Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Of new years and resolutions

Posted: December 28, 2010 in Musings

This new year, 2009, I celebrate my silver jubilee, of course in a very different fashion. If age is but just a number, I would have let it pass. But the truth is there is much more to it because every year we are growing, older. And we are supposed to be growing not just in numbers but as a human being too.

That’s why I am forced to (re)introspect into how to mend some self-destructive ways of mine, to slough off the old skin and change into a progressive garb. Be a better person each year that passes through. What better occasion than the New Year to begin with?

There would be thousands like me out there, tired and willing to start anew with a meandering list of New Year resolutions, dos and don’ts and other promises; some having made promises to their loved ones, and others like me, doing it out of a sheer desire and need to change. And I can pretty well predict that they would not just draw as many a list they can but at the same time, they would have failed to keep one single promise.

So has been my own story through more than a decade of New Year eves that I have drunkenly celebrated. During the merry making round, I have religiously espoused to be reborn again promising to begin afresh the next day. But tomorrow, in my dictionary, be it the first day of a new year, or any other day is just another day.

It is hilarious and at times bordering at scrupulous ingenuity the way I have made promises and wrecked them. One might as well take me for a man who does not keep his own words. For now let it be so. But Each New Year, I have, with utmost seriousness and commitment, penned down list after list of resolutions, on paper. For the record, here’s a few of them I have stuck to, let’s say, since time immemorial.

This year is going to be beautiful year. A journey well begun is half complete. And it would be in your own interest, good health, wellbeing, prosperity and successes you dream of, that you fulfill the resolutions come what may. It is actually not so hard. All you need to do is put in a little extra effort and be downright determined and resolute to change. Happy New Year!
1. Give up Drinking.
2. Give up smoking, be a good Buddhist.
3. Work hard like a mule.
4. Exercise a lot-you got to shed that extra flab. Reminder: you are already over weight, no taking any chances.
5. Be a good, law abiding citizen, a responsible son, a caring brother, and a lovable boy friend (when I have had girl friends).

The list goes on.

Sadly though I have never managed to put to rest one bad habit or take up a good one either. All those New Year resolutions I have made has come to naught. Honestly, in hindsight, I believe my resolutions to change for good had been a mere consolation to my soul that desires change and my body that blatantly refuses it. In fact it is a wrenching emotional and spiritual turmoil, when the flesh and spirit try to disconnect with each other. The consequence is that I am left to ponder on the veracity of my ineptitude to better myself.

Perhaps I never created that conducive environment for my soul and body to embrace change. The possibility becomes even rarer when you start your evening with a swig of whiskey. Followed by more swigs, and more pegs, until you lose the notion of quantity and start gulping down in bottles. Celebration without alcohol and the high it gives, in this part of the world is sacrilegious. So bring on the booze and party hard!

When the clock strikes 11: 59:50, and just about everyone screams their lungs out, counting down to the New Year, you are at the threshold of a new beginning. That defining moment when you bear hug and wish everyone around you a Happy New Year, you are supposed to have begun a new journey of life. Refer the resolutions. But you would want to wait till tomorrow for the sake of the spirit of fun and frolic that is so vibrant and contagious among the drunken crowd. And so, you are again thrust in that samsaric cycle of drinking, smoking, and trying to be free; your promises all of them tattered, gone down the drain.

Did somebody say change for the sake of change is meaningless; change is as good as rest? Well then, I rest my case. This New Year, I would spend my time away from the maddening crowd of a bar and the psychedelic razor lights, deafening music and noise of a discotheque, reading Ibsen’s plays in the private sanctum of my small, dingy room. That would indeed be a leap of change.

And I have made only one resolution. A simple one that is-to hell with New Year eves and resolutions. Happy New Year!


Goodbye Blue Sky

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Musings

The heat was extreme. The mercury that day had shot to 44.2 degree Celsius, six notches above normal. And the weather forecast had more bad news in store. For couple more days, the heat was there to stay. It would be a long while before rain came, pounding to cool the melting pot.

Looking out of the small balcony, stream of sweat running down my face, I stared at the sky through the narrow spaces between the branches and leaves of the tree, standing tall next to the balcony. Not even a speck of cloud. No sign of rain. The air was as still as dead. So was the tree.

I reminisced how the tree would swing in the tempest during monsoon, flapping its green leaves, spraying rain water on the balcony. The wind would bring along stray polythene bags, twigs, leaves and debris like the sea waves washing ashore flotsam and jetsam of waste. Those days I would keep the door shut, to keep away the noise of the whistling wind and the rain. Now, how I craved for it.

Stubbing out the cigarette that had been adding to the heat, I returned to my room. The fan hardly made any difference. All it did was stir the warm air over and again. A clatter of unwashed, murky dishes lay in the sink, fungus germinating on it. Newspapers and magazines were strewn all over the floor. On the study table, there was a letter, addressed to my name, next to the novel Kafka on the shore by Murakami. A worn out calendar ticked and crossed, probably for countless times, hung on the wall. My old laptop connected to a pair of hoofers played Pink Floyd’s Goodbye blue sky.

I poured a cup of water from the 20-liter plastic can. It was warm, and as it went down my throat, I could feel the warm sensation reach my stomach, before it got absorbed by my body. I poured another one, cursing this time. Pink Floyd stopped, and the fan too gradually came to a halt. Power cut. I wished I had taken back my word.

It was normal though. Three or four times a day, electricity would go off. And every one would come out in their balconies for some sort of respite from the smoldering heat within. Staring at each other and exchanging blank glances. A common experience bound all of us together-the power cut and the sweltering heat. This time it took a little less than an hour for the light to come. Contradictory to the experience when the lights would go off, this was always a pleasant moment. I heard little shrieks and exclamations of delight, as everybody rushed inside, some into the comforts of their AC rooms and others into a room with a small, dirty fan.

