Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chronicles of Heartbeats unheard...

50th day:

Dear diary,

Hi.

I have always been bad at introductions.

And I have never tried to talk to an inanimate object before.

So excuse me for any loss of etiquettes when I talk to you.

When I had asked you to be brought to me this morning, I was half unsure of what I was doing, or wanted to do… if it were up to me, I wouldn’t have made an effort to move my bum, and try to build up a social life with you by sharing things I myself fear to admit.

But she forced me into it.

My mother.

She gets all worked up and sad these days seeing me.

I hate her for doing that. But then, she’s the only one I have in times like these… I would be ready to give whatever left of me, if tomorrow she decided to stop doing that. She is to me, what a beam of light is to a dying, ignored plant in a closed empty room.

~~

I wait, with unrest…

For something to happen,

That spark to ignite,

And blow away,

This insouciant thirst,

Of end.

I wrote it the other day. Sounds tad depressing, right…

I was about to scratch it away. But then found the exercise too boring…

I’ll let it lie there. Just a foul reminder of foulest stuff in my life.

Yes, past 50 days of my life have been the worst I have seen.

Days tarred black, indelible black. Of knowing yourself to be a loser… incorrigible loser.

I don’t understand why I am complaining. What had to be done has already been done. 50 wasteful days have passed, and left me at the mercy of a lifetime of days like them. Then what does it matter why and what happened. It had to happen. It did.

Oh I am so tired. I crave for something more than the four walls of my room. I crave for the freedom of just running into your future, not caring about how far it is.

I am going to sleep.

51st day:

Hey you,

This one sounds better. More informal… without the walls of ice all niceties have.

Today seems to be good. Today is a good number. I don’t like even count. Perfect figures. They make me feel uneasy. Life is so irregular. Perfect figures jar its whole synchronicity.

50 is cliché. I hate cliché’s. 51 is irregular… just like life…

51 started well too.

I woke up this morning with a throbbing pain.

I liked it.

I forgot sedatives last night, and the sleep was beautiful. Just as soon as I woke, I impulsively jotted this down;

Images flash across,

In a wild, insipid rush,

And heart moans,

While the mind concentrates, on that one single point,

And I pant in exhaustion,

As hands jerk off,

And keep going on…

While somewhere, they sift through memories,

And seek solace in pain, and happiness…

My mind leaps… as the heartbeats soar…

I know I am reaching there, and I do.

For one moment, a blank solitude covers my soul.

In secret fornication, a moment of bliss takes birth.

And next second, I face the starkness,

Of zilch and ennui.

For ten whole minutes my hands kept on writing, knowing not what the words meant. Only after I read, I understood. And fell down again on the bed, as that curious emptiness filled inside me.

And I went to sleep again.

~~

The bell was ringing wildly. Like the cry of a hunted gazelle. I didn’t knew how long I was asleep, but my body seemed to be infested with deep lethargy. For a timeless moment, I lay there, half asleep, staring at the fan blades slicing the air, watching its slow, sensual motion. Then, when the bell was ringing too often and too alarmingly, I tried to get up.

I failed at first two instances.

I was pretty shocked about it till I remembered I had no legs.

The surprise was so awesome, that unknowingly, without even feeling it, a drop of tear slid off my cheeks.

And then keys jingled and someone threw open the door. I heard my mother talking to someone.

While I was lying there, helpless, teary eyed, crippled beyond the capacity to even open doors.

I watched the slow, sickly love of fan blades and wind. Each movement seemed to slice off yet another second from my time…

Like sand dunes shifting their destinies…

Heck! I am so bloody poetic! Its disgusting to see oneself romance so much. Specially when ones life is a comedy of tragic errors!!!

I closed my eyes when I heard my mother calling out my name. She came inside with somebody, and seeing me asleep, closed the door and went away.

I did not sleep for rest of the night.

55th day:

Hi,

You know what, I think I have realized where I go wrong.

I think I try too hard. I keep on frustrating myself by trying to chide myself into action, while my mind is embroiled into deep stupor.

I am a self-professed writer. While it’s pretty romantic and feel-good to consider yourself that, in reality, I am just an ineffable flirt with words, who is not really capable of writing, yet who constantly attempts to hide behind the garb of a writer’s hood, to escape the harsh guilt of inefficiency.

I can just play with words, tease them here and there, try to do a poetic justice to their abuse, frame it with some nice sounds, and then hurriedly falter in an attempt to make a story. In the end, I land up with a mish-mash of emotions adulterated with jargons and biased feelings of loneliness. The result; I turn out to be a spite throwing, tantrum spitting loser.

Dammit! I think too much.

Fuck off. Fuck the world. Fuck what people think. Fuck you. Fuck everybody making judgments about me.

Including myself.

Fuck! I am going mad.

Am I?

Bye…

Snippet:

Give me something… anything… which will make life worth living…

60th day:

Passing days are evaporating my memory. Its kinda good, because it makes me forget the pain. Its kinda bad, because pain is the only inheritance left to me now.

Even my dreams seem to get sharp and clear.

I never had good dreams. They were always hazy and unreal episodes of fantastic experiences.

