Friday, November 21, 2008
It should have been some kind of a wild convulsion that should have catapulted me onto this not-so-cozy habitat. I should have sensed it, right on the day I was born - the massive black hole beneath us all, sucking and feeding on all things and souls like an eternally hungry merciless beast. One day, it would consume my soul too and feed on it, till I become inseparably entangled with the singularity, reduce to nothing, and become an indistinguishable part of the treacherous beast myself. And now, as I dizzily race through space, gaining momentum rapidly with every tiniest slice of time passing by, I dread the long wily claws stretching over light years of space like a cold infinite rubber arm clutching my feet and dragging me towards the hole that I am helplessly sliding into.
I fail to understand when and how exactly it happened, but 'it' snapped. As the mind cleared one fine day and woke up from the long dream of a life, the string that I was holding on to for dear life, vanished right before my eyes and it was then that the fall began. And now, as I race towards the beast, I remember the beautiful sight of innumerable strings dancing all around in the infinity of space, like countless strands of Medusa's hair, sprouting in all directions away from the huge hole beneath. I remember that sight as a happy distant memory from a past that I now know is permanently lost. The strings had hosted fantastic whole new worlds in themselves that felt so very real, almost as real as the long dream of a life that I woke up from. Like most men who had convulsed into this space, I too had found some strings of my own to cling to, and to sheathe myself from the hungry animal beneath. I had lived many dreams on the surface of the strings and even at times, lost myself in all the many wonderful worlds in there, so much that I had almost forgotten the beast beneath. The soul was intact and securely bound on a slender string that decidedly looked away from the hungry hole as if it was hoping that, if it did not look below, the beast would not exist.
And suddenly, I woke up, and the string vanished in a puff. I peered into the dark infinite emptiness, looking for a single thin white string and I failed to find any. There was only the darkness around, the beast below and my spaghettified feet stretching into a thin string of molecules dissolving seamlessly into the claws that ruthlessly dragged them. It was then that I realized that the strings were not in the space outside, but were really inside me - happy creations of my hopeful brain in a dream that I had been trapped in. We all found strings to hold on to, but only so because we created them as and when we needed, in wild journeys that we had in powerful dreams of ours. And then, as I fell, I tried hard to conjure a string magically out of space, but in vain, for I knew they were not real, and as long as that realization rested deep inside me, the strings only vanished even as they were being created, like flashes of lightning that you might fail to catch sight of, if you only blinked. It was a clever trick. You need to believe the strings were real, to be able to create them, but you knew they only existed in your mind.
And now, it amazes me as to how very painfully often and how very hard, but only in vain, I have tried to close my eyes and fall into another of those dreams where I could cleverly create one of Medusa's slippery snakes out of thin air, and happily cling on to it. Alas, to my misfortune, there was no such dream. There was just the fall, the dreaded beast sucking ever more on my feet and the cold wind sickeningly blazing through my feverish skin as I gravitate dizzily into the darkness beneath. I hold on to nothing. And, I fall.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I am a cynic, and at times one of a kind that I cannot tolerate myself, and I wish that some fortunate day, I'd manage to happily escape the sight of the eye into the dark world of my own private irrational self, just as it was ripping apart myself into the infinite distance to perform its Godly cynical feat. Sometimes, I sit in this group of human things, and my messed up brains watch my eye as it rips off myself and begins to gag at all of them, and at me. Succumbing to the shame of a watchful God's wrathful laughter, the eye at times, makes me feel as if all of humans were one confused adolescent blob of a childish thing, flawed and incapable of rational behavior. I strive hard, to sit before my associate human things and just be another irrational human thing, empathizing with all the pride over a supposed demonstration of wisdom, the merriment over mediocre elements of existence, unabashed statements on devotion of one's lifetime to materialistic goals, the silly hope for a meaning and all the joy of a living,.., and just be friends with my friends, a colleague with my colleagues, and kin with kin, to just be a simple man,.., and under the watchful eye, I try to stealthily sneak in simple unashamed conversations about my last cup of tea, the new movie in town, gossips on failed relationships, plans for career growth and sarcastic remarks on the silliness of few folks around, and just there, I terribly fail as the Lord's wrathful eye watched my words and deeds and burnt my soul with the sharp blade of a ruthless smile.
