Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Preface : A Symphony in Ablution

   There was a restlessness in their head. A feeling you can't shake off with all the food, liquor, sex, drugs and pleasures of the world. At 33, when everything you know about the world has changed there's not a lot of luxuries one can afford oneself, save the beautiful gift of solitude. They were young and wild once, the many fallacies they observed, of the pop culture they epitomised. Heavy drinking, multiple partners, nights of little remembrance, social frenzies, raves, orgys, they had been ticking them all off like items on a bucket list. Paying the price for improvising what goes in on the list along the way, they thought and laughed to themselves. The once brilliant beam had faded, nay evolved rather into a serene smile that comes with weariness of the mind, body and spirit.

The world around was changing rapidly. Consumerism was at the fore of the glaringly obvious mass hysteria. Suddenly, there were so many things in the universe that money could buy, that the beauty of indulging in the abstract was now singing a melancholy tune. If money was the kindle that set people off on the path of horrendous self-righteousness and indulgence, consumerism was the roaring flame that engulfed everyone in its warmth, that would then, subliminally, slip into a person and consume the embers of character until all that remained of the one, was ash and an identity puppeteered by the desires of the flesh. Free thought and speech was slowly turning into an illusion and mankind was submitting itself to be a nation of sheep ruled by wolves.

They had quit their well-paying day jobs, dabbled in a bit of social service working with senior citizens, animals in distress and abandoned and crippled children. But it probed and bothered them, that the scale of change they desired to impact the world, was one that needed tremendous physical and mental preparation, for to achieve it, they would have to unbecome the last 33 years of their life. Habits had to be sunk, food preferences would have to change drastically, the body needed heavy conditioning and the mind needed to kick-up a notch and perform at a level few ignited minds have been stretched to. Seeing as how all these are inter-dependant on each other, they went about structuring what they needed to do.

Ties with family and friends were the next things that had to go, for there was no way they could achieve what they intended to, ties binding one to the core of his emotional being, rendering one lucid and incapable of action beyond the spectrum of warm, fuzzy feelings of the heart. This they would achieve by getting off of all acknowledged lines of communication and forgoing a place of residence. The first step started by acknowledging that the concept of the world in its entirety only began, when notions of space and borders were distorted to the point that travel weariness was swept under the mattress of the joy of geographical discovery.

A self-learning crash course in astronomy, philosophy, theology and mythology set them off by a couple years, but it was an integral part of what they aimed to implement, coupled with an array of books ranging from Enid Blyton to Aldous Huxley that they vividly shared an interest for and read avidly with healthy debate brewing from those exact conversations. Their preference in music always seemed to stem from the ideology that the human race tended to be more sustainable and free-spirited as time spun backward and it reflected on what they listened to, Frank Zappa, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, BB King and other poets of the time.

With this little particular consortium of knowledge at hand and unconventional method, they knew what they had to do. While one set off to become a Priest, the other set off to become a Minister. The grand plan to absolve conformity was in motion. Like clockwork.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

She, empowered

   There was a chill that morning. The kind of chill that doesn't run down the spine, but runs up your head and leaves you in a state of numb comfort. She ran down to the kitchen, fixed herself a breakfast of toast, eggs and orange juice. She picked up the newspaper, dismissed it with absolute disinterest. Not today. Today, there were things that needed more attention than what was happening around the world.

  She gave a cursory glance at the living room. Where she had lived all her life. She had saved these fleeting glimpses for a moment of nostalgia, for the moment when her routine would no longer be what it was. Mifi looked away, she couldn't let emotion cloud the clarity in her head. She locked up. Then she remembered. She had to go upstairs and pick up the gun. There was a man living opposite that beat his wife everyday. A man living a few blocks away whose buddies and him, were carrying six counts of unconvicted rape on their consience while Justice blindfolded herself to the travails of men.