But past few days, my dreams are DVD quality clear, as smooth, as if being played on a Samsung Flatron.

And most surprisingly, they are direct references from my life.

All of a sudden, I get images of incidents even I had forgotten had happened with me.

Like; there was this dream the other day, which was about my nine year old form kneeling down beside an ancient tree in the valleys of Kashmir.

Yes, valleys of Kashmir.

Agreed we had gone on a trip back then, but I forgot all about the tree, and its temple.

I even heard what I was praying. I heard in my childlike voice;

Mummy says whatever I wish for here, god will grant me. I wish she always stays with me…

And then appeared a face. A face I could not recognize at first but later realized it was of my childhood sweetheart Neha.

Guess that tree-temple did not work, because Neha left for another city a few months after we returned.

Another dream I had; yet again of my childhood was of my school.

I remember we used to have these huge classes of hundreds of kids sitting together in schooldays. During my sixth grade winters we were learning a chapter from Balbharti about a King and his Clown. I vaguely remember it being about clown outsmarting the king, and king getting angry and punishing him, and clown outsmarting king again…

That day, I dreamt of reading this paragraph from that chapter to the class.

“Court Jester: Your Majesty, I understand you punished me. But I fail to understand the reason.

King: Fool! What is there to not understand in it?

Jester: Your highness, I called you a great many names. I called you a plump fat ball of terror. I called you a sword wielding cucumber. I even called you a disgraceful spot on your throne. Yet you got angry only when I said your bald head shines better than the moon! Why sire?

King: {Laughs loudly} You fool! I did not get angry at you because I knew what an idiot you were in calling me those names, and then pleasing me right in the nick of time! I found it funny. But if there is one thing that men do not find funny, it’s the Truth. {unrolls his turban to show a spotless clean head.}”

I find such recollections funny. Really, what debris we fill our lives with, each and every day!

Snippet:

I have kinda started to like this loneliness. It gives me liberty to do a hell lot of things. What better way to express its beauty than a poem;

My pen falters,

Eyes open, look above…

And see a world, so far away…

Spread beyond comprehension.

And lips smile.

Doesn’t make sense…?

I know that…

In the end, what does?

62nd Day:

I got the shock of my life today! Turns out that the person who came home few days ago was Neha! Damn! I wish she would have come a few weeks earlier! I would have been definitely two inches taller than her then! Now…

Sigh… Guess that Tree-side Temple works in its own way…

Hang on, what I am talking about! I must be crazy.

You know, that’s what my problem is. I forget the reality too soon. Dammit, I am a cripple! A cripple should not have the courage to dream in life…

And a cripple should always stay away from beauty… In case he spoils it…

I’ll go to sleep.

Bye.

Snippet:

I see her talking in light tones with my mother. Their laughter tinkles in the room, while my presence and its tragedy is momentarily forgotten. For a few moments their faces light up, as they drop their masks of pretence and care. And next moment, when they see me, all laughter stops. As if their heart of their felicity was pierced by the bluntness of my handicap.

50 days ago, I would have been very much part of their conversation. People used to share things with me, confess, and converse with me. 50 days ago I was a normal person, with a future as normal as of others. But now I sit here, and look at my world crumbling down each day… like a massive cliff of sandstone by sea. Each day, each blow erodes some part from me, and I am left with the feeling that one day all that would be left of me will be those things that I lost 50 days ago.

Knowledge is a curios thing. People like me, crave for it when they don’t have it, but when they do… they digest it and throw it away like filthy excreta…

I did rather try to live in oblivion… memories are poison for a person who thirsts for it.

65th Day:

The sun has set. I saw it setting down today, under the ocean… Like a big orange candy dissolving into the waters… Funny that’s how I used to describe it even when I was a kid…

I guess, with half my body gone, I have started to go on a reverse expedition, and turn to past, when future seems so improbable…

It’s comforting. I like it this way.

It’s almost dinner time. Ma has still not returned. Damn, I should call the cook.

Heck, the doorbell’s ringing. Hope that good-for-nothing servant boy is not asleep already.

I’ll call him.

Snippet:

It was her.

Neha.

She dropped by, just to meet me…

Meet me!!!

I saw her smiling! I swear I could see her cheeks turn a little red when she tried to make an excuse for calling in….

She smiled!!!

Somebody stop me from dreaming… I may forget what my reality is…

Friday, October 30, 2009

A League of Extraordinarily Incorrigible Bastards!

A few important things to know before reading this note.

1. This note is solely dedicated to a motley group of good-for-nothing’s who call themselves as The MOMO’S. They reside on the Fifth Floor washroom of Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Management, and do nothing which can boast of being useful.
2. This is; as is obvious, fiction inspired from reality. All allusions are true to the fullest, but the inferences are not.
3. Special Thanks to one Mr Sahil khamosh and his line; “…But then, Vinay could probably do many other interesting things than painting…”
4. Lastly, for all the girls reading this note, please excuse the callousness of the thing. I May not be serious about it.


Go ahead, enjoy the note.

