Tuesday, July 07, 2015

2214 : The rain must fall

To a poet rain is usually a very potent metaphor. To him, it meant all that and a little more. He liked the rain for its tendency to drench, he liked its "wash away" torrent, he liked that it represented the purity (the one that brought things back to pak from napak), he loved its singing sounds, he adored the sizzle, and the looked forward to be singed by its needle.

Today the rain was unusually torrential. The little porch he had was began to flood. The drain at the end of it clogged with dried leaves, and unable to leak just as fast as it was flowing in.

The three steps that led to the porch, were being submerged into the holding area, and what was left was only the one visible step.

He sat down on the highest step, his scraggly feet now under the muddy waters. Muddy waters was another metaphor he had loved all his life, but that was beyond him on a day like today.

He sat under the shade, but could hear and visibly see the water go splattering in the puddle. Loud and on a beat. He tried to figure the beat. He was tone deaf, but it sounded like a 5/4, which means 5 notes were being played within 4 quarter beats, or was it the other way around.

For some reason he felt he had to get his poetry books out. His treasured rare ones, including the Pablo, the Ali, the Gulzar, the Dickinson, the Furia......

He walked back in, and got them out till the porch. He then sat down and began opening his favorite poems, he knew the pages like the back of his hand - as it the books were in braille...he could read them without ever having to see them. He knew the verses in his head, his own personal poems. Each poem had detailed notes scribbled around it. His own notes over years.

One by one, he tore the pages containing his favorite poems. He made little random unshapely boats out of them....very crude and then let them afloat into the muddle near his legs.

The muddle gave the boats a life of their own, and they started zig zagging. Losing shape with the torrent and yet bravely floating.

He stared at them with a solitude and reserve that one usually exhibits during mourning.

In his head a small prayer was beginning to form:
This rain must fall, 
the paper must melt into water, 
the words must dissolve into ether, 
the alchemy of water turning into blood.

The poet's lies had finally caught up with him.


Sunday, July 05, 2015

2213 : What if...

As I wade through today, I realize how many times do I get disturbed by random interferences from the world around me.

Plain old silence and being left alone is such a rare occurrence on days like today.

I so desperately want to wind down. Go silent. Discover the silence within.

My need for silence has become like a mind numbing battle.


2212 : On a day like today...

I wishI had a neighborhood book store or library. I live in Bombay. Neither of these exist in modern Bombay.
Today all I want to do, is sit silently and read. With or without endless cups of chai.

I miss the comfort and caring of a familiar book shop.

I need my fix, and today I have none.



2211 : If

I was reading a book and chanced about the Spartan response "If". I found it metaphorically and poetically very profound.

I could not find this story on the net easily, but found this here. Have cut paste part of the story that is relevant.

From http://www.harecoded.com/spartans-and-their-laconic-phrases-96348

---------------------the relevant part-----------------

The Spartans were especially famous for their dry wit, which we now know as "laconic humour" after the region and its people. This can be contrasted with the "Attic salt" or "Attic wit", the refined, poignant, delicate humour of Sparta's rival Athens. In modern parlance, "laconic" is used to describe speech and writing which uses few words and is terse and concise. One famous example comes from the time of the invasion of Philip IIof Macedon. With key Greek city-states in submission, he turned his attention to Sparta and sent a message: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." The Spartans sent back a one word reply: "If". Subsequently, both Philip and Alexander would avoid Sparta entirely.

2210 : There is blood in the water

That day, she had been cleaning the garage when parts of the wall collapsed. The house was old, and it was not completely unexpected.

He had discovered her, in a pool of blood, (was it) minutes later. She had been completely knocked out. He had felt her pulse, and quickly cleared the rubble. He had a choice of waiting for the ambulance, but that would mean another 30 minutes at least. He had a choice between her immense bleeding and further risking damaging her broken bones if any - he had slowly lifted her into the back seat of the car.

He started the car and off they went to the emergency wing of the hospital 20 mins away. Along the way she had moved and mumbled a few times.

He could feel her pain, but her mumbles were strangely reassuring - telling him that she could still feel the pain, and more so, she was still wanting to communicate.

Wheeling her into the emergency, he had seen her gain some consciousness - he had told her "things would be ok. Hang in there." and she conversely had mumbled something back, which he could make little or no sense of.

Hours later the doctors had come out to tell him, that she was actually very ok. Except for a big gnash on her forehead and a deep wound on her shoulder blade (which had been the source of all the blood). They told him he could meet her in about an hr. He had waited outside till they finally told him that he could walk in to meet her.

She saw him and worked out a faint smile. Her forehead and left shoulder were both covered in crepes and plasters. He sat down next to her, and was surprised to see her completely conscious and talking.

She was visibly in pain, but her spirit seemed back. For a few minutes, he held her hand, as she spoke about sweet nothings, about hating being bed ridden.

A few minutes later, she asked him about the accident. He said he had not heard it, but he had discovered her in a pool of blood and had been very worried with the amount of blood he had seen in the garage. He smiled and told her that the car would also need a thorough wash, because the back seat had been drenched with the stench of stale blood.

She smiled weekly - "was the blood indeed quite a lot?" He nodded, "yes, I have seen quite a few accidents in my life, but this one seemed like a real leech.". He added that as he was driving her in, and even wheeling her into the hospital, he had been afraid that the blood loss could have been dangerous. He said he was not too worried about the fractures or other breakages, because he knew time would heal her.

She smiled and said "Thats very weird. You should never worry too much about me bleeding ever."

He looked at her in askance. That was a perplexing statement from her.

She paused, regained some strength and then added with a very poignant smile "I am a conjure artist. I bloody voluntarily bleed every month, and I always know how to recoup from it.".  Having said that - she clasped his hand tight, closed her eyes and rested.


2209 : Of smells and spells

She met him up the porch. This was his first time to the place. She held his hand and helped him navigate through the criss cross corridors....so much for alliteration.

At one point, she pointed him to a room and said mischievously, "that is the kitchen" and after a long enough pregnant pause added "sometimes that is also used for cooking!!", a faint but unmistakable twinkle in her wink.

As they passed through the home garden into the other side of the home, she finally paused and told him, "fker for the last 10 minutes I have been showing you a tour of this place, does it occur to you that you have not once hugged me yet. We meet after 48 days and all you have to utter to me is a stale fungus infested good morning. Give me some honey, my dear old bear."

He smiled, as he always did and without saying much, he gave her a giant body crush. A few long seconds passed by, their bodies spoke of missing, loving, familiarity and longing. Then as if to break the abrupt silence, she muttered with a fake insolence, "what are you doing? if you are close long enough to me, the body odor can knock you off. Don't inhale. Otherwise like a whale you will begin to blubber."

His neck still ensconced on her shoulder bone, he laughed a loud guffaw. She said loudly "now what?".

He said, "I can smell you clear and fresh?"
"And what do you smell?", her shoulder still allowing his neck to rest.
Extracting himself off her shoulder - he looked at her deep in her eyes.
She said "I used some expensive sandalwood bubble soap, bloody at least for that reason alone...don't spoil it for me.", a fake anger now bubbling up.
He still smiled his facetious smile. She said "what? bloody what did you smell?"

She repeated, "fker...at least tell me odor, aroma or my body? what does it smell like?"

"Stop smiling like a pig, you bloody bear", she said and kicked him in the stomach.

He growled in make believe pain, and then straightened himself. She could see he was preparing himself to answer. He looked at her deeply, with eyes laden with love and complete mischief,  then unable to stare too long into those deep eyes, he hugged her again, so that her eyes wont see his. A few seconds later, his baritone kicked in.

"You smell of only one distinct thing. Love. Now I know - this is how love smells like."



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2208 : The truth beneath the wings

Once you know how you hide your "truths" in the sand, ostrich like, you will also know how to resurrect them, when the danger is gone. The ability to "hide" (kill) and then "resurrect" (born again) is such an essential skill, that once you have mastered it, you can kill and give life at will.

