Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Book Tag

Tagged by Kyra, who practically lives on such things.

A Book that made you Laugh

"Yes Minister & Yes Prime Minister" by Jonathan Lynn & Antony Jay. It was based on the popular sitcom, and personally I found it a lot funnier than the show.

A Book that made you Cry

I'm sure there are none.

But looking at this again and anew, I vote "Five Point Someone". I couldnt believe the hours I wasted over it. I was close to tears.

A Book that Scared you

Now this one applies only if you consider my age at the time. Goosebumps by R.L.Stine. I was but a child, a mere infant, and I didnt know right from wrong. The series wasn't altogether horrible also. And some of the books did scare me.

Also, the 3-in-1 Fright Time books. But never any serious horror.

A Book that Disgusted you

None as of yet. Is that me lucky or me unread?

A Book you Loved in Elementary School

The whole set of Noddy books by Enid Blyton. And her Faraway Tree trio.

A Book you Loved in Middle/Junior High School

Asterix & The Great Divide.

Its the only one I clearly remember devouring. Just couldnt get enough of it.

A Book you Loved in High School

Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
The Golf Omnibus by PG Wodehouse.

A Book you Loved in College

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

A Book that Challenged your Identity

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

A Series that you Love

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien

Your Favourite Horror Book

Nope. None. I somehow havent really read any real horror. Its an entire genre I've somehow unintentionally ignored.

But if we talk about things dark, sinister and gleeful, nothing beats the short stories by Roald Dahl.

Your Favourite Sci-fi Book

The Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

Your Favourite Fantasy

The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien.

Your Favourite Mystery

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Your Favourite (Auto)Biography

My Days by RK Narayan.
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl.

Your Favourite "coming of age" Book

This blog does not endorse, support or, in any way, wish to encourage people coming of age.

Your Favourite Classic

I am yet to complete one.

Your Favourite Romance Book



I do not know whom to tag. Nobody seems around these days. Tsk...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hammer Of The Gods

Been dazed and confused,

For so long its not true...

(Dazed & Confused)

Close the door, put out the light.

You know they won't be home tonight.

The snow falls hard and don't you know?

The winds of Thor are blowing cold.

They're wearing steel that's bright and true.

They carry news that must get through.

(No Quarter)

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain,

Tears of loves lost in the days gone by.

My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,

Together we shall go until we die.

(Thank You)

We come from the land of the ice and snow,

From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.

The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,

To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

(Immigrant Song)

The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath,

The drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black, Ride on.

Sing as you raise your bow, shoot straighter than before.

No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold.

(The Battle Of Evermore)

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream

I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been

To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen

They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed


And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.
(Stairway To Heaven)

Though the winds of change may blow around you, but that will always be so
When love is pain it can devour you, but you are never alone
I would share your load. I would share your load
Baby, let me, oh, let me
(In The Light)


DICE (Falstaff)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Conversations With Myself

I think I need a haircut. Do you think I need a haircut? I should get a haircut sometime now. Sometime soon. Its been quite a while. Hasn't it? Yes it has. Its been over 3 weeks. Though, I must say, my hair must be growing back slower than usual. I distinctly remember a time when I'd need a cut every 2 weeks to avoid resembling a castaway of years and years. Anyway, I think I should get a haircut now. Its growing from behind, even though I cant see that very well. And it doesnt quite do what I want it to anymore. Getting slightly unruly. An iron hand is needed na? Say something. Should I? Should I clip it and cut it down to size? I should I should. Pretty much about time. Remember when they showered compliments on me so? Lets go back to that. No? Bit later? Maybe tomorrow then? A couple of days later? Fine. Fine fine. Later also cool. Later it is.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How, In A Real Life Situation, I Panicked

Ordinarily, I'm an apostle of goodness and virtue. Also, an epitome of courtesy and good-manneredness. But sometimes things just tend to get a little awkward you know. And I get flustered. I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to say, and where I'm supposed to go or look.

