Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When?

It's kind of strange,
how you've changed
the way I feel
about the clock.

When you are here
the seconds split
so that each becomes
many lifetimes combined.

It's a little unnerving,
the way you're curving
my lens of time
into a concave form.

So it seems to me
that reality bends
like a hall of mirrors
effortlessly destroyed.

With you I feel
that minutes dissolve,
like dandelion blooms
tossed to the wind.

But it's really absurd
how you've served
in changing what
they used to mean.

And I cannot shake
how easily you make
me lose both sense
and track of my mind.

Without you it's true
I have nothing better to do
than count the seasons
until our lives collide.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unfettered



Maybe it doesn't mean so much to put these markings down anymore. Maybe the twist in the tale isn't enough every time. The enforced practice and unpredictable will are just easy-to-believe lies. There is no value to intangible ideas being jotted down in unvisited corners of the internet.

These thoughts have no reason to form anymore and the sentences I construct seem weaker than ever before. Have I smoked away my art? Lost it somewhere in the misfiring networks of a clouded cranium? How long ago was it then? Mustn't have been that far back if it's still able to affect me.

I don't doubt my ability to rise to a challenge and present a piece of work. Commercial writing will still bring me my piece of pie. But these rambles are harder to come by now. I'm distracted by the visual medium and it's begun to annoy me. The world of words has grown so much larger and the map isn't zooming in as it used to. I guess this is what being rusty feels like, fingers dancing an unsure tune as the letters attempt to fall into sensible place.

Somewhere a whisper floats; unblock your mind and the words will comply. So let's get started then, shall we?

Love is never enough. We may wish it, want it, beg it to fill our cups, but it wont. More than anything, love is what requires most effort to keep alive. In this world separated by time difference, breathing life into it every time it convulses in absence-induced seizure is going be harder than we are prepared for. There will be times when we will falter. This isn't an attempt at being mysterious or abstract, it's just a fact that love sometimes limps. It hobbles behind us as you or I get distracted by the life we are trying to build. Some work emergency takes precedence over meeting each other and it becomes habit until it turns into a fight. Love is not the most important thing in a relationship, time is. The more we spend together, the more we know each other and learn to accept the parts that are irreparable.

That being said, I am still discovering all my broken parts. I realize some things are wrong with me but I am also learning to understand those things. I get distracted easily. I abandon projects mid-way. This page itself will be ignored multiple times over before it even sees the light of day. The need in my life was never really love. It was exactly what you want. A partnership. A companion who can find a way when you are lost. Someone to share stories with, more than anything. A match. Wit for wit and madness for madness. Someone who can pull me farther than my own stupid limitations and help me grow with every aching kiss. All I have ever wanted is a woman who I will want to be a man for.

The truth is, I haven't matured at all. I am still the young idiot, prone to addictions and numerous excuses. One third of my life has passed by and I don't find myself closer to an answer than when I began. Some questions have been concluded and new ones have been raised in their stead. Like, what kind of life do I want? Is the enticing utopia of lifelong singledom still part of my vision or has this calmer dream of a beautiful home actually replaced it? At some level, I would like to think that it has. A purpose has been added to life and though it points towards clouded shores, at least it is in some direction.

There is this fear of building a hollow castle. All my time away from people has taught me the importance of having connections. Yet another day has gone by without meeting someone who I have already endlessly delayed catching up with. The reason for this may be because of the 'grand design' to shift bases altogether. Creating a network here seems pointless somehow. In an industry with such a bad memory, it should theoretically be possible to make a return at any time. This illusory guarantee keeps me away from those who can help my case in some way or another.

I will make peace with my past and sail away someday. On the road to growing up I have mistreated, misled and misbehaved with many people. Far lesser than others I know, but too many for me to just turn around and saunter away. Before I take a step towards the future, I have to close these chapters or fix the story in some way or another. The persisting feeling that these ghosts will not let me be until I speak to them is the only reason I wish to pursue an idea as foolish as 'closure'.

I must rediscover writing in the first person. Creating characters and understanding their motivations is a skill best practiced in more profitable and public annals. The ancient habit of marking my memories and thoughts must not be allowed to die. There are times when I forget that the reason to write was never a wish to be read. It was always a want to shape in words the ideas that would otherwise be nothing more than a mere spark in the brain. I guess this is what it means to make them tangible.

So maybe, in the end, I've been running in circles when the answer was right there in front of me. The reason to put these thoughts down is to make my mark, as minuscule as it may be. And as long as my fingers have strength and my brain can birth the wisp of an idea, I must keep writing. Not for anyone I know or a random reader in the world, but more for the sheer self-fulfilment of the practice.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hive lives



i’ve heard rumours of
these humans who exist,
that are easily
appeased.

true or not,
i have been told,
they ask no more
than a good night’s sleep.

they work like ants
and conserve
each crumb,
that’s collected
day by day.

they leave at five
to commute for miles
and reach four bare walls
they call home.

there is evidence,
of this breed of man
that is content
with mediocre dreams.
of building a family
and raising a spawn,
to further
their own inadequacies.

they are many,
and they do exist,
everywhere that i peek.

but they are not
my patrons or peers
nor company i will seek.

but if you spot,
these folk, of whom
rumours are abound,
be sure to catch
their downcast eyes -
so you remember
what not to become.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ascension



There's a man out there
who wishes to overcome
every wall in the world.

Not the metaphorical ones,
those are too tedious
for even the seasoned explorer,

This mortal yearns
to grab, inch and crawl
up till the top of every rock.

He says he knows
it's his life and purpose
to scale surfaces
till gravity embraces him.

But does he not understand
that even if he lives climbing
he will probably die falling,
not doing what he loves?

I wonder if there is greater truth
behind this vertically inclined man.
If his madness for mountains
can help me understand.

About the common question
we sooner or later raise,
whether in halls of stone
or by our fathers graves.

What is the purpose of this
fleeting existence?
When all that is made will end
and all this has come only to go?

Is it to blindly keep climbing
till the unseen zenith?
Hoping to find a meaning
by giving society the slip?

But seeing the man rise
with edge of nail and tip of toe
I get a sense of his reason.

Of why he could never
stay down below.

I see his gamble with the forces
his fight with humanity's pull.
I think I feel his paces
and he isn't as much a fool.

I guess we all live climbing,
whether a ladder or a wall.
The trick that I can see,
is to beat your fear of falling
or you won't be able
to climb at all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trust yourself



It remember myself at the age of 15. Even back then I had been made to feel like I was marked for failure. Most of the educators who were supposed to build character, instead found it easier to dismiss me over other more promising students. But the definitive moment came when I was 15. I remember it surprisingly clearly, considering most of my other memories are blurred by the passing of time or stepping in of mental defences. But I cannot forget that day. The classes have been mixed and two teams have been formed with two houses represented in each. I belong to Green. Not the most illustrious of houses. We are ranked 3rd out of 4 in almost all events and this evening will prove to be a game changer for whoever wins, earning bragging rights and glory for us little children who don't know better.

The stakes are, obviously, pretty high strung and the decided battlefield is the debate competition. Our opposing camps of four are separated into two classes and we immediately huddle into strategy. Out of the two Head Prefects (the most academically sound and obedient students from the senior class), the slightly plump girl, and my classmate, is with us. Kaani, we used to call her. This sweet girl with an academic mindset and roundish figure would go on to have a rather unfortunate ending to her school year, but that's not important. What is important for now is the thin, spindly form that makes up 15-year-old me. At this point in life, I have been the all-absorbing butt of each joke in all the gangs that form during lunch times in a school such as mine. Then, as it is now, words are a means of comfort but I am yet to discover their healing power. I did, however, understand their calming effects and malleable meaning. By some miracle, I had pipped the 'scholar' in our class to make it into the State Spelling Bee two years back and now found that my hopeful request to join the debate team was accepted.

The team, comprising two members each from the Green and Yellow Houses, is discussing the subject of the debate; The English Language Is Killing Other Regional Languages, Agree or Disagree. The irony of the incorrect capitalization isn't wasted on teenage me but, overcoming this grammatical cringe, I offer to lead the charge. Kaani looks at me in a way that lucidly communicates her skepticism. I look to the others for confidence and I find it in my friend, and Yellow House prefect, Akshay. At his insistence, the others give in and I happily get down to writing my opening lines.

Fast-forward a few hours and I have dissected every way our argument can be attacked. After finding an unsolvable loophole in the fact that English isn't the bane of all regional languages, the case was easy enough to build and I find myself feeling unnaturally capable. But our teachers, I soon discover, don't share my optimism. There's a dull knock on the glass pane of our aged classroom door and I see a few tufts of white hair framed in it. The stray strands belong to our science teacher, Mrs. Das, and the knocking fist slowly pushes the hinges open. The creak made our hair stand on end and Das' stern face firmly pushed them out of the follicles. With an icy finger she calls Kini over for a status update and she informs that I, unaccomplished and unproven I, shall open the debate for our team.

Even now I can feel the gaze as Das tilts my way, wrinkled nose crinkled in suspicion as her glasses battle to maintain balance on the small hillock of a nose. With a grunt she calls my name and asks me to present the opening speech. It's the kind of order that she was famous for issuing on students that weren't really in her class. I mean, she taught us rudimentary science for one year and her love for the textbook as a weapon of punishment over education was the only thing I remember from those hours.

So, admittedly, I am adamant in not reading it out to anyone before I go up. This insistence is also born from the fact that I'm not entirely ready at the moment, but I knew that I would be. Still, I narrate my script without theatrics and final touches, to a prematurely critical audience. Jog shrugs in reply to my attempted eloquence and I sheepishly sit myself down in a corner, hell bent on making the speech perfect. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Kaani in conversation with Jog and it's escalating into an argument. A variety of glances are thrown my way and it's clear who the subject of this mini-debate is. I drown myself in the notebook and pretend not to notice until I see Kaani's rather spherical shadow fall on my desk.

Before I tell you what Kaani said, I want it to be clear that this was the moment I understood what it meant to 'have something to prove'. Until then, I'd just been thinking how to crack this perfect opening for the weaker side of a debate. What Jog passed on through the Head Prefect had given me a reason why. Our educator, I will not call her a teacher because teachers build character and this portly woman had none of her own to begin with, had asked Kaani to make me step down from the opening speech. 15-year-old me was destroyed.

You see, I have always believed teachers should find the one trait that makes a child strong and nourish that flame. Even at that age, I was aware of this fact. So when Jog expressed her lack of faith in me, I flashed back to my earlier years when my father had expressed the same suspension of belief. Now you must understand the kind of rage filling up that skinny body. It was a fire just aching to be let out and, for a moment, I wanted to walk up to the old hag and explain why I could do this seemingly impossible task. While others would find objects to throw and people to abuse to express that anger, I managed to find my pen and channel it to paper. The silver lining also showed that not all was lost. Kaani, the ever studious, had argued on my behalf and I would still get to open. Partly because it was too late for anyone else to step up to the plate. Gathering my shattered confidence like so many brittle pieces of tubelight, I finished my speech.

That evening, I was unstoppable. What was meant to be a 4 vs 4 battle of wits had come down to a one-man-debating-machine against four hapless children. Fuelled by my anger and strengthened by the support of my fellow students, I tore through the competition's points as a piano string would slice through tender flesh. By the end of the allotted two hours, for the first time in my life, I became a hero. When the judges came in with the result everyone already wanted me to be proclaimed the best speaker and I was greeted with cheers when I went to accept the ornate certificate. They'd managed to spell my surname wrong, but there it was. The proof that crinkled old Jog's nose with air peppered by her own incredulousness. The evidence that I could manage a minuscule achievement on the strength of my own words. The ultimate prize to silence the critics who wanted me to prove that proverbial 'something'.

I had realized one important thing that day, a lesson that I would learn once again years later. I had understood that the best way to quieten the naysayers isn't to promise and plead that you can do it. The final solution is to go right ahead and do it. Because when the results come in and you come out on top, you will have proven all there is to prove. And you will have erased that stain of failure which society spat on you. Not because you had the guile to dodge it, but because you had the strength to wash it off every damn time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Strangely deranged [11]



What the hell was he thinking?
Did he assume for one ache-filled moment
that this glowing concrete world
would welcome him with open arms?
Was he blind and deaf in his belief
that his particular genre of scum
is allowed in their diamond palaces?
What a stupendous idea.
What a misguided fool he is.
This isn't a life that can accommodate him.
His words are too vitreous.
His appearance too jarring.
His dreams too humble.
They do not rise
to the towering glory that is expected of men in this land.
He is more like the weed that grows amongst their lush green gardens.
Allowed to survive
as long as he remains blissfully out of sight.
As long as his existence
doesn't become an inconvenience to their perfect lives.

What did he imagine?
Life would be as simple as it had always been?
That his kind would be found freely walking these hallowed halls?
If so, he truly is the King of Fools.
For in this world, he is expected to be like the rest.
It is demanded that he fall in line
or step way from it.
There is no room here for the stray branch.
No space for minds as bent as his own.
Their eyes do not see what he wishes they would.
Their ideas do not fit together.
Their thoughts will always clash.
It would be better if he just surrendered to their ways.
Survival here means clipping his wings.
Or forgetting he ever had them.
Living here is defined by the quality of livelihood.
By the means he can provide,
not the ideas he can birth.

He really is the fool they make him out to be.
For intruding on their idyllic lives.
For having his own views of life.
For falling in love.
He should never have done that.
He should have kept his ruined heart to himself.
He should never have dared to reach out to one
from this perfectly pruned world.
He risks destroying her now.
The one he loves.
The one who stops all his thoughts.
But then again,
she is what he was thinking of in the first place.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Night vision



she always slept
with her face to the sky.
he always dreamt
with his ear to the ground.
maybe it was the fact
that her sights were upward and on,
while his thoughts
came from what was in and around.

they say true love
is opposites attracting
to a common misunderstanding,
but maybe it's just
finding the other idiot
who fills the gaps
when you go to bed at night.

she always kept
a sliver of her eye open,
as if searching for a glimpse
of a dream within the dream.
wishing the other were real
and the one being lived
a bit less so.

she always lay
with her eardrums blocked out
to the sounds of neighbours.
she would instead
be that much gladder
with the voice of his exhale
filling her void.

love is blind
some others tell me
but i know the truth
with each waking morn;
it is the eyes
that sleep wide shut
in which you see
it's your dreams
that survive.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mental acrobatics

it's an underwater ballet
as my thoughts swim around.
like the Cirque du Soleil
but i'm afraid we'll all drown

it's an impossible ordeal
requiring incredible focus.
to understand what is real
before the water can choke us.

i can see many a circle
and the bubbles in their wake.
the waves they crash and crumple
there is no sense here to make.

this performance before me
would befit an olympic event.
but these are things that define me
so this dance, i'd rather prevent.

it's an underwater ballet
that always eludes my clutch,
like the Cirque du Soleil
but it will never count for much.