Tag Archives: life

Ouroboros

I looked her in the eye
And told her to slowly die.

Asked her stiffened branches
To drop with a jilt,
Onto the over-exposed leaves
That dry and wilt.

She stands there stubborn,
Not ready to go;
I take an axe
And it hits her with a blow.

She staggers,
But stays upright,
Proud of her withering bark,
Where rough winds made her uptight.

She is not routine.
When she braved the storms,
Her branches danced,
Her leaves smiled with warmth.
Then a touch would have comforted her.
Now there is nothing to be saved from falling apart.

I light a match
And gently bring it to where she has dried.
I put her to peace,
So that the land can again be free and wide.

I ready saplings for fresh plantation.
It will grow stronger on manure –
Which is built from benevolent leftovers
Of the previous residents’ endure.

Half Story

Maybe the stories are only half true
So the only way to have the truth you want
Is to imagine it through

Maybe there is no way to clean the floor
It is a permanent scratch on the door
– (one you can’t ignore) –
Surprise surprise – always an unfinished chore

Invented-to-sell vitality
Imperfect reality
Non sensible even in totality

No true story of love
No caring dove
Only illusion of someone above

Entertaining a Fool: Heart vs. Mind

Why don’t they teach our hearts to be as quick as our minds? Move quickly, ruthlessly. My heart falls in love slowly. And doesn’t move so quickly. There is ill-synchronization – this process design would naturally be systematically wrong, and give a right scenario only by chance. Problem identified. Solution awaited.

Step 1: Stop listening to the heart. It is a fool. The heart is the devil. It will pine and cry and demand.

Step 2: You said no to the heart in the first instance. The heart should mellow down by now. Look at it with tenderness. Listen to it. Exhausted of crying, it would now be calmer. Ask the heart what it wants. It will reply quietly. Ask the heart ‘why?’ It will invariably have an answer. If it continues to ask for the same thing, let it have some.

Step 3: If everything goes well: congratulations. If it doesn’t, well, continue to Step 4.

Step 4: If everything isn’t as planned, its alright. Life isn’t a perfect story. Remember never to put your life on hold for anyone. This is a recipe for disaster – it brews all kinds of unnecessary expectations. Improvise. Compromise. Do not idealize.

Step 5: If things don’t work out despite genuine effort, you should know the limit to which you are willing to go. If anything asks you to lower your self-esteem – drop it.

Step 6: Drop it, Move on. Remember, don’t put your life on hold.

Step 7: Easier said than done? I agree. But you have simply got to do it. Stand up straight, throw back your hair, and get on with work. You have a life, the centre of which is you . Someone once told me a brilliant quote by Charlie Chaplin: “Life is a tragedy in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.” Look at the big picture and be grateful for the experience that made you more aware of yourself. Before I sleep at night, I thank God for all the bad experiences that have hurt me in some way. These are the experiences that make you go outside your comfort zone. If life were a jungle, this experience just made you fitter to survive. You just smoothened a rough edge that you had, and are now stronger for everything else that you wanted, and I do know you have many dreams that are blazing inside you asking for some fresh air. Go tend to them.

Step 8: When in life you look back, don’t regret anything. It is what you wanted and you did everything in good faith. For the next time, I would remember these lines I once heard from sufi singer Shafqat Amanat Ali: “Hamne usase wafa mangi jise wafa ka matlab hi nahi pata”, “I asked for the sincerity from one, who is oblivious to what it means.” Forgive yourself and move on. Next time, give the mind more time to audit your heart’s whims.

The Hold and the Chase

That pretty stone from the beach?

Yes, I had to have it

So I picked it up

Tossed it onto my blanket.

 

Sneaked it away, yes –

Took it into my hold

Took it away to the sunny warmth,

Away from the water’s cold.

 

Are you of the sea?

Or of the sands?

No it doesn’t matter –

Cuz you’d still be in my hands.

 

Discoveries add meaning

To days otherwise crazed

Reignite the spirit

And dreams and desires to be chased.

In Conversation…with an ex-user

“Would you like some tea?”

Me: (turning and smiling at the young man behind the voice.) “No thank you”

Him: “You sure? You don’t like tea?”

Me: “It looks a little too strong for my taste!”

Him: (pulling up a chair and settling down with his own cup of hot tea) “So, are you a journalist?”