It happens with everyone, I know. You're walking down the road, and you meet another person whom you know somewhat. You're on, what we call here, a "watsup"-basis with him. You're "sup"-ing chums. Meaning you meet every other day, when your paths intersect on your way to different places, and you say hi to each other and you ask how the other one is doing and was he there when this happened that other day and isnt it just such a pity about the Harbhajan fiasco. Its not like you ask with the expectation of a serious discussion or a dissertation on exactly how dastardly those Australians are. Both of you just nod and grin and chuckle. And then you move on in your respective directions.

It works well with everybody. And everybody knows how it works. You meet people this way, you re-establish contact, you keep in touch, and you are aware of each others' existence. All these good and required necessities of social life are thus completed without the bother of having to stay in touch or having conversations over coffee some awkward day.

I'm saying all this because I broke a cardinal rule yesterday. The cardinal rule. This wonderful method works on a few rules you see. And one of them states, quite clearly, that you do not engage in a sup-ping with an individual if both of your respective paths bear almost parallel direction to each other.

I walk fast generally, so I overtake a lot of people. I was walking fast. So was this guy, with whom I'd been watsup-ing since the starting days of college. An old faintly recognized acquaintance.

Hey 'sup?

Hey man. 'Sup with you?

Nothing much. Chal raha hai. Class is a bitch, and the heat and all.

*laughs* Ya I know! The teachers suck ya. So boring.

I know, I know.

This is where normally people part ways. The conversation is finished. And you get a move on.

It didnt happen. We were both going to college. We were both walking at the same speed. We were walking right along side each other. And that makes me very uneasy, I dont know why. I cant walk right alongside another person whom I'm not, you know, walking with somewhere. Its strange.

He's an almost stranger. I usually forget his name too. But from above conversation as you see, names dont figure in the picture at all. So thats usually cool.

But now what? He didnt know what to say. I didnt know what to talk about. My head was in turmoil. It was too strange to just walk now, after such a chummy reunion-esque meeting. An air of unease hung between us. He looked at me, scornfully, knowing well it was I who had initiated the conversation and hence it was I who had broken the rule. And I? I was mentally scrounging for a way out.

Now what?

Why did I have to sup him? Why??

Nishant, you dork, didnt you see him going your way??

So what will you do now? Should we ask him about the weather? What does one say in such occasions? Ask about sports?

Maybe I could ask him what kind of music he likes?

Does he have brothers and sisters?

Does he like that girl walking ten paces ahead with her radically oscillating hips?

I wiped my brow. I stiffened the upper lip. I firmed my shoulders. I looked up and began. Almost.

For he had relieved me, and picked his way out of the inescapable social faux-pas. He'd stopped to buy a pen.

I saw it for what it was. His sacrifice, to save me from humiliation and both of us from a social situation that could have torn our faint acquaintance-ship apart like a bullet through a little handkerchief. I respected his on-the-feet thinking. It was clever, and yet a subtle way to let me know that it was indeed his sacrifice. Who, after all, buys pens for class? I chuckled to myself. Smart guy.

I need to commence immediate upgradation work on my fast-thinking skills. This sort of shoddy work wont do. Not at all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The author of this blog would like to register his amazement at his own capabilities.

One year. One person. Not one doubt. Yet*. Phew.

He shall now proceed to pat his own back.

*in case you're reading. I do not wish to spoil you. Stay on your toes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nick of Epiphany

A night can be very beautiful. Without an unleashing of poetic verse and quotes from it's myriad great admirers running through your head, it can be. Exclusively. Just for me. Never mind you.

I almost get into the auto, but then step back. Why the routine every time? Thats why things go wrong. A routine drains out an important energy, something you need to help you run when you want to, help you rhyme when you sit down to, to help you remember why you do what you do and to make you feel good that you're doing it.

Is it only a creep or a misfit, I wonder, who walks without a destination?

Walk with a purpose, you're told.

Walk with determination, and a straight back.

Looking into the distance having set yourself a goal to reach.

Dont dawdle around, dont kill your time.

Time is money.

Get to it now, soldier.

I walked checking my pace every few steps. For once, I didn't want to reach too fast. Maybe I didnt want to reach. Or, maybe I just didnt care to reach.

Its such a beautiful night. A breeze is blowing past my face. There are bright stars up on a clear sky. The roads are empty. There is no noise of mankind. I want to record this night-silence, these chirping crickets and the sound made my insects' wings. I want to play it till its a deafening silence in my head, with room for no noise. Trees shed leaves occasionally, the leaves too falling immediately (without dawdling) onto the ground below.

