Saturday, December 23, 2006

REGIMENTATION



What is it that we love most about ourselves? The answer lies in a painful contradictry realisation, at least for some of us. We think we love the fact that we have free will. But, really do we?

Let's take this bull by the horns then... To begin with, no free will in terms of the family you're born into. This takes care of bloody mother tongue, your taste buds, cultural costume... and much later in life, if the need arises, it takes care of home cadre too! Second, no free will about the sibling(s) you'll have... if he's really a snitch, then you've had it with your childhood... if she's bitchy, well your call. Not much free will about the school you'll go to...that ensures your proficiency in English, in a regional language, depending on the nature, quality and capability of the teachers, it also determines to a large extent what your general character will be like. (Of course, ultimately we all have "free will" to determine what kind of people we'll be ;-)

Okay, a little bit of free will when choosing a college or vocation.... or is there? Don't marks in the board exams count? And there are cut-throat entrance exams, swelling numbers of candidates, reservations..or plain bad luck. Next stage, performance in these colleges, well this is where free will comes into play (actually the same applies when in school). It is entirely upto us, whether to be the grasshopper or the ant...

When life gives us lemons, some make lemonade, some make a face (they're trying to eat the damned sour things), and the smart ones get the bottle of Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Anejo or Mezcal (Okay quiz question... find out what these names denote and you'll get what i'm talking about)...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

here here kitty...



CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT... I DEBATED LONG IF I SHOULD LET THE RIFF RAFF IN ON THIS SECRET... BUT I GUESS IT'S TIME I DID SO... SO THERE... SO LONG!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

SALE

OSTRACISM MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE AN UNWANTED CONDITION, IT NEED NOT BE A PUNITIVE MEASURE THAT EFFECTIVELY CURTAILS THE SOCIAL ACTIVITIES OF THAT PARTICULAR PERSON IN QUESTION. IT MIGHT AS WELL BE A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION; AT FINALLY BEING LEFT ALONE TO HIS OWN DEVICES, WHERE IT IS QUITE PLAUSIBLE THAT HE MAY REALISE THE POTENTIAL OF THE HUGE OAK TREE BORNE OUT OF A LITTLE ACORN.

WHAT THEN IS THE CAUSE FOR THE USUAL, ALMOST CASUAL IN ITS REACH, FEAR OF BEING AN OUTCAST, OF NOT BELONGING ANYMORE?

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO ATTACH ONESELF TO A PERSON, A HOUSE, A CAR, A LANGUAGE, A REGION, AN IDEOLOGY, AN IDEA?

IS THIS THE REASON WHY PEOPLE ACQUIRE OTHER PEOPLE OR OTHER THINGS? BECAUSE ONCE YOU OWN SOMETHING, THERE IS NO WAY YOU WILL UN-BELONG, OR BE LEFT LONELY?

DO YOU THEN FORGET THAT IN THIS PROCESS YOU HAVE ALREADY SOLD YOURSELF!

Friday, October 20, 2006

you're only as little as the things that annoy you



"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm."
From STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER, by Tom Robbins, 1980

What annoyed Neitzche most was God... I guess since that's taken, I'll have to figure out something much bigger to annoy me... let me mull over what that could be; I'll get back to you about that... But let me ask the same question of you now... What annoys you the most?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Unofficial Report

Well, where do I start…with my predicament with a future looming with five people from Bihar, three from Madhya Pradesh, two from Uttar Pradesh, one Kashmiri, one Marathi, one from Tamil Nadu, one from Karnataka, one from Andhra Pradesh and one your truly. Or maybe I should talk about their characteristics: one who is physically uncoordinated, one who writes Aaj ki kabita, one who recites Sanskrit shlokas, one who keeps quiet, three who shout, one who complains about his non-existent blisters, one who teaches botany (okay, I learnt a lot from that quarter), one who mouths silly South Indian stuff and thinks I’m dumb, perhaps simply because of the way I look, one who draws really bad sketches, one who pukes his guts out every time the bus moves an inch and then says blames it one something that he ate or didn’t eat, all of whom take numerous breaks to drink tea, all who showed genuine expression of surprise as they discovered that i'm quite knowledgeable in many areas of academic or practical intelligence, all who were scandalized every time I lit up a cig, or the one who religiously covered his nose at the aforementioned activity, or maybe about the who decided that he loves me too (on top of his girlfriend). Maybe I should mention that NOW THAT WE ARE BACK, NONE OF US TALK TO EACH OTHER THAN IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY…(although there was one complaint today: Should I be writing an email??) Hah! You wish…sod off!

Now, I guess the itinerary of the trek would make some sense: it included Gangotri, Gaumukh, Dodital, Dharwadhar, Hanumanchatti and Yamunotri. Quite a few kms were to be spent on the bus, however we had to walk 106 kms…. Hence the mammary loss! (Despite the fact that Satya-san told me in Delhi that I don’t look thinner at all….) The terrain was beautiful, despite being Garhwal, I have inherent bias towards the un-spoilt beauty of Kumaon….but man I wish I had better company. Even though I thought I’d stay all aloof to begin with, things turned around as I chatted with an expat bihari who is almost half bong due to educational background… Then on, I calculated that I could be alone and miserable, or stoned and making fun of myself… you see there was initial thing… “Yaar, hindi me batao! Mujhe angrezi nahi aati.” So, I did… but as you well know, I have that massive Jaat influence in my language, man…I tell you, Jaw-Dropping material!

