Monday, 14 December 2015

Freya

Stars studded on your hair
Guides me through seas of despair,
Winds which graze your face
Blows past me bleak.

Freya. Light! Love! My life!
Night grows around me,
Your love holds me deep,
Free me from your rune!

Searching - I've grown old,
Words slip out cold,
And I swim towards you,
On and on and on!

-chorus-
Freya. Find me. Hold me.
Free me from your rune!

Dreams push me down,
Its weight make me breathless,
I crawl onto you
And you slip far away.

Freya. Light! Love! My life!
Silence cripples me,
Your love makes me survive,
Hold me close and never let go.

Lonely- I've grown cold,
Searched for you, never found,
Still I swim towards you,
On and on and on!

-chorus-
Freya. Blunt me. Daze me.
Free me from your rune!

How far away is your light?
How much more should I try?
Gently it fades away,
And I fall apart.

Freya. Light! Love! My life!
Fear grips me tonight.
Pull me out of my woe,
Come. Save me!

Forlorn - I'm numb,
I will wait forever,
And keep swimming,
On and on and on!

-chorus-
Freya. Kill me. Possess me.
Free me from your rune!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Think Naked | An Open Letter

Dear perpetrator of hatred,

First of all let me say that I respect you as a human being and would not want to use violence or hate speech to raise my point. In fact I am not even beginning to think it would make a difference; you can shout, throw ink, deport to Pakistan or for that matter any country, assault or even kill a person but you could do nothing to his ideology. With that opening sentence I am sure half of you would call me everything you've been calling people and would move onto your own business, but somewhere down the line if you'd think about it again I want you to read this.

Now, I am not claiming that hatred is part of a single community in today's society nor am I claiming it to be practiced by a single political party. Hatred settles in everyone of our minds at some point, even I would have had inclinations to hate people like you at times and may still have it. After all we are human beings, but what we do with hatred makes all the difference, which is why I am raising this point today of thinking naked.

Now thinking naked may create conflicts upon your utopic and visionary society. I am still asking you to go back to your nudity at the time of your birth. Perhaps no other state defines a human being more than birth. I do not know you for now, I do not know from where you maybe reading this or what your ideologies maybe, I do not know which God you believe in or which country's flag you associate with nor am I aware of your political stance but I am pretty much sure you, like me, like every other human being was born naked covered with nothing but dark red blood with no particular associations with any differences we discussed so far. So let me make this very clear, WE WERE ALL MORE SIMILAR THAN DIFFERENT AT THE TIME OF OUR BIRTH! So where did this notion of differences come? Why am I as an Indian forced to regard a Pakistani as different, let alone consider him/her as my enemy?

For that we need to understand these man-made differences. Let us start with religion first. I am not aware of any religion until today which its founders used as a tool to separate people. Religion was primarily intended as a lifestyle, perhaps tilting more towards moral grounds, It took dramatic misinterpretations and centuries of hatred to reach the current state of affairs when you have birth certificates issued with your religion, meaning it is no longer the aspired choice or lifestyle. So when we begin to think naked we would understand that our birth to parents of a particular religion should not be the criteria for our religion, and that our nakedness reflect our stance on everything going around for that moment.

Moving onto boundaries, I want to wrap it with a quick and precise point. For this I want you to adopt a certain scientific temper, I want you to become aware of our Earth, which is among 8 other planets in our solar system, the system being one among many in our galaxy, the galaxy itself being just an average one with no exceptional features among an infinite space. If you are aware of this fact you realize that the Earth is a tiny speck floating in space which is filled to its brim with vacuum. Now how insignificant it is to divide that speck with imaginary lines? I am sorry such a division exists, let alone it being a reason to wage wars!

As we see when we begin to think naked, when we begin to understand who we are and our significance (or rather our negligible existence), we begin to dilute our hatred with knowledge. When we think naked we are not our bank balance, we are not our cold memories, we are not divided on what we eat and what we speak! We human beings are an advanced species of living things. We are what we are because of our capability to think. Perhaps all the hatred residing inside you may not have been there in the first place or could have been wiped out if you just took a moment to think. And our problems begin exactly because we fail to think on our own!

So my dear comrades, my dear brothers and sisters. Next time you feel hatred growing inside you, I may ask you to think naked, think freely. Because we are all born naked, and the blood with which we were wrapped in and which flows through our veins still is the darkest red whatever we believe in!

Yours lovingly,
A Naked Thinker :)

Sunday, 1 November 2015

5 Minutes

12 midnight. I am in an enraging conflict as to what allured me into the sphere of her charm. Was it the way she arranged her hair with a careless braid, much like my mother? Or was it my thoughts, my memories of my mother adding up with her profoundly captivating beauty? Maybe it is that vigorous yearning, not the kind you have for your mother, rather for a well paid whore waiting for you to devour her.

I looked at her with a fiery intent. One gaze, one pause of her eyes is all I would need now. One small twinkle in her eye, one deep breath she catches, holds and spreads over her numerous cells, would tell me of her inclinations. Right then, she walked towards me, smiling, and caressed my body with hers. A sudden inflaming desire took over me as I found myself following her. Wherever she leads me I shall be content as long as her braids disorient my vision and her assiduity motivates my actions!
.
12.01. No one stirred in the corridor. There was silence. She opened the door to the room and I was suddenly surrounded by a strange heat which choked me along with the smell of medicines and phenol. She smiled, probably understanding my discomfort and held my hand. I touched her braid, just to make myself sure of its physical existence. I untied it, slowly, carefully so that her hair would not tangle with each other.

