Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ten seconds of eternity


A bright, sunny morning. Sound of scores of busy shoes on the cement pavement. A row of impressive high-rise buildings defining the skyline of a prosperous city. It all seemed so far away from where he stood. Soon the heat would become oppressive, and make it impossible for him to go about bare feet on the roads. He started running.

The ground beneath his bare skin was cold. So cold that the warm streaks of red almost felt good. He was tired, and spent. Every inch of his rough, dark skin glistened with beads of sweat. The world around him erupted in a roar.


Why was everybody screaming? A flicker of orange gave him the answer he was looking for. Fire! But how? No! Them! He ran, but an anonymous pair of hands would not let him go. No! He watched helplessly. From the ringside, he could do nothing but scream at their pain.

He lay still. Mixed with the din of the crowd he could make out the dull, regular beat of his heart. He knew that sound. It was the sound of blood rushing through his body, feeding it, reviving it out of slumber.


The sun shone into his dry eyes. He turned his face, and got up from his bed. A bed. A proper bed. It had been only two years since he had started. It was tiring work, and he was often sore for weeks after a night of work. But work meant money. Money, which meant food and a bed.

He was sprawled on the ground, his arms to his side and legs parted. His muscles were stretched to the limits of his endurance. He could not curl his fingers into a fist.


It was then that he had heard a voice. So clear, so alluring, so powerful. It had moved him from the throes of exhaustion into a frantic madness that night. He searched the crowd for his muse.

It was art. It had always been art. Wrapped in sweat and blood, amidst raw animalistic cheers, it was made by his bare hands. Tonight, however, he knew he had reached his peak. It was time to fall.


She had tripped, and fallen into her arms. Laughter, and locks of blazing red hair had filled up the space between his lines. The smell of the air had morphed his senses out of sheer ecstasy.

He could not feel his legs. He could not feel pain. The stab of the rib, which had cracked when he fell, was causing a sensation his nerves could no longer register.


He registered his biggest ever win that week. He was the king. He had seen it all, done it all, and conquered it all. For his queen. It was
his kingdom to build, his art to perfect, his love to love.

Time was running out. His breathing was becoming erratic. A cold was enveloping his being, his head brimming with thoughts was not thinking like a survivor anymore. It was time.


It is not the right time. I am not the right person. He never understood the right. His kingdom crumbled like a castle of sand. The waves washed over, removing all traces of humanity from his world. A world, which was never meant to see his art. Only his fights.

He prayed. He had never prayed before. He did not know how. It did not matter now. He tried opening his eyes. When he managed to catch a glimpse of the world, it was dark.


He turned dark. Dark as the corners of the night lit by the full moon, dark as the mind in which burns the last remnants of life. His fists became savage. He had wanted to build a kingdom. He had wanted to become king. He did. Of hell.

Slowly the world parted. The rivulets of blood stopped. The pain returned in a sharp burst. He gasped for a breath of air.


Air that scorched flesh. Eyes, red with murderous hate. A hand raised to strike fear into the dead. All it took was a smile. Another smile. Small, tender hands. Innocence.

He coughed. His body contracted like an elastic band snapped from its binds. A strength, beyond human, moved his fingers. He had to stand up. He kept praying.


He had walked into the ring holding her hand. She had waved him goodbye, and wished him luck. He let go. This was his life. He had to live one last time.

He turned, bent over. His arms started shaking when he put the weight of his body on them. He was on his knees. He must stand up. Tonight. This was his death. He had to die one last time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Heated breath

Blatant, dried up heat
Enveloping bodies, wrapped
in sheets of still born air
Trying to breathe in.

Exhausted dreams dying
of thirst percolating up
The burning land, cracked
Trying to breathe out.


Bodies enveloped in a fiery
gel, Mishmashed together
Between the stampeding wild
Trying to breathe in.

Dreams burning the midnight
sweat formed in moonlit lorn
Scorched flesh, shrivelling
Trying to breathe out.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Heaven's Not Enough


Heaven's not enough,
if when you get there..
Just another blue
and heaven's not enough
You think you've found it
and it loses you

You've thought of all there is, but not enough
and it loses you in a cloud.

"There" 'most everything is nothin' that it seems,
"Where" you see the things you only wanna see.

I'd fly away
to a higher plane
to say words I resist
to float away
to sigh
to breathe.... forget.

