Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rectal.

The benefits of growing up in a house full of mad people is your memories are battered with interesting stories. Although I should mention that this story involves a man who wasn't remotely connected with my family-the reason could be that he was from Bangladesh and he spoke a language that I normally make fun of, all in good humor.
Long before "Saradha" made the headlines, the dacoits of Bengal have had a prominent place in literature and elsewhere (as here in Bengal it governs life and ideologies.) Also, one mustn't mistake communists as Robin Hood. Personally, I feel Robin Hood was much better, but then to each his own- and please let's not list down the accolades, such listing is really juvenile when it comes to debating.
I remember a time in Calcutta when it was advised not to take the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass at night, this was before we owned a car, only a few buses would ply through the wetlands of the eastern corridor and there was a scare of dacoits. Dacoits, dacoits here and there- a real threat.
The malaise of this Bangladeshi man stemmed out from this sole fact. He was paranoid about the dacoits and his paranoia could be justified- a man doesn't like losing what he has earned. I remember my father mentioning a very young me how he had help unearth this man's almost lost treasure. You see, my dad is a surgeon and cuts open people for fun, he was more than happy to do a rectal treasure hunt of an honest man who out of fear had hid it there. The asshole indeed is a wicked place. It's only function is spewing out shit. It also has the ability to suck in what it finds interesting, so you can never trust it, not with anything that's dear to you. Never with your feelings or money. The Bangladeshi man learnt it the hard way.
In times like ours, where honesty is a treatise of the past, where empty materialism addresses every decision, where misguided and principally evil people loot us in broad daylight, where being sentimental is a tragedy, where progressive thinking comes at the cost of your four walls, where love is a religious agenda, where caste is important to some patriarchs, where a civil servant still opts for dowry and a beautiful bride, one must wonder what's next, whom to trust, whom to bestow our hopes with?
What now?
Oh, by the way, since I am a 'Bhadralok' and all, next time I will use a more scientific and esoteric word for an asshole. But one can't deny the truth that assholes are assholes and for long our politicians have resembled them.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Photographs, memories and an idea

A gush of wind blew in through my rectangular window. I kept an ink jar on my table to make myself feel blue in the mornings and sometimes when the pigeons came and sat on my balcony I tried taking their photographs. It wasn’t hard to capture these calm birds, they were camera friendly. Often it so happened that they would look me straight into the eye,through the 18mm lens. I wondered what they were thinking, although I always made sure that I catch them unaware, as beauty is most exaggerated in the moment when the beautiful is elsewhere, her spirit is not aware of trapping itself-it’s careless pulchritude captured through someone else’s aesthetic sensibilities.Sometimes when a thing like that happens without coercion and with optimal timing, a photograph is made and it can move worlds. Perhaps the first requisite for being a good photographer is not being a good observer; it requires you to be a good stalker, but then I don’t want to pique other sensibilities.
I once took a photograph of a girl who could move the world with a wink. It was the very last picture of her I had ever taken. I asked myself, what of beauty? Why her? The answers were never easy.

Her short stories were written in the sands of the shore. She was aware of the wavelets that could run over their fragile existence. In a way that’s why she wrote them in the sands of the shore. Her stories breathe life; they existed and they didn’t want much to be. All those stories including her ever wanted was being read by the right eyes, being read with the right heart, just in time when the stars would slant across the southern sky. I wish I had read them in time. As far as the wavelets were concerned they weren’t tumultuous or wicked-they were just systematic and they were just following the natural cause of things. They flew wherever the wind took them. They washed away life and they washed away her stories.
You see, nine out of the ten problems in the world were because none dared to disobey the wind. What to do, Addie?

 Let’s just follow the wind. Let’s drink to that.


The last time I took a picture of this beautiful girl, she looked away, her long hair graciously teasing the monochrome which I intended to portray- and then she gleefully accepted her fate when I weaved her beauty and beamed it all over the world, when I sold a part of her spirit for audiences to wallow in it,to appreciate it, to be moved by it, to discuss it over supper tables, unaware of the stories that made her- the ones she wrote in the sands of yesterday. Like her forgotten stories this too was fleeting, and as the deluge of the new washed away the memory of the photograph, she too withered away from my life.The wavelets of time never justifies regrets, that’s why when I am lonely I often think that I should have not loved her through a photograph, I should have read her stories when it existed- as for people like me love is not a photograph rendered from memory there’s nothing visual in it, not now, after all these years. Love, I know now, is a pleasure felt in the heart- aloof from everyone else’s spectacle, true only to the self. I was young, and what could I have known back then.
Like I said, these days I only photograph pigeons and party goers, and all that love and beauty I was talking about is locked away somewhere in a safe.
The key is lost. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Calcutta, where he was born


Calcutta, where he was born,
remains torn between the
Kabuliwala’s song and the Mukherji’s
forgetfulness.


It vacillates with the strange countenance of
culture, counter-culture, ideas and enigmas,
modernity and the antiquity, and
of things that sometimes are as distant as the aurora
itself.

The sky remains blue, dappled with her
white siblings. By the scent of autumnal hue,
the minds often takes a gladdening pew
of contentment
but fresh excuses crop up- of revolution and
making love, as trees droop their leaves in humid
merriment.

Here, as Mukherji often says,
love you see, can be found in the tree tops and
in grassy parks, in the dark skins of young men,
in the concrete seraphim hanging out with an
invisible friend making the noise of a thousand
civilization. What is that word-cosmopolitan?



 For the mothers in love
feeding an infant dog, for trams that run over poets,
for yellow romantic cabs, for the kid with the dress
dancing in a discotheque, for the drunkard with the
white brainy pill, for I who burn in love, for bearded
patriarchs with impotent minds, for the peasants and the
sufferers, for matchbox like slums, for the careless ones,
for story tellers with the tales of a crazy tiger in the zoo
whose howls of love have turned into a moo, for artists
driven into politics and politics turned into poly-tricks,
 for the partition of an old country, for the drying of blood,
 for the other side of the Padma, from Chittagong to  Darbhanga,
for me, for us, for you, for me, for I, for this,
 she remains.