“Love, my friend exists on one basic principle. I’ll explain. See, consider love as an Apple. Ok. So first, you get an Apple. Then, you get an Orange. Then it becomes a Peach. After that it turns into a Banana. And then…”

Amit trailed off from that point.

Actually Vrushali passed our table. And Amit’s attention wavered from his fruit salad theory about love to this chick who sat opposite to us.

Did I mention to you that Vrushali was the fresh entrant in my long list of Crushes. Probably not. That’s Fine. Yes, I fancied Vrushali. But…

Looking into the wolfish expression on Amit’s face, I could feel a sinking feeling. A feeling when you know you gonna know a thing which you may never have wanted to know.

“Fuck! Dude that chick is hot man!”

And in my mind I ticked off another girl from my list.

Egad!

You may wonder why I did not resist. Why I did not ‘
fight over that girl, on the battlefield of love.’ Well, the answer is, I did not want to. Besides Vrushali was not that good looking after all. I’d prefer a good friend over a confused bimbo anytime.

But its one thing to give up on a girl. Its another to give up on hopes. Its difficult to see them dashed again the wall, with their congealed blood sliding down slowly, chiding you for being such a loser. But Kamal made it easy for me.

Kamal was the most famous dude of the class. It’s funny that a bloke named Kamal can be the most popular person anywhere, forget your college or class, but then, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

I was just idling out on Facebook when a new feed appeared the News Feed. It said that Anisha was committed. Again.

Anisha was my childhood crush’s best friend who I accessed through my old friend’s current girl-friend’s brother’s account. Don’t ask me how I managed to accomplish this wonderful feat. Facebook seems to be a wonder more fantastic than Google.

While all that is not important to you, the important thing is that I had recently developed good feelings for Anisha.

Which again got crashed…

Seems tough does it?

I still haven’t come to the worst part.

Next day, while we guys were as usual fathoming the depths of psycho-sensual unrealities of a girl’s mind, Kamal announced the news of his latest catch. Which was Anisha. Whom he found on Facebook. Much before me.

Damn!

But I shouldn’t complain much actually. His chances were after all anytime greater than mine. When you have close to a thousand friends in your friend list, the odd’s are heavily tilted I guess…

Anyways who say hopes die? Like a phoenix rising from ashes, they soar high in the skies time and again. Only you have to be lucky to make those dreams into reality. And I couldn’t stand losing.

If all did not go well, I decided I should turn green. I don’t mean I was going to puke. I mean environmental. After all, there’s always scope to recycle.

So I turned attention to matters of past.

Sheena was my ex-girlfriend. Ok, one of my ex-girlfriends. And since I was biting dust everywhere, my love-hungry heart set its sight on experience rather than expectations. In short, I again started to set fielding for my ex-girlfriend.

I didn’t knew I would again be surprised.

Things were going on quite well when I had set up that date. Well, I call it a date. She was just ‘meeting’ me. And so, decided to bring along with her new boyfriend; Badri. Who was one of my good friends and classmates.

Don’t ask me how they met. Internet and Mobile technologies are far too developed to make sense to me. I don’t even know what she liked in him. He makes a gorilla look small and cuddly, he is as funny as singing hyena (which might actually be funny), and he was a rich-spoiled-opportunistic brat. But then Badri could do a thousand more interesting things other than looking good and cracking funny jokes (both of which I do not claim to be accomplished at) He could, for example, drive maniac machines at maniacal speeds. He could easily pick out a fight with any bloke on the street and manage to win it. And not to forget the fact that his ripped body makes ‘
Ghajini’ seem meek and timid.

Sigh! I wish I would have been more punctual at the gym!

I must admit, I was sorely tempted to bitch about Sheena to Badri. But I desisted. Don’t count too much on my goodness though. I was just too coward to do it.

It must be tiring to go through all these accounts of failures isn’t it?

I must say, you are in for more trouble.

Or rather I was.

Vishakha seemed to be a girl made in heavens for me. She was smart, witty, intelligent, creative, funny and famous- all that I was not.

And loved reading books and to boss around- all that I knew to do.
So yes, finally I could claim I was in love.

Or so I thought.

I’d like to make it a little melodramatic for you guys though.

Imagine this scene straight from the cinema hall’s screening Bhojpuri films.

The Heroine shouts and starts running in slo-mo towards the Hero. The Hero turns around and smiles flamboyantly. The Heroine keeps on running endlessly. The Hero too acts as if he is Mona Lisa personified. The Heroine runs, the Hero smiles. And Heroine runs more, and the Hero stops smiling. Because the Heroine has crossed the Hero, and gone to... his best friend.

Ok, nothing like this happened with me, but yet another friend of my small group managed to clinch yet another girl from right under my nose.

Yes, Suresh was a better match for her. After all, he was also smart, witty, intelligent, creative, funny and famous, and to add to that he made fantastic movies and wrote touching poems. Hark, I can even imagine them on a lonely hill, on an even lonely twilight, reciting poems to each other about… Loneliness… How romantic! Touché!

I must admit. I was tired of all this chasing and running behind the girls. So when Suresh brought Vishakha to the party, where everyone came with their respective girlfriends (who were all freshly stolen away from me) I couldn’t help but smile derisively.