I wished I weren't the cynic that I was. The brain was conscious of the eye's watchfulness and the eye was watchful of the brain's cautiousness, and in one endless loop of a meta-thought cycle, I was forever stuck in a limbo unable to empathize with myself and the souls around me, and I sit there disconnected from the simple group of nice little innocent human beings letting out their emotions and opinions and only trying to pass by another day of their meagre lives, and I sit there quietened and humbled and I felt like a lifeless body carrying this weird force of a life that I did not understand. My associates weren't any of the great Gods, and they all suffered from pride, the forces of love and hunger and the simple and unfounded fear of an uncertain future, and who was I to let my eye wander aimlessly at great heights with all the world's apathy and to let it weigh those around me on the inconsiderate scales of universal perfection, pass judgements on meek deeds and nonchalantly laugh at all the pitiable existence that is? Why was the brain stuck in an endlessly recursive meta-cycle of a painful process of self-revelation and the enlightenment of a meaningless existence? How I wished I weren't the cynic that I was? Someday, I hope I would learn to ignore the eye too, and hold on to the only life that I have and escape into the darkness of a simple unassumed irrational living, and to not regret feeling all the irrational forces that I felt, however menial and meek they might be, for the suffering and the joy were real, and when I suffered pain, I burnt in hell, and when I felt joy, I rejoiced in heaven, or whatever thing on earth, that could come to mean, and it does not matter that these elements of joy and pain were marked as 'irrational' on an unforgiving God's big book of cosmic behavior. I wish now that my third eye were blinded, or that my conscious mind comfortably turned its back towards the apathic eye, which are both the same thing really.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Taking the red pill is no joke, and what could possibly be the path to enlightenment does not really promise a happy journey to any. Had you envisioned the attainment of enlightenment as this deeply blissful feeling, you are most likely mistaken. Not only is the endeavour and the search for the truth beneath the system tedious, but also the emptiness and the lack of a purpose which results from the realization, leaves one in an endless state of numbness that is deeply painful, the kind of which only the pain of immortality could possibly match (also because when you are immortal, you inevitably look beyond the times and gradually beyond the system, and as a result eventually feel the same painful unceasing realization of the truth). When unplugged from the facade of the system, there is just this huge feeling of an enormous void, and you breathe a tiny pinch of the warped fabric into your lungs and let it pervade all of your inner self and soon you know you are no different from the void itself. All distinct sensations of the constructs fade away slowly, and when the feeling is in one of its ultimate heights, the experience is some kind of a no-feeling state that is independent of your location or the time of existence. This feeling sinks in for the first time and thereafter you forever fail to empathize with all the various happenings around you, directly correlated with the times of your life and dictated by all the various sub-systems in place at the very temporal and spatial location you happened to exist. You see all the folks doing all the various things everyday in search of meaning, joy or for just the plain matter of a living and you feel infinitely detached from the deeds and their drives, and at once, you see yourself placed at this enormous distance from all that you experience and once more there is the all-knowing sensation of the void filling your inner depths. If God was indeed characterised with human-like attributes, then this is probably how She would feel for a boundless span of time.
It is for this reason that, once unplugged from the system, it is not really as easy to let oneself back into the stream of the omnipresent system happily again. It might be easier if one could hypothetically, say, when in such a state, manage to end up in a peacefully empty infinite sleep, never to have to wake up and let oneself back into a system that could not feel real or meaningful anymore. In most cases however, the resulting condition is that of a confusion experienced by these men stuck in a state of limbo struggling every now and then to plug oneself back into the system and to try and feel the same sensation of taste that was once so happily felt. To their misery however, there is indeed no spoon and the 'residual self-image' is not as satisfying an experience anymore. The choice between truth and a false sense of hope or meaning is indeed possibly the trickiest ever, and if an unassuming all-knowing saintly Morpheus indeed stands before you with two pills on his hands, you better think twice before opting for the truth. For there is the alarmingly dangerous and likely possibility of getting stuck in the limbo forever. There would be no Trainman who'd ever come to your rescue, and the only choice before you would be that between an infinite sleep or an unwilling tolerance of a tasteless overpowering all-pervading false sense of a numbing reality.