Love she says, must hang out of
us, and not hang us,


and a young poet dies
in his words.
 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Three words and two seasons

I buy her for three words.
She is my lackey?
(Lovers are lackeys.)

Summer.
She does my chores.
She feeds me food.
And ego.

She knocks my door.
I reveal my room.
She lies down.She is warm.
Like summer.
We make love.
Peacocks in rain.  


Winter.
She does my chores.
She feeds me milk.
She is cold. Her breath is
strong. She catches a fever.
I do not care. I drink my
milk.

She sleeps for long.
She is dead.
I grieve for her,
When I grieve.




This is life.
Two seasons long.
All else is play,
where three words that
wrong.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wake up and the world is yours.

Our apartment was just like any other old apartment in those erstwhile refugee colonies of New Delhi. There was no water related problem. We belonged from riparian places. The only thing that concerned us while looking for an apartment in the capital was water. I liked it. Gourav liked it too. We were high functional drug users. At the end of the day, when we came back from our easy going jobs we would inject ourselves with serums that could help us catch nightmares in our sleep. It was charming at first- we had been doing that for quite a while promising to stop every other weekday. When we changed apartments we decided we would change our habits too, but it diffused into us from that place to here. Somehow I think we loved our nightmares. It was routine for us to to wake up to our own screams. So one fine morning when I was dreaming Indira Gandhi’s assassination scene, I wasn’t befuddled at all when I heard Gourav’s scream.

‘Aaaaaaaannn’

It sounded sharper than the notes of a man’s voice. I let it pass and went back to 1984. Soon, I heard a knock on my door and had to get up. Gourav was standing outside with his bare body and glowing red eyes. He made a face like he had seen a ghost. I asked him if something was wrong. He told me that there was a pigeon in the room. I was still delirious from last night’s dose, so I took some time to think. Now before I continue with this story- I must mention something about the pigeons of New Delhi.

The pigeons of New Delhi were once the pigeons of Old Delhi, they used to carry letters in the time of those old cruel Kings and were trained to unite restless and patient lovers through words. I had read this long ago in some history book- while preparing for the fraudulent IAS examinations. But alas, such lessons are deemed unimportant by our modern kings. But as far as legends go, I still fondly remember the story of the pigeon Princess.

Once upon a time, in that forgotten city of Delhi, there was a lost princess who kept pigeons. She used to scribble poetry and tuck them in their legs and lonely peasants would wake up in the morning to find their life moved by words. The king was aware of his daughter’s power over the masses and he encouraged his daughter to nurture her passion. He summoned poets from all over the world- and under their tutelage the princess got better. Words sometimes could be used to deceive people too, and one of the poets who had once arrived in the king’s court much to the ignorance of the nobles was the great trickster from Babylon. He was a man who had been instrumental in the downfall of kingdoms. He looked like someone who never aged. No one knew his power, but his words were just viciously sweet and subtly harmful. Under his tutelage the princess learnt the art of metaphors and how to lace poison in words. It wasn’t surprising the Princess fell in love with him, for who can resist the charm of being deceived in love? So one fine day, while beguiling over being in love the Princess wrote three words thousand times over and they were all made to be delivered into each and every home. If only the pigeons could read they would know what those words meant. There was a general unrest among the peasants after this. Due to the years of good governance it was easily appeased by the noble king. The wise men of the state who by this time were aware of what had happened ordered that the charmer of Babylon be put to trial. By virtue of the state laws- both he and the Princess were tried for treason against the King. This was punishable by beheading. The trickster deceived everyone and escaped. He was nowhere to be found. It was now only the Princess’s fate to be put to death. The noble king couldn’t put his own daughter to death so he let her go, and demanded a kingdom wide search for the trickster. The Princess was heartbroken in love, so she didn’t leave her bedchamber for the next eighteen days and at the end of the nineteenth day she couldn’t be found and it was said that she had turned into a pigeon herself- the bearer of words, which were mostly deceitful. Centuries had passed since that day and Delhi had shed so much blood, that even its history was written in the red ink of passion. Delhi had transformed into a modern metropolis of hubris and speed. There were pigeons everywhere and sometimes you could see them fly up and down in the roads, while sometimes you would find them beheaded by your exhaust fan, as if no one could escape fate in a city besotted with the King’s rule.   


I asked Gourav whether he switched off the ceiling fan because nothing was worse than seeing a decimated carcass when you are high. He replied in the affirmative. I wish I was romantic enough to expect poetry from a frightened pigeon that was trapped inside his room. Wings were meant to be a blessing, and look at that sad pigeon stuck, alright. I never asked how it got in his room on the first place, and why it couldn’t get out, because Gourav provided me with all the answers. We always told this to ourselves- hey, we are drug users not abusers. So I went straight into the room with a stick and tried to realign the curtain so that the bird can go out, but alas, I couldn’t manage it in that state. The door lay ajar for a while and the pigeon sat quietly on his table, tilting its head in agony. Afternoon set in, while we slowly fell out of our inebriations as more blood flowed into our brain. Another weekend had begun with an unwelcome guest, there was no office today. I remembered texting a friend who suggested that we should cook it, for pigeons taste good. Man is the only animal who kills for no reason at all, and I decided not to kill it for a reason. The next time we ventured into the room, we couldn’t find the pigeon. We looked here and there, and examined all the nooks and corners with our big eyes, but there was no birdie.

 The Bird has Flown.

 We looked under the bed like children who look for coffers, and still there was no trace of any remotely winged creature except for some dead mosquitoes. We sighed and looked at each other wondering if we had imagined the entire episode, for the windows were closed and the curtains were drawn. Helplessly we tried looking for our serum collection to delete this day from our memory and it was here that we discovered a paper lying with words scripted in the language of poets.
                              جاگو اور دنیا تمہاری ہے



The Princess had come to us,
perhaps to deceive us into
life.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Counting aeroplanes.



