Thursday, 25 December 2014

The Chronicle of a Capital Punishment

-
Dedicated to Surinder Koli, whose life Indian government intends to take
 -

It was a bright morning during the summer of 2011 when Mr. Raghunath Varma, chief investigating officer of the Jamnagar mass murder case, woke up from his sleep to find his train leaving Ahmedabad Junction. In a panic that would take over him, he would run out of the train with his bag containing details of the investigating case, twist his leg as he gets out and fall heavily on the 1st platform of the station thereby scattering the papers contained in his bag which shall bemuse the people who themselves were lying down on the station floor while leaving the seats vacant.

'I beg your pardon', he said to the audience who gathered around him as he picked up the loose papers. They lost interest after he picked himself up from the floor and seemed alright. Raghunath winced at man's desire to be part of a disaster, but it was short lived as he saw pictures of Sarfraz Mahmud, the person whose death sentence was withheld until Raghu finished his investigation. The fact which made him stutter was that underneath every picture of Sarfraz, whose image instantly portrayed notoriety, there was a call for justice, which suddenly weighed his shoulders down with rampant force.

Sarfraz K. Mahmud, the 34 year old mass murderer, who raped and killed more than 20 young children, who was also held accountable for 14 more child kidnappings and whose crime history shows an inhumane and a rather demonic scar of cannibalism. It was a case whose judgement was known even before its investigation began - 'To be hanged till death!' was the verdict of every court Sarfraz went, and yet with just 27 days remaining to carry out the verdict an appeal had to come up in the Supreme Court to revoke the sentence and Raghunath was asked to find whether Sarfraz deserved death. It was a thankless job, Raghu remembered himself being a 24 year old civil service aspirant whose topic for GD was on the cruelty of capital punishment, he remembered himself shunning the rest of his group with his eloquence and finally bringing out a conclusion that the government whatever their powers an prowess maybe is never justified in taking a life. And now, he was here in Ahmedabad to make sure Sarfraz was hanged.

'Sir, kahan jaana hain, Sir?', came the voices of taxi and rikshaw drivers luring incoming visitors all for to enrich their subsistence. Raghu accepted the offer of a person who already had a grip on his bag, which moments before rejected its contents on the station. In fact, even before Raghu said where he wanted to go to the rikshaw was brought alive by pulling the starter lever and was racing to get outside the station.

'Jamnagar', Raghu said. In a furious twist of the accelerator the rikshaw slid past the heavy traffic of a busy Ahmedabad morning. Raghu settled down and dozed of for a while, in his shot sleep he saw the picture of Sarfraz, he was demanding justice.

***

Raghu could get very little help from the local police station, all they could provide for the 47 year old CBI officer was some vague FIR on the kidnappings and the killings, which prima facie never pointed at the direction of Sarfraz.

'Sarfraz worked as a servant of a reputed doctor in Jamnagar, a certain Pranav Kumar', Ranveer the constable who prepared the FIR said. 'What was interesting is that we included the doctor's still pending case on organ trafficking in the FIR, but the investigating officer never found any base in it to be mentioned in the final report.'

'Who was the investigating officer?'

'Deputy Superintendent Vaidyanath Sharma.', replied Ranveer. 'He was a fanatical Hinduist, he would convict anyone with a Muslim name.'

'And Sarfraz was tortured?'

'Every single day, sir all throughout the month!'

'He took one month to confess?'

'Yes, I would have confessed to anything they said if I was in his place.', Ranveer added. 'You see sir, there were atleast 7 other similar cases after Sarfraz was arrested, of rapes and missing internal organs, I have a strange feeling that it would continue.'

It was not Raghu's job to remain too critical. All cases which are re-opened in the history of mankind are always handled inattentively. It may partly be because of the ease with which the officer could obtain the information, and partly due to the dull task of repeating a job which was performed and finished by an equally qualified person. Vaidyanath Sharma and his Hindutva ideologies wasn't really a worthwhile point for Raghu and he utterly rejected Ranveer's imaginative extremes of an organ trafficking group. But he felt amused at the way Ranveer tried to make the most of the case being re opened. For Raghu that was the only thing which seemed a bit suspicious.

***

Vaidyanath Sharma, with his overgrown tummy, tousled hair and a long paste of sandal marked on his forehead portrayed everything that a Hindu was entitled not to. He talked in whispers, which probably was to avoid the stink of pan without which he could not begin a day. He was now the Inspector General of Ahmedabad and lived a life with commanding ease. He talked barbarically when asked about Sarfraz.

'That son of a b***h, he killed them and ate them too! I would have shot him if I could.', Sharma said. He used some more Gujarati words to describe Sarfraz, many of which Raghu could never decipher.

'But sir, the FIR shows a possible suspicion towards Dr. Pranav Kumar, and you missed him out in your report.'

'The doc is clean, his other case is close to verdict, he would come clean in that too.', Sharma assured.

'Sure', thought Raghu, 'With money anyone can come clean in this country!'

Raghu set about the remaining days collecting the personal and professional information and history of Sarfraz. Sarfraz was the only son of Mahmud Karim and Begum Rashida Karim. His father had been a rikshaw puller until before Sarfraz was born, and after the introduction of Sarfraz decided to quit the job and start a small shop selling confectioneries nearby his house. The business would earn them enough to survive, but not to educate Sarfraz.

'Sarfraz learned to read by himself. He would read things on the paper we used in our store.', his father, Karim, said. 'He was a hard working chap, but was always restless!'

When Sarfraz was 19 and was sure he and his family couldn't survive with just the income out of the store, he decided to seek work outside. The search led him to a politician named Pritam Shah under whom he worked for 4 years. Pritam would beat Sarfraz atleast 3 times a day and was given only a meager ration of food. Sarfraz starved for days on, holding on till the first day of every month.

'My kid, he deteriorated under Pritam, it was then that Pranav took him.', says Begum. There were no more tears left in her aged eyes as she tells the story, it was just a meaningless wait to know the final verdict, a verdict they were sure would never go their way.

Pranav fed Sarfraz well, he gave him a very large sum of money as salary. It was a period of intense joy for the Mahmud family, it was also around this time that Sarfraz fell in love.

'He had a relationship?', asked Raghu.

'His friends and family does repeatedly mention of a lover. But Sarfraz denied it everytime on interrogation.', Ranveer said. 'The identity of his lover was perhaps the one thing he decided to take with him to the rope!'

***

Sarfraz looked at Raghu with hopeless eyes. Raghu turned his face away from the embers of that deep and powerful hazel organs of vision, what unimaginable brutalities it would have seen, what tyrannical woes it would have endured. Raghu was still unsure, his report followed a pre-written format which would surely uphold the decision to end Sarfraz's existence upon the Earth. Raghu thought about the 20 children, and numerous others who went missing, he thought of Sarfraz's master and his forgotten history in organ trading. Surely there should be a link, he thought. And yet, how easily did he fall victim to the drama of governance, how easily could he fit into the final missing piece of Sarfraz's jigsaw, the piece which bore the very significant and fatal end. Sarfraz never cried as the court gave the verdict, he never flexed a muscle, all of them were critically damaged according to medical reports. He was subjected to physical assault every single day of his interrogation and the jail term afterwards, he was a punching bag, his fingers were used as candles, his ears were filled with boiling oil, every bone in his right hand was broken, every toe was devoid of nails, he was better dead than alive.

Raghu walked out to applause and handshakes. Sarfraz would be hanged by September 2014. The air was filled with jubilation, the entire county broke out in a revengeful joy as its greatest culprit got what he deserved. Raghu escaped the celebration and got in his car, the air conditioner was blowing its life out to ease his sweaty face. Sarfraz would have raped them, he would have killed them, he would be having cannibalistic instincts, he thought repeatedly. But there was an inescapable gorge in front of him - Sarfraz was mentally unstable, he was tortured both mentally and physically, it took them a whole month to make him confess - the factor of doubt was still large. He thought what would he have done if he were Sarfraz, would he have withstood one month of sheer animal-ism to confess something he had done? Even if Sarfraz was the criminal, even if he killed every last child, was it enough to take his life? There were a lot of unanswerable questions in Raghu's mind, and then he was disturbed by a knock on the window of his car,

'Raghu sir, I am Pranav. Dr. Pranav Kumar. You did well!'

