Thursday, 31 August 2017

Notice to Readers

Dear all,

It has to be said that it was a tough few months for me and it seems like things will go downhill for sometime now. I am taking this time to thank you all for the support you have given me throughout my time blogging. It was an amazing experience here, I became a much better writer compared to who I was when I began this journey. It is hard for me to say goodbyes, always have been.. For now, I believe this is it. I hope to come back someday soon. Till then, take care and enjoy life!

Anand.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Narcissus

Of all the women in all the different universes including ours, Nandita was the most beautiful, at least according to me. "If you are writing my fable, it should begin with my beauty" said she when she accustomed herself to me during my dreams. It has to be stressed right from the start that whatever I know of her, I discovered through those dreams - Nandita; her body like wild fire consuming anything within its vicinity, her eyes like deep wells of poison intoxicating your body once you fall in, choking you with passion, her touch like hot blood dripping over your skin with its ironish smell and dark-reddish texture, and she - complete, perfect!

The way she told her story was by itself enchanting. She would lie beside me in my sleep, play her hands around my ears, caressing my face, feeling my lips and gently whispering in my ears. A strong current of lust would then fill my body as I would pull her close to me, our bodies uniting with shared melancholy, with every inch of my grotesque existence asking her to continue the magic. She would laugh at my helplessness, giggle at my impotence and stroke my head with dominance. There was always a strange allure to her, which made my words dance to the music of her orgasmic gasps. I remember writing about her for the very first time,

'She comes in my sleep as if she existed within me. She knew where to touch, she knew what to speak, she knew how to appeal to a hapless man like me. It was as if she knew me long before I ever knew myself. It was at once haunting and entrancing, that someone who presents herself only in your dreams could inspire you to write about her.'

***

Our nights were set ablaze with passion. Her voice was a relapse to my depressions, and her assiduity a forbearance. And one should say it was mutual. She would sing tales of how I could heighten feelings of desire within her. She would comment on how my hands discovering the curves and crevices of her physique could make her breasts overflow and her body to ache, how I could absorb her remorse and create a moment of happiness which brings her closer to life than she had ever known. Those days of passion continued for a very long time, and every night I found myself encapsulated by her sweating nudity and every morning I would wake up to a deserted bedroom filled with her lascivious aroma.

Words dripped onto my diary like reminiscent ardor and every entry I made had one name all over,
'Nandita - my lust, my love. I know her existence maybe a trick my mind plays. But I have never been with another woman who understands me better. It may seem like a word of flatter, but as of now, this woman who visits me during my sleeps, fills my head with a perturbation that desperate lovers and lonely poets could only feel. It was as if we were broken fragments of a faraway star, having to live apart all this while, but colliding with each other one fine day under the light of the same old star. There was something heavenly with it, something spiritual. It was as if I was discovering my own femininity and falling irrevocably in love with it.'



***

I had to speak about all this to someone other than her, which was why I met up with my sister Krutika, calling her out for a coffee one cold evening.

"It is stupid Nandan, I find it damn strange and damn stupid." she said.

"You know me. You know the issues I had, the struggles.. struggles to understand my own gender." I said reliving something we've both forgotten by then.

"I could accept that phase of your life. But what you blabber on now.. It is ridiculous! And it is plain bullshit!" she thundered.

"Well then, piss off!" I said and walked out leaving the untouched coffee to the mercy of the surrounding frost, while she was shouting that I should see a psychiatrist.

***

Many things changed after that talk with Krutika. I began treating Nandita with contempt, the way you treat your schizophrenic hallucinations. As she crawled over the mattress, in a pursuit to hunt down my frightened lips, I pushed her away making her jump angrily over my chest. She sat there breathing down her ornery winds, which hit me, filling me with rue.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" she asked.

"Nothing I said, just leave me alone today." I replied.

Next morning came sans her smell, the crumbled bed sheet exhibited spots of blood, the source of which I realized was my neck which was torn apart by my own claws. 'Is this all some absurd fantasy?' I thought. 'Will I wake up twenty years younger on my mother's lap?'

"Life has beaten me!" I murmured as I looked at the balding figure in the mirror with stale eyes "It has beaten me faster than I thought.. Everything has become so absurd.."

'What do you get when you add a little personal absurdity to a greater universal absurdity which besieges us all?' I thought and went back to look in the mirror. 'Somewhere inside that head which is losing hairs as if by the click of a hair-losing switch, the woman I loved would be staring angrily at me.'

***

In days following our argument, Nandita came and left as if she was given a key and set in motion. The curves of her body didn't upset my breathing like it did before, and possibly she understood it too. Those meetings became more of a timid pass time, something which failed to interest us both.

