September 26, 2002

Current

There is an empty feeling. A steel mug with a few coins in it. A faceless "have you seen her?" poster. A defunct ticket to anywhere. A picture book of old ghosts in its moth-eaten and fading pages. It is a complete portrait that has no buyers.

September is slowly being elbowed out of the calendar by an obstinate October which paints the omnipresent restlessness with a fresh coat of sniffles and new flowers that refuse to wither away in accordance with the natural longevity bestowed on them. The desolation of lovely winter days are fast taking over. The decay has already set into mornings, nights are more resistant but does not look as if it too will hold out for long. The strength of the mist shall prevail. Obscurity is a blessing where lucidity cuts into the skin like shards of broken glass on its way to a vulnerable mind.

Familiar and strange are two pups taken out for walks daily by their owner -- the old man perception. Both bark at you with the same level of ferocity and engrossed curiosity to see if it startles you the same every time. It does and mind you, it is not funny. I have a weakness for strange, it being the underdog I am more generous with my compassion towards it. Later, even as a converted familiar, it still the same. Can't help wondering why?

Wish I could write about a million other things that might, for a change, excite or enlighten you. But I am taking the same path on the beach everyday, walking over the same footsteps that I left there the day before, which have been washed away by the tides overnight. It is a futile attempt at trying to engrave these footprints in the sand, to find a bit of permanence and maybe even an odd sense of belonging even to these loose bits of soil stuck together by the moisture of emotions that the morning sun shall take away.

No new words shall be written here since they represent moments and moments like waves do not stay, they move away and then come back to caress you once in a while, only to go back again. It is unfair to ask a wave to stay. Permanence is an impossibility that underscores everything. You too can go away, for there will never be anything new here.

So much time gets lost in my mind
But I know now what I must rely on
It's a sound and forgetting, ain't the worst thing
- Concrete Skies by Beth Orton.

September 25, 2002

Void

Reminiscing about the last one and anticipating the next one. Between these two jabs of pain floats an island in time -- life.

September 24, 2002

Hello world!

Taking a peek at what the world looks like in the middle of a 5 minute recess in a whole lifetime measured by hours of pleasant dazedness. Surprise, surprise, there does exist and thrive a world that is not much influenced or affected by my acts of total self absorption.

Good, now I can at least stop pretending that at least half the wight of the world rests on my shoulders and take a walk or something.

Evaluate, re-evaluate. Relationships that is. Throw it away, if it comes back I am overawed by the responsibility the return bestows, if it does not, I get one more thing to whine about. Feels smug and smart and in control when you are riding the wave like what I am doing now. But, when it all goes down you get to experience free fall. It is scares the life out of you, gives you the best kicks and yet the next one could potentially be the last.

Someone I know died. Paid homage to him, his memory rather. Did 15 minutes of introspection. Recollected all the things I could remember about him, wished that wherever he might be now, he be happy. No, I am not kidding. Just a bit scared that someday I too will die and if I do not make it to some nice place for I fell short by a single vote of good wishes from someone, that would not be much fun. Got to have the facts on my side to make my case then, though I lose most of my cases.

Dreading the thought of the trip in a time machine towards an abscess in time and space in a month or so. Got to brush up on niceties, pleasantries and shore up the ever so flimsy defences. Got to open up that old war chest of dusty bad memories and hang on to the much maligned and abused cliches.

Put that fist up lad, ignore the nose bleed, put 'em up boy, put 'em up!

I have nothing, still I have everything to lose.

September 23, 2002

Surf's Up!

I am riding the biggest wave to date. When it all comes down do not forget to cast a dismissive glance at my grave flanked by the broken boards. Did I forget to mention I am scared of drowning?

September 20, 2002

Tracks

Words, I drench you with them. Over and over again till they shine, glitter and become nonsensical particles that crowd the skies which you swallow and breathe in bits and parts to spit back on to my face, attached with a note of irreverent disdain.

One day I shall set forth, retrace all my steps with brush and soap in hand, and scrub away at every single footprint I have left, every single word I have said, every single moment that I occupied and every single thing I have touched, till the sinews that hold the fingernails to my fingers rip, crack and tear and mark each and every footmark with the warm blood as a penance for you won't take away my soul and the marks just refuse to go.

Mild winter morning and a yawning sun, five strands of green grass under the shadow of a dancing wild flower, marked with the red pearls from a bleeding finger. I have been here before and it seems the distance will outlast the supply of blood.

September 17, 2002

This

A dusty photo album, wedged under a broken shelf
Of dreams that overlooked the ravage of time
Lit up by a flickering candle in a desolate barn
Which a gusty draft topples and sets all alight
A Drought it is and expendable she is, let her burn
Just let her burn

This is a conversation, between voices that are not heard, they speak in silence, they never begin and they never end. This is not about nation, man or woman. This is not about the star that rises from the East or the paleface that follows its descent in the West. This is not about life, nor this is about death. This is what precedes the former and survives the latter. These are moments that cannot be measured in time, it is a dew drop that would never fall, a scenery seen by a blind man's eye, the simple tune of a bird never seen, the secret warm corner in the Artic ice.