'Thank you.', Raghu replied

'That guy Sarfraz, he is a beast, deserves what he got.'

Raghu nodded, Pranav shook his hands and took leave. Just then he received a call, it was from Ranveer, whose voice seemed distraught,

'Raghu sir?', Ranveer said, 'There is a new murder case near Jamnagar, a 14 year old girl was killed, her internal organs were missing and the body showed marks of a rape!', the voice ebbed down. Raghu fell back on his seat and took a deep breath as his last drops of sweat were stolen away by the rude air conditioner.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Invisible

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'From where I stand I could see very little of the World, but from where I dream I see a million other worlds!'
-

I struggled through the dense crowd of the Municipal Bus Station in Thalassery, I was in a journey to seek redemption. For days on my moods abruptly shifted - from depression to euphoria and then back again to stupefaction. It became intolerable today and I found myself disturbing all comfort zones and reaching out into brute space. Even though countless saints and scholars of the past and present came to criticize my notion of finding peace away from my soul, I was not distracted, I couldn't help but search for it from the outside. It became habitual, a rather inexcusable ritual.

Through the human life that encapsulated me in angst, I searched for a way to dis-join myself from the show - to hide underneath the bed when they were calling your name on the stage! It was escapism, it was betrayal but it was also my only choice. I refused to think too much on the matter and watched the Western sky pouring golden hues on every colorless thing. Around me there were a thousand creatures waiting to find themselves back in the comfort of their homes, it made me realize that almost all of us have a phase in life when our home is a gratifying destination, some of us grow out of that stage while some remain forever inside it, For me, home was where I was alone, where I was insecure and even then there was always an appealing emotion, a genuine call from the past which forced me to stay in the place, the call of memories.

Thalassery pier - which once stretched towards the World, establishing the town as a center of trade and culture had a lot of memoirs too. Today there is only reminiscences of that golden time. The pillars of the pier have dilapidated; the cranes, track and rollers have all gone. History remains neglected and the place is deteriorating gradually with time. I found myself basking in the stories that the pier says to its earnest listeners - stories of the Sea; her adventurous travelers, her powerful winds and her subtle emotions. Suddenly I felt surrounded by traders of the past scattering around the pier, waiting for a ship that carries their fortunes. I picked up my writing pad, kept it on my lap and was searching for my pen when someone tapped my back unceremoniously.

'You should get going,' the man said, 'there is a storm coming.'

I looked up at him, and found the owner of the voice to be a frail man with a face wrinkled at every possible juncture - under the eyes, between the eyebrows, below the chin, all over his neck and even at the place where his nostrils met his cheeks there was an unmistakable fold of the skin. He had a string of nylon in his hands and a plastic bag which stank of fish. His persona and the folds in his face was an indisputable expression of his experience with the Sea and I was sure his forewarning was true. 

'Its alright. I would be leaving soon.' I replied.

I thought that it would be enough to calm the old man, whose entry didn't please me in any manner. On the contrary he continued,

'I have seen you here a couple of times. What is your name kid?'

'Anand.'

'Anand! There goes a Hindi movie by that name, ever seen it?'

I replied no in a sincere wish that the conversation would end and I could get some words on paper. But the man was not planning to let up.

'My name is Abdul Vasih. I live by here. Are you a writer?'

'No. I just scribble down what comes into my mind.'

'Good of you' he seemed impressed. 'A lot of the writers were born out of these waves.'

He sat beside me and seemed to be in some reminiscence of his own. For a few passing minutes he seemed unaware of my presence and gazed silently at the horizon. There was a story brewing in my head but I let it slip for Abdul Vasih. I became interested in this guy, because after all he said he saw writers being born out of the waves.

'You write and go away quickly. Rains these days makes the Sea angry.' he said after a while.

I looked at him and said that I have lost what I had in my mind. I admired the ease with which he allowed my world to co-exist with his own. I knew that anyone else would have found it illogical for a person like me to waste time with a pen and pad as the rains approached. They would have unsettled me mentally, but with Vasih I could have written what I felt.

'Most people write about the Sea, you could write about her.' Vasih tried his best to help me continue my thoughts. But it was floating with the winds, which suddenly appeared hostile even to the birds which inhabited the skies.

'It was what I had in my mind when I came here. But couldn't get it out', I said, now beginning to enjoy this small conversation with Vasih.

'Aah, then I might be of help. What do you want out of her? Do you want to write about her womb which has always granted us with abundance?' There was something deeply philosophical with the way Vasih talked. He talked about the sea as if it were his lover, his soul mate, his only source of joy!

'You know, I used to wonder as a kid' he continued 'where the Seas would end. Have you ever thought about the end of this Sea and what would be happening there?', his eyes were fixed at the horizon. 'Do you think that someone would be looking at the Sea from the other end and thinking the same?', he asked.

It was a question that is intended to be unanswered, and I obliged.

'You see Anand, I never wonder how large the sea is. It is as large as the life it sustains. For me that became the limit, the end.'

There was a desperation in the way he said it, a woe so deep that it broke his voice every time he spoke. I sought out for the source, but found it to be deeper than I could ever fathom. The rain buried us inside its cultus out-pour, I watched as it disturbed the order of the shore and forced people to run for shelter. Dark umbrellas stood on top of heads; people ran, escaped, betrayed themselves and hid under roofs. It was an escapism performed unitedly. We, Vasih and I, for once sat and watched. My writing pad soaked with the precipitation and rendered useless as it stuck onto my skin and felt like raw meat. I didn't move to prevent the rain from destroying my works, but sat through the rains with Vasih by my side. We never uttered a word, but communicated with a more deeper understanding.

I gazed back at the horizon. From somewhere far I heard captivating songs of the Sea, and farther I saw people, not lifeless entities as in my stories, but dreaming human beings. They were looking at me with devotion. They were the invisible race, they were the unheeded perpetrators of sustenance, they never exist in a story or poem but inside their small worlds having in itself an abundance of stories - stories of love unrequited, of struggle, of passion, of revolutions, of hate, of battles, of death, of faith - stories which were unseen from the outside, and which remained unwritten on paper. Each of those stories appealed to me to be granted justice, to be considered, to be immortalized!

The rains ceased, a patch of sunlight fell between Vasih and me, I reached out to touch it when Vasih told that he was leaving. 'There is a family I need to sustain.', he said. 

He was true, however he tried, that was the limit of his world, the point where all his imagination ended. I thought about his words, yet how often had he mentioned about the place where the Sea ended. I watched him walk towards his fishing boat. I could never understand his reasons, I have only met him a few hours before, we talked in very small fragments, but I'd like to think his dreams as a kid took him to there, to the end of the Sea, but life constantly pulled him backwards. I fretted at the thought. Clouds were forming in the horizon once more, churning out more blackness, it maybe raining at the other end of the Sea, I thought. I saw my friend as a spot; a boat the size of a fingernail. I closed my eyes and wished him luck. I knew he would come back with some of the abundance that his lover's womb offered, I knew he would continue to dream and I sincerely hoped he would make it to the end of the Sea someday and his life cease to be invisible.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Redemption

A prowess to keep matter dark,
To reduce insanity as archaic,
A totalitarian world; a venal fabric,
Where ideas remain unborn,
And mistakes in-tolerated.

There we find the power of annihilation,
Matter's fear of its antithetical cousin,
And unity amidst difference.
We sing songs of rebellion,
We feel the freedom of chaos!