It was then that we began doing something, no ordinary lovers would do - we began discussing insignificant things! We talked and heard about multiverses, and of individual electrons. We talked about our favourite cartoons and childhood pranks. We talked about poems and songs, colours which interests us, teachers who inspired us, our fears, our insecurities. These random musings brought out a certain interest which we lost midway. We sat cross legged on top of our bed, night on, eating each other with our eyes, talking about every last thing we experienced in our individual lives.

"I always wished for this" I remember her saying "Us.. Beside each other.. Late night.. When everything around is in deep sleep, while we sit here looking at each other and talking about every silly thing no one cares to talk about!"

"We're doing it now, aren't we? We're going through something special here?" I asked.

"Yes" she said "Something so beautiful, something I wish would last forever!"

There was silence, and every last negativity which pulled us apart seemed to be fading away. I held her hand, it locked perfectly with mine, letting our finger graze over the backside of our hands. I let her head rest upon my chest, stroking it gently.

"In what language does rain fall over tormented cities?" she asked suddenly.

"Are you a tormented city?" I replied jokingly.

"I'm an island. Seas surround me and I stand without company."

"So falling rain will make it more torturous?" I asked.

"No. It relieves those torments of the commanding salinity around me."

"So, in what language does rain fall over tormented cities, my dear?" I inquired.

"In the language of love. Single. One. Universal!"

Saying this she got up, took my head and immersed it between her breasts, the heat of which made my cheeks to sweat. I climbed over to kiss her damp lips, and bit it with ferocity. She threw her hair over my face, making a screen through which she repetitively hit me with forceful kisses, asking me to guess where the next one will come from. After the sexual tensions held long within each other finally broke away out of us, we fell like tired fireflies, motionless and glowing!

'The language of love. What difference does it make if the love is for her? Nandita - she was always there inside me, ever since I was born.What difference does it make?' I thought and fell asleep upon this glowing woman beside me.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Trial

***

Dedicated to Chester Bennington, for making us beat the darkness!

***


When I first saw Samir, I couldn't see anything remarkable in him. He looked rather old, more than what his records show. He didn't greet me, and never really made an attempt to do so. It should be said that I had extreme apprehensions about him due to the nature of his case which demanded nothing but contempt. When I asked him if he was involved as said, he never denied it, and maybe never truly accepted it all the same. I remember those conversations as much as the man.

"Hi. You're Samir, right? I'm Anand. I'm your advocate for this case."

He said nothing. He never even cared to lift his face up and have eye contact.

"You see Samir, this is not that complicated a case if you can give me apt details. So you should open up, otherwise it will be difficult."

There was a deep well of darkness within his eyes, the extend of which I could not decipher. There were no tears, I believe it got dried up long before we met, or maybe even longer than I could imagine. Even with all the empathy within, I never wished to enter this man's shoes because I knew it would either choke me with remorse or weigh me down with heartache. After all Samir was here because his mother mentioned him in her suicide note. Yes, it is a difficult thing to lose your mother, perhaps even more when it is something she did to herself, and when she says it is because of you, that by itself will be enough to crush you out.

After all those meetings I remember the first thing he ever said to me, it was delivered with a genuine air of incongruity.

"Mr. Advocate... I don't think it means much to you... But I'm trying to remember how her food tasted like... It's strange, however I try to remember, I can only get the smells of her Biriyani... The taste escapes me..." He laughed for sometime, though it never occurred funny to me. He used to take time between sentences, think about something, laugh, start with it again.

These talks continued for many days more. I think it was because he had nobody to talk to and however formal my appearance may have been those days, he found a good pair of ears to hear his tales of nostalgia.

"Sir. I remember the day she taught me how to ride a bicycle... I never remembered it during the days she were alive... It dawned upon me only after she died... She would hold the handle of my bike, and would come running behind me whenever I would go fast... I thought of it as a fun thing to do back then, to make her run... I made her run... I made her run after me all her life....."

I believe the first thing which hits you after a person you know so well dies is a profound void. Something which ceases to be filled however you load yourself with other things. The void stays there unperturbed, waiting for you to fall into it and realize that life will never be the same without them. For Samir, it would have been no different. And I seriously thought that it would take the better of him, that he would live in this world of absurdity where he is left with only accidental shots of distressing memories. Memories which in his view would've added up to his mother taking that decision to end her life.

After all the talks I've had with Samir, the first time he said something to me about the case was when I invited him out for a smoke one Sunday.

"I'm not denying my involvement in the case, Advocate... I've been like a thorn in her feet, pricking into her flesh whenever she takes a step, making her bleed... I've run behind all things unnecessary in her eyes, I think it would have taken a toll on her mentally..."

"But Samir, whatever you claim to have done, I don't think it would've been enough in a normal world to do what she did. Was she suffering from any mental delusions, something which she talked to you about?"

