beach, but no singer is to be seen around us. Then I realize, the music is familiar, it is “A Day without Rain”. As I look around, everything dissolves into darkness, but I still feel her on my shoulders. But after a fleeting moment, I open my eyes. The song is still playing, ofcourse. The clock on the screen says its thirty minutes past six. I get up from the bed, and turn the alarm off.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Of Sea and Skies





Sometimes, when the days are long and the evenings hold no promise, I go to the Calicut beach, by myself. I find a place to perch near the sands, and inhale the fresh scent of salty winds. The Arabian Sea is a sight to behold, a timeless beauty, not covered by burkhas, untainted by the strings of tradition. She lashes out at the world when she wants; she makes herself heard through the sound of her waves, and often embraces, rather shamelessly, the many lovers of her life, all at the same time. As much as a beauty she is, the greater mystery is the sea of people all around her. Every evening thousands crowd around the evening beach, and there is no greater joy to a thinking man, than the sights of a hundred strange faces around him, each differing in every conceivable aspect of the human anatomy, yet united in their emotions of joy. The seaside does that to people- for centuries, port towns have been the centers of civilizations, the cradle of thought and ideas, the harbinger of changes, be it for better or worse.


I walk along the side of the sea, one among the thousand, taking in every sight and sound that the beach has to offer. My eyes drift, from a group of beautiful women, to the haggard willow trees. They have been around for as long as I remember, offering firm resistance to the winds of change that the ocean brings, and have survived for the most part. Among the branches of these trees lie several kites. Many of these kites must have aspired to be among the highest fliers, kissing the face of the sky, rubbing shoulders with the hawks that rule the beach skies. Yet here they all are, held in a mass of leaves, a remnant of past convictions, a testimony to someone else’s moment of indecision, or indiscretion.

There used to be a bridge here,once. A bridge that went all the way to the sea, to help the ancient seafarers with their invaluable cargos and tall tales. All that remains are a few of the pillars, and even they are slowly losing their heroic yet impossible battle with the waters of the Arabian Sea. Standing in front of these pillars, I feel the pain of these stone warriors, who are fading away,little by little,day by day..

And then I notice the hawks that circle above. They watch us all with disdain, as we go an about our mundane lives while they ride the sky, the majestic princes of the beach. A particular white headed brahminy hawk catches my eye, as it flies higher and higher, further from the madding crowd. Eventually, it is just a spot on the distant horizon, and soon, it goes beyond what my mortal eyes may follow.

I am at the threshold of a crossroad, these days. Will I be a kite in the willow branches, or a stone pillar lamenting the bygone days? Or will I rise to be a hawk, unflinching at the heights I scale everyday? Time will tell, and I'm leaving it to that masterful storyteller to complete this tale..

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Beginning, and The End




So much to speak, yet so little time.


“In the midst of winter, I found within me, an incredible summer.”
                                                                                                                    -Albert Camus



It doesn't matter what you want to write. For the moment you hold the pen, the moment the pen touches paper, your heart will break the barriers that the mind has imposed upon it. The heart shall flow, and let it flow. Let the words flow from your heart, as blessed water from a forest stream. Let the words glide, as effortless as the wind that graces the skies. Let your heart and soul reach that place deep within yourself, that temple of incredible calm and peace.

I've always liked temples. And churches. Temples at dusk and early hours of dawn. Churches in the day.

There are few sights in the world more beautiful than a quiet temple, lit in the darkness, surrounded by a hundred mud lamps. Chuttuvilakku, it’s called. The light of the hundred mud lamps flicker and waiver, yet they hold steady, in unison. Like the heartbeat of a hundred children. Like the marching beat of a hundred soldiers, who march in the knowledge that they will not return. The silence and the calm within the walls offer solace from the noises of the urban world. Even the occasional cry of the “ Chemboth” does not break the silence. Temples are beautiful.

