Monday, May 27, 2013

After listening to Porcupine Tree.

It’s been a long time since I have loved you. I guess with after so many years and so many other faces, I have somehow started forgetting how it feels to have felt for you. After all, even intensity needs practice.
I have bartered my soul and body to the gods of power and pleasure. It is easier to give up the purity and pain that comes with true feeling and just submit yourself to the comfort that comes with instant gratification. That is like a drug, and the resulting high is born out of a feeling of power; power over another being. Another being who is playing his/her own game and has probably no idea that he/she is being drawn into the moves of somebody else’s game. It’s an odd paradoxical process where the lines between the chess pieces and players are blurred beyond the point where you and the game are one and the same.
Yes, it’s definitely been a long time. I guess loving is also a habit, isn’t it? I don’t really know whether I have fallen out of love, but the habit is slowly fading away. However, since old habits die hard, maybe I have replaced that habit with so many other faces. The moments spent with those faces help me forget.
They help me forget the utter agony of having loved, and of having lost. They don’t matter, not in the big picture that I keep trying to hide in my mind-closet. Maybe I feel that the sum total of all these random moments will stuff up that gaping void. A void that I avoid. It’s like stuffing a bag with crumpled bits of old newspaper to make it look substantial.
A need to be touched, to be held and to belong; even if it is for a very short time. I don’t know if my break from you led to the birth of this need. It crosses all lines, breaks all the rules and oversteps all the boundaries.
Sometimes, I am not even sure. Sure of whether it’s your face behind all that’s been happening to me. That scares me because then it leaves you blameless and me hopelessly burdened with a character flaw that cannot be explained away. I mean, I cannot let you get away that easily, can I?
So, tomorrow if you come back into my life with a new light, will all of this go away? More importantly, will I be able to hope with you again? Will I be able to fall in love with you all over? And that is the scary part.
Because I don’t know.
Maybe I have stopped loving you but I will never forget you. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012


The desert sands can do strange things to a person. The grains burrow deep into your skin to lend your face a timeless quality. The old man squatting opposite us was around ninety, but he looked older than anyone I had ever seen. Underneath a pair of bushy eyebrows, his eyes still retained sparks of a long forgotten fire.
We were in the middle of the Great Indian Desert, listening to a story being spun by the village great grandfather. We perched on a colourful mat in the courtyard, right outside a cluster of huts which belonged to his extended family.  I leant against a mud wall, trying to keep the scorching sun out of my eyes.
When he started speaking, we could barely hear his voice at first. Then slowly, we got used to the ragged, whispery tone that he spoke in. He told us of the times when India had still been under the British Empire. Stories which don’t make it to the history textbooks.
“We never had enough water in those days. There was only one well, many kilometres away. People would walk there and stand in queue for hours on end. Hundreds of thirsty men and women gathered there for water, not just for themselves but also for their families. “
He stopped.
In the distance, I could hear a faint sound of the winds blowing over the sands. If you close your eyes and think hard enough, it will remind you of the sea at night. Sounds of water rushing over sand.
He went on.
“Each person was allowed one pitcher of water for the entire family. We walked for hours back and forth in the burning sun. You couldn’t even leave your place in the queue for a while because someone else would seize your place. “
I stared into his face. It looked like an ancient parchment, wrinkled and frail.
“Do you know the thorns that stick to your clothes and prick your feet as you walk on the sands?”
We grimaced. Of course we did, those annoying little burrs were a constant bother. We would spend hours picking them off our clothes and feet.
“If you look closely, you will see that each thorn has a little grain inside. We used to go hungry for days on end and these grains kept us alive. “
I think he spoke in an alien tongue that day. Survival at such a primal level dealt a heavy blow to my urban naiveté. It took a long time for my mind to wrap itself around what he was saying.
“Those days were long and hard. But I am happy now. “
I took my eyes off this living storybook and looked at the hut he was leaning against. It was soot blackened and looked rather battle weary.
 Feeling guilty would be cliché. However, I had an odd feeling that being a hero was probably the last thing on his mind. The sands do that to you.

Written long ago.

