April 21, 2009

A... Part 6

The story continues...

But all that I have told is what I do, not who I am. So I will start again.

My name is A.

Why did I start with my name? Does my name define me? If my name was something else, would I have been a different person altogether? If my name was B, would I still not be a writer. If I take away my name, my designation, my success; then do I get the real me or do I get a pale imitation, a mere reflection of my real self. Let me try this then. I cast away my name, my designation as a writer and now I will try to write about myself.

So I will start with my weaknesses, shortcomings and liabilities. I know you are thinking that he must be a cynic to start off with the negatives. Yes, I am a self professed cynic and I am proud to be one. I am proud because contrary to popular belief I consider it a virtue but since everyone considers a weakness so I have labelled it such. But then I like being different and that is why I am a cynic. A cynic once said, “Other dogs bite their enemies, I bite my friends to save them.” This statement defines the purpose of my existence. I write so that I can warn you, my friend, of the terrible dangers that abound in this world. Through my writing I hound people about the error of their ways. I consider myself a messiah, sent by the God to do this service to mankind. Through my stories I reveal God’s secret messages so that you can learn to live a life of virtue and decency in this detestable world. In doing so, I often have to bite people to save them. I used to make my friends the subject of my stories and in these stories, I used to concentrate on one flaw of that person’s character and show it in exceptionally negative light. I used to focus so intensely on that one flaw that everything else in the story did not matter. The only thing that mattered was that that person had an unforgivable flaw and their only hope for redemption lay in eliminating that flaw from their character. I hoped that my friends will be glad with my insights into their problems, but it was not meant to be. With every story I lost a friend, but I continued to write. I had the God’s message to deliver, and as long as I was doing well to the people by showing them their faults, I was fulfilling my divine duty and obligation. In a short time, I lost all my friends and since then I have been living the life of a lonely hermit, like that of my master, my muse, the Diogenes of Sinope, who in a different time was known as ‘the Dog’. Like my master and muse, I live a life of self-sufficiency, austerity and shamelessness. My shamelessness comes from the vulgar truth I write in my stories, my austerity from the humble unfurnished quartes I live in, and my self-sufficiency comes from living on my own, away from the world but in the midst of it, living a life of sympathetic detachment from my surroundings.

I am insane. But I do not consider myself insane; rather I am sanest person I know. However the society considers me insane, so again for your benefit, I label myself insane. There is a famous Latin quote ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ which means ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. From this perspective, you, the society consider insanity as poor health of mind. You think that my mental processes are defective, but that is only because I am not like you, I do not think like you, I do not act like you, in fact I have a gross disdain for general opinion of how things should be. I am vastly different from all of you and so you label me insane. I am like the ugly cygnet who was ostracized by the other ducks for being different. Like the cygnet that grew up to become the most beautiful swan of them all, I have taken up writing to prove my worth and God willing I will become the greatest teacher of them all, the greatest messiah that lived on the face of this planet. Call me insane, but then remember Jesus was called insane in his time, Prophet Muhammad was driven from Mecca for being different. So I embrace my insanity with all my strength. It is better to be insane in this sane and miserable world, maybe my insanity will take me to a different road, a road to redemption, a road to salvation.

I am an egotist. I see that you are frowning, yet I have said only a single word. Is being an egotist so bad that you are not even prepared to give me a patient hearing before giving your judgement from the high moral pedestal where you sit? So, now you are prepared to listen to me. Well then, I shall begin. An egotist is a person who indulges in self praise. We have been raised to be modest, told that being humble is a virtue. It is a virtue, but only when indulged in moderation. But we have this fantastic ability to take everything to the very extremes; we do not believe in moderation, moderation is too mundane for our liking. So we tend to overdo the modesty, turn in into servitude and submissiveness. Instead of self praise, we indulge in no praise or outright hostility. Self criticism becomes commonplace in our lives. We find faults in ourselves before others do, and drag ourselves down. It leads to low self-esteem and deep depression. We give up, give up on ourselves, and thus give up on life. And this is the sad fate of those of us who cannot and will not, through the force of their upbringing, indulge in self-praise.
I was humble once. I used to frown on those who indulged in self-praise, much like the way you frowned at me in the beginning.

But now, you are thinking, you are trying to make sense of what you have read. But I have to move on. But in case you are wondering how to identify an egoist, so that you might learn from him. Look around you; he is the one who is quietly smiling in a corner, contentment writ large on his face, his face glowing with the knowledge that he has done the job well, discreetly enjoying his solitude, and when you look at him, he smiles at you and says now it is your turn, my friend.