Me: “Um, no, I am just working in the office here.”

Him: “Ok, well, either way, if you want to ask me anything feel free to do so”

(after a pause)

Me: “So you are working here as well?”

Him: “At this rehab centre? No, I was in here a few years ago; I came back then to get help with my addictions, and since then I have been trying to get my life in order, starting from becoming independent so I don’t need to be dependent on anything or anyone. I like to visit this place once in a while. Just come back and say hello to all my friends in here. ”

Me: “That is a good thing.”

Him: “Really, you can ask me what’s on your mind.”

Me: “I was wondering how did you get into it though.”

Him: “Oh it was just everywhere when I was growing up. You know this place, its very populated and there is no future, well atleast we never saw any when we were younger and playing and living off these very streets. Socially, the culture just passed on from the youth to kids, it was that bad. Habits caught you even before you knew what a habit meant. When I was as young as nine, I started smoking. I remember it was one of my seniors from my local school that offered me my first cigarette, and back then we were so young and naïve that I didn’t really think twice. When I was eleven, I was already smoking up.”

Me: “Didn’t your parents realize what you were getting involved in?”

Him: “I had about half a dozen brothers and sisters and my parents were very busy raising them. They had barely enough money to keep the house running and kept busy with that. Plus once I would be off to school, I would be on my own. You might have already guessed I could not get much money from home, so I started doing odd jobs after school to afford my new lifestyle. I would do work for anyone who would pay me a bare minimum, provide an extra helping hand in small shops or for small businesses. As these were random jobs, and we needed something much more steady, we got around to picking rags and sifting through the rubbish to find anything we could resell to kabadiwalas (scrap dealers) who would find someone who would pay for their scrap value. This was an okay thing until we started finding curious things in the wastes from the area where we were growing up – the residential-cum-commercial area was full of grown-ups sniffing and discarding worse stuff in the trash – there were always traces of such things, especially the cheaper, unhealthy, and contaminated variety, for us to find and experiment there.”

Him: (continuing) “We got in a nasty habit there, trying all sorts of things, first for free then slowly paying for it. We just didn’t realize we were paying a part of our lives as the price. This went for many years before my family finally gave up on me and stopped giving me shelter any more. Looking back, this was one of the best things that happened to me. Then I had to come here to seek shelter and also make changes to my life. These people were nice, they let me in at zero fee, I just had to follow the rules and help with chores. Things turned around slowly. It was not always easy, but I kept trying. Since the time I got out of here, my target is always the monthly salary from a decent job – nothing gives me more happiness than going home with a cheque in hand and being greeted with smiles. I live for my family, from one day to another.”

(awkward silence)

Me: “Thank you for sharing that with me.”

Him: “I will see you next time I come around here. You really should have that tea, if you intend to work here for longer.” And then he passes me one of the most genuine and warmest smiles I have ever seen.

As he walks away with his cup, I pick up my tea reluctantly, take a sip of the bitter liquid, put it back on the table, and try to do some work. From the corner of my eye I can see him chatting smilingly with other people. I wonder if his new fix is hope – or love – because we are all dependent in some way. It’s just about choosing the right fixes.

Find x

To find x has been the most consistent quest of my life.

From the bubbly memories of my childhood when the powerpuff girls could still save the day, Chemical X was the most intriguing mystery. Had it not been for chemical X, the city of Townsville, USA would have had to face a sad fate at the hands of its monsters of reptilian/alien/robotic descent, without the ‘just-in-time’ epical kindergarten heroes. If only in my dreams, lady-luck smiled a charming smile and elevated my passionate daydreams into – well – adventurous night dreams.

That is where I first befriended mysterious Mr. X. It taught me to dream while I thought I was simply looking for it.

I could find x in my school notebooks, surely alongside the alphabet that first opened my eyes to the written word, but doubtless it would be standing with even more confidence alongside a lot of nots! I solved a thousand algebraic equations to find x. It was this search that taught me mathematics. I was meant to go off to sleep with the knowledge that although for the day my job was done, the next day would bring along more x’s to find!