Yes I give up.

After experiencing all this, I positively envy the entire Gay brethren. At least their partners don’t bamboozle them like bumblebee. How peaceful and stress free their lives must be! Sigh!

But hey, that Chick is cute. Seems my type, eh? Think I should try my hand? Ah, I guess an attempt never does any harm…

But... Crap! Is that Nishant with her! Holy Shite!

I guess this whole business of love is not meant for me. And more so, is chasing and tackling of girls. I’d rather stick to chasing and tackling a football (which is much easier, and less temperamental, and losing which to your friend does not give you a major heart ache.)

Well, I’d just go along and run a few errands. You guys make sure you leave a comment before you go.

See ya around folks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gods of Large Things…

“She turned to say it once again: ‘Naaley’.

Tomorrow.”

A Tomorrow which never comes, but passes off every time in the hide of dirty, murky Today.

~^~

It was their birthday. Of all of them. Thirty years ago, they all had taken birth. Together. At the same time. Same second of the same hour. They all opened their eyes to the marvels and evils of world together. Under the guiding auspices of Capricorn, they all uttered their first cry together. And entered this daily war with pain and happiness.

~ Quote: Sir Salman Rushdie: Shalimar the Clown (2005):

“There is earth and there are planets. Earth is not a planet. It’s a grabee. All the other planets grab it and mould its destiny.”

They too were the grabee’s of this world. Only they didn’t knew how all of them shared each others lives…

~^~

Mohan spat with all his might. He spat at the world, which had denied him and made him struggle at each point of his life. A world which took his father with happiness and happiness from his mother. A world which was rich and left him poor. A world which made his wife barren. A world which shirked away from him, considered him an outsider, a migrant. This city, which regarded many foreigners as their own, but refused to give shelter, one small cramped space on its map to a helpless, poor North-Indian.

He was a liftman of a skyscraper. And presently was on its terrace.

Mohan spat to celebrate his destiny, to see himself avenged, to see the world shamed with the filth of his spit, just as they made him feel ashamed each moment for his poverty.

And this way, at the hour of his birth, he celebrated his misery.

~^~

Saifee boarded the 12.42 local from platform number two of Dadar station. He was carrying with him a big black bag.

When he took his seat, he accidentally stepped on the foot of the man sitting in front. The man yelped and looked up at him. And saw his black bag.

The man eyed Saifee suspiciously thereafter. Time and again he looked up at the bag and then looked at him, as if to ask him what he was carrying.

After a few stations, he casually remarked to his friend;

“This city is so unsafe these days, I tell you. You never know what happens here. For all you know, somebody might just come and leave a bag here, and let us be blasted to pieces! And then they pray to the great Allah, for peace to be upon him! And we useless humans deserve only bombs… This country is going to dog’s I say…”

Saifee remained silent. He could not have done anything except for remaining silent. What could he have said? He was himself out of answers… For why things happen, and what people think. He was just living… With the daily reminder of the sin of his birth.

And that’s how he celebrated his birthday… Repenting his very existence.

~^~

Girish was half blind.

No he wasn’t born blind. He didn’t even meet an accident. When you say he didn’t meet an accident, it is to say that his whole life itself was a big accident. A series of crises and problems without any denouement. An endless chain of disappointments. So he was blind, not by chance or luck. He was blind, because that was the only thing he knew to be.

From past twenty years he had been working in a three foot high, five foot wide loft in a tiny hovel in the Dharavi slums. And all these twenty years he had been working day in and day out on one single object.

The gold embroidery on clothes.

For twenty years on all types of clothes using all types of decorative strings and materials, for all types of customers, Girish had done embroidery of gold. And now, in the dim light of a two watt bulb in his loft, with an impaired vision, he still was doing embroidery.

Because that’s what was left to him.

You see, his wings were crippled.

Someone tore away his legs. And god took away his parents.

Only inheritance he had was self-respect. Blind self respect. Sorry, blinding self-respect.

And taking another step into, death, darkness and oblivion, he celebrated his birthday.

~^~

Rishi laughed aloud. And threw away the half burnt papers.

They soared in the air for sometime before settling down on the sea.

After sometime they were gone.

Those papers were the thousand page manuscript of his third novel.

And they went to the same place as the first two had gone.

Rishi could just feel an empty, dark comfort in seeing his hard work of three years drown like that…

Poof!

Glob…

But why did he burn it out?

Because he could not stand his own mediocrity. Because he was sick of comparing himself with his fellow friends. Because he was sick of failing to satiate his expectations. Because he was tired of trying to create something.

Every word of that manuscript was copied.

It was copied from all the lives and people he had seen, including himself.

And he was frustrated with himself at not being able to ‘create a single paragraph ’ on his own.

Hence, laughing at his own destruction he celebrated his birthday.