I sit here in my room counting aeroplanes
as they vanish in the sky, but birds never
say goodbye. The sound of metallic vibrations
slowly fades in the migrant atmosphere,
leaving behind a thin trail of white dust
and here in my old villa some hearts’ wither
and rust.  

Monsoon clouds, humid air, stale city traffic,
a beggar’s wink- like pale stains of memory
they clink and blink. I remember them in
parts, and I name them in Her name- solitude,
my lady. 
The affable fly comes singing poetry
in my ear 
and I slap myself, the lizard keeps on
chewing 
last night’s moth, the ceiling fan plays
the circular 
songs of monotony and like them I keep
coming back 
where I count aeroplanes as they
vanish in the sky, 
hoping I will catch them waving a 
goodbye.



Up in the azure sky, as
the world gently moves by
and some lonely travelers forgetfully sigh
I tell myself: Hey, I am a traveler too-
‘In my head’ when it’s held high,
and we are all travelers when
we die. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I leapt through the Orphic glass

One.

The silly promise of the mornings are 
upheld in the night. I lie awake.

I am gazing at the misty windows now and 
wherever the rain seeps in I make a point to adorn 
them with the warm clothes of my heart. 


The morning shall descend in a while and 
beyond the Bay of Bengal, a storm cloud
shall invite itself over  the little Parthenium
forests in the city of joy. 

Sometimes, I am aware of the 
blue thunder it brings. 
It's deafening and I am aware of her, 
she wants us to wake up from 
this torpor-
Ma says, its the rice country 

torpor that makes men dream more and 
more. I am her skeptical child.  

I keep on dreaming. 




Two.

The morning breaks in the scaffolds of disaster 

and there are boats filled with fishes that could 
be found on tree tops. In times of sadness why 
do they hush us to obey the rules of
happiness?  

There are pin pricks that bruises our heart and 

it often transcends into a silent melancholy. 
Like everything else it is perhaps waiting for art
to sprout 

out.   

Why tomorrow, when I love you 
today?she asks.  

With all your talent you should hang on,
you must wait for the chalk lines of time
to scribble and rearrange the hollows of
your heart, you should face the test of
envious comrades who belittle you, you must, 

you shouldn't give up now- 
for life is one and only, 
and dreams are sad and 
lonely. 

In the end of all this abeyance you will 
find words that are like aberration or 
truth, and I will tell you what, 
her words were the 
truest-
dream when you are 
wide awake and there are stars
for company.




Three.


I am living your dream now,


in this waking 
life.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yellow.

Yellow lights. Yellow hearts.
Feelings lost, in ramparts.

Yellow moon. Yellow sea.
Look beyond love's tragedy.

Yellow you. Yellow me.
Things that were never meant to be.

Yellow life. Yellow sky.
So I will say good bye.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Memoirs of the present.

Every old man must write their memoirs and often it turns out to be an elegy. I won’t do that. When I am old I won’t write an elegy. I will write a kick ass novel about how awesome being old is- and I will write about my angelic grand-children. But I am young now and there’s a reason why I am writing this. I am twenty five years old and I already feel old and dying. I told her this with that same disgust laced authoritative voice.

‘I won’t do this. I am too old for this stuff.’

She looked up and said. ‘Shut up.’

She is the beauty queen kind. Smart, good-looking and full of words that I don’t understand or find too trivial. She inhabits a world whose station I left years ago and I feel if she had known me then she wouldn’t have taken me by the hand and professed all the love she had for me.
‘Here’s looking at you kid.’ I could have said to her, but then she didn’t know about Casablanca, since I had already asked.

It was kind of funny to hear her say just that.
 
‘Shut up, old man.’


She was a little younger than me, you know. If years were measured in days- she would just be a week behind. That was how I thought I would tell her story to others. But there was nothing in this story to be told- a zebra while crossing a road got run over because there were no people on it. You see that’s how this story would seem like if it’s ever told. There’s no love. Can stories not be told without love?

Perhaps they can, so I will give it a try.

Yes, this is the truth -I am not in love with her. I am merely acting it, for the fun-things that happen whenever I am with her. Her energy is something I feel I had missed out in my earlier life that had been spent around nice-bookish people. I am playing out all of the love games of youth, for I feel I have grown out of some experiences that a writer or an artist should feel, so that- 

“now that he is all grown up and mature he can comprehend it better and produce it in his art.”

God, I am such a deceitful person, I think sometimes. Morality, if I recall a political philosophy lecture was something on the lines of feelings. I feel bad at times when I imagine myself deceiving someone. I wish not to.

I realized I had grown older for another reason - it was so easy to fall in love with a beautiful girl when you were young. You didn’t care about the walking checklists that you had set up in your head- she needs to watch these movies, read these books, not be too materialistic (still a no-no), I mean who the hell thinks about all these things when they are young? All you want is a nice person walking by your side, preferably well adorned and then sometimes you go peek into a feminist’s diary and high five yourself in the mirror. For shallow people like me it worked well, very goddamn well. But with time you grow careful about love. And as the years take a toll on your sleeves, you grow into a skeptical optimist. I must admit, with age it’s difficult to fall in love. So, I think I am old, for I can’t love this gorgeous girl the way I wanted to- in the poetry of daily words.

 For people like me aesthetics have been a driving factor-in life and elsewhere. I am nobody now, but still deep within my heart I consider myself a writer and an artist, maybe that’s why even if the whole world vetoes me out I think this honest self-expression will somehow find its way into a stranger’s heart.  This is one of the reason why aesthetics is so important to me. Beauty should be everywhere- even in the gutter if you find it. (As long it’s not medically deleterious, then artists like me recommend it.)

Do you really want to know how I do this? Fine, I will tell you. You might think my words are borrowed, but I have felt them and that’s why I can write it with absolute certainty- for I know, I know this -

you gotta be a little unlucky in love and you gotta suffer a little in life- not the deliberate ones where you take a razor and shave off your vein. You let life happen to you and try not to escape it, you try to think it through and help yourself, and that’s where it comes from- all this introspection and the philosophizing which again ends up being candidly futile. But it does make art!