And heaven's not enough
If when I'm there I don't remember you
And heaven does enough
you think you know it, and it uses you

I saw so many things but like a dream
Always losing me in a cloud.

'Cause I couldn't cry
'Cause I turned away
Couldn't see the score
Didn't know the pain
of leaving yesterday really far behind
in another life
in another dream
by a different name
gave it all away
for a memory
and a quiet lie

And I felt the face
of a cold tonight
Still don't know the score
But I know the pain
of leaving everything really far behind
And if I could cry
And if I could live what truth I did then take me there
heaven goodbye.

Paradise is a small price to pay, if...

The song Heaven's not enough is from the OST of the anime series Wolf's Rain, with music by YĆ“ko Kanno and is performed by Steve Conte. The sketch is mine, but is inspired by visuals from the series as well.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's all worng

An amber cursor blinking on a pitch black screen waiting for a breath of fresh air...

Is it coming? I have no idea.

I wish there was a huge wardrobe in my office right now through which I could run away to a distant land and be forgotten by everyone in this one. Not be seen ever again. Never be heard. But I also have this nagging voice in my head which tells me it's going to be a long time before the lion sends for me. Maybe an eternity.

I want to scream and cry right now. I can't do either. It's a pity really. I have to read a 50 page paper, and I have to smile all day. Oh bother! I wish I could pretend everything was hunky-dory with the world, but I cannot pretend. I can only pretend to be very, very unhappy. Sigh! Pretentious happiness is so hard to pull off correctly, anyway.

Are you still reading this self-indulgent blabbering? Go do something better with your life. I am a total waste of time. On second thoughts don't go, it's better to have someone to shoot off my mouth to other than blank walls. I am too young to go senile and too old to be juvenile, so I must be in the wrong dimension.

The sky is looking like the sky and the sun like the sun. Even the trees look just like the trees. Something is definitely wrong with my eyes. Everything is supposed to look different. Maybe pink? Or blue perhaps? The music sounds melodious, and even the food tastes good - what is wrong with the world?

I am sure that I am so far away from reality that I don't have a clue what is what. Can you swish me with a broom so that I can fall of the edge of the world? No? Don't tell me now that you think that the world is round! What a preposterous idea! Okay, okay - do something else - take an eraser and rub me off. Draw something nicer once you have obliterated all traces of me. Draw a rainbow perhaps, or a cat.

An amber cursor blinking on a pitch black screen waiting for the end...

Is it coming? I have no idea.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


A city hidden in sheets of disturbed dust,
Sweaty nights of lonely, forlorn lust,

Crowds of unknown faces oozing through,
Dreams in vacant sleep searching their magic hue,

Empty corridors of civilized speech,
A life's work, breaking away, beyond reach,

Echoing spaces of a solitary existence,
Maddening wild chained by an ephemeral fence,

Laughter of an innocent and mocking charm,
Weathering stone which suffers no harm,

A pencil's life in a paper realm,
Prayers returned from a majestic helm,

Distant thoughts meandering into vocal lands,
Hands reaching out of temporal sands,

Precise dictates of organized delight,
Fatal wounds of a fractal fight,

Brown letters riding on worn out rests,
Tired smiles greeting tired jests,

Unbridled want of a forbidden touch,
Decaying will murdered as such,

Hopes flickering into a future bleak,
Shrouded fears of the cowering meek,

Ending lines of a tale at start,
Immoral vanity of a mortal heart.

Will this never end?

Sunday, April 16, 2006


She was lying there on her back, open and inviting. I could not help but notice her from the corner of my eye, as my hands moved deftly over another of her kind. Presently the number is around five I believe. It was not always so. I was not born a polygamist. Ah! But I was born a man, wasn't I?

Before my fellow men accuse me of having sold out to feminist propaganda, and before my fellow women nod their heads in approving disapproval I must hasten to clarify that this is not about the state of my relationships! No. Those of you who know me, know that I am a 0.1 woman man. Hmmm... on second thoughts, make that 0.5. But I am sure someone can psychoanalyze all this and find the politically-correct-artistically-challenged connection to the 1.5 relationships I have had in my life till date.

No, this is about books. I used to read one book at a time. Yes. I used to. I cannot quite put my finger on it as to when that changed, but now it's in such a state that I cannot even think of doing a them one-at-a-time. Now this is not to demonstrate my taste in books, which I am sure would appall quite a few literary types. I am, however, quite keen to analyze the reason for my "straying."