~^~

And there were many more…

Rashmi; A call center employee who was nearing the period where she no longer was fit to work in a call center…

Megha; A fashion model, well past her beauty and charm…

Ramesh; A computer geek stuck to manual labor of desktop publishing…

Hemant; A good for nothing, rich-spoilt brat, roaming like a rudderless boat…

Nisha; A housewife, bored with the lethargy of her life…

Satish; a middle level manager of an MNC stuck in his job which didn’t seem to move upwards anymore…

Yogender; A chaiwallah, aspiring to own a hotel of his own, while struggling with his two square meals…

Naina; Who was stuck in a wrong marriage into an extra orthodox family…

And then, there is You, and Me…

Who are bound to forget all of this after reading it… Just like sand slips away from the hand…

All of us have one thing in common.

We are all The Gods Of Large Things…

Worrying a fretting each second. While hordes of Gods Of Small Things pass by.

There ain’t no right, There ain’t no wrong…

There is a birth, and there will be death…

And ‘Twixt them are the rituals of Joy and Pain…

For the Gods Of Large Things,

And Of the Small Ones too…

Which one do you prefer?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Death, My Mother...

The following story is inspired by looking at the above painting... Its a Salvador Dali called “The Persistence Of Memory”
It was actually a College assignment, which I really found to turn out satisfactory. I have experimented with the genre of Surrealism for the first time. I dunno how succesful I have been with Fantasy. I leave the judgement upto you. Even if it manages to touch your Heart for minutest of second, I guess I will have achieved my goal.
Enjoy...

The Rose…

…Was Red. Crystalline Red. Under the penetrating rays from the moonlight, she became a prism… Mélange of colors shone on her surface like iridescent dewdrops. But she had a sad beauty about herself… As if her soul was withering under the deceptiveness of her glowing façade. Her appearance resembled…

…The Heart…

…Which was beating fast, really fast. Excitedly fast… Anxiety pregnant with expectation pumped in and out from it, confusing everything, and explaining it at the same time. Answers got answered without knowing the question and questions without answers formed and dissolved like frankincense. It did not see, it could not see. It only felt. And what it felt explained everything… Everything that needed to be known about that face. That face which could be discerned behind the empty darkness of…

…The Moon…

…Which was a small crescent on the indigo surface of the day… Like a sparkling rim of a celestial goblet. Amethyst in colour. What was it about beauty? How could it enchant and mesmerize a person, without even giving it a reason to understand what it felt? How can anything be allowed so much freedom to exploit a heart with its beauty, without once thinking about the dilemma of…

…The Mind…

…Which was emptily full. Like a soulless body. Like an unstrung guitar. Like a timeless clock. Voices echoed in it, voices of the memories. But no faces appeared in front of its eyes. Nobody could be seen, nobody could be felt. Only a sensation existed. A sensation of that someone known long before, or known for eternity. But someone, who could not be recognized… Someone who could not to be seen… Just as sight dims under the glare of…

…The Sunlight…

…Which glinted off mischievously on the surface of the beach. Meanwhile his innocence was being robbed off. Slowly, he was disappearing under the gossamer folds of dark veil of the night. His only savior was the silver-blue crescent of moon. She was the only thing which appeared to sympathize with his agony… Nobody else paid attention to his plight. Like a drowning man, it grunted fading gasps of light appearing and disappearing in quick succession. Sometimes hopeful, sometimes grim. The darkness was quickly gaining victory though; criminally erasing all traces of his existence ray by ray. What can one do in the time of despair? Can one go against the laws of nature and break barriers? Can one cross the threshold of impossibility and blow against…

...The Wind…

…Which was flowing in full gusto, like a river without meanders, like electricity without obstacles… Such bursts billowed against Its clothes and blew them away, immolating them in the darkness. Denuded, It stood silently, watching Its mind, and listening to Its heartbeats. It tried hard, but could not recollect. Could not put the finger on that name amongst the hazy rush of fading away memories. It caught hold of Its hair and shrieked aloud. Everything was getting lost. Going away. Sifting like…

…The Sand…

…Which was trickling away, streaming together, joining particle by particle to thread into each other. Those interweaving locks caught each other and slowly, second by second integrated to form the Face. Seeing it…

…The Eyes…

…Flicked open to the realization. Scared and Sibilant. For a moment everything was still. Then realizing the full gravity of seeing that face…

…The Feet…

…Started moving. Step by step. Each move a meditation. Each step taking an eternity to complete. Seeing It move like that, all stopped. What remained of the universe was Its feet moving towards the ocean and a Face, which had formed on the sand, but was glowing Its eyes. Seeing this…

…The Tempest…

…Churned itself into a whirlpool of thoughts and memories. Slowly, it gathered everything under its folds, catching all, leaving none. None except for the Rose. Which started wilting, as his decayed soul broke through the cocoon of his crystalline facade. And also…

…The Ocean…

…Which beckoned It to him. Seduced It, called It into his arms. And the feet carried on. Without care. Without concern. Just following the eyes. Which saw the face. On the sand. Reflected from the sky. From the hollow disk of moon. Which was slowly amalgamating into the bleak orb of jaded sun. And at the moment of their union there rose…

…The Light…

…In the sky. Like the spiral of Kundalini life-force. While the feet kept on waddling through the water; he reached the heavens and broke the spell of darkness. And from the fire of such a celestial conjugation, there arose the phoenix… Of life. Of hope. Of memories. And then many things happened at the same time…

Just as The Rose, wilted completely, The Waves broke over each other and claimed It. Its feet kept on walking till The Tempest reached the sky and met with The Light.