The "truth" could be anything - you could be a closet gay, you could be have a clandestine affair, you could be a vegetarian eating meat, you could be a terrorist plotting a bomb, you could be a thief who stole a diamond, a sunni running away from the ISIS terror...get the drift.

Essentially the truth represents anything the the world does not allow you to wear on your sleeve. Not because you cannot, but because if you do, they will come after you. They will enforce a "culture of silence" on you, and since you have violated it by wearing it on your sleeve, they will make you pay the price.

Coming back to the original point, if you know how to hide the truth in the sand every night, and you also know how to resurrect it, then life becomes an easy game. Every day is a lie, but then its a livable lie. You now know how to game it.

Or in terms of modern corporate usage, you know how to wing it (a term which comes from the warrior planes)....Winging it makes you more stronger, more resilient in this world, which essentially does not allow the "truth(s)" to easily prevail. No one lies about the truth, and yet no one speaks the truth.

Its like how many meat eaters would say, I can eat the rabbit meat, but I cannot see it being killed. Get the drift?

We all hate the inconvenient truth, and we all try and hide it under the sand. The folks who have mastered this are the survivors. They will be the fittest who shall outlast the honest folks. As for the ones who can only life live in black and white, they are doomed to a long sentence in posterity.


Monday, June 22, 2015

2207 : The End Game

They had both loved the word duels. She had confidently once said, she could never lose a battle of wits, so much so, that if she ever lost, she would quit life, not just the game. When stakes run so high, insanity is never too far away.

He did not require the night to notice the edge. It was sharp, and always cut like a knife. The bristles simmered in search of the deep red under the skin.

He remembered the time, that once over a period of 30 days she had tried to convey a single word to him. On the first day, she had asked “What did I mean to you in the past tense?”. He had said the following in some sequence - “Dream”, “Figment”, “Stranger”, “Lost”, “Weird”, “Muse”, “Fuse” and entire gamut. She had gotten frustrated and sighed, “I will never choose to play Charades with you.”. He had wistfully said “Sorry”, and said “any other clue”. She said “what is mean in the past tense?”. He had answered “Meant”. She had nodded in the affirmative and walked away in sheer make believe disgust.

On the second, she asked “what is not normal?”, He said “abnormal”. That was not what she wanted. So as he cycled over “Abnormal”, “Weird”, “Obscene”, “In your face” (and she had screamt in fake exasperation - idiot do you know what ‘one word’ means), “edgy”, “wedgy”, “loud”…and the ilk…..before finally she had gotten him to say “strange”. The journey of reaching “strange” had taken over 8 days.

She was irked that he had taken this long to come to what should have been a first natural choice.

On the fourteenth day, she had texted him, “If you did not want to tell me a No, what would you say?”. He had without a pause said “Yes”. “That was a good quickie. You made up for the past, eh? Did you sleep with John Galt yesterday?” she had quipped with a satisfied smile.

On the fifteenth she had posed, “Together the 3 words, what do they become?”. Meant, Yes and Strange….

He struggled for days, coming up with all answers including “Charade”, “Lies”, “Fake”, “Games”….and all of them were wrong.

She did not relent. She tormented him and had said, “this can go to the edge of your grave, but I won’t tell you”. He had laughed and said, “If you die before me, I shall build a Taj for your mausoleum, and call it the ‘The Temple of Insanity”.

As he was tying his shoe laces some 2 weeks later, as he also sipping his coffee and bingo he said “Game Set and Match”, “I should have known it.”

One shoe down, the other to go, he dropped the cup of coffee on the table, picked up his phone and texted her “Estrangement”.

Before he could get the other shoe on, he got the reply back - “You are slow, but you are brilliant. Take a bow.”

The next time he met her, “So we are estranged now, are we?”, he posed with a teasing smile. “Bloody narcissist, why does everything have to be about you?. You are a no one in my life. Not even a lover, you are just a losing lukha whose company reminds of the plebeian and lumpen in life. You are such a sad loser, that in fact you make me feel much better about myself, and that is the only singular reason I hang out with you”…..she had laughed facetiously as she said that. The next moment, she had reached out and hugged him, making it obvious that the games were still on. He had smilingly reciprocated on the hug.

She had then said, “I am estranged by the night, and hence a stranger by the day.”

“Thats poetic. Inspired is it?” he asked.

Today, for some reason, this entire memory had come back into his foregound. Of all the games they had played, it was the “estrangement” that seemed to be mark the zenith of their times.

He smiled as he remembered his own comment on the ‘Temple of Insanity’. He was alternatively tempted to call it the “Asylum”. And as part of the epitaph he wanted to write, “Here lays a soul, who was by every measure in search of a home. She was a wanderer who had lost the address, but not the memory.”

As he sat and mused about it today, in the middle of the dark night, he realized he had wanted her to remain stark mad. Ironically, he had lost her address too, all he had now was her memory.

Tonight he imagined playing alone, for both the sides. He wanted to just play, winning or losing was inconsequential today. He was missing the game.

“Acid reflux in the stomach, causes churning and burning?”
He imagined her going through “Acidity”, “Heartburn”, “Puke”, “Rancid” before finally settling to “Colic.”

“Green and red. Green on the outside, red on the inside.”
In his dream, she went through “Whisper”, “Stayfree”, “Guava”….he killing her before she reached the word “Melon”.

Combine the both, and what did she get.

Melancholic.

2206 : The weary mind

I feel as if I am dead today. The body is crushed beneath the weight of a million thoughts. Some meditative, some in contemplation of the future, and then some others in sheer contempt of the present. 

My physical body is reacting to the forces acting upon the mind. I am tired. Really fatigued. I have allowed myself a break from work since afternoon.

I have almost taken a digitial break. I have not checked my phones, or my work emails or any other way in which people can reach me. 

I needed this time off. I needed to disconnect.

I find it mildly amusing, that the only time my mind is allowed (by the world around me) to disconnect is when I am really ill. At all other times, even on the worst of days (esp those on which I am still not classified ill), my family will make demands on me, my work will put immense demands on me, and I will have my own creature habit demands.

On a day like today, I have let everything pause. I have worked 19 years without a pause, and my body is hurting. It wants to ease off. Completely ease off.

Its also clearly saying that if the only way, I am going to take a break (or get a break) is by falling ill, then its going to attack my insides with a vengeance. I can hear the wise voice of my body speak to me.

I truly need to break off from the world at large. Driving feels like escape, but I then need to escape off for a couple of weeks at least.

The break away is coming, so is the break down. Something shall give. Someone will lose. Some shall learn to breathe.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

2205 : The dog, the camel and the poet

On that fateful day, they hauled him up. They accused him of writing revolting rhymes, which focussed on lost love, on revolution and a world where god does not have a place.

They told him that either he abdicate all his poems, and swear his allegiance to the new God of All things, or that they would imprison him - chain him and torture him till he finally broke.

The poet in him refused to bend - they kicked him till he was in foetal position, which in some sense was their perverse way of bending him to their will.

Having killed his resistance, they lifted him onto the truck and there he was on his way into one of the infamous camps. At the camp, they gave him a small room, which only got natural light during the day. 

In the first few weeks, they cut off his rations, and urged him to straighten up. He was famished, and yet to continued to write. His pen growing stronger under the gaze of his weakening frame.

Soon, they cut off access to sanitation, hoping that his own stink and pus would fill his aches and he would soon wilt away. The fetid nourished his soul, and soon from within the malodor rose his sublime words.

Next, they decided to send him to the torture camps. For 3 days every week, they hung him upside down. His body reeking of pain and anguish, had a new perspective on the world, and he continued to write albeit with the lens reversed.

Months had passed by now. One day the city patrol officer decided to ask him to compose a paen to the suburban edge, and he did write a piece...but it turned out so insidious, that instead of a reward he was handed a 100 flogs.

