The walk of life (draft)

Friday, October 21, 2005

The endless stretch of water, the evening sun settling down into its nightly recess, the odd kids playing around with abandon in the spray, this was the place he felt most at home. A home away from home. This was where he could let his mind travel beyond the realms of time, back and forth. He had spent the most brooding moments of the life here and not surprisingly they were all in the last few weeks. He remembered the happenings clearly, some three weeks back. It was something he couldn't forget even if he wanted to.

Anita walked into the room quietly. I showed no signs of acknowledging the fact. The newspaper held more interest than her talk at the moment. My little daughter brought me nothing more than demands these days. She seemed to take the privileges of being the lone child for granted. But at 19 she should be a lot more independent than this. At her age I was away from home standing on my feet. But that was a different era. She now stood at the edge of the bed and was waiting for me to look up. It was then that I noticed some change in her. Couldn't place it on anything particular. But she usually barged into the room and demanded attention.

... to be continued

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Hero (a.k.a Legend of AD)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

All characters and incidents depicted in this story are compeletely ficitional and any resemblance to true incidents is only coincidental.

Our Hero was a simple person, famous for his wit and valor. He had traveled from a land far far away to meet his destiny in the City of Badroadore. The city attracted hundreds of people like our Hero who wanted to be famous, wanted to be the talk of the town. He achieved this and more and how!


Our Hero was in the service of the Great Company. His skills were well utilized here and he was pretty content in life. One fine day the Master himself summoned his services for a task. A group of local simpletons needed to be trained in the Divine Language. “Only he who spake the Divine Language spake to The Almighty” went a saying in the Great Company. Why the simpletons needed the knowledge was something only the Great Master knew. But these were difficult times and the simpletons accepted this as their fate, ill as it was already. What the fate also brought along is another story. One could refer to the fable of the beauty and the beast for further details.


To our Hero the task was seemingly simple. In the Great Company, he had mastered his craft and fame to such great proportions that he was needed by the Great Master himself to train his kind. “This was the path to destiny he had sought for himself”, he thought as he drank with his cronies to that. His drinking binges in the corridors of the Great Company were well known. He spent his noon time in the corridor of power with his cronies every day, regaling them with his wit and fables. Every single thing at the cost of the Great Company.

The days went breezing by for all the players in our story. Before long the simpletons accepted the Hero and the Beauty as one of their own. They looked forward to the weekly meeting with the enthusiasm of a child waiting for its candy. They spoke the Divine Language at work, in the loo, at lunch and with the Almighty himself, at times. Tutored by the best in the land, it was a breeze aquiring the skills.

Everything was well and fine until one day, the Friend of the master came visiting. Master was very keen on impressing his dear Friend. He was ready to present his now transformed simpletons. Who were once jus simple village folks were now the best in the kingdom. The Friend spoke the Divine Language and what better way to impress him than by demonstrating the knowledge of his folks. So a court was arranged and the Friend was invited. The Friend was amply impressed by the skills aquired and interest shown by the simpletons.


Then, one fine day, the Beauty came to know that there was an interesting drama being played for patrons in the city. So she willed that the drama must be watched by the simpletons along with our Hero and the Friend. And the will was executed by the drooling simpletons. But when the word went out to our Hero, he was aghast at the price of entry into the drama hall. 500 gold coins were too expensive for a drama, he opined. The simpletons respected the opinion of our Hero. After all how could one dismiss his opinion? So the plans were changed to a royal dinner and the Friend was informed.

The royal dinner was held in the most opulent of places in the city of Badroadore, most appropriate for the guests being invited. After all, our Friend and our Hero were no ordinary people. A north-western culinary delight was what the diner offered. Our Hero was overwhelmed by the delicacies on offer. A wine was most appropriate for the occasion, he decided. Of course when one of the simpleton queried about the chicken soup, he could just not say no. According to him, an yes to anything on offer is the privilege of only the one so skilled and wise. As he spoke in the Divine Language with the Friend, everything else was forgotten. A glass of wine, a serving of soup, appetizers and main course alike could never compensate for a classy display of a combination of his main skills – a PJ in the divine language to elicit a laugh from the audience, more specifically the Friend. The food on the table lay defeated in its objective to draw the attention of our Hero.


And thus ended the dinner and thus ended his happiness. A statement of expenses lay before him when he was in the Great Company again. Lay before him was a huge liability of 520 gold coins. His world started collapsing around him. This was unimaginable, totally against the way he planned it. There had to be a way out of this. How could he do it?! How did he get into this mess?!


It took a few days time to think about the strategies t odeal with the situation he had got himself into. He had a few options. He could go back to his home town where his better half now was or he could totally deny any liabilities and refuse to pay. But then his brain, skilled as it was, came up with a brilliant solution. They were simpletons after all, a few days off their sight and they would forget all about the dues, our Hero concluded. He began its implementation, gone were the days of drinking binges in the open. He cleverly planned his drinking sessions such that no simpleton could see him. And on occasions they did see, he acted totally ignorant of the situation.


