Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Ode to The Gift

Lying in the bed, in the bone-crackling chill of the winter, warmed by his quilt, he stared at it. Holding it in his hands, as if there was some way to bring it back to life, if he kept willing it. But somehow he knew that won’t happen. To every corner around he could turn to salvage its remnants, he did. But everyone had the same answer- it’s lost.

He still remembered how it came into his life. The memory engraved vividly in his mind. It was a gift, when a gift could hardly express the love the two of them shared. It was a memory of embrace, of thought and the effort to selflessly give something to your treasured person which you knew he yearned for. And that’s how it came to him. Simply handed with a smile at the most unexpected of moments, in the simplest of ways. And when he unravelled the gift, it was something he had wanted for so long.

He had seen it so many times, and even though he wanted it, he simply smiled and told himself, you will get one of your own soon. But when it came down to it, he just couldn’t do it. There was always something else. And she sensed it. Probably that’s what so great about love – when you actually do love someone, you live for another more than you live for yourself. But such a gift he didn’t expect, and there was very less what he couldn’t expect. He felt like a kid again, being given a gift he wanted but couldn’t ask for from anyone. And that was when he actually connected to it.

He treasured it, would be an under-statement. He remembered it tagging along with him whenever he was all alone. Sickness, health, alone, among friends, travelling, at home... it was with him whenever he needed it. It helped him escape into worlds he loved to imagine, and safeguarded all his secrets. And he kept it as if to protect it from time itself – and he had been pretty successful at it. But he never imagined he would have to guard it from tragedy. And he felt the pain of death and loss, yet again.

He had wondered as a child what made everything around so special that people seemed to work so hard for. If one considered the laws of nature, it would seem futile to form connections in lack of permanency and veils of perception. And then it struck him hard and cold like death. It was life itself that connected itself among everything and everyone around them. And its non-permanence is exactly what made it so precious to acquire – like desperately quenching your thirst from a handful of water when you know you can never have the entire handful, and if you delay it too much you will lose it all. It’s funny how simple and accurate life’s explanation is from a child’s point of view. The kid’s wisdom echoed in his head, “Everyone is trying to have as much fun as they can while they are here.”

Yet he felt that time had been unfair. It had become so much a part of his life and never taken for granted. He recognized its absence the next morning itself. And when he recovered it from the culprit, he felt as if he had been saved himself. Yet the connection somehow seemed jittery, still he ignored it as imagination. Soon he realized his treasure had lost its life. And the efforts he could make were not enough to bring it back. Death had come again, this time as a trickster, and the wolverine didn’t even realize that the moon had been taken from it. And now all that was left with him was a void.

Probably the void could be filled by another, probably not. But the desire to fill the void was gone. What was once precious couldn’t return, not like before. This is probably the reason the ones that are departed are best reincarnated into fresh starts than brought back to old life. Nature had a better of keeping life’s cycle going. Maybe he could apply it to his gift. But that will take time and wisdom. Probably that’s what it was always about – To give time and attain wisdom.

He remembered the time when everyone but a few had to stay away from him for their own good. And he couldn’t and didn’t blame them for it. But it was with him always. Probably because he couldn’t harm it the way he could cause ill to others, but yet he liked to think that it came into his life at that time just to rid him of that solitude. And now it lay in his hands. What it stirred inside him was more than love. It was life... memories... feelings... companionship. Probably that’s what friends are. And you have to let them go. And hope, one day, somehow, you will be able to come back together again. Changed, aged and tempered by life – still... Friends Forever. There will be a night when the Moon will hear the Wolverine’s howls and they will meet again. And that morning, the sun will gladly take its time to rise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Good Night

It has been so long, I actually have to wonder where I should start writing from. So I find myself beginning from putting down the instinct to hint what I am going to write about and instead write it down like a story unfolding itself in my head.

The night has always been a place of solace for me, sometimes warm and welcoming, and a silent partner otherwise. I actually wonder whether nights were always like these. In the times gone by, which seem like from another life, my own, night was a time to rest. Then suddenly either times changed or life, and night became as much of a time window as any other hour during the day. What one couldn’t accomplish during day, he undertook at night. Maybe it was the proliferation of options, and lack of interesting ones during day, that this became so far-fetchingly a part of one’s day, that ‘night-life’ seemed more important than it’s sunny counterpart on so many days.

