Sunday, 30 May 2010

Oh Great One, I Summon You!

A thousand hymns and a hundred names
Pleas for redemption, to allay pain
A prayer to smother the deathly flames
Of evil - in a soothing rain.

A promise to scale mountains tall
To negotiate with the Almighty one.
Or perambulate the temple wall
To repent for offences done.

A ritual invoking the soul within;
A quest to, body's depth, unearth.
- Tranquility crushes melancholic din
And serenity returns, if not mirth.

A passing peace, a diabolical trick
- Taking heart again before the fall
What hurt was once searing prick
Is now a saber - slicing all.

For prayers give you heart again.
The Believer begins to brim with trust,
Yearning for that eternal rain
Only to crumble like an Iron in rust.

He burns within in agonizing ache;
For worse still than drowning, is when -
At Death, he thinks there is a chain to take...
Hope is given and withdrawn again.

Wallowing in self pity and envious spite
He hates. He tires. He has lost. He's worn.
Oh Omnipresent Benevolent Light!
I hope you're glad. An atheist is born.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

One Constant in Relentless Change!

It was dusk and the sun turned bronze from radiant gold, peeking out from behind the gentle Cirrus which was splattered across the eternal canvas. A cool wet breeze carrying the occasional grain of sand blew landwards purging heat and assuaging pain. It would be evening soon.

I saw two children being led carefully through the sands, as though being introduced to the Bay, by their grandmother – although it would be very lenient of me to say that they were indeed ‘being led’, and soon enough poor old Grandma had no control of the children as they boisterously somersaulted over each other and threw fist-fulls of sand at each others’ face. After feeble initial protest, the old lady gradually grew despondent and helpless, after which she swore (imitating the great Bheeshma) to the God of the Sea – “I shall, never again, accompany these two children to the beach, alone.” This seemed to work miracles on the impetuous duo and almost magically tranquillity returned to the shores of the Bay of Bengal. I smiled as I saw two guilty looking children and one exasperated Grandma departing, to catch an Auto, together.

As I continued walking along, I saw a group of kids in their later teens playing beach-football. This was not uncommon as beach football was one of the most popular sports played in these parts. Most passes were played in the air and the curl of the shot was often aided by the wind, playing diabolical tricks on the hapless shot-stopper. I looked down and I noticed no more fine patterns and designs drawn by the fine hand of the wind; as all intricacy lay mutilated - bearing testimony to the savage struggles for the football. I jogged past the kids who were bellowing as loudly as their larynxes permitted. Soon, I reached the jogging track.

I witnessed a melange of people here – the twenty year old whose life seemed all but directionless, seated with other twenty year olds who were equally lost, discussing the futilities and pleasures of life, pausing only to take in the occasional stunner; the young gentleman who ran incessantly down the track, wincing as his muscles pumped battery acid, all the while listening to music streaming into his ears through his new iPod; the middle-aged man who walked down the side-lane hand-in-hand with his new wife as they planned their new universe; and the young man or old boy who was madly in love with his hot girlfriend.

I was getting tired and thought of retiring to the nearby Barista, which offered ambrosial delights for a fortune, leaving the customer a few notes lighter… Or maybe the nearly awesome Food-Court called ‘Planet Yumm’ which was the favourite haunt of children of all ages… I paused ephemerally by the group of gossiping old men so as to tell them the time, only to almost be bundled over by an irresponsible pram.

By now, the Sun was no longer visible and the sea seemed to be the beacon of light. The surroundings began to drown me as various elements began to coalesce. The sky was blue, green and violet all at the same time. A distant ship twinkled bravely as the world around me began to succumb in a conflation of immaculate grandeur. I was so lost in the spectacle that I almost forgot who I was!

The infant in the pram, the child with its grandmother, the teenage footballer, the old boy with his new girlfriend, the young jogger, the middle-aged man with his wife, the old gentleman in a veshti asking for the time – were all one person. And I am Time.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Other Side

Even as I write this, I find myself in a satiated state of semiconsciousness; a state which the enlightened would call near-nirvana and doped would call half-stoned. I find myself unable to shift postures too easily. In a way, I feel confident that I'm writing this with my brain. And not with my heart (unlike the previous time I applied ink to paper) which slumbers peacefully in an idyllic clime unfamiliar to Chennai brought about by Lady Laila.

May 2009 will be remembered for the Grand Scrabble Days, where the Farmhouse in one last attempt to make its mark on wonderland forever played its great gambit. It was a welcome measure as much as being a pointless exercise, seeing that the guest was to play against the likes of the soft Southpaw and verbose Velociraptor. At least it blocked out the change which was upon us, however ephemerally, and those few Cautley hours promised to stay on forever. I exited sophomore year fully conscious of pain - pain of having to carry my laptop a few GB heavier in movies.