FOOD HABITS:
This bunch of people fuels themselves with tea… Subah ki chai, then another cup… breakfast, then chai, then another couple of tea breaks with maggi and biscuits as and when available, then lunch and tea, then some more tea…maybe one or two cups, even three sometimes, and then dinner and finally….chai…. All the while, between these umpteen, grrrrrrr….tea breaks the group would amble along on the trek… also, food has to be above par… and yes! Chammas lao bhai…katori bhi do…. And the poor guy at side-y restaurant in side-y town in the hills came running with said spoons and bowls, which had manufacturer stickers on them…must have brought them direct from a shop… and one guy actually turns his nose, hides it in the palm of his hand when someone eats anything non-vegetarian. MADNESS! Especially atop the thing that he excavates his nose in public, probes his behind in public, belches loudly in public, yawns for everyone in 300 meter radius in public and commits many other un-mentionable sins...in public.

Anyway, now that I’ve sat on this for too long, I’m getting tired of writing one line a day… I’ll let the picture do all the talking… it is one of the OT’s a fellow trek group member who took a bath in the local tube well and was drying his clothes on the way... Now you now what i was up with...

P.S. i had fun, and i guess i made a few friends...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Raving and Ranting


What is wrong with me? Has my conduct in life been so far wrong and so inappropriate that I need corrective mechanisms to be put in place so I can function as a right minded cog in the well-oiled (read bribed), much maligned (read the newspapers), oft-abused (ask any citizen) machinery that I am to be part of… Actually the question is: Am I part of the machine or is the machine part of me??? Is this my job, or is this me? I have never been my books, my friends, my parents, my society, my cousins, my lovers… they have been around at one time or the other depending on importance and necessity, but all through it, I have been me.

Suddenly, here I am where there is a conscious effort on to make me feel guilty of being who I am. I like me, I like being me, and I am comfortable with me. Nearly four weeks and I am struggling very hard to respect the ‘others’ for who they are, but their right of swinging their arm, rather their right of using words directed at me, ends where my ear begins. Their words cannot delve deep into my mind, let alone my psyche… if they want to reform someone, go find someone who needs it… I am not screaming for attention, it is not my fault if I look the way I do, wear what I do and think the way I do.

My mind has been carefully groomed, sharpened and edged to cut through bullshit. Social graces are almost inherent by virtue of birth, personal grace is what I was born with, and my dressing sense has been honed under the scanner of people who revel, celebrate and enjoy the way I look. I will give you the inch that you ask, but do not grab the whole fucking kilometer. In that case, I shall give it right back and twice the intensity at least, if not more. And if you want me to look interested, then for heaven’s sake have something worthwhile on display…

Disclaimer: These are my personal views, does not bear any burden on any organization, person, or combination of the two, whether living or dead, real or fictional in any which way.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

ultimately


the leaf had a name
the name was yours
she stared hard at the name, hoping that the bleak letters would metamorphose into real flesh and blood
wishful thinking...

so she sent the leaf on its way to the ground
there it met with soft earth
it took on the color of earth
they said that it dried up
rain fell on it for days
they said it was decaying

then it turned into dust merging with the soul of the earth
they said it died

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Enforced Isolation


If I could help it, I would never be here... No, that is a lie! I can always help being where I want to be... what is bothering me is the question: Did I really want to be here? And the ancilliary thoughts that creep up as a consequence... If I wanted to be here, did I want to be isolated and unhappy? If I didn't want to be here, then how the hell did I get here?
The next set of queries also arise: is there a way for me to alleviate my condition? Is there a way for me to escape?

The worst part is that in my quest for answers, all I find myself doing is providing myself with endless justifications... I believe that is a very dangerous sign.. it is the path to doom and destruction of my self... just as the mist covers this town in the hills, it seems to me that I'm trying to cover my eyes with the veil of the so-called life, responsibilities and the semblance of societal independence that I hope to get out of my incarceration...

I need to have a job... this is a good job... this job shall provide me with social standing, as i intend to be a single woman... etc...etc...etc...

silly excuses all of them, I do hope I have the intelligence to spot when I'm stopped being who I am and become what I do.. and I do hope I have the gumption to let go then...hope I do not fool myself any further with more excuses then.. right now, I have to give this a shot, and a fair shot at that....I owe that to myself! Or do I?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

D-Day in Delhi


My last post for a while from the comforts of this home... All that is left here are a few of my memories, some photographs, some paintings and some poems...
All set...raring to go...revving up the engine...grrrrr!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

flicking the pages of life


“maybe we’re always strangers…to ourselves the most…and to be reassured of our solitary existence is the only comfort that others can give....”
Puts a real twist into looking for that one person to be with…one person who’ll be there, who’ll love and be loved, who’ll care and be cared for, who’ll be woken up to. Where does one go from something like that? Where do all the dead relationships go? What of the ones in which one is now dead or dying? And what about Mira who loved Krishna who lived five thousand years before her?

