Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Journey That Was Never Remembered

Life is one long journey from one station to another, just like a daily office employee waits for the next Borivali fast local impatiently at Dadar station, you wait impatiently for the next train to take you closer towards your destination. Just like the office employee, you know the train is going to come, it comes by everyday at the same time (almost the same time), the announcer has even announced that it will come but still mind has its doubts about the train and life. The journey of life takes you on every road, sometimes you start towards the east trying to get away from something, only to find that something ahead in front of you as you return from the west.

Then there are those steeps which throw doubts in the strongest of the minds. You accelerate harder and harder hoping that the steep will be overcome but eventually realize a small reduction in gear is all it takes to go over that steep. The satisfaction you get as you reach the top, you know its not the mount Everest, but some small portion in your mind tries to convince you that this was the mount Everest.

On the hot summer afternoon I was sitting on the top berth of the train from Delhi to Pune in a very lame attempt to read a Nagraj comic. After about fifteen attempts in making a complete word from the random gibberish that my eyes was seeing, I gave up. For few moments I kept on staring at the fan that was busy trying to grab everyone attention by making noises, it succeed.

Finally, abandoning all hopes I decided to enter the mortal world and started looking for humans to talk too. This berth was very peculiar, opposite me giggling and laughing were two teenage boys from North-East. The berth below me was a family of mother and her two little daughters. And the berth in the passage was occupied by a Buddhist Guru and his true believer. I do not really recall what their names were but I do remember calling the girl Pinky (for she wore a pink dress).

It took me fifteen seconds to understand the common topic of discussion was God, summer and its increasing heat and Wai Wai cup noodles (suggested by the cute little Pinki who insisted she wanted it). I was known to this drill, having traveled the same eighteen hour journey back and forth, it was the same thing all over again. Greet with pleasantries, share conversation, maybe share a delicacy and so on and so forth. None of the journeys were any significant, nothing that would change your life. I was watching little Pinky who was busy helping her younger sister (One year younger) eat wai wai noodles munching them. She looked at me staring at her and offered me her cup. I smiled and politely said no. She got busy eating them.

The mother mentioned that the guru was some high guru in their sect and they were migrating towards their Aashram. The boys mentioned that they were heading to some church to become a missionary. It was as if Harry Potter and Voldemort had finally come face to face in the epic battle in the bogey of S6. There were clashes and clangs (which i only imagined) and a duel of ideologies. I do not recollect what started it exactly, but it was something to with some can opener or wai wai noodles or the summer heat, but something kicked off a debate in the ideologies in that very train. No astrologer in the world could have predicted that in the next few moments, four thousand year of theology would be debunked, raised again and debunked again. I still missed my Nagraj comic. Pinky got busy searching for something in her pink sack which she was carrying. Her sister peeped inside the bag with her.

The duel started off with the guru being Avatar and reincarnation. The boys argued about the all loving God and faith in his son. The cycle of life was debunked with the Holy cross and the holy trinity was destroyed by the chakra of karma. I tried getting into the conversation from time to time, but being a atheist had very less experience of God and all, so had very less knowledge of what they were fighting for. So far the guru had his eyes closed and was pretending to be meditating (wish I had an excuse like that). He slowly opened his eyes and smiled and heads turned towards him. He spoke something in a language I did not know and the mother translated it to us.
"He wants to answer some questions, if you have any..." she said.
The boys started with the guru who was answering them in some language and the mother was translating. This continued for another fifteen twenty minutes and the agitation increased. People walked in and out of our berth and came for a free show. Some people decided to join in the argument for whichever sake.

There were few followers in the same compartment who came to listen to their guru talk. One of them sat next to me, I had watched enough Jackie Chan movies to know that he would be carrying a Katana sword with them, so shifted my position a bit. The conversation reached the peak and I decided it was time to put a foot down. As a precaution against any martial arts punch, I changed the seat and sat on the opposite side.

"Who are we to decide what is right and wrong?" I asked mustering up the courage, yet keeping a lookout for any ninja stars or nunchuks that might come flying by.
"We are all doing the lords work," mentioned the teenager and his friend agreed, "The all loving Father is up there deciding right and wrong. You go to him and all wrong become right..."
"We all are judged," the guru replied, "It is not who you worship, it is what you do in your life," he said (which was translated by the mother)
"Puppy..." quipped the four year old joining our conversation.

The entire birth got silence and all attention turned towards her. Unaware with any of it, she was struggling to remove a purple soft toy from inside her bag. Her pet Dinosaur had his leg stuck under a big coloring book. After a lot of effort she pulled out the soft toy and her coloring book also fell out with it. She hugged the toy and shouted, "Puppy..."