And now I wonder where I am amidst the darkness of night, softly caressed by moon’s charms. What I reminisce seems like a day gone by rather than years and months, and now I am standing in the still of the night, alone, and waiting for the next day to begin. The day will be like any other in this picture of time, demanding hard-work, relying on faith, teased by dreams and down-trodden by failures. But still it will be a new day. How will I know about it? I won’t have the luxury to rest.

In one of the many stories I have seen, read and heard, there was an episode in which a person, accomplished well beyond his age, questions on what made him feel like a man rather than a boy- when he finally made love to the girl he loved, or when he held the hand of a dying lonely woman through the night. Becoming a man from a boy for me was always to let go of what I wanted and choose what was right. But is that it? Even as a child I did what was right most of the time. So what differentiates a man from a boy? Now I think it’s accepting the fact that becoming a man is a never-ending process. There will always be a child in me. Sometimes more stubborn and unrelenting because he thinks he is a man, but the moment he stops learning and growing, he is a child again. And such is the circle of life- when a boy has finally realized the man he is, the child in him is ready to come back again, mostly accompanied by senility.

So why I slog through the day when what I eventually await is the night to rest? A story! A journey which has enriched one’s life by testing the waters of the world and time! And the hope that in the end my memories will be more of achievements than regrets! What I write so briefly probably describes years of my life. Yet the beauty of past and future is that years of them can span a brief moment in my mind, while the present is just a moment, but a special moment in which I live. And live it I shall.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Croak of a Barsati Maindek

A Child – probably the most honest picture of who we are, well at least most of us. Before I started wanting things money could buy, before I cared what I looked like, before I thought twice of taking something apart just to find out what was inside or how it worked, before I even cared whether I care or not. There are remnants of that simple joy of just being alive. I still find joy in the colours of life. I still “wuv” my parents and friends. I still feel like there is so much about the world for me to know, and it has nothing to do with the social philosophies. And I still love the rain.

It’s magical when it rains. And for a moment forget that it has anything to do with evaporation and condensation and cohesive nature of water. And it is easy. Just stand with your eyes closed for a moment and feel the magic tingle your body with the sensations of cool drops on warm skin. Feel the cold breeze beginning to make your body shiver. The water slowly reaches from the skin into the depths of your being. And something stirs – something that we feel so rarely in the rat race. If you let it grow, you won’t take much time to realize what it is. And if you want to name it, I can only think of what I call it by – my Soul. And I feel... Free.

I am free to smile. I can dance because I feel like splashing the water with a groove. I can sing at the top of my voice because the drops have given me a background score. I can play and try to do all kinds of tricks, because I am not afraid of getting hurt. I can make paper boats and send them hurling across streams just to see how far their voyage lasts. And when it ends, I start anew with another boat. I can watch out for frogs and then follow them leapfrogging alongside. (I wonder if that’s why the “barsati maindeki” proclaimed me a “barsati maindek”). I can open up myself to the world, and feel that it’s mine.

And when I am all done, cold, shivering, wrapped in a towel, and sipping hopefully on something hot, I look around. It’s like everything around me is being washed clean by some universal will. The parched surface’s thirst is quenched. Flora and fauna are given a bath like a mother makes a stubborn baby sit in a water-filled oversized tub, so that he has no option of getting away. Rivers, streams and lakes are rejuvenated giving our marine friends a wider ground to play. Life, human or otherwise, actually has come alive. And you are as much a part of the coming alive as you are the spectator. World seems greener. The smell of freshly damped earth is intoxicating. Suddenly it seems that someone just lifted a black and white screen and the world has come back to colour. And against a grey background of sky, Mother Nature decided to paint a world.