Let's see the ladies, which currently find me as their strange bedfellow every other night:
  1. It has to start with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I am so deep into the panic induced by the hyper-galactic space noodles, which fell into the wormhole when the fjords of Norway were being designed, that I cannot even figure out the question to 42. I cannot capture in words what I want to say about this book because "that" part of my brain has already been sealed off by well meaning aliens seeking to protect me from my own brilliance.

  2. Then it back to dear old India in Everybody loves a good drought. I was almost as thrilled as Mangal Sunani (from Nuapada, Orissa) about the new miracle cow the government was about to give him and about as flummoxed as the Majhi Dhurua as to how could he be a Dhurua and his brother a Dharua! Believe me when I say that a "a" in place of an "u" can unleash such red-taped bureaucratic mayhem as cannot even be imagined by mere mortals, let alone the condemned lot who are actually affected by all this. Still if you decide to read this book, don't read it to find the real India, as many people tend to confuse it for, just read it.

  3. Lolita. Ah! Doesn't that name just roll of one's tongue? And will I be stoned if I write of such things? Surely, in such (modern?) times one must see the seduction of words, which entices a reader into this treatise of tremendous inflammable perversion. I am still reeling under its spell, and even perhaps occasionally smirking in comic relief at Humbert's plight.

  4. A journey into Aslan's land will show even the most unbelieving of fanatics that imagination is something that should not be trifled with. It, however, requires a certain frame of mind to take a talking badger for all it's worth. A frame of mind where a thorn and a lipstick are a thorn and a lipstick and whatever other image they can conjure inside your head, irrespective of what any book critic decides to say.

  5. Have you ever read Premchand before? I have, but never in a novel. It's the romance of a language that draws one into a story, and it is the romance of the story that keeps one entangled with the novel. Godaan (which translates to "The Gift of a Cow"), Premchand's last novel is the story of Hori, the farmer whose ultimate dream in life is to own a cow. I have never actually lived in a village, yet this story sort of smells of the earth.

Where in all this do you see the reason for these five to be my nightly cohorts? I am as puzzled by all this as by higher-dimensional manifolds in algebraic topology. And so it is that I am guilty of consensually indulging in this orgy of words. Maybe one day I'll be able to dissect how it is that I can remember five very different storylines. Until that time I can always go on being a man!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Things to crib about

When you think you are down
So down that it is
quite impossible
to sink

When you think that life is slow
So slow that it
it will soon
grind to a

All one needs is one good punch
In the solar plexus
to remind that it
can always

Does cribbing with a mild dash of poetic lime taste any better? Who cares! So after I spent the day reading Calvin n Hobbes, and not really doing any work (don't get me started by asking why!), I managed to drive (read pester and whine incessantly) the five people in my room who were working to leave whatever they were doing and come for coffee. We started from our fourth floor office,

Five of us, short and tall,
With bags, bottles and all,
Walked out of the room and,
Went inside the lift to stand,
Inside the hot tin can,
M promptly switched on the fan,
I stood with my back to the door,
Thinking somebody must've pressed the right floor,
While it closed and moved down in grace,
V wrapped her scarf around her face,
T switched the fan off in vain,
Thinking that it was causing V some pain,
Just then the lift came to stop,
And everyone was about to hop,
When U noticed it was only floor two,
The button, was pressed by who?
No owned up to the deed being done,
While we again got in one by one,
Thinking it will finally take us down,
Everybody had a tiny frown,
But lo behold, the lift insane,
Brought us up to fourth again.

And so ended the adventure of the not-so-famous-five and the insane lift. Ah I might as well go back and crib some more.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


When the twinkling stars in the velvet sky put on their most mischievous smile, and when the moon, full in all its pristine white aura stood witness to the magic in the breeze, I saw you in my dream.

When racing fingers typed mystic words formed solely to appease your majestic taste, and when hesitant voices rode on waves of electric charm to resonate with my innermost desire, I heard you in my life.

When the endless ocean tossed a tiny boat on golden sands, and when houses of stone mixed with delicately spiced curries of hidden angst in an afternoon of subdued passion, I held you in my arms.

Today, when the sound, the smell, the touch is mellowed down and fading away into my memory's cage, when I see myself chopped in half, helpless at the hands of misery I caused; today, on a day of blessed union, I lose you forever.

Probhaat-aalore mor kandaaye gele
Meelonmaalar bhor cheediya phele.