An year into this, they finally decided that he was incorrigible. They took away his pen, his paper and his books. A few days passed by, and he looked silent and mellowed down.

One particularly overcast morning, though, they found him dead - he had turned his stomach's insides using a piece of iron he had wrenched from the window. He had steadily bled of his death. 

As the overcast conditions cleared, and the light made way, they saw his body lay in a true foetal position. Like a dog, as Kafka would say. He had died just like a dog. They called in the cleaners and asked them to take his body away. 

As the cleaners cleaned his room up, they mumbled what everyone knew - taking away his pen and paper, thats what had killed him.....what a way to die....that is what broke the camel's back.

As the light further shone in, they could see that wall above him had a scrawling. It was fresh, you could still see the lint from the stone, trying to powder its way out. It looked like he had scrawled it yesterday night using the same iron piece as he had used to kill himself. 

On the walls were clearly written - "You simply took away what forever took to find"....


2204 : The thing that floated on the river forever

He sat down down within the boat, and took the paddle. He had learnt rowing as a small kid, and once you know it, you never ever forget that trick. He still did not know swimming though, and while had rowed many miles, he was always sure that on the day his death came calling, his placid body would float on the river.

As he rowed along the water, the "swish" of the oars breaking the silence of the water surface, he realized that this is the silence he had been craving for.

As he went into the midst of the silent river, for some unknown reason - he suddenly flashed the day she had asked him, if he would live his life with her. He had always loved her, and it was an easy answer. He had said yes nonchalantly, his bloody heart not even missing a single beat.

She had laughed, hugged and implored him - I want this to last. You are far too important to be lost. Will you try and be around always. 

In his answer he had included the word "forever". He had of course meant it completely at that point, not for a minute had he been facetious. Truth be told he had wanted it forever as well.

He cared for her far too much to let her not be his "forever".

A score and a dozen later, here he was here rowing all alone. The forever had lasted the score, but the horizon looked lonely and lorn.

On the day the "forever" had been solemnized, she had given himan amulet, she said it would symbolise every good thing they ever meant to each other. That amulet, was still stuck to his body, almost as if it were an additional appendage.

As he became conscious of it, he removed it, and stared at it deeply. The black, the silver, the riblad oxidization - all were jaded, but it still seemed alive. It still had a steady cadence to its breath. 

Laying his oars inside, he examined it closely for the next few minutes. It had indeed withstood time, in fact it had outlasted his "forever". Jagged and jaded, it had still not faded at all.

The early morning sun had just started to rear its head over the horizon, and in the faint orange hue, the silver looked like gold, almost like a shiny piece of white dazzle.

And in that shiny razzle dazzle, something caught his eye - a broken charade and a hidden truth - both of which hit him very hard. 

In that singular moment, he let his palm float high above the water...the amulet dangerously dangling between life and death. In a single swoop, he let the silver fall away. 

It sank like an anchor stone, quickly and swiftly. The ripples it created were still moving outward. The river though had consumed the silver. The warp of the ripples had consumed his "forever".

A few moments of silence later, he was acutely aware that the boat was drifting in the water current. It occurred to him, he not longer point to the exact spot where he had dropped the amulet. The surface of the water now had the look of sameness everywhere. The discontinuity had been lost. There was nothing on the surface to show the break. 

He touched his body to where the amulet should have been. He could not feel his skin. He touched the water, hoping to touch the coarse silver. All there was, was a cold bite to the water. 

He had just killed the forever, and in this case, even the body did not float. What floated was the sameness, stillness and a universe that told him that this whole story was just a figment of his imagination.

He remembered Floyd singing -  Time Pass, the River Rolls....and he gave a wistful smile.







Sunday, June 07, 2015

2203 : Silence of the lamb chops

My desire for silence is getting stronger and stronger. Everytime I struggle with something on the outside, I begin to look more into the inside.

That means, I struggle to participate in life at least the way folks would ideally expect me to. That becomes a drag on them and a drag on me....both.

One day soon I might become all silent. We shall see :-)

2202 : The science of bullshit

I was speaking to someone yesterday who was passionately telling me that she has to ignite the passion for "science" within her child. She said it naturally, "at least our kids should understand science".....

I know her only just as reasonably as you can know a person if you meet them 4 times a year for 10 minutes.....and in that brief interaction, I kind of know that she is extremely God fearing (yes I think she fears God, her version of God is retributive), she is definitely living within the charades of the modern world (such as medicine, religion, large businesses) and she likes the charades.

I did sit and cynically wonder, how would her kid ever actually learn science. How will her kid ever come to love science - science which is supposed to cater to our deepest need for meaning.

Our schools and we as parents are doing the greatest damage to our kids. That I am fully convinced of. And every soul destroyed is a soul destroyed...and knowing that hurts me deeply.

There is so much broken in the world today. We need our children and ourselves to correct that one solid inch at a time.

To do that, we need to protect their (children's) souls and their innate sense of goodness.

I do worry if my daughter will remain untarnished in these modern times, but I will most definitely try. I will help her break down this world, one charade at a time. If she knows what is broken, and if she still has her soul intact, I am kind of sure, she will work to get the world better one beautiful inch at a time.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

2201 : What lies beneath...



For years I have been obsessed about lying and the business of truth, but not in the mk Gandhi sort of way. He seemed obsessed with a literal definition of absolute truth.

I have been grappling it more in the yudhistra, gurucharan das manner of speaking. For the best part of the last 10 years, this has been a meditation that has taken a lot of my mind space. And I have to admit I am far from arriving at a conclusion.

The truth I seek and see is more akin to "dharma" than the absolute definition of the an absolute truth....and yet dharma is one of most impossible and difficult meditations to resolve.

What dharma suggests is that in most cases, there is am absolute version of what is correct. Especially when applied with the context. As am example, dharma when applied with my context might tell us that euthanisa is the way to go, while applied with you context might say that the answer is wrong.

This is where dharma become a meditative bother right. Knowing what is right in every circumstance, which yudhistra was supposedly such a champ at, is not just difficult, it is also tiresome to sometimes conclude.

And that's been my obsession. To be the yudhistra in my own eyes, and more importantly to be able be differentiate and distinguish.

With years of practice, I thought I had become a very honest (not in the literal sense...but in the intellectual sort of way).....person.

But in the recent years and times, I find myself lying. I find myself lying, because I am not allowed to talk the truth. The culture of silence that the world encourages, also means that we never are allowed to speak the uncomfortable truths. Not just not speak, but also not acknowledge.

As an example, I cannot walk upto someone at the firm I work and say honestly that his design for the problem completely sucks. I cannot say this not because I don't possess the intellectual honesty or the intellectual acumen to differentiate, but I cannot say it because saying it would mean I would break some charades, and that would destroy some facades between the four walls of an office.


It kills me know that I live and exist in a false world. That is one realisation that constantly gnaws at me in my personal world and my professional world too.

A world that does not allow me to be honest, especially in a safe sort of way, I am inclined to reject it. I am inclined to slowly withdraw from it, and choose seclusion over a world that is not safe.

I am bothered, in the last few days and months, because there are clear instances where I have had to prioritize lying over the dharma. This is a very soul nibbling situation in the real world.

I need a quick escape from this, else over time, it will kill my soul, just like a cancer would kill the physical body.

This is the new age cancer, and I want to fight it again, just like I once did.

Soon something shall give.

Monday, June 01, 2015

2200 : Crazy

This is from Adamski (Seal) singing Crazy a 1990s cult club classic......this line is for some reason stuck in my head....I must have repeated this a million times today.....

In a sky full of people only some want to fly
Isn't that crazy

2199 : Page against the machine

Years ago, he had walked upto her and asked her if she was willing to walk the path of life alongside. She had nonchalantly asked him why, wondering aloud how would it matter to anyone at all - if they were not together. She was being flippant and he knew it too.