I am a lonely person. I do not regret it, rather I love my solitude, I crave for solitude, and I defend my solitude with the fanatic zeal of the Spartans guarding their homeland from the tyranny of barbaric hordes. I live in an island, surrounded by islands in this vast sea, but away from all the other islands. I do not allow any boat to land on the pristine unspoiled yellow beaches of my island and so no one does. And I spend my days lying on the beach, writing stories and stealing lives. Yes, I steal lives. But I am no voodooist. I steal lives to make characters, characters who tell their stories to me, the stories which I write, and which you read. I spend a lot of my time talking to these characters, trying to make friends with them. They listen to me. They listen to my vicious diatribes against society, city, country, people I know, people I don’t know, people whom I rarely see, and against myself. They listen to my advice, they follow my advice, and they consider me the true messiah. These characters live with me in my island. They respect my solitude; they come to me only when I need them. When I need to write a story for the column, I close my eyes and I call one of my characters, I call it with all my heart, I implore them to come to me, I sing a little song.

Come to me, my friend,
I will hold you tight.

When you are not up to your mark,
When you are in dark,
Come to me, my friend,
I will be your light,
I will hold you tight.

When storm is in the air,
When you need my care,
Come to me, my friend,
I will be your might,
I will hold you tight.

When you are down and out,
When you are in doubt,
Come to me my friend,
I will take you higher than the greatest height,
I will hold you tight.

Come to me, my friend,
I will hold you tight.

They come to me as friends, as comrades, as brothers in arms. I embrace them and time stops. They tell me their story while still in my arms, they laugh, they cry, they love, they hate, they fear, they hope, and they try. And these are the stories that I write for your benefit, my readers.

My name is A. I am a rara avis, a rare bird as those versed with Latin would say.

April 19, 2009

Story of A - Part 5

Continuing the story of which the first five parts are given below.

A Short Essay about Myself

“Many, no doubt, are well disposed, but sluggish by constitution and by habit, and they cannot conceive of a man who is actuated by higher motives than they are, accordingly they pronounce this man insane, for they know that they could never act as he does, as long as they are themselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

My name is A.

I am a writer; at least I like to think that I am a writer. But then I am only a writer because I have a friend, a very close friend who grew up with me, was one of my first readers, who was there when I first dreamt of becoming a writer, who was only person sitting beside me by the lake behind our school throwing pebbles into the water, when I declared to the whole wide world, shouting at the top of my voice that I will be a writer someday. Maybe that long forgotten evening beside the lake had some impact on my friend, because as soon as he became the editor of The Sunday, he called me up and offered me a column, to write anything and everything that I want. I had not heard from him for a long time. Shortly after that eventful evening he had left the school and went to a different city, but before leaving he had promised that he will keep in touch, and that day a little over a decade later he proved that he was not one to make empty promises, a virtue which I would abuse a lot during our friendship. But the reason why I decided to become a writer was not because he offered me a column to write, it was the fact that he had kept alive my dream, a dream which even I had long forgotten, like a powerful dream which holds your attention for a few minutes when you wake up but before nightfall is long forgotten, banished to the deep dark dungeons of memories, the dream of becoming a writer. And in keeping alive this dream of mine, he gave me something that I had lost, he gave me a will to live, a will to fight for life, a will to dream again, dream of what might still happen, dream of all the fantastic possibilities that life offered, dream of all the adventures that I could undertake through the newspaper column. Before he called, I was seriously contemplating about ending my miserable life, ending this wearisome drudgery through life without any hope for joy or prospect for happiness. But this column offered me a ray of hope, a way out of this quagmire called despair into which I had fallen, a chance of redemption, to make something out of my life, to do some good by telling all the people what no to do through stories about my life. And so I became a writer.

I write short stories which appear on one of the middle pages, the right one, squeezed between the editorial on the left middle page and the world news on the other side of the right middle page. This helps me a lot; people generally do read the editorial, they need it to form opinions which they can then discuss in parties, in office and try to project themselves as an intellectual who reads a lot, thinks a lot and then forms a esteemed and highly valued opinion, with which they then educate everyone considering it their moral duty and obligation. Little do they know that everyone else also reads the same editorials and forms the same independent and, let me stress, highly valued opinion. So all the discussions are just reduced to people quoting from different paragraphs of the day’s editorial and if possible few paragraphs from the editorial that appeared a day or two before. But that does not matter, does it, as long as they have an intellectually stimulating discussion, so everyone aspiring to become and discuss like an intellectual reads the editorial.

The same breed of people also read the global news. They want people to know that they have a global outlook, so that they can discuss about politics, wars, crisis happening in countries around the world, and suggest possible solutions and remedies. The fact that they are unmindful of the same problems being faced by people who are their neighbours, colleagues, countrymen, does not bother them. After all when you are solving complex world problems, how can you be bothered with mere trifles like their own city’s and country’s problems? Surely the world needs them more.

