Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Quo Vadis

“Buy me a drink young man”

The ragged beggar who made this request looked liked he’d already had enough…

“Go away you pitiful fool, drifters like you make me sick” came the reply from the protagonist.

“Drifter! Ha! Quo Vadis Senor?!! Quo Vadis?” said the beggar and staggered away laughing to glory… all the while yelling “QUO VADIS?”

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He drove home that night… knowing quite well what he was going to do.


As he entered the apartment complex there was the cursory nod to the valet, somehow he didn’t feel the pleasure of driving anymore. It was just one more mundane activity. He went straight for the private elevator and pressed the button that would take him to the penthouse.


Staring at his own reflection in the silvered surface of the elevator doors he let the maze of thoughts running in his head take control. As the elevator beeped he stepped out into the penthouse or rather his home. At 27 he’d made quite a life for himself. He swiped the card as the door opened and the lights came on. He liked pools of light… he always had, just like his dad.


The place was something that he had always dreamed about when he was 17, minimalist yet stylish furniture that was an elegant combination of metal and wood. Low flung couches, top of the line home-entertainment systems and walls that were completely made of glass and afforded a fantastic view of the city that was strewn below. The lighting was almost always somber in his room; he loved the way the pools of light would play on the metal surface.


There was a reason he liked pools of light, it gave him a sense of solitude. He would sit on a chair and switch on a table lamp that would just about light up the area where he was working leaving the rest of the room blank. It was a blanket, an artificial blanket created by darkness, he somehow found a sort of solace in being alone in a room with an atmosphere like that. The kid always wanted to be alone.


He tossed his coat aside and walked towards the balcony, sliding the glass door open he stepped out and was greeted immediately by the nippy winter wind. The kind that sliced across his face, he smiled. That sort of a sting only made him smile these days. He stood leaning on the railing looking at the city whiz by him. He was part of the race now; he was well and truly a part of the rat race. He had almost begged for it when he was younger, now when he thought about it he could only chuckle softly and shake his head.


He thought of how much life had changed for him, the mere concept of love for example. At 17 when he’d first fallen in love, he’d been the ultimate romantic, going to every possible length to make the woman he was then in love with feel like the queen of the world. Since then though cynicism had taken its toll. Now all the women he met felt like a parade of empty conversations and meaningless intimacy. What he once called making love, he now called clearing his head.


Work had always been something he had looked forward to; right out of his MBA he’s joined a top of the line consultancy company and moved away to live alone, since then loneliness had become a sort of addiction. He never was any good with friends, they had always either been the sort of stormy tight friends that never lasted more than 3 years or the loose acquaintances that popped in to say hello once in a while.


But what killed him the most was that work didn’t make sense to him. What killed him was that he had never found anything that he was intimately passionate about. He had always been brilliant at everything he did, maybe not the best but brilliant nonetheless, but the matter was that he had never found anything that he was ready to die for. It was empty, all of it; his mind, his heart, his work, his life.


When he pulled the compact colt from his trouser pocket, he was filled with a sense of defeat that brought him down to his knees. He thought about his dad that had told him about life and winning, he thought about the first girl that he fell in love with and how he’d promised the world to her, he thought about his days in college and how he’d wanted to change the world then, he thought about his writing and his philosophy that he had been so inanely passionate about when he was younger… then he thought about that one drunk beggar meandering about on the cobblestone lanes of Italy who had defeated him with a single question…


As he cocked the trigger he whispered the sentence again, just before his hand touched the metal for the last time…

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“Quo Vadis?”

“Where are you going?”


Remember when you were young,
You shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes,
Like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire
Of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!


You reached for the secret too soon,
You cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night,
And exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome
With random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

-Pink Floyd "Shine on you crazy diamond"

Monday, May 16, 2005

Clutter

I fell in love once... I don't feel like doing it again...

I wrote very well once... At least I think I did.

I felt magic once... Not really I haven't felt it yet.


Random thoughts and random asks... Its always very hard to clear that clutter in your head.. I always thought that people would do so much better in their lives if they could manage to remove all that gibberish from their brain. The state of my brain is very much like one of those rooms in which you just cant concentrate no matter how hard you try. It used to happen to me pretty often when I would study for the jee. I'd sit there in my room under the tubelight at my table in front of this very annoying math problem. Not that it was exceptionally hard or something, it was just that within a matter of about 5 minutes I would even forgotten the whole damn problem. I would just sit there staring at the last line I'd written wondering what I was doing. There would be this indelible fuzz in my brain. I wouldn't think of where the fuzz came from or what I was doing with that problem or even why I was doing... I'd just sit there frustrated as hell telling myself "I'm bad at math... I'm bad at math." I never really understood why I did that.