She turned around to see everyone staring at her and was embarrassed. Quickly she made a lame attempt at trying to hide behind her mothers back. Everyone laughed loudly, just like that all the theological disparities had vanished. It didn't matter to her if there was father or reincarnation or anything else as long as she her soft toy with her. Yet again a four thousand year old argument was squashed by a four year old.

In the end it mattered not which side was great or who was right. She had no problem going to heaven or to hell as long as her toy was with her. That little girl in few moments explained the entire cycle of life more than the guru or the boys. The arguments dissolved into thin air, four thousand years of theological disparities vanished, just like that, and the only spiritual experience everyone had was of bliss. Everyone laughed.

This journey was nothing special, it was one of the many necessary trips between Pune and Delhi. It was just a number in the many journeys. You meet many people in these journeys, people who then turn faceless as your destination arrives. Like the ancient city of Atlantis, these memories go away into oblivion and millions of researching years cannot bring them back to surface, however they exist. They exist as a rumor in your memory, as a whisper. I do not remember the guru or how he looked like, I do not remember the boys or how they looked like. I do not remember Pinky or her real name, but I do remember her cute 'Puppy' that changed the entire course of the journey.

Journeys begin and journeys end. The entire lifetime of a human being is spend on innovative attempts of reaching the destination from the source. The source and the destination changes according to time. The journey remains the same. But then there is one journey that suddenly comes along and changes the destination for countless future journeys that follow.

Disclaimer: This post is submitted for the Mahindra XUV500 challenge by Indiblogger. The details of the journey are as accurate as I can remember them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cliffhanger

The laws of physics had gone for lunch break, he thought. He had jotted down, classified and categorized all the problems he could ever face in his entire lifetime. Hanging seventy feet high up in the air by his shoe lace was not one of them. He was not even supposed to be here, not like this anyway. But his limbo poised a serious question that would reflect on his entire lifetime, which way should he go?

He had climbed this building to go down, he used the lift while going up but will now use gravity to do is job to take him down. Gravity you be bitches, he exclaimed. He had seen his shoe lace loosen as he stood on the edge of the building to jump. He considered tying it but then ignored, where he was going there was no need for a shoe lace, was there?

All the seventy religious dogma and no one explained if you should tie your shoe lace before dying. Well, it was too late for that wasn’t it? Oh, well nothing he could do now could he?

What was that buddhist story about the hunter, strawberries and the tiger? The hunter fell of the cliff hung by the strawberry bush over a valley full of tigers. the hunter ate those strawberries, yes, that was it. He had never lived a life like that, did he? Always worrying about others, carrying the weight of entire world on his shoulder.

Worrywart.

Oh yes, school, college, office and now this. This was infact a welcome break in his life after a decade. The fact that he was suspended high up in the air with only his shoe lace did not overshadow his break.

Where was his life going? He thought and chuckled, life was out of question now wasn’t it? He was supposed to go headlong in death. If only he had stopped and looked around the world. It was so beautiful, so lifelike. Oh well, it was to late for that wasn't it? He had decided when he crossed the fiftieth floor while coming up, there was no turning back. The watchmen of the building will let dogs on him if he had returned.

Maybe it was for good, he thought, after all life was going nowhere was it? There was nothing in his life, a complete humdrum of useless job, money and coffee. Too much? But then what about his wife? She was happy with his insurance policy wasn’t she? What was there anymore that responsibility?
But then he saw a butterfly flying towards him from down below, the wings were so beautiful as it struggled to reach him.

“Listen,” the butterfly said, “Life is important…”
“You talked,” he exclaimed.
“You listened,” the butterfly exclaimed clearly surprise someone listened had a heart attack and went crashing on the ground.

Oh well, yes life is beautiful. Maybe all he needed was a welcome break, a holiday in GOA, few days off without booze, smoke and life was all he needed to get it all sorted out. Maybe he could add his school crush on Facebook, go play those drums. Yes he could, he exclaimed.

So busy was he planning his future, he did not realize his shoe that was holding him tethered to life came off. He fell headlong to his death… or did he?

P.S. Those who are keeping score, my resolution of writing 20 stories in 2012 is happening. Yo.
P.P.S. First attempt at Dark humor, is it any good?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Anti-social Media

Man is a social animal, whoever came up with this phrase was probably having high tea with his college buddies in canteen. Man is infact an anti-social animal, specially when canteen serves tea mixed with lots of water and a spot of milk which is hardly spotted.

Social Media is everywhere, people are spending more and more time on Facebook, Twitter and erm… well… erm.. . Clearly suits (businessmen) and advertising agents do not like it. No after spending a millions of rupees in adding a jingle to their product, they learn that the customer for whose brain wash they had set it up is busy on Facebook, they will get angry.

So then they change tracks and start popping on Facebook and Twitter and soon mindless rant turns commercial, and when it comes to money, the policy is prepared for the employee and on and on.