In response, the next day he had sent a blank sheet of paper in an envelope. She had obviously been perplexed by that and wondered whether it contained hidden ink, or needed to be watered, or heated for the words to reveal themselves. Towards evening, she had hunted him down to ask him the code to the secret. He looked at her directly and said with a blunt honesty, that he carried to this very day, quipping....thats the state of my life....a blank slate....if your presence is missing, its a bloody empty echo.

She had loved that metaphor, and yet they would wait for what felt like 12 long years, before they eventually moved in together. The piece of paper by then had been parched and had begun to stain. The brown smudges were all over all the sheet. What essentially had looked blank was now tarnished with years of disease. Neither of them noticed it, and every single time they tried to write on the paper, yet another disabused blot appeared, this time the blue curmudgeon staining the paper further.

And then there is Today, it is another day...far removed and far long after the moving in event. As he stood with his coffee cleaning his wardrobe, he stumbled upon the creamy sheet of stained paper. Memory was straining and his first instinct was to crumple this moth ridden paper and move on, but something in the figment held him back. He looked at it closely, and random fragments came into focus.

Tried as he did, hard enough, he could not remember the story coherently. He could not place the page....and yet he knew this was intimately Her. As he searched for meaning in that memory, he sat down to have a good sip of the coffee. As he gulped, his body let out a loud involuntary sigh....an usual sign, he recognized  to mean the loss of something personal.

He stared hard at the fragile page,  just like a wild animal would try and comprehend Dante's Inferno. Trying as he did, he could not find any clue on the page.

The page unfortunately did not contain the story of them. What he held in his hand was just a angst ridden, moth infested, smudged pale blue sheet of crumpling paper - albeit one which had once held an imagined story.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

2198 : Missing

As I waited at the Grand Central, I was reminded of the conversation 12 years ago - I remembered me telling her that we shall be slaves to each other, for ever. She had laughed and said yes, she would very much want that too.

On that day, many moons ago, we had both undertaken a train journey together. Somewhere along the journey she had been tired and she had dozed off, letting her entire body weight rest on mine. The reflex in her had woken her up multiple times, as she had struggled with the idea of sleeping off on a still-a-stranger's body.

I had enveloped her in my arms and let her rest...let her feel warm and protected, but clearly while it was working some magic, it was definitely not enough to scare her demons away.

Today, we were meeting after almost 4 years. The idea was to undertake a journey to Boston via Penn station. The initial meeting point was agreed to be Grand Central.

As I waited for her, I could still feel the mushiness that she inspired in me. I loved her company, I had simply loved to speak to her. The honesty we had shared had been disarming. I have to admit, this all sounds very strange to me today, when I speak of it today in the past tense.

It bothered me that, we both had seen something magical and yet we had allowed that simple greatness to pass us by. We were both afraid to live our own lives, afraid of what the world might judge us by, afraid of disappointing each other so completely, that we almost were afraid to be together. We were afraid of many things, and our own fears had defeated our goodness.

And yet, today there was hope. It was she who had suggested the Boston journey. She had business to do there, and she was wondering if I could give her 2 days of my life. I had jokingly replied, I would give her 2 days, if she was willing to kill me at the end of it....and she had said, she would ponder on that idea. If she felt she still loved me enough at the end of the trip, then she might pull a seppuku on me - she had said in a shrill voice. The bloody vixen in her was still alive.

A few cold moments later, I walked into the terminal and decided to grab a quick coffee. I needed the coffee to warm my blood, and clam my nerves. I hurriedly stood in the line at Joe's for the warm black liquid, I was also nervous that we should not miss each other. We had phones, but still I did not want to make her wait. 4 years is a long time to keep a dear friend waiting.

Coffee taken, I rushed out onto Lex to the entrance again. The coffee did it initial magic. Never before had a sip of coffee felt better and more soothing. My rational brain was telling to take it slow, this was not a lover, just a dear friend...and this was just a 2 day trip to Boston, not parasailing the world in 6 months.

I finally saw her walking towards me. She walked briskly....I instinctively parked the coffee on a ledge and by then she was onto me. She gave me a hug, the kind that inspires a million lifetimes....and in the midst of that bear hug, I let out a wasp and said, "still bad hair ha?"...and she immediately pinched me on the back.

Like two lost souls in a fish bowl - floyd style - we both took each others hands - I picked up my coffee again, and we started off towards Penn. As we sat in the cab, she flashed two tickets and said - "ta ta ta...ready to go?". I nodded and smiled. She put it in my jacket pocket and said "you will take care of this better. Like always, I will lose this.".

We spoke and we fought over the little nothings, as if we had just met yesterday. We did not let the 4 years show to either of us. We were connected and we did not want that bloody chimera to crack.

In the next 10 minutes, we had already laughed a hundred deaths away....and the journey was just starting.

Once onto the Amtrak, we comfortably settled in. I was happy, far too happy to admit.....far too happy to not recognize it too. This is how life should have been, I was telling myself incessantly. As I was thinking, my eyes were dozing off, and I could feel her palms snake into mine, and give a warm tug of clasp.

I smiled and laughing said, "still do that kya?". In response I got one good nudge on my knee and it elicited a bloody "owh" from me....

I must have slept off. I remember that a few hours later, I was being woken up by an usher, who was checking the tickets. I fumbled into my jacket pockets and came up with the slip. As I was doing that I noticed, the seat next to me was empty. She was not there, neither were her bags. My bag lay under the seat. As I handed over the ticket to the usher, I muttered,"Ticket for two, wonder where my friend is...she was sitting next to me".

"Sir, this ticket is from 12 years ago. It is for two, that I can see. But this is not a valid ticket anymore. Are you sure you dont have a ticket for today?".

I apologized and explained my complete surprise at this anachronistic turn of events. The usher did not care much, but seemed very worried about my mental state. We both got down at Boston, where I paid a fine and she then gingerly asked me if I needed help. When I refused she let me go.

I went to the nearest coffee shop and sat down to drink some more of the brown poison. Was I really going mad ? As I started sipping my coffee, a strand of hair seemed to have gotten stuck on my lips. As I pulled it out, it was a thin long wiry strand of bad hair...and there was only one place it could have come from.

I wistfully smiled. This is what missing probably felt like.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

2197 : State of the nation

Like this quote from Jeffrey Hammerbacher (founder of Cloudera)....

"The best mind of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.".

There he summed it up in a single sentence, everything that is possibly gone awry in this world we live.

2196 : A shared mourning

They sat silently next to each other on the couch. Neither looking at each other, nor looking away. Just fire gazing.

Silences like these always carry a hint of violence. Sometimes the violence of the bloody past, sometimes violence in the bloodless future, but never ever violence from within the bloodied present.

The room echoed with the soundless.

Wordlessly, as if on cue, she went first, and began to weep copiously, her heavy heart leaking through her yes. Her body convulsing through the immense pressure of soaked in grief leaking out.

Minutes and seconds passed, and he neither reached out to comfort her, nor did he withdraw. He just sat there, still in the trance of the fire.

Before long, he was breaking down as well. Weeping, less profusely.. long straight salty tears flowed down his wrinkled cheeks. Viscous water locked in this eternal battle of wanting to rest in the crevices of the wrinkles, but unfortunately always losing the war to the ravages of gravity.

The two of them sat sobbing next to each other, vindicating that they were both truly broken. They had both heard and seen the rupture. Their souls were irreparably damaged. They were both grieving the death.

And yet no one had died. Nothing had been really lost. Everything tangible that they had valued and treasured, was still around and safe for now.

Each of them was still very much alive and breathing. So there was definitely no real death. And yet, they knew that a dying had indeed occurred. The dead ghost of the "us" that had kept them together for long was now in the room as well, released from its bodily confines and confused about its final destination. Without a cartographer, the ghost was lost, now without a home and soon without a destination.

Today was catharsis. It was a shared common mourning, they said in their own heads - speaking to themselves in a lost language.