Then I would suddenly get up and look at my room. This was when I would notice the clutter. The pants and the t-shirt that I'd worn earlier that day would be strewn recklessly over the bed and my table was a mess.. 3 pens that didn't work, a notebook that didn't have any empty pages or any useful information and 2 random plastic folders that I had absolutely no space for would just be lying there with absolutely no purpose. And this obsessive compulsive side of me would take over and I'd move really quickto clean up the mess and within 10 mins of such activity I'd be sitting in a white Spartan room staring at the problem again "telling myself.. Ok now I've cleared up the clutter, now I can do this problem." and still...Nothing.


The reason I'm saying this is that I feel a similar clutter in my brain right now.. Only I don't think that this clutter could possibly be cleared by becoming a minimalist when it comes to my habitat and by setting everything I'm using at right angles. How does one sort out and compartmentalize one's emotions. Is it even possible? Does that help?


Does it help if you can classify, separate and place, heartbreak, loneliness, lethargy, frustration and nothingness into neat and dusted wooden shelves in the back of your fuzzy mind? I wish I knew... Because then I could at least blame it on myself and say that I'm not in touch with my own mind... I'm insane. Right now, I can't even call myself that. Insanity is not a luxury I can't afford, and sanity is proving to be too darn tedious. Where does limbo fit in? *chuckle* sometimes I'm led to believe that extreme happiness and deep sorrow (the sort that one writes about... Ironic isn't it?) is only fictitious and that the better of human existence is this.. Limbo.. Neither here, nor there. Just fuzz...


NITK, the college that played home to me for a whole year had 4 suicides this semester. What does one say to something like that? One cannot empathic for if one could, they'd already have hung themselves by a fan using a nice thick nylon cord. Nor can one dismiss them, for these were lives that would've gone on, I don't know whether they would've changed the world, but I do know that they would've lived. Did they not "like" life? Or was the clutter just too much for them? Gosh I ask too many questions. I probably shouldn't, I don't want to end up hanging from a fan you know.


I listen to this band called coldplay very often. I didn't realize why I was doing it until I realized this guy was actually talking to me... Not me specifically, but he talks to his listener, in a very quaint and easy manner. He says things like "we've been living life inside a bubble", "everything's lost" and "careful where you stand" I dunno why I like it... I dunno why I like that falsetto voice or those careless acoustic chords, though I think its because he tells me simple things, things I can understand and react to immediately. he doesn't like clutter either.. There's something about his voice tells me he's felt it before, the same thing I'm feeling right now.


And that's the whole kick about writing too isn't it? I mean you sit down and read that article that your friend has written, hoping like hell he's mentioned you or something that you would understand and relate to on a very personal level. Where you could read something and say " hey yeah! I know what he's talking about" here's a funny thought though... The writer probably doesn't. The most brilliant lines are inadvertent, and even though the oh-so-modest writer takes all the credit for it later, there's a really good chance that to him it just looked like just another line while he wrote it.. Oops did I give away too many secrets?


I'm pretentious, I know it. it probably shows too sometimes but I also know this: and I do not say this as a defense, I just quote a classmate of mine when I say "vanity is so deeply ingrained in the human heart that everybody wants to be admired". I never really knew what to say to that. I probably would've nodded in assent but that would've been pretentious, I could've called the writer a brilliant observer, but then my dad says things like this every night. Does putting life onto paper make you a genius?


Some people who read what I write tell me I'm pretentious, some like me, some say I'm depressing, some say I don't make sense, some say I'm honest and some say ouch... Could I actually be all that? Too may sides to one coin I thought. But then I sat down and tried to call myself something... Guess what met me? Fuzz... Hilarious, life is.


I don't know if I like who I am. I don't want to end up hanging from a fan though.


Good night.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Lover

With a gentle stroke he was in bliss. The chemicals coursed through his veins hitting all the right spots, the pupils dilated, the pulse quickened, the air was being let into his lungs in short quick breaths. This was it...ecstasy.


There was a certain electricity in the air, the kind that was palpable... It had been quite a while since he had experienced happiness on such an unadulterated scale. He blinked slowly with an expression of pure satisfaction on his face. He relaxed and let go for the first time in years as he felt the crisp white cotton blankets brush against his bare skin. He felt safe. It was a feeling he had yearned for, for a long... long time.


