Monday, 18 October 2010

The Temple

I drove a long while yesterday, pleasantly surprising myself each time I threw the car around a bend with casual ease; for I have reason to believe that Driving, like Language, can be forgotten. Today I was bursting through the streets once again, though not equipped with the Swift this time around, as I found myself seated precariously on Mom's 50cc Kinetic - empathizing with the way Lord Ganesha feels when he sits on his mouse. Helmeted - not by choice, I stared through the vizor at the way Chennai's greatest road contrasted the erstwhile empire and ancient megalith with modern day towers.

I was on a mission today: an impromptu decision and a whimsical moment, which lead to the beginning of an insatiable urge. Being filled with the improbable melange of piety and desire, while all the time acknowledging the fact that neither could live while the other survived, I decided that it was only prudent that I nip it at the bud. And I embarked upon the pilgrimage.

I haven't been to the shrine for a while now and I felt that the Powers might chastise me for my ignorance, condemn me and relegate me to the desecrated world. But then I have always believed that the Lord is forgiving. And I continued on my trip, with expectations reaching their acme as the temple came into view. Like all temples, there was nothing blindingly brilliant about the exterior, for temples need not boast their existence. They merely need to exist, and people will come.

I stood in awe as I stared at the resplendent medieval facade, tattooed with the number '1844', which seemed to stare back down upon me, as if demanding, "Where have you been all these days?" I bowed my head and putting my right foot forward, I stepped across the threshold. A chill ran down my spine as I reminded myself that I was finally reunited with the lord in his abode, after all the missing years. Every aspect of the place left me amazed: the careless nonchalance in the way the angels presented themselves to those who cared to come, the meticulous and overworked attendants and the overwhelming mix of people who prayed by my beside.

No number of hours could suffice in such a place, as I tried placating a hurt ego - convincing myself that there was still time for redemption. I left the shrine a few hours later, as a greatly enriched man. And I swore to return as soon as fate and time permitted me to. And thus I exited Higginbotham's - the oldest bookstore in the country. And the finest, needless to say.

God bless Abel Joshua Higginbotham.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Long Walks

The end seems near and I invite it closer. The trees fall behind giving way to more as my feet work assiduously against the floor. The street-signs fade along my peripheral vision, disappearing into my immediate past, mimicking the behaviour of the dazed grin which inhabited my face not too long ago. I am walking along a lonely dark road.

The culmination of the long trip seems closer now. It is always better to walk with a goal in mind than to wander aimlessly through the many unexplored paths of this world. It isn't half as exciting, but it's a soothing experience: knowing that the end isn't too far away. (No guessing is involved.)

There was once a time when I didn't know what to do with my hands when I strolled down a lane... But those times are forgotten now. My hands don't feel awkward dangling by my sides as I walk. The same, however, cannot be said about my head.

Questions crowd my mind as I continue walking. The dazzling brilliance of the final destination is clearly visible now. But new ideas continue to sparkle intermittently like the stars of the infinite sky which overwhelm me every time I set foot under the shroud of Night. Questions demand answers and statements beg to be questioned. The universe is too vast. And I continue walking.

My legs are pumping battery acid now. The end seems close. The questions are too many. And I am fatigued. The End now acts as a magic bullet, putting to an end the misery caused by a thousand-odd steps. I'd love to answer those questions. I'd love to endure the experience... But that'd have to wait until another day. I hit the bed with stupendous force, hard enough to knock myself out into sweet oblivion. I am tired. And I wouldn't mind walking some more...