After a few weeks, long after the Friend was back in his land, and our Hero was assured that the simpletons would no longer be reminded of the Dinner, he ventured back to interact with them. "Everything is all right now and all is well that ends well", he reminiscences.


Or that is what he thinks. The legend of our Hero refuses to die and has spread far and wide, atleast in the Great Company. And the fact that the 520 gold coins remain to be repaid inspires the documentation of this legend. The simpletons have a good laugh every time they are reminded of it.


Prologue:
After a few months, one of the simpleton took it upon himself to get their due. The beauty was no more around and they couldn't afford to see one more loss. So he wrote to our Hero in the most gentle way possible and requested the repayment. Our Hero was now in a better position financially and also had come to terms with it and repaid the amount.

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Lone Zombie

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lone Zombie

Wow! That title sounds real cool. I love it when things get real corny, like those B-grade Hollywood flicks featuring our kind. Pity they don’t make ‘em so often these days. Sigh. So I, the lone zombie, live in a world where there is only me and no one else. And I have started to get used to the name. Didn’t I tell you I liked it! I am not alone in the real sense; there are people all around me. But I am a zombie. I am predestined to walk the path of life alone. There are my co zombies around too. But they are enduring their pain themselves, like me all alone. And I would say to them, go get your own story. This one is mine, just like my suffering. This is the path set for me by the one unseen, the one unheard but always felt.

Lone zombie has always been on a journey. It doesn’t remember when it started off. Also it does not know when the zombie in it came alive or is it the zombie in it came out dead or the dead zombie in it came outside or…Let us leave it at that. It is not pertinent. Nothing is pertinent anymore in lone zombie’s life. As you would have noticed, zombie will be referring to itself in third person from now. It gives the zombie a sense of self importance and like mentioned before, the name appeals to it extremely. In any case, this story is an exercise in self-centered indulgence. It might as well not feel guilty about it.

Once came an autumn along. Somehow it had never made its presence felt on zombie before though it came out of its hibernation every year. Zombie didn’t know what it meant, back then. For it, it was something novel and zombie loved it. It was feeling the joy of feeling the seasons for the first time. This was a miracle. Zombie had felt joy. A feeling as alien to it as would be a snow flake in the Sahara.

It was something I had managed,
Tried as much I did to evade.
The past comes back to haunt,
To tell me what I rather had done not.
What mistakes do to the character is anneal,
And take on life with a new zeal.


The joy numbed the pain and it numbed the loss, everything that the season took out from it. The dry air squeezed everything out of its body, what ever little was left, that is. The rashes broke out on the skin and they burned. The air itself whispered the song of death in its ears. But zombie wouldn’t care. It was feeling itself for the first time and feeling awake. Thoughts of death in many ways signified its transformation into the living, feeling an existence that it so much craved for. It was in no mood to listen to the very element which brought hope but prophesized death at the same time. Somewhere somehow something told zombie that it was losing more than it was gaining. But sane voices are rarely heard in a state of ecstasy. The end came abruptly. Seasons come to an end so very subtly but this one had to end without a bang, without giving a hint of a hint. Its departure shook zombie’s very existence. It signaled an end to the phase when zombie actually felt – pain, ecstacy, guilt, everything.

Then came the winter after a while. Not after a while, sooner than anticipated actually. Zombie was feeling a period where it was actually enjoying being a zombie again. "Life or lack of it doesn't get any better", it thought. Then winter appeared in the form of a beautiful white bird. The zombie saw it as a pristine dove. The dove touched its heart and this brought warmth even in the cold. Something so tender and so caring, showed it where the heart beats in its beaten down body.

The bird appeared most sweet,
that once atleast did the thought,
not rise up in the mind that,
it needed this passage of time,
for only that purpose.
But next minute the realisation stuck that I had
spent a lot more than time.

The harsh cold of the winter overpowered the warmth soon enough though. The bird wanted to fly away. But zombie didn't want to let go so soon. Without its warmth, it didn't know what would happen to it. The bird didn't seem to want to stay on but zombie felt that if they could tide over this cold patch, they could perhaps see a better season, fall again maybe. But zombie itself wasn't sure what the future held for it. What if the winter lasted forever, what if it got even worse! Zombie went into a hibernation during the period and let destiny take its course. The bird flew away and the winter subsided, quite coincidentally.

A long time after the cold came the summer. Zombie had resigned itself again to a life without change, a life without emotions, a life without life. It had a craving for the bird. The hope that the bird would again come back to warm its heart was something that was eating up zombie from inside. The hope manifested into a fear of reviving the past. But in this period of mental disarray, there was a drift that blew across the zombie. The drift warmed the frigid depths of the zombie. Come to think of it, zombie always knew the drift was around, lying at a distance, never making itself obvious. It didn'e feel it because zombie never felt it nor felt a need for it.

And now zombie wanted it, more than anything else. It chased the drift along for a while. Then got engulfed in it in its entirety.What followed was a period of intensity in feelings that the zombie wished it never had to go through. But then it had desired the drift and it had to now traverse the full course, suffering everything that came along. The drift soon gained in momentum and soon zombie was in the air floating along. The sun was beating down and the heat was getting unbearable. And then summer ended.