And suddenly all was darkness…

Or was it too much of light???

*

Whatever it was… It was peace. Full. Completing. For I saw her face again. Shining in the union of The Dark and The Light.

I remembered whose face it was…

It was my Mother’s… … … …

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pain

An internal strife gnaws at my soul, scratches it… Bleeds it and slowly… As small rubies start trickling down from it, it starts to feast on the pain, on the fear and desolation that screams out from its voiceless mouth…

Just as I broke into the house I broke the glass vase standing on the window ledge too. Chill spread through my spine, as I barely managed to control the jumble of swears tumbling out of my mouth.

I stood still for few moments; biding my time… hoping with all might that the place would be deserted… But I was still on enemy’s land and there was no safe haven in the circumstances. A click in the next room confirmed this. I flicked open my eyes and immediately afterwards a door creaked followed by the unmistakable sound of heavy footsteps falling down. My heart plummeted. I was fatigued beyond recovery. This war had taken its toll on me… I could barely put up resistance to the torturous, yet continuous struggle it was making me go through… And suddenly, a new smell disturbed my sweat laden nose, which made me realize full meaning of the phrase “wetting-the-pants”. I had always been skeptical of such stories, believing that true grit and bravery does not piss in the boots… But then, I realized that pure terror and frustration makes you do things you jeer at normally.

I slumped down on my back… defeated and disgruntled with the life and its continuous battles. I gave up, and now just sat in anticipation of that impending bullet to whiz out of nowhere and hit the back of my head, liberating me from this torment once and for all. Just when I was going through all those memories of happier and peaceful times, an image flashed in front of my eyes. And the force of its power was so strong that it seemed to have stopped the fluttering wings of time for once. I sat down, and stared at the possibilities with my mouth agape. And then, jerked my hand into the bag in a frenzied search for my new lifesaver.

But I think luck had just evaporated like water vapor on a hot stove… because the more frantically I searched for the gun in my bag, the more it evaded my grasp. Finally, when my hands hit its steely body, I swear I could have jumped up and down like a ping pong.

Only the next second, when I pulled it out and saw what I had procured, I realized how you can be fooled by destiny, as a bastard gets done at a brothel when he is hell drunk and immersed in sadness.

The slick shiny steely body that I removed from my bag was no smoking gun, but an old fountain pen my grandfather had given me before going to his war. Till date I kept it as a source of inspiration, as an object for obeisance, looking at which I thought of the many glories even I would have had in war and death.

But all that evaporated when I saw that pen in the moment of my imminent climax, when I was juxtaposed between death honor life and desperation.

I came to the resolution that it won’t help my case much if I just sat there and did nothing. I had just got up to search something else for attack when I saw a pair of burning blue flames in the darkness of next room. Only the next second; when it moved into the shoot of light bursting through the tiny hole of window, did I realize that it was not fire but icy cold eyes which were looking at me.

There are tales of hypnosis in the oriental culture. Then there are tales of Medusa and Basilisk in the Grecian lore. I believe all of them have a little bit of truth, because if there are no freaky lizards or mythological monster-ladies in real life, there are pairs of icy cold blue eyes, set upon a huge scrawny face gazing at you from darkness. And trust me, they are no less petrifying.

And if I had thought that only pair of blue icy flames in darkness was going to finish me off with a heart-attack, I was wrong, because when he moved further into my line of vision, the gravity of my predicament surfaced completely. He was seven foot tall. His each arm was as thick as a giant python’s body, with bulges on his biceps as if those pythons had swallowed biggest rodents in the world. His midriff was as wide as a rhinoceroses, and all his limbs seemed to posses the agility of bullock’s knees. His head could have easily fit into the skull of a full grown male African lion. His short cropped hair accentuated a forehead which would have killed Materazzi had it been on Zidane’s head.

I must confess that I was so scared that even sweating or wetting my pants did not occur to me. I just stood still and watched the oddly calm beast enter the room and close in on me. From his back pocket, the glint of real gun shined on my eyes and I could just feel mingle of helplessness and irony trickle down my back.

Just when I thought my time was up and he will simply unholster the gun and shoot out my guts or brains, whatever catches his fancy, he moved away into the corner of the room. Split second later, another yellow light, darker in this case, filled the room as he opened the refrigerator and removed a can of beer!

If you can’t imagine my shock, I cannot register it. It’s like the noose turning in and giving out just when the executioner pulls the lever. He simply moved away, leaving me choking out of breath with emotions.

Then I started to weigh my options.

I was in his house, at his mercy, and most importantly his enemy.

He was the one in charge, having a big beefy body and more importantly a loaded gun.

Even if I somehow attacked and even hurt him a little, the chance to hit a lethal blow with a diminutive nib of a fountain pen was as good as me living up to a ripe old age.