He thought of all those days when he had worked like a fiend, never stopping, not even to breathe. It hurt sometimes to think of the past, but not right now. He wasn't going to let the pain hit him in this moment of self-imposed sanctity. But he thought of those long hard days nonetheless. It seemed to him that been so goddamn naive, following blindly a path that hadn't even been set for him by his own thought process. He almost felt sorry for himself...


He looked out at the mirror as images and words flashed across the hazy horizon of his satiated mind. He was in paradise now and he wasn't going to feel guilty about how he had got there. He'd felt guilty, afraid and inadequate too many times. But this was not going to be one of those times... He thought of the days when his mind almost gave up on him, when the insanity of it all had come rushing towards him with a force that threatened to push him over the brink. Thank god that was then.


It was sunset right now and he closed his eyes and breathed in the air, slowly letting his eyelids slide open as he exhaled. He tasted bliss with his lips again and then glanced outside the window looking at the surreal image of the dew slowly forming on the blades of grass as the night settled lightly like a bridal veil over the earth. His thoughts then slowly drifted to the times when he would sit alone on the earth... He pictured himself, all of seventeen touching the ground with his fingertips and with a smile on his lips that radiated a pride in his self and a love for the world that only unlimited hope could harbour.


He would sit and imagine that all of the earth was born straight from his fingertips and those seventeen year old fingers would be what was holding the earth together. He thought of how the seventeen year old would look at the sky, the sea and all of creation with this look of ambition, with the burning desire to create a legacy that the earth would be proud of. Then he thought of how the world had behaved then and how easy it was to kill a seventeen year old. One "Impossible!" was all it took.


He cringed as he thought about those days but he gained a tentative grip on himself not before a tear rolled involuntarily down his right cheek. He curled up on the bed clutching his only answer to the world as tightly as he could. He thought of how hope could be murdered as he lost his grip on his emotions a second time...


"He could've LIVED then!" he begged as his body began to be wracked by wrenching sobs. He buried his face in the pillow as the last rays of the sun dipped below the horizon.


"He IS living... Right now" he heard her say as she gently stroked his hair and turned him over."You've been living all this while... you lived when you didn't take your own life, you lived when you didn't give up and you lived every time you fought. Words don't kill a man love," she said "Only you have a right to do that to yourself."

And with those last words she wiped away the last of his tears and lowered her lips to his...

He tasted bliss once more.

"I took a look but it was gone,
I cannot put my finger on it now,
The child has grown, the dream is gone,
And i have become comfortably numb..."
- Pink Floyd "Comfortably Numb"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Playing Sane

I walked slowly through the dim sunlight towards the edifice. The winter sunsets were especially nippy these days, so I held my arms tight around myself as I made haste to get to the door. On reaching the doorstep I religiously took off my footwear and smiled as I pushed on to open the heavy teak door. The place was classy; there was no doubt about it. I walked in knowing that I would not be myself for the next three hours.

Climbing two flights of stairs I saw a few familiar faces and nodded in response to their enthusiastic waves. I was to be somebody else. I reached the tiny room at the back that had been allotted to myself. Closing the door I took off my clothes and changed into the cloak. This was to be a very surreal evening and I knew that it was the case. I walked out into what was at that moment an empty hall; my leather shoes rapped the hardwood floor as I made my way across the room.

I stood there alone looking around me and thinking about the night to come. How strange a thing it is I wondered as I walked into the lonely pool of bright light. Standing there I savoured a moment that was beyond anything I could possibly explain. Immediately in front of me were tiny spots of dust that shimmered in the light, moving around with a distinctly purposeless flight, never seeming to settle down. Amusing it was to watch these things, they looked like they had a life of their own, I turned sharply, not for any particular reason, I just wished to see them controlled, however wildly, by my movements. My cloak swished violently as I found even more reason to do what I had come here to do tonight.

I moved across the room to the table where I'd kept the gun the previous night. I pulled open the drawer to find it laying exactly the way I’d kept it. Right out there in the open. Thankful that nobody else had taken it, I pulled it out and looked at it glint menacingly in the light and I smiled. I was going to enjoy this night more than I expected. I put the gun away in the inside lining of my cloak and thought about what I was going to say just before I pulled the gun out and finished it all. I rehearsed each line, with an almost perverse glee, for this was something that gave me an unexpected rush. I thought about every expression on my face, I wanted to appear merciless, cold, unforgiving and maniacal, as perverted as I could be I thought.... and I as I thought about this I began to laugh… softly, menacingly raising my arms with sheer adrenaline anticipating the rush that was to greet me very soon…

At that very instant somebody unexpectedly barged into the hall and yelled...

"Oi kini! Stop goofing around in the spotlight! The play begins in an hour!"