One thing Social media does not give you is let live. Earlier when you used to talk to the wall, no one would like it. Now you talk to the wall and you get million likes (yikes)!!!

So you decide, your privacy is of a concern and you delete your Facebook account.

“Dude, what do you mean you don’t have Facebook account?” asks your friend, “C’mon no kidding, you are not on Facebook?”

“Ha liar,” second friend, “So you are one of them…”

Most of your life decisions are due to peer pressure, your college, your profession, your first company, the first cigarette, the first peg and however hard you may try Facebook. You bow to peer pressure and decide its no harm to join the social network is there?

So you do the tireless process of creating a Facebook profile. You fill in all funny details, like you lived in Jhumritalaya and you studied in Medical College of Engineering for Arts, Science and Commerce. You write witty and funny answers in questionnaire. Tick tick tick.

75 Friend request in a day. Hmmm, popularity. 7 people said they worked with you in the company, is that true? Hmmm privacy. 16 people said they went to school with you, is that true? Hmmm Creepy. 5 people said they are your family, is that true? Hmmm blood curling silent scream.

So this is how they do it, even if you do not know, people who know you do know you. So Facebook always know.

One morning, the dreaded thing happens, you wake up to the smell of muffin cake being prepared in your neighborer house. You plan the best possible way to drill a hole in the adjacent wall that will enable you to eat the muffin cake and there it is, lying, waiting and watching. A friend request from your mother.

You do not know, what is more horrible, your mother finding out that you turned out to be the person she was warning you in childhood, or the fact that she still posses childhood photographs of you, some in your birthday suits, some in fancy suits. To be or not to be, wasn’t that what Shakespeare said to accepting a friend request from your mother?

You decide to let it hang, get on with your life. But the fact that its still there out in the open is killing you. Soon it starts rolling, the neighboring Aunty, who you remembered when Dexter starts cutting his victims, sends a friend request.

The horror continues, someone finds a old photograph of you, it is one of those times when you had let your guard down. Not only is that photo uploaded, it is tagged, commented on and shared with everyone and your mom. You politely ask your friend to take the picture down, she politely refuses, (wonder why dexter cutting his victim plays in your head)

The problem with life is, it is infinite on both ends. Your college professor ads you on Facebook hoping to find out about you in turn informs everyone that he teaches in the college you were trying not to tell Facebook about.

Your entire world is starting to crumble, the world is not exactly yours but about the people who surround you. You merely are a password in the massive mess called the universe and the only option left in your world is suicide. I.e., digital suicide.

You unanimously agree with yourself that shutting down Facebook profile is the last logically response as the walls are closing in. You think about the loved once, what will they feel? What if your brother wanted to show you that video, he will have to resort to email or worst, the barbaric way of physically showing you. Your college friends want to flaunt the idea that their marriage is the only and greatest accomplishment in their life. Your friend who lives across the pacific and wants to show you her culinary skills via Facebook. What will they feel?

The mouse pointer hovers around the delete the Facebook profile button as the though lingers in your mind. To be or not to be, is the question. There is no other way, you silently weep in the dark secluded corner of your house. You contemplate the alternatives, like changing the broken light bulb in the dark secluded corner. You can learn French or German or Klingon, based on your priorities. You can finally take up those guitar lessons or even go to office on time. You will save a lot of time, energy and money on internet connection.

A soft press on the mouse and you feel lighting striking somewhere on the planet. An earthquake might shake the entire premise, but nothing happens. Suddenly you feel lighter as if the one ring was thrown in the cracks of mount doom. The world is brighter, lighter and better. You announce to no one in particular about your victory, standing up on the chair waiting for the standing ovation of the world. For few seconds your mind imagines the distant clapping and the heart yearns for multiple likes for this step.

If only there was a medium where you could share this information to all your friends, you think. The mind reels back, is there a way? Dark storm clouds gather outside as your mind clouts with doubt. You look at the laptop screen and realize the horror. It is asking the one question you dread at this moment.

‘Are you sure?’

Multiple thoughts clout your mind, multiple ideas flow in. If only it was as simple, you decide. The mouse pointer lingers between the void of Yes and No, which way should it go? You decide to go for the Yes, but miss by one Letter. Before you know it, the mouse has pressed No, as if it has mind of its own.

Ages must have passed, you decide, ages since all this happened. Did you skip the millennium? You look up in the world from the dark secluded corner of your house, something is wrong in this world, you decide.

Nothing has changed, no one has even missed you while you were away. Depressed, distressed and disheartened you announce your enmity to the world. The world is busy in its own humdrum revolving and rotating in happiness. Then suddenly you get one notification, its a small like from someone long lost. You smile, the world is a happy place to live in after all.

Like it?

Life was never simple was it?



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Love was Melting...slowly.

Something was not right with this world, he decided. How could this world spin so peacefully? He had lost her, LOST HER. how could the world even spin? There was something definitely wrong. in the final moments of desperation he had panicked. He did not know if it was the right thing to do but he did it.