They were all around. Men, who assumed too much of their strength and gave too much leverage to their egos. Things needed to change around here, she said to herself, humming Janie's Got a Gun to herself as she started her car. Things are going to change around here. Gender equality, or not. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Woof Woof

There was a stray on me street that cold windy night,
His howls and his barks setting the scene alight,
Assuring his people safety and sending thieves a fright,
And to me gate he followed suit, his eyes turning bright!

Woof Woof said he, and I decreed that his name,
Wag did he, his tail, and threw me a salute,
His front limbs on mine, more loving than a dame,
And his eyes sparkling a story, as he sat by me mute!

He walks me to me destination, near or far,
Running up to me while I get down from a car,
His eyes light up, he knows a loaf of bread with his name on it,
On a cold, cold night he enjoys the comfort of sleep on a car bonnet!

On a good weekend, he know I have the time to play fetch,
So we get a stick, and he'd rather watch me fetch, the little wretch,
Running in circles, mad with his own tail,
One day he climbed my scooter, and to the store we set sail!

We now sit together on sleepless nights,
Watching the streets, throwing shadows on the lights,
His arm on my lap, as I puff away my last cigarette,
Thanking the stars above, for as companions, we met.

- Gautam


 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Melancholy


I wake up to the grotesque, the putrid imagery beginning to invade my city,My beloved sparrows, chirping, lost in the smoky embers of a noisy throttle -
Heat, searing through my roof, killing frames of what I created pretty,
My head held high no longer, sickend that my babies need an A.C. and not a rattle!People, mine, bitter and wrathful, unable to get by the day's nitty gritty.
You capitalists, encroaching my lakes, a thousand sick schemes, a plaguing broth and a party for your petty battle!

Take your million cars, and keep them, take your billion bikes, and see if you get home safe,
You immigrants, this to you, who step on my peoples' kindness, unaware of my legacy, polluting and populating like rodents,
I am of the soil, yet alien, numb sickened eyes, a homage to the desecration I witness, vivid, as I let my spirit roam,
Until ... I hear an innocent young voice ... "Daddy, can I go out and play" as I slowly unbecome my indifference. 

I melt. Twice. 

I shudder to think what becomes of her spirit, if she's to be denied, just to be made to get inside the claustrophobia they call home. Keep her away, I yell. No one hears me. I begin to rant. Loud. I'm still unheard. Keep her away! She is one of mine. One that still wants to go out and play. Keep her away from the culling of all things pretty she knows exist. Keep her away from growing up. I am beginning to get selfish and desperate! I'd hate to see the innocence of that smile giving way to deceptive grins. Keep her away, from the rapists. Keep her away from the lewd. Keep he away from people who consider dowry. Keep her away from people, who only want. Keep her away from the computers, and shroud not her innocence by turning on your little idiot box. Didn't you hear? She wants to go out and play! Take the pepsi away from her, its no good. Go find her a swing! Don't take her to the mall, you imbecile, can't you see what concrete structures did to your free spirit? Back when you were still one of mine? Keep her away from rleatives that are quick to criticism, and opinions. Tell her about Lalbagh, take her there. Tell her about C.T.R, and feed her my legend. That way she will always know that I'm with her. Bring her up bold, so she is not initmidated by the opposite sex. Tell her about your glory days, but keep her the hell away from your tech park and your work. Keep her away from your present, for there is little apart from monotony there and invade not her future. Tell her about love, but don't ever tell her that she may/may not find it. Relive. Keep her close. When you croon to her during bed time that everything's going to be all right, honour it. But for now, she's daddy's little girl, so let her go out and play!
You never did question the culling of me, yet I see hope in the young, the little and the restless. Teach the young boys about chivalry, respect and decency. Teach them about equality. Make them question everything they see. You took it lying down, why should they? Let them play.

Because my city, still has the sun, the sand and the spirit. 
And I shall be watching.   