When I say that time is flexible and obtains strange patterns of movement at strange times, many learned people would laugh and mock at my fatuity. But you could feel it now, can't you? You could feel these seconds settling heavily upon the glass of time, stirring slowly and slowly, as I untied her hair.

'Your hair' I say, 'It is so perfectly imperfect!'

I slide my hands over it. She turns and kiss my lips, I return it and envelop her within my hands. I see my watch at the other end ticking on. 12 hours 1 min 57 seconds. 58. 59.
.
12.02. My hands keep searching her body, but very little do I realise what it is for. Is it hunting for a long lost feeling of sensuality or is it just flexing my domination? Strangely, every second which pass with her lips locked into mine, I lose a bit of my innocent nostalgia. Rather a more powerful feeling of guilt passes through me along with the taste of her lipstick. The glorious days of love begone stares angrily at me. You should have been more mature, it says and painfully retires back. The thing with my thoughts have always been that it shifts in a matter of seconds. For now it maybe an overwhelming giant capable of consuming me immediately while at other times it assumes meager images and finds me benumbed. Whatever be the case, I ask it to stop its domination for now and shift back to reality.

30 seconds after 12.02, I find her mouth completely disappearing into mine. And I know then that what pulls me closer to her in this instant is merely an obligation rather than nostalgia or passion. Another act which I am obliged to make among many. Then, without forewarnings a numbness came. I watched as to how meaninglessly the second hand of my watch crawled to hit the lap break as I wished to go away from her.
.
12.03. My mobile phone rang, relieving me from her pull. She continued to come at me but I asked her sternly to wait. The voice at the other end was cracking with excitement.

'Where are you Anand? She is finally here!', Anita said.

I felt my heart going out of control. I felt the air being drained out of my lungs. Should get more air, it commanded at my system as it frantically breathed in. Seeing me disconnecting the phone, she came back in pursuit.

'Not now, I've got to go', I said.

'Why the hell!', she exclaimed unable to quench the anger.

'It is important', I say.

'Will you come back?', there was a familiar desperation in her voice.

'I don't think so', I said coldly as I walked away. I heard the door banging loudly behind, as all the swears she would have said was separated from me by that sorry piece of wood. I didn't even ask her name, I thought as I checked my watch. Time moves so fast at times.
.
12.04. I ran through the corridor and found the lift switched off. Steps here were rather steep for a hospital, I thought as I jumped 2 steps at a time. The wait, my wait, our wait is over. There were tears lining up patiently inside my eyes. 'Wait', I told them, 'Wait till I see her!'

I couldn't notice how many women passed me with braided hair, I didn't know how many of them resembled my mother or how many held that voluptuous twinkle. I was now content that my heart was beating wildly and that my thoughts were storming down from the clouds of my mind. The rain is perhaps what I always needed!

People would have found me strange, my shirt was half open and the color of her lips was only half hidden somewhere inside my mouth as I frantically ran to the operation theatre. Anita was waiting for me, her eyes filled with the same tears I am trying to fight back now.

'Where were you?' she asked me in a put up anger. Then she smiled and said, 'Look at her Anand, she looks exactly like our mother!'

I took her from Anita and felt myself to be captivated in that image, and how her little eyes opened softly to look at me and how it closed once it got the vision. I wished to say to her every little story I knew, and every long journey I've been on but for now everything can wait. And the life I created, my daughter, Naina's daughter, settled comfortably in the niche I created between my hands. I kissed her on the forehead and realized that I have never kissed anyone else with so deep a love! Tears dropped out of my eyes and fell silently on her little arms, while unheeding, she dreamt of all the beautiful and happy things that awaited her.

Even then, without anybody noticing, time did continue to move on. Seconds ticked. 58. 59... 5 minutes had passed after 12 that strange night.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Gift

.
Dedicated to the person who forced me to write today! ;)
.


It was the third straight Christmas in which I packed a gift for myself and kept it hidden in the attic. There is a thrill to finding unexpected gifts, which rather ignites in me a mixed spirit of surprise and nostalgia. Now, it isn't that there was no one whom I could send gifts to, like there is this girl two houses down who smiles at me every time I go past her house. Well, she maybe three and probably the world hasn't taught her much, but I am pretty sure she'd be a pretty good contender for Christmas gifts even though like most people I don't think she would put much thought on my inclinations to be a loving person. Anyways for now I am trying it hard to pack the violin into the only box I could find after two hours of search, and I almost managed it when I heard the door bell ring for the second time.

'Is this Mr. James' house? You have a courier!'

Now, like you, I had no clue as to who this James might be and what awaited him in the courier, but it was Christmas eve and there was this genuinely guilty temptation which forced me to nod in a confused but affirmative way.

'Sign here sir', the guy said who seemed rather tired and cold. I invited him over for coffee after work, an invitation most people tend to ignore or forget, whatever the better word maybe.

***

Like all usual Christmas eves, the carol passed, ignoring my home. I've come to think of it as an asserted ignorance, shouts of a society angrily protesting your efforts to fit into it. I have stopped thinking on such levels, cause after all fitting in was never my thing. It was maybe one of the reasons why I was always confined to solitary treatment in my years at the District Mental Asylum. For now I leave all of it behind and wait for the Church bells to chime and the gifts to be opened. You did sense my exhilaration didn't you? Well, of course, it was Christmases back I could use plurality with the word gift and it assumes a certain divine jingle every time I say it now.

'Gifts, gifts, gifts..!'

'Ring, ring, ring..!'

'Merry Christmas, Anand. Merry Christmas indeed!'