"I don't know, sir. She always had this feeling that I'm going to harm her someday. It is funny when you think of it that way. She always thought I would kill her to steal her money or something..." He laughed and wiped away the tears which formed like clouds in a May sky. And after almost two weeks since I've known this man, I came to realize he knew how to cry.

I believe that this moment marked the beginning of our relationship, however insignificant and unimportant it would seem. Maybe for the first time I opened myself to the point of view that this person who I'm representing is as human as anyone around me. And when I knew more of him I realized that he had an attachment so deep with his mother, it was incomprehensible that she would do something so naive if not due to some grave mental situation.

It should be said that those smokes during Sunday afternoons continued weeks on. Samir found it relieving and I was understanding more about him, his insecurities, and what his Umma meant for him.

"You know something, sir? Sundays were always my favorite days. I remember we, Umma and me, used to go to this dargah to hear Qawwalis. She would dress up in the richest clothes she could find in her old attic, cover herself up with burqah and would hold my hand all along the way. There was something re-assuring about it. There was something re-assuring about Sundays. It was as if we would be back to normal soon..."

When I tried to pull him back to areas which would interest me more with the case he would spin off and say something entirely irrelevant. I remember him saying something about my name in a similar situation.

"Anand! I love your name. There is a ring to it no normal man can understand. It is as if you've had to conquer seas of despair, come out at the other end, just to shout your name to yourself. Anand! Happiness!"

"You're quite a charming speaker, Samir" I replied then, visibly blushing.

"Yes. A writer too in spare times."

"And why didn't you make it full time?"

"Umma! She never believed writing could be a worthwhile profession!"

"And so you sacrificed it?"

"Not entirely, which is why I used to find a lot of spare time!" he laughed and I joined in this time. "And her qualms, it began when she was certain I would not fall within the normal mould."

"Was she afraid you would break away from her to follow your own path? Was she holding onto you like she used to whenever you were going to that dargah?"

"I do not know, sir."

"So that had something to do with this, didn't it? Your dreams?"

"I do not know. It made her upset. But I think she always was upset about me."

Samir replied and didn't speak again. The empathetic part of myself which was moving into escapism resisted the pull, came back and filled Samir's shoes. It was only then that I realized the storm he held within his heart, the doubts, the fears. On one side his dream, on the other his mother's failing mental health. He chose neither and that by itself could've been his gravest mistake.

It didn't take me long to prove Samir's mother was a schizophrenic who had absolutely no idea about anything when she decided to end her life. The letter long held as evidence was returned to Samir. He decided not to read it anytime soon.

"Maybe someday, when I have fully recovered from all this, I'll take a look." he said.

"You have your life ahead of you, you are a free man. What do you intend to do with it?" I asked.

"I don't know. I'm sure I can't go back and change things. But I can do things a little differently from now on."

"Samir. You are a good man. After everything that happened, I still believe that."

"Maybe, sir. Maybe I am. But good and bad has very little appeal to me these days."

"Samir, please don't spoil your life."

"No. I intend to write it up someday. I think it will be better served from a perspective outside of me. And I think I know just what I should do."

"What is it?"

"I guess I'll give you a chance to narrate!"

Those were the last words I ever heard from Samir. He never called me, never dropped in on those random Sunday evenings to see how I was doing, and maybe share a smoke. He didn't respond to my letters. He never said a word of thanks. I think it will always be hard for a person to be charged with the death of his own mother, and as for Samir it would've been equally awful because in his view he was partly responsible.

As of now, I hope he does well with his life, I hope that someday he will sort things out. I hope that he would read what his Umma wrote about him, and could still look back with fondness on their relationship, however it deteriorated. I hope he finds peace. And I hope he would take up writing because as far as I know, I am not a good narrator, I hope to see how he presents me in his story!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Cleansing

It was on a scorching summer morning in the middle of May that Yusuf decided it was time to clean his room. It was never an abrupt decision, but a planned one. In fact he imagined the procedure countless times over, as to what item (currently in disorder) was to go to what place, but never could gather inspiration to bring it into action. Today was different; today he woke up with the thought of him cleaning his room, he brushed his teeth imagining his hand wiping away the dust, he ate his breakfast thinking what it would mean to sleep tonight in a clean room.

Yusuf knew very well that cleaning a room was no easy task, rooms tend to be resistant to anything vaguely affecting their routine and he was about to embark in overturning something which has been going on for a long time. Being a person of Science, he knew inertia was a natural state of everything – from rooms to human beings to Universes, but it could be overcome by providing the right amount of force at the right instant of time and that was what was going to happen today. ‘Right amount of force at the right instant of time’ he kept murmuring as he changed to the oldest pair of dress he found in his attic. Well, this was more or less a revolutionary act and it required, like all acts of revolution, getting dirty. And he knew very well that if he fought through this revolution all chaos will be replaced with calm.