But for now, let them play. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lost, Found and Ageing Ungracefully: A Ranting Autobiography


                     Volition. Certainity. Choice. Decision. Career. The ordeal came slow to me, who, for the best part of twenty years had lived amongst the all the elevated comforts of an extremely middle class household. Blessed with a tongue for the tongue-in-cheek ,and a sense of humour that shuffled between ribald and effervescent, more often than not I found myself in the company of a more elevated section of society, that tended to live a different life style from the one I had grown up listening and envisioning of the archetypical. My identity had, over the years, the tendency to erase the person I was growing up to be, along the way. So, at any given point, my physical structure or his personality had no bearing upon what person I was just before the sweeping phase changes. Simply put, I, at the tender-but-not-so-vulnerable age of twenty, had transformed from a silent boy, to an excellent academic schooler, an ebbing and flowing early teenage, a rebellious and social late teenage, to an uncertain twenty-ier. My face had aged quite rapidly. From the complete lack of whiskers by high school to a scholarly full beard that I sport now. And through times of adversity, it felt like the beard gave me a much needed identity and a sense of much required purpose.                                                    
                      My social life has never been bereft of company. I have and have had many friends. From different classes of society, different religions and cultural backgrounds. It is truly amazing how much they taught me about the ways of the world. From the abstract to the tangible, from love to booze, there was nothing that these fabulous people left me wanting. Yes, there were problems. But nothing that could be pinned down to the company that I kept. Mostly, it was me. And I always knew it. My life had suddenly transitioned from having been bullied through school, an all boys' school at that, and spat upon for the way I looked, dressed or spoke. I had, in quick time transitioned to become "socially acceptable". My language was immaculate, never short on a cultured wardrobe and multiple pairs of footwear, and a sense of humour that was sharply on the rise. I began to be well versed with things around me and acquaintance with people of higher IQ's did me no harm. I absorbed it all. I was quite enjoying the sudden influx of people after a lonely childhood spent crying in front of a chapel or arranging G.I.Joe action figures and watching Cartoon Network which served as "best friend" through school. My one good buddy, I lost in a time when parents were busy changing both their insitutions whilst reflecting upon their job transfers.                                                               
                     The birth of peers in my quiet and lonely time, was a welcome boon for my overall inter and intra personal skills and personality development. At teenage, I had finally seemed to have found solace at my tuition centre where friends and girls (shout out to you lovely people :D) slowly began to mould me into a socially acceptable predicament. The traumatic seperation of my best friend seemed to slowly hurt a little bit lesser everyday, a burden I carried for five lonely years. Things began looking up, grades began dropping down. With the help of my tuition teacher, the only one who probably seemed to be understanding of my exuberance and potential helped me clear his Tenth boards with seemingly decent grades. Mother too, played an important moulding role and I got through tenth without many bruises save for ones that were said about my shockingly degrading academic performances. They too were forgotten, and me being only too eager to have fun only, didn't reflect much about my opinion on my further education.                        
                      Before I knew it, I was in an institution I seemingly disliked apart from all the wonderful peers I befriended there,  and owing to a huge cultural divide and such factors, adapting to the new place and its expectations went topsy turvy tied up with the joy of having so many girls around, a privileged sight for a starved kid just out of a boys' school. Things rapidly escalated from bad to worse, and needless to say and with no help from myself I was out of college. What followed was the tortorus exercise of attending a professional course at undergrad level with classmates that seemed to be brash and non sofisticated to say the least, at the whims of Mother dearest, who by now had given up hopes of her son becoming an "Engineer". At the time, I was adamant to prove a point , but little did I realise that through three years of the course, I was truly on the path of "un-becoming" an engineer. Questions and eyebrows were raised domestically and situations and arguments at home only seemed to get worse. But friends and bonds only got stronger. Which I don't essentially know till date, if from a professional stand point is good or bad for me. But i figure there's more than this that needs addressing from my side.                                                                  
                      After endless nights of silly indulgence and a tendency of over dependance of alcohol to address life's gravest problems, and a tumultous roller coaster of involvements with the opposite sex, life seems to have slowed down. At a pace, I feel most comfortable with. Today, and with every passing day, I get a little more certain of what I want to do. Of what I want to become and what should "un-become" of me to achieve. Bordering 21, a whole fearsome road of uncertainity lies ahead and a lot of adversity too. Convincing people that are close, isn't going to be easy. Nobody said it was. Post 21, and in a line that doesn't pay much appeals to none. But satisfaction seems to be more on the cards than a  pointless six figured sum. And I'm guessing this doesn't thrill the opposite sex much either. Neither does it thrill Mother. Makes Father a little more supportive, yet cautious at the same time. It is time for me to choke. Or have the last hurrah. So a buddy calls, and calls me out for a few beers. Beer. :D Gah. Friends. Those nit-wits are always around. Even at times I'd like to sound serious and focussed. Coming up, 21. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Then There Were Two