I’ve pondered long enough on this… All I find is that I am exactly where I was before. I am still me, albeit changed by everyone I’ve been with, however long or short the duration. That brings me to another point: were they the ones who sought a different life? Did I not choose the same? If fate is something real then the parting was destined. Then did I not in some form (conscious, subconscious or unconscious) desire that separation, even at the very beginning?

Am I just ambling through the designs of life already pre-determined, destined and karmic? Or am I making a choice? Is this really MY life?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men


Bear with me…I’m still in this phase of mind. Gained an objective perspective on emotional disappointment of late. This is my way of making head or tail of that. I’ve thrived on a lot of planning, I must confess. Guess we all do. Show me a person who claims to ‘go with the flow’ and I’ll show you a liar.

So we plan and we plan. Some people make one, while others like me have many contingency plans…if this doesn’t work out, then this might…if not then I have this as my backup…etc. etc. etc. And some plans fructify; others come to nought. Either which way, we lose…precious time. What was the point of planning for contingencies when this is successful? If this was going to be unsuccessful, why did I waste time planning for it?

The only objective look that I’ve found in this entire predicament is uncertainty. As we’re unsure of all outcomes, we plan for as many of them as we possibly can, given our capabilities. These are the games people play and they are the games nations play. If time is what we make of it, then is this how it was meant to be? And while I’m on it let me add another observation, since this deals with emotional disappointment. Why do we ‘pay’ attention and ‘spend’ time? (Particularly in the English language because we do very different things with both time and attention in Hindi or any other Indian vernacular languages…)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Switch


In his book “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” Tom Robbins wrote something to the effect that (I’m paraphrasing here) - success closes as many doors as failure does. At first it struck me as completely profound and truthful as did some line in a song by Travis – the circle only has one side. Upon further rumination, I figured both are wrong. The circle has two sides as all other objects, opinions, arguments, viewpoints and counter arguments. And while failure closes that ‘one’ option, success closes the window on all other opportunities. A person gets stuck with success, while failure helps him strive again. Ask Edison, who famously said, “I didn’t fail, I figured out 1999 ways of how not to make a light bulb!”

In 2004, a friend told me, “It would be wonderful if you study hard but fail in this exam”. At that point of time I thought it was a needlessly vicious thing to say. I did fail at that exam; I was crushed. It was the last time I cried. I still remember. 3rd of August 2004. (Well, it took me until February, the next year, to recover resolve, build determination and study again, and this time successfully. Now I find my options quite limited.) The lesson however that I learnt was not to be affected by either success or failure.

About the circle and it’s two sides: inside and outside…it smacks of the Hindu concepts of Karma and Maya. A business tycoon and a typical yogi are the same. One is running towards money, the other away from money. Money thus is the focus. To reduce the sense of dimensions even if one used a point in space, imaginary for both geometry and meditation, it doesn’t amount to much… (Rather it does because a point has some existence.) I guess that is why Sankhya, Nirvana and Kaivalya culminate in absolute nothingness.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rain!


a sensation creeps up from behind me,
it is soft and sensual,
it nibbles my ear.

it whispers bottles of life into me,
while i stand stone cold sober,
looking out to the grey skies pouring rain.

this parched land quenches itself,
when will i slake my thirst?
instead i turn around to look at you.

Monday, June 12, 2006

THE AGEING WARRIOR 6


“Devi…I have something for you”. With that the Warrior held out his hand in her direction. In the twilight it was difficult for the Little Girl to make out exactly what it was that he brought back for her. He had been gone for days now. The battle was long and hard, but evidently he won. Rather he was on the winning side, he was alive after all. He hadn’t even stopped to change his clothes or have a bath. Whatever he had to give must be really important.

The Little Girl reached with her right hand. The Warrior placed something light and delicate in her palm. Before she could see what it exactly was, it moved. She shrieked, taken aback by the animation. Then it flew from her hand and landed near the oil lamp that was burning in the room. It was then she saw it was a butterfly. The beautiful creature flapped its wings slowly…for a moment she was transfixed at the sight. For a few brief moments a tranquil sense of beauty descended upon her.

The brain kicked in after that, “You must never catch a butterfly. Their wings are too delicate. Look at your fingers, they have picked up the color off of those wings.”

“I almost had to climb a tree to get that for you. My men chased it for half a day.”

“Thank you it is the best gift I have ever received. But now will you take it away and let it fly away.”

The Little Girl pondered over it for most of the night. It was like life itself. It is beautiful, but people shriek every time life animates itself. Shrieking is okay; after all, life takes every person by surprise. After that, however it is crucial to gauge the urgency and vitality of life. If only they saw it in the dim glow of an oil lamp…the dance of life was sure to suffuse elation in every heart. Enjoy the brief moments here on earth and then let go.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Ultimate Human Experience


Creation of mountains out of molehills, in my opinion is the crux of the ultimate human experience on this earth. Actually it falls more in the realm of society rather than the earth…because the earth is nurturing, forgiving and unconditional in terms of the opportunities provided to all humans. It is the societies that we inhabit that thrives on comparison, hence, competition. If those are the rules of the game, then for the intelligent it is imperative that they play by the ear…or if you will, take the bull by the horns.

Success thus is relative and requires constant upgradation almost on a daily basis. New mountains to climb, new seas to fathom, new horizons to conquer and new vistas to explore remain the key words in this sport called life.