Sometimes, the words don’t look the same. The same everyday words mutate into twisted creatures from a desolate netherland. That dark land is inside your head, painting your nerves and brains with a riot of colours.
You have given the artist, a ladder to your head. He’s gonna run inside your mind and splash off. That colour shall come seeping down your eyes when you are walking. That golden yellow is crawling down your eyelids, colouring your vision to jaundice. Your ears hear the sounds of death, slaughter and laughter. The red seeps in, closer and closer till she sees red for what it was truly meant to be.
Do you think he will leave your head? He already knows the narrow pathways of your mind, dousing them in colour wherever he so pleases. Move your head wildly from side to side. Let the colours mix up in a frantic madness of colour. The colours will seep in through your body, with fluorescent leaps and bounds. Your coloured footprints will be a work of art, with penniless artists feeding off the dried strips of colour on a dirty pavement.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Home, sweet soul

The city is lies, deceit and pretend humane. It is a complex machine of sorts, masquerading with a human face, a familiar place. It lulls its unknowing people into a complacent nap.
 Everything is alright because I am a happy place with a smiling face. Believe in me and the buildings that you see around you. You are mistaken. Behind those shut windows are not soulless souls who pretend to live. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Six little bricks made up the tiny hut.
Some were crumbly and some were not.
I lived inside and hoped that the strong ones would stand
 One day, they all fell down on me
And covered me with a layer of fine dust
I stood up and realised
It wasn’t so bad after all.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A forgotten Ferris wheel.

Today, on my way to wherever I was going, I spied this broken down mini Ferris wheel. It was a tiny wooden affair, the kind you would see at an obscure little fair tucked away in a bylane. At some point in the past it had been a colourful affair; the seats still had the flaky remains of bright reds, greens and yellows. Some of the wooden planks were hanging loose and limp.
Looking at the thing, it was easy to conjure up a snap sentimental picture of a bygone time filled with the voices and faces of happy children with swinging feet.
Most of us are such suckers for a Lost Time. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What does democracy mean to me?

It often strikes me that there is only one thing that man truly covets. You would think that the right answers would lie among the choices of money, power or immortality. The truth however, is rarely pure and never simple, as Wilde would quip. The truth is, men and women want to be free. That‘s what you will find when you scrabble through the gritty layers of human desire and greed; the longing to be free.
Wars, murder, competition, struggle with sickness, it’s all manifest with the human urge to be free. At this point one might ask the niggling question, free from what? This is where the paradox creeps in. You fight and you struggle, but what are you fighting for? Through our struggles, we often lose track of what we set out to achieve.
To me, democracy is another one of humanity’s experiments to gain freedom. I could list quite a few freedoms that we wish democracy would give us. The freedom of expression, the freedom of choice, the freedom from tyranny, and the bullet points could go on. These are only the sub clauses though. We often do that; mistake the smaller parts to be representative of a Whole. The bigger picture behind democracy ultimately lies in a desire which is achingly human.
To me, democracy comes down to one primal need. It is the freedom to be free. Isn’t that what we are all looking for? We want to be free  to be free. So it all comes down to this, the struggles, fights, the glories and the agony...all in search for a long lost idea. 
Freedom, a long lost idea? This premise probably makes this essay self defeating. I am not talking of the freedoms that we vicariously extract from our lives. It’s not the freedom we think we gain through wealth, power or even knowledge. It is not the truth that sets us free. At the back of our minds, we are all striving towards an ideal. An ideal of pure and intrinsic freedom which comes out of nothing, draws its power from nothing and has an independent existence. A freedom which is created ex nihilo.
To me, democracy is the flint stone that humanity hopes will create a spark which in turn will lead us to be truly free. Make no mistake; I am not idealising democracy as this philanthropic thought experiment that man is carrying out in the hope of a collective enlightenment. Each of us wants to free from everything that holds us down. The artist creates a world of his own where he can exist freely. The politician manipulates because he hopes that his power play will emancipate him in such a way that one day he reaches a level where he will not have to manipulate and politicise anymore. That is his definition of absolute freedom. Each of us has something that holds us back, and ironically we wield that very thing as our weapon to fight for our personal definition of freedom.
Democracy gives us choice along with a voice. We choose our leaders and exercise our freedom through them. When their definitions of freedom clash with ours, we bring them down and elect new mouthpieces. The whole thing from start to finish is a process of using freedom and moulding it to suit our needs. What is the point, one might ask? How does the practice of free expression lead us any closer to the Eldorado of ideal freedom of man? What does the freedom to vote have anything to do with an obscure notion of being “absolutely free”?
When I looked at some of the fundamentals that lay behind the idea of democracy, I realised just how vital the concept of freedom is to the essence of being human. Democracy was never meant to be a mere political instrument. It was/is meant to create a new ideal, something which would free man and woman from the restraints that held them back from being truly and essentially “human”.
In today’s complicated political scenario, it’s difficult to trace what democracy truly means to me or to any of us for that matter. Even if you leave politics aside, there are other murkier questions that one has to answer. Like what it means to be “human”, for example. What are we, really? Little bowls of consciousness trapped inside vessels? Or living beings with bodies that matter? Perhaps we will never know.
Till then, democracy has to matter, to me and to everyone else. If humanity does get to a level where it can figure out what “being human” means, then maybe this human experiment will have counted for something after all.