                   One chilly morning, one a park bench, two men sitting on two extremes ...  Silence, ambient, to the discomfort of the hour. They exchange furtive glances, fleeting looks, as though the sands of time seem to be aligned against them. Every passing second dissects resolve like a knife through butter. In the eyes, are two men who seem bereft of acceptance, the same individuality, the farcical society around them encouraged to build. The futility of the ideals that we seem to uphold, seems as fragile as the mind in face of adversity, being hypocritical at best. Our morals tweaked to subliminal levels, only to re-surface at times of malicious judgement of another. The cruel foundation of "society" that seems to evolve out of tainted religious ideology and blind faith. One, that believes in "The word of God" when the fact remains, that God, till date remains a man made concept. Two men, who at crossroads of life, have nothing to pin their hopes to, save for but something that spits in the face at the hour of their irony: Hope.                                            
                      Raghava, 28, is a software engineer. Born to a stereo-typical middle class Brahmin household, he now is the primary bread earner of his family, and much to their delight brings home a six figured sum every month. They are now a well settled family ... a suave duplex house, a Maruti car and the Sodex-ho vouchers for groceries every month. Its all smiles at Raghava's houselhold, save for a particularly sensitive issue ... that of Raghava's wedding. Raghava with practiced guile, dodges these questions, and the issue is repressed, only to be pursued with more vigour another day. For now, he is content. But, one look at Raghava, and you see the fabric of the man that has a cloak on, for reasons that he probably cannot put into discussion. He sits on the left hand side of the bench, as a righteous Marxist would.                                          
                      Aaron, age 19, is a journalism student. Aaron stands out amongst his peers like a dove amongst a bunch of crows. An ardent admirer of Beethoven, and a fantastic artist, his apparent disinterest in football and heavy metal music seems to be only overshadowed by his preference of dressing up in particualry bright colours and high waist pants. The pattern emerges, that Aaron has had obviously, quite a rough childhood, especially studying in an all boys school. A special lad, diligent and full of life and conversation and ideas when amongst free thinkers and people without inhibitions. Despite having faced and overcome all his nuances growing up and a difficult time through adoloscence, there seems to be a more pressing matter in the ornately built mind of his. One that seems to counter the Bible, the very essence of all things taught to him at home and school. He sits on the right, hoping to be ... as he seems to be on the verge of questioning the very ideals his foundations seem to have been laid upon.                                            
                     Raghava and Aaron look at each other. In face of their inner turmoils, they seem to smile at each other. There seems to be a sense of timelessness descending down upon the moment that they share. There's a look of knowing, sympathy and comfort that are exchanged and they seem to be each other's strength to question the very same morals that they grew up listening to. Yes, they were free thinkers. And in love. Armed with each other's strength to face the inhibitons and questions and disgracing that this pseudo-idealistic society was ready to bombard their union with. They smile again, this time with a stronger adulation and a stronger resolve to face whatever consequences they'd have to incur for their "sins" ... "sins" as serious as "loving another man". Burning the Bible and the Gita, collapsing the void of religion to a tangible embrace ... one of LOVE. Raghava and Aaron get up, hold hands and walk away ... from a world that seems hypocritical at best.       