So between these two critical pages, my stories appear and due to these two pages, my stories attract the same lot of hypocritical pseudo intellectuals, and because of the sheer numbers of people who belong to this group, my stories gather a lot of eyeballs as the ad guys at the newspaper like to say, and because of these eyeballs I am a somewhat famous writer, and because of all this I am free to work as I like, from home, away from the hustle bustle of a regular office, I just have to turn in a new story every friday of the week, so that it can be published on the sunday in The Sunday.

March 26, 2008

A... Part 4...

The unnamed story has a name now... it is called A... after the narrator whose name is A...

But that was a different day, in a different time, I did not have a note that day, a note which was not just a note but a death sentence, and each look at the note sent a shiver down my spine and I could feel life ebbing away with every reading of those cruel seven words.

“Find yourself and you will find me”, that’s what she wrote in the note. How was I supposed to find something which was not lost? How was I supposed to know if I was lost or not and if I did not know if I was lost, how was I supposed to find myself? What did it mean to find oneself, was I supposed to know myself better, was I supposed to find out what someone else thought of me to find myself, was I supposed to accost every acquaintance that I have with questions about myself, trying to get them to find myself for me. That is bound to be funny, trying to get others to find myself, when I am standing right in front of them. Or did she mean I was supposed to find my inner self, that inner self which she loved when she loved me, that part of my soul which was madly in love with her, which saw her as perfect, which made love to her with an voracious urgency as if the world was about to end the next day, that part of my soul which used to worship her. But when did I lose that part, I know that everything was not right these last few months, but I still loved her, I still loved her as truly as I ever did. So why did she resort to all this trickery, did she not see that my love for her had not waned, did she not feel the passion burning deep inside me like molten magma inside the bowels of the earth, did she not feel my insatiable hunger for her touch, her smell, her presence. When did I lose the ability to get through to her?

She once told me that I was the only person in the world who used to understand her and that was why she was in love with me. I remember asking her about what would happen when I stop understanding her. She did not say a thing, only rebuked me by asking me to never repeat such a thing. She said that with my words I was committing sacrilege against the God of love, against Kamadeva himself, and if decided to walk away with his bow made of sugarcane having a string of honeybees and his arrows adorned with five kinds of fragrant flowers, then there will be no love left in my life. I would be left with only sorrow, loneliness, a persistent intolerable pain in my heart from the want of love, a wretchedness which would consume me slowly like the winter fog slowly encircling and then devouring the lovely and lonely forest. I would be like the moon, which was forsaken by the stars and now stares down at us with its mournful melancholic face, thinking of long lost loves, of that one star that he used to love before Kamadeva decided to forsake him.

This chain of thoughts made me more desperate. But I did not know how to start about solving the riddle. She once told me that the key to solving any problem was information, any random information, it might not seem useful at first, but then the solution was always hidden inside all the information, we just had to look hard enough. So I decided to collect all the information about this puzzle, which meant I had to collect all known information about myself. I remembered that long ago I had written an essay about myself. It was a few weeks after my first story was published. My editor called me and told me that my stories had generated a lot of interest among his readers, and he wanted me to write a piece introducing myself to the readers. So I wrote an essay aptly titled “A Short Essay about Myself”. It was before I met her. I was a different person then. But at least it was a starting point for me in my quest to reclaim what has been lost.

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The Unnamed Story... Part 3...

“We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words” - Kahlil Gibran

I was holding her note in my hand. I had read the content many times over, but still it had not sunk in yet, the note, the message, her absence, everything seemed like a dream, a dreadful dream, and I was hoping that any second now I will wake up and find her sleeping beside me, in my bed, in our bed, sleeping like a princess, looking beautiful and radiant even when she had dark circles under her eyes from reading the detective novels she used to read, even when her hair was a mess, even when she used to snore, ever so softly, in a way only she could. She never understood why I could never picture her as anything but beautiful. To me she was perfect. Maybe it was love, maybe I was blind. But I loved every minute of this blindness, and wished and prayed that I be blind for the rest of my life only to she her as nothing but beautiful.

They say it happens to everyone, first you are blind in love, you think she is perfect, you do not notice any imperfections, any faults in her, but slowly you the initial euphoria tends to wear off, and then you see the real person behind the mask of perfection, that you thought she was wearing, then you notice her imperfections, the small but significant faults in her personality. But it was different for me. I saw her imperfections, but I loved these imperfections more than her perfections and the sum total of these small but significant faults, as they call it, which was her personality, signified to me perfection, a perfection far more beautiful than the ideal perfection in which there is no fault, and her imperfections become perfections in my eyes. For me she could do no wrong.