This is a conversation, heard with the mind and closed eyes. This is you and this is me, and yet this is nobody.

This is just a conversation.

September 16, 2002

Little Yellow

A snaky rivulet, named Little Yellow, once started a journey down the dark mountain. Tumbling down her side, it playfully ran along and across paths that men have tread and paths that men have not. Hiding under the shadow of age old trees, over terrain that scarred and diverted ran Little Yellow, cascading and running around obstructions, guided by a natural inclination.

In Little Yellow, there lived a little dream, as it ran evading the larger streams, to grow on its own, to pick the odd drop from here and the odd puddle from there, to run strong and mighty hidden from prying eyes, to merge with the ocean at some point in life. A logical destination, an aim destined by birth, to lose itself, to be one and to culminate in the salty caress of the silky waves.

As fate would have it, like the life saving dry leaf for the ant it once happened to topple, a twist occurred that caused its course to obstruct. The mighty rivulet that once ran led on by a mighty heart, now lies engulfed from all sides by land as a sad and rotting swamp. Enclosed by fences and imprisoned in the plains, lies Little Yellow, guarded and inhabited by monsters that constitute its main claim to fame.

Years have passed since the swamp had formed and also around the much feared morass have formed many a nameless tale. One of them speaks of certain moonlit nights when flows across the swamp a spirit, of a little river, that can only to be heard and never be seen as it rushes forth towards the ocean in a wonderful dream.

September 14, 2002

Crown

When you desperately hope to be proven wrong, everything you say and feel comes out right. Take this miserable trophy away from me.

September 13, 2002

Rush

Can I make a wish, that too a tiny one at that? Can I freeze my life here and not move on at all? Even after all these pages of wailing and howling about how things are, to be honest, I am happy with things the way are. I love the people I have around me even with all the fights and arguments that we have. Improvement, it comes at a cost. The grass inevitably is green on the other side. This is the best it will ever get to be. I am a little child looking at his mother asking "Can we stay here for good? It is comfortable here".

I have been warned. "Stop when you can, do not tread where you are not sure of the ground". What is life without risks? Push the envelope a little further, take another step towards the edge of the cliff and yet another, the dismantled bits of rock fall on the distant bottom with the fading echoes of all the warnings. Step back. Another Houdini is born, except that there is no skill here. Just a power game between chance and sensibility. Once out of the water and minus the chains, the flashing lights does not quite show the scars. A star is born. One day chance will have its say, sensibility can be kissed goodbye. Every star has to die. Someday.

You cannot afford to stop, strive for better and higher. What would happen if you have to stop? It scares the life out of me. Meanwhile, the tired half is lagging behind, it cannot keep up with its exhilarating other half who is becoming even more of a tinier speck at the horizon. The former is gradually becoming an aging liability, it holds the latter back from the last step. The last and final step to flight. Freedom. Goodbye to mundaneness.

Can I forfeit myself? This one is broken beyond repair. Do I get another go at this?

September 09, 2002

Companionship

Sometimes what is said leaves so much unsaid and often what is unsaid says so much without actually being said. A while back I was fighting the said trying to hold on to the unsaid and was going fast downhill on the mountain of uncertainty. The sensible part of me wanted to stop, the reckless other half did not, pedal to the middle. "Romeo must die". And he almost did.

Advice is not something that I take kindly to. I choose to live and die by my own ideals, no matter how stupid it might be. I have fought the most silliest of wars, at times with myself and at times with others. I have lost them more often that I would want to, walking wounded I have learnt my lessons, but those are lessons that I would never forget and more importantly, those are my lessons.

Yet, what saved me was a simple bit of advice. A friend of mine told me "The best test for any damn thing is a yes or no question. Ask yourself if at the end of all the pain and suffering are you better off with the effort or are you not?" The deceptive simplicity of the question carefully eliminates the complications that one goes through in getting to the answer, for there are no yes or no answers in the world. But, the answer for me was a 'no'.

In the end, as I lay broken and shattered in the valley I had nothing to show for it other than another addition to my lifetime's collection of scars and that simply was not worth it. And thanks but no thanks, I have an almost complete collection, I do not intend to add to them.

Having said that, the unsaid still does haunt me. I do not have any proof for it other than the simile you see on another person's face, the meanings that you read into the most ordinary of words and little signs that litter the backyard of memory that refuses to be cleaned up even by the strongest winds that blow from the land of coincidences.