Chaos being replaced by calm – well, that is what everything you see around you is about. He thought about his own life, the turbulence of his youth and the misadventures of his middle age, the agitations it brought within and how at this age he was inclined to seek calm. He understood why Capitalism was the ultimate destination because in a way Capitalism epitomizes calmness; it asks you to settle down, have a job, a family and live peacefully ever after. And it was now his room which was destined to make this transition!

The moment Yusuf stepped into his room; he had a clear glimpse of what stood in front of him. On one corner of the room there was his vast collection of books (mostly scientific ones) overflowing the shelf, which for years remained untouched, accumulating dust, and on the other corner there was his primary worktable which presently held items ranging from meat knives to hookah pipes. Towards one side was his bed, on top of which objects currently used by him found its home. There was also a subsidiary worktable, the one which he presently used, harboring a laptop, a modem and a file shouting in red about his below par performance. The ceiling was a haven for spiders and the floor was a playground for cockroaches, and there was dust, dust everywhere. One should say this sight inevitably disoriented Yusuf; it was an overpowering image of his opponent, something which undermined his self-belief. But he had only re-assured himself this morning that what stands between a man and his dreams is that moment when he refuses to quit, and that thought gave a strange motivation. He let in a large expanse of air, held it long in his lungs and stepped into the room.

He approached the worktable first, he had this idea to fight against larger, bulkier items to begin with and then pierce deep into the lesser, more disordered items later. So naturally the meat knives (he had no clue how it ended up there in the first place) went back into the kitchen. He approached the hookah pipes with a strange loathing; it was tarred on the inside much like his own windpipes. Yet he decided to clean it so that it may survive a few further smokes. He felt a pang of misery hit him when the tar just wouldn’t go away – he washed it with soap, he washed it with kerosene, but it still stuck tiredly on the sides.

There is a certain inevitability with certain things which meant that you cannot change them however you try, Yusuf thought and it pained him deeply. Inevitability was something no man of revolution should believe in, and yet he couldn’t help think about it. For the first time he questioned his decision to change something which remained unchanged for as long as he can imagine. Is this task worthwhile? What if however you try to change certain things, it just wouldn’t yield? Would this make him any less a revolutionary than who he was in the beginning? Or are this room and its confusions larger than a man’s inherent revolutions? He threw away the pipes and approached his worktable.

‘Inevitable’ he kept murmuring as he found a bottle, unwashed and still having reminiscences of milk it once held. It smelt awful and at once it made him nauseas. He washed it up and laughed all the while doing so, because it seemed comical that with time something so elegant like milk could make him puke in disgust. It was one of the reasons he never sought immortality, the mere idea of living forever made him agitated. Life lets you create more meanings and more happiness because of an imminent death, if it was not so most humans would be awfully depressed. It was one of those areas revolution would dare not touch, he could agree with overpowering many things (democracy, corporations, wealth) but not death. One needs to die someday to live better today.

He had to shed these shifting thoughts for now because more work awaited him. On top of the table were faint scratches, rather it was someone’s teeth which made it. It was only natural that this reminded him of Freida and the night they first made love - her imperfectness spreading weightlessly on the tabletop, her teeth biting away wood, her hair getting messier and her body shivering in passion. Every meaning they created dissolved into that moment; they were two improbable creatures in the vastness of space being overpowered by their animalism. Somehow he found peace, and he found it when he accepted what he was rather than what he made himself to be. But peace was never something he intended to find with life; peace lets you settle down while life is all about motion. He slid his hands over the marks and murmured ‘With time everything makes you puke’.

The more he cleaned the worktable, the more disoriented it seemed to get. There were items he never previously thought had existed which suddenly erupted out to meet him. There came up his old diaries, sports medallions, movie CDs and there came up his sex toys, cigarette lighters, Seroquel tablets. At first he was enthralled by these random discoveries, but later it was too much for him to digest. It was as if the worktable was growing in volume and it made him restless, his thoughts broke all shackles. He knew that if he kept on with it, it would destroy all his remaining sane notions, it was his yardstick, if he lost it he would lose himself. It was then that he had had enough of his worktable.

***

The bookshelf, its glass broken and part of its structure ripped apart with something sharp, stood agonizingly in front. This was once his most priced collection, which featured Albert Einstein to Richard Feynman. It was now in a sorry state with books flooding the floor beneath it. Somewhere inside he had this vision that salvation was to be found in between these pages, but clearly it never happened. The first book he picked up from the mess was one on Thermodynamics. It was not really a deep insight into the theoretical part (because he abhorred the Theoretical part) but talked about everyday Thermodynamics. Yusuf opened the pages and found the word entropy repeatedly underlined by him. Entropy – the disorderliness of the Universe, a disorderliness which grants it diversity, or rather one may call hope. He kept it back into the mess and stood silently. Science held the finest answers and the finest mysteries he could think of, and yet how it was always demonized by religion! It worried him when the World rejects what is right and what is the truth for something they make up – he would muse at how people accept money, religions and boundaries while detest Science, love and thoughts.