In the distance, the mullah calls for the evening prayer. It is a melancholic semi song, and I realize I do not know what it means. I remember something from childhood- that I used to try and learn what the mullah sings. I also realize, I've never been inside a mosque.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Execution of Sanity




Ever since the heinous crime in the rape capital of our nation, the country has been flooded with demonstrations and protests. The social media is abuzz with self proclaimed justice keepers baying for blood. In reality, this crime has revealed the dark side of the society- the side that normally remains suppressed, the primal,blood thirsty beast within everyone of us. It is appalling to see young minds describing in gory details the exact nature of the punishment they want to inflict on the accused.

A common argument usually being put forward is that in certain countries in the middle east, torture and violent execution is handed out to rapists, so why not implement it here? The simple answer to this argument lies in the human rights records of these nations. For it is in these same countries that women have zero rights and freedoms, and very little in way of justice. In these nations, the law of land demands that females who commit adultery should be stoned to death. Is this the state of affairs we want to see our India arrive at?

For all those clamoring for death sentences for the accused- if that punishment would prevent rape,by the same logic, our nation will be free of murders and terrorist acts. Punishments hardly serve as deterrents, for criminals do not think about the consequences of their actions. Education, sensitization and open dialogue prevent crimes before they happen, and that is the right direction we should focus our thoughts in.



Friday, January 18, 2013

A memoir to Rorschach





There have been many caped crusaders and masked marauders who have captured our imagination. They have flown through the sky, rappelled through skyscrapers, and crashed through the window of our conscience in to our memories, forever treasured. A dark knight, a certain reporter for a local daily.. Its not a very short list, yet, if I had to pick one man who stands above the rest, one man through his greatest strengths, which is surprisingly not a superpower, it would be Rorschach for me.

I have encountered him only in a single movie, “The Watchmen”. Yet this ultra conservative, violent socio path etches himself in to the blotting paper of my mind. And what pattern does the blot make? What do I see in this man whose most conspicuous characters are that he is uncompromising, hard headed and paranoid? Precisely that.

Living  in a world where everyone makes compromises to push the wheel of life forward, right from the hordes of lowly salaried men to the white clad, black-hearted political class, It is impossible to be unmoved by a faceless man delivering justice in black and white. All the while, he loses no focus, weighing both his enemies and friends with the same scale. And pity the man who tips the scale in the wrong direction. For then a shadow will awaken him in the night, exacting punishment in swift, cruel and merciless ways.
In his last moments, before death at the hands of his friend, he states the single, unwavering, unflinching philosophy he has lived by all his life-

"Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon. That's always been the difference between us, Daniel."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Gypsy and The Caged Bird




It was a beautiful bird, and so was the song. It was a beautiful day, and so the bird had sung.

The wanderer came to her side, enthralled by the zest of her voice, lost in the music of her making. He stretched his hand to touch the lovely bird- alas, he couldn’t. A cage of glass kept him from the warmth of touch, the truest of all our senses. The cage was of crystal glass. The cage was beautiful. A cage, it still was.
And now our bird looks his way, and notices the man the cage has kept at bay. A wandering gypsy, she thought, surely a man not to trust. Long locks of hair, bearded jaw and a light so deep in his eyes. Still she likes him, and so she sings once again, in a voice of silk, laced with raisins of laughter, as sweet as honey and milk.

He asks her,” What a song cometh from thy lips, how it changes my little world!” She laughs in pleasure, with a silent guilt. He asks again,” Would thee come, in my hands? Together we shall fly in fairy winds, and see oceans blue, winter lands afar, sing to the sweet delight of many a misty mountain night, wander through grass so green, drink blessed water from a sparkling stream.”

The light in his eyes so shone, that her heart skipped many a beat and tone. Yet she spoke, in pleading notes, more for herself than for him- “ I am bound to this cage of glass, and its master too, and I must be loyal to his love.  Thou are full of life and brightest hope, with many a word silky smooth. Yet Stranger, I cannot break this cage of glass, nor can I break my master’s heart.”

The wanderer sighed, then smiled. With a last look at the lovely bird, he turned around. Only then did the lovely bird see the wings of mighty white. He flapped them once and off he flew, the angel , or the wanderer as we knew..