***

The church bells tolled in the distance, I opened the window and was overpowered by a rejuvenating gust of cold wind bringing to me a thousand wishes. I replied them all with a shout so loud that some drunken chap asked me to fuck off, which didn't really offend me. After all, there was this sound of violin from somewhere far and a sense of strong and nostalgic craving.

I opened the violin box first.

'Oh, what a lovely violin!', I mused. I touched the strings. I smelled the polish. I heard its songs about Christmas!

Now as my admiration for the musical understanding of the person who gifted me this violin grew, I was strangely caught in a fight within. What if I open the box for this guy James and I find something so overwhelming that I decide to keep it? Or what if this is some game and there'd be nothing?

At this perplexing juncture, I'd take time to talk about insanity and we'll do with un-boxing the gift in due time. Having years of personal experience, I believe that I could share more notions on insanity than all the covert physicians you meet, after all they only see insanity while people like me lived it on a day to day basis. First of all insanity is not a state of mind when you do stupid and violent things impulsively, rather you think a lot about it, in spite of which you still do the stupid thing. I'd like to stuff things up with examples, so here goes. The day I was first charged with a mental issue, I was in a conflict of thoughts. On one hand I had the option of silently retreating, accepting my state of mind and succumbing to things people around me was accusing me of or I could kill them all and be free. Even though how heavily under-equipped I was to carry out the mass murder, I decided to do it because I was insane then. Clearly, it is not that I failed to think, but I failed to choose.

Now being presented with two conflicting thoughts as to whether to open the box or not, I was taking a chance. I heard that sound of the gift wrap being torn even before I made a decision and by the time I was bringing myself to my senses I was vehemently searching for what I may find inside.

***

Dear James,

It has been years since we met and I know you'll be pretty mad at me for everything I have done. I wish to apologize for it all. Crystal will turn six this summer, and Angeline ten. I will wait for you to reply. Happy Christmas!

Anne

PS. We are throwing a party at New Year's eve, do come.

***

New Year's Eve! The mouth organ fits well with me, I may throw out a jolly good tune tonight. It is as if I have developed a passionate togetherness with it. The letter stands with my cold food on the desk, and my search for James had been in vain. I am beginning to think he is pretty much like a hero of a fictional tale you never care to re-visit after you're over with the story. The letter did indeed throw out an invitation, and judging by the preciseness and accuracy of the words used, Anne really did want to meet James today. Will she be broken? I decide to think and choose a sensible decision this time.

***

'Anand, can you state your Christened name?', he asked.

'I don't remember!', I say.

'You received a letter a few days back, can you recall?' I tried hard to remember, but there was something which kept me drowsy.

'Yeah, Anne wrote me one' I recall finally. 

'Good, so can you state your Christened name?', he asked again.

'James!', I reply

'Very good Anand, and do have a great New Year!'

***

There is this image of Anne pleading in front of me, holding Cystal in her arms and Angelina crying not to hurt her mommy. Perhaps after years of being injected things which constantly eats into your residual strains of memories and thoughts, you reach a situation where you remember things very vaguely. I have the mouth organ in my pocket and the violin packed up once again, this time in a bigger box. Anne loved her violin till the day I used it to hit her, repetitively and painfully! But for now those memories rarely do matter. I loved her, perhaps more than everything else I have ever loved. Even when morphine was being ceaselessly pushed into my nerves I could see and imagine the perfection of her image, how gently she breathes when she sleeps and how she always liked to watch the moon fading into the Sun every morning. There was something with her that was totally empowering. It was as if I was loving her more every time, holding onto her like my only beacon of light, the only sane part of my insane world!

I jumped over the gutters, I ran through the snow. I remember how Anne used to sit with me and watch the snow fall down, her hand in mine, and how we talked about every little thing which never mattered. I was now falling in love with the only woman I could ever love, all for the second time!

***

Pain! Catapulting into extremities I cannot fathom! Again it is not the absence of thoughts which makes you insane, rather the absence makes you numb. An insane man holds a well of thoughts which he cannot draw out at will, but which pulls him down mercilessly.

I did not remember the doctor telling anything of her marriage. I tried to hunt for any possible memory like a lonely soldier facing a squadron of unarmed enemies. And yet a soldier who couldn't find them because of the perfection of their camouflage! I felt going dizzy, is this another game? Am I still in sedation? I ran back with the gift box hitting my legs and tripping me every time.

***

It was the third straight New Year in which I packed a gift for myself and kept it hidden in the attic. There is a thrill to finding unexpected gifts, which rather ignites in me a mixed spirit of surprise and nostalgia. Now, it isn't that there was no one whom I could send gifts to, well let me see. I find myself holding the gift and walking down the aisle. There is this girl two houses down who never fails to smile. I call her up.

'This is for you sweetheart!'. And there is nothing more which escapes out of me as I watch her blow up in happiness. Perhaps the power to choose is the thing which makes you sane after all!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Remembrance

When you've been blind too much and for too long you tend to forget certain images, certain portraits of life which a normal person wouldn't or couldn't forget. I still remember that day, a busy Monday morning when everyone around was frantically in pursuit to catch up with time, when I tripped over some misplaced furniture, sat up and forgot my mother's face. All throughout the day when Alice and the kids were away, I was in a desperate search through the vaults of my memory from where I hoped to retrieve fragments of my mother.

***

My mother called out to me, asking to watch how the bean seeds I kept in wet cotton opened its tiny little arms, stretched, grasped air, drank all the precipitation, took light and made life. I watched in awe at the origin of life, and absorbed the divinity of making it. Somewhere in between I would have looked at my mother's face and admired at how she created me as I created life. I could remember the seeds, but not my mother's face.