Meanwhile, the dreaming tree had indeed died. And this was its wake.....

2195 : Farewell

I love poetry and the poetry titled, "Farewell" by Ali Agha Shahid, should easily rank as one of my top 10 poems I have ever read or will read.
If I am buried, please dear universe make it my epitah... Here goes the poem (Hope I am not doing any copyright violation....I have bought 6 copies of this book if it helps :-)))

I have read this poem at least a 1000 times and every time I fall in love with it all over again. Its sheer magic, the realism that only human grief can push us to see.


 At a certain point I lost track of you.
 They make a desolation and call it peace.
 when you left even the stones were buried:
 the defenceless would have no weapons.

 When the ibex rubs itself against the rocks,
 who collects its fallen fleece from the slopes?
 O Weaver whose seams perfectly vanished,
 who weighs the hairs on the jeweller's balance?
 They make a desolation and call it peace.
 Who is the guardian tonight of the Gates of Paradise?

 My memory is again in the way of your history.
 Army convoys all night like desert caravans:
 In the smoking oil of dimmed headlights, time dissolved- all
 winter- its crushed fennel.
 We can't ask them: Are you done with the world?

 In the lake the arms of temples and mosques are locked in each other's
 reflections.

 Have you soaked saffron to pour on them when they are found like this
 centuries later in this country
 I have stitched to your shadow?

 In this country we step out with doors in our arms
 Children run out with windows in their arms.
 You drag it behind you in lit corridors.
 if the switch is pulled you will be torn from everything.

 At a certain point I lost track of you.
 You needed me. You needed to perfect me.
 In your absence you polished me into the Enemy.
 Your history gets in the way of my memory.
 I am everything you lost. You can't forgive me.
 I am everything you lost. Your perfect Enemy.
 Your memory gets in the way of my memory:

 I am being rowed through Paradise in a river of Hell:
 Exquisite ghost, it is night.

 The paddle is a heart; it breaks the porcelain waves.
 It is still night. The paddle is a lotus.
 I am rowed- as it withers-toward the breeze which is soft as
 if it had pity on me.

 If only somehow you could have been mine, what wouldn't
 have happened in the world?

 I'm everything you lost. You won't forgive me.
 My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
 There is nothing to forgive.You can't forgive me.
 I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to myself.

 There is everything to forgive. You can't forgive me.

 If only somehow you could have been mine,
 what would not have been possible in the world?

2194 : The dreaming tree has (indeed) died

I have written about this before, if I remember right. The dreaming tree dying has always meant a lot to me. Always. The line comes from a Dave Matthews song, which I find is mesmerizing in itself.

Today, as I sit alone and work - there is only phrase incessantly going through my head - "The dreaming tree has died.". Sometimes in my brain the sentence invariably becomes "The sleeping tree has died."

Both sentences make immense sense to me in my personal context...and that is indeed the summary of the moment.

Today is the day.

Monday, May 11, 2015

2193 : There is something else....

Today I sighed more than a dozen times(truly it was voluntary, the bloody thing would not stop!!), and my sweet spouse caught me at it - it was very hard to miss. When interrogated (it feels like that right?...joking) I conveniently told her it was my asthma at work...and it was not far from the truth....I was definitely struggling to breath.

I did not have the heart (or mental energy) to tell her what (I think) I already knew for certainty, that sighing is definitely an escape - a slow release for your infinitesimally dying soul - inch by inch finding its way back to Uncle Universe.


2192 : Shortest story


Plain brilliant disguise,
Treacherous pale eyes.

Screeching shrouded pain,
Rippling white rain.

Staying lightyears away,
Losing the Way.....

Commas and pauses,
Running away losses.

Whats the glory?,
Imagined morning story!!

The credits roll,
Played my role.

The tango ends,
Ocean finally bends.

2191 : What separates us now

Every single time I have inserted space between myself and my relationship with a person or a thing, it has had some strange unexpected outcomes.

I was forced to give up photography for large parts of 2014, and it hit me real hard how much the act of seeing through a device and the associated paraphernalia (read lens lust) meant to me. It did kill a large part of my soul. I am now back at it with a vengeance :-)

Another time and era, the minute I took a step back - I clearly knew that the workplace I was in - was completely wrong for me. I would not last here for another 3 years (I just could not visualize spending my life at this place....and that usually is another brilliant acid test of longitivtiy - can you as an example visualize dying with someone?)

And in the last 7 years, I once walked away from a dearest friend - only to realize that she was most definitely dear, I did miss her - but our relationship itself was weak - neither of us had really invested in it. It was built on a premise of "expectations and needs" rather than a real drive for either "companionship or happiness". That act of separation almost broke my insides. (Years later....today we are both recouping and picking up pieces between us...both of us wiser and so much more mature.)

Get the drift?

Distance always bloody lends perspective.....(CLAP CLAP !! spoken like a true photographer :-) na?) But..... distance also has terrible frays. Distance ostensibly kills part of the soul. Most importantly, sometimes distance lends escape velocity to our fledging wings.

I can hear Bette Midler croon "From the distance..."


From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.



Monday, May 04, 2015

2190 : When you lose, search for a new lesson

Dalai Lama says that "when you lose, dont lose the lesson".  Dear DL, what if, I have already lost the lesson, and thats what is making me lose in the first place?

Time to walk away from the lesson? Time to walk to a new teacher? Time to quit school? Time to retake the class?

Dyslexic me.


2189 : When you sigh

Sigh and you let the world around you know that you let a tiny breath escape....Hindus believe (just like bamboo trees come timed for death...they actually do...), we humans come timed with the exact number of breath(ins) that we shall intake and then we pass away.....and if every breath indeed represents the life force in you, then a little part of you dies as you let a sigh escape.

When the world ends, I shall be walking around collecting your sighs.....




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2188 : The college romantic

I grew up in the golden age of pop, and the best era for rock music. No wonder my music collection represents the eclectic 80 and 90s even today. For me (like for other oldies like me), music stopped in the 90s. We are stuck in time.

Even in that era, The Everly Brothers, from the 60s had a deep impact on me. I loved their entire collection....especially their classic "Crying in the Rain". And then in the 90s Aha did a redux on it, and made the classic a favorite all over again.

This song is no longer a hot favorite of mine, but everytime I hear either the original or the Aha version, it reminds me of my growing years.

Lovely.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2187 : Eternal flame

When I was growing up....I used to love (and still like them) Bangles -  Walk like an egyptian, manic monday and eternal flame :-)

And today I am listening to London Philharmonic play Eternal Flame....I can hear the harp, the trumpet, the sax, the cello (or double bass maybe) and a flute that coos....The double bass is quite a funky hippo in that crowd....

And am falling in love again :-)

Take a bow !!

2186 : Wasn't there that morning, when he passed away....

Say it loud, say it clear....
you can listen as well as hear...
its too late when we die,
to admit that we dont see eye to eye....

Simple poetry, no metaphors, no word gyms...just home style.....and its indeed great advice for a day like today. Thank you dear Mike :-) (will ignore the mechanics for now !!)


Friday, April 24, 2015

2185 : Fresh prince and the rawness of the mango

The human brain for all its worth, is a chemical craving junkie...when you meet someone new and the oxytoxins are released..... the brain goes on a high.

This does not have to be a girl (for a straight boy like me), it could be a dog (assuming you like dogs like I do).

Newness is a drug, and your brain craves for it incessantly. In the modern world that forces us to replace our obsession with humans (and things alive like art and animals) to gadgets and materialism...

So the fix in this modern jungle is easier...much easier to buy a new phone than make a new friend...right...?

Get the drift?

A brain on dope - and a new friend in your life will suck away your mental time, your physical energy and your focus...but there is a good reason for it. Your brain craves for the fix.

Is this fix bad? No...nothing that ever makes you happy (including masturbation that has lost its charm ;-)) can ever be bad....if you can afford it, screw with your hand....