So in the end of you might think what’s the use of all this? Well, didn’t you heal a little? Don’t you see things a little differently now? Was it better then or now? Our answers may vary, but for the sake of optimism let’s rely on the adage that our forefathers bestowed upon us- something on the lines of things happening for a good reason.  

There’s always a heart that wants to go back- that wants to relive those moments that were beautiful and could have been lived in a better way. See, that’s what memoirs are about-reflecting on the mighty maze of the past. And they essentially sound like a sad song. I am not writing a memoir of my youth-this is merely anything but a rant, reflecting on the hazel shades of life. All I want to say is that, there had been years of intellectual masturbation with women that now lay behind in time, and if I looked back carefully I did not see much fun in it- perhaps it was worthy of writing book (with all those promises of love and the idea of falling in love with love) which should be done in time: but where was the human experience- the sight, the smell, the touch. What could I find from books, movies and theater? And, I am pretty sure those years were ahead of me too when I will really be old and ugly- when we will still discuss love over our cellphones and make less of it, and never dare to take that leap of love for that single person that would matter- for we will all be seasoned and taught by time. Damn, don’t we learn pretty fast?
 
So, I have decided to live in the moment. There is a girl who loves me, and for once in my life I will allow a person to love ‘me’ and it won’t be the other way round. I am safe in somebody’s love. Let her love me. She has everything to lose, but then she is young and I tell myself, she will recover if her heart is broken. Oh, the idea of love, how it takes up our youth and swallows it and changes the prism of our vision. As an artist, I am bound to think of such stuff and if you’ll just excuse me, I will continue.




“Never make the same mistake again.”

And this is where I come in- the self-proclaimed artist.

I think that’s the punch line that works in many matters of life except love. You might be a skeptic or a cynic since your heart’s been broken, perhaps you have written all fancy poems about it. But I will tell you this, there’s no other way round here in loves’ florid villa- you got to make that mistake again, give your everything and try look like a fool every time because that’s what love demands of you. I know it’s a little difficult and people might question your morals because after all-
how could you love again?

‘This is cheating!’ some would scorn out loud.

Don’t explain them shit because they are afraid that you might find out what they never dared to. Always make that mistake. Because I will tell you the rewards are a life that reeks of spring flowers shining by the spectral moon. Love is making the same mistake over and over again.
And here I am pretty safe in the arms of whom I thought was a youngster, so very different in habit and taste that she resembles a Martian- and mind you I am not in love with her, but the tragedy of all my stories are this-
when I write about someone, no matter how less it is,
I am always in love with that
person.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Madness.


Why do you ask me so much, I have told you already there’s nothing to tell, I know I don’t have any ticket out, but since you insist so much, I will tell you this story since I am here today and I read this news today which made sense too, so I will tell you, but first I should tell you about that day when he decided to come home early. The day they brought me here, those bitches. He should have just stayed you know. You think I am mad, fine, but soon you’ll know, you are not safe either. She is out there man. So let me tell you about those filthy towers of dream- hear me out.


From the Eastern Bypass road, the two towers seemed like an obelisk from the past. It was right at the edge of the city. Beyond it lay fields of water and little lakes that one day will silt up too. The rains had colored everything that month. It was these august rains he was wary of- slippery in habit and strangely mournful. On that particular rainy day, when the sky had been greyed by the monsoon clouds and the rains were constantly beating the windshield of the taxi- he got down exactly at his assigned stoppage. He was carrying one small black briefcase with a CCU tag and he was dressed all in black.
A line of sweat marked his strangely wistful face. His voice wasn’t like any other for he was a foreigner in the Humid metropolis. His heavily accented Bengali could be marked from the distance by anyone who was paying attention. He waved to the security guards and went in the complex. They knew him. He knew them too. He trotted swiftly and took the elevator to the eighteenth floor on the southern tower. He walked past three apartments and took out a key and hesitated a little in front of a green door with a name. He seemed a little flustered now. He looked up, took a deep breath and went in. The time has come now.
There she lay, a red pearl in a white room with eyes that were as big as an island of love. But although he could see her today, he couldn’t smell her. She got up from the sofa and told him-

“I have waited long for you.”    

 He nodded in the affirmative. In the ennui of the other worlds he took no interest.

“When will the world know about me?” she asked.

“Soon” he replied. 

He couldn’t take this anymore. His head was heavy like a copper sun. The time has perhaps come. He knew it all along.  
She opened the balcony door and went right out in the rain. It kept on raining all over the city where the clouds looked like mountains. The children went home early that day, just like him. He hesitated a little but then followed her into the balcony. They stood side by side in the rain and watched the green fringes of the city and watched the road lined with cars that looked like ants on the run. She would remain a secret in his heart and no one ever dared to look up so high. It will all be safe. He owed nothing to this world.  Sometimes some drivers would spot her redness from the EM Bypass road- and would end up in a madhouse. But most of times people don’t look up so much (or perhaps in the depth of their hearts) - but that day, on that day when everything was grey, I did and they locked me up in the mad house too, you see.



I read in the paper today, about him, “Artist from Bombay mysteriously found dead in his Kolkata apartment” and you see they brought ten others in the mad-house today. She is out there man, she ain’t locked up anymore – it’s the secret in all of our hearts, he gave it life and you see doctor someday she will come for you too- ‘the madness’
and I am telling you she is 
beautiful.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Would you find your way?

Of time that could make or break
and memories that would wither


Of vanished places in the wind where
no wolf dare to whisper


Of mighty sundials that could care no less
and mountains that asunder


Of skies that would roar of sulfur and
make us all surrender


But
in that end of a blue blighted world
there are stories that would 
stay-


where

if love and only love was enough
would you find your 
way? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The evolution of the photograph.


Death's forgiveness.

I believe in fairy tales and my movement is like that
of water inside a rock- stealthy and virulent in
habit; with that efficient saunter. My means are more
practical but my desire is not sharpened by the beetle leaves
that you plant in your garden, it’s sharpened by your ignorance
of the finer things. I can’t explain my existence,
but let me tell you, I was there before you.  