This isn't in any way shape or form... fiction, the aforementioned escapade actually took place (yes..evil laughter and all!) just before the first screening of stagecoach 2005, an IIT Madras production of which i was quite obviously the villain! Cheers... Hic!:D

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Errata

I write at this very moment from a senior's room in my hostel post all the last minute packing drama.. And here's the big anti-climax. Turns out that I as of now am left with absolutely nothing to do even with my train journer 4 hours away...Ergo the result? An unadulterated rant on my blog which by no means should be taken by the reader as any sort of literature save for maybe cathartic madness! Should any reader happen to notice any spelling or grammar mistakes in this post its simply because I didn't give a shit to correct the damn thing.

I leave madras tonight and I shall be gone for the next three months, leaving this heaven for that long is not an easy thought to stomach at all.. But then I remember those final years that are passing out this year. My heart bleeds for them! Best of luck guys.

I just thought I should as a literary left-over party of sorts, write down a few of the thoughts that I couldn't manage to change into actual posts.

"Is this as good as it gets... I'm afraid it might be" http://ferriswheel.blogspot.com

"...Now make no mistake, even as kids we knew what we were reading was quite, quite shitty!"
-this brilliant guy called vishal patel on reading champak http://www.vishalpatel.com
I particularly recommend the tasha files and "a psychedelic champak story"

and a highly recommended read... http://openpages.blogspot.com woman can write!:)

and finally a few left over haiku's.. I'll try and place them in context.

This was me doing a very bad imitation of Keats...

"Windswept locks tease me,
her coy smile melts my heart,
blissful happiness."

This was written in Bombay during mood indigo... The view from the 10th floor is quite something.

"Lemony blue hues,
Bright globes dot the horizon,
Cool calm Bombay nights"

This was me thinking of the monsoons... I really am a rain-man.

"Skin itches flesh swells,
Blunt nails scrape relentlessly,
Monsoon mosquitoes!"

"Pale glow covers her,
Noisy critters flutter by,
Palm leaves in July."

Me and my pal went to a disco once and I felt terribly out of place, though I did have fun writing vague lines that I never used. Finally a chance to get them off my phone!

"Lights shimmer music pounds,
Spirits soar as the night falls,
Shiny disco balls!"

Adios IITM!! I'll miss you!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Lessons from home

There are times in life where the world just seems to grab you by the collar and forces you to take notice of it with such strength that all you can do is stare…and smile. As a friend of mine put it in one of her blogs, "That’s the thing about beauty. Sometimes it just rushes at you with so much force that you don’t even have time for thought. You just let it fill you up and suddenly there is no room for anything else."


It was the night before one of my end semester exams. Things were looking especially bleak and the heat of the city in summer was really getting to one’s head. I headed over to grab myself some solitude and saturate it with some sweetened carbonated water. After gulping down something cold I began to cycle back to my hostel, thoughts still leaning on exams. I hadn’t received an iota of relief from my little sabbatical from work. Hope was fading fast… this was when nature cut in.


Growing up in Mangalore teaches you a few things. Things like the smell of the ocean, and how walking on the sea shore feels like... with crystals of sand whipping across your face and how your hands get sticky because of the salty sea-side air. It shows you how the clouds swirl, smile and build just before it rains. It shows you the surrealism that darkened sky creates and tells you that even clouds can speak in that unmistakable baritone


You learn to recognize that particular cross wind that nothing can possibly match. Nothing can match it because it brings with it a sense of hope and a sense of relief that is indescribable. Relief, not just for me from the heat, but for the world around us from the disastrous thought that the world is mundane.


You learn to sense the electricity in the air… You learn to see the anticipation, not just in the faces of your friends but even among the trees around you. Even after the cross wind has passed you still see those leaves trembling in that tense manner, as if they were breathing in short clasped breaths. Then you realize they know it as well… they want it as well… they ache for something new… something beautiful to wash over them, just like all of us do.


You realize at that moment why it is that people talk about the eco-“system”… all of us aren’t that different at all. These are the moments when you see how the world waits for the beautiful things in life. How the earth lives for those moments which teach you what being alive is all about. Those moments of sheer beauty when you can just fall back and let it hit you… The magnitude of life.


You learn to smile at how the cold air fills your lungs with expectations… at how the bike ride you were taking about a moment ago now feels like unadulterated flight and how closing your eyes and listening to those sounds, the howl of the wind first… the exquisite silence that follows and then that divine sound… like little raps on the hardwood floor… makes you feel ecstatic to be alive.


Yes it rained in Chennai that night.
 

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