Ceaseless is the trust on bitter hate,
Our fights usually in vain,
Love is when you feel the pain
of holding desire and letting go,
Because the light is distant,
And we have to continue.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Anarchism

-
To the late John Abraham, the only Keralite to be free!
 -
In my constant walks towards self realization I have met and known people who changed the way I think. John Abraham, a film maker from Kerala, whose works still inspire countless budding film enthusiasts, remains a prolonged idol for me. It is for his anarchism, his passionate yearning to be free that I devote this work, even though I very well know it won't be anything of a tribute to his dynamic life.
-

Note : The character in this story is named John, but in no way is this the story of John Abraham.
-

John couldn't sleep that night. He woke repeatedly to claim a lonely chair by the window which looked onto the small and medieval path leading towards his home. There was an eager wait, the source of which John could not fathom. He watched the moonlit path, which for generations brought home perfect brides from all over his locality to proliferate his family population and ensure the sustenance of their advanced lineage. The thought was sporadic, he was instantly perturbed by human endeavors and their meaningless rituals. He looked back from the road, the candle which burned on his desk all night became a minute wick and fluid wax; its bright rein would soon give way to darkness. Before it subsided, John looked at his shirt which was at rest on top of a portrait of Jesus. He smiled every time he knew Jesus was enveloped within his stench. He took the shirt and adorned it on top of his nakedness; all his life he used clothes for that sole purpose. The mundu which he used as a blanket carelessly occupied his mat, he took it and wore it with no particular honor and decided to give company to the lonely road he saw some time before. There was a smile on his face, which was deeper than any emotion he portrayed his whole life.

As he stepped into darkness there arose a particular dissent, which created a polarization of thoughts. It was rather a frantic outcry from his opposing personalities to earn primal consideration. It is true that there is always an intrinsic similarity between calmness and profound chaos - both are identical if you look at it from a broader point of view; he appeared in sincere calm even when a serious battle enraged within him!

He accumulated all the events of his life and decided to play it out. In a state of overbearing dubiety, he could understand the chain of events which made him take this walk. It seemed like an erratic protest against a society which constantly fed on his insecurities and aggravated his hostility to such extremities that it reached a point where he could not maintain a relationship without experiencing repugnance. In a city with a vastly reproducing and heavily breeding population he was a natural standout. At an age when a man begins to show his animal instincts and is in search for a potential mate, he immersed himself in a haven of books, dreams and soliloquy. His brain was restless if it was separated from a book, whose unending hunger was quelled once it tasted the intense ideologies of Ernesto Guevara, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose and Mikhail Gorbachev, all with equal vigor and passion.

Even during the days of professional studies, his mind could not leave the inflaming ideals and rest patiently. There was an unruly trait, a misalignment within him, which created a separation from ordinary living. It was what he called, a 'search for identity', which beguiled him with desperation. After obtaining a first class from campus, he never pursued for a job, nor tried to earn a living. His parents rejected his purposeless life and constantly buried him in showers of wrath. It was then that he first moved out, and settled in his hereditary home with his grandmother, who later died due to tuberculosis.

It was a period of constant instabilities. His life was caught amidst suffocating tension and intense hunger which seemed to dissolve all casuistry. He was aware then that the limitation to all advanced human thought was hunger; an endpoint to all human desires! He took up a job in a bank as a clerical officer, unwillingly, and for 2 years tried to adapt to a more human lifestyle. He trimmed his beard, dropped smoking and wore a more professional outlook. The period greeted him with many marriage proposals, all of which was plainly rejected with the words, 'Fuck off!'.

The phase contributed more to his arrogance, and little to routine. He began the habit of jotting his misbehaviors and also an explanation at its deep physical implication. He questioned authorities and transcended a feeling of rebellion. His mind, deeply in-congruent, tried to diverge from all instances of sanity. It reached a pinnacle of sinuous speculation which mocked his existence. He quit the job on the same day that he sat perplexed by the window. He drafted the letter in the form of a poem:

'Human or sheep,
Both familiar
I detest none,
I yearn to be free,
And to live in insanity,
I quit this false costume!'

He laughed at the world. He saw the skies turn faint orange, and thought of a humanity which would wake up, wash their eroding body, eat breakfast, rush to office and work for some imbecilic capitalist for an income which is rationed! The fight within him was ending. He heard the crows of roosters, flowing through ether and into ears of people who exist by habit. There were birds soaring through skies, searching for food that would keep them alive. He wondered why poets, artists and thinkers in world history associate freedom with birds but not thoughts. He watched their flight to the end of the horizon and somehow got an answer. There arose another poem, which he could not find an apt place to pen down. He would now search for a perfect object to announce his poetry, he would ask the world to rebel, he would make them think through his poem, he would call the poem 'Anarchism'!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

In Her Loving Grasp

A mother is not merely a woman, but holds within her a ceaseless love, within which she creates a spell of constant care. It is hard to imagine the chemical combinations which makes this love universal, all I could do is watch, spellbound, at this love and envy every child resting peacefully on their mother's arms.


Courtesy : The Mag

















Like mist before the Sun,
Like an august spirit's triumphant run,
Her words for me like cautious trust,
Her arms, generous and snug,
In her grasp I felt numerous and warm,
Within her care, in constant delight,
Leaving behind truths, of disparate moods,
Forgetting the World's unfamiliar rhetoric,
I wish to run back to my mother's hands,
I wish to be enveloped within her cordial hug,
Where in I shall be a child, if so for an alluring trice!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Freedom

-
Dedicated to the Malala Yousufzai for inspiring countless souls and motivating them to take up education
-


Courtesy : Mag 240
Photo by Tom Chambers














Hills of misfortune and rivers of sorrow,
From the chronicles of lost privilege,
Her feeble foot carried on the bout,
Leaving footprints deeper than gorges
of misgiving and extended malady,
And when she broke the boundaries of thought,
Her life glazed like colors through snow,
Words of strife, now fables of time,
Lest the world forget her passionate riot,
Time is now to open your heart,
Break the cage and follow her steps,
And I shall continue to sing this immature song,
To praise a woman of impeccable arm!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Journey to Enlightenment

" The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery."
- Lao Tzu

-

Inspired by Fritjof Capra's 'The Tao of Physics'

-

It is often said that destiny is something which happens involuntarily, often inexorably and in the end having a deep physical impact. To many, destiny was a way the world tend to remain scripted. And to even more, it was a way God enacted his hilarious anecdotes on his overly exasperated creations.

Neither of those views on destiny distressed Krishna Kumar in his daily walk towards office. He didn't blame destiny when a speeding freighter collided against his side of the bus, he didn't complain fate when his left leg was amputated leaving him crippled over an expansive period of time, which along the way destroyed his career as an engineer. Rather, in his hospital bed, Krishna Kumar was happy to meet, without anticipation, a visitor who gave him company for the rest of his life - Albert Einstein! Krishna Kumar was all ears as Albert's words thoroughly expressed his revolutionary concepts on space-time relativity. The philosophical and scientific approach Albert took changed the way Krishna Kumar approached his own meager accident, which he knew didn't make any worthwhile impacts on the universe's perpetual existence. Unbecoming what the world asked him to become, through their melodramatic sympathy and exaggerated concerns, Krishna Kumar decided to move through a path Albert paved, along which Werner Heisenberg, Neils Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli and Erwin Schrodinger walked into truths and fame in equal proportions.

When Krishna Kumar, later known among his students as KK, left his hospital bed one month later, three distinct changes happened:
1. His religious views rapidly changed into agnostic.
2. The hollowness underneath his left thigh was abated by a steel crutch.
3. His mind was inflamed with ideas.

You could see KK in his daily walk towards office 30 years after the accident. His unkempt and greyish hair constantly blinds him in his stride, his left shoulder displays its muscularity, achieved through hard work it was bound to perform over the years, looking closely you could also see how age caught his body, entrapping it inside its slow disrepair, but failing to erase his carefree smile and momentary sparks of ideas. According to KK, 'Body is meaningless. It is mind which force me to think, the disintegration of my mind shall hurt me when I die, but for body I don't care.'

In his classes one could always see more of a philosopher rather than a theoretical physicist which would later give him the name 'Guru' among his students. It was always his prime interest to learn the philosophical aspects of Physics, for which he was prepared to leave behind his research on particle acceleration and neutrinos, which seemingly led to no particular conclusions. The transition was seemingly simple for a third person but it took months of serious thinking.

'Why Philosophy when you could say it through theories?', he used to ask his wife.

For Sarita, a law graduate who had no intention of shattering her comfort zones, it was a ruthless question. But she had adapted easily to his inquisitive side over the years, simply by remaining silent.

'Because there are niches, niches in the most advanced of all human sciences, where all logic disappear!', he answered his own question.