What we choose as our goals, or battles, our hurdles derive from three sources, in this particular order:
- the social conditioning we received as children (including the nature and nurture by parents, extended family and assorted peers),
- the external world and its variegations, and
- the resources that we have within ourselves i.e. our educational qualifications, native intelligence kits, social interaction tools and built-in drive for excellence, efficiency and integration.

Until a point, considering the social system in place, the mountains are provided for us…class X boards, XII boards, graduation, master’s, doctorate etc… sometimes there are pop-ups like the reservation issue. But after all that is done and over the responsibility lies on us to create the next one. Most people choose the path of least resistance and choose relationships as their next goal (I shall love like none other); some choose fiscal matters (I want lots of money); very few take on the nature and purpose of existence itself (who am I, why am I here?).

No one can win here; nobody comes out of life alive. Each and every life will be wasted. How we choose to waste it is the essential query. It is our choice of the adversary and the adversity that provides the answer.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Zen


Amidst whirlpools of dust
Dervishing in the deeps waters
Spiraling up columns of sapphiric souls
That are unknowing and without hope
Expending in gaudy glitter masks
While the washed is ignored, laughed at or stoned…
There is death of aspiration, burial of illusions,
End of disillusionment, transforming the unseeing and the dying,
Into iridescent contortionists with acrobatic flair

To leave without a trace
In that onyx instance
If given an inch to move or take
Translucent mould of me it shall be you
Like the sway that induces whispering in dry flowers
I would be invisible but within
Transparent essence of you will be me

Thursday, May 25, 2006

spinning yarn


sciolistic tendencies give way to defenseless proclivities
spawning tired ol' bastards that nitpick with astounding temerity
giving way to baseless counter-attitudes
that float like karmic haze all around...
or is it a rank odor of stale cigarettes and pointless perspiration
caught in her own web, the black widow spider eats her own self...the mate long digested.
hydrochloric acid lined intestines churn out masticated peices of innocence, tenderness and affection
What is left?
just a song....
perhaps?
perhaps...

My Father's Hand

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rear...as in to aid growth, but also as in posterior anatomy

Not a moment’s respite…this woman, my mother they say…I don’t know for sure. I’ve been told that she gave birth…but it is only hearsay that she gave birth to me…could have been anyone else…I have to take it in good faith…what if I chose not to? Ah! That is what ails people around me here…because I have chosen not to: a choice that not many make; because people like the stable cocoon of a past, any past, and an equally verifiable illusion of a future. The present is a forgotten bastard, tucked away due to the pressures of societal shame (unwed mother; you hussy!), staring right at your face, but you ignore him to look elsewhere. His face is both ugly and beautiful, you are scared. Present is what is, past may be reconstructed and the future maybe embellished.

She wants to be my mother, she needs it, she attempts…to be a bad mother, she succeeds…she dangles carrots, and she fails…she hurls abuses. It is fun for me being as detached as I am right now. You called it “nishkam dharm” the other day; knowing more than me, I guess you are allowed to make observations…I don’t know what it is. All I know for sure is that I’m not bothered by anything…I retort when I feel like, with full conviction and I stay quiet with every cell in my being when I want to. I simply love the fact that I have a choice…and that I am exercising it. Actually, words do not make any sense when I try to say what I really want to say. It’s not as if I love that fact that I have a choice, or that I have a choice or even that I’m exercising my right to chose…I’m just doing it…just being here, right now, almost automatic.

Friday, May 19, 2006

course of action...

Life sucks...the only thing that i'm sure of right now...
i have no inspiration at all to write something... my days seem too trivial to write about...there is nothing to be happy about or even sad...
complete dislocation... i wrote last in april, more than a month ago...
should i pull the plug???

Thursday, April 06, 2006

THE AGEING WARRIOR 5

This morning he woke up with a dream; the rare and few that his subconscious still bothered him with. He dreamt of a glorious and gory battle against a worthy adversary. The land was lush with fresh grass, the first this spring, and the animals had not yet had a chance to graze here. Over there, where the camps were set up, the grass had become patchy. Some of the horses had taken a bite or two.

Magnificent animals those Arab thoroughbreds, to his right was a dead one. A pike driven through and through the horse’s vital organs sticking out in a sticky pool of blood on a black coat that was still shining in the evening light. Tomorrow the gloss will be gone when the vultures will feast. Isn’t it amazing how vultures profit from a battle? Fast food strewn all over the countryside, a choice of man or animal, of liver or entrails, that will be torn from the bones with sharp beaks and claws, of stomachs that will be filled with the valiant dead.

The Warrior was tired now; the battle cry was sounded just a little after dawn. Now the light was fading. He doesn’t remember how many he had killed today. He had lost count after seven. The adrenaline rushing through his veins, the blood pounding in his ears, the fluid act of wielding the sword combined to orchestrate a perfect dance of death. He was moving to its precise rhythm. The familiar muscular aches and pains had come and gone and come again now.

He was tired now. The man he was sparring with now was an equal swordsman in strength, skill and stamina. He was also visibly younger. That was his advantage. Today was the day, the Warrior knew. He became aware of the gash on his left shoulder. It wasn’t very deep, no; he wasn’t going to die from it. He had survived deeper wounds. The Warrior looked into the eyes of the other. Those eyes spoke of the unspoken code of warriors: fight unto the death. He wasn’t going to give up, so what if the day was nearly over.