When the dawn of the weeping star touches my forehead and
a meager supernova subsides in the hope of a stymied creation,
I take out a wingless angel by the highway and slaughter it
so that delirious truck drivers could wake up and get control
of their life. I do not strike them, but angels die when fools
are out controlling the movements of the
world.

Here in the midrib of your vacant world, emotions are lost
in tepid storms and flash floods. Do not blame me, for my
existence should be alone enough for the good feelings that
must jolt your heart yet why do they come and go away and
you with your large brain do not fathom it, and nothing
remains for the empty days- not even your
emptiness.


I am not the showman who slaughters angels for an effect, I am not
the one who runs the clock, I am not the one who plays roulettes
with your bashful creation, who draws close the pulse of a
pulsating dove, I am merely a reminder,  I am who I am-
the means to an end, you store me in your  heart all the way, 
I am the prayer of all  the answers in your heart: the day you
chose love I came to you in the form of a deceitful man with a
red rose, the day you chose vendetta I was the aimless
hipster assassin, the day you wanted to corrupt yourself
I became your rapist father, and then one day out of
sorrow and disgust you decided to choose me,
the real me you had always desired-

when you chose me I did not come with the
vengeance you had gleefully imagined,
for I am death and I forgave you
when life
didn’t.   

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I had a Poet Sister.



I had a poet sister
 or should I say a poetess?
She was a little fairy and when she was twelve
years old she wrote a poem about a birthday party
that  made my mind go sad and arty.


Do you ever wonder how sadness
permeates the world of twelve year
olds who roves by the moon but is a creature
of the noon. Broken beautiful creatures is a cliché,
but then there’s another niche-
the ones with heart of gold.


Writing this I feel sad, perhaps a little lonesome and curtly
bad. The candles were all burning right,
the friends hadn’t lost her for a moment’s sight,
gifts and love was all at large,
there wasn’t any sadness barge.
But all she thought of was a delightful culinary
that reeked of heavenly flavor. And when the party was
over she wrote,
yes she wrote a line that I must
quote:


‘Did they celebrate my birthday or a chicken’s death?’

(As I read those lines again today my heart trembled a little.)




I read those lines over and over again
for I couldn’t understand why she hadn’t written
since then.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Diary of a Piano Man.



I lay here in the bathroom floor, my eyes are yellow
from last night's puss,
some-days they are like the sun too. 
I lay here and think of
how I arrived here - in the juxtaposition of
space and time, 
or
perhaps 
in transposition of 
joy and sorrow.

Last night while in the bar, I played another 
deceptive cadence,
I played on and on: 

"let the music last until
my fingers run out of breath" I told myself; 

There was silence and tears amidst 
the tone friendly 
drunkards. I don't forget the ovation,
those sparkling eyes, it was strangely beautiful
like always.  But you know what, at the end of it

I didn't hear what I played. I heard
another voice.  

Do you know how the music goes on
After the music has stilled?

My back aches now, 
the walls are littered with
parallel lines of water, but why does this smell
of ammonia invade my 
nosebuds? It's bitter, 
God save me. 

Where is that voice?
I feel safe.

Last night I rose, I rose in that cadence, and
I rose higher and higher, and then in that momentary
crescendo of intonation 
I fell.

The end of music is like the end of a love affair-
And the love that stays on hurts
the most. The love that stays on.
The redolent voice
of the past.  

(Beautiful things that heal,
go astray and 
kill.) 

I am hurt, 
my backbone aches, poor are them whose
heart don't ache. 

I wake up here in the bathroom floor
of a Picasso Deli- a left liberal graffiti
of Lord Shiva etched in the wall 
looking over pissing mortals- trying to say 
something, but
what do pictures say when the Lord is 
silent?

My hand stepped over a broken syringe
that reminded me of those noir-novels, so effulgent
in violence and decadence, writing about
fallen people like 
me. 

The voice has stilled now.

I wake up here in the bathroom floor and I 
wonder if I arrived here in the 
ambulance of forgetfulness or in the 
bubble of a pill-laced dream that burst 
too soon, heaving a mortal sigh. I lie here 
and think, and think, and think 
if music couldn't heal what 
could?



Perhaps death, 
but 
I will live.


Friday, August 22, 2014

The shadows of goodwill.

‘I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.’

Tennessee Williams. New Orleans. USA. The movie was amazing too. Marlon Brando. Vivien Leigh. So much drama. A streetcar named Desire. I know what I am about to say has nothing contextual with that beautiful line. But words always convey different meanings to each one of us- we understand and percept it differently, we filter out whatever we don’t want to percept or sometimes we even delimit our perception for our own well-being. Being someone who has this penchant for writing sappy things, I have always wondered what the point of studying literature was, you know, like there’s the circus and the joker has a role in it, and there’s life and some say literature has a role in it. Mind the analogy, I don’t want to hurt any feelings.
Since you like specific identities, I will tell you this- I am a science student, and since you like categorization I will tell you that I have been a lot around literature students- mainly to seek pretty girls. If you want to be around good looking people I suggest you study literature.

I have always wondered what the point of literature was and this was surely unchartered territory for me. For I am not supposed to wonder about these things. What do I know about the realists and the post modernists? What do I know about the catharsis and hamartia? Fancy words I must have come across somewhere. People make careers out of those words. So I sat in this lecture hall and listened carefully to everything this US University literature professor was saying. I could hardly understand much, but I did have an idea about ‘Modernism’ and the likes (thanks to this creative writing course I had back in IIT days). I did feel a sense of comradeship in some of the names he mentioned- like Joyce, Baudelaire, Flaubert (he mentioned Madame Bovary- there’s this entire Julian Barnes book dedicated to that novel which I had the good fortune of reading and wallowing), Eliot, Woolf, and the likes. I wondered if everyone felt like that too. Did they feel their bone shiver with the mention of their names, did they smile in acknowledgement or were they still busy hardwiring their brains trying to decode the ‘–isms’ that words didn’t convey. 

