Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Killed by Boredom

It’s a good day. The sun shines bright and the sky looks cloudless. There is something unusually bright about the day. Funny. I thought I’d always like the day so bright and sunny. I look out the window and find a new visitor. The squirrel in the tree outside stares back at me. He does not like intrusion. He twitches his nose and runs into the leafier visage of the tree. He reminds me of an old acquaintance. Just as twitchy and agoraphobic. I have nothing to do today. Nothing. Things seem so dull when you have nothing to do. Mom is outside talking to our neighbours about a recent robbery on the street. Women always find something interesting and common about things to talk. Anything and everything goes for them. I can’t do the same.

The phone has not rung since morning. The electricity has been gone for an hour. I am writing this after it came on. But the pause in the middle was long. Longer than I thought it would be. I always want what I cannot get. They have a fatal attraction around them. I am laughing at myself. I write better when I am drunk. These things aren’t making sense. But so are things in my head. You know that feeling where you felt a dream was so real that you couldn’t believe it was a dream. I am on the opposite end. My reality is floating away, it almost feels surreal. I feel like a spectre wandering without a body. Sometimes I do not know if I choose because I know, or due to the curiosity of the choice. Confusion is an easier situation. I am almost delirious.

Sorry for the senseless nonsense. I wait for mom to return with some interesting news. She’ll tell it to me, whether or not I want to hear it is irrelevant. At least it will take my mind off things. She always knows how to divert me. She’ll know wahts wrong with me without even looking at me. Hope she figures it out because I can’t. Can a person get bored just like that? Get the blues…as they call it? It does look like it. She is walking up to me. I can see that look in her eyes, like she wants me to run some errands.

The cursor pauses for a moment waiting for me to begin typing again. My mind waits for an idea. .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mysterious Silent voices

Beach sceneImage via Wikipedia
The sea is a wonderful place. Among all things natural, it is the only one which speaks the language of poetry so consistently, even in its anger. I love listening to waves rolling silently onto the shore, crashing in a desperate fall onto sandy beaches. Their wailing laughter that flows along the edge of the lines that they leave trailing behind is more beautiful than human laughter. It has an elemental wisdom in it. I love it, but I am just another lunatic loner.

My friends are a boisterous group. When they are around, you know they are around. The laughter whips all around you like a typhoon that won’t die down. All you can do is laugh. When the trip was decided I was just another addition, but soon I became a part of it as much as everyone else. Where I separated from the trip and took my own journey, I don’t know. Maybe it was when we decided to walk down the rocks nad not on the cement pavement. Among the crows and pigeons dining in mushy sludge. Among the mounds of rotten flowers with stinking breath that the sea vomited back onto the shore. Among crying waves that despised it new master – man.

We passed the desperate sights with a hurry; Much like the homeless lovers, sitting on the edge of the pavement, sitting in temperamental love that holds them together for now. We hurried and moved to different paths. We reached the beach and played on creamy sands. We built castles and narrated stories. Rousing stories some of them, life experiences and struggles. I realized the punitiveness of my troubles in comparison with some brave souls, their laughter hiding their own sorrows. Sorrows silent within their hearts, wanting to speak yet unspoken in its self. I listened, not uttering a word. I did not know what to say, not if to say anything would be right. When the stories got a little too much to handle, we turned our lighter hearts homeward. But my heart was unwilling.

When the night ended, I sat again at the corner store with a cup of tea. The rain had started once again and was falling with a silent murmur. No voice stirred, other than those of weary hearts. No cry heard, other than that of souls apart. I sipped on my tea and lisetened. I listened to a familiar voice. The sea had followed me home. I heard it speak . It spoke of sorrow and death, love and laughter, joy and liberation. But most of all, it spoke of silence. Silence – that was kept by so many secrets hidden deep beneath its belly. Drowned like the million ganeshas, to accumulate a million more next year. When it had finished, so had the rain. The day was on the verge and night on the wane. Silence reigned.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The campus was almost empty. It always is by sundown. That is why I like it so much. The silent darkness, with no obstructing sounds. Nothing other than the occasional crow, flying overhead back home. No mobile phones that go off, no loud music playing on some jazzy Chinese model. Silence, sundown and me. I choose my favorite spot to sit. The corner cement bench beneath the old peepal. It is bang opposite the ground. It is a great place. More so, when the ground is empty and filled with marshy grass. The green of the grass takes on a different tinge as the sun sets behind it. The entire place acquires na old gothic charm, something so close to Yeats’ Ireland.