The Warrior surrendered. He looked away towards the setting sun and smiled. As the last ray of the sun sank behind the hill the enemy drove the long blade into his heart. The Warrior instinctively knew that this was an honorable death. He could see it in the eyes of the enemy the understanding that this was someone to behead: one clean swift stroke.

It was morning. That was just a dream. Was the honor of warriors to be found only in the realm of dreams?

“What should I do? Where will I find solace? Help me.” The Teacher smiled and said, “There are but two eventualities. The choice is yours. You could teach the art of war to create a batch of new warriors. Or you could engineer a war where you could choose to die honorably.” The Teacher was compassionate; he understood the Warrior’s need to control his own destiny. That is why the Teacher did not tell him of the third but most difficult option: sit down, let it all awash, there is honor in dying peacefully.

“Devi, as I see it…I’ll have to create an army of warriors, that’ll take some training…there are very few men around these days. Then I’ll have to create conditions of war. An epic and glorious conflict where I will die.” “Is there room for a woman in your army?” said the Little Girl, “Will you teach me the way of a Warrior?”

Thursday, March 09, 2006

THE AGEING WARRIOR 4

“Imagine the infinite…close your eyes”, said the Warrior
“It’s impossible…I’ll need forever to imagine the infinite”, replied the Little Girl.
“Yes because wherever you stop, it will set a limit.”
“Hmm…”
“Allah-u-Akbar!”
“Hmm…”
“Do you know that it’s the most simple yet most profound statement.”
“No I didn’t. Doesn’t it mean ‘God is Great’?”
“No…exactly it means that ‘God is big’.”
“Ok!”
“So one day, a Ghazi asked the Prophet: how big?”
“What did the Prophet say?”
“The Prophet gestured towards the hills of Meena and said: He’s bigger than that. The Ghazi asked: what about the Sahara?
- He’s bigger than that. Can you imagine Aa-be-azeem, the sea?
- Yes I can.
- He’s bigger than that too.
- Is he bigger than the Noor-e-shab, the night sky that is full of so many stars and the moon?
- Yes, He is bigger than that too.
- This night sky, which is so big…if Allah is bigger than that then how will I who is so insignificant ever be fortunate enough to see Him?
- Allah is not deedaa-e-chashn; He cannot be seen with the mortal eye. He is deedaa-e-dil and deedar-e-jigar; it is an affair of the empty heart.
- How will I see him? Does He know about us?
- Kam-nazr! When your heart’s eye will open you will see him. When your small eyes can see the whole hill of Meena…this whole huge hill…then the sight of the heart can go farther. It can see Allah. And rest assured, he knows about us. This is why I tread softly upon this sand of the desert. When the eye sees something a relationship is established between the person and the object. Each one of us sees differently, each set of eyes makes a different relationship. Your relation with the sea is different from mine. Thus when the heart is empty and receptive it sees Him. We don’t have to worry our heads about Him. He will care for us. That is why I say that He is big. We are the ones who look up to Him.
- Huh?
- Look here. This desert that we ride our camels on; there is a relationship between my feet and this one grain of sand on the ground. Don’t I know that this grain of sand exists?
- Yes…you do.
- In the same way He knows about us.”
“Aha!” The Little Girl exclaimed at the dawning realization of what the Warrior just told her.
“Devi, now can you imagine the infinite?”
“Tell me more”
“Devi, let me tell you a story that is exactly the opposite. The Buddha was once asked by a member of his congregation the Sangh: I have heard that the Vedic scholars say ‘Satvam tat brihat’, that which is true is also big, if one were to make a rough and crude translation.”
“What did the Buddha say to that?”
“The Budha said: Look at the world around you. It’s so vast, but it is possible to close your eyes in just one fraction of a moment and it is no more. Yet the eye can still see the after-images. So imagine a closed mind…imagine how much it can see. Then imagine what a closed heart can see.”
“Wow!”
“I mean if you look at it in terms of today’s new fangled ideas…it is said that sunlight takes eight minutes to reach the earth. That means we see the Sun after eight minutes are past. And the Sun sees us eight minutes earlier. Never are Surya and Manushya interfaced in real time. The good Hindus of the ancient past have a term for it…they call it YugPath. When Treta, Kali, Dwapar and Sat Yug…all four…merge.”
The hairs on the ageing Warrior’s stood on end…his skin was alive. The Little Girl was amazed…every time he spoke of the Truth he came alive. The Warrior continued, “to translate YugPath as simultaneous is also not possible, because simultaneous takes too long to say and mean in real time.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Ageing Warrior 3

He was an ageing warrior; his body was betraying him everyday. Every time when he pitted his strength against younger partners at sports he was re-introduced to the frailties of age. The need to employ his wits and his cunning grew increasingly as he found himself often out of breath. Soon slyness would leave him too. It was only a matter of time. He knew it. Why, only last night he meekly followed as the Little Girl led his feverish body to bed. And despite all desire to treat his illness callously, he found himself unable to hold his fort. He gave in to her home remedies: soaked his feet in hot water, popped a pill, had a couple of drinks (this was a ritual he couldn’t give up) ate dinner and went to bed early.