Oh how great those names were- who captured their age and place in their own way and here we were discussing them over power points in closed auditoriums. What would posterity know about power points? Who were we then? What were we doing? Facebook literature? It won’t last a year. And then there were names I haven’t heard of. At the end of that academic talk I felt that my level of intellect had risen a bit which was all good until something happened that made me a little sad.


Compassion has never been my strongest suite, it is hard being compassionate I accept, and this is a selfish world and we are all out here making careers, minting money. But sometimes I try to be principled and I try to feel. It bothers me how the world works at times. I don’t know if I pretend to do that, I have always been hard on judging myself so I will leave it for the ‘other’. Here I was standing outside the auditorium, two books dangling out of my hands when an old man with missing hairs and missing teeth walked up to me and in broken English he told me-‘this is something new. Want to read?’ It was a booklet in Bengali and it contained five or six, what you would call tiny stories.   You know I normally don’t practice philanthropy. On bitter days, I despise beggars. But I do eat in small shacks or tea shops by the roadside because I feel I owe this much to these people who don’t have much. What more can a privileged dreamer do? This old man was no beggar. He was selling stories for twenty bucks. I looked at him through the lens and wondered if that’s how I would end up. I bought his booklet. I had already made the judgment of supposing them to be bad stories even before reading them. Such strange creatures aren’t we? I don’t know if it was compassion or a sense of helping out a fellow who claims to write ‘different’ stories that led me into doing this. But whatever it was, it felt real good. Everything always points back to the ‘I’, doesn’t it? I felt good. It was about me. I bought it and walked away and you know what made me sad, rather surprised me-
‘We are not interested’ said a few literature students whom he approached. (I am sorry for this categorization but I had to do this because I have a point to make.) But it only costs as much as two standard cigarettes, I thought. Perhaps they were not rich like me.
 I wondered if being ‘disinterested’- in your age and time, in your surroundings or in the stories of an antediluvian figure is the theme and heart of our age. Is that what we as youth collectively represent in this free flowing material world? Disenchantment and a singular vision of a wealthy, healthy and a banal life – is that the dream?

And therefore, I beat myself in the head and wondered into those labyrinths of useless thought-did literature not teach human values anymore or did I just do a better job staying away from ”-ism people” and getting wasted with those who never read much books but would rise and fight against everything that was wrong with the
world.         



‘But I have always depended on the kindness of story tellers.’
I hummed it to her while I walked away from the semi-lit quadrangle of a place that was once known as Presidency College.    

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Online Hindutva- regarding the dire strait of education

Last time when I was coming down from New Delhi I met an well educated man working in some finance company. He was really pissed with the Indian educational system. He was saying to this other person what was the point of studying history. It's of no use. 'Mera koi Kaam mein nahi ata hain yaar. Point kya tha parneka." One practical man I tell you. But then he says 'yes histiri - fistiri Jaisa subject bandh Kar de na chahiye.'
My earphones weren't working. Had I been a better orator or had my Hindi been a little more fluent I would have liked to say something. Alas I am not much different than him. I chose peace and indifference when the virus was spreading.

With the advent of social network, the extent of human stupidity and the hegemony of general badwill comes to you with nerve wracking speed. Recently , Times of India posted a photo of a US journalist who was about to be beheaded by a militant. The photo was shocking just like most these photos are- it generated an interesting and predictable comment chain in the social network.

After being part of one of India's most prestigious institutions I will forever be skeptical about the kind of minds they produce: not worried about the money minded and indifferent lot, to some extent we all are; what worries me are the ones with a false sense of ideologue who thinks by the virtue of their education they are very important. Let's not damn our Indian society that feeds their ego. We are hard wired to glorify such achievements , we weren't taught much about humanity.

I was honestly lacking work and looking for materials to write so I browsed through the comment chain. Some of the comments made me throw up. A certain MBA from Mumbai- says 90 out of 100 Muslims are evil minded. She also says I am not saying all Muslims are bad though but well she knows her numbers. Indian education. 

Someone from a certain St. Xavier's college in a neighboring state said keep calm and support Israel. I sincerely hope he meant it in the context of a football match. There were many other inane comments as usual.

The climax was rather nice- when a certain mechanical engineer from a very rich city with lots of malls said that we needed a world war to clean all those evil scums. I must mention he is a very good looking man with a good job- a suitable boy tailor made to extract a large dowry.

The Help who serves us food doesn't know how to read or write, hell, she doesn't even know how to count money- and she doesn't give a shit what gods you worship. ( I used god and shit in the same sentence. I mean no harm. )

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poetry 17/18?

Me:
Remember childhood
excuses to stay home:
little abdomen that would never ache,
But schools that felt like jails could
make our hearts break?

Remember when you grew up
Those excuses to stay away
Could be bought for friends
And lovers who decided not to
Stay?

I wonder where I am
In that child or in that man
I wonder if i am safe inhabiting
None.



Her:
Remember childhood
excuses to stay home:
little abdomen that would never ache,
But schools that felt like jails could
make our hearts break?

Remember when you grew up
Those excuses to stay away
Could be bought for friends
And lovers who decided not to
Stay?

I wonder where I am
In that child or in that girl
I wonder if i am safe inhabiting
All.




18th August, Jadavpur University
Kolkata
(words forged while
sitting in a nanotech lab
and doing nothing)

An Awful Story.

A friend once told me that to win the affection of another person you have to tell that person a good story. He is no more alive. A part of him perhaps lives in me through his words. Today I decided to tell her a story. She knew I was fond of her, if only she knew how much, but the idea was to make her fond of me, just a little. I kept on thinking what it would be like to say an honest word or a sentence that would poke her heart with the warmth of a winter afternoon. With her it was never easy. What would be the point of my love if I had told her a sappy story that ended in rose gardens of affection? Many people could do that. Some were doing it already. This made me jealous too. I could feel myself saying- she deserves better than just sugarcoated words, she deserves better than that. But what was I doing anyway?

Nothing much.