But I am growing used to them being around and I love spending the precious little spare time I get with them. Like two sentimental old fools we go over every faded picture from the past, every stolen glimpse and make fun of each other and still we have the greatest respect for each other. I am getting very attached to them and would miss them greatly if they were to crossover and put on the garb of the said.

Or would I?

September 06, 2002

Onset

The weather is slowly changing here. Mornings there is slight nip in the air. It is not a nip nip yet, but just a slight nip. I will be very happy when it becomes a nip nip. Winters are the best season ever, of course autumn too is beautiful but since we only get glimpses of it here I can only guess what it must be like. But there is no feeling in life like cuddling up under a blanket on cold winter mornings or walking the foggy roads with hands dug deep into your pockets.

It is really funny how people and photography are so closely related. Sometimes you get excellent shots when you do not plan it, sometimes you can mess up a totally beautiful shot that even a kangaroo can click and other times you spoil the roll like relationships even before they start by unknowingly exposing the film to daylight. Other times it remains ignored in a corner of the shelf, taken for granted and counted on, the day you go back to it you realise it is gone and spoilt beyond repair.

September 04, 2002

Nothing

Can you miss nothing? Nothing that can be explained as something that cannot be defined into units or a collective of the units formed from what is known to us as everything? I do and I am at a loss to explain how.

It gets worse when you try and address the problem and find a solution to it. How do you address something that escapes any explanation? Would it be imaginary arcs made by a swooping arm in thin air? Would it be the feeling that you got on that morning when you woke up feeling on top of the world.

What is on top of the world? Does it mean standing on top of a largish sphere with our interpretation of the world painted on it? Or is is just an ego boost that falls apart the instant the first glimpses of shortcomings or failure pop up on the horizon of existence?

A naughty giggle behind the shoulder that dies down instantly, when you turn around, makes life amusing initially. Live with it for a month, amusement turns into intrigue, with time intrigue turns into irritation and pretty soon it becomes despair. A lifetime can have the whole world giggling at you. Do not look back, you won't find anything but silence there.

There is nothing there. You are imagining things. You cannot possibly miss truth. You cannot possibly miss happiness. You cannot possibly miss meanings. Everyone has one of their own. You cannot possibly miss nothing.

Another giggle.

Leave me alone. Will you?

September 02, 2002

Window Shopping

She sees this wonderful new dress in the shop across the street. The shade would just match her complexion perfectly and its cut and stitch look exactly like what she has been wanting for a long while now. Displayed in all its simple glory on the shop window, the dress charms an otherwise mundane existence of hers. Oblivious to the world, she crosses the street and makes straight for the shop window, with each step the design and the detailing gets clearer and more striking. She holds her purse closer to her body, lest some petty thugs should hold her back from effecting the valuable transaction that would make the dress her own. Having left the little yellow line that divides the street behind her, only a few steps now separate her from the dream dress.

The fleeting moments lifts her, carries her across the pavement and into the shop, everyone notices the magical connection instantly. Whispers fill the air that the gown would look great on her and yet another voice hushed with amazement says it looks as if it was made for her. Her gaze is fixed on the dress, the rest of the world ceased to exist for her at the very moment she saw the dress. Few more moments fall by and she is inside the dream gown. The sight of the most attractive woman filled the eyes of the people in the store and a fairly large crowd was gathering outside too. The city was slowly being held captive by first the news and then the sight of the woman and her wonderful dress.

She makes her way home through the narrow passage the crowds created for her, takes the final left and into the shabby street she goes. She opens the rusty gate and once inside the house she is received by her overjoyed family. As the evening wears on, the crowds disperse, forming little clusters of excited chatter at every street corner seasoned with the drowsy flavour of the sights of the day. She settles down the steady beat of kitchen sounds that announce the preparation of dinner for yet another autumn night.

As she wanders in the kitchen, to her utter despair, a bit of her gown gets caught in an unvirtuous nail. With a tearing sound a wide gash was introduced on the surface of the wonderful cloth and with it her heart missed a beat. In realising what had happened she had missed a few more and in the panic she twirls around, knocking the oil lamp from the window sill, which falls on the dress and sets it ablaze. The greasy water did put out the fire, but the dress was burnt, torn and stained. Its glory was scarred, scalded and lost forever. When she stepped outside no one recognised her, they wondered what happened to the woman and her wonderful dress. She stood there silently mourning her loss.

A curt voice startles her, making her drop her purse and from it her only coin rolled down the street. The voice, once again, startles her back to reality. It was the shop's security guard telling her to move away as it was closing time. The shutters had to come down and she was in the way. As she contemplated the lonely walk home after the loss of her only coin, she notices the price tag on the dress. A truckload of those evasive coins would not have gotten it for her. She smiles at having lived the experience of owning, celebrating and losing the dress at the cost of a single coin. She pushes her unruly locks back behind her ears and makes for home.

Window shopping comes cheap these days.