The shortest path between any two points is a straight line. Its economical that way too. High speed, less time, less effort, more purpose served. Do it. Don't ask why or what's the hurry. Do we really have the time to answer stupidity like that? Haven't you learnt anything in life?

Get back to the routine. Do the same thing. They have a blissful peace. Its a bliss from the workings of the mind, or the whims of the heart. Why this hesitation? Why this second thought? Where'd it come from? Move on, you. You fell back. Now spend this life trying to catch up, and dare you ask me why again.

These statements have little place in this space.

They do not flow with the rest. They do not flow at all.

They ask to meander, or to stand still. For a Nat Geo photograph of the year? No, not even that.

They desire no crescendo towards the end, no clash of power chords to herald a glory.

They suggest a quiet fall, a quiet fade off. To be remembered may be immortality, but why want to immortalize something you dont yet know?

These 'walkways', these routines, will always be somewhere near, and climb I must. For a journey must be taken, and exclusive entries to the rides it shall take me on can be obtained only by walkway-travellers.

I only hope to get off every once in a while, so they dont see me. And get to stretch my legs a bit.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sleeper Hold!

I have these strange nightmares. I wake up from them in the middle of the night even, not huffing and panting and covered with sweat in the ordained manner, but I do reach the edge of tired and irritated consciousness before falling back to sleep. The thing is, they're not really strictly nightmares. I'll explain that part later. They are strange, however. Let me explain that. They're strange because I cant figure out what could possibly be the cause behind them.

I cant blame it on my childhood. I didnt have a mean childhood in the streets of a tough neighborhood. I lived surrounded by pleasant, slightly ageing people who delighted at the sight of my tender soul and let me climb their guava trees and fed me sweets. We never had a painful phase of financial difficulty when I had to beg for food at street corners, and saw many others similarly destroy their lives after entering the alluring world of easy money with drugs and muggings. Instead, I always could buy whatever toys I wanted (not that I wanted anything other than another GI Joe soldier or vehicle), and the neighborhood kids were hard-working, diligent boys and girls who descended often enough for cricket or badminton.

I probably cant even blame it on my parents. Neither one of my parents is fond of child-torture. And I was never beaten or belted or whipped or castrated for any reason whatsoever. I was slapped for not remembering my Hindi alphabets, however, and that scar remains, but only as a little bruise in my tender heart. You know. My father never expressed a tendency to beat my mother up for sport with his bare hands, or vice versa with kitchen utensils or otherwise. They were, and are, perfectly loving parents who dote on me and feed me well and supply me with enough money to be on the edge of disappointing them gravely someday perhaps if I truly forget myself and am fool enough to let them know, partaking from a staunch belief in the rule that ignorance is bliss, for anyone and everyone about anything and almost everything. So I wasn't witness to violence at home in any form.

My teachers in school didnt stunt my emotional and creative growth either, with an iron ruler or otherwise. They allowed me to do as I pleased, for I was an awesomely sweet child who never seemed capable of doing anything wrong and why were the other kids always blaming him so, those scheming devils. I regularly did large-scale drawings from textbooks of various scenes in kindergarten, and these would be put up on the big board for everyone to see. Last year at a mall, my teacher from Class 1, who'd never seen me since I passed her class, recognized me by name. I couldn't stop gushing. I was made monitor in Class 5, and I obeyed my duties respectfully and sincerely, cutting across any head that dared raise itself to say a word when the teacher wasnt around. I'd not only write their name in neat block letters on the board, but also underline it and tick it a couple of times to see the pure terror develop across their face. I was cold, hard and merciless. I could've been the trauma of their childhoods, now that I think about it.

In short, there has been no serious trauma, or emotionally testing experience in my early childhood to explain these strange nightmares peeping in now. I have always been a person quite irrationally free of dreams of any sort. My slumber is deep, black, and complete. I dont pass through those levels of sleep, in which the dream stage also appears. I plunge right in, to the deepest and soundest sleep phase, which I have made my own residence.