To start off with I had decided to tell her this story of a bad man, a lion and a house in the jungle. It was banal and boring. As you can guess- she fell asleep halfway through the first sentence. Most of the time I know, I can’t tell a good story, but when I do she is always in there somewhere- in every words typed out, in every honest sentence. This is why I would tell her this story of a girl who had a lamp whose light turned yellow every evening because the sun would come and rest inside it. It happened one day long ago when this girl was very sad. The sun had arrived at her place to console her, and ever since that day, seeing how nice and lovely she was, the sun had promised to come down to warm her up. The sun was truly in love with this girl and so it found a safe haven under that lamp, so that it could spend time with her and subdue its fire. The girl loved the sun too. Everything was fine until one day the sun got a little too careless in love. The skies lit in fire and it burnt the house where the girl used to stay. The girl died in that fire. As usual, the people blamed love for her death and not the careless Sun.

I would tell her such a story because she prefers a tragic ending-but if I were to tell her that-in her sleep the girl was dreaming of the sun and her life together, and a dream sometimes last an entire lifetime and by the time she would wake up she would have lived and loved, perhaps tasted it all, would that make any difference?
I guess I look for meanings in the saddest places.

Stories end, either happily or sadly, maybe with a tinge of both. Perhaps it all depends on how it’s told, perhaps it depends on that last sentence of the last paragraph. Stories end, but lives go on. And that’s why when I tell her I love her, I don’t limit it to paper, it extends beyond this and I hope she feels that you know, for life is infinitely more beautiful than a fairy tale.

“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite.
‘Fool’ said my muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write!’”


She is smiling now, it’s an awful story, she thinks.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lets exchange Places

I had this beautiful woman friend in New Delhi, and when I say beautiful I mean it. This beautiful woman friend in New Delhi wanted me to exchange places with her- I know she meant it in a strictly poetic sense, but her loquacious nature also made her pretty honest at times and that’s how I got to know that she wanted to know me better. There was a time when I could pretend to be lost in my head, and I mean the word pretend because you know what, I hardly smoked any weed back then and yet I could redden my eyes and I could look at the sky and say ‘’hey I am groovy kinda high’’. Free of everything and by everything do I mean feelings?
It was a talent of sort they said, and then words would come fluttering out of nowhere. Damn them, words. That’s how I got to know her anyway- through words, but perhaps more through those accidental touching of skins while crossing the bruised traffic in rush hour, circling round and round through the edges of Connaught Place, unwary of the world. We could talk. We just went on and on. Our quibbles would touch forth the various spectrum of knowledge, sometimes revolving around conspiracy theories but mostly resorting to our mutual doped out ignorance of what the other deemed important. It’s kind of funny how we never settled ever for a truce- blaming our cultural and gender differences. 


‘Let’s exchange places’, she would, say.
‘Fine let’s do it,’ I would tell her. 


And we would keep on walking the sprawling boulevards of the new capital. Sometimes we would see peacocks. Sometimes we would see fornicating dogs. It seemed we could only agree in silence, in the unison of our vision, because in some distant corners of our heart perhaps all of these made a different sense. All of this meant something different to us. Yes, we were story tellers who would write each other letters at times. Sometimes she would mention her boyfriend who lived in some other city. I didn’t pay much attention when she talked about him.

I left New Delhi.

Here in Calcutta, there are so many people who dress and talk like me, who read the same books as I do, listens to the same music and radio- that sometimes I feel I have no identity here. I wish that I could go back to the capital where my beautiful woman friend lives, now with her boyfriend. Sometimes I do feel like exchanging places with her, only to know what she was doing. I don’t write letters to her anymore, all I can do is wonder. We are both busy in love. We are both busy in life. We inhabit different cities and when darkness settles here she is perhaps still enjoying the dim November sun in a Mughal garden. Does she still fight like that? Does she still fight for every word and everything she deems important?

All I can do is wonder.

I took a rickety-rackety government bus today from the southern end of the town where the lakes still harbor sea-weeds and fishes. I sat by the gate and watched the road with the corner of my large glasses. I put on the earphones and as I could feel Vivaldi dulcifying my ear with four seasons the bus hit a red light. A passerby hurriedly came up to the window and asked me something. I couldn’t hear him so I took off my earphone only to enquire what he was saying.

‘Lake Town?’ he demanded to know.
‘Haan,’ I shouted back. 

This kept on happening through the entire arduous journey back to the north and I didn’t mind it. But at the end of it I realized that I had kind of exchanged places with the bus conductor. My heart ached a little only when I realized how back in those days, I was hopelessly in love with that beautiful woman from New Delhi.

‘Let’s exchange places,’ she used to say.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Googol.

‘There’s a subtle joy in huddling together like animals, tasting the sweat of each other hands, saliva dripping here and there, smelling the mass fart suffused in high velocity- as long there’s a destination that’s more like a home or a dream.’

This is how he describes the scene. Time to move on to the character’s more didactic voice.

‘The dream of a better humanity often shadows the humane and like scuttle marks left in prison walls they are etched in history books only as facts and statistics.’

At this point, he talks about the importance of stories.

‘Reminders in real life do not come with alarms, that’s why you need stories. The stuff of stories give a number its meaning. Good stories are the alarm clocks of humanity. A Googol is one followed by a hundred zeroes, but what if we say a Googol is a boy who works in the day and masturbates in the night, we will share him with the human experience of many Googols out there. What if, let’s say, he be remembered as a leader- ‘one’ man followed by a hundred ‘zero’ men. Such a nice image it is.'

There’s physically no joy in travelling in a crowded bus (realities of a heavily populated country), often hanging like an animal in those slaughterhouse trucks but perhaps it calls for an intellectual stimulation. Sometimes when he is hanging out there holding those steel rods by the gate, he imagines letting his hand go- his frail body falling over, bending and rolling for a while before another speeding bus goes running over him and making him all gory and dead. He often thinks of doing it, but his destination always remains the same. Someday he will reach for the moon. We can say that such imagination perhaps issues out from watching too much of those fancy little b/w art films. To me and you, depression is overrated anyway. Nevertheless, he never minds such a thought. Neither should we.