In the morning, he felt well enough to classify it as semi-strong. Most of it had to do with the Little Girl; all through the night she clasped his back and drove his fever away.
“I had a dream last night.”
“Strange, so did I”
“In my dream, someone woke me up…I think he looked like the Teacher…and told me that you have a fever. Did you have a fever last night?”
“Yes! I did.”
“Anyway, he told me that I had to grab you…that it was the only way your fever would go away.”
“If you didn’t hold me the way you did, I would have woken up…that would have meant less sleep for me…and I would have woken up un-rested, feeling really shitty for the rest of today.”

There was work to do. Fresh kill to be made in the garb of a business deal, if the taxonomy was right. Most of it was still in the realm of wheeling…no dealing as yet, but there is always hope. The carnivore cannot afford to close both its eyes at the same time, not especially if it hunted alone. Unlike lions that have the rest of the pack to bank upon, the tiger has to prey on its own. Being human, even though he wished he were a tiger, a huge Siberian, the Warrior had little more than keep both his eyes open. In the fickle world of commercial machinations he had to keep his ear to the ground, keep one eye on the future and one eye guarding his back, ensure that the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing and above all keep two or three, if not more, steps ahead of his rivals. In absolute physical terms such contortions seem impossible but he manages because he’s has long practice at it. After a while, even Ashtanga Yoga seems naturally easy to the practitioner. Though the onlookers may be very confused.

“How will you untangle yourself?” asked the incredulous Englishman at the airport many years ago. If his accent wasn’t a dead giveaway, then his attire would have served the selfsame purpose: the white slacks with the button down cream shirt and the hat. His fat, sagging wife, had to be his wife, no self-respecting man would be seen with a mistress that hideous, in a flowery holiday smock that unsuccessfully covered her lardy, lumpy middle aged body yawned. She was perhaps tired of her husband’s inquisitiveness, she was perhaps tired of the heat in Abu Dhabi, she was perhaps tired of her weight…she was perhaps tired of everything.

“I am not tangled at all”, said the Warrior. He was sitting in the Lotus Position, making a perfect pyramid out of his lithe starving body. Was there any other way for a civilized Hindu to sit while waiting at the airport? The Englishman took a step back when he saw the handcuffs as the Warrior stood up. The Warrior was waiting to be deported. Something was the matter with the plane…he was in a brown, standard issue, Indian Embassy blanket and underwear. The Englishman had perhaps imagined his clothing to resemble that of a Fakir…a Hindu sage.

“I think that is an announcement for my flight”; the Englishman beat a hasty retreat dragging his wife along, distaste writ large on his face. He was aghast that he spoke with perhaps a common criminal. It was the 1980’s, but if it were a world today, he could have bragged at his local pub, “I think he was a terrorist.”

The Warrior once again assumed the Lotus Position. Was there any other way for a civilized Hindu warrior to sit while waiting at Abu Dhabi airport to be deported? At least there was water to drink. This was perhaps the worst time to be locked up in prison in a Muslim country. He had followed the Nautch Girl to this place. She had danced her way into his fancy. And then, ever so cruelly, like all beautiful women do, she withdrew letting him know that the affairs of her heart were complicated and that it had room for more than one man.

He didn’t want her all to himself; no, he followed her to see who the other men were, what was their kind, and what was the extent of her involvement with them? In an up-market arrangement in the city, the Nautch Girl was to peddle her talents in front of numerous teetotaler money throwing Sheikhs and hooting South Indian immigrants. The Warrior, yet again after many long years, found himself in a place where women were objects. Yes, he had gone whoring once, but that was eons ago. But he had always been respectful, even if he had paid for it. Here a man tried to grab the Nautch Girl, “Did she look annoyed? Yes she doesn’t want this kind of cheap attention. I must do something.”

The Warrior stopped at the buffet table, nibbled on some salad and quietly concealed a butter knife into his sleeve. Sheesh! A butter knife, but that was the only piece of cutlery that had the delicate balance of a weapon. The others were either top or bottom heavy. Sheesh! A butter knife! Well, international flight regulations did not allow a man to carry a Muella Scorpion, and he didn’t think he’d need one here, so he didn’t go shopping. It was the Sheikh’s paradise; everything was on sale in its well-designed malls.

He waited till the fellow had to go to the men’s room. The Warrior followed the Fool who had lunged at the Nautch Girl. The Fool took out his penis, aimed at the lavatory and began humming the song that the Nautch Girl was dancing to just a few minutes ago. The Warrior waited till the Fool was in midstream, when he launched himself with the ferocity of a hungry polar bear and cunning of a man who has fought many battles and lived to tell the tale.

“Bloody kafir! He has stabbed seven times with a butter knife. I never knew that they could do such damage. Son of a pig!” The policeman was angry…it was the holy month of Ramadan. He was at Iftar, breaking his fast with his brethren. As if it weren’t enough that nautch girls were performing in the city; here was a man with murderous intent. To commit a crime was unthinkable during the month of prayers. It was a gruesome sight. A man lying in an expanding pool of blood and urine, gasping for air, calling out to God in a rasping voice, with his pants around his ankles. The hotel security had already detained the Warrior. They were alerted by another guest who had thought that now would be a good time to pee.