But....

Here is what we can do....everytime we go down this path...this asphyxiated fix (nice subtle alliteration na!!)....the junkie's grail if I might say so...if we invest a little more...this fix can be truly a lifelong rewarding journey. Pray how?

So....imagine this.

You pick up a new camera because everyone and his aunt (I wanted to use a rhyming word with C, but resisted) has a mirrorless lens camera now-a-days (I still use the classical SLR...)....you fidget around for a few days, your brain has distinct highs...and as your brain wears out, you give up and walk over to the next new fix. Sound like a familiar hero's tale....

Instead stay with it for a few more days... Once you begin to see the camera enough, you will see beyond the beauty of the magnesium weather sealed body and the silver color...you will realise its essentially an eye, one that is focussed on telling a story...and another round of freshness begins...before soon though another plateau hits....and then you almost give up again...but persist.....and you soon again....shall see the beauty of still life in the world around you via your camera.....and so on....

Get the drift....the game is still the same....the biggest player in town is still is your ravenous brain sucking at the fix...the biggest draw is still the PYT arm candy :-)....but play this long enough...and live long rewards can pop out....

As every layer peels with your camera, or with your new best friend...or with your booty infused PYT  :-), as a human being, you are also seeing the universe better. One inch at a time you are moving towards nirvana...seriously....if this cannot explain it to you, nothing ever will....

So...next time you meet someone in a flight...and your hormones go raging...let it...because thats the bloody crying game, so play hard at the movie....but once you exchange numbers...persist with it......over years.....the next levels of the game will emerge and one day you will hopefully see the truth.

You will also hopefully see that falling in love is never really that hard on the knees :-). Chewing on a raw mango helps arthritis though :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2184 : The Hook

It doesn't matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection
That makes you feel that I'll convey
Some inner truth of vast reflection
But I've said nothing so far 
And I can keep it up for as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job then it's your resolve that breaks


............

There is something amiss, I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near
To confuse the issue I refer 
To familiar heroes from long ago
No matter how much Peter loved her
What made the Pan refuse to grow


...........

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2183 : The man who sold the world...he passed me by the stairs...

Picture this.
Its 4pm @ NY in the evening. I have been at office since 620am. After a long day (mostly tired, but partly frustrating), I head down to starbucks to grab a quick chai.

I order my chai, sip it, savor it, and then start my slow trudge walk back. Over years I have been walking slower and slower (intentionally - with a clear desire to become a turtle eventually,seriously!!).

The starbucks is 2 blocks away..as I start reaching approaching the office, I look up from the cup.

As I gaze into the street, I see a pleasant smiling face walking toward me. I cannot for the life of me, place this person.

Clearly a pakistani or a desi, he walks purposely towards me….and though I am walking diagonally away from him…he quickly catches up….

My drained (from energy) brain, is truly confused unable to place him. But his smile is implicitly reeking of intimacy and familiarity, as if I am supposed to know him, but my on-the-road-to-dementia-soaked brain - is raising an red singing alarm - “no record found”…..dementia or decoy.

In that brief moment of utter desolation, I also wonder, if he is smiling and walking towards someone else….possible…someone behind me maybe….

As I am thinking, I slow down. He walks straight at me, and still the same beaming intimate smile ….its not a salesy smile…I have learnt to detect that bull from a mile away…this smile is not in that category…its honest, and seems to be from a friend who I unfortunately seem to have forgotten how to recognize.

As he reaches me, he stands purposely a little further than “intimate” and continues to beam and says “how are you?” equivalent in shuddh urdu hindustani….

I answer back in my best hindustani….Post “my doing good” equivalent, I ask him, “How do you know me ?” and he answers in a high gain, confident sort of way “ We have known each other for years. Don’t you remember anything?”

I give him a look, which explains that I don’t recall anything. Then the following conversation happens in chaste Urdu/hindi.

He “Your face has changed, it is very weighed down. Is everything ok?”
“Huh”? because I still did not know how to place him. “who are you?”.
“I am your friend”….” we spoke recently”.
“I really don’t remember you”.
He pauses, then gives a deeply philosophical smile, “I want to tell you that come July you will become so much more happier. Focus on it. Don’t plan and scheme around it. Just wait for it to happen. Wait and have patience.”
By this point, I am freaked out, and tell him “look I am sorry. I need to hurry back. I am missing a meeting.”
“Nothing has changed in your life. You are always in a hurry. Slow down. Breathe in a deep. If you hurry so much, of course, you will forget friends like me.” Still smiling….

I tell him a hurried “ bye” and rush ahead. As I look back, he is still warmly smiling, and sailing out a wafting “bye”.

all the time this entire conversation is in chaste hindi….and this is NY Madison.

As I finished the day at 8pm yesterday and walked back…I meditated and wondered….what really had happened here.

Dementia?
Schumbag?
Ghost?
My alter ego?
Out of body?
Goodness?

Left me with a very spaced out feeling. The universe always tries to talk back to us, telling us secrets….giving us chances and stony reminders.

On this occasion, the sterile me chose to dismiss this as a freak. Time will tell me, if I really missed a shooting star.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2182 : Pike place

I smell the rudderless coffee. It has a strange bite to it, especially when had without milk. The edge that always whipshakes me back into the present attention, more than the caffeine itself.

I stare at my tiny sleeping daughter. The poet in my believes and so bloody desperately wants to be her best friend, her pillar when she wants to post, and just everything a good partner in crime can be.

I believe in the future, when there shall be days when she and I will walk NY together, share a love for the photograph, and debate the poetry of motion over a rancid glass of cheap wine.

It could also be my niece(s).....at least one of them currently adores me. Essentially I am imagining a future where the generations meld and mesh.

In my own past though, I have been a terrible son, a disgraceful nephew (I deserted my favorite dying aunt!!), a difficult husband and a truly estranged brother.....Why will the roulette turn different this time? Its me who called the number, and I always called wrong. The others never gambled.....and were extraordinarily giving.

Me - for all the buddhist crap I mouth, I have never truly learnt to give, or to give up, or to give in. I learnt about singularity, and yet have focussed on the duality, I felt for their pain, but focussed on my high; I wanted their acceptance, but did not believe in losing inches.

Now, years later I know. I am afraid because of what I know. As I stare at the curled up princess, I am afraid of what she does not know. I am staring at her sprawled hair, but I am also staring at a future which I cannot imagine.

Very nervous of what I now know. The coffee reminds me of a future, that smells very different than now. The Razor's Edge.


Monday, April 20, 2015

2181 : Whiplash

As of yesterday, the only place I could still catch movies was on a flight. I seemed to have entirely lost my ability to be moved by moving images (strange and disappointing coming from a photographer right?).

My own inner sense of devolvement seems completed its course, on this long plane trip. Riding yesterday, I realized that my drive to see a movie has completely disappeared.

So on a 18 hr haul, I managed to catch a single movie - and it was worth the 2 hrs I spent on it. (The remaining 16 - 9 working, 7 sleeping).....



The movie is Whiplash, and it focusses on the journey of a young drum prodigy finding his own personal greatness in Jazz land. Not only did I find it supremely inspirational, but it reminded of my lost quest....

For years I have been obsessed with the definition (and hence pursuit) of personal greatness. When I look back at my last 24-36 months, I do realize that I have completely lost the plot and pursuit.

A story like this is an amazing reminder, that nothing matters but “greatness”, however your choose to define it in the confines of your head. Personal "greatness" is worth every price you can conjure, as long the greatness matters to "you".

This movie should go into our DVD collections.

Terence Fletcher as the maniacal and crazed teacher is sheer brilliance (a role played by JK Simmons). Its a character which will haunt you for years.



On my own journey - yes, I will recoup and get back on track on the ride soon. Here I come again..the lost puppy me :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2180 : Fully perverted

Picture this.

My wife gets this mailer from one of the prominent pseudo religious organizations (the fake guru types...get the drift!!) within the country.

