April 19, 2004

Story

Life is so much like a novel. After all, we all hope that the chapter we are reading is where it will all end. We hope that the story does not go through another of those iterations, another set of characters, or another series of reinterpretations. Can't we just be satisfied with the way things stand and not have to change a thing, not have to flip another page and just lighten yourself of the burden of remembering how it all came to be? And just submit to a more than momentary feeling of contentment?

Hidden behind every unfurling petal of joy is the dewdrop of a tear of sadness. In this garden of wilderness, instinct is your only ally, often an unreliable ally. Like the lifesaving antidote that arrived a second too late, it rises to the occasion only after the audience has left and the stage is empty. In the confusion that ensues, the only hope is that we do not upset any more of the general scenery. Regardless, we must move on, minimise the damage, hold on to that mantra and hope, once again, for the pale light of the rising sun.

April 12, 2004

Rishikesh

The hiatus was largely unprecedented and known to very few. If you were not aware of it, please do accept my heart-felt (sic) apologies. It was not my intention to submit in totality to the wilderness, but that was precisely what I did. Given that there was no electricity or cellphone coverage or access to the net where we were staying, there was not a lot to that could be done on that count, other than to scoop up handfuls of water from the Ganges and wash my face every second minute, in a futile attempt to keep my body cool as we furiously rowed over the baby rapids.

Sanity is not something that you get when you put together two very people-unfriendly dogs, a car owner/driver who is scared of heights and a collective index of less than zero when it comes to sense of direction between the three human passengers. All things considered (mind you, there was a lot of it including some scintillating driving, superb shouting matches and interesting disagreements between the two canines who threatened to tear each other up and everything else in between them), it was a nice a break and we were very happy to have made it back in one piece.

It all started on Thursday when vague plans that were made a few months back started falling into place. Early Friday morning saw us struggling to find the right order to fit all of us in and the dogs into the car, with the least possible amount of bodily harm. A few close calls, an unwelcome detour through some farms and liberal doses of dog drool later, we eventually made it to Rishikesh and started the ascent on the 33 kilometre climb towards our camp. This was when we discover that my dear friend, trusted driver and car owner had a fear for heights. Appropriately timed significant piece of information, eh?

The camp itself was a wonderful affair. It was pretty basic with all the bare necessities and most importantly it had running water and proper loos. The only issue was the mini downhill trek one had to undertake to reach it from the road. The piece d' resistance, banks of river Ganga, was a two minute walk from the camp which overlooks it. The water was almost crystal clear with of white sandy beaches running alongside it in patches. It was almost the end of the season, so rafting was no great shakes. Since I am petrified of drowning I could not really enjoy the body surfing part too. I absolutely HATE water getting into my ears.

With night came the crickets and slow gurgling sounds of the river going about its business. With the moon drenching the valley in her light, we sat on the sandy shores and watched the dogs go berserk in what must have been their interpretation of canine heaven on earth. Time is inconsequential here and events are triggered by elements of nature. Morning is when the sun rises and night comes right after it sets. What the clock has to say is nobody's business and since there is no electricity, there are no televisions, laptops or high-speed internet connections.

Bliss, though, was to sit on a rock in the river and listen to her, eyes closed, flow by. Then to open them and watch a mild breeze flow in from between the two hills in the distance and swoop down on the water's surface creating a thousand or more goosebumpish ripples on it. They dissipate as the water flowed further down, regaining its glassy composure before being devoured time and again by the breeze. For once I had no grand theories to expound, no great metaphors to torture the world with. I was just glad it was there and I was there to see it.

The drive back was pretty uneventful other than the episode where my dear friend threatened to throw her dogs out of the car (which she almost did preceded by a few ear-piercing screams, which had the local population wondering what was going on and sent me on a desperate search for plausible explanations) and the slow suffocation of Delhi was well within sight by the time it was dusk. Right now, it is past nine in the night and I hear people clapping outside my room in the office. It must be someone's birthday. It is Monday too and the screen name on my friend's messenger says: "Back to reality".

April 07, 2004

Sober

It is not often that one gets to see anything else but the innumerable things that might pop-up at you when you are riding down Delhi roads. The probable exception being something on the lines of what I got to see today - the moon shining in her full unabashed glory, gently sneering down on us city slickers, honking, swearing and swerving to avoid yet another suicidal pedestrian, as we made our way home.

To be very honest, I am at a sort of loss regarding what to write anymore. For one, I think I have had enough of being whiny. There have been three hundred too many entries here that go on recycling the same theme endlessly. Life is a lot more cheerful now, the uncertainties notwithstanding, and to say it very plainly, I suck when I write anything else but doom and gloom.

Thankfully, I have almost never regretted anything I have written here. I have always, as a policy, made sure that I do not mention specific instances or people as much as possible. My life and this blog might be mine, but that is not the case when it comes to dragging other people in and I am glad about that. This often creates the dreary metaphoric cesspools that litter this place. That, though, is something I can live with.

I do not think I am going to stop writing here, but I do feel the need for a change in the monotone. Besides, it would be terribly dishonest to paint everything in dark shades when the reality differs, in better ways and degrees, at different times. And I am not stupid enough to strive to stay depressed for the sake of somewhat mediocre prose. I know better than that from experience and I am very thankful about that.

What amuses me though, is the twenty-plus loyal visitors that I seem to get every day. I too do the same, religiously following certain blogs on a daily basis, but the gulf in the quality of the content is so vast that it is laughable to even try and compare. So, this is for those twenty-plus loyalists, a huge thank you from the bottom of my blogheart. May the power of the "submit" button be with you!

April 01, 2004

Want

I have to admit that the recent past has indeed been a curious passage of time. Not that I had not noticed it earlier too, but I myself am not too sure of what the program or the endgame is. That being the case, I have to stop every now and then to take an unbiased look at what had happened. These are only little scattered dots that I am trying to join. I have no definite idea of what the final picture would be like. It feels so much like looking out of the train's window as it runs deeper into the embrace of the pitch darkness ahead.

I guess it is time I gave all these silly metaphors some rest and try and speak like normal people do. For a long time I have wanted to step out of the trap of living every aspect of my life as a statement. I have also wanted to listen to what I was hearing without reflexively slotting it into some great theory. The toughest want to crack though, is still the giving up bit. I am still prone to ego-charged episodes of wanting to salvage something where there is nothing left, that is worth anything, to salvage.

And it is not like there are no problems anymore. They are still very much there. I guess they would be there forever and we have managed to work out something of a tentative time-share arrangement. I still cannot figure out most people, the things they believe in and so on. Being the perpetual misfit that I am, I certainly do not understand where I fit into all of this. There will always be people whom I have failed and vice versa too. That is the risk in living and given a choice I would always risk the hurt and live.

At times, it feels very awkward and extremely vulnerable. It feels like walking on a tightrope without the safety harness. Nevertheless, it feels extremely nice not to have an agenda to stick to all the time and to feel like a silly paper boat tossed and thrown about in the drain. To answer your questions, it is not love. It is beyond it and for the first time in my life I feel that I am living by my choice than by chance and the best bit is that I do not have any apologies to make about it.