It was Thursday night. The Warrior was to be jailed until the Indian Embassy could be contacted and until they agreed to take custody. His clothes, his wallet, his watch, his shoes were taken away and he was given a robe. He was allowed to keep his cigarettes. Friday was Jumma when the faithful had to gather to pray; even more so in the holy month of Ramadan. No work was done in Abu Dhabi. The Warrior remained imprisoned…and without food. Saturday and Sunday being the weekend also saw him in the same predicament. Plus this was the holy month of Ramadan. At first on Friday morning, he smoked a couple of cigarettes. Then he realized his situation in the context of time and location. It was then that he decided to chew the tobacco inside the cigarettes instead.

Ultimately on Monday morning the Indian Embassy took his possession. And here he was, Monday evening at the airport waiting to be deported.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

THE AGEING WARRIOR 2

He was born a long time ago; he doesn’t belong in today’s world of cellular phones, Internet technology, I-pods and satellite TV. Sure, he uses all of these provisions, but only so far as they serve his purpose. Their utility for him is bare minimum. The phone was never meant for anything else but to talk to people, what is this thing called text-ing? Anyway he was a Warrior, he had no extended use for these pansy instruments…give his a Walther and it did feel like he was holding something.

“Devi, I’m not looking for a sleeker model of a mobile-phone”, he told the Little Girl.
“But, the new Samsung is only 33 grams, wouldn’t you be more comfortable with that?”
“When I was in the liquor business, I always carried two guns on me. On a good day, there’d even be the need of carrying a sharp long blade knife. You still think a cell-phone that weighs more than 33 grams would bother me.”
“Hmm… if you put it that way, it does sound na├»ve.”
“It’s just a phone…new technology means nothing. Even if everything goddamn facility is combined, say an instrument to make calls, write emails, cook, vacuum, wash…heck even flush the toilet people would still gather more things with newer technology, the so called cool stuff. In the end there’s always clutter.”
“Ok, so you don’t want another phone. I get it.”

He smiled indulgently at the Little Girl. She was so young, so fresh, so imaginative, still so optimistic. Her wry sense of humor helped too. When he played Solitaire on the laptop, the only thing he knew how to on a computer, she’d sit by him, the warmth of her thigh against his bony leg and come up with something like, “Nail biting finish…” and chew her nails with a mock look of tense culmination in her eyes as if Senna (god bless his soul) was about to win the Italian Grand Prix. Hilarious stuff…and boy did she tickle…she did. You could even tickle her palm. Often he would hold her in a pincer grip, he learnt it the hard way. If he didn’t hold her tight enough she’d slip to the floor, laughing and shrieking. So he’d pin her down and tickle her ever so affectionately just to hear her laughing while attempting to dislodge herself from his arms. Her face would flush red and she’d be panting. After a while in a voice desperately seeking some relief she’d say, “My heart just sank.” She’d really mean it, he could never understand, could a heart really sink?
“Where is your heart now?”
“It has reached my spine.”

Amazing, he thought as he looked at her. She was all that he wasn’t. She breathed a fresh surge of life into him. He was an ageing Warrior. Not that there were many battles to fight anymore than there were adversaries. He remembered his first, when he was perhaps six years old. He was sent to a boarding school. All around him were older boys… boys with nefarious designs. He was puny, even today he isn’t a big, broad, tall, burly man. Size was never how he won his battles. His strengths lie elsewhere; they have been honed in the war that he waged for thirty odd years. The first skirmish, ah…there he was, a puny boy finding his way through in the big bad world without the caring shadow of his mother’s watchful eyes. He was bullied, bullied brutally, a brutality that only young children reserve for younger children. He found that he had neither courage nor the strength to reverse the injustice. He suffered. He suffered for two long months. Then one day, as fate would have it, the Bully and the victim were both summoned to the Head Master’s office for unruly conduct. The Bully was punching him about some candy that was sent by his mother. As punishment they were to stand in the sun for the rest of the day. In the oppressive midday heat of an Indian summer, he saw the Bully, the cause of his nightmares faint. It was then when he realized that in spite of the size, the Bully was made of the same stuff he was made of. A germ of an idea began forming in his mind. It would crystallize the next day, but he had no idea. That night he didn’t wake up in a sweat. It was the most restful sleep he had had since he came to this school. Next morning it was back to the same routine, the Bully cut him in the line, took his lunch, tripped him and even landed an unfair punch during games. When it was time for bed, after the study hour that followed dinner, the Bully leered at his small frame and made a joke about how great a bitch he would make within a year.

The idea crystallized.

“You will have to sleep sometime. Your eyes will close. Then I’ll break your skull open with this.” He didn’t sleep a wink for the next week. Every night he stood by the Bully’s bed with a hockey stick and repeating the same words. This was his first battle!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Ageing Warrior

Resplendent in his glorious armor, adorned with his many swords, long and short, he had a Zen glint in his eyes of battles to win, of heads to severe, of hearts to pierce, of souls to scavenge, of bodies to injure, of unending bliss to endure. Bliss that spurts out of mutilated limbs; he was the warrior. That is how he remembered himself; a man unafraid. You can only inflict as much pain as you are willing to suffer on your self. He was definitely willing to die. He had killed many, some worthy, some not, but each one very satisfying.