Monday, March 24, 2008
The Pongal Veg Café was where one went when the beast rumbled, and it was where nameless men came together and assembled onto edges of congested tables with banana leaves in front of them, onto which inexpensive meals were hurriedly served by unknown men. It was where one occasionally heard few men speaking to fellow men, even as they gulped their food. These men had, over time acquired the practice of leaking out a not so hearty laugh intermittently during their endless conversations that mostly centered on details of their everyday work. It was where one also saw loners quietly finishing off their meal in an almost ceremonious fashion, and leaving the place the same silent way they had entered it. The loners did not seem to have much to say, and from a simple glance onto their nameless faces, one could never really discern if these men were after all mourning over something they had lost over the course of ruthless time. In fact, the primary aspect that differentiated the Pongal Veg Café from the rest of smallish restaurants in the city was that, lonely men could go there and silently get done with their job without too much of a sense of discomfort in themselves, owing to their wretched loneliness, which at this point of time simply seemed to be owing to the absence of mammal companions who could accompany when it was time for food. A group of unknown loners, when together on the same table, scavenging on food, weren’t really as alone, in principle, and this really was the prime reason the place did good business. When one was at the Veg Café, one discovered that the city had a lot of such loners, and in that sense, one wasn’t alone when it came to being alone.
I have loved my dad always. But, there were also things about him that I have not liked, like his pragmatism, which I have felt, was excessive. To me, as a character, he was just like any normal man that you saw around you, and I had never bothered to really know the thing that was he. Well, recently I came to know about the life story of my dad, and that did change a lot of my understanding, about him. Knowing what I then did, he almost suddenly rose to the stature of a hero in my eyes. And, when I sat here to write this thing today, my empty and numb insides are filled with an enormous sense of respect for the thing that lay there - the man, my father, whose achievement in life far exceeds mine or of most other men I have known of and read about. You watched the movies and read the books and you imagined stuff and you thought you had seen it all. But, silly how, you very often fail to just pause briefly and take a look at what huge hidden truths lie in what had so obviously been near you always! How little had I known of what he had been through? And how I have been entirely unaffected by his treacherous past? I cannot help but think now that, had he ceased to fight for his survival for one single moment and surrendered his life to the enormous ruthless hands of fate that seemed to have derived so much sadistic pleasure tormenting him, I would not have been here, grown to be the angry adolescent young romanticist cynic that I today am, basking in my unceasing rationalizing spree and a reasonably glorious history of academic success.
On happy sunny mornings, the fruit smiled its happy ripen optimistic face onto a warm little earth. The fruit was rare, and its flesh nutritious and rich in taste. It had rejoiced in its glory for a long time now, and it was proudly facing the sun, with an all-knowing expression. And, little did it know of the hungry farmer who, having no tools of his own, had tilled the rocky earth for a full decade with his bare hands that were bloody and worn out now. After years of painful toil, he had finally bore one full smile on his face as he had planted the sapling that now bore the rare fruit, and now, he lay there in his lonely hut hiding away from the sun that had long burnt his skin, receding into the darkness of a wild restful sleep.
And what I have really wanted to do for a while now, is to narrate, in plain simple words the tale of my father’s life.
Two young boys looked straight into the distance, as their knees bent forward, arms crouched at the feet, and the rest of the torso set itself into such a posture as it was so ready to pounce into the air any moment then, with all the mighty force that stayed hidden in the muscles that stayed wrapped within. The hot blood pumped vigorously with every breath of the lungs and every beat of the heart. Where in the distance their thirsty eyes restlessly looked, a hundred meters further from where they now crouched like hungry beasts, was a thin white line. The boys were furious, and their hearts raged with the desire to reach the line, as if there lay the key to the greatest thing that was ever sought by men who walked the earth. As a hundred pairs of eyes blinked wide into the day, with an excitement and thrill, the kind of which can only be caused by the definite uncertainty of an inevitable future, the gun shot up the unseen bullet that vanished into the dusty robe of humid air that wrapped the ground below, and it was as if the boys were what were really shot out into space, with immense energy and the deafening blast of a noise. Their feet now raced, step after step, leap after leap, and miles of a blurred irrelevant mass seemed to flow past them with an enormous turbulence. The nerves discharged heavily, the feet sucked up all the energy of the body and spat it out as they ran towards the great line of purpose and victory. In a span of time that felt too short for the watching eyes, and too long for the racing feet, the victor passed the line in a sweep when a roaring noise of applause emanated from people screaming their calories out of their throats vehemently. The victor stood there, past the line, his lungs still trying desperately to swallow as greedy a chunk of oxygen as the pores on the face permitted to let in. And, as he stood there, he wore a huge smile on his face and an enormous and warm ‘something’ filled his heart. The applause seeped through his ears and merrier he became.