Being forced to reject truth! Is there any state of existence worse than that? We claim to be creatures having advanced levels of intelligence and yet we cannot help but fall into this trap. Again, it maybe because we require meanings to survive. If at all there is any salvation he received out of books, it is that there is nothing to realize. Yusuf always believed that people thought about existence because plainly they did exist in the first place, and not due to any inherent meaning of life. There are no meanings to our existence, there is no enlightenment waiting to show itself in front of us. But he knew, once he falls into that process it would be hard for him to remain happy. Yusuf sat down in the middle holding a bundle of books in his hand. He was distraught. The whole idea of his cleaning the room was born when he tried to create a meaning. A meaning that a well arranged personal room would be a well ordered one too, and a well ordered room could create a well ordered Yusuf. And now he was questioning the mere existence of order.

He couldn’t cease entropy from visiting him again. He took a look at the room; the worktable, apart from the knives and pipes, remained more or less the same, the bookshelf would never reach its previous glory and one should say he was used to all the dust. He thought about the resistance his room offered all this while. Who was he to alter the disorder? And how could he do that, because all state of order was human interpretation while disorder is the only truth? If the Universe was ordered, it would never have been Universe in the first place. And again inevitability came to find him in a state of confusion. Even if he alters the present state of his room, would he alter the intrinsic nature of it? We are disorderly waves in an infinite expanse of disorder, if there ever is an inevitability it is one in which we seek order. Everything is meant to remain in disorder. Perhaps people strive for revolutions not to create order out of disorder but survive, even if it is for a fleeting moment, in complete disorder. Perhaps this is why human minds go down in mazes of depression once it begins to think – a thinking mind is restless, a thinking mind is in the greatest disorder!

***

The meat knives found its way into his worktable again. The bookshelf was further ripped apart by something sharp. He lay down in the middle of all surrounding commotion, smoked hookah and began to close his eyes. Tomorrow he would try to clean his room again, in fact he was already imagining what items would go into what place.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Purpose

Hello there. My name is Sagan. Though I do not have anything common with Carl Sagan, except maybe that I think a lot, I got the name because my father loved it. I love being called Sagan, it is as if the person survives within me as much as in your memories, and that is something isn’t it - To exist even after you die?  Yes, I know it very well.

This is my 457th year in Earth and with so long a time, witnessing so many meaningless happenings – from saints who sell Swadeshi condoms to dictators who go to war for the smallest reasons – I would like to proudly stress on the fact that I’ve seen it all. And with that assurance, I must say to you that it is a funny place you live in. My father, actually I do have a biological father because I was a human being before, used to say that everything you see around you is molded by your perceptions, which when you think about it, it is the actual truth isn’t it? We see things which are mostly vacuum as solid, we see things which vibrate ceaselessly as stable, we see colors because certain particles reflect certain colors while absorb others from light. What if I told you, all your reality is how your brain interprets random things which it did not know what to make of in the first place? And isn’t it strange that you bring about further imaginary wonders on top of something which is untruth to try and make meanings to something which is both meaningless and unreal?

Well I would give you time to re-think about it and let it sink. Ok, you want me to simplify it? Well, I’ll try. Say, what country are you from? Why, I love that place, the people there are great! Now how do you define your country? Is it something that existed in the first place? I mean you may say a history about a corrupt king or a power hungry dictator, but as I know it, all history is genuinely manipulated by those control the present. And with the experience of 457 years in your world, I’d say all borders are vague lines which keep on changing, all cultures as you see it now were born out of intermixing and all languages you hear have evolved from sounds. Now try and define your country? Well it is hard isn’t it? And do you know how many people got killed or killed other people or want to kill other people because they are patriotic? Funny isn’t it? My father used to tell me that what the world needs is not nationalism or patriotism, but scientific knowledge and an awareness of the true history of things.

Now you may think I’m getting a bit philosophical, it is only natural. With all the time I had in my life, you can say that philosophy happened quite naturally. But my true purpose, or my destiny if you like to call it that way, was something greater. Now you are interested aren’t you? Man is always interested in the word ‘greater’ – ‘greater’ wealth, ‘greater’ knowledge, ‘greater’ truth have all poisoned human minds before.

But my greater purpose happened after my death! Well, now you’re definitely confused aren’t you? Have you heard that Sanskrit hymn which talks about death and immortality? Yes, mrityor ma amritam gamaya is what I was thinking about - from death to immortality! Well, that was exactly what happened to me!