***

I climbed the stairs and felt the grumbling getting louder. The arguments were insignificant, it was the fact that they were arguing which mattered most. I remember how frail my mother's voice was becoming. 'Think about him', she was saying. 'Think about your kid!'. I could still perceive the smell of alcohol that hung around the room like an unwelcome guest. I could feel how my sweat mixed with my tears, I could hear the silence which partitioned us from each other. But I could not remember how red my mother's face was when she was in tears.

***

'God is love', she said to me. I could realize that she was right purely because her voice had an affirming tune which spread through my heart and mixed with my blood. She knew how I felt, she knew I was desperate. 'The girl you loved, perhaps she doesn't really deserve you or perhaps she loves someone as you love her. And when you love a person truly it is always a pact which you make with sacrifice. If you love her, let her go!'. I thought about the words, and felt a surge of emotion which catapulted into an inconsolable outflow of tears. My mother hugged me, I could feel her love wiping away my tears but I could not put into picture the tears she wiped away from her face behind my back.

***

Alice came into my life like a spasm, a twitch, a sudden overpowering story which shook me up. I was gradually losing my vision but then she came into my field of view and asked me to survive a bit longer. 'That girl will change your life!', mom used to say then. And indeed Alice was that vibrant and beautiful shower of color, the last you see before the beginning of dark. When I introduced her for the first time to my mother, she said, 'Alice, he will go blind within a year, and I am very well aware that you know it. Make sure he sees everything he wants by then!'. I am sure if there had been no Alice, my mother would let me watch things I always wanted to see, but could she show them now? Could she crawl her way through this veil of darkness and make me see her once again?

***

I remember the day when I saw a spider web drenched in morning dew. There were butterflies which cautiously avoided the web drawn by the masterful spider. I tried taking those dew drops out of the cobweb when my mother called me to come for breakfast. I remember how steam would rise from the morning porridge into heights which my imagination would fill in. 'Where will the steam reach, will it see us from the top?', I asked. 'It will see you, sweetheart. But it may not see this old lady!', she said as I watched the steam going further and further up.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Re-Connecting

Yesterday night before closing my diary, my grandmother called out to me asking to help her lift a canister of water. It would have been just 1 or 2 kilograms, but the calcium deficiency in her bones made the task for her seemingly preposterous.

The night before, she complained that the channels were all mixed up after the satellite dish was installed,

'What was the need of all this filth? Just to sell us these useless umbrellas!'

Yeah, we all hated it in the beginning, we all dejected the transformation. 'So when are you going to convert from analog to digital?' they kept asking every time you turned on the TV. And it was becoming a very strange nuisance.

'Call the cable operator, Anand. Call him and ask them to fix this!', my grandfather used to say every single time those deplorable TV actresses would come up and campaign for the digital world.

'But we fixed it already', I'd keep saying but it never did sink in, even for a little while.

His dementia was taking a toll on all of us, perhaps more than it ever claimed on him. Apart from the random concerns on water bills, electricity bills, medical bills, land bills, and more-fucking-shit bills that come once in every month but twice in every hour to grandfather's depreciating memory, he was relatively calm. He enjoyed walks with Ruth, our pet Labrador, in the evening and used to play catch with him inside home. I always felt Ruth was the only one who could tolerate him and his age. As for me and grandma, well we loved him and stopped answering to every single concern of his.

It had been 3 years and 4 months since my search for a job found me here, as a content analyst in an online news sharing group. The job has become pretty boring lately with the same old garbage of Hindutva, dictatorial politics and a superhuman Prime Minister making and faking the news, but I've learnt to neglect things which do not really serve me. I earn good, and fake as much too, which is both directly proportional in a modern society! Well the thing has been that it had been 3 years and I can't remember a single day in which all the complaining and all the old-people-stuff took a turn for the better. I still end my day, lying in my bed, watching stars, listening to Pink Floyd and occasionally smuggling in and taking a pot or two.

***

'See your grandfather is in a very fragile state. I know he loves walking your dog, but I think it is time he cease activities which put his body in undue strain.'

'Yes doctor. I keep saying this to him, but he just doesn't listen', and that is how walking Ruth became my illustrious duty.

Ruth is a strange dog. He doesn't bark, he doesn't shit or piss all around (he has specific places laid out to him in the backyard) and he doesn't pointlessly loiter and drool over the entire house. I've heard my grandfather being an extreme taskmaster in his jolly good days, and like all dogs Ruth may just be an extension of his master. Walking him seemed almost like walking alone, in the beginning. He would not exert any tension on the chain, he wouldn't run frenzied behind any other animal, he won't drop his nose and pick up every scent nearby. He, well, he just walked.

I have recently grown to believe that every thing in our house has become old, including Ruth. And all the history, all the boundaries of generation and time has become too hard to traverse for a guy like me, who always yearned to be free.

'Mom, I'm moving out of here. They are your parents after all, you come here. Stay. And watch over them!'

'Just this year dear, trust me! And me and your dad will move over there.'

Well, a year was not too long a time but the signs are pretty much self-exhibitory, it would be gross!

***

It was in this backdrop that I was writing my diary, and went down to the call from my grandmother all for to see her lying down on the floor along with all the water that grumpy old canister could hold.

'Anand, call the cable operator and ask this to be fixed!' I heard my grandfather shouting from the other room. And I stood there, blank and alone.

My grandmother married my grandfather at the age of 15, which in fact was pretty old in her times for girls to get married. She had an Elementary School Leaving Certificate (ESLC), which was good enough to let you pursue a career in teaching. But the idea was chopped down even before it sprouted in her mind with the proposal of my grandfather. I don't remember how many years have gone by since I was fully aware of their relationship, which I always imprudently assumed to be purely ceremonial. There was something deeper between them which I prayed would pull my grandfather out of his dementia-tic incongruence and realize that his aide, his comrade was lying helplessly in front of me. As from his normal complaints, I was sure it didn't.