The ego was a funny thing. There was the white line, and there was the race, and there was the enormously fulfilling sense of victory. There were the folks who were all part of the huge wheel in eternal motion. There were folks that strived to make a difference to the world, which was only a lesser goal, for what they really sought was the satiation of the self or the ego, as you would choose to call it. There were varieties of races, those of the feet, those of the skilled arms, those of hearts, of valor and courage, and those of the intellect. And, varied restless folks sought after the white lines in their own myriad manners, with the hope of stumbling upon the next stroke of victory, to feel that ‘something’ fill the hearts, to prove to themselves that they could race across in a world of hungry folks, and all the white line was but one infinitesimal dimensionless point of an object in the enormity and infinite vastness of the emptiness that is. The ego was a funny thing.
Here I dwelt, amidst folks who ran the race of the intellect. Here, the brains sparked with burning ambition, and here dwelt the folks who hoped everyday of their lives, to demonstrate their valor, integrity, and sense of ‘good’, through deeds that were of perceived intellectual value to a select few. Among the intelligentsia, I dwelt. I laughed often, for, I had feet that were funnier than the ego of the intelligentsia, for, the feet paced fast, though my eyes that were placed at an enormous distance away into space, lacked a sense of what and where the white line was. However, with no huge sense of shame, but a little apologetically though, I admit my own sense of an ego, and the times when I have felt the hot pumping blood, the weary feet at times of hard work, the sweet sound of applause and the warm ‘something’ fill the heart. The ego was funny, but what the heck?? It was a stunningly successful sustenance technique, and no wonder, was naturally imbibed into organisms with brains like ours, capable of conjuring complex, random and abstract emotional states. And what was more important to life, than sustenance itself was?
The Sea had taken her son away:
Aunt: Oh God! Binny had gone to the Church regularly. He has not intended evil to anyone. He fasted in deep faith and respect to you, for forty days now. And, is this what you give to him?
Aunt: There is no God. You are not real. You let babies die. You do not mean anything. There is no reason we should look up to you and pray. (Cries aloud)
Uncle: Listen to me! This is how things are. And, that is reality. Nothing is permanent. You got that? Now, stay calm.
God was sitting a trillion miles away in the dark, winding the cogs of the Great Clock of the universe, and the infinite hands of the Great Clock ticked slowly and painfully. Her hands that were holding onto the great rusted lever were aching and the blood that had seeped out of Her tender skin through the billion years had dried up long back. But, the ticking should not stop, and so She sat there through all the years and worked faithfully on the great lever. She was meticulously working towards something, something that She has now wanted for billions of years, a purpose that was not conceivable by any amounts of ingenious leaps of the human imagination. It was a grand scheme of things, and the earth that was just a stone in an arbitrary spot in a practically infinite universe, did not have much of a place in it. On the scale of Her activity, what we on earth did were menial and to a large extent arbitrary. All the events that ever occurred on the stone were soon to fade away into another random fluctuation, which will not find even an insignificant place in the scheme of things that She worked towards. We were not part of God’s purpose. And, that we had notions of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘meaning’ and ‘direction’, ‘achievement’ and ‘loss’ did not amount much to Her. For She had her own purpose to work towards, and She kept winding her Great Clock, for She had a place to go. She did not have a death and so she suffered the greatest pain that is there to existence – immortality. And, we never know, if She would get there ever.