According to all the laws of logic-grinding, common sense pulverizing Bollywood, the cause for recurring dreams and strange nightmares is always a traumatic childhood torn between begging for food for a widowed mother and running away with blind sister in my arms from the gangsters razing our little hut to the ground. Then I dont sleep peacefully for years and years, until I come back to avenge these atrocities. But that, dammit, isn't working out in my case!

Why am I considering only the laws of intellectually deprived and sanity-starved 80s' Bollywood? Well, that has to do with the nature of my nightmares. The nature of my nightmares I'll tell you about in a bit. First, the reason why they dont exactly qualify as nightmares nightmares, you know.

See, they aren't exactly the way we normally define nightmares. Thats all. Because.

Nightmares are supposed to be scary and haunting, right? You're terrified and helpless. Everything thats happening is just barely beyond your powers to change or improve. People die, ghosts chase you, bombs rip apart entire cities, a tsunami rises a hundred thousand feet right above your head, you're tied to a post while someone else eats your subway. Horrifying things. To make you gnash your teeth and scream out for a power above to intervene in your moment of injustice. To make you want to pull your hair out, or run away from it all until you're too far away to care about anything. Things like that. Right?

So what you're talking about are nightmares which are horrifying and terrifying and unimaginably strange within the purview of your dream stage. Thats where mine depart from your typical nightmare definition. My 'nightmares' terrify and tortue me when I behold them after I wake up and think back at what just happened in my dreams. And I want to gnash my teeth, scream to a greater power, pull my hair out and run away from everything.

I'm not exaggerating. I just woke up from one right now, explaining this late night post. I was going to tell you about the nature of my nightmares? Let me tell you about this one.

Dont freak out.

And try not to laugh in my face also. Its very off-putting if your greatest troubles are scorned so by your peers.

And I'm being brave and all about it too. Coming clean and telling about it openly.

It involved, this one, a wrestling match. It was me in a tag team with this other short person who I feel was an uncle/mentor character. My character in the dream/nightmare has had a tough childhood, spent living off the streets and having to now prove himself as truly a major achiever. Through championship wrestling, I admit, but whatever. Thats how dreams work; there's little logic. Its not about tagging each other anymore. We are wrestling all out against two mean big thugs, one of whom resembles the Undertaker and is after my life. Not that this has anything to do with anything much, my signature move was Sweet Chin Music. Yay!

Did you ever play WWF on video games? You remember those short, pudgy characters fidgeting about on the large ring? All they had were 4 or 5 moves and one signature move. Also, when you threw an opponent over your head, he fell outrageously far away. Remember? The other funny thing is, it was all in that image. We were those little 4-bit characters.

The 80s embarrassing Bollywood reference comes here. The mentor/uncle character was constantly chiding me about my being unfit to live up to my father's name and prestige. He found me weak and incapable of fighting my foes and, with intense Hindi film dialogue delivery, he let me have it. I wanted to show him I was tough enough. I wanted to prove to the world I wasnt a coward. I wanted to bleed. I wanted to sweat. I wanted to fight. And with a whole round of fidgeting about on tiny little feet from one corner to the other, climbing the side-bars, and clotheslining, and powerbombing, and punching into air as happened with me quite regularly even when I played the video game, I think I came quite close to proving myself. Just as I delivered a knockout kick, my SCM, the scene faded to blackness and I woke up.

I'm starting to feel there's a nerve problem somewhere here. This isn't normal.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Children's Movie

Read this on Cracked.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory's fundamental selling point.

Take candy from strangers. That includes incredibly strange strangers.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


(He he. Anyone else notice how an exclamation mark is an upside down 'i'?)

It hurts to hear it. I want to shout and scream. Anything to drown it out. But when the leaders of all invaluable information in the broadcasting world are finally are forced to speak out on the issue, how long can one hibernate in denial?

I don't know what to do now. I'm shattered. So is the glass that my palace of dreams was beginning to take shape in. This bomb has struck right at the foundations of all the dreams and hopes and joys and simple, humble expectations I was basing my future life upon.

You live life, growing as per your surroundings. You watch and emulate, and the summation of specific experiences had, chosen from among a million that pass by you every single day, join to make a you. So they say.