May 2010 will be remembered. I don't know for what. There was no scrabble and in the absence of intellectual distractions, George Lucas' 'There is no passion; there is serenity' becomes obsolete. And a clear month prior to indulging my brain for the eighth time ever in the very hazardous end-sem rote, I broke down to emotions. I got plain morose and saturnine in my last work and I don't know whether or not to chastise myself for that last indulgence. But, it was relief. And ever since, I haven't known how to feel about the great Goodbye.

The last week lasted a day and the Hour-hand seemed to outrun its Seconds' counterpart. And it seemed as though I was trying to reach out to all those things I had missed so far. Be it the random trip to Ravindra in the pretext of searching for a cap or the Jan Shatabdi I almost missed, the experiences were outlandish. The hardest part though was the inability to convey through the English language what can be best described as an emotional implosion. Luckily, Silence seems to be the best way.

The Watch Out val, the great Lit dinner (which proudly maintains its chivalrous superbia), the last EDC 'party', the Yaadein pages I meticulously filled after having mocked it at first, sessions where I tried explaining what sentiyaap meant, even the Cogni culmination meet... Maybe this is how I'll remember the May of 2010. As the Dreamwalker Diaries so aptly puts it, Roorkee started as a mistake. I think it's the greatest mistake of my life. Hadn't it been for that omnipotent sheet I filled in IIT Madras, I would have missed out on condescending blobs, supersurds, extortion specialists, jobless somnambulists, Gunda-buffs, loveless tigers, reptile kings, kings of kings, air-guitarists, 8mm-collectors and others who I'd love to have known better! The thought simply alarms me.

Half an hour has elapsed since I began writing this and I find myself in that same lucid lull. So this is how the greatest goodbyes are said. In silence.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Till I'm No One Again

It was around four in the afternoon on a rather warm day and he sat there on the Persian carpet, in the middle of the hall, he had managed to soil will generous amounts of plasticine. He was enjoying a post-Siesta chit-chat with his kid brother about why he felt the Cobras were always stronger than the G.I. Joes, while he positioned his Deep-Six action figure next to the tub they had filled up to the brim.

He was still feeling drowsy, the way one feels after a very heavy meal, as he had hurriedly eaten his idlis on the School-van back home so that mom or dad wouldn't find out... It'd have been rather unpleasant if mom found out once she got back from work, especially because she tended to be in one of those moods. His little brother was still eating his hot Top-Ramen which dad had made, slowly separating each noodle strand out meticulously first. He egged him on sincerely hoping that he wouldn't have to use the Microwave to heat the food again! He was the only one allowed to operate the Microwave when parents weren't at home... Li'l brother was still too little.

Mom came home soon and they both ran towards the door. The younger child threw his arms around her. They liked to have mom around, especially since they got into fights every so often. While the elder kid used his bigger size and superior strength as an advantage, the younger one didn't give up so easily, putting his nails and milk-teeth to good use. The routine 'What-happened-in-school-today' session followed while mom made herself tea and the kids Bournvita.

Soon, they were both off to doing their homework. They had been told to do it early in the afternoon, since they'd be completely free once that was over! Homework took them around half-an-hour to complete. In neat handwriting with a Natraj HB. The younger sibling's best handwriting however could be described as scribbling, at best. The zealous duo then raced down two floors to the play-park where they could get together with other expat kids and play the sport of India - Cricket. The elder kid played decent cricket strokes while his brother didn't care much for the game. In fact, he'd go out of his way to get bowled, so that he could go back to thinking about the new star he had learnt about in Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the previous day.

At quarter-past-six, they rushed back home and threw themselves into the shower. Those were days when the showers could be shared. After a quick hot bath and some bath-tub squabbles which mother had to mediate, they ran out to the one thing they'd never miss in their lives! Scooby Doo was on air, everyday at 6:30. They had watched enough of it to predict every single dialogue, but they still loved it. 'Which Witch is Which' was being shown that day - their most favourite episode! Scooby was the only cartoon character which could pip T-Bone and Razor, the Ninja Robots, Johnny Quest and Centurions, all together! Cartoon Network was God's gift to mankind and they made complete use of the time it was on air, until TNT showed up in an almighty explosion. Disney Hour and Mahabharata (yes!) were good,but no comparison really!

The nights were often the best as Toblerones for dessert were closely followed by the greatest story-teller of all time, save for Grandma, 'Enid Blyton'. The elder sibling often threatened to spoil the Pixie and Brownie tales for his kid brother by telling him the ending when he had just begun! Mom often used to spank him for that. Sometimes dad would tell him to stop too, if the noise they made disturbed the attentive evening news listener. So, generally he would lie down quietly in his bed and read Famous Five all by himself, trying to solve the puzzle before even George did. The only time the two of them read a book together was 'The Magic Faraway Tree' which he was reading for his third time.

Soon dad would come into the room telling them to switch the lights off and they'd run hurriedly to kiss both parents good night and then tuck themselves in. And then silently, they'd slip into sweet oblivion.

Today I got up as a twenty-something year old.