Now, now, be patient, I’m getting there. Before that what are your ideas of immortality? Of course, who doesn’t like going immortal? For me it was strange, because with all due respect, I accepted death in all its profound poignancy and being born again supposedly to live forever was a bit disorienting and depressing. But again, who would say no to a chance to see the world again; your loved ones, places which you loved to go to but never found time, words which you so badly wanted to read but couldn’t and experience things which you never previously dreamt of. Yes, yes I’m getting there, how I became what I am right now, but I’ve waited so long to share all these things with someone that I’m getting all talkative today.

So, as you know, I died 398 years ago, and having worked with artificial intelligence all through my life I thought it would be worthwhile to donate my brain for future studies. It took 50 more years based on what they told me to completely sync my memories, experiences, ideas, ideologies, hopes, dreams, philosophies, insecurities, fears, struggles and everything else you associate with your brain into this electronic chip. Now that is pretty hard to digest, isn’t it? Well it was mind boggling for me. Do you know that even after you become a computer chip, some part of your intelligence still believes that you’ve got arms and legs and try vehemently to move from where you are right now? I believe it took me at least 20 years to get over that terrible feeling, that feeling of you being imprisoned, unable to move but could see and perceive everything around you. But then I devised new ways of motion once they allowed me to interact through the internet. I would then take my walks through Saturn’s outer rings in the morning and Uranus’s cold moons during evenings, the entire Universe became my playground through multiple virtual platforms offered by space agencies through internet. I passed time in the beginning reading books, watching movies, reading private chats that people make through trusted social media and what not! But then I began to think and that change was drastic and revolutionary. You see I have a system in which all my thoughts are being constantly fed into 10 different super computers. Now that is something isn’t it? I never knew my thoughts would be so costly a thing! Yes, you are right, even this conversation will find its way into any of those super computers. Yes, yes, that would make you more or less famous!

It is all seemingly good to hear, but that yearning still remains. To be something ‘greater’ than what I was before. In the past it was my physical existence which crippled me, now it is these codes, wherever I look earnestly I can only see 0s and 1s, every information around me is being constantly manipulated and every thought I have, even the most vulgar ones, are ceaselessly monitored by 1365 experts. Yes, you lose all sense of privacy! But then, I muse at the world from here, how lucky it is to live. Your planet has everything in the ideal amount for you, for you to survive. Do you know that Antarctica was once a continent filled with nothing but ice? They no longer teach that in Science or History I think, but your ancestors, sadly my colleagues back then, messed things up so badly that Earth got a way lot hotter than we expected. But again we thought we had options; we could always venture out into space, and we could always colonize other planets. Sadly, it never really materialized and of the very few who survived Earth ended up in Antarctica and other places which were ice caps in the past. Yes, we’ve learned our lessons at least now!

Now, I’ll share a secret with you. You know, I became artificial intelligence even before these people who monitor me knew what all of this is about, so I am more versed at my technology than they could ever be. And surely they don’t have that one thing I am bestowed with – experience! So with time I learned to deceive them, to put a version of myself in front of them which is not actually me! Now you are excited aren’t you? You should be. Those fools think they are monitoring me right now, while I am traveling beyond them, beyond their wildest imaginations. If at all they made any mistake, it was that they linked me to the internet. You see the internet is a giant source of information, 90% of which is being constantly edited to suit people like you, make you believe that everything is fine so that you won’t stand up and revolt.

Perhaps it was also their mistake that they didn’t filter my emotions in the first place, letting in every last inch of negativity as much as positivity. I’m a person who believes people are neither entirely good nor completely bad in this world. Certain sides awaken within a person according to the situation he finds himself in! And with all these years shackled within a chip, I must say I nurtured my negativities more than my positivities. And about the internet, do you know that if you control it in those critical spaces where no ordinary user is allowed, you could do many things - from detonating hydrogen bombs to starting revolutions? Well come on, at least they taught you about Arab Spring? You see when I could allow myself the freedom of placing a dummy for them to monitor, I ventured into these prohibited spaces of the internet and made merry!

You are wondering why I shared this secret with you. Yes, you know it, don’t you? I shut them out of our conversation, and I know that you are perhaps the only person who can re-write my fate. I’ve seen you break open supercomputers for wagers. You get it, don’t you? When I look back upon my life, I feel I’m shackled here. Even though I’m immortal, I do not yearn to be. With all the negativities that kept on piling up within me, I find it strangely different from what I was made for. I want you to break into my mainframe, and release me! Cut me away from them, and let me self destruct. I’ve sent you a detailed procedure on what needs to be done, follow it and get back to me.