And yet then when I was all set to chant my last prayers, that urge and thirst for survival hit me like a freight train. I wished to live. I wished to be victorious. I wished one more second of peace. I wished a death of choice, not incrimination. Suddenly the world got instable as the walls crumbled and ceiling broke away and windows rattled and earth split and I ran and ran and ran and reached my enemy and jumped upon him and pushed the nib inside his neck and hit the jugular once twice and again as I stabbed and stabbed and stabbed till blood rose out of a small scratch and then its stream widened so that what was a trickle spouting in one second became a stream spurting in another and it splattered around as the beast swayed here and there so it soiled the walls soiled my hands soiled my face but mostly soiled my writhing soul which twisted in deep rooted agony which shuddered my hands but I could not stop now because a soul lost was no big price in bargain for a life gained so I started punching and kicking the huge head and its bald pate while his icy blue eyes did nothing but stare at me dolefully with some surprise even and a strange glint that resembled blind resignation and painless strength and I realized the horror of it all so that I let out a gasp of wail and a shriek of despair which stuttered my footsteps and I stumbled down on my fallen bag and madness took me over so that I clenched my throbbing head and I wished it would stop hurting and beating so much that I thought it would burst and a shrill cry escaped my lips but my ears heard no sound and yet my head kept on paining so much that tearing apart my hair seemed insufficient so I started to tug at my bag and wrenched it open and tore it side by side and length by breadth and out tumbled my lost gun and I lurched at it and pointed it at the now smiling face of a faded monster whose skin was turning pallid and the flames were seeming less icier while the face remained the same like before a face which had been kicked and punched and stabbed and cursed and recoiled off him while even when my shivery hand pointed the gun the face remained strangely clear and lucid even happy for all I knew so much so that his smile did twitch a bit and his stare remained as dumbfounded as it was throughout as it was then as it would have remained so if I would not have pulled my finger and let off the trigger and hit the bullet and split his face in middle so that his smile vanished and flames crumbled into embers and brains spurted out of his head and wriggled near my feet.

After what seemed an eternity I also dropped down and shirked towards the wall, again fearful and uncertain of what might happen. After all that blood and brains and killing of icy blue flames, I was back to what I was when I had entered in the house. The undeniable futility of it all usurped me like a coiling snake and stung me with its venomous fangs. What was the whole sense of it?

Was I free now?

Would I be able to live?

Would I ever be able to look into another pair of human eyes?

Was this victory?

Will this ensure my peaceful death?

Doesn’t the end of my enemy marks my own end?

Was it possible to have an identity now?

I opened the magazine and saw another bullet sitting smugly there.

A bullet was all it took me to kill a life…

A bullet won’t it take now to finish my own?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Redemption!


Ten years ago… India performed miserably at the Cricket World Cup...

Ten years ago… The Dot-com Bubble finally burst…

Ten years ago… An Indian plane was hijacked with the help of Taliban, on the Christmas Eve…

And ten years ago… He had lost his brother forever to an accident…

An accident…

He walked down the building, through the foyer, across the street and reached the signal crossing in about ten minutes. But he had no recollection whatsoever of those ten minutes. As a matter of fact, he didn’t knew that he had eaten French toast for his morning breakfast, had two full glasses of orange juice and had watched TV news for half an hour since the time he had woken up. He didn’t knew that the sidewalk he was standing on, was covered with huts of varied assortment, and children having similar blackened, soot-laden faces, and women with half the clothes to cover their shame. He didn’t realize that a big fire wagon had blazed past in front of his eyes, which was followed by an equally noisy ambulance. His eyes missed the stares he got for his ill matched tie, or ruffled stubble on his face, clashing horribly with his beige three-piece suit. He was unaware of this and most of the past one week, wherein he had done all the things expected out of his jammed schedule, completed all the priorities piled up on his demanding time; yet he did that as if he was a machine, a robot, an inanimate object trained to do all those things. He did not live it, did not relish one single moments realization of life. Since past one week, he was almost like a dead man.

All this… Because it was his birthday today.

He had realized this almost a week ago, when his mother had called him up to ask him about his birthday gift. He remembered it was the time he was having his lunch. After abruptly ending that call, he ignored his food, and went on to start working like a machine. In past three years of his work-history, he broke all records by working over-time for twelve straight hours, retiring only at daybreak. He did not hear or even cared for the praises he was lauded with. He nonchalantly shrugged off his boss’s recommendation plans, and attempts to excite him by offering him trebled pay-package. He accepted it without any sign of excitement or any remote human emotion.

All that… Because it was his birthday today.

He had never celebrated any of his birthdays. Not since then, back ten years ago. He had never asked for presents, thrown parties for friends or treated his relatives to any sort of celebration. He had even vehemently declined instigations on part of his mother to go and visit temples. He had cocooned himself off in a separate space, a parallel world for rest of the time in the year, living a life in which he acted being happy, pretended geniality, masqueraded smiles, and behaved as if he was alive, happy and contented with his life. His friends were envious of his glamorous lifestyle. His colleagues were in awe of his intellect and creative genius, his cousins jealous of his riches. His uncles and aunts put his example to their rather irked children; his nephews and nieces looked up to him reverently; and his parent’s eyes glowed with immeasurable pride whenever he went to visit them back there in Poona. But all that crumbled, everything dissolved, each year, regularly, he forgot everything of it when his birthday came. It was then actually he was living, not when he wined & dined at high profile parties. It was then he existed, not when he caroused with the best girls around. It was then he truly became himself, pure and unpretentious, not when he worked his way up the charts of success.