Its a long mailer that expounds on the inconsequentiality of our "blink and miss" life (how charming this thought...no wonder we are a nation of fatalists!!)......but it contains 1-2 sentences which are just hilarious.

There is a question, which asks "Do you want to feel fuller?". Also somewhere else it says "Do you feel you are not able to live upto expectations?" or something to that effect.

Rip-roarious. 

2179 : New beginnings

How is beginning defined?
Is it the birth of the baby or
Is the birth of the its mother?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2178 : Senna again !!




If there is one person who means a lot to me as a hero, it has to Ayrton Senna. He represents a lot of things, but most importantly he represents the fact - that in life (and racing) - the only thing that matters is gaps and inches. If you see a gap, go for it, as if your entire living soul depended on it....and he died to prove that point to us.

And then this weekend we saw Marc Marquez, and I do believe Senna is back, and he is just as inspiring as in his previous avtaar :-) (Read : http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/news/a25508/why-you-must-watch-motogp-at-circuit-of-the-americas/ )

Insanity will never ever go out of fashion.



2177 : On the death of a secret

I have seen far too much of dying and devolution in my limited life. And my usual response to this full stop, is a few moments of pause and then "all systems go" again. I don't let myself be numbed by this discontinuity, though at times it still does distracts me immensely. In most cases, like a masked superhero, who is fighting to save Gotham (and participating in a fancy dress :-))- I tell myself that death is just another statistic.

And then Monday happens. I hear of the death of a dear friend - someone who I have met all of 4 times in my life. How does that make her a dear friend?

If that explains anything at all - we shared secrets. Far too many of them, and far too intimate ones. We were both absolutely in love with poetry, wine and music. We both could spend hours talking about the merits of a poem or otherwise. (I dont know any other person in my life who I have had so much fun talking on poetry.) And she had wisdom which was far beyond me. The timeless beauty that can only be born out of age, compassion and the sheer purposeful goodness of her life.

She was the one who taught me (without ever saying it) that giving can sometimes cause immense pain, but give we must - especially if we are fighting to score a win. She would joke and say that she was incessantly carving little parts of her own heart and perennially losing them along the way. Like signposts for her soul, an autobiographical cartographer if one could think of such a metaphor.

I learnt a lot from her, and yet I learnt too little. There was so much in her that I hoped to imbibe into my battle weary soul.  I had hoped to grow old - stealing from her pile of wisdom. What once was, is no longer. (I had not met her for over 8 months now, and not spoken in over 4 months.)

Come Monday, it occurred to me that I indeed had lost a little piece of my broken heart, quite inadvertently - just like she had suggested I should learn to do.

Here's to a dear friend, who never really was one, but ironically, was a real dear friend. Bearer of shared secrets, rest in peace. I will never know what I dont know now.

The poet is dead. Long live the poet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2176 : This is the end of the innocence

Why are you so afraid of life?
Why do you distrust it so?
Why must you control 
Every aspect of 
The environment around you?
Why must you defend yourself
Against another's words or actions,
Regardless of how trivial?
Why?

My relationship with violence has always been very fractured - its layers have had a deep influence on my life - immense and autobiographical. I have meditated on its layers and its a deep metaphorical undercurrent in (my) our everyday being.

Its omnipotence is mesmerizing - physical, mental, social and even sentimental (now that was a cheesy one:-). In the higher realms of consciousness, there is never a good ground for it - its always rooted in abuse, and there is never ever a good justification for force. Buddhism and Zen abhor violence for the very reason that it sustains the karmic recycling.

But....shift the perspective to the animal kingdom and the larger universe, and in sudden contravention of the above - violence is all around us under the guise of entropy, in the guiles of the charming attacker, in the fear hidden within the prey and most importantly in the process of dying.

If we agree and believe that we all are dying all the time, then violence is a deep rooted symphony within the seat of that process - its almost essential. A cancer, a snake bite, a slaughterhouse, genocide, infanticide....and then of course we living beings inventing incest, rape, war and pillory - all are karmic aids fuel the cycle.

If dying is essential to the living, then violence must exist - and funnily it finds its invariably way to snake itself in. Remember we are never more than 60 seconds away from our next violent act. (Think mosquito swatter!! as an example)

Deep rooted in Zen, is the belief that one should abhor violence, since it essentially creates more entropy, but conversely...... and counterintuitively - it also states one must not resist violence. Death by cancer, the shame of incest, the ignominy of loot and the carcasses of war - they come because we inflict themselves on us. Not in a fatalistic way, but in a more connected world sort of way. The world is us, just like the cancer of the body is our body taking its sweet revenge on itself.

If my body is being attacked by cancer, and cancer is essentially cells of my body, then my body is attacking my own body - where is the cancer, where is the violence, what am I running away from? If on the other hand the cancer is outside my body, then where am I?

Finally, undeniably the world is indeed a sadder place due to violence. As an example, we kill a hundred thousand farm animals daily.....and that unfortunately is the bloody circle of karma.... that manifests itself via cancer, senseless wars, rape and not to mention abuse.

Who pays the real price..... the dead are blessed. They are churned into their own ashes. The "surviving" and the "living" are consigned to reliving the violence every day. And that is our fatal punishment. Live and burn through the re-imagined horrors of the past. This is our fate !!

Its easy for the couch artist in me to sit and pontificate within the confines of my brilliant living room - the real incessant war, on the other hand,  is being fought everyday on the street..... and I dont participate in it. I sit there - meekly gazing - completely sterile, muted and numbed by the tribulations. Sometimes I weild my pen as a poet, but then its the ......Arm chair warrior I.


"Happily ever after" ends
and we have been poisoned by these fairy tales....

Offer up your best defense
But this is the end....of the innocence.






Sunday, April 12, 2015

2175 : Run like hell

The temples and monasteries
Cannot hide you
When you are running away
From yourself.

There is no sanctuary
Other than to dive inward and 
Investigate who is running away
From what?

A perfect koan to slow down the escaping me.

2174 : Game of inches

How do you fall in love? Remember that slow build up of tingling.
How do you fall out of love? The crawly creep of bitterness.
How do you win in a battle? The awkward climb towards the top of the hill.
How do you lose a battle? The steady deterioration.
How do you curse a enemy? Voodoo dolls pricked one pin at a time.
How do you bless a friend? A hug and a kiss for every smile.
How do you dance in the wind? Fall three times before you can keep the beat.
How do you still the mind? Fail three times before you can kill the beat.
How do you evolve? One revolutionary staple at a time.
How do you devolve? Every crumbling brick takes the shine of 3 others along the way.
How do you learn to live? One day at a time.
How do you learn to die? Over the life time.

This is indeed a game of inches. I am beginning to realize, that this is what Shakespeare probably meant when he said " a plague on both your houses."

2173 : Your place or mine?

Bade itafak se milte hain milne wale mujhe 
Woh mere dost hai, teree wafa me jite hain
I love these lines from Jagjit Singh's Tere Khayal
(from the movie Leela, lines by Gulzar).

Translated this is how it shall read:
I marvel at the strange coincidence that every single time, when I do bump into friends - they claim to be "mine", but ironically only you seem to be occupying their immediate mind. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2172 :The life and times of Michael K

Like K His life was slowly devolving.Sometimes in steps, sometimes in weeps. They dystopian fallacy of assuming experience will lead to happiness was being assiduously destroyed, one smile at a time.

His relationship with consumption was retreating, a mild erosion seeping in every moment.The proverbial inner sense of sanctum was leaking. What was left behind was the carcass of items marauding away with atrophy, the slow disease of death.

Today as he sat down at the table, the food on the plate made no sense to him - just like a simian would stare at a key fob and wonder why did we need one in the first place. He gazed, a look very akin to the staring matches in animal land. For some reason he was reminded of Bono, his erstwhile bull terrier.