People came, people cried and people went. Locked inside the house were just us, three living beings with our divergent interests with one of them who couldn't fully express what they were.

'Where is your grandmother. Why is she not bringing tea?', I realized then that after everything that happened, all grandfather could ever find was another ominous reason to complain about.

***

The walks with Ruth became the high part of each day. I watched his drilled out routine and couldn't help but admire. There was a certain respect he demanded out of everyone he meet. In fact, as revered my grandfather was in society, Ruth held an equal share. Everyone I met during the walks knew Ruth and my grandfather. Everyone kept asking on how he was adapting to the death of his wife to which I would forge and fake a sufficiently pleasing answer. Ruth would stand stiff during our conversation and maybe think about the senile man at home who kept asking where his wife went all day.

'Anand, where is your grandmother?'

'Pa, she is dead. She died weeks ago. Please understand!'

Every time I break the news, there will be a hollow look in his eyes, as if he could understand, As if he was remembering every joy and pain shared in their long lives. But then he would wake up to his disease and say something quite arbitrary,

'But I saw her today morning!'

The nights were tough. I assumed the job of preparing dinner for the three of us, and would be showered with complaints until I finished eating. Too much salt, not sweet, quite sour, no taste at all and every other thing one could ever say bad about food. Ruth ate it all the same, without a noise, with his deep satisfied breaths. He turns out to be pretty good at cleaning up everything, like my grandmother used to say,

'Thanks to Ruth, no wastes ever!'

Well I couldn't help but thank him at times. He would fetch the milk from a nearby house, I just need to tie a bag around his neck. He has developed into a mature transactor it seems, as they claim he once waited when they forgot to put the balance amount inside his bag. My work turned tiring from boring. The Prime Minister and his enforced nonsense burns the hell out of me, and the things he say are so pathetically long that I fail to contain it to the 120 word limit. Yet, people love him it seems, as he continue saying that things are going to get jolly good under him. Well at least for me, it never did.

***

'You are shifting me to the travelogue team? Is that fucking true?',  I remember using precisely those words at our chairman when I got the call to join the travelogue department which was a relatively new venture. I must say I hyperventilated, I was excited and I inhaled an air of deep satisfaction and incredulous joy. Travelling had been my passion before I was reduced to the four corners of this office, and to retrieve it was too good to believe! I threw away the papers on my desk, ran to the parking lot, picked up my bike and sped through.

'Ruth! Grandpa! I'm shifted to the travelogue department!'

Both of them looked equally confused, and it transcended onto my face. There was this forgotten issue of being a caretaker which I failed to add to the equation.

'It is my dream, mom. Don't spoil it, please!'

'I'm asking for a few more months, Anand. We have issues here that we need to attend to. Understand that dear'

I threw the receiver of the phone away from my ears, and for the first time was disturbed by the deafening silence around me.

'Anand, call the cable operator!', I heard him shout from underneath and in a flash I raced down.

'I don't know how many times I told you that this shit has been fixed. Why do you complain so much Pa? Why can't you just shut up and die peacefully like grandmother and everyone else?'

My voice shriveled and I felt Ruth running around my legs. He was barking, he was panting. I kicked him in the rage and ran back to my room. I didn't cook dinner that night, just to express my anger at those two beings incapable of ever discerning it.

***

I woke up in the morning. Washed my face, went down. The TV screen was blank, it said that the dues were not cleared for the previous month and the subscriber was asked to contact the cable operator. With the blue light it showered all over the room, I saw my grandfather sleeping in his armchair and Ruth at his feet, faithfully. Ruth, he was a strange dog, he could never leave his master even though his master could barely remember his name!

I went to cook breakfast, the wheat bread in the pan was giving off an appetizing aroma as I called the cable operator to ask him of the dues and fix the issue today itself. He complained that many days had gone by since the cable was cut, and nobody was responding, so he had to terminate the connection. The procedures in the digital era to reconnect would be cumbersome, but it would hopefully not be too boring for a person like me. Hopefully!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Outlaws

I do not know why I fell in love with him, maybe it was because like all loves, ours were blind, perfect and with no critical intelligence.

***

'Albin, you should participate. It has been 10 or 11 times you've been here and every single time it was only me who was speaking. Say something today.'

All I could hear were faint murmurs from times begone. I had a lot to say, perhaps even more he could perceive or begin to understand. And yet I used to watch him, like everyone he was human and his features; the way he drifts his lower jaw to stress his point and the general sarcasm to perceive himself being well off and in a position to advice, dominated him throughout.

'Albin, you see, we all have problems, everyone of us hold a lifetime of emotions underneath. But we all decided to smile, ain't that what you should do?'

Ah, fuck off, Albin is dead, what you see is an image of him, perhaps your own reflection!

***

Before Albin, the person I used to be, died. And many years before the obsolescent counselling, which from beginning to be dreary turned repulsive, bothered the existing human being, there was a life I have now begun to forget, A life which would have taken an obvious route of job, marriage, kids, retirement and eventual death, unless it was drastically led into a path of revolt and an irresistible, passionate love which I found with him.

'Society serves on a brutal domination politics by the majority. It has a nature wherein it makes you think like them or destroys you completely. Go follow the tribe, or die wandering! Life is pretty much that!', Sushant once said at our Student Circle.

'All majorities were put into power with a revolution!'