In many faiths including the scientific ones, water represents giver of life. If we look into its properties we find them not only peculiar but outright exceptional. Still it is one of the fundamental elementals. What I find most amazing is, that somewhere, some point in time, it was chosen that rain would be made of water. Water, that seeps through even the smallest of spaces and still sticks together. Water, that makes up the ever-humbling oceans, yet reaches out to the land in form of small droplets. Water, that even though present in virtually unlimited quantities, yet is probably the most precious resource, along with the other elementals in its creative form. One would think we would learn something from a choice so made. I really hope we do in time.

Still as the cynics among us would ask, what is so special about rain? I say it’s the fact that life comes around. Sooner or later, in one form or another, it comes around and replenishes you, rejuvenates your soul. Maybe it has been a decade’s drought, maybe even more. Still one shower, and life is given the strength to grow. It connects our thick-headed consciousness to our soul, and asks it to come out and play. For sometime forget that world is filled with pain, sorrow and misfortune. Drench yourself and remember what it is to feel like a child again. Smile like there’s no tomorrow. Cry, like for once probably the world is crying with you. And come out clean.

Come thunder and lightning, come storms, nothing stops the rain from falling. The dreams, once buried, are reawakened. I shed my pretences and find myself wanting to climb up the ladder of raindrops and hug the clouds. Miracles don’t seem far-fetched anymore. And if nothing else, I will always remember the stirring of my soul, when the rain fell.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Short Note on Women

Some would say this was a topic that I should have written on a long time ago, but the fact of the matter is I don't think I would do complete justice to the same even now. Still I find myself venturing into many things not completely prepared these days so why not write something about Women too - after all, I don't think anybody would know enough to write what can encompass a woman's persona in its entirety.

I would say I am prejudiced towards the fairer sex a bit, well mostly because it is supposed to be considered the fairer sex. Not that they always are. From what I know, women are usually more calculative, objective and unreasoned than men when they are determined to get what they want, they usually get it, or else (a bit clich├ęd still no better phrase to say it) “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Their genes have evolved their minds to instinctively manipulate men to work to their bidding. How they utilize those genes is what distinguishes them. In their pursuit, they can wreck havoc on others, destroy themselves and even imperil what they are after.

Phew! Now that I have let off the steam, I bow down humbly to the blessing that is woman. There is no better creation for one to ponder, pursue and cherish as a man. For their glory overshadows whatever can be said against them. Determination, persistence, love, friendship, generosity, loyalty and insight can all be found in every woman – probably in us men too, but we usually don’t tap into our true potential, not until we are motivated enough, and that is mostly too in the pursuit of lady (or ladies :) ) of our dreams.

Every effort to understand these blessings (and sometimes banes) of our life is futile. Why? Apart from the empirical rule of men failing to understand women, some things are better not understood. For, as long as the goal is not reached, the journey continues. For won’t the elusive mystery that is a woman’s mind might turn out to be what we didn’t expect. For where men are guided by definable goals, women are guided by something more than that. What is it? Don’t look towards me. I haven’t figured out women myself. Still I know that they are different from us, like I know the wind on my face. And to think of them with our reasoning is trying to fit a circle into a square.

Whatever women be, they are still the core to our survival, in every facet, be it social, economic and, most importantly, biological. Female foeticide is nothing short of genocide, and ironically a self-destructive form of it at that. And the reasons for killing a child just because it’s a girl are not only horrific, they’re unfounded and preposterous. Gene-pool of any family is preserved in the same way in both males and females. Girls have consistently being performing better than boys on an average in all secondary and higher secondary levels consistently for years now. Why they haven’t been able to perform as well in college exams is highly controversial, with reasons like discouragement of college studies, especially the ones requiring investment for daughters of the family. And in fact, in words of my world-wise friends, a son in our society requires regular investment for the entire life. A girl when becomes independent is an asset. And if you are thinking in terms of dowry, it is illegal and a shameful act on part of the groom-to-be. What good are you if you can’t even earn back what your parents have invested in you and have to look towards a girl for support? If anywhere, this is where your male ego should arise. And forget everything else, the girl who has to buy her way into her life, what kind of selfless love and values do you expect her to imbibe into your family and children?