And just like that he explored science in a refined field of view, but as he searched to up-heave the foundations of Physics, he found himself humbled by the gigantic pillars on which modern Physics stood. There, beside dual nature of matter and the uncertainties of  finding electrons, KK discovered contemporary Physics to be more philosophical than he ever hoped before. The revelation mesmerized him, bit by bit he was understanding that Physics offered a broader scope of viewing the world, which could bring back the God which he lost in his hospital bed. For which he tried to understand the beginning of the universe, and he approached a very unlikely teacher, the father of Taoism, Mr. Lao Tzu!

Taoism is a spiritual philosophy which emphasize on living in harmony with nature, detachment from all desires, unequivocal simplicity and complete peace. Yet unknowingly it created a path, a Tao, which resembled Albert's intertwined paths, expressed the doubts of Heisenberg and provided the answers for the beginning of the universe.

As Krishna Kumar dived deeper into Tao, he found his doubts clearing away. Physics which taught him that - every human being, every massive star which was limited by Chandrasekhar, every neutrino which repeatedly deceived him, everything, originated from a point in space, a central power, an energy from which the world began - was discreetly imitating ancient knowledge. Through Taoism, he found the source and sustaining spirit of all matter, through Taoism he searched God as much as physics, through Taoism his agnostic views finally collapsed into an unrecognizable multitude which was lost in the path to salvation, the Tao that Lao saw.

'Physics internally resembles ancient knowledge which echoed through the East many centuries before. Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius and all other spiritual leaders of the period were the pioneers in Physics who destroyed the enigmas of a functioning universe. They believed in a world in which we had very little part, which forced them to explain to a non-scientific society that simplicity and separation from Earthly desires was necessary.', such was the introduction to his thesis on Physics and Philosophy which he hoped would re-ignite the debate of God and Physics.

For days he went without food, lost in his papers, correcting and modifying each word. He lost an astonishing 12 kgs in one month which left Sarita distraught. Her concerns often erupted as hard words.

'I don't care what you are doing, I don't want the world to say I let my husband die due to malnutrition.', all KK did was laugh at his wife's hostility to knowledge.

He felt proud over the central role he would play in the debate, he mimicked many times over, the way he rendered the image of God to the scientific world - 'Ladies and gentlemen, I present before you, the one and the only- God!!'. He imagined his bewildered audience, he felt their exhilarating support and their intense gaze. He knew he was very close to that day, he was sure it would happen.

As his obligation to have food diminished, he lost strength in his left shoulder quite quickly. On a day when he claimed to his wife that he was nearing the finishing point with his studies, his shoulder gave away and he hit the floor hard. His papers flew from his hands and settled on the floor beside him. There as his papers fluttered in front of him and he was left powerless and impotent, he saw the beginning of a tougher phase of life.

'This is it my dear, no more crutches thanks to your Physics.', his wife asserted.

From then on, he was reduced to an electrical wheelchair for the remainder of his studies and life, which according to him was a separation from naturalism, and left him in a bad mood, against which he complained.

'If you can't use it, crawl on the floor. I don't care.', was his wife's words of consolation.

It was in his wheelchair where he finished reading the Bhagvad Gita. Even though a Hindu by birth, his admonishing pragmatism made him to repel the book as a youngster. But now, with years and experience changing his attitude, KK could approach it with much ease. Like Tao Te Ching, like the sutras of Buddha and the koans of Zen, the Gita contacted his intellect like drugs. He found an essential similarity between all the texts, it asserted the reader to understand his ignobility in the world order and asked him to dis-join from all physical comfort. There was a unity, which was hard to un-notice for a theoretical Physicist. As he connected the meanings of the texts with Physics, there emerged a deeper picture of the universe, where in the Earth is like a speck of dust originating from oblivion and moving towards the same oblivion. It was a fate equally shared by all forms of matter. There also emerged an intrinsic discord on God and his role in this cyclical event. The confusion led him to traverse a path which he dispelled at the beginning of his study, a path which was not guarded by God.

The thought afflicted him like plague, which damaged his mind and body equally. His habits changed quickly. Witty and cheerful before, he began arguing with his wife for petty things. His nerves protruded along his skin as he went on without solid food. Insanity slowly crept through those nerves leaving him in a state of chronic confusion. The God he would proudly present suddenly didn't feature in the play. His moment of pride was thieved ever so covertly.

His desperation led him towards the origins of God, rather the time when humanity perceived that a God was working behind the scenes of the great cosmic continuance. He searched for the beginning of man's discovery of God. He knew that like all great discoveries God would also have been discovered at a particular point of time. To search for this, KK traveled back in time, partly aided by his imaginative brilliance and partly by Physics which he thoroughly believed in. But the travels always led to dead ends, which frustrated him no end.

'Who created this fucking God?' he shouted at his wife.

'Not me, did you?', she replied.

Her reply didn't make KK smile, but in a flash of inspiration he found the creator of God quite inadvertently. The creator was prevalent in the fear and trauma which shackled his mind, contracted his nerves and haunted his sleeps.

'Yes, I created God.', he said. 

Even though his wife rejected every insane theory KK would put, in those words she could see KK's confidence in what he was saying. And she believed him for the first time. He rushed to his study room and collected his papers, he rechecked every statement and every fact he pointed out, strode through the words of Lao, Krishna, Gautama, Confucius and all spiritual masters he encountered in his long journey. He checked Albert's philosophical approaches though Physics and hastily studied the thesis of contemporary and past Physicists, after which he took a deep breath. And then there was enlightenment!

Remorse was visible on his senescent face, unbelonging like the enlightenment he found through Physics. Yet, deep within the frameworks of his subconscious, a curious and hungry intellect rejoiced every palate of wisdom. Between those moments, his brain cleaved to accommodate the rush of facts, each pole accepting new insights while rejecting theories generations forcefully planted. Every theory he relinquished saw his thoughts immediately and passionately searching for means to bring it back. With time he realized there is no creator, no watchful angel, no deterministic event and no cosmic consistency. His lifelong combat through science, through religions, through a medieval path walked by sages and Physicists of the past, finally left him afflicted and alone. He knew he triumphed, he could see what Gautama saw while he sat underneath the Bodhi tree, he could understand his dilemma in making the world believe the sight, he could sense Albert's rush of blood as he sat in a corner at the patent office in Bern - he knew enlightenment, he knew the only truth! But in that triumph, there was a part of him which he lost, irrecoverably, which drowned him into a futile hope. He dreamed of retaining his consciousness in a distant universe separated from time where he hoped he would have a God; to hear his woes, to carry him through the dark, to consume tyranny and to lead him to light.

For hours on he sat perturbed. Billions of minds were lost in prayers, he heard them whisper thanks, saw them cry out their tears and he became a part of their repentance. The tiny speck of life abstracted with dreams and desires was unified within that call of faith, however divided it was on the basis of physicality. He knew the reason why faith could always crushed science- it was because of the loneliness of human heart which searched aphoristically for a companion. Every concise update on his studies seemed like torture to those faint hearts who believed in God. He took those papers which took years to assimilate, to understand, to express and set them alight. In its glowing shimmers, he could see the divine comedy playing in front of him. Even though he knew, he was sure he couldn't express it, even though he could understand, he couldn't make another man understand. The path which could be expressed is not the eternal path and he knew as he remembered Lao that he found what life commanded every man to understand, he discovered the unity of mind and matter, of men and women, of life and death, and of God and science!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chronicles of Avatti | Prologue - Sustenance

Rains in Avatti always assume a spiritual veneration. If there is anything which leaves my grandmother in sincere dread, it has always been the rains. Monsoon approaches Avatti with formidable vengeance, as if to capture a land which always had been their inheritance but which they lost in the tumult of pride. I remember sitting in our courtyard and admiring the pictures clouds used to make in the monsoon sky - as if it were a desperate lover seducing his long lost beloved. Local beliefs hold that the Durga which guards over the village, residing reluctantly in a crumbling and archaic shrine, is lustful to the rains and would open her eyes and ears once she hears the rattle of rains beating her prosaic abode. As she wakes from deafness, the world shall pour their cumbersome woes, and the temple compound abounds with prayers and accolades for their powerful Water Durga!