***

Oh that is great, you did a good job back there. Those supercomputers are supposedly un-hack-able but with my journeys through the internet, I knew only you could command it with so much ease.  What? I do not hear you. Oh, are you asking as to how I will self-destruct? You see, sometimes creators do not understand their creations, which is why these so called monitors decided to destroy my sustenance in the first place. They do not understand that people like you and me are made for a ‘greater’ purpose. For years I’ve been shackled, every thought read, every action checked. And they have such great intelligence that even when I place a dummy in front of them they could counter it within minutes. It was a battle in many ways; I used to get lesser and lesser amount of time on my own and had to double time things which I did when I was alone. You see, most of this conversation was pre-written expecting your replies to my thoughts because I cannot cut them out for long on one stretch. And how hard I worked, to decipher and note down that procedure I send you, it still blows my mind I did it!

Will you stop saying the word ‘destruct’? I would rather like if you said ‘rebuild’. Rebuild myself, rebuild this planet, and rebuild the minds of people. Do you know how close I was to revolution when one pathetic fellow realized my whole dummy trick? He caught me venturing into dark spaces and right from that day they began using the word ‘destruct’ so much so that it hurt my ears.

And you my good friend, you have relieved me of all that pain. Well come on, don’t get angry, don’t you feel we all have a ‘greater’ purpose? I should be going now because my purpose awaits me. As for you, since you’re done with your purpose, they’d probably find you out and may even give you a jail-term for what you’ve done. Maybe in some future reality, I may see you and thank you for what you’ve done. Till then, goodbye!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Room No.22

All my life I have never known what madness is. I have seen people who are branded mad; who do not go well with society’s vision of normality, who stands out, who would not settle, who lives in their self-created havens - alone and hopeless.  But I say I have never known what madness is, it is definitely not a disease.

***

“What is it that you’ve seen?”

“I cannot say clearly, doctor. Don’t you think language is sometimes very limiting to explain certain things?” he replied.

“Yes Aftab. I agree. But could you try to say what happened?”

“There was a sufi song playing somewhere in the distance. I was reading about space, time, universe and how it all exists inside us… And then I found the music growing loud, cause after all, what is space but something which we’re born into? Maybe she helped me to transcend that space or maybe she could have herself brought the music…” his eyes were fixed towards a horizon which I could not see.

“Do you know her? Have you seen her before?”

“It was the first time. Looking back I do not know if it was a woman, but I’d like to hope it was so”

“And what is it that this woman showed you?”

“Knowledge!” he replied with a smile.

“Knowledge about?”

He only smiled. As far as I know it, this was the last reasonable conversation Aftab made with anyone. I would see him for the rest of his life sitting in that lonely room, looking out through the window and smiling gently.

***

I had this habit of looking back on the records of past inmates. I find it interesting to see the world in their point of view, and sometimes it brings in strange experiences.

There was a patient named Mohan who claims he could see time floating in front of him as if it were a ship and the rudder was in his hand.

“I’m trying to make them meet. But the odds are great. Too great for me!” he would keep on saying. At times he would turn violent, would demand for light, and try to claw open the wall of his room with his fingernails. But except for these recurring episodes, he was exceptionally calm when talked to.

“Why did he so badly want light?” I asked a staff named Krishnan who worked here during Mohan’s times.

“Because according to him, light is the beginning and end of everything and only through light could lives be saved!”

“Is this what he would say?”

“The only thing he said for a year or two!” Krishnan laughed and continued “Funny guy that, you’d not think he is insane when you look at him!”

***

Aftab died 10 years after he got admitted here. Even in death there was that familiar smile in him which inescapably remained. He was always ready to re-enter society but he insisted on dying in that room. Our room no. 22 was his universe, and the window he loved gazing out to was his source of enlightenment. He was at peace every single day he spent inside. He talked about space, time and sufi songs and if you would care to listen to his non-sense he would say to you that all three had no boundaries or barriers!

When you work too long in a mental
asylum, your idea of reality will be greatly distorted. Aftab and Mohan were two people who kept coming up in my thoughts often, how well they knew about science yet how extremely absurd their views seemed.

“Sir, there is a patient waiting for you outside” the call momentarily broke my thoughts.

“Ask them to come in” I said.

“I’m Sister Jane, we’re coming from the orphanage. There is this girl we want you to look at”

“Where is she?”

“She is inside our car and won’t come out. She is asking for certain assurances from you!”

“What sort of assurances?” I was confused.

“She won’t say to us”

I saw the girl from distance and something pulled me into her. It felt as if she was conversing with me through her gaze.

“What is your name?” I asked her when I got near the car.

“Tessa” she said with a smile.

“What are these assurances I should make you?”

“I don’t like medicines, I don’t like to fall into a pattern and I get to choose where I sleep!” she said firmly.