I looked again at the note. Those seven words, written on the back of the restaurant bill, written with her favourite green pen, written in her charming yet tired handwriting, seemed to me like an accusation, something akin to the seven deadly sins, which I might have committed, when I drove her away. Why did she write only seven words? She was an expressive person, terseness never appealed to her. She always used to say that words are meant to be spoken; language is a gift to be used. I never understood this fuss about communication, I used my quota of my words to write, to write short stories, to create magic with words, to go away to distant places where life was different, where everyday was an adventure, where you could save the world and die honourably, where you could kill someone and walk away, where you could make new friends, where you could be popular, where you could have the whole world at your feet as your slave, where you could slay a dragon and rescue a princess, where you could go to distant galaxies and live with aliens, where you could speak Chinese fluently, where you could love and be loved. Maybe because I used up all my words in my stories, I was not left with enough words for her. Maybe she decided to punish me for my terseness with her laconic message.

But why seven words? Did the number seven signify something? Did she hint at the seven deadly sins? Of all the sins, maybe sloth is the only thing I could have committed. I am a failed writer living in a desolate quarter in a forsaken neighbourhood, surely I have no pride. I am too undernourished to be accused of gluttony. I am a loner; I have no one to envy or to unleash my wrath at, even greed does not touch me, I am a man of few needs, and as such lust is not one of them. But that takes me back to the original question. Why seven? Maybe the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven spots on a ladybug, the number of bones in my neck, the seven saints in the sky, a phone number, the seven logic gates, the seven hills of Rome, the seven wonders of the world, the seven virtues, the number of heavens and earths, yang, the number of steps Buddha took at his birth, sa re ga ma pa dha ni, the seven rounds of the holy fire in a marriage, the number of islands of Atlantis. And like Atlantis, she left me without a trace, what good was a seven word message to me, when there was no key to read the message.

But maybe it was not the number of words, but the words themselves. The words that she wrote, formed a code, a complex cryptic code that she wanted me to break to get to her. She was always fond of riddles and puzzles. Once she hid my birthday gift somewhere in the house, and then gave me a treasure map, along with subtle hints to read the map and find the treasure, which was to be my birthday gift, a gift I would learn to treasure, a gift more valuable than all that the pirate’s could muster, more valuable than all the gold in the world, more valuable than all the breaths that I now take without her. Of course, I could not solve the puzzle, I moved around in my house for the whole day, going one way then the other, looking into every conceivable nook and corner, turning the whole house upside down and I was nowhere close to finding out my treasure and my house was in a mess. After a few hours of back breaking and positively enervating search for my treasure, I did what all pirates used to do when they did not find the treasure they were looking for, I gave up, I raised my white flag, meaning to surrender and wishing to communicate with the victor, and there she was, standing in front of me, smiling as only a conqueror can smile, a conqueror of hearts. She said that she was the treasure that I was supposed to find and in view of my unconditional surrender, she had won the right of unconditional love from me and that from that day on, I shall become her hostage, her captive, her prisoner-of-love. With my head held high, I accepted my sentence, and just as Heer had done so many centuries ago when Ranjha played his flute, I agreed to love.

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February 15, 2008

The Unnamed Story... Part 2...

This continues from the first part which was called 'The still Unnamed Novel I am writing'. I have renamed the series 'The Unnamed Story', so as to not sound pretentious. Everything else stays the same.

“As perfume doth remain In the folds where it hath lain, So the thought of you, remaining Deeply folded in my brain, Will not leave me: all things leave me: You remain” - Arthur Symons

I lay down again, on my bed. I was tired, exhausted, and worn out by sleep. I closed my eyes and waited, waited for the memories, her memories, waiting for the bitter sweet taste that they leave in my mouth, the same taste that her lips used to leave on mine. I longed to smell her close to me, smell the perfume she used to wear, a perfume which reminded me of treks I went for in my college days, which contained the smells of the wild, the intoxicating aroma of musk, a whiff of frankincense, the tears of Boswellia tree crying out in the unforgiving desert and the long lasting fragrance of sandalwood calling with open arms. I lost myself in the woods of her smells, closing my eyes, sniffing and following my olfactory sense to take me to her, letting my nose be the beacon of my hopes. I felt her smell close to me, so close that I could reach out and touch her, hold her and keep her. I was afraid to open my eyes lest I lose her, her smell and the orgasmic joy that it gave me. I shuddered with the sheer rapture of pleasure. I opened my eyes and there was no forest, there was no grass around feet, no trees surrounding me and she was not there.

I felt a sudden urge to smell her perfume, to find out if I remembered what it smelt like, if my memories were true. I knew that she used to keep a bottle of her perfume at my place. I started a frantic search for it. I looked around, the dressing table drawers, the bedroom cupboards, the bathroom, even the kitchen, but it was not there. Despair, bordering on wretchedness, engulfed me. I felt life slowly ebbing away from my body, like the evaporation of her perfume, like the sound of her footsteps on the stairs outside whenever she used to leave, like the slow decay of memories. I wanted to puke out this melancholy from my soul, like we puke out bad whisky, and feel alive again. My head was spinning, I closed my eyes again, but no memories swamped me, this time it was pitch dark. I was starting to lose my memories, with it her smell and with it my life.