I have seen my share of kids. And girls are no less an asset than boys are. In fact in many aspects they mature earlier and understand things from other’s perspectives earlier. And how do we treat them in our so called society? Domestic abuse, assault at workplace and rape – call me an extremist but I believe that the culprits in such matters are better off castrated in public and worse. For no true man ever has to resort to hitting a woman. I am not impractical to say there are no female anti-social elements amidst us, but for every bit of manliness in our protectors of good, nothing justifies even treating them in such extreme manners, for what kind of man needs to resort to violence towards woman if he is so strong. Or are you just strong enough to overcome a woman? And if you can only satisfy your carnal desires by going after helpless girls, you are not just a “chhakka”, you are just an anomaly in the human race, that should be gotten rid of like termite on wood - Eradication.

Don’t get me wrong comrades. I am not a feminist and I don’t believe men and women were created equal. There are things in which one was meant to be better than the other in general, and exceptions only prove the rule. And more than often I have seen girls and women being treated in preference, be it queues, interviews or examination checking. And I ain’t for it either. Hell, sometimes I feel that men should be fighting for their rights in these days with the kind of empowerment women are being given. If anything goes wrong, it’s automatically considered the man’s fault. And the woman gets away just because she is so.

Still, a child’s fight should remain a child’s fight. If turned to monstrosity, it turns you into exactly that – Monster. And a monster is neither man nor woman, and not guided by any of their respective welfare.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tryst ... All over again!

Full-circle – That’s what life usually comes about. You don’t realize much about it until the circle is finally complete. What intrigues me is the fact that life is formed of so many intricate circles, it’s almost miraculous how universe moves forward without crashing upon itself. Probably the reason why some of the most gifted minds in the world are searching for the single law which guides the entire universe. Although my favourite argument for the same is if there is such a law, won’t it be governed by itself, and hence its discovery too, thus leading to the idea that could such a universal truth is without sentience. Anyway my story this morning is not about such a grand theory, at least not directly. It’s about landing up in a place in your life, where you thought you would never end up again. It’s about finding yourself doing the same thing which you had thought you wouldn’t have to ever do again.

There have been instances, or rather chapters more appropriately, of my life recently, where just in a span of years, if not months, I have realized that things that are easiest to let go off, are the ones that are easiest to return to. And the ones that are hardest to let go, are the ones that in time start to seem unworthy of any further presence in your life. And in many cases, some places and people just seem to be a part of your life, however hard you try to get away from them. Actually it’s the other way around sometimes. The harder you try to get away, the more intertwined your destinies seem.

Such a tryst, however much one avoids it, could in fact be fate. Karma that needs to be shed, some debt that needs to be paid – take your pick. It could be a business client, work location, some old school time crush, a relative, even a means of transportation – some I just keep coming across, even if I never thought I would see them again, some I even hoped not to. And I can never know when that share of my karma has borne its fruit.

Another possibility that comes to mind, and this one I favour, is that it follows sort of the Maze theory (another of my spontaneous inventions I must say) – As long as we keep making the same choices, guided by the same perspective, we will end up at the same corner. So it’s more a matter of how our choices come into play, however complex they may be, whether conscious or not.

When I come to think of the difference between the two, for karma is again a more esoteric form of choices itself, the two reasons distinguish themselves in their approach; former is reactive while latter is pro-active in their resolution. I can change the reiteration of the encounters if I change the choices I make. I can take the other turn, to eventually lead myself out of the maze. But if it is karma only, there is hardly anything I can do about it, till it is lived out.

Free-will is the means by which we let our conscious and sub-conscious traverse the cross-roads in life. Maybe it is also the gate by which we communicate with our soul. In meditation, one closes his/her eyes to touch that element of their soul. And it is free will that makes us close our eyes even while we are awake, to reach inside, when it is our instinct to keep our eyes open. My father used to tell me, that when I will learn how to close my eyes, my third eye will eventually open. Not as potent as that of my Lord Shiva, but the one that will be allow me to see for what things truly are. I asked him how long I would have to practice to achieve such a state. And he replied smilingly, it could range from minutes to years to even births. Now I realize the reason he said it so simply was because in such a state, time would just be road with milestones, and when the destination is sought, road is where we walk. It is the journey that matters.