When Christmas arrived with its bright lights, long vacations and celebratory mood at the end of a long year – my eyes pondered a second more at the X on the X-Mas, appearing in various forms everywhere during celebrations, unable to detach from the playful and merry feeling it exuded, nothing more fittingly signified the festivities. The strength of love and kindness could be felt without being spoken of. It made me hope. While decorations changed over the years, so did houses, people and wishes. We were never the same as we had been the last year. But even in the dilemma when you would lift your head from a bow at the church, the ‘X’ sparkled constantly, and so did our hopes and wishes. We prayed with the same sincerity and it was then that I first saw glimpses of faith.

The rhetoric incorrigibly finds me, sometimes placing its mammoth self in an inignorable position, or otherwise just finding a snug corner at the back of my head. Either way, our destinies bring us together time and again. It is a story unfolding overtime.

X no more is being choked into a mere mathematical variable. It is a humble acceptance, to let it embrace its truly deserved freedom. It can spread its wings and let its spirit soar to the wildest of horizons. The irony in finding x is that even with everything else concrete and available, x is what it truly is – a variable. It is the unquenchable human curiosity that forces one to look beyond the face value and forces one to question, search and inquire. I tend to lose myself even before I get a fraction closer in fulfilling my desire. Lost in the intricate golden-yellow print on a South Indian Kanjivaram Saree, to the fantasies of the frosty heights of the mighty Himalayas, lost in curiosity. From the magical streets engulfed in the aroma of spices to the rows of bright glowing oil lamps put out during the festive mood of the much-celebrated Diwali. X is the unknown. To look for X is to be curious and to look beyond the obvious. To search for x is to look for the heartbeat of something new, what moves us, and makes us want to move the world to simply know its meaning. X makes me appreciate a perfect world and want to know what makes it so. X sends me out on a quest. And this quest gives me meaning. For all you know, you are x. You are your own axis. You are your own essence. Defining your meaning every time you step out in sunshine to dazzle the world with your brilliance. And this is our sole power. When we look for x within us, and know its power, we can define our own worth.

X can set the world record for its multi-metamorphosis or mutability. This quest does not have an answer. The journey beholds more significance than the destination, the latter simply being an excuse.

X lies stoutly in the question and sends into a frenzy of search all its enthusiasts. As we scurry around desperately to find meaning, it is ironic that x is to be found most easily if we look at the question with real intent. It is right there. I find the answer when I find the meaning of what I am looking for. Well it sounds easy enough, the only condition is that to know the meaning of x, I have to undertake the journey to look for x – the meaning forms on its own.

So even though I am no better posed at having found x than I seemed to when I fought teaming up with the powerpuff girls, I am glad. For, well, if Tom and Jerry had settled as best of friends, the show would not go on.

I have still not found x. I have found more than I expected.

For those who are still looking, it is right there.

A little girl with little feet

A little girl with little feet

Walked her little perfect land

She felt the wind in her hair, the smell of the sea

And underneath her feet some fine fine sand.

 

In her head her life was complete

And yearned only to keep moving

One step here and next one there –

She knew the path as learning and growing.

 

She steered the ship of her little life

And weaved little dreams that would forever last

Until of course when they became real

And then she would find another sail for her mast.

 

It was a bright sunny day

When her ship sighted another

On the vast seas that she thought she owned –

Here was a harmless intruder.

 

They opened a rum

It was a moment of celebration

To find solace

On this endless ocean.

 

They danced, they cheered

They laughed at life

But wondered secretly how they would look

As man and wife.

The words were sudden

So they quickly were made to vanish

And they continued to dance into the night

Until they went to bed famished.

 

Our friend the intruder deserves an introduction

He was an adventurer from beyond the horizon

He knew a million of the sea’s secrets

And had discovered a thousand.

 

A boy of might

And courage and heart

He had braved some storms

And played a proud part.

 

One fine morning

The girl and the boy said their goodbye’s

They went to their docks

And looked yet again at the skies.

They knew they had dreams

And hopes to be fulfilled

So they set again on their paths

And began navigating with skill.

 

For months the girl sailed

And crossed many-a-lands

She had her own adventures

With the helm held firm under her hand.

 

She often thought of the adventurer

But she laughed it off

There were her perfect little dreams

And she would set afloat with another job.

 

One morning at the bay

When the waters were calm

She recognized a bottle and a hat

Just by the palm.

 

She felt her missing pulse

And so did the face under the hat

Which she now recognized as her own

She went to join the boy where he sat.

 

He laughed

She giggled

He bowed

She clapped

He spoke

She blushed

He got the boat

She got the map.