As a child, I used to steal my mother’s perfume and spray it on my stuffed tiger and then throw it away. Then I would close my eyes and sniff. I used to get down on my knees and follow my nose to find my tiger. I used to bump into a lot of things during these games, my mother never guessed the reason behind the bumps on my head that used to appear with alarming frequency. But once she asked me if I knew why her perfume never seemed to last long. I was afraid she would scold me and I kept quite. Maybe my nervousness showed on my face, but she did not stress the point. She let me be. But I have always wondered if there was something else to this incident and maybe my mother did know about all this, maybe she knew that I was stealing her perfume, to use it to play my own version of hide and seek. Maybe she knew what the perfume meant to me, maybe she knew, long before I had any inkling of the fact, that I derive a part of my life force from smells, and my olfactory sense is as vital to my life as the other senses, and that my nose breathes life into me through the smells I love. And that is why I desperately needed to find her smell back, and with it reclaim my life.

I had to find her and the only clue I had was the note she left me, when she left me. It was a hand written note, written on the back of a restaurant bill, a restaurant where we had our last dinner together, written with the green ink pen that she used, written in her charming handwriting with the confident expressiveness of forward slanting letters, the pleasing consistency of circular strokes, but there was something different, the normally optimistic upward slant of her lines was replaced by a downward slant indicating exhaustion. She was tired when she wrote this note, she was tired when she left me, and maybe she left me because she was tired of me. Clutching the note in hand, I started out on a journey, a journey which was also a pilgrimage, a pilgrimage to find love and in love, life.

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February 13, 2008

The Still Unnamed Novel I am writing...

This is the start of a story that i hope will some day turn into a novel... so that's why i have put it up here... to remind myself that i have things to write, a novel to finish... i will be only putting up the odd chapters of the novel, because they form a homogeneous story. You ask what about the even chapters, well, that's a mystery...

I woke up. Winter had not set in yet, yet I felt cold. I looked around trying to figure out why I felt so cold. I checked my forehead and throat with the back of my hand. I did not have a fever, not yet. The window was open, it was night already. A soft, gentle breeze was blowing, a breeze which carried it with a peculiar smell, a smell which carried it with memories, memories of long nights spent with her, memories of cold winter nights, memories of distant times and places, memories which reminded me of my stark loneliness. I got up. I put on a sweater, not just any sweater, but the red one, the one which she got me for our anniversary. Why did I put it on? I never liked it. I remember her face when she gave me that sweater; she was nervous, expectant, and anxious. I smiled at her, but something was missing, and she knew that. She realised that I was not very happy, she did not say a thing, neither did I. But something changed that day. We knew that the honeymoon was over; we knew that it will not be easy anymore.

I closed the window. I looked outside at the empty park benches, gleaming in the moonlight. It must be the metallic paint that they use, I thought. I tried moving away from the window, but I could not. I was under the spell cast by those silvery park benches. I saw myself sitting with her on one of the benches; it was another full moon night. Her face looked so radiant in the moonlight, so angelic, so pure, that I was afraid. I was listening to her, but I was lost, lost in her beauty, so unreal that I ran my hands over her face just to make sure that she was there. And she was, she was there, right beside me, smiling, talking, and laughing. I felt a burning sensation inside me, I did not know if I was sad or happy or if I was supposed to be one or the other. I was happy as well as sad. I felt pain through pleasure and pleasure through pain. There no longer was any boundary, or any partition between the different emotions. I felt all the various emotions at the same time, and at times none at all. Sometimes I would be burning with passion and at other times I would be numb.

I felt a strange sensation in my stomach, a sensation so familiar that I ought to know what it was but the fact that I did not, made it strange. I thought about it a while and then it dawned on me that it was hunger, one of the primal instincts. I felt a faint sense of joy on realising this, the kind of joy you feel when you solve a very difficult problem and are amazed and exhilarated by the beauty of the solution and your ingenuity. I must be losing my mind, I thought. I tried remembering the last time I had a meal. Was it this morning, yesterday night, yesterday morning, I did not know. I went to the kitchen. It was a in a mess, but then so was my life, so I felt at home. It was comforting to find a place where I could fit, easily and discreetly. I made myself a sandwich, not the chicken one that I liked but the tuna that she was devoted to. As I ate the sandwich, I could hear her munching her tuna sandwich, a faint smile on her lips, contentment writ large on her face, the strand of hair falling carelessly over her eyes.