As the rains reclaim vast paddy fields, defeats and consumes every yellowish strain of grass, Avatti would explode in green! There lies a magnificence to green, a sincere expression of life which would make me conclude that everything alive should have a touch of green to it. Flowers which are arid wither off for new buds to form, the Lotus in the temple pond turns dark Pink, flowers- thumpa, jungle flames, golden trumpets, and all varieties of shoe-flowers rise from their burial to astonish birds and butterflies from all neighborhoods! The myths and fables of the land resurface with rains, quite like the flowers. Mahabali, the great king who ruled over Kerala would wake from his inflicted sleep and would come to visit his lost haven all for to discover the world loving him in a bogus adoration. Having repeatedly stripped of faith he would seek salvation at Avatti temple. By the time Mahabali reaches Avatti, the Durga would already be in her arrangements for Navratri, the nine nights where she shall assume nine distinct and dynamic personalities. Mahabali would wait with patience till the eighth day but could wait no more and leave before Durga assumes the form of the knowledge-granting Saraswati. As Mahabali makes his painful walk back to his dilapidated home, he would see children of all ages happily rushing to see the Durga who illustrates herself with all her vehemence. The image would make him smile, which he shall treasure till next year, as he waits painfully along with an abundance of loneliness one would find in hell.

The shrine, often associated with various superstitions, finds its history to be as profound as that of Avatti. It is often narrated in various accounts that the temple had been built by the great Keralavarma Pazhassi Raja in the 17th century. My grandmother always speak about the temple with visible pride. It is true that a part of our family's history, a part of my own history harmonize celestially with the temple. The varying moods of the Durga could be felt unmistakeably within the walls of our house, which sits below the temple, and thereby receiving the name Thazhathu Veedu or the house that sits below. Inevitably, our house finds itself in veneration among the tales of the temple and those of Avatti too.

The temple since its creation had seen crusades, battles, births and deaths in equal magnitude and vitality. It got destructed partly by time and partly by its own worshipers during the era of Tipu Sultan's domination, in a false fear that the noble Sultan would destroy it himself. It has also witnessed the wrath and greed of many. The ownership of the temple was taken up by a powerful landlord who at the time of an economic constraint, would thieve all the jewellery of Durga, dismiss the priest and close the temple forever. Immediately afterwards, the clouds of misfortune would thrive in the skies of Avatti and our own house would dissolve in its intimidating potential. Three different deaths due to three absurd reasons would torment our house leaving the elders in a situation they could no longer control. The people of Avatti assumed the moral authority to reclaim the temple, assigned a priest, rebuilt the pathways but could never dilute the fury of Durga. She danced in fiery steps, destroying willpower and splintering unity among the people. Nothing soothed her frivolous mind, and the society faced generation after generation of misfortune and extensive bereavements. My grandmother says that it was calmed by a woman, when she selflessly took off her golden necklace and adorned it on the neck of Durga. The fury ceased and calm was restored in Avatti, a calm which still continues today. The woman who brought tries to catch a breath as she begins to narrate the story of Avatti while she looks up at the temple. I do not believe in those myths, but I do believe in the woman, who pervades the entirety of her house which sits below the temple, and  narrates countless fables for me to hear. I may not accept the fact that her selfless action saved a village, but indeed, she holds the reason to express it all by words, she grants sustenance to a place which had been lost forever in a hopeless tirade of myths!

*****************************

Note
This is a prologue to a group of stories which I plan to share with you if time and circumstances permit. Inspired from Avatti, a place where I grew up, it may not be an exact recreation of history, but a moderated and dramatic version of the same. The characters in these stories may bear resemblances to those who still lived out their lives in Avatti, but the stories in no way could be taken as an accurate account of the concerned scenario.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A Motherly Vignette

Years before my father contacted dementia, and struggled to remember my mother's name, I remember his voice turning boastful every time he spoke of my mother. It was not any calculated flatter, but rather a deep reverence to a woman who resurrected a house which would otherwise have crumbled and eaten up by wilderness.

My mother, the great Savithri Amma of Ramanthali, a Communist during the great Indian freedom struggle and an authoritarian during the post-Independence period; when she was left with three children and a husband with no particular source of income, was for me a living example of the many lives an Indian woman lives. Her many fables surrounded our village like some strange and persistent virtue, which made me and my siblings live a life which commanded love and respect.

I was 10 years old when my father was diagnosed with dementia. At that time, my brother had finished his schooling, my sister began the same and I was caught in the middle. My father constantly complained of his fading memory. He used to keep inquiring whether we got independence or not, for which my mother used to reply sternly,

'We drove them out, those pack of dogs!'

I used to think that my father admired my mother's fierceness, and if it wasn't for dementia I would have thought forever that my father kept asking those questions just to hear the poignancy of her words, the lost fervency of a Communist.

My father, Velayudhan, was a farmer since 12. He had no experience of schooling and had no particular interest to leave us for the same. Schools were associated with a bizarre fear for him.

'It is how they shackle us, through schools!', he used to say.

Years later, I share the same ideology as that farmer, but it took me 14 years of schooling and 40 years of worldly experience to know what my father knew as if by common sense.

I always thought it was strange for my mother to fall in love with my father. It was strange because she was educated, and Communism for her was not a stick for a blind man, but the light that pervades all men and women on Earth. For my father it was the opposite - he was a Communist as long as they fought for the oppressed, as long as it brought bread to his stomach. It remains a mystery as to why my mother gave out her heart and later her ideologies for a man who could promise her very little. Many years hence, before my father's body was carried away by my brother and certain relatives, I remember how my mother wept. It was as if she was answering all my innumerable questions through her bouts with tears.

It was a fragment of her which I rarely saw, the emotional one. She had always been stubborn and adamant. She took up the role of a dictator in the house with adroit ease. It was a task which at the time demanded zero tolerance. She gave specific duties for each of us to perform, which if we failed to accomplish attracted stringent punishment.

I recall a time when my brother planned to drop out of college and find work to support my mother who at the time worked as a maid at 3 different houses to make ends meet. It was a decision which made us face the flinty woman we have heard so much about but never saw in action. She brought the house to an impasse and announced an indefinite strike till my brother revoked his decision.

'School is money which we receive tomorrow. Be patient today and you'll benefit tomorrow.', these were the words she used to spread the rebellion. And it echoed around the house like music, one whose tunes we could follow but the lyrics were in a language we never heard before.

Her words may not have been as commanding as the hunger we felt that day. When the smoke finally escaped from the chimney of our kitchen, marking the end of the strike, every last person in the house had a smile but neither thought intently about my mother's articulate wisdom on education. We - my brother, sister and me - though miles away from each other today would agree upon one thing, that whatever our mother's expectations were, the balance we hold in our banks and the shelter within which we sleep each night in comfort is a direct agreement to my mother's beliefs.

Mother's beliefs were deeply rooted to her exposure to Communist ideals. She always taught us to serve rather than rule, traces of which still survives within me. It may be the reason why I still cannot manage people without concerning myself profoundly with their problems. The fact which made her a legend in our village was indeed her open defiance over all social and cultural prejudice. She was the only woman in our village who could challenge a man if he was wrong, she was the only woman in our village who believed in gender equality and announced she would not give a single penny as dowry to marry off my sister.

Yet when I think of her I always remember the day she confronted my father's order to let my grandmother die of small pox in her makeshift tent outside our house. Savithri Amma, euphemistically took the blame, but in the end saved my grandmother from certain death. It was the first time a person escaped alive from small pox in our village, a list which bore many names henceforth. The event still rests within the chambers of my memory as if it were some untold epic.

When I last visited my mother, she seemed weaker than before. Yet, she was relentless in providing me with the best porridge she had to offer.

'People fall in love with my porridge. Last day I cooked one for Ramesh, the carpenter, and he didn't ask for money but asked for another helping of it.', she said proudly while she cooked.

The house she resurrected was indeed falling apart. Ramesh became a frequent visitor, the only one during those days. It was a period when her health was gradually deteriorating. Ramesh took her to the hospital for one thing or the other, yet, whenever I called her, all she complained about was of a part of the roof falling down or the electrical circuits faltering at places. She continued to hold the entire crumbling reminiscence upon her shoulders as if it were some priceless treasure, and all I could feel was a guilt which held no source and no destination.