Moments added upto to minutes and then to an hour. His phone rang, kicking off the reverie. Not caring to look who was calling - he picked up the car keys, abandoning the ringing device, he purposely walked out of the door.

Turning on the car, he started driving. Some time into the drive, he realised that he was not driving to a destination. He was going nowhere. There was nowhere to hide. He was running away without a new address.

It occurred to him, maybe this is what death might feel like. Hurtling full speed somewhere, but still stuck in an unexplainable nether. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

2171 : Still the mind

I have posted on this quite so often, and its a recurrent theme in my allegory.

On a day like today, I have this mad crazy rage in my head going "still, still, silence, silence, still, still, silence, silence......".

Maybe its an urban hippiedom kicking in, but I have this relentless primordial scream in my head which quite poetically tells me to go all dark.

Physical. Mental. Verbal. Silence. Zen. Nothing. Numb. Sore. Itch. Still. Ostrich.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

2170 : The world is made of wood and a lance, and the string that holds it all up....till it falls !!

Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Two fallen heroes. Two angels who lampooned with the devil. The price, a total complete excorcism.

As I read http://www.businessinsider.com/tiger-woods-happy-masters-2015-4 it reaffirmed my faith that the as much the world loves a hero, it loves nothing more than a fallen star....He then becomes the new Atlas.

He bears the burden of our fears, tribulations, accusations and of course, holy cow!! - the ultimate mother of all all punishments - eternal damnation.

Tiger of all things, was only having an EMA, which probably half the world's pricks are guilty of. (Of course the poor men are slaves of their pricks right!!).

As for Lance, I think I have said this before and I shall say this again.....

How many folks after Chemo, can come walk to work? The psychological damage from chemo is far far more than the physical drain. Believe me, I know that script intimately. I have seen enough to bear the scars. Albeit vicarious.

To come back from Chemo and win The Tour De France is commendable. EPO (and the ilk) be damned. Remember the use of EPO in cycling is similar to me paying the cop off every time he stops my car (and I have been forced to do that more than 5 times in my 18 year driving history) - its just the lay of my land. Or similar to me paying off the commissioner to register my house in Mumbai (make that 5 times again!!) - its me getting laid for my land :-).

Of course, the phucking dorks amongst us will always say, just because there was an orgy of EPO all around, does not make it all right.

Its just as easy for me to take that pedantic living room hare brained mike too - but I know and I admit, I am just as guilty of bribes and crimes, and yet I live scot free. I am allowed to savor my victories and the defeats go un-noticed....and I feel bloody lucky and blessed for it.

I love and adore these fallen heroes. I especially love the fact that despite their obvious blemishes (some very deep, like Lance lying through his skin), demonstrate to me that - that one sweet day I can rise to the epochs of the world, inspite of my philhilly follies....and ride it cowboy style....as long as I don't get caught with my pants down (for either the EMA or EPO) :-). Conclusion - keep the payjamas jammed shut!!




2169 : Whats the good word?

Maybe my neurons are mis-firing but every time I listen to Morazrt's 40th, my brain immediately kicks up Sabira Merchant and "Whats the good word?"....

In my head, the title piece of that show was a rip off the 40th.

I have been listening to the 40th (and Beethoven's 9th...my other favorite) for over 30 years now....and must have heard it over 1000 times at least, but I can never tire of both of these lilting pieces.

Our memories are certainly strangely organized. Like the other day, a friend of mine mentioned "God" and the crazy brain of mine goes "Nine billion names of God", the haunting tale by Arthur C Clarke.


Monday, April 06, 2015

2168 : Poetry is child's play

As I sit with my child and try to explain to him poetry, especially hindi poetry - the scene is riproariously funny.

So in my precise urdu diction, I tell him "Na Bolu mein toh kaleja phooke"....(Quite literally.....If I dont speak, then the insides of my liver burn down with that suppressed secret")

And my 4 year old goes, do we need the fire engine then? Also, what is the liver? I tell him its similar to the heart. Oh, then why do we need both? They are different organs. (I have taught him the rough size of the heart). Is the liver similar sized to the heart? Not sure, but I will get back soon to you. What does the liver do? Removes poisons. But I tho dont eat poison? Ah, ok also digests fat. Does that mean it will digest mumma ? No, no, its digests fat and not fat people. You are tho fit na? Not sure, I too have a lot of fat here and there. Does that mean your liver does not work?...........

By now, the original song is lost. Gulzar is dead. Poetry is buried under a treasure trove of trivial (but important clarifications). I have not even told him that the next line (Joh bol doon tho zaaban jale hain.....will mean....If I do speak, then its my tongue that is scathing")......

Because that is for another equally tipsy blogpost.

2167 : Saucerful of secrets

Between two individuals, just like "boxing" is essential to build trust, so is a need to have shared secrets. And no, I don't mean that in a Peter Theil kind of way (Google that...:-)).

A secret is a shared recipe for a hidden almost obscure way of firing a series of neurons. Like how do I get your brain to read a sentence and think of Arthur C Clarke's A Billion Names of God, without really saying it directly. For a try, I could say "I would rather watch Clark Gable in Gone with the wind a billion times, than spend time reciting the name of God.". (I know I know...stop those brickbats....Its a very cheesy, very kitschy example to make up!!....but I got across my point!!).

On a more subtle scale, the word games (either in speech or writing) is like leading the reader through a thought process which is similar to yours and hoping she cartographs in a similar lean. Like why the earth is full of sales people according to Douglas Adams (do google that up, its very interesting and funny).

Finally, a shared secret can also be an oblique way of throwing a listener/reader's brain into a lateral tizzy. Example is the classic koan "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?". Its a classic to remind us of the observer/observable relationship and almost always gets the person the first time he/she hears this.

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite rock bands, but more importantly if you search up on the image of this album on google, you shall come up with a true puzzle. It contains eons of secrets, and hence the name of the album.

Get the drift?

Sharing a secret (I mean implicitly sharing, without ever directly mentioning it) also creates a shared conspiracy and build trust.

Like the Clark Gable above is a reference to when he was Gone with the wind, and the female protagonist of that movie is....well whatever...lets leave it there.

Shared secrets. Secret sauce. Master Wu Wei. And I am still trying :-)


Sunday, April 05, 2015

2166 : Creep

I grew up listening to Radiohead croon "Creep", and then 4 years ago, I discovered Karen Souza do a jazz rendition of this grunge classic....and guess what, my favorite "Creep" today is the Karen one.

I just love her voice on that song, she actually sounds sozzled and in a trance. The crazy energy of the song, blends wildly with her drink induced rasp.

Do listen to her, and you will know why I like it more than Radiohead.

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

2165 : Myth ?

Myths are our self-interpretation of our inner selves in relation to the outside world. They are narrations by which our society is unified. Myths are essential to the process of keeping our souls alive and bringing us new meaning in a difficult and often meaningless world.

- Rollo May

2164 : Where did that go?


She saw me sitting with one of my favorite teapot, peeping in, she chirpily exclaimed "its empty?". I lazily corrected "its filled with emptiness.". Hit by that unexpected oblique thought, she shuddered back for an instant. I had won this round so very comfortably :-).

A few moments later, she lovingly picked up the pot, almost sensuously caressing its outer walls. Then with the look of the crazed butcher about to do his job, she focussed menacingly on the ceramic and then in that instant frozen in time (matrix style), she let gravity take over. She let the teapot fly without any wings.

In what seemed like seconds, I saw my favorite pot crash and shudder, go to a million pieces, loudly gasp and eventually whimper and die.

Broken from my lazy reverie, I looked up in complete shock - and she said "Where is the pot now?". Regaining some limited composure, I mustered a weak, "Its gone now. Its dead. The cruel you - you absolutely killed it. Murderer."

She stared icily into my eyes, still no sign of either an apology or a victory, and then waspily said, "and the emptiness it was full of? Where is that now?"

Her curve ball. A perfect strike.