Friday, December 30, 2011

Of the Maudlin City and Her Love Sick Slave

        On a very sleep deprived Friday morning, where my 12pm alarm tells a story about the climate, battling a running nose and eerie chills I seem to toil on with the most addictive ordeal of laziness. The flimsy blanket that my good buddy gave to me seems to be far cry from the cozy blanket I've at home, yet, the weather outside makes indoor chill seem like a cozy hearth. Revelling in doing nothing seems to be a special gift, and I get a little more perfect at it every passing day. As I'm about to continue with the whole shameless ordeal, the indomitable need to evade a phone call from home regarding "useless nocturnal activities" and such brings me, my keys. Brr! The chill slits my perpetual half closed Chinese eye sockets wide open. Even old black seems to have starting troubles. I ruthlessly open throttle and make sure the feller turns his rpm up and gets us on the way home.
                     Home. Where, "The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew." As i pick up the phone while tapping on my gate, the call from grandmother says it all. A T-850 voice in my head says, Laborious chore time, shirk at your own peril! Wincing at the now obvious Herculean ordeal awaiting, in wintry dread I discover the nature of this daunting task: A two hour bus ride to the airport and a two hour cab ride back. And the generally enviable task of receiving my gammy's pampering younger brother. Which now looks like cold shackles in the middle of Siberia. At the risk of foregoing lavish generosity that he bestows upon on me whenever he visits, I contemplate my plan of action(or the lack of it). Then in full confidence, my grandma takes me hand and benevolently gives me the bus fare and an extra fifty bucks as service charge. Being the incredible sulk that I am, and sensing no escape route i pull on my woolens and embark.
                  My journey takes me to some unusuallly stereo-typed places. First stop. Banashankari bus stand. Now, here, is a place that has never looked picturesque since it came to be. Litter, badly managed traffic, loud hawkers ... typical tatty market place types. As I walk towards the inside of the newly constructed terminus, I can't help but notice that the roads have been newly asphalted and things aren't as clattered as was the case before. In fact, it seems to have got a pleasant face lift. Then again, must be the scarce traffic, I think to myself. But there's definitely upgraded vibes. The auto ride to Jayanagar, under overcast skies, and poetic climate unearths a sudden architect-ual interest. On and off the Nanda theatre road, magnificent houses with big driveways and lawns that are such a scarce luxury make me beg to clutch a DSLR and capture these intimate moments with south Bangalore, with a romanticism that is fresh and intriguing. The bus journey takes me through Residence Road, my beloved St.Joseph's Boys High School, that looks as magnificent and proud as ever, and one look into the compound and I swoon to the several thousand memories in each square inch of that sacred land.  The third world rapture of these old parts up north, are staggeringly intoxicating.
                   Continuing on, and a short nap later, as the bus pulls into the terminal the intricate inter-twining roads, the aesthetic gardens, the highly advanced architecture and the sight of orderly traffic is refreshing. Inanimate and abstract love consumes me fully.  This joy, this delightfully hidden Bengalooru that resurfaces for adoring eyes only. As I greet my uncle and we sit inside the taxi, I rest my spent eyes. Weary from the beauty of Bangalore, and her discreetness when revealing it. The best of us fumble when it comes to defining love, and yet here i seem to have (in very apologetic extended banter) perhaps found some modest way to relate to this perception. This fascination with the intangible. A dance with Bangalore and her legend! To be a son of the soil, is truly the best honor she could bestow upon me. She flirts with my resolve to stick to her hustle-bustle reputation. I seem to lose all my premonitions, mad with adulation. After a birth and twenty long years, I seem to have witnessed the pinnacle of her beauty, and in hopeless drunkenness, I wish to be treated to her wine again!
                   The pen i hold is inspired, and with her as my parchment, I paint her to you with the pristine majesty that she bestows upon us with her delightful game of hide and seek! Les teintes de l'amour.