On the red hill facing the sea,
lies aglow a house of hope,
there I naively enter,
with a joy n desire to live,
but in an instant the wind blew
away the nestled hope that was
instilled in a candle i carried.

The drift was fast waning and in one final burst, flung the zombie away. And then it disappeared too. Zombie lay stunned at what happened. More than the pain it suffered from the innumerable wounds on its body, the mental excruciation the whole event caused shook it, once again. It lay stunned and lost. The desire to survive weakened considerably.

So at the end of it, zombie still survives in its inanimate state looking forward to more seasons. "How such a radical change of outlook?", one might ask. As much as it tries to be cynical, zombie been wired to feel pain, feel joy and feel a lot more, because to feel is a special ability and to be resilient is a much greater ability that the zombie got as a gift, not from Him, but from life itself.

The end



A small explanation for the abstract nature of the piece. Lone zombie was something I wrote as an experiment in expressing emotions of a nature which requires one to dig deep within oneself. Getting such range of emotions from a person who lives a "boring" life in reality was a challenge I had to surmount. Unbelievably I worked on this across 2 months trying to get my mind to respond to imaginary situations and pain. While most of the text seems to be indicative of the pain and suffering, I wanted to end this with hope in the face of unbridled cynicism. Hope I have achieved what I started off towards. I would love to know from you.

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Kozhikode n Wayanad (draft)

A trip that seemed doomed finally came alive at the last moment and none of us who made it regretted that fact. Kozhikode, kannur and mahe were the destinations chosen this time. In many ways different because we were going for the first time without our regulars like Praveen, Vinodh or Vishwa, who were really missed and also because there was no trekking planned this time.

Our 10 pm in theory departure degenerated into a 12.30 pm out of bangalore one but that should be excused coz our indianness would have been in doubt otherwise. The usual chattering and battering followed all through the journey until one by one, the bodies fell asleep and the minds followed. Amit took it upon himself to stay awake the whole journey to give the driver company by just staring out of the windshield as if in a daze. How much of it helped the driver is debatable but it left some of us in splits atleast.

Most of us came awake when we started descending the heights of wayanad down to the Kozhikode region which was pretty much at sea level. The view, early in the morning, was awesome. Soon after the descent we were confronting the harsh reality of the coastal plains, the stifling humidity. One feature of kerala is the absence of any decently long section of the road without signs of civilization. Its almost as if, kerala is based on either side of the highways. One doesn't realise when one town/village ends and the next begins.

Soon we were travelling on a pretty crowded road and our enquiries as to whether we reached Calicut to our driver were answered with "No. We are in some place called Kozhikode". The poor guy didn't know that Kerala had renamed all its towns with their original (non-european version) names more than 15 years back. A fairly large town and not very crowded so early in the morning. Then the fun started. We hadn't reserved rooms for ourselves and had the not so enviable task of searching for a decent hotel, what with all of us sleepy eyed, tired, hungry and more importantly, lost. We were well and truly lost. We couldn't locate our position in the map that we had. After parking our vehicle near the city railway station, we formed a scouting group comprising me, shantanu, vid and amit. After doing a short round of the city by autorickshaw and then by foot, checking a few hotels, we zeroed on one which was both affordable and decent enough.

It was 10 am by the time we finished taking our baths and then landed in the vegetarian restaurent below our hotel. While munching sumptous amounts of the food, plans for the day were being made. The first destination would be Kappad beach. Telephonic enquiries with the operators also helped sew up plans for the evening in a house boat in the backwaters. Our new itinerary planner, Shantanu was working with amazing alacrity while not attending to the innumerable personal calls on his mobile. I take this opportunity to introduce our new accountant for the trip, Amit, who did a commendable job. He had, after all, the great legacy of Praveen to try and emulate. His innovative math, post trip, didn't find favor with many though ;-)

We moved along the NH17 towards Mangalore. Some
...to be continued

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My muse...bemused

Monday, October 03, 2005



I saw her in a ferry ride while on a trip to Strasbourg, France. Well seeing her is not the only thing i did, i did snap her, though not as candidly as i would hv wished to. A few moments later this is what happened :(



I wouldnt blame them coz...ok take a look at me.


Dont blame me coz it was raining a bit and I would have had no fun watching the sights of the city of Strasbourg (oh yes, i had an eye on that too) in a drenched state.

Going ahead, she was with two of her friends and they walked away with me and my friends tailing behind. They entered a MacD and unfortunalty I had to get to a loo fast. By the time i came out, they were no more and we lived happily ever after.

I did live to tell this tale . The smile inspired me enough to write this piece:


She was the one Who, Inspired my Words, Put life into my Breath, Made me warm like a Hearth, But yet flew away like the Birds. Her smile was one who, Made me Rave, I am, now, left Forlorn, The heart does yet for her Yearn, Thoughts of her, but, are all I Have. Das Französisch-Mädchen, Hübsch mit dunkle Locken, auf unserem Boot mit Freundinnen zwei, mit leuchtendem Lächeln und schneidendes Aussehen zu, Hat betört mit ihr war das Herz mein.

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