Today, he stands in an impotent city, where people have put up lights to brighten each and every corner, holding a faded photograph of himself taken in an era that even time forgot; when he was young and restless. When he knew what he had to do: scalp, disembowel, slash. When the blade in his sure hands would meet vanquished flesh and bone in one fluid moment of grinding ecstasy leaving in its wake incredulous staring eyes fast losing consciousness; ebbing life. Ah! In the dance of death he found the fountain of his eternal life. Age has made him give that up. His own body betrayed him one day. His muscles, his sinew, his bone made a mockery of his valiant attempts to decapitate his last enemy. He resorted to poison instead, feeling and knowing at each step of the way about the depths he had sunk to. Was he the same man who was feared amongst his tribesmen? Was he the same man who had torn asunder the neck of another as if he were a mere fly? Was he the same man who survived countless wounds?

Why hast thou forsaken me?
I am here my son; you have forsaken me.

The warrior knew each inch of the way; he had walked towards madness once. But that was a long time ago and he was a different man. The Teacher had held his hand. No the Teacher had not even touched him once, but he did lead the way. Now with the Teacher dead, at least in body, his spirit still lives inside the warrior, all seemed lost. The warrior had a little less faith. Perhaps not! Perhaps he had taken a misstep; a detour of sorts, a small journey into the familiar comforts of money laundering, kidnapping, cutting business deals, writing letters, reading books of fantasy, drinking goblets of sweet wine…perhaps he needed to do so. This is how he will redeem himself towards madness once again. This time to dwell forever; never to return to the world of rabbits who dress like men and cows who believe they are women.

For now, he remains insatiable, shedding tears into the cosmos, talking to the Little Girl who attempts to provide succor from her lifeless breasts. Under the stars they stand each night awaiting moonrise, the mind that whispers of beauty each passing day, the mirror that reveals the travails of age each passing day, the eyes that show each other who they are, who they have been and who they may become: each passing day.

The Teacher speaks to him every night, the wonders of modern recording technology, but he doesn’t listen to the words. It is the sound of his voice that enthralls the warrior. It is the sound of peace. Peace that the warrior is hoping to find in this lifetime. Peace that will satiate, perhaps! Perhaps he needs to find that moment of glory when he stares into the eyes of the enemy and drives the blade into the throat. Perhaps that is peace. After all, he is an ageing warrior and he didn’t die in battle. The world is made not of men anymore; there are no worthy adversaries. Who shall be his rival? Who shall he spar with? Who shall cut his throat?

Death is the ultimate enemy; the one to who he will surrender. Yes! Death is worthy. He will choose his time and manner of death though. He won’t give Death the satisfaction of catching him unawares. He will not allow Death to decide when, where and how. He was a warrior, he will decide. I am ready, said the warrior.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Foray

Torn apart, on the edge of abyss, I ride each day, wondering what if I swerve (just a little bit)? What is it that I want but cannot have? What is it that I have but do not want? What scares me most is the answer: I do not know. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind a small voice squeaks out another question: Can I ever find an answer that will satisfy, that will satiate, that will fulfill? Again the selfsame answer: I do not know. And as the coward that I am, I leave it at that…

Perhaps it is too bold a burden to presume, perhaps it is too immense a query, perhaps it is just very simple. You know when the answer sits right under my nose, but I cannot see it. If it were a tiger, it would have eaten me by now. Since I still breathe, it definitely wasn’t a tiger; is it herbivorous then? Once again, I leave it at that…

Never before has the straddling of two worlds bothered me so…have I stumbled upon an alternative then…or is it a cocoon…perhaps I have my head in the sand like the ostrich who thinks that the pack of lions can’t see it because it cannot (its head is buried in the sand remember…catch up). Trudging the lines of this carpentered world comes easily: the system is in place and rules are quite obvious. One need only apply one’s mind…or one’s body. Walking the path into the self…ah! Now that’s bloody tough because the Queensbury regulations apply no more. Time and space oscillate with random precision; dark days give in to darker nights leading to feeble sunrises; somewhere in the middle of it all I sit waiting…waiting for audible whispers…waiting for barbaric twists…waiting for fragrance…waiting for gustative delights…waiting just to feel. There’s once hitch, however. All around there are only ashes. And I am the last bit of warmth left in what used to be burning coal. I leave it at that…

What is it that I have but do not want? Everything.
What is it that I want but do not have? Everything!

Quite a dilemma…is it not? Everything is not mine for taking…or is it? If it is, then why have I not pillaged already? If it is not, then why am I debating this point? Quite another dilemma now…is it not? If I write and write and write I may end up with quite a few dilemmas. Perhaps today is not the day…but I wonder would I reach the mother of all dilemmas if I carry forth in this endeavor? Is that the challenge I should pose for myself? Will I be able to face it? Sensory deprivation, the lab psychologists (psychometrist, I believe is the technical term) say, leaves one with a feeling of loss… but that’s still a sensation… Therefore, what is it that can see seeing without seeing? What is it that can hear hearing without hearing? What is it that can taste tasting without tasting? What is it that can think thinking without thinking? What is it that can smell smelling without smelling? What is it that can feel feeling without feeling? Need I say more…I leave it at that…. And it’s all good...

Torn apart on the edge of abyss, I ride each day, wondering how beautiful everything looks…

And I leave it at that.