I was back in our bedroom, my bedroom. Dark clouds were starting to take over the sky, dark clouds with silver lining. Silver was her favourite colour, not red, blue, pink, green, black or even orange. No, no rainbow could entice her; hers was silver, silver with its brilliant white metallic lustre, silver with its untarnished and pure radiance, silver with all the pomp and splendour of royalty, silver to fight thunderstorms, silver to relive memories, silver that symbolised the moon now hidden behind the dark clouds. I once tried to figure out the reasons behind her fascination for silver, I asked her questions, questions about her childhood, her parents, the house she lived in, the school she went to, her first love, her favourite TV series, her favourite plaything, her first car, her first job, even the colour of the condom to which she lost her virginity, trying to understand the choice of silver, and with it understand her. It was during this time in our relationship that I knew that something was not right, we were still the same but something was missing and I wanted to know her better, know her every move, her every whim and fancy, to find that missing something in her.I never realised that maybe the missing something was missing in me.

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Origin of Life

Little Timmy (we don’t know the real name of the boy, so we call him Timmy) did not know why everyone was in such a hurry. His family, his friends, even Old Uncle who rarely moved out of his house, was packing.

He had heard people talking about ‘the Migration’, about some journey somewhere. At first he thought his father was taking him to a trekking vacation that they had been planning since long. When he asked his father about the trip, his father laughed and said they were going somewhere far away for a long vacation and everyone was coming with them. Timmy thought everyone meant his family and Old Uncle, but now it seems all his friends are also coming. This is going to be the best vacation ever.

Timmy was happy. First the school closes 2 months before the vacations and now this. It was not even summer yet and people were talking of vacations. Timmy was hoping that this could happen every year. When he told this to his father, he got angry and shouted at him. Timmy ran to his mother and fell asleep in her lap.

It was still dark when he woke up. The kitchen light was on and his parents were talking.

“Are there enough ships for everyone?” his mother was asking.

His father replied, “Not really.” His father was a man of few words; he rarely said anything more than barely necessary.

Mother said, “What will happen to those who are left behind?”

“There is still some water left. It will last a few months, a year maybe. Then…” his father’s voice trailed off.

“All these years, the government has been cheating us. I am sure they knew that this was going to happen, since long and now they tell us. It is a massacre that’s what it is. I am sure all the government people have got their ships and are ready to go, leaving the common people to die in this forsaken land.”

Timmy never knew that his mother could be angry about any thing. Perhaps living with father was taking its toll on her, he thought.

His father replied, “At least you can thank the government for giving us a ship.”

“That’s no reason to thank the government. You are important to them; they need your knowledge to survive out there. So they give you a ship. But my brother, because he is an ordinary clerk, he does not get a ship. They are a selfish lot; these government folks. I hope they all die in the journey.” His mother was almost shouting now, wonder what the neighbours would be saying.

His father was calm. He said, almost philosophically, “Many will die in the journey. These ships have not been tested properly. All this happened too fast, we did not have enough time.”

“I hear that only 2 out of every 10 ships will complete the journey.” his mother interrupted.

“It’s only an approximation. Maybe more people will survive, maybe less.” Timmy’s father had this ability to be casual about almost anything.

This irritated his mother a bit. She asked, “You know about these ships. You will be able to take us safely, right?”

“I will try my best. These ships are not safe. There are a million things that could go wrong. Just hope that nothing does.”

They were silent now. Timmy went into the kitchen.

“I am sorry, we have woken you up.” his mother said.

Timmy asked, “Why are we leaving?”

“We cannot live here anymore, son. There is no water left here. It is all gone.” His mother said.

“We can ask Mr. Faro for water.” Timmy innocently replied.

“No, no it is not like that. Even he does not have any water, no one here has water. So we are going to a new place, where there is water, lots of water.”

“Where is that?” asked Timmy.

Before his mother could reply, his father took him out into the courtyard and pointing to the sky, he said, “Son, you see the bright star in the middle of the sky. It is a planet, like our planet. It is the third planet in our solar system, and our neighbour. We are going to live there.”

“Father, what is it called?” asked Timmy.

“They are going to call it Earth. I must say, it does sound better than the name of our planet, Mars.” replied his father.

Timmy did not care about what it was called. He was just happy to know that there were no schools on Earth, not yet at least. He went back to sleep, dreaming of the vacation ahead.

June 24, 2007

In Finland... some fantasies fulfilled...

We all have fantasies as children. Not all of these fantasies come true or are even remotely possibly viable like the fantasy about being the star striker for the indian football team and scoring the winning goal at the world cup final, which is too fanatstic to be true, or like being a deep space explorer, which might come true in the near or far future. But some fantasies do come true and yesterday one of my numerous fantasies did come true...