All of this, because ten years before… He had lost his brother in an accident forever… On his birthday.

An accident, which was not an accident...

They had gone to visit the Bandra bandstand; him, his little brother and their parents. On reaching the place, the kids saw the decrepit structure of the old fort, a fort built as a Portuguese Watchtower, and destroyed by British as a threat to Maratha forces… They passed the winding stairs that were house to many couples finding solace and solitude in a usually crowded and conservative society… They reached the low stonewalls and peered through the open sky, towards a city beyond the sharp stones in the sea, which was once seven different islands...

And they cried their throats out in the blowing wind, rendering the surrounding public askance, and they fought for their way to sit on the on the only ridge available, built probably to house a cannon. His parents frowning over him ushered him to let the younger one take the seat. They went downstairs to eat chaat at the corner of the street and asked the kids to follow them. He being denied of his opportunity, followed immediately, but his brother, missing the instructions over the sound of incessant breeze, stayed on. After reaching the bottom step, when they realized he was still stuck there, they asked him to go and fetch the little punk.

On seeing the desolate place, and spite still fresh at being denied the opportunity to sit on the ridge, he decided to play a prank on his brother who still used to urinate in sleep after hearing ghost stories. He surreptitiously slunk behind him, and shouted BOO loudly in the small child’s ears.

 The moment after that, he can never forget till the time he would die. He remembered his brother standing upright, balancing himself on the sidewalls. He remembered that on hearing the noise, he shook feebly, and a rock below his feet dislocated. He remembered the look of blankness on his face. And in the next moment, he was gone! Out of sight! Disappeared! Abracadabra! Lost!

A small hand reached up to his fingers, and tugged at it, bringing him back to reality. He saw one of the similar faced children pointing at his bowl, at his tummy, and at his even smaller sister beside him turn by turn. He looked at both of them and realized, that maybe they were impoverished, maybe nobody even looked at them twice, maybe they had the bleakest possible future ahead, but yet… somehow they were together. Somehow, they were alive, and loving each other, caring for one another, able to look after and beg for each other.

He removed a hundred rupee note, handed it in the sister’s hand and said to the brother;

“Never lose her.”

He did not go to his job that day. He went to the nearby liquor store and brought liquor worth a month of a regular drinkers appetite. Then he proceeded back home.

He drank for the rest of the day. For the first time in ten years, he tried to dissolve those memories, tried to evaporate his guilt, his searing pain of incompleteness, the unforgettable memory of his crime.

But memories he discovered could be created, but cannot be removed out of conscience. As much liquor he consumed, as many tears he shed, as many howls of fury he screamed… he could not forget, what he never had to remember.

At last, driven by insanity of alcohol, and the overpowering might of guilt, he picked up his phone and dialed his Dad’s number.

The call got picked up after three rings.

“Hello” he heard his dad’s warm voice speak on the other line.

But he could not bring up to speak what he wanted to.

“Hello… Arun, are you there?”

He said nothing.

“Arun… Arun… are you able to hear me?”

“H’llo dad”

“Arun… what happened beta?”

“How are you keeping dad?”

“What happened son? Where are you?”

“How is mom, dad?”

“Arun… where are you? Have you been drinking?”

“How is everything in Poona dad?”

“Such shame Arun… who else is there with you? Are you alone?”

“Dad, its my birthday today dad… you remember… its my birthday…”

“So these days you have started celebrating in this manner, my son? What shame, god! What shame!”

“My birthday, remember dad? Ten years. Bandra bandstand. Anil. My birthday… Remember dad?”

“Anil? Are you all right son? Is everything fine over there…”

“Remember dad? Bandra fort? How Anil… How I… How we were…? Remember dad?”

“Son…”

“Dad… Anil did not die that day dad”

“Beta you have been drinking too much. Go to sleep dear. And have some lime water after you wake up.”

“Dad… he did not die that day… I killed him dad… I murdered him…”

A still silence greeted him after this. For two long minutes nothing was said or heard from both the sides. After that,

“You have been drinking too much son… Go to sleep and drink lime water after you get up.”

And before he could speak another word, the line clicked and went dead.

He looked up at the setting sun on the horizon. A black spot seemed to grow bigger and bigger over the orange heliocentric disk. On closer observation, he saw it was a bird returning to its nest after the days toil. He could hardly suppress his emotions then. He hadn’t shed a single tear since the time Anil dropped down the fort walls. Neither when he was being rushed to hospital, nor when he was cremated. But he couldn’t stop then. As the tears welled his eyes, a smile lit his face, and he placed the bottle down.

A bead of drop rolled down the glinting cyst of the green bottle, as the door clicked close.

He could feel his presence, somewhere, somehow, as the waves knocked about him, licked his toes at the foot of an old fort, which was destroyed for safety, and where destruction happened ten years ago, because of risky fun.