'Amma, come live with us, why do you struggle on here?', I asked as I finished the porridge.

With a wave of her hands, she washed away my question so that not one word would reach her ears. She stood defiant, behind her she had a lifetime of solitude, of perseverance, a tale of never ending suffering. A story she never shared, a story which would have sunk to the deepest expanse of her memories - which probably would have lost its sustenance so much so that it could never be reignited. Inside the four corners of her house she relived every fable, within this house she was free. Many years later I would come to realize that it was for this freedom she fought for, and it was something she was unwilling to give away till death came by. She gave me a glass of tea, which tasted awkward with a furious addition of sugar. She always did that, as if she could annihilate a deepening sorrow simply by adding more sweetness to her tea!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Somber thoughts

Here is to Niconar Parra, who taught us the truth and the reasons for framing an anti poem, who turns 100 on Sep 5th

Poetic worlds where roses
evaporated into love,
Besieged mercilessly by reality,
Trees which gave life,
From branch to roots,
Spoiled by greed within hearts,
No love overpowered them,
No meaning governed deeds,
I watched as rotten money,
Eaten by rats and covered with filth,
Buoyed democrats,
Freedom; of thoughts and speech,
Flushed down the drains of politics,
I stood by as wealth proliferated,
As executives and bourgeoisie continued
eating into the infected rice bowls
of the farmer, the leper and the beggar,
I prayed to God - typhlotic in the show,
Obeying commands of gold,
Discerning opulence from scarcity!
I remained in silence as I watched,
With wrath and reason,
A leech leaving behind a trail
of my perfume-less blood.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Minerva

Starry Night by Alex Ruiz
Courtesy : The Mag

A valley suspended in dreamless sleep,
Sky - with thousand eyes peering,
Like jewels on an inanimate face!
Following green which gently pervades,
Awakening clout from oblivion,
As if flowers spouting from seeds.

Upon nature's canvas, science draws,
For man who remains in awe - I speak,
Picking words from reverent fantasies,
To pour accolades for an unmade artistry!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Amir

-
To Arjun, for being with me all this time
-

When a voice from the other end of the phone woke me up to the news of the demise of Amir, my childhood friend, the world had barely risen from its deep winter slumber. There was not a trail of light to soothe my eyes, nor a sound to destroy silence - which hung heavily around my ears. The news didn't disconcert my lethargy; it couldn't disturb the shallow post-retirement period where I found myself in fond company of solitude and regret.

'Aren't you supposed to go?', Esha asked.

Esha. She had been beside me - sitting where I sat, reading my thoughts before I spoke, giving me a world of abundance in a rather lonely life - for 45 years! I gazed at her. Life had stolen her numerous facets; her soft skin, the blackness of her hair, her imposing seductiveness, her fragile laughs and the exquisite music in her voice.

'Yes, I must go. Are you coming?'

'Shouldn't I? How could I forget Amir?', her passionate reply found me in a peculiar guilt.

Amir was my friend even before I could understand the miracle which separates sounds and language. Amir, Esha and I thought the same thoughts and dreamed the same dreams for the greater part of our youth. When I tied a knot around Esha, and claimed her to be the first and the loveliest possession under my ownership, it was on Amir's shoulders my weight rested, my life leaned. Sitting back on my cushion, I could not comprehend where the guilt originated from, but I knew it was something which would take time to recede.

Esha was ready within an hour. I had called up Pratyush, our eldest son to drop us off at Amir's place. Senility had completely destroyed my directions and fragmented my memories, it took a lot of queries to find the place which I have so often visited when I was a child.

'Call me when it is over.', Pratyush said as we got down. I nodded.

He struggled to guide his vehicle through the gathering which overflowed from the house and onto the streets. Every mouth moved in remembrance and tribute, every ear heard a tale of kindness, every heart melted tenderly amidst tears and every mind searched to out-pour its grief. Being a part of the elite, I couldn't entirely judge the genuineness of that social expression, but I could feel a remarkable sadness prevailing powerfully, which dissolved into me and perspired through my eyes. Esha held my hands tighter, she could feel my heart beat even before my cells respire with fresh air. She says that she heard my heart's echoes resounding with music on a rock concert 47 years back - the day Amir asked me to propose her!

I saw how baldness had disfigured Amir's hair. His hair was the envy of a whole classroom. He used to carry three things with him every single day; a purse without money, a bag with a single book and a bright green comb to present his most valuable treasure in the most perfect way. His body, shunned by the ruthlessness of life, remained sturdy, yet there was a dark patch beneath his eyes which showcased a lifetime of fatigue. I was sure it could no longer hold his extensive curiosity nor his avid dreams.

Esha leaned onto me and cried. I could feel the heat of her tears permeating my clothes and touching my skin. Yet, I couldn't bring out a single drop of tear to present to my comrade. I floated in memories, and found the place where there was an abrupt ending. Beside me was Esha, holding a baby who would grow onto be the fine gentleman who dropped us off today. We were moving to Delhi in a hope to find a better job and a better place to raise our child. Amir waved his hands in ecstasy but with tears in his eyes, within every single drop of his tear I found the tremendous love which made him run three kilometers to fetch us a taxi that day.

'No one had to run to call an ambulance. He fell down and died instantly', a relative said. I scanned the vicinity in a hope to identify Amir's wife or children but could not distinguish any emotional break down from the other. It seemed everyone was equally sad and equally at loss.

Esha and I walked away from the house. Just then, they took the body for burial, a wave of tears erupted. Esha leaned on me again. I looked at her imperfect frame and mocked at life which couldn't claw into her threshold of love, nor take away the glow in her eyes. I felt Amir's hands curling around me, comforting me and asking me to move on.

We walked away from the place where Amir's spirit still tends his banana trees, where his hands still graces his farm. We reached the bus stop where years before I saw a boy in white shirt and dark blue trousers, who asked me my name and told me his, who shared his cold and damp biscuit with me during recess, who laughed at me when I fell down while playing, who held my hand and asked me to count ten before jumping into a pond, who used to tell me he sees phantoms roaming about his room at night, who cried with me when I lost my father, who shared his lunch box when my mother was sick, who motivated me with his smile, who destroyed my tears with his laugh, who kept coming back to me after our fights and in the end who cried like a fool standing alone in a station as our train blew past!

While we waited for Pratyush to arrive, I asked Esha, 'Do you know what made Amir my best friend?'

'No', she replied.

'It was my first day at school after my father died. Everyone offered me to help out on anything I would possibly need. I felt an overwhelming pity crippling me and suffocating me that day. I asked Amir if he could help me complete my notes, and then with an impish laugh he politely asked me to piss off!'

Esha gave up her tears, which impeccably gave a spontaneous smile as she imagined the scenario.

I continued, 'Only then had I realized that more than all acts of love, saying no marked a more substantial trait!'

Esha's smile widened, she hugged me and I sat still.

'You know Esha, that bastard still took the time to write my notes, he wrote it all up and gave me the next day!'

I didn't look at Esha, but I could tell she would have heard my heartbeats, because she held my hands tighter. I saw drops of tears running through my cheeks and disappearing into the humidity which held every joy and every tear of Amir's cherished life.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gods and Golds

Upon this Earthly abode,
Amidst madness of love,
Paralysis made by drugs,
And insignificant insanity,
Lies salvation.

There is a detour,
Through a cave of gold,
An idol - deprived of life,
Who shall save you from strife,
Oh, the mental flops!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Autumn


"The world is inhabited by all kinds of people. They are isolated by land and water, religion, customs, habits. The minds and heart of these people are much alike. Under sudden or stressed emotions, they blossom forth or explode in riots, fights, dance, song, prayer. At such time they become one mind, one heart. And the world vibrates with the intensity of their feelings, emotions, angers, laughter."
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

-

There is a hymn of nature which is profound, enveloping all mankind within its arduous composition, few get a chance to taste the melody, and even less understand the meaning. Today, Aaron became one among the few who understood both.

‘Children, today we shall learn about seasons. What are your favorite seasons? Let us start with you Aaron. What is your favorite season?’

‘Autumn!’ a delighted Aaron said.

‘Wow Aaron, now that is a good time of the year. What about you Sandra?’