But I set my life's path, my goal, and my aims myself. I do not know of anyone I owe it too. I chose my own direction, and I was prepared to embark upon it with the same type of enthusiasm I have for everything - wild, contagious and mostly inexplicable to outsiders. (Thought bubble: Like a black plague. Hmm...Connotations connotations.)

But bad news has a way of sneaking up from behind and picking your pocket. No, wait. Thats not good. I would have ideally like to say that bad news has a way of sneaking up from behind and kicking you in the groin, but I'm guessing (tenderly) that a female readership wont appreciate the profundity and pain put into that statement.

Anyway, as I was saying, life's a bitch. Here's why.

Wouldn't you cry too? Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Damn You

There is this phenomenon, which Murphy too must have recognized at one point or another I dont know, by which people say things you've always been wanting to say but, being too afraid of the outrage and scandal it might generate, you didnt.

And then they say it, and nothing happens. No almighty crashes, no lightning smiting them down where they stand, no cries of anger or disbelief from those within earshot. And you feel like an idiot, because you probably thought of it first too.

Which is exactly what this is. In both ways.


Sunday, January 06, 2008


You're an idiot!

No no! You are! You you you! You're a donkey!

You are a stupid. Ha ha ha!! are a monkey!

You racist! Oh my god! Can't believe you said that! Muummmyy!! Muuuhhhhuuuuummmmyyyyyy!!! Ricky!

[Fade to present]

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds.

Its international cricket. Its one of the most coveted test trophies. Australians, the founders of all sledging tactics, versus a physically puny Indian team. And Ponting is running to the match referee while Symonds is shedding tears on the sturdy shoulders of Steve Bucknor.

Because Harbhajan called him a 'monkey'. Thats all. No allegations towards his parental lineage. No reference to his bat and where he might like to shove it. No talk about what he would like to do to his wife after the day's play. No questions about which bomb attack tore his hair into that mess. Nothing like that at all. Nothing personal. Nothing professional. Nothing at bloody all. A monkey. Thats all.

And they cry foul. And they weep. And they seem to forget they're grown, mature men. Of high, and even quite humongous stature and awe-inspiring physical might. And it doesnt look good when they cry over what is no more than a needle-prick.

Now Harbhajan is banned. And India might altogether back out of the series. And the umpires were outrageously biased. And the BCCI is launching counter-allegations.

What the fuck? I want to laugh about it. But its getting so grave now. Everybody is getting so serious about it. Why doesnt someone knock Andrew Symonds on the head and ask him if he's really (and I mean like really really) never been called a monkey before in his life? Those schooldays, mate? Remember those school-days? Sure you do. You're being a baby now, aren't you?

Afterword: Connecting emotions vented here. Pliss do refer.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Doing The Nana

Come evening, my house is inevitably gatecrashed by what must surely be the entire mosquito population of North Kolkata.

They come in all sorts of sizes. I've seen some so small I wasn't sure they'd hatched completely yet. Just sort of floated in as soon as they could get the wings flapping out. Assuming that they do indeed hatch. Do they?

Essentially, I'm a non-violent person. I believe in non-violence and truth-speak, on all matters (except on the subject of where you keep spending all your cash!? and similar slightly discreet points). I also believe that I have a shot with Carmen Electra, and nice positive things will develop to this end in the very near future. But thats not relevant. Just putting in a sidenote you see, in case you're curious and eager for knowledge.

Lots of people are. I know people who could get so enamored by certain points of a discussion, points that you and me would fly by without a second thought, that they could derail the entire agenda of the outline of the plan for the discussion at hand. And then of course you (by which I mean 'me') would want to beat them at their game, in yet another vain effort to ensure a complete victory of your argument and nothing less, and launch into that stream of point of topic of discussion yourself to show the guy that he's basically wrong about every single topic he deigns himself worthy of holding an opinion upon and that you, his dear friend, know everything under the sun and most things above it too so keep it to yourself and come back to what we were discussing in the first place. But then its too late for that now. You've already lost track, because obviously your trusted sidekick didnt keep minutes, and you find yourself facing a pissed off adversary who doesnt care about playing fair anymore. I mean you tried mocking him and insulting him and throwing him out of the window of the lodge to his death in the valley a 100m below, over such a meaningless side-topic mention that he happened to make, and he isnt sure if he appreciates your "friendly" discussion anymore. So things get very nicely and squarely derailed. But you still have fun with it. Side-topics can be awfully entertaining sometimes, much better to bash up and beat about than the usual main items of agenda we hold you know, which are consistently found to be boring issues of global concern and serious consideration.