'The days of the revolution have come and gone Albin, it is a continuum today, of people striving to improve their wealth while holding onto their primitive thoughts. True revolution should happen inside the human mind, sadly which is not being used too much today.'

Sushant, the person who had climbed to the thinker's pinnacle - a world where humans are not any different from animals. He wished to stay there, a place which is equally shared between the living and the non living. At first, it would have been admiration to a person who brought to words my repressed thoughts. But sooner rather than later it turned to a feeling of deep emotional appeal.

'Sushant, I don't know how to begin to say it. I am not even sure how you'd think about it. I can't help it, I have fallen in love with you!'

How clogged with perturbation his face looked then, how charged with thoughts. He hugged me, and asked me if I knew the implications.

'Do people love by thinking about implications?', I asked.

He smiled.

Loving him was like planting revolution within us, which grew like effervescence with our meetings. It bore fruits which initially tasted bitter but one whose addictive power kept pulling us into it. I felt like I was trapped inside a vortex of flame, drowning into it every time and emerging as a transformed person. Society and all its taboos, its pity views, its narrow mindedness, its filthy acts of drawing people into the tribe, and the crushing venom with which it destroyed the divergent trace would never have the expansiveness to accept us. We would be considered as the outcast, the people who poisons other minds just by physical contact. Night after night, my life kept drifting, mind playing games with the body. We were criminals. They are going to arrest you, they are going to showcase you like meat, they will mock you and they will eat you in the end!

***

By article 377 of Indian Constitution, we were criminals who could even get a life term in prison just because of who we were. At first it were our friends who segregated us as untouchables. It was the demarcation of an alien idea, which will then be subjugated by society's own law.

'Kutthhe, college khatham aapka, bilkul khatham!' 

'You dog, your college life is over!', the shouts at home grew incessant.

And both of us cracked. Sushant got TC from the college and was asked to pursue his ancestral job of fishing in the backwaters of Kerala, while I searched for redemption amidst a patriarchal law. It didn't last long, as the day my course ended I was given a job as a sales executive in a car showroom owned by my father's friend who regularly placed a scanner on the places I went and people I meet. And in that famous summer when a nationalist party residing on religious agendas obtained supreme power and when half the population was evaporating in the heat waves with nothing to dream or eat I got a goodbye letter from my friend.

'Dear Albin,

We should accept that we are different. It is perhaps a mistake that should not have happened. Both our lives should have been ordinary. It would have been better. I am going to Qatar tomorrow, I may not come back again.

Yours own,
Sushant'

*** 

'Why were we different? Was it my mistake, my wrong? Could I have been somebody else? Does this difference make me any less a man than the next person I meet?'

'Albin, it is not your mistake. Please stay calm.'

I could feel the way his jaws remained straight. He was deceptive now, his assurances were blatant lies. And I exploded with the revelation.

'You don't get what it is like do you? Can you imagine a day when you having a relationship with your wife will be considered an offence because she is a woman? Can you imagine a day when your identity, your gender would remain so obscure, so irrelevant that you yourself would fail to truly understand it?'

***

My mind kept searching new valleys of freedom, though my body remained arrested in my bed. Tomorrow, distinctly, another day shall come by, people would forget me and my story. But I could never forget Sushant, he was my friend, he was my lover, he was my world. Hopes for new horizons no longer await me, I have come to feel that no good can ever happen. Yet words from somewhere far away in time still calls out to me:

'All majorities were put into power with a revolution!'

The words still ignites my soul and brings light to my path.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Deepening Yen

Antonio Kafka is like me in many ways. He has my name and we live the same life. He looks like me, he dresses like me, uses the same colors in our paintings, the same pungent odor escapes our body when we masturbate and his life fucked him up in numerously outrageous ways as mine. We were both born in India, but raised up in Portugal. Yet, what differentiated Antonio from this humble son of a gun is the nickname which stuck onto me, Toni, with which she would address me every time we made love!

I have always felt that Antonio lived a life which required no exceptional introduction, nor an eclectic characterization. He lost his mother when he was three, had no siblings and studied in a boy's school before enrolling in a seminary, which basically meant that the only scent of a woman which ever passed through his nostrils, to find itself passionately filling his lungs, were the murky evaporated sweat of his house maid. His only hobby was detaching himself from a formless world of disoriented colors and losing somewhere in his self-created havens of art. Antonio, the ordinary Portuguese student, the faithful son who obeyed his father, the artist who developed a mythical extravagance to his long lost mother; he had a lot of differences from me, but somewhere underneath we held the same yearning for love. Maybe it was this yearning which would have asked him to trace the only love he had known, which overflowed onto him from distant immaterial wolds, filling him in motherly affection. He set forth to India one cold night, leaving behind his father's dreams and a country which raised him up. His mother, Maria, was a Goan woman whose seductive charm once captured the heart of Sergeant Roger Kafka. Roger had known what his son went in search for,

'Love', Roger once said to Maria, 'the penultimate desire, only out beaten by a raging suffocation to end one's life!'. And it filled my heart even before Antonio could fathom the dissolution of poison through his and mine veins alike.

Goa rested upon India like a stitched piece of silk onto an old rag. Her persuasive brilliance at once leads you towards an extreme sense of belonging, which would later ask you to come searching for her when your mind is in turmoil. Antonio was in turmoil and he could hug Goa as if she were his own mother, that expansiveness, that sense of affection with which Goa received him still agonizes me. If it wasn't for me, he would have given all his love to a thing as lifeless as a place.