However Aaron tries to remember that day, he could never remember what Sandra answered. He had been rewinding the scene a long time over, but every time he found himself proud and excited over the due consideration he obtained from his teacher.

Eighteen autumns after the questionnaire he remembers clearly the answer Sandra gave to his question, a long and sweet YES. It was a day when all the trees in the park had turned a fiery orange, a day when he held her hand for the longest time in his life. They watched in silence as the gentle shift of colors marked the mourning of a planet, which wished for eternal spring, but instead got thrown into a pinnacle of coldness. While the trees began shedding lifeless leaves before entering into a gentle sleep, while all birds in the park flocked in unison to find their last prey before coldness suffocated their beloved home, the Sun gave his last waves of passion before Earth moved farther away from his benevolent grasp. In that hour of sincere cosmic reverence, Aaron and Sandra kissed each other for the first time. Both of them felt lifetimes of unaccounted bliss passing through their lips as they stood still around the splendor, and before they parted ways that evening, Aaron asked Sandra the question,

‘Will you marry me?’

Silence! Every other emotion could have made Aaron a potential contender for being the hero of a sad love story, but the shock of seeing Sandra without radiating her divine heat and throwing him helpless with her smiles, Aaron felt an overpowering numbness, a numbness which he would retain for a long time in his life. Every word of condolence hit Aaron like a hammer, every relative who came by escalated his grief to no extent. But he didn't shed a single tear, he felt his eyes dry and his mind blank. He asked for the switch to electrocute his wife, pressed it, turned back and walked. He saw the first drops of snow painting a sorrow picture on his window, and then in the loneliness of his apartment, which suddenly seemed to be filled with the scent of Sandra, he cried. He collected every last thing Sandra left; her comb with strands of her hair and grease of her oil, her clothes - hopeful and freshly packed in the rack which could never feel her skin again, her pen which still bore her fingerprints and a paper in which she drew a meaningless masterpiece. The snow grew harder, it covered Aaron within his apartment. Even after it cleared, Aaron felt its physical presence enduring inside his mind along with Sandra and her nonchalant smiles.

‘I need some time away. I can’t go on like this’

Everyone who knew Aaron agreed, they knew it was time he himself tried to break out of the shell within which his happiness was buried along with Sandra’s memories. They were all surprised with the intensity of his appeal and the determination that guided him. Next they would find him on his bike, with a vague smile and a yearning one finds in a traveler before his most awaited journey. The buzz of his bike barely left their ears when the first drops of rain soothed an Earth which was baked for 3 months in incessant heat.

True agony lies in the eyes of the lonely, the unattended and the unloved, Sandra used to say. If there was one attribute which Aaron loved more than everything it was her philosophy, the altruism with which she viewed an entire humanity. Aaron found her most beautiful on days she cooked for homeless, stitched dress for children and attended the elders of their society. There was a lucid aura which spread around her, within which Aaron always felt humbled. His journey was not away from Sandra as everyone expected, it was rather an adventure into Sandra; into her spontaneous acts of exceptional sacrifice, into her socialistic paths, into a revolution which she started but could never complete. The determination Aaron's friends saw was not his own, it was what dissolved into his eyes little by little from their first kiss to the very last - moments before he electrocuted her.

In the 29th autumn of his life, Aaron discovered Sandra once again. It was an achievement he made at the shores of Sabarmati river on a seemingly normal day. He watched the endlessly long Sabarmati river telling him tales of sorrow she witness every single day. Sabarmati told him about thousands, who fills their stomachs with dread at breakfast, lunch and dinner. He heard her tears while he tried to curtail his own. Quite spontaneously he saw a group of parrots take flight, making a wondrous silhouette on the sky, he felt the numbness which paralyzed him shatter into a million unrecognizable pieces, which slowly settled among many others he could now see in the ashram. Behind him he heard the charkha move, the Hridayakunj became what it had been in the past, for a passing few seconds he heard the owner of the house commanding for the next phase of revolution to begin, he could do very little but to accept that command! As those words fell like tears on his ears, Aaron felt an incredible similarity to his first kiss. He stood there in admiration, he felt his eyes getting wetter, he searched for Sandra and he found her the way she was when he first saw her, in that classroom getting up to say her answer to the teacher's question. Her eyes were gleaming in a happiness he never saw in another person, the gravity which he felt every time he looked into her eyes still hid somewhere unattended, and then he heard the answer,

'For me it is Spring'

'And why is it darling?'

'I love flowers, I love to see them bloom!'

Today, Aaron is speeding past with a bundle of clothes to deliver to the NGO in which Sandra worked. Aaron is now a regular volunteer in the organization too. He still holds the view that autumn is the most beautiful time of the year, for him it is a mark of how Earth copes in its struggle for survival. It is autumn which makes spring more beautiful. But now he is thinking about something else, something more serious. There is a revolution he must complete. Every single time he hands over a cloth or a slice of bread he sees a smile he had seen only on Sandra; and in the eyes which he served, he would see a reflection of his own smile. Everyday for Aaron is now a pursuit to understand Sandra, to find her smiles in the harshest places of the country. He hears a music which Sandra used to hymn, he now knows it as the universal hymn of love. Quite naturally he finds himself singing the hymn along with Sandra who sits happily behind his bike filling the void of autumns past, if you watch closely you could see her holding a happiness you would never see in another human being!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Black

Contempt grows with regret,
Like unity does with remorse,
Black - the genuine reminder,
An intimate companion in strife,
A band tied to every hand,
A flag raised to muster oppression,
A slogan in a white strip of cloth,
Asking to continue the struggle.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Gaza

Miles away I could write all I want about Gaza without making a difference, but when every word, written and spoken, unite, it may grant hope to a place which has become a contemporary battlefield.

Part 1
Smell of Cast Lead poisons the air,
Air crafts, one after the other,
Pours hate- incessant,
Onto her ruined womb.

Niche of her Eden,
Where colored kites flew,
Now enfeebled by a holocaust,
Of bombs and chemicals.

Sewers pass lifeless bodies,
Blood fertilize her fields,
Kites never make a child smile,
Flowers fail to transcend joy.

Each mote of dust pray for mercy,
Yet Gaza- the exhausted mother,
Pray for a culminate strike,
To cease her pain ever more!

Part 2
Brother- valiant yet torn,
Your words subdued,
But awake with hope,
When you feel the wave of heat,
And relentlessly move on,
A humanity is at your side,
Whispering prayers,
Sharing pain,
Each night you stay stubborn,
We are beside,
Shouting your name,
Crying your tears,
Even when you fight on your own,
Know that you are never alone!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Godless

-
Dedicated to my 'valyachan' who gave the subject from which this story was developed
- 

Tikrit, Iraq, 3rd July 2014.

It was still early for the heat waves to wreak discomfort, yet, travelers and tourists nearby arid deserts of Iraq felt the Sun beating down with an aberrant and torturous swelter. God, alone and within a passive veil of dementia remained asleep in his makeshift apartment in Tikrit, an apartment built by five Sunni and six Shia Muslims. On another day, many prayers would have irked his ears, many mouths would have spelled his name and many thoughts would have asked him to appear. But today he disappeared into a world of comfort, into oblivious sleep, without problems of the world disturbing his slumber.

****

Somewhere, not very far, Shamim Iqbal, a Shia Muslim, one who God knew as the 'lad who never prays for himself' began his daily routine. He sat in his prayer hall, overlooking Tikrit market, laid down his ragged prayer mat, and went into a deep meditation. He asked for good fortune and good days for all his Earthly comrades, even if he would have to wrestle to stay alive in a ruthless patch of land.

****

In the land of pyramids, Egypt, is a house sheltering Jerome and his wife Maria. If God never contacted dementia and if he would have opened his ears to Jerome, he would have heard the song of a Jew who was never treated like a human being. Along with his wife, he knelt before the wall where he imagined God's ears to be rooted between cement and stone.

****

Evening Sun fell like fragile drops of dew upon the face of Hiba at that precise moment, who sang repugnant melodies and seduced men to earn a living. She breathed the air of Madurai, and felt her sails adrift in the thick of decaying food and fresh human excreta. Along with the smells and wonders of Madurai, Hiba, a transgender searched for her(his) identity and religion. She loathed at the miserable system which treated her as an outlaw and crucified God over and over again for the blunder he made during her creation.