Pode ja rohilo peeche, shob hoye galo meeche,
Boshe aachi door-paane noyon mele.

Aeke aeke dhooli hote kudaye mori
Je phool bidaye pothe podiche jhori
Bhabi ni robe na lesh, she diner oboshesh
Katilo phagunbela ki khela khele.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lines of Desire

Aaj phir kai dino ke baad,
Tumhari hansi ki goonj
se mulakat ho rahi

Uski aankhon main aaj bhi
kuch shikwe keh rahe hain
wahi purani unkahi

Laut rahi hai woh unhi
sunsaan sadakon pe
gumraah hokar

Thodi udaas si hai
kyun mili nahi tum, use bhi
ek baar khokar

Anchooyi sehar ki
khamosh karvaton me
simat ti uski parchaayi hai

Keh gayi, mile to yaad karana
kai dino ke baad tumse milne
tumhari hansi aayi hai


Mitch: I thought you were straight.

Blanche: Straight? What's 'straight'? A line can be straight, or a street. But the heart of a human being?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Till death do us part - Answer : II

A particle sneezes on a star,
Black space parts to nature's prodigal hack,
Galactic cold warms a road of dark tar,
Another entangled sneeze, echoes back.

As I began to write the second part of this answer, I realized that I might have bitten more than I can chew. Making sense of that equation without the aid of mathematical jargon is an uphill task to say the least. But since I have to answer my own question (not strictly true - but humour me), I might as well give it a try.

The equation owes its origin in the very murky waters of that most modern of modern sciences called Quantum Mechanics (QM). I'll not make an attempt to explain things from the very beginning, so we start with a set of assumptions from the physical world.

Let us assume everything in the physical world is made up of matter (and/or energy). All big matter is made up of small matter; and small matter is made of smaller matter still, till we get down to molecules which are made of atoms. Atoms in turn are made up of other fundamental particles viz. protons, neutrons and electrons. And we will not venture further down (believe me when I say that you don't want to hear all the quarky details.)

QM is the science which deals with behaviour of these particles. These particles have various properties such as charge (the same positive/negative thing which makes batteries work) and spin (think of this as a spin of a top, though any quantum mechanics professor would probably shoot me if she came to know I said such a thing, but still think of it thus). Now assume that electron (the guy with the -ve charge) can have two types of spin, like say clockwise and counter-clockwise (have mercy on me O God of Quantum Mechanics, for I know not what I do!).

Now, QM says that (black magic begins) an electron, exists is a superposition (or mix) of both the spin states when left to itself. It is only when we catch hold of the electron and measure its spin, does it drop into one of the two possible spin states (this is NOT the microscopic basis of schizophrenia, no matter what you believe!).

Now we take two such electrons, and perform on them a charm (a la Harry Potter) to get an entangled system, they are bound forever. For if ever I measure the spin of one, the other electron automatically drops to the opposite spin state. This property is called Quantum Entanglement. Curiously, this entanglement works even when the two electrons are separated by galactic distances. The equation, is a mathematician's way of writing such an entangled system, concisely.

The eternal bond between two separate physical entities is thus the common theme which joins these two pictures. And so the answer to my question lies in this most fascinating word, Entanglement.


Apology to purists: I have met enough men of scientific rigour to fully expect a chide for the way in which I have dealt out my explanation of this very meticulous science. I apologize, but it is entirely beyond me to keep this perfectly accurate and keep the explanation seemingly understandable at the same time.

Till death do us part - Answer : I

A riddle from ancient times,
Asks of kisses which revive,
A story unfolds in amorous climes,
Two entangled into one, come alive.

The sculpture by the Italian master Antonio Canova, now placed at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, is known as Psyché ranimée par le baiser de l'Amour (or Psyche revived by the kiss of Love).

According to one of the most romantic of the Greek and Roman myths, the lovely Psyche had through her splendorous beauty incited jealousy in the heart of Venus herself, the goddess of love. Venus had a son named Eros (sometimes called Love or Cupid) whom she used to inflame the hearts of men and women to love or hatred. Venus dispatched Eros to inspire Psyche with the love of some base creature but when Eros saw her, he himself was smitten with love and failed to carry out his mother's orders.

He caused Zephyr to waft her away to his own palace in a beautiful secluded valley. There he came to her each night in secrecy, having whispered to her that she must not seek to know his name.

Psyche had two sisters who became envious of the manner of life which the unknown lover had bestