Heart

Breaking Free

IBreaking Freen a rather first, today, a whiff of anxiety and scare lashed by my soul. For a moment I found myself lusting for being amidst the unseen and the exotic. The moment when one despairs at being fettered to inconsequential chores stood staring me in the face. It so happened that I ran into a gentleman who had that care free aura around his congenial face. A short striking conversation with him made me brood over for a while and I sat down to think of his talk about racism, about visual communication and of temples and beggars in far-flung corners of the country. In the rest of the journey that he alighted somewhere in the middle of, my mind flew away to distant shores. I heard the storming, gorgeous waves and saw those picturesque tides. The inability to have that world surround me for real meant that the world was no longer at my feet as it always used to be. I cannot recall the last time I yearned for anything not within my immediate reach as strongly. That fleeting moment I was yearning to break free. As someone who has maintained, if not professed, that breaking free is not an option available to the human race, that desire of doing so came as a tough pill to swallow. That leap of imagination has left me weaker in terms of my suitability for a set pattern that I have tended to follow and fall by.

Curiously enough, I was haunted yet again, equally ephemerally, when in the market I saw this group of young boys selling chillies and gourds. Sitting side by side, attending to buyers, weighing the greens, they were jostling their things at each other and constantly conversing about things I could not know much about. Amidst the shrillness and the chaos was their world- unfettered, jovial and supple. It is funny to admit but I will. I felt like being one of them for the evening. Oh that I could travel back with them to their fields on a rainy noon and tend to their crop. Thankfully, I was done buying by the time I could take a firm decision. Smiling to myself and at the pretentious sounding plans that got sketched in my head, I headed back home.

These fleeting distractions today in a way have left me confused and right now I am thinking about my confidence in things, about the levels of my contentment with everything that I have until now not taken very seriously. I seem to be scoring lower on these counts than ever before. Should this be a cause for worry? Be it or not, twice in the day today, I was not myself. That is the best face I can put up right now to account for a weakening of my faith in conformity and austerity, in being content and in being oneself. The day has seen me split into two. Another defense, I think it should calm me down- I am no exception. Its only natural to vie, to be jealous of others and to dream of not being one’s real self.

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Heart

Being Caged

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You would know if you have spent a night all by yourself in the countryside. How the dampening moonlight quivers around the eyes while delivering to the ears packets of rhythmic noise from a wedding party on miles away. In the lonely sheet of helplessness where you lay uneasy, these parcels recreate the many weddings you have been to in the past. So, the groom must have arrived and his feet must have already been washed. The guests must be feasting somewhere close by. The band must still be playing for the over enthusiastic friends of the groom. One of these would shake a leg to the whiskey in his head. The percussion strikes all too gently for its intensity and its distance. Listening to it you relish the charm of being by yourself. Loony bird nights.

Feels like a street say from somewhere in a dusty town, The sun has set. The street is fast emptying while you continue staring at it from the street side bench. Chill sets in quietly and the hands reach for the warmth of the trouser pockets. You wish that the town permitted you a night out on the street without anyone questioning or offering shelter. You wish one of the home-bound vendors could take you along for a meal and his biography. Tales of his white female buyers would be delicious dessert. The vendors leave, the bench begins to hurt and you get up only to find a reason to go back. To that pending assignment or to that regular TV show.

You are awake on a rainy midnight and are in a hotel room close to the sea. Sleepless and aroused you think of the book to read, Turn a leaf and dream aloud yet again. A sea is so much about life and warmth. Yet you don’t have access to any of it. May be because you don’t belong. But the scene from the window tells me that the ones who belong too are leaving for their huts. Their baskets and stands rolled up in one. Who does the sea belong to then if it has to spend the night on its own. May be I am only being jealous of people who don’t really own the things I am now yearning to own. Doesn’t everyone go to sleep night after night? Leaving the groom and the bride, the dust and the bench, the hotel and the beach-all to themselves?

Heart

Work

 

band-party-BX69_lIt is 11 a.m. Woke up to a pale sunny morning which was to soon lose its innocence to the maturity and the haughtiness of the noon. What sounded like a marriage procession in the street (at this time of the year??) was the prominent trigger to the whisking away of  lethargy that kept me cuddled to myself all through the dawn and the wee hours. The band procession goes away. The images of the bright red dress and the flashy turbans of men in the band linger for a bit longer. I have wondered about these professions and professionals. I once again think of the ways in which these men explain to their near and dear ones about what they do for a living. The question seems quaint. However, it keeps coming back to me. It also comes uninvited to me when watching a mythological series on the television where actors put on the demonic make ups-unreal eyes, crumbled hairdo, protruding teeth and made to act out those horrifying and yet endearing laughter sequences. The ‘hoohaahaha’ and the costumes make me think of the lives of these actors as it would unfold beyond the stage and the set. Do these professionals carry their ‘jobs’ back home to their kids and spouses? In what ways are the intricacies of such engagement articulated in speech? I know of my friends employed by multinational giants, some businessmen and others who call themselves ‘artists’ for whom ‘work’ is all about being respectably tired. How is fatigue talked about by the others who in a way remain oblivious to the social eye because of the ephemeral effect and the obsolete occasional needs that they are called on for fulfilling. Play a tune for an hour, beat the drums, blow into the trumpet and then vanish with the ‘payment’ only to adorn another gathering in another locality with the music that is surely more strenuous than the one that is played in a studio orchestra with a ‘in demand’ playback singer lending her voice to it!

In the street is the work for a new building in progress. Marble tiles are being cut to squares. The grilling noise reaches my ears and I visualise the stream of beautiful sparks landing on the fabric of my shirt. The men who work with the tiles sit too close to the machine as it cuts into the substance. The sparks leave holes on their shirts. I haven’t seen any of them ever using a bib. I look at my shirt, find it safe. The floor in my room looks dirty as ever, the commode needs a dose of disinfectant and the bed sheet has already begun reeking of dust and endocrinal exudates. The broom is nowhere in sight. The clothes are in disarray and badly need some hot iron pressing over their crushes. With respect to the kinds of work people do for a living, all that I have to do today, if I am able to, I heave a sigh of relief. I will be doing all this for myself and not because I will be paid for it, not because if I don’t pay attention to these chores the chances of my evening bread shall suffer. Not because these chores involve my limbs and my senses in positions they would surely not want to be in. Alienation from what one has to do sends me pondering.

Believe me, a cup of hot coffee and some pretentious reflection over a blog post are best ways to make oneself forget the strangeness of lives we have all come to lead. It obviously does not matter if we have time to think of things going on around us. Thinking about it and reflecting on it is just a choice that one has to make. There are no penalties for not doing so. Honestly speaking, there are other more important things to do. Watch a film on a pleasant Sunday afternoon and go to sleep while it is half over. Relax…that’s life!

Mind

Missions

Trobriand_village

‘Leave me alone’ she said with a smile

Thinking of a trip to the Amazon and the Nile.

Away he walked in some relief

Made his way to the coral reef.

She rode on boats of waves and rains

He walked alone in mounts and plains.

Further as she touched the banks

To many more suitors she said “No Thanks”.

He befriended men on distant lands

Clicked naked women wearing flowery bands.

As affairs blossomed, she grew in repute

As wisdom dawned, he allayed dispute.

These journeys brought them together in the rain

They promised to each other “No quest again”.

They lived and loved in the city forever

Lost in the crowds very high on fever.

Till one day when arose disbelief

Knowledge or bliss was the contention chief.

He knew of nothing he had ever felt

She had no feeling of all that belt.

Leaving the world they landed in space

Dwelt thinking and feeling of love and race.

The oxygen depleted and she had no clue

His hope had died long before he knew.

Breathless they ran and hugged in the dark

No flowers bloomed and sang no lark!

Heart

Strikes

Thank heavens! Infatuations last but hours and minutes. God forbid the outcomes this churning of the being would have had if it were to extend into days of my life that are to follow?

This ambience arrests the mind and soul, imprisons it for a phase. Yearning as Wells says in The Time Machine has a fourth dimension too. One yearns only because there is a duration through which one yearns. Imagine yearning in the absence of time or through the entire expanse of it. Sincere thanks to the creator of our psyches. Thanks for it is intelligently forgetful of the most venomous of arty sensations. That face impresses  in the most ordinary circumstances. No flower beds and no waterfalls are called for when a heart has to fall for the falls of the tresses of a beauty. When that grace flutters around, the heart stoops down to the dirty, slimy ground, gathers every bit of it in the pockets of the clothing I wear to transport it back home, to kiss it when alone and to sleep with the scent of those floral prints, head meshed in thought while the arms hold tight to the moment still alive!

These faces are peculiar. They seldom speak. Even if they do, one does not actually get to hear of that tone and modulation. Lips move at a distance, rarely uttering anything audible. Most of the time, they chew at the helplessness of the onlooker.

This person assisted. Because of her being there, the journey back home free reeled into the circles of energy that engulfed. All along the lengthy road back to the abode, lingered in mind the coziness of the bed where I would lie at ease, recollect the scene, admire the eyelids, inject myself with the charm once more in the most private ways I would like to. The dogs barked in the dead of the night as I walked carefree, humming the tune of ten instruments mixed into one. Fearlessness.

These grace fountains are deceitful. They dry up once the eyelids feel heavy. In dreams appear crocodiles, snakes and lizards- never those heads. In gardens bloom roses and jasmines- never the little flower on that print. In libraries are stacked books- never those words I could not hear those lips chew away.

To prepare oneself for the next entourage is mindlessness. The uncertainty of the frequency of its occurrence just kills. A sex machine alone can truly guess when another of her like would next come calling to stir and shake. To think of a cure for this disease would be suicidal for the malaise creates a life enough!

Uncategorized

Sleepy Men

10:15 p.m.

Inner Ring Road aka Mahatma Gandhi Marg in Delhi.

The stretch of this road from Rajghat to the Maharana Pratap Interstate Bus Terminus.

The broad, impressive expanse of this road is interrupted by the narrow divider where Alistonia has just begun to welcome the autumn with its fragrant flowers.

Lie untroubled and asleep on this divider scores of men. Feet of this one touching the head of the one below. As seen from the window screen of a moving car, this chain appears never-ending. Ah Woe Betide! The bronze spoon I was born with in my mouth! The riches, the ‘society’ and the obligations I have to take care of. Thanks to these aspects of the worthless life I have come to lead, I can’t get to spend this night here like any of these souls have to. A poignant morose sounding blog post about this sight should be great!

Millions of vehicles from both sides of the road traverse the scripts of hundreds of those dreams. Fairies come close, kiss and get crushed under the screeching wheels of the speeding cars before their palms get to fondle any further. Damsels in the other dreams get picked up by the cyclists and the autos before they uncork that wine and offer to the parched lips. At home, a wife in a yellow saari with a story and a child with an embrace wait. The words of that tale are not audible in the first go and the arms are at such a distance- the noise and the bright lamp posts. The city never sleeps!

Some emaciated, some hungry, some newcomers, some old timers.  A few sit huddled together and smoke. Once in a while this philosopher breaks this chain as he stares at the stars and wonders if it would rain tonight. Nine out of a hundred awake and calculating the hours of the night that remain. As night falls, the vehicles would be less frequent. At around two, they would almost disappear and allow for some sleep that will be a mix of relief interspersed with annoying aphids, lice and arachnids of all kinds. Thinking of food, this one weeps. His top down neighbor might get a good job in the morning. He is thinking of tomorrow’s evening already.

Some lie adjacent in pairs and share the sheet. Must be from the same place ‘back there’. Talking about the quarrel with their common childhood friend over the two thousand rupees that he did not return, their eyelids have just gone too heavy. They just mutter to themselves- Bahinchod!

Of an alley where the grand old man lies cremated on the bank of the Yamuna. The big brave King’s name shining on the main building of the Bus Station. In the midst of this greatness rests a banality- one that I have not ever lived. I should be wisely wishing for anything here- what if a segment of that wish were to come true! ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is another axiom I have to sleep thinking about tonight!