This fantasy relates to oceans, and storms and pirates and nature, in all its fury... you get the picture, right. Yesterday we went on a cruise to Finland, or rather an island called Mariehamn, off the coast of Finland... but it seems better to just call it Finland, either way it is a part of Finland... and on this cruise some of my fantasies were realized...

Standing on the top deck and looking out into the open seas, amidst hurricane winds howling like a pack of wolves, the spine tingling cold rain which was giving me shivers and the unfathomable vastness of the oceans, i felt like the king of the world. Without caring a bit for the comfort of my fellow deck trawlers, i shouted out that i was the king of the world. They ignored me, they had seen drunk people before, but i was drunk by the intoxicatingly overwhelming experience of the living one of my dreams. I felt as proud as a pirate ship captain who had just captured a substantial bounty, as proud as the admiral who finally captures one of the most dreaded pirates, as proud as the makers of the wonders of the world when they saw their creations materialize in front of their eyes, as proud as a father holding his child for the first time...

For the first few hours of our trip we moved within the Swedish archipelago... a chain of numerous small islands, strangely inhabitated. Most of these islands had a house, a small cottage like structure, possibly holiday homes and each house was faithfully accompanied by a motor jetship... it seemed like the playground of the Swedish rich and once in a while we caught sight of one of these motor jetships and sailboats sailing close to our cruise ship... it was raining outside, so the view outside the window was hazy, which gave it a misty and classy look. kind of brought back images of ships lost in the ocean mists, bermuda trinagle and all that stuff... About the cruise ships, we went on the Isabella and came back on the Amorella, strange names for Scandinavian ships.. but by now i had gotten used to strangeness... after all your dreams are never normal...

Once we crossed the archipelage, we were out in the open seas... it was still raining... i have always felt that best way to enjoy an ocean view is when it is raining... it overwhelms you with astounding emotions... you are afraid but you are strangely happy to be afraid... and i was happy and happy to be peplexed by the multitude of emotions that gave way to an orgasmic pleasure that we have all felt, but cannot explain... i just sat and watched the open seas with wonder, like a child exploring a new and strange world, which is both exciting and strangely familiar...i watched it till i fell asleep into the lap of the dreams from which i had just woken up...

The rest of the time... i spent shopping in the taxfree shop, window shopping to be more precise... Everything about the ship was overwhelming, including the selection of wines and drinks, they had like a million zillion different varieties of drinks and the brochure was like an enclyclopaedia of knowledge about wines and spirits, almost a bible for drinkers... i gave the other sections of the shop the time that they desereved... meaning no time at all...

But you say that this is only one of my fantasies.. what about the rest.. well i say maybe, just maybe the other fantasy is too good to waste it on paper, so i may not write about it... but then again maybe someday, when i wake up from my dreams, i may....

June 20, 2007


I have written a poem after what seems like zillion years.. so i thought might as well post it... it is called 'Sometimes'... and i wrote it today during a very boring lecture on nanomaterials... it is about hope and despair and i think you know why... so here it is..

Sometimes it is better to fight...
and sometimes it is better to just let it go...
sometimes you need light...
and sometimes, when it is dark, you don't need the glow...

Sometimes things are not going your way...
and sometimes there are no things at all...
sometimes you have your say...
and sometimes, even with your say, you feel so small...

Sometimes the woods are dark and deep...
and sometimes the sky is blue...
sometimes you want to fall asleep...
and sometimes your dreams come true...

Sometimes time seems to stop...
and sometimes the stars don't shine...
sometimes there is no hope...
and sometimes the whole world is mine...

June 12, 2007


I was 9 then. I did not know what love was. I still don’t, but it does not matter. I knew I was happy and I was. She was beautiful, still is. Her smile used to give me cold shivers. I used to throw furtive glances at her, trying to observe her every move, trying not to miss a single word she said, a single breath she took, a single smile on her face. Her every move used to delight me beyond belief and expression. It was heaven and better. The movement of her hands as she spoke, the fluttering of her eyelashes, the varied looks on her face all beautiful, the way she leaned on one of her legs, the sway of her hips as she moved, the way her eyes shone sometimes, everything about her was perfection. Was it love? I don’t know and I don’t care. I was happy. I remember the play. She was playing Cinderella. I wanted to be the prince, her prince. I wanted to dance with her, I wanted to put the magical shoe on her feet, I wanted to steal her from her evil stepmother and evil stepsisters, and I wanted to steal her from the entire world. I wanted to dance with her and look into her eyes as we danced. Her eyes, deeper than the abysmal depths of deepest ocean, I wanted to loose myself in her eyes and stay like that for ever and a day. But someone else got the part. Hate, consuming and spreading like wild fire, hate with all the vengeance of the world, filled me. It was just a play. But I was 9 and not so dispassionate. But whenever she came into the room, I melted as snow in day, as wax at night. I forgot all about the prince, the prince in the play. I did not care; I was her prince, her prince in real life. I remember the rehearsals. She danced without a care, she danced well. I kept looking at her. I forgot my lines, I forgot my moves. But I did not care. I knew I was happy. I was standing behind the curtain. I was waiting to come onto the stage. Through the curtain, I saw her walking up the stage. She was wearing a white dress with a matching white barbie hat. She looked fabulous.