Nature is beautiful, humanity is not. I find animals much more human than humans themselves. I was thinking about such thoughts again, rambling my way through the spreading darkness. Yet my pen had not moved, nor a blot off ink made on the paper. The shuffle of footsteps right beside me never entered my conscious brain. What made me turn I do not know, but I turned eventually. An old man was sitting next to me. He was reading a book, quietly in the light falling from the street lamp nearby. I tried to read the cover, but it was kept at a strange angle from me. I gave up and went back to my book.

“So you write?” said an unusual quivering voice from behind me. I turned to stare at the old man. “Yes. Sometimes”. “Good. It is a very good habit. Useful to improve your language.” “Yes’. “It also feels good. You know, when you have no one to talk to; the whole world might ignore you but that notepad will listen.” “Yes. I know”. “What do you study?” “I am a graduate.” “In what?” “English”. “Ah!! A literature graduate... Good. You are very lucky. Most people these days would go for IT. Why did you choose this?”. “I did not get enough marks.” “Ohh!! But it is a very interesting subject. What authors have you read?”. “ Many. But I am more interested in poetry.” “Excellent. I am myself very interested in poetry. I love the way language flows with the emotion. You should never read poetry, you know? You should feel it!!” “Yes. I know”. “Have you ever read Yeats?” “ Yes”. “He is my favorite. There was this poem that I remember ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’…

What happened next was an experience I shall never forget. The man started reciting the poem. Reciting it in a manner I never have heard before. My professors told me Yeats had a mystical voice, this voice was no different. The air moving around the campus, swirling in its hollow darkness added to its sense of mystery. I sat stunned and listened as the voice sang .When he finished, I looked at him. Staring unashamedly. “I am sorry to disturb you. I just wanted to speak. You know, someday I hope to go to a place like Innisfree”. I smiled and said “Yes. I know.”

THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE -----William Butler Yeats.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November rain

As the twilight spreads

A deep orange shade over grey skies

Eyes deep lined in kohl

Rain tears on cold earth

And men run helter skelter

In desperate search for shelter;

The dogs laugh and raise howls

Together in a derisive laugh

With them, I too, laugh.

My life rises through me

Towards high black skies
Singing laughter

That dances with the patter of raindrops

Caroused by the cold wind

Cajoled by sonorous thunder,

I watch the dance.

Suddenly the curtains are drawn,

The stage grows dark

Darker than the darkest dark

Light seems but a faint shadow

And yet, in this crude darkness

The breeze sings a new song;

A song of dreams, of hope

That the morning is not long

But till then- sing, dance, rejoice.

The clouds clap in joy

And light bursts forth

Like a white dragon

From the black sky

White from tail to the eye,

As it came so it vanishes;

A shy bride behind veiled curtains;

Below these dark veils

Begins a new symphony.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Prayers from a troubled soul

I wait for the noise to subside before every single sentence. Before I start the next sentence, the frenzy drives up. As though they were waiting for me to stop. Reminds me of the ‘repeating’ game that kids play. The drum beat is beautiful. A slow dhup-dahm-dhup-dham, with a cymbal accompanying it through the song. They are perfect. It is the vocals that bother me. They are croaking through a constricted larynx, where the wind whistles and sighs before escaping out the mouth. In this long process, the words are lost somewhere in the middle. Strained ears could not capture the essence of the lost lyrics that meander into the crowing crowd that followed their leader. No, don’t take me wrong. I appreciate their spirit and their prayer. I am just describing it. Well, that they are annoying me is another fact.

Prayer. A novelty I never understood. Nor its purpose, nor its manner. The frenzy is unbelievable. Frenzy always is. People swaying to the tune of music. The drum beating to its heartiest and the heart beating with the drum. You can hardly not be affected. The noise, strange word noise, is pleasantly annoying. I have been here before. I was once within a durga temple. The idol was a stone; red with big white eyes carved upon it. It was when the aarti began that I noticed the huge drum that began being beaten. My heart swung and rang with a different rush of adrenalin that no doctor could supply. When I left, I felt inebriated. I do not know what you call it. The world remained silent for a couple of days after that.