Who wants that, right? Might as well talk about Calvin's alleged ADD in the comic strip which came up when we spoke about snide media mentions being used to reduce large topics of life down to ridiculous size, which came up when you were speaking of politicking tactics used these days to win a few claps and hoots in parliamentary debates, which came up when we were ranting on the lack of them in our country and how we could just rip our politicians apart if we ever got to challenge them on public forum in front of media audiences, which itself came about when we were ruing over the pathetic corruption that our politicians regularly get away with.
So I give you, political corruption in India or Calvin & Hobbes. You be the judge.

And what was it we were talking about? Backtrack a bit. Well, I do really believe Carmen and I share somewhat of a connection. I was confessing only yesterday evening to a friend about it. I feel something special. But I fear it might just be a bit too...bit too...physical. You get me? Nothing being particularly wrong with it of course. Nothing wrong at all. Quite nice in fact. Come to think of it, it sounds fairly super duper awesome. But still. As I said to him, the inner sweet cute nice awesome guy inside me (and please take notice for this be quite important, I assure you) craves for something more. What of the lovely walks by the beach-side, not necessarily followed by random wild acts of intercourse? What of that? What of the long evenings spent discussing philosophy and listening to soft music, to not be quite so mandatorily followed up by conjugal harmonies? What of winter nights spent watching movies and eating popcorn, sharing a loving look every once in a while with each other, followed by kinky love-making rituals only after the movie gets over? What of all that? I felt we wouldnt have much of that. And he agreed that yes, it would be quite a sorry and disagreeable state of affairs. Even offered to take her off my hands himself if such a need ever presented itself. Nice. That part is settled. The topic came up when we passed Carmen's awesomely sexy Maxim cover in a roadside newspaper stall. He went on to elaborate upon his own feelings of doubt and anxiety over the exact blessedness of the union were he to hitch up with long-time love Keira Knightley. In the spirit of chivalry and give and take, I offered to offer my own services should an unpleasant situation develop in the future. We've fixed all that up. And it feels like a huge burden has been lifted off my mind. I sighed a sigh of distinct relief.

But Carmen Electra isnt what I was talking about. It was a side-mention to the whole non-violent issue, which itself was an offshoot when we were talking about mosquito invasions in the motherland. I was just going to say that ultimately, much to my regret, I had to resort to physical extermination. The situation was getting unpleasant, and it was either me or them with my blood. Mosquitoes to my left and mosquitoes to my right, yet into the Valley of Death and Scratches I jumped into in my mad killing frenzy.

Dead, squished carcasses are now placed strategically about the house to warn further hordes. Some hang outside the verandah, with warning signs attached. Mosquitoes, ye be warned. Nothing better than some good shock value, I feel. Some other bodies adorn the walls. They are in squished state, with a slight trail of blood leading upto the body pasted against the wall. Other specially chosen deformed remains have been placed at my computer table and on the side-table near my bed.

There's no reason all this shouldnt work as well as any mosquite repellent. Seeing as how they have compound eyes to multiply their vision, every body should seem like a hundred. I'm assuming they have the ability to recognize their own dead hung up as trophies, and shall be able to add one and one. Its been an unpleasant experience, all this war and battle, and I dont want to have to don the army uniform again.

Dont make me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Quiet Corner Of The World

I'm supposed to be happy. My life's purpose fulfilled, and my vows lived upto in their most glorious vehemence. But I do not feel so. I dont understand this. I dont understand this at all. Why? Why not the freedom yet? Where is the light? Where is the glory?

Where are the celebrations of joy?

It was only yesterday when I was walking. Was it yesterday? I was walking down a park. I do not remember things very clearly anymore. I dont know which city it was, I dont know which nation this time. Even as I look back, reminisce, through my own eyes, the vision is hazy. It blurs around the edges, as if a camera could not but capture only what was ahead. It is like a video recording. I cannot turn my head.