*** 

I met Antonio in a dark room, he was naked. He was lying in a bed which smelt of people and a piercing perfume which made him dizzy. Into the room light would fall drop by drop from a red lantern outside, illuminating him and the woman who lied next to him. The tattoo on her back, a tiger, encroached upon his fears and drove him insane. His search for ancestral roots led him towards her and he clutched onto her as if he held the whole world within his hands. She perspired in an impulsively created dedication, hoping for Antonio to finish the job. But Antonio held her and listened to the sound her breaths made; it was as if he heard lullabies from a distant and deserted homeland which existed only in his forgotten memories.

'What happens to be your name?', the woman asked.

'Antonio'

'Well Antonio, why don't you finish it off and just leave?', she was furious, 'If you want to continue this game, I'll give you someone else!'

Antonio got up, dressed and gave ten folded thousand rupee notes and was about to leave when she held him back and threw the notes onto his face.

'I don't take money for a work I didn't do!' she said. Antonio still couldn't decipher if it were the lantern or her blood which made her cheeks glow in a desirous red!

***

However I disrespect Antonio, I still must confess that he was a great artist. All the paintings which laid dormant inside him suddenly ignited itself back to life. Antonio painted in the refreshing Goan mornings and asked me to make love in the lustful Goan nights. Every time I went in search for her, the streets echoed her name, the skies threw hues of red and my mind kept kissing her, the divine form of her.

The first visit after that night was the hardest. Antonio still didn't know how to approach a woman who depressingly criticized his lack of manpower. I remember all his paintings during the period and the grave purple with which he expressed his thoughts. The fight between me and Antonio pushed him to new horizons in which he floated with his brush and rampant thoughts. Finally, Antonio would let me lose and made me walk though those streets in search of her bewildering scent.

'I'm not Antonio', I said, 'I'm Toni and I want you, today, tomorrow and every day!'

She laughed. She said she was Mia and she said she was all mine.

***

'Toni', Mia whispered. She stood still, half naked; baked with the glorious rays of a thousand devious mornings and by the wrath of a thousand torturous nights. Her magnificent tattoo was a pessimist's rebellion, her colored lips were a resentful escapism from truth. She was not perfect, but she was seductive, she was like the reflection of moon on turbulent water, her eyes were floating debris which searched for new shores to own and her lips a mystic gorge which takes you deeper with every kiss, which stops the pumps of your heart and the troubles of your lungs. Her random motions formed undecipherable patterns, each with its own strange tranquility and aura. I submerged in her art, and was reborn with grades of darkness which hung all around on my own pithy works. She was a force which kept pulling me on, which on striking demanded unity. I could never see her individually again, we were two indistinct spots on canvas, two meaningless, worthless marks of the brush which overlapped each other and was part of an impressive whole. The unity was terrifying, the unity was troubling, but the unity was true. And we floated on, night after night as frail clouds repetitively disarrayed by wind, constantly changing forms and ceaselessly intermixing with each other.

Our hearts weighed down each day we couldn't meet, our hearts broke when she had a new customer, our hearts inadvertently cried when the world mocked us and our togetherness.

The period marked a crucial change of fortune. My paintings grew more bold and desperate. My father, receiving no communication from his son died sheltering a pain which showed no retreat. While, unknowingly, I survived as Toni, forgetting the logical existence of Antonio. It was also during that time a random passer-by asked me for my name and then invited me to exhibit my works in some institute in France. It was Antonio's token of hope and Toni's hidden desire. Separation from Mia suddenly became inevitable. And as I took the flight to France, still bearing the taste of her glossy lipstick I realized that along with all the paintings, I carried Mia and her unexplored divinity.

***

I was offered to stay back in France and study deeply about art. I struggled to stay for a week or two, but eventually decided to go back to Portugal. The news of my father's death meant I was devoid of home or family, and the freedom of not owning anything and not being loved empowered me. I went back to Goa to broaden the scopes of that freedom.

I walked through the streets, coloring it in different strokes of devotion. I ran towards her, hugged her and kissed her as long as I was away. I was not in love, I was in an emotion which transcended earthly explanations. Every gaze into her soaked me in cosmic showers of spectacular vibrancy which I poured into her as spasms of ecstasy.

She is here, she is mine, she is love, she is a spot of opaqueness in the bright which personifies light and grants life, and I was her shadow. We were different yet we were the same, we were apart yet we were together, we were corollaries of the same boring theory, without charm but insanely affirming. I undressed her, kissed the tiger in its shallow eyes and dived into her lips to be lost forever again.

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Poet's Concern

Is it my mind which is corrupted?
Or is it my mortal frame which is ruined?
Pinnacle of all thoughts - once a part of my labyrinth,
Now die an inglorious death,
A sea of patient ideas, dry and disfigured,
Holds now the smoke of rejected motives and revolting drugs,
I stand on its shores - reminiscing
About winds, waves and light on pure sand!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Letters to my Mother

My dearest mom,

I feel I am now ready to speak about myself, my dreams and how I intent to be separated from everything the world forced me with. Before getting too deep, I should ask for an apology. You raised me up, sang for me when I cried, counted my first steps, laughed with me, cried with me, asked me to follow my dreams, made me think my own thoughts and in the end made me free. I apologize for taking that freedom and corrupting the glory of it, rather selfishly. It is interesting to share a memory here, the day was the 1st of June 1996, I was 3 and by brother was as much months old; you took me to school for the very first time and when I cried, your eyes turned wet. Yet you never took me away, you never said to stop school and sit at home, you never found how much I detested being away. And now, as I write this letter, I believe if you would have asked me to stay then, I wouldn't have been away now. But I love this life, our home is now more or less a place of shelter to me, a place with which I have no serious emotional relationship. I have an intimacy with this road now, an intimacy which fails to be fulfilled regardless the extent to which I taste its infinite thrills. I must travel along mom, and I must travel alone. I'll send you a letter soon.