I gave up the idea of taking a shower as I had already done it thrice since morning. And the water would be warm in the afternoon and the bathroom, a sauna almost. So I leaned on the chair, pulled the letter, and read it again. It was the umpteenth time that I had read the letter. At times in disbelief that I had received the letter, handwritten, stamped, and addressed to my name. Other times, I read the letter in sheer amusement that somebody I had known for just a few weeks would ever remember me and care to write a good three page letter. And of course, I read the letter for what was written on it.

It was seven months ago. I met her in a small gathering at a friend’s place. She was quite tall with huge eyes, and thick, sumptuous lips. She was well dressed and decked up for the night. My first impression – she was little on the flamboyant side. But no arguing, she was attractive. And attract she did, every male’s attention in the party.

Nothing had happened apart from courteous, shy introduction, until alcohol took complete control over me. She was drunk too. As the music rolled, and lights dimmed, we danced to the rhythm of the music, our bodies aroused to the sensation of its proximity. While jealous eyes gorged at us, I triumphantly managed to pull her toward me, away from the rest of the ogling crowd.

Later that night, we made love. We saw each other for a couple of weeks. We went out for dinners, drank together at my place or hers and made love. When I came here, we had promised we will stay in touch but after a few weeks, it was all gone for a toss. I was in my own world and she, in her own. I had plenty to keep myself busy about and perhaps, she had enough reason not to think about me.

I put the letter back, reminding myself that I would certainly write back the next day. A good three page reply. I took Kafka on the shore, and continued reading from where I had left. Nakata talking to the cats…But no sooner I realized than I was drifting between sleep and wakefulness. The warm air was soporific enough. The book slipped from my hand and fell on the floor. And I dozed off.

In a dreamy state, yet not completely, I was reading the letter and mulling over the facts and fictions in it. How can it be possible? She must be trying to play a joke on me or if it is serious, there is no way, it could be ever true. Either she does not know who the father is or she just wants to make me a scapegoat. It is a conspiracy. (I tried to figure out the first time we had sex, and the second time and the third. I tried back-calculating it. But my memory was too vague.)

But she does not know one truth about me. I smiled, malignantly. The truth I have kept only to myself, a well guarded secret. I had tested positive, to my chagrin and despair. I would never be able to father a child.

A sleepwalker’s dream sequence

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Musings

That sensuous, cold autumn wind is in the air, drifting like a fleeting melody sung by a damsel faraway. It must be a solitary reaper, red-cheeked highland lass, singing with music notes flying out from her lips. I forgot the poetry, a long time back. But that imagery still lives on, even now in a dreamy translucent state of the mind.

A waft of air brings across the nocturnal fragrance of jasmine, that purple and violet smell like a deep shade of fog meandering into my nostrils. A quick flashback takes me to a street lit by lamp posts, strange shadows brushing past. Where is she? I try to figure out those vague faces. Memory it seems is fading away, into a white, blinding shaft of light.

I find myself standing at the edge of a hundredth-storey-building, with one leg dangling in the air and trying to balance my posture with the other, heedlessly gazing into the space below. Down there, minuscule looking people and cars parade like tiny ants through the travesty of man-made lanes and by-lanes. All of them, moving in a helter-skelter direction. The groves of trees look like patches of green here and shades of yellow there.

With my arms swung wide open I stand tall on top of the world, a burning cigarette sandwiched between my fingers and my other hand firmly clutching a whisky bottle. The cold wind incessantly lashes on my brittle, frost bitten face. Standing there, I stare into the endless expanse of the horizon, painted with hues of red and yellow. Luminous clouds stretch across the end of the sky.

A queer flight of imagination invades my nonchalant mind. The desire to fly coupled with an instinctive temptation to be free, plays weird hide-and-seek games with my thoughts. The moment is perfectly thrilling until a suicidal feeling makes me tremble. I shudder at the thought and an icy chill runs down my spine. Goose bumps sprinkle on my cold skin.

At a distant in the air, a flock of birds sing their way home. I wish for a gun to shut them up. Their squeaking exasperates me as though a man in deep contemplation of god has been stirred out of his reverie. If I had a gun, I think, I would hide like a sniper and bring down each flying bird.

Smell of rose.

The images of the flower vase with decaying roses, the photograph lying by my bedside, her undergarments that she had left in the drawer, the ear rings and the necklace that lie on the dressing mirror, rushes past my eyes in a split second. Her lonely pink bra still hangs on the balcony flapping in the breeze. Why does the color pink never stop fascinating women, I wonder?

I am sitting by the window side of a fast moving train. I catch a glimpse of a tall woman dressed in a black skirt with a knee length overcoat. Her head is covered with a black scarf and her eyes with a dark pair of shades. I try to capture that transient face. But before I can photograph the image into my memory, darkness engulfs, as if the train has moved into a tunnel.

I am alone.

I swing to and fro, but this time I let go off myself. I close my eyes and fall free, headlong down. I swirl round and round. Gravity is at its best. I can see the blurring lights, and feel the air desperately trying to keep me buoyant. I hit the ground hard. My head splatters, my brain oozes out of the skull, and a pool of blood flows down the road.

I hear people screaming, a child crying, and the ambulance siren at a distant. The sights and sounds fade out, gradually. This scene is a reminder, a replay of a movie I had watched. Lights go off. I lie there in peace. Forever.

The next morning, I get up from my bed with a terrible hangover. I follow the daily ritual. I sip the little remnant of whiskey left in the bottle and light up a cigarette. It’s a new day, here I come. I joy walk to my office. My editor, grinning halfway through his teeth, hands me my story. Three men had committed suicide the last night. All of them jumped off a building to their death. Déjà vu!