I was walking down a park. My senses choose to remain it seems, with the memory of sight. It was a cobblestoned path, and I liked the light sharp sound my shoes against its surface. The grass was trimmed, and a fresh green. My own feet, as my head looked downwards, appear long and ungainly. I remember being teased in childhood about large feet.

Childhood. Those memories are scarce. They were scarce even before everything changed about the world. Those that remained were of violence and smoke and ashes. Long ago I had learned that all was ash once the dust settled down. Nothing mattered. Nothing at all. Running feet. Shouts. Gunfire. Laughter. Those were the other memories, slipping one past another.

Laughter? That couldn't be. I never remember laughing. Not in those days. It was always sorrow and tears and the dry emptiness once tears vanished. So...what was this?

I stopped walking. The laughter was here. A group of children playing together. I looked at them, but they didnt notice. Children dont notice you unless you matter to them. They have it easy. Easily lost in their own minds, and its inventions. So easily staying outside the world they will bow before soon enough. They were so happy.

I wanted to break them. How could they be like this? They ran around and around and leaped over each other and at each other, the laughter never stopping. It rose and it fell, it moved without form and without pattern. I know no music, but it could be a symphony; it was so beautiful. In this foreign land, there were surely some wonders. No threats. No dust. No blood on the sand beneath. Just green grass to play upon. I could live on the one patch of grass forever.

No. That was foolish. How did that come out? Where did it come from? My vows bound me. My oaths had been given. My life was delivered already to the Great Lord. I had no business here. I walked on. In my mind, I repeated my vows. I chanted them faster and faster, harder and harder, until it was a buzz in my head that drowned out all else. I closed my eyes, to absorb it into myself.

Everything passed across my closed eyes. In flashes. The first time I saw a man bleed. The first time I saw how everything would reduce to ashes in the end. My first inference: Nothing was worth anything. Everything is ash. The first time I reduced something to ash. The first time I prayed after that, and achieved tranquility with my brothers. Prayers. My mind went backwards. The first time I visited a mosque. The first memory of holding my mother's hand and running to a market. The first time I kicked a football. The first time I laughed till my sides hurt for absolutely no reason at all. The time I rolled on the floor of my house, laughing and giggling with delight, without any cares or fears. The first gunshot, the next day. The ashes again. The dust that has never left me since.

I opened my eyes. I didnt realize I'd been panting. I calmed my breath, and looked around. One of the kids was here. He was looking at me, peering as if I was some kind of monster. Seeing me watch him, he ran off. Some kind of monster? Yes. Thats what he probably thought. Its what I would have thought at his age. An age of monsters, magic, green, blue, winds and...and rolling on the floor without a care in the world.

Was I the monster then? But -

Are you going to just stand there, or come over already? Itna wakt nahi hai ab. Hand me the bag.

He unpacked the contents and with the efficiency of a professional, which he was, set it up in under two minutes. The countdown read 30 seconds.


We knelt before it. Now we had to pray. Thats all. In very little time, everything would be over, and our cause completed. Our parts in the grand scheme of the war would be finished, and our glory infinite.

We knelt and began to pray.


Was I a monster really? I didnt want to be. I had never thought it like that. I hadnt wanted that. I hadnt really wanted anything. I only wanted to live on those green patches. I hadnt wanted anything before. And I wanted to laugh. So long since I'd laughed. I envied those children, born in a nation without strife, without trouble. No riots? No fighting? No mass murders? Well, none until now atleast. This would bring them to that. This would tear them and their laughters and...and...make them like me.


Like me? Like me? Oh God. Oh God!


I remember running. I dont remember getting up, in the middle of prayers, an act worthy of death by itself. But I remember running. And screaming at the top of my voice. I dont think they understood me. At times such as these, every person reverts subconsciously to his native tongue. But I remember I screamed - I want to live! Please. I want to live!

But things aren't like that now. I am here. Above the devastated remains of the park, I float. I dont know if I'm alive. I dont know if I ever died. There's my patch of grass. Its still green. Maybe I'll lie down here for a while. All this noise of cars, ambulances, the screaming people, the weeping injured I do not like. I'll just lie here awhile, and try to stay forever. Its quiet in my corner.

Two Thousand Eight

Its a new year.

I will turn another year older.

Oh God.

[Slightly more optimistic ushering in done here.]