The denouement of the story comes in his voice.

'I do not want to be a part of that accumulating Googol of humanity that only ends in the tragic misunderstandings and power-play of others. I want to make a difference. I want to live and fight. I want to love. I… am...’

Bam, we lose the signal. We think he’s cured of his ailment. But we feel helpless anyway, who doesn’t like hearing an inspiring speech every weekday morning? I will instead try cheering you up a bit, so here’s my insight and please take me seriously.  It’s true that although a Googol is just another meager name assigned to a number: numerals repeated in space, but you know what, it’s kind of vast and if you are the geeky kind of a person you can tell your beloved that you have a Googol of love stored in your heart for him/her. I can’t be held for any sort of bitter consequences though. You can thank me later. Send me a letter and all your love?


The signal comes back again and all I hear are those final words. I know you already turned off the channel so I will tell you how it was…it was like the ending of some good book - a stab in the heart but in a very good way. I don’t want to ruin you with those words for I want you to imagine something sweet you will say to someone at the end of a pestilence, imagine a rhyme, a little poetry that’s nothing but the projection of your honest heart and trust me when I say it was something like that for those words were not his they were yours too. It was always words like that, you know,

it was something that
you must always
hum for
her.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Letters to the Self: Two


Dear People of the Earth,

It’s my birthday tomorrow. 
With that ‘theme’ in my mind, I write this. I must warn you though, this post shall be filled with narcissism and if you aren’t particularly fond of me, you will hate me more after you read this. I wouldn’t want that. You know the good thing about growing older is you grow wiser- never mind the thinning hairline. Whenever I begin to write anything, I don’t exactly have in my mind what I would write down. I think all of us who suffer from the creative process would agree with me. It’s just that, with every key pressed- there’s a thought in the head. For instance right now I was thinking what would she think when she reads this. I am even thinking whether mentioning her is at all relevant here. The muse is always there somewhere. Omnipresence of the muse-I even plan to write something about that.

So I write. 

Let me tell you something about myself, right now I am in a certain juncture of life that I chose for myself because I didn’t want to be around people who don’t dream. I don’t know if I am being unkind to them or this is my childhood fancy coming back to haunt my head but it’s true in a way I chose something for me. I definitely had favorable economics to back me up with. I fear social judgment because there’s an innate superiority complex I suffer from, and I don’t want it to be under scrutiny. But then, I have seen many around me talking about dreams and never taking that leap of faith. From where I come from, I know how hard it is to afford ones dream. Am I being a little pretentions? Perhaps, but here I am –‘’taking a break’’ in the words of mortals and dreaming a little more; what’s the hurry to get somewhere in life when love is all around?
I don’t know when people talk about success if it’s a lot of money or having a lot of friends to pour beer. It still bothers some people when they see my aimless life- ricocheting between the murals of lifeless figures. I don’t blame them either- what would they know? But I think we all evaluate the world in our own way- the difference between the ‘is’ and the ‘ought’, our personal morality and its ever shuffling dialectic. I mustn’t get into those philosophical debaucheries, but let’s say we all owe something to our early generations and thank god parents exist. Oh, I hate shopping malls - it’s one of those random thoughts that just came to my mind.

Adulthood in a way has been a little painful to me- but if you are fond of American movies I will tell you that it was like a roller coaster that preferred shutting down when it was in that upside-down position. I think unlike the teenage kings and queens, I have always felt alienated. I remember a friend mentioning back in those halcyon college days,

‘everybody knows you, yet you always roam alone.’ 
I didn’t have an answer then, but perhaps I do now. Age does that. It gets you answers that you don’t regret. I don’t really know, why I like people as they are but I have never ever liked people in groups. That was my childhood condition that made me feel bad, because of how the world around is. But I have always found people so interesting, just as they are.

I remember shattering many people when I used to tell them, that I didn’t mind going to the movies alone- if it was a good movie, why not? I know in the era of ‘masala’ and ‘chat’ good is pretty ‘subjective’. (I like masala in the morning and chat in the evening.) I remember someone telling me that

 ‘’those who can go to the ‘theater’ alone, are capable of murder.’’ 
Bob Biswas (baby faced assassin) even made that a possibility for me. But it’s true whatever people don’t do or can’t understand- it overwhelms them. In a way perhaps it threatens them too. We have all been there. I don’t understand why people become smokers. I try to sometimes- free will and all that shit. Age will provide me that answer I hope. I had never been good in asking the things I want- fearing judgment and mostly rejection and yet I believe that as I will turn a year older this time I will be pretty alright. I am saying all of this to myself, you know, sometimes you do that to help your own self. Let me rewind exactly two years, back to when I was stuck in my hostel room surrounded by warm people who wanted to greet me- realizing that it wasn’t my cup of tea-I shut myself off and didn’t meet anyone. I was sad and dramatic. What more can I say? Just a year back, I was pretty sad too and whiny- the world outside didn’t match the one inside me, but this time I had seen so much of 'happy' people in the virtual forum that I wanted to play that role- so I invited everyone and we had a birthday party, where I got photographs and said, ‘hey look- I am so happy.’ I was like them who deliberately told the world that they were fine rendering it believable. You don’t like this version, I understand, but I am just being honest. Happiness and you perhaps exist and I write this only to help myself, just like all of you do from time to time. Sadness as I have observed doesn’t exist in stupid people. It’s true. Don’t be sad though since it’s my birthday tomorrow. I am not much excited this time, because there’s some contentment and there’s this sense of age that asks me not to pursue lower pleasures. I don’t need to be like everyone else (how often do i say that?), because I am privileged in a way. If you are listening, wish me a happy birthday only if you mean it, because like many of you I do mean the words I say and I don’t enjoy formalities. Happiness is perhaps in the daydreams, it’s perhaps by a seaside resort, perhaps in a home made by a little mountain hut, but as of now I like it here in this concrete apartment of my
humid metropolis.

Yours
The fool on the Sill

11th August, 2014
Calcutta