I stopped breathing for a moment, for a moment everything around me stopped, the world stopped spinning, the moon stopped shining, even time stood still. And I promised myself, a fantastic promise as only a 9 year old boy can do, that I will marry her and will her make my Cinderella for ever. I will fight the entire world, I will fight every prince in every kingdom, I will fight every living man and even the spirits, but I will make her mine. As we danced that night, she with the abominable prince and me with some girl, I looked at her. She looked like a fairy, a fairy from Neverland, a fairy who has come down to earth for me, to love me, to hold me. I was in a trance that night, as I saw heaven, as I saw Neverland. I walked with her through Neverland, we danced, we plucked flowers, we laughed and I was happy, as happy as I had ever been as happy as I will ever be. That night before falling asleep, I cried. I had tears in my eyes, tears of happiness, and tears of bliss. I prayed to god, I asked him to make her mine. I promised that I will do anything he wanted me to do. I promised that I will be a good boy all my life, that I will love my family for every, that I will finish my vegetables at dinner, that I will study hard, that I will not be friends with bad people, that I will pray to him everyday. I promised him everything and more. I was desperate. I was mad and I prayed as if there was no tomorrow. We grew up. We went our separate ways. Life passed by swiftly. I still saw her sometimes. I still longed for her but I was stupid and reasonable. I never said a thing, I did not know what to say, didn’t even know if I had to say anything. I felt that the intensity and the power of my feelings will carry my words to her and that she will know without me telling her a thing. We became good friends. We came close. We spent hours talking, talking of life, of love and everything else. I was 16 now.

I remember the times I spent in her room. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember how she looked. She was still beautiful, as beautiful as the rising sun. Her voice had the freshness of the morning dew. Her hand was soft like velvet. Her smile was soothing like the full moon. Her legs were white like milk. Her smell, faint yet intoxicating had the scent of the rarest perfumes. Her body, as she moved left me breathless. I remember the orgasmic pleasure I felt every time I was with her and the agonizing pain I felt as I left her. I remember the dark nights when she used to come downstairs to see me off, as we should close in the dark alley, I used to breath in all her smells to keep me going for the time I was away. I wanted to kiss her and tell her how much I loved her. But I was stupid and reasonable. Maybe I should have prayed to god to give me the strength but I was old now and I did not believe in god. I felt my heart skip a beat. I was drenched in rain but my throat my dry. I was shivering but a fire, a passion was burning inside me. I saw her. She was wearing a deep purple dress and she was wet. Drops of water were hanging from her hair. Her face wet, looked as pure as a child’s. A strand of hair was falling on her face. I remember it as if it was yesterday. Her body drenched in rain still inflames dormant passions in my soul. I should have told her then that I love her, that I have been loving her from the time I did not know that love exists, from a time long gone by and that I will love her till I exist, love her till love loses its meaning, love her till I forget who I am, and love her forever. But it doesn’t matter. I knew I was happy then, as happy as I had ever been, as ever as I will ever be. Years rolled by. I was caught up in the unforgiving tide of my life and I became even more reasonable. I learned to be stoic, to hide my feelings, to ignore them to the point of forgetting them. I became cold, cold to human touch, cold to human affection.

I was trying to forget her, I was trying hard. I suppressed all my feelings, all my weaknesses. I wanted to be strong; I did not want anyone to know that I was once in love. But the dam broke. The flood of my emotions broke through like the mad rush of an overflowing river. I cried tears of pain, and tears of anguish. I called her and told her I loved her. I listened to her silence and to her silence. I wanted to catch a hint of love in her voice. As I was growing more desperate, I suddenly realised, to my astounding surprise, that I was happy. I felt as if a load as heavy as the loftiest mountains has been lifted from my chest. I felt relieved. I was calm. And as I was talking to her that night, I suddenly realised that love is painful, it is harsh. It breaks our heart and leaves us bleeding on the floor.But it gives us a few incredible memories, memories that we cherish for the rest of our lives, memories that make us laugh every time and every day, memories that make us happy whenever we remember the time gone by, memories of magical moments we shared with our loved ones, memories of a play, a room, a moonlight night and a girl drenched in rain, memories of small and ordinary events that shaped our lives, memories that live with us forever. I know that there will be girls in my life. But I will always remember with a smile on my face, as the girl who taught me what love is, as my first love, as my Cinderella, as my Cin.