But, She was Graceful and Kind. She did take a little care to leave her mighty slaves, mysterious forces of evolution to take care of things here. And, so we are all here today. And, so am I here. Through her slaves, she gave us instincts, hunger, joy, pain. She gave us an intellect. And, above everything, she gave us the force and the power of love. For it was the best cure for pain. God was lonely, and she took care we were not. She made sure a mother’s love was the most immense, because she knew everybody had a mother. Love was naturally and gradually built through evolution, and we all had people to care for, and people who care for us - parents, relatives and friends. And we are not alone. Though we lived a life that traced an arbitrary course that was of no relevance to God’s purpose, thanks to Her Grace, we do live a life that is characterized by love, joy and pain. It is not permanent and so it is indeed something to cherish. When we suffer, She is not around, for She has her own work to do, to get to the place She wants to go, and She probably did not know how we suffered. But, the love She had once left behind, and that which has grown over the course of evolution is still with us, and that is what will keep us going. And, She knew that would take care of us all. Oh God! You are the greatest mother of all!
Yeh kaisi aatish, naa dhooan naa lapt koi !
phir bhi yeh aashiyaan jhulsta jaa raha hai !
socha naa thaa ki bichhdeyenge hum aissey,
magar ab dil yeh hakeekat samjhtaa jaa raha hai ...
For the Urdu-illiterate like me, here is a very inaccurate attempt to capture it in English:
What kind of fire is it ! There is neither smoke nor flame,
But still our home is burning away !
Never thought we will depart away so soon,
But now the heart is sinking-in the reality ...
Here we art,
The good little milkmen,
Not too many of us,
Barely five to ten.
This is our little stable,
And Thee! Our Holy cow!
Strong and much able,
Thanks to hay from the mow.
We milketh Thee all day,
We milketh Thee all night,
Through the Sun and
Through the stars,
And we worship Thee.
Our Holy Cow!!
Glorified art Thou.
Sophisticated Thy Work.
Unto Thee we bow,
And Thee we milk.
Thy Stable ain’t so cosy;
Thy Milk though, so costly!
The customers so many
And we milkmen so few!
Thou hast precious milk
That fills monstrous bowls,
So many of them,
Count till infinity.
We haveth a strategy for success –
To Milketh Thee for eternity.
Thou art a tough one.
And, we giveth our souls
To milk Thy well,
And fill our bowls.
We eat Thy crap.
And lose our sleep
To milk Thy well,
Few dollars, to reap!
Thou art a Holy Cow,
Holy Shit, Thou hast.
We cleaneth it all day,
We cleaneth it all night.
Holy cow, Thou art.
Holy crap, Thou hast.
Thou ain’t a Bull,
Though Thou haveth Bull shit.
Thou art insane
And Thou goes out of Thy memory
Glorified art Thou.
Sophisticated Thy Work.
Unto Thee we bow,
Oh! Dear Holy Cow!!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
What was the Wind and what was Light? Whence did All That Is, come from?
What was the journey, And, what the end?
What were the questions? And what the answers?
What was it that we feared, more than all the Darkness and Evil that Are?
Was it the Truth? For what could be darker than the Truth?
What was harder to gulp? And was there a Force that was tougher to conquer?
And what was the Revelation, but the Thing that we saw in the skies?
Who was Gandalf? Who was Albus, and who the wise men?
Who were Wizards, but mere little Men who sought the Truth on starry nights?
What was it that men sought? And, when in dark weary nights,
Whenst they peered into the vastness of the void,
What was it that they saw in the depths of the starlit space?
"I know not the Truth", Gandalf said, "I watch the Dark in Vain,
And I let the Vastness and the Void, fill the spaces in my Brain,
And I reflect and I ponder, but I know not the Timeless Truth.
And in my shameful Ignorance, I submit my pride and zeal,
To the Life which I am disposed to experience, and to feel."
"I am a speck, and what I walk on, was just another.
And in the infinite fabric of Space and Time that is, none of this counted.
But, there is my life, and there was not a Thing more Real, to me,
So is my Blood, my Skin, the love, hunger, my joy and the Pain."
"I was born, I live today, and in a meagre speck of time, I would perish.
I thrived here till yesterday,
And I did many of those Things that restless men Did,
The restless men that wished for a purpose to the speck of their lives,
A sense of meaning in the vastness and infinity, that was beyond us all,
I was not one of them, but I still did those Things, for my life was Real,
And Today, I go to this another place, And my journey goes on."
"The path is long and winding, a Destination, there is none.
But, my days here were Real to me, just as, is my Life,
And what mattered was the journey, itself."