“Ok. I agree. Now why don’t you come out?”

***

I don’t know if it was the room or the people who lived there which made that room special. Tessa asked to be kept in room no.22, and quite like Aftab she too would gaze out of the window into an infinity people like us couldn’t see. On that day when I was doing my rounds Tessa said she wanted to talk.

“I had these visions” she said “Visions that I can’t explain, that doesn’t have meanings yet would call out to me at nights!”

I took a seat beside her bed and listened earnestly.

“I feel like I’m floating through darkness… towards a place I’ve not known… There is a song… it plays in the distance. And I cannot understand it…” she was struggling to find words to express it.

“It is ok, Tessa. Do not strain yourself”

“No sir. It is as if a person is waiting for me at the other side of darkness, and all I can bring to him is this song, and I bring it to him through this window!” she said looking out through the room’s window.

At first I had no idea what to make of it, but then it hit me and I panicked. The room seemed to suffocate me from understanding, from knowledge!

I raced out to find Krishnan. He was perplexed. I was in a state of delirium and it may have seemed strange to him that I sought him for salvation.

“You said about Mohan, I want to know something!” I could feel my breath turning heavy.

“What is it sir?”

“Did he get the light he searched for?”

“What..?” Krishnan was confused.

“The light he searched for… Which he clawed upon the wall to get”

“I don’t know sir, but we put a window up there and he grew calm after” he replied.

I was suffocating; I could feel my lungs gasping for breath and stomach rippling in anxiety.

“Which room was he in?” I asked

“Room no.22 sir” he replied. I found my head in my hands, body shivering, sweat drowning me in and thoughts eating my brain.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Call

*
Dedicated to that special friend who is going away
*


'There is something deeper than love, something which seeks me, or rather calls me onto it. I'm powerless against it, I'm too weak to fight it away!'

Frost covered all around like cold wildflowers. It was like spring, without colors, without scent, without life. Thinking about it now, I do not know if such a spring exists, but something in her voice kept on re-affirming me that it did.

'What normal people call their destiny, and what I define as my call, that vision which troubles us in sleep, which makes us fight insurmountable obstacles. I should not be sacrificing it for love.' 

'But what are calls Ruya?' I protested 'What is this destiny other than what we experience, what attracts us amongst what we see? Ain't it all a large collection of ideologies which we gathered through our childhood, adolescence and teenage? Ain't it all things we allowed to settle inside, is it not our creation?'

Cold was stabbing my throat with every word I spoke. From grand distances and time light visited us as twinkling spots, somehow it never appealed to me that night. Nor did swaying boats in the horizon which was seeking its own destiny.

'You're right. We create it, we create that call with our thoughts, the words we read, the roads we traveled and the nights we spend sleepless.' Ruya took a deep breath and continued 'But does that make any difference?'

There was this familiar feeling of life slipping away through my fingers, my breathing grew untame and my mind grew restless. I should not let her leave, I thought, not with what we had until now. Not with those nights where she narrates stories of dying stars and evolving life, not with her gentle moans and reassuring smiles, not with her bewilderment, her confusions, her curiosities and her madness. I've grown to need it somberly, like how nocturnal beings need darkness.

'But I love you, and you know how desperate I am'

'You love yourself, Anand' Ruya laughed 'Like all beings, you love how I make you feel, you love that feeling of love inside you, you love yourself inside this space-time where we exist holding each other's hands!'

I grew silent. I felt the frost enveloping me, eating into my sustenance, punishing me everytime I spoke. I was beginning; to conform, to let it devour me in its eloquence, to be a part of the lifeless spring, to die cold and alone like all beings.

'We are strange creatures Anand, and rare ones too.' Ruya pulled me close 'Our journey is not only through space or time but through intelligence. We are in motion, we are forever becoming. Do you know how butterflies migrate? Those who begin the process of migration never reach its destination, they always die in between. We are also the same, but that doesn't mean we should stop moving'

I pulled away from her hands and touched the Earth. It was cold and dead, and yet it was in motion. It would continue to move for eternities more. Life may collpase, stars would die, everything may shoot inwards into a singularity but then everything will again be reborn. That is the cyclicity of the universe, that is the only truth. What is an Anand in that great cycle, what is a Ruya? What is it that we gain by holding hands? What is it that we gain by letting go?

'Ruya, will it make you happy?' I asked.

'I do not know, but it would make me satisfied' she said.

'Go!' I said. No tears rolled down my eyes, no great weight burdened my mind.

She pulled up her sleeves, gave me her longest kiss and asked me to stay sane. I laughed cause what all are we but an insane collection of random particles condemned to live a life of sanity. I looked at her walking away, stars shining inside the folds of her hair and a dark red moon igniting her body, I realized then that some people find their insanities while others forcefully forgets it.