The purpose of prayer is quite contradictory to its origin itself. If there is a god, which there is, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient; he need not be told what is to be done. He need not be praised and called different names. He knows and shall do what is right. So why does man pray? Why does he feel the necessity to placate and try to coax the all powerful into doing something that he does not want to do? And to do all this at the discomfort of your neighbour is questionable. Or not. For questions raised in this matter often end up with me ‘as a disgrace to my parents’. SO we silently smile and nod our heads as they ask me ‘How’d you like the puja?’…. You don’t want to know.

Maybe I should also pray.

The vein on my forehead is throbbing,

Throbbing with the pulse of life;

Throbbing, Throbbing to the pain of dying,

Dying with the noise of life.

And yet the noise I can bear

The silence puts me to strife;

It awakens deep dark consciences

Asleep in heavely slumber

Awakens it to hellish life.

Do I contradict myself?
  Very well then I contradict myself,

------------------ Walt Whitman.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Keeping Time

The clock on the wall behind me keeps ticking. Its constant tick tock annoys me. It keeps me awake and worrying at the same time. I stare back at the paper. It’s the third time I do that in thirty seconds. Well, I’ve got nothing else to do. That’s not entirely true. I could write the answers to the questions. But I have time. Less and less by the minute, as the clock seems to say to me. That is why I am annoyed.

The girl on the third bench behind me is writing. I am watching her. She is not pretty. I did not notice this before. The examiner is staring at me for the last 3 minutes. I know. I have been keeping time. He looks at me like I am the scum of the earth. I have half a mind to tell him he is wrong. I belong in hell.

The blank page on the answer sheet stares back at me with equal repulsiveness. I stab it with my blue pen and scribble over its skin. It would have been painful, to have somebody violate your pureness so, but it doesn’t seem to complain. Regardless of what nonsense I write. Nether do my professors. They appear to have acquired a cold, calculated indifference to my answers. Everytime they see my paper, they give it marks if possible and pass it back to me. I never ask for it. It is as though they do not want that cursed manuscript.

I want the bell to ring. But things do not always happen the way I want them to. I want a lot of things. But nothing is enough. I thought I would be done with this nonsense when I graduated. But I still have it with me. A grim reminder of a horrid past. Horrid because it remembers what I wish to forget. In its unforgiving memory it traps my soul and forces it to remember and relive ghoulish hellholes.

I fidget with my pen. It disturbs the examiner… He has much more important work to do. Like me, he too is in a race against time. It’s a stupid race. Both of us know that in the end time is the only winner. After all

Men may come, men may go

I remain

I write a few more imaginative answers. In the middle of a singularly strange thought process, I’ve been doing this. Writing answers. People My imagination runs riot when I am dealing with facts. I am writing an exam on editing. An art where you have to convey the most accurate details in the most concise manner. I doubt if anyone is more miserly with words than me. In the answers. I console myself that I am saving paper. A little contribution to a dying world.. How long is another matter.

I look at the clock one last time. It has an angular frown on its face. A fly is sittinon the 7 that the short hand is pointing to. I get up and push my incomplete pamphlet towards my examiner. He arches his eyebrows in a wuestioning manner. I do not answer him. I wonder what I am doing. I look at the clock again. It is sickeningly silent now.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

fever Induced Madness

The world moves around in a slow spin,

Causing my eyes to wobble up and down;

I steady myself on the railing

As passersby look at me and frown.

Bah! I say. Look somewhere else

If I bother you so much.

I have a thousand heavens and hells

And yet nothing of a church.

The smoke swirls around and dances

With light playing lightly

And I spot a million chances

That shine in front of me brightly;

And a stranger’s voice seaks to me, “Are you OK?”

Am I Ok?

I do not think so,

For I think too much.

My head weighs over my heart

And the heart drunk in its own conscience

Stumbles and struggles over hurdles,

Stretched over the path of life,

And yet I am ok.

I know my truth is not yours

And my lie is not yours

For it is mine and mine alone,

I create it and swallow it.

Bitter as it is and sweet if it may be

I roam across your world and call it mine

And invite you to do the same;

But when you enter, do so with humility;

For here