Till then,
Goodbye,
Anand

***

Mom,

Do you find how ironic the world is? Last letter, I tore my heart open in front of you and proudly and quite foolishly, acclaimed that I do not have any emotion pertaining to our home. Well, last night I dreamed of you, and our home. It was wonderful wasn't it? And easy too. I had to wake up, and everything was right there in front of me - food, clothes, money, love! I don't have much of that anymore. While I write this letter, I am travelling in a bus, and alongside, a woman and her 10 month old baby. It is surprising to see how earnestly she looks after him, she could feel his slightest disturbances and enjoy his smallest smiles. I grew rather fond of them, because within them I saw us, can you believe that mom? Yeah. We were inside them, like all the other mothers and their children, all inside their eyes, all inside their selfless love. I know you'd be crying when you read this, I'm close to you mom, I can't really separate myself from your love.

With love,
Anand

***

Dear mom,

Last few days were difficult for me. I keep on travelling, yet I cannot stop the overwhelming thoughts of home, of our silly arguments and of all the fun we had. I wish to come back to you some day but there are things for me to do here, there are people out there who are waiting for me, who are without home, without food and, most importantly, without love. I wish to be the guiding light that leads them out of darkness, I wish to be an ordinary man who wished to do extraordinary things for them. I know you'll agree with me someday, and we could all live happily after that. For now, I am confused myself. Why do I feel that it is I who deserves all the help? Maybe it is because the altruistic haven I have dreamed of is rather unrealistic and unreachable. But the world is like this because people like me and you failed to put thoughts into actions right? So, however hard it maybe, I have decided to keep going till I see light.

Love you mom,
Anand

***
Mom,

Things are going really bad for me now. I am beginning to question the very essence of human suffering, and is now beginning to seriously doubt whether it is worthwhile for me to keep guiding people on towards a new life, all for to find them deserting me. Is it because I expect things out of people too much? When I was young you always asked me never to expect rewards for things I do, which frankly I have never really yearned for. But is ignorance a 'nothing' word or is it a 'punishment'? A lot of questions are brewing in my head. I have met people who are corrupt and I have met people who are ready to dip their heads in bowels of shame for a round of meal, it does not add up does it? I feel like I am just a drop of clarity in an ocean of filth, I am afraid that if I continue they would corrupt me too. I do not want to lose my identity, I just want to be free.

Yours own,
Anand

***

Dearest mom,

I have decided that whatever happens I must move on. The world can hurt me, and hunt me down in a million different ways, but I have lived on till now. I have fought a losing battle with my head held high. You know mom, last day a child came up to me holding a tainted piece of bread and held it onto my hands, and asked me to eat it. It is love, isn't it? These are things which define a person's life. All along, I didn't know for whom I was fighting for, now I realize the essence of my battle, it is for the love in that child's heart, it is for countless other children like him who extends everything they have even if they have so little, it is a sacrifice which is more pure, more divine and more sanctified than anything which I have ever made in my whole life. There is indeed a veil of darkness in front of me, but if I try I could burn my thoughts and shower my road with light!

Passionately,
Anand

***


Mom,

It seems I am now awakened to a new mental sunrise. I feel the air colder, and I feel it holding a beautiful scent. It is as if I am about to be taken out of a womb, which forever held me in untruth. Continuing from where I left off, I saw people, I absorbed their sufferings, and in between I discovered that every time a person shares his pain with you, he instills a part of himself within you. Countless people are existing within me now, and I am not alone.

With love,
Anand

***

Dear mom,

It has been a long time since I've last written, and I am sure you'd pardon me for that. You see I am discovering a lot of things lately which I am finding hard to decipher. Yesterday I dreamed of myself floating above humanity, surrounded by people I've met, into a mystic which is both afar and attractive. There is this peace that fills my inner sense every time I see a smile, and everything which confused me, every one who held me back seem lifeless now. I feel it had always been like this; to annihilate hatred, to annihilate fear, all you got to do is to dis-join yourself from this world and exist inside your own mind. I am beginning to grow now, I feel I am closer to my destination than I thought.

With hope,
Anand

***


My loving mom,

It is time I stopped sending these letters. I know it holds no good in the context of things. I have achieved a mental enlightenment, a pinnacle of all human philosophies. We all live in a vestige of space, shackled by our identity, impersonating a hero, and being slave to money, religion, God and our own thoughts. However we try, the knowledge of our mortality troubles us, and our greed for immortality conspires against us. I believe we were all in a state of Buddhahood at birth but life fucked us up into believing we are an inferior lot who ought to be in a natural path towards attaining superiority. I have journeyed far, and I have journeyed wide, and everywhere I went, every person I see wants his life to get better in ways he dreams of. It had been foolish in my part to stand as a middle man in this show, because even if I were non-existent somehow they would have pursued their goals. It is insane for me to continue this journey, because I have now learnt what I wish to learn. Now, all saints of the past and present would ask me to share this knowledge with the common man and lead him to salvation, but I am against this notion of sharing a person's experience because it would make very little sense to the audience. I have decided to stay where I am now. I am surrounded by life, which in itself is a rarity in the cosmos, and I have decided to stop my thoughts, because when the glass is full, it cannot hold more. I am sorry I was not a capable son, I am sorry I was not by your side when you wanted me. But do remember, that even when I am gone a part of me still drifts around you, and around all the people I love. Take those memories, and keep searching for yourself, because someday when you find yourself, you would see me too!

Anand