****

Jerome, Hiba and Shamim, miles apart, would never have realized the difference, the inevitable destiny which today overturned their prayers. Without knowing the medical situation of their God, they continued their daily existence. God, who woke up in his apartment, tried hard to understand his frequent spiritual awakenings and mind-reading capabilities, but succumbed to fate and woke up to Tikrit and its unceremonious day.

Naturally, God would not have perceived potential warning signs as a self-proclaimed Messiah, a savior of all God believers commanded his troops to spill blood for religious completion.

****

'I shall henceforth be called Ibrahim, I will be the prophet who shall guide you onto truth, and I declare war against every Shia Muslim and each non-believer!', Ibrahim shouted.

'Ibrahim knows God!'
'Ibrahim is the messenger!'
'Ibrahim is invincible!', every member of the troop discussed passionately.

Ibrahim, himself became fond of the response continued, 'The lotus in a dead pool, crabs in the saltiest seas, messengers among atheists all share a common attribute - Life! It is this life which I shall grant you, the life which is brought only with war!'

****

'You look weaker sire', Shamim looked distraught seeing God motionless in bed.
'Do you remember anything today?', he inquired.

'No my friend, I don't even remember my name.', God despaired.

'Don't worry sire, my God will help you!' Shamim seemed positive.

God smiled.

****

Jerome and his wife sold sugarcane in Luxor, a city widely known as the largest open air museum in the World. Probably due to its geological significance, the repertoire of life provided by tourism and life sustaining capability of the Nile, Luxor developed as a modern city while keeping intact its historic relevance. Jerome could easily blend into the mix. But as a Jew, he never commanded respect nor was bestowed equality. 

The only day Jerome would remember as a genuine difference from ill treatment and mockery was the day when a military officer named Zafar Musthafa approached his meager store, brought sugarcane and gave him an extra token of 250 pounds. In a market where bargaining was a habit, and when on every other day Jerome would have to sacrifice a bit of his profit so that bargaining mouths were kept at bay, the extra 250 pounds Zafar Musthafa gave left Jerome with a passionate feeling; that all good was never entirely annihilated!

Jerome would henceforth pray for the military officer too, and was sure that men like him would certainly be exalted up to God's altar. Jerome was somehow sure that Zafar Musthafa would meet God in his life, and that God would hug him with all his love.

Today as Jerome made his way to the market, he remembered the dream that he saw in sleep that night, it was a strange dream, a dream he could not disclose to anyone lest they do not believe. He saw God in his dream, and Zafar Musthafa too, both of them were barely seen in a dim and foggy landscape. He seldom knew then that his dream would soon be a reality, that God and Zafar Musthafa would meet, at a place very far away from Luxor.

****

Shamim and God journeyed together towards Tikrit, buying food to break the Ramadan fast in the evening. The heat almost made it impossible for God to walk for long stretches. He rested at shades and drank water beggars gave. With thirsty gulps of fluid God would hear sounds of whispers - words from a humanity asking him to end disputes, start endeavors, destroy enemies, help families, develop wealth - all sorts of selfish and selfless inclinations. Bewildered by the noise, God stopped and asked Shamim if he hears anything strange.

'Define strange sire, everything is strange in Iraq', Shamim replied.

'I feel the world calling out to me!'

Shamim laughed at the idea. God asked for Shamim to get him back to his apartment.

The mutilated voices continued to persecute God. He stood spellbound. His head burned in agony, amidst which for a fleeting second he would have realized he was special, that every creature on the planet, every undiscovered spots of life on the universe - from dragonflies to highly intelligible ETs who observe space along with humans - everyone, everything came under his command. He should have understood that every fusing Helium atom of the Sun, every star born, every galaxy made or unmade, every comet jetting onwards to infinity, every quark, every boson, every time traveling particle in space, every second of eternity and every inch of darkness rested upon the palm of his hands!

Yet that realization died quickly within the walls of a hateful disease, God struggled on his way back and fainted repetitively onto Shamim's hands.

****

'Bomb Tikrit. Destroy!', Ibrahim's sound thundered.

A group of God fearing, faint hearted men motivated by the charismatic arrogance of Ibrahim moved onto Tikrit. They disarmed soldiers, decapitated them and made rivers of blood flow behind them. They spared women but poured vengeance towards all resisting men.

It was then that forward commander Zafar Musthafa asked his disciplined platoon to move into the heart of Tikrit. There they murdered all Shia Muslims they could identify. He gave the units free orders to shoot and capture.

Shamim and God heard gun shots and subsequent wails. God's ears were blocked by the frantic eruption of final prayers and deafening cries of his name. Shamim caught God's hands and asked him to run, but were intercepted on the way by Musthafa's men. The destruction of the nearby market was hidden behind the smoke of gunfire. Shamim would never see his wrecked home, tramped vegetables and disfigured dead bodies, perhaps it was God who saved Shamim from the vision which would have made him hysterical.

Within the foggy smoke, Zafar Musthafa emerged, elegant, dressed perfectly and with a modest smile. God saw Shamim dropping dead and found himself at gunpoint. Musthafa opened fire, and God felt pain for the first time. He saw skies opening up and the proliferation of malicious matter all around. It rained blood in every planet of the universe, and within that blood dynasties drowned and time froze.

God looked up at Musthafa, who stood panicked at the apocalypse which was brewing. God wreathed in pain. Before his brain was drained of life he heard four distinct prayers.

Hiba asked to forgive her and her flaws.

Shamim begged to pardon the soldier who shot him.

Jerome asked God to protect his wife from the bloody rains and prayed that the dream he saw would come true.

Finally, God heard Zafar Musthafa crying, 'God, help us!!'

God could do nothing but passively wait for the imminent end. He closed his eyes, forever.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Liebster Award | 100th Post



 Its just my first year here at blogosphere and the array of people and life which I became acquainted with had no boundaries. Perhaps it is this universal nature, the one which links us together, that keeps me going here. It was just a week back that a new friend, Juhi Roy, who writes some amazing entries at SHIHT ZOOO, nominated me for the Leibster Awards. It took some googling to understand what it was all about, and frankly when I knew about it I was just surprised someone really cared to nominate my blog. It is these small pleasures of friendship that keeps me again. Thank you again Juhi!

 THE LIEBSTER AWARD, OFFICIAL RULES: 

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you: 

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. 

2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) 

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you. 

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself. 

5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!) 

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer. 

7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to: 

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it! 

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS JUHI ASKED: 

1. Your secret obsession?
Ans. Traveling. Have a travelogue I author hidden somewhere in the blogosphere!


2. Your favorite smell?
Ans. The smell of sea


3. What inspires you to write a post?
Ans. Life, life around and within is my greatest inspiration.


4. What is your therapy to get through the lows of your life?
Ans. Smile off the pain. Laugh off the tears.

5. One destination you have dreamt visiting?
Ans. Amazon Rain Forests


6. Do you think love gives way to reality? 
Ans. Yes 

7. What do you love getting as gifts? 
Ans. As a matter of fact, ANYTHING


8. Given a chance to undo a mistake would you do it or leave it as it is?
Ans. Depends on the mistake.


9. What do you like to blog the most about?
Ans. I blog about anything strike me, anything that I notice.

10. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Ans. Can't think of a specific thing :P

11. What is the biggest dream for you right now?
Ans. Quite contrary to your answer, getting out of college! 


11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME
1. I am a humanist
2. I believe in communism
3. I love Pink Floyd
4. I love traveling
5. I dream a lot
6. I hate college
7. I love sleeping late and waking early
8. I believe in the human capability to change the World
9. I hate to see children go to work rather than school
10. I am not materialistic
11. If I love you and you ask me to die, I may just go off and die!


I'D LIKE TO NOMINATE THE FOLLOWING AUTHORS FOR THE AWARD
1. HIMANI RAWAT NAYAL, Rumbling Of A Heart
2. NATASA DOLENC, Tales of autumn
3. SUMANA ROY, vision 
4. ANKITA, Thoughts 
5. MADHUMATI MANJUNATH, It Can get Verse