Yes he did it. She gave him immense pleasure, yes she did. Till her last moment of the existence, she lived to satisfy him, to please him.

A few moments ago he would not have even cared about her, but he had touched her. He had felt the coldness on his lips, they felt numb. Her cold exterior only gave him intense pleasure.

That’s it, he decided, this world should stop spinning. This world should pay the price of is negligence.

He stared at her, blue berry ice cream with extra truffle and butterscotch lying limbless on the floor. The molecular structure had come apart due to heat, the ice cream was melting along with his hopes for a decent Sunday afternoon.

He had seen her fall in front of his own eyes, as she slipped from her hand and crashed on the dusty floor. In desperation he had panicked to save her, but he couldn’t. now she was gone along with his hope for life.

There was something wrong with this world, he decided, the world did not deserve to spin if he could not finish his blue berry ice cream with extra truffle and butterscotch.

Note:. This article was written during the session of writing circle Pune, on 4th March. 20 minutes, write whatever comes to your mind, we sat in CCD where I saw the Blue Berry Ice Cream with Extra Truffle and Butterscotch and made a story.

P.s. I am Back.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Valentine Pity Fry

There comes a time in every persons life when you loose complete hinge over reality. You refuse any human touch and the only existence of life in your room is the continuous snore under the blanket heard at constant frequency. Thus in the winter of 2010, I found myself suddenly waking to a disturbance. I have heard that there were mughal emperors who used to behead the people who disturbed their sleep, for fifteen seconds I wished I was one of them. But no, I wasn’t. Having lost touch with reality and human beings for three consecutive days, waking up to reality was not a good experience.

Here I was waking up after three days on a Sunday with a very bad headache (sleeping for 18 hours straight), a very foul smell (which considering my room was not cleaned in like a month was acceptable) and a very grumbling stomach.

It took me seven seconds to adjust to the surrounds and pin point the location to the disturbance, which was my Chinese Phone ringing at the top of its voice. Considering that for last three days I had given up on human contact, I let it ring even though it was disturbing me.

For few moments I considered taking a bath (I dare you to take a bath in Delhi winter) or going back to sleep. But the stomach had some other agenda, for the last three days it was finding out new ways to disturb my sleep indicating it needed input.

So, half sleepy I brushed by teeth and fumbled in the kitchen, only to find my supplies depleted. There were four pieces of bhendi (lady finger) in the cupboard but I was too bored to cook them. Other options included borrowing some food stuff from the neighbor (whom I shared the kitchen with) but I understood that since I finished her well cooked rice last time there was no way in hell, she would let me borrow food. After a lot of effort I did find two parle-g biscuits in the kitchen but that would not fulfill my stomach.

Thus exhausting all the options, I decided to step out in cold to eat food. Winter in Delhi is like a fairy tale, you wish it was far far away but it never was. One monkey cap and a sweater later I stepped out in the cold.

14 minutes later I was in the middle of the food mall trying to catch a seat as quietly as I could. The grand plan was foiled with the phone again ringing at the top of its voice like a three year old who has just learned the word Ba. The south-Indian waiter in the Chinese restaurant in the heart of Noida politely smiled trying to guess the amount I had in my wallet so that he can decide if he should give my order to the cook or the security guard.

As I said I wanted to get away from human touch as much as I could, so I ordered without looking at menu the first thing that came to my mind, ‘Fried rice’. The waiter explained to me that today they had a special offer going on with Fried rice was free Manchurian gravy. Just like the tail of a dog waggles at the prospect of a brand new car, my stomach leaped at the prospect of free gravy. Well it was a done deal, buy one get one free. Praising my luck I checked my phone, it was blazing with sound and my girlfriends name popped up on the screen.

As my mood was now improved (at the prospect of free gravy) I picked up the phone in happy mood. The instant the phone reached my ears, she yelled, ‘happy valentines day.’

Crash. Boom. Bang.

The wall around me burst, it was 14th February 2010, a valentines day. A bit wary I looked around me and lo, couples were enjoying the day of love on every other table except mine. So, the free gravy was actually a pity offering, as I was the single and unlikely to get a date (as I smelled horribly). I quietly gulped on my lunch and escaped back to my sleep.

Things happen, during the time between sleeps there is a big period while life happens. It happens to all of us, at some point or the other. While the whole world is enjoying life, you may yet enjoy the snores under the blanket. As for me, the world did not see me emerge till 16th February, what happened after that is between me, my blanket and Morpheus (the God of dreams).

Disclaimer: My record of sleeping is four days straight with a mandatory rest in between for seventeen minutes after every eight hours.

Disclaimer 2: This post was targeted for Valentines day but thanks to my writers block could not complete it.


Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
An epic adventure across space and time