In the dead of the night, one would tell me tomorrow, came to him the spirit of the Mahatma pillion riding on Maharana‘s horse and wept inconsolably at the comfort and at the bliss that this divider teems up with as and when the stars appear brighter and shinier! On the parallel, outer ring road aka K B Hedgewar Marg must be dozing off another set of nationalists and nation builders!

Uncategorized

The Earliest Memories-2

English: Mango tree in full bloom

Red and black ants swarming the chipped bark of the mango tree that rests on the ground. It rained all last night. I pick up this piece of disowned wood and see that it is in shreds and has been rotting while lying untouched on the way. Thanks to all the rain and absence of any sun. Fanning the ants running on my hands off I walk ahead. One of my legs sinks in the mud. The slipper refuses to leave the swamp and I try to lift my foot out of it. I try doing so forcibly. The slipper parts unwillingly and emerges accompanied with a spurt of smooth soil- water paste all over the back of my shirt and trousers. All potential energy of the earth gets converted into kinetic. This splash over the uncovered portions of my skin irritates. Walking further ahead I bend to scratch and itch the feeling away. The little muddy droplets mingle with the hair on my leg and clog the free flow of my fingers over them.

A plot of thoroughly tilled land comes my way. Men, women and children would possibly bend all day and sow the paddy seedlings today. The tractor on a previous day has already dismantled the plain earth of this field as it must have existed and its ploughing blades have left a uniform pattern of undulating crests and troughs in the furrows. On the face of it, this zig zag of the soil appears solid and undaunted by the excessive pour. Believing it to be taut I put my right foot on one of those little mounds only to check if it is actually as dry as they all appear to be. The foot sinks and sinks. Oh! It sinks and sinks further.

By now, the lower end of my trousers must have a thick coat of useless clay uniformly painted over it. The folds that I made in the trousers a while ago must be heavy with a lot of slush settled down in there. The mess I am in!

The mere thought of walking on a concrete road laden with baked bricks feels like bliss. A monkey on the nearby guava tree jumps around from one of its branches to another. So many fruitlets it spoils that otherwise would have matured into full awesome tasting fruits.

From the grotesque muddy path through the field that I am in, I see the road that I did not take because of the distance it could have added to my walk back home. People walking, riding on cycles, scooters and motorcycles seem to move so freely as if the air around them were lubricant of a kind. The one encircling me is static and has edges so sharp that I can’t move. It is one of those moments when the world appears indifferent to one’s plight. I will never be out of this mess, I am convinced. Frowning at myself, I curse the moment when the decision to take this ‘shortcut’ was made. Should I go back to where I started from and then choose that royal road? No- That would be a lot of walking back. The destination is still very far off and I choose to somehow proceed once again. I think of all the lovely things imagined about these villainous fields- “Ten thousand I saw at a glance, tossing their heads in sprightly dance” must have been one such field teeming with smiling daffodils. And also of all the songs that are shot in such lands- the ones where the heroes sing and dance and romance. Who would know of the marshy nuisance these fields are once a year at least. It is only mud here and nothing else. Earth that sticks, stains and perturbs. Throwing away the slipper should help I think. Even to throw it away I would need to take it out of the mucky gorge in the first place. The braces of my chappal stretch to their limit as I pull my leg out once again with all the effort possible. The braces are about to snap. The earth releases the leg and retains my slippers. In the process I lose balance, my hands search for support. There is nobody around and no tree trunk to hold on to. Just the expanse of the fields with a few trees here and there. A fresh contingent of super dark clouds approaching me from the distant horizon. I fall on my hands and the moist green grass on the strip that divides the fields between brothers wets my palms. Broken and crushed blades of fresh green grass, numerous tiny dark shreds of rotting wood and a little insect land on my palm when I regain posture. I rub the palms against each other so as to drive off the rot and the insect and the greens. The palms don’t rub as smoothly as they would when I get up early morning everyday. To dry these palms I once again rub them against my butt and the soft cloth of my trousers takes care of the rest. My hands smell awfully bad. As if testifying to the act of murdering nature- the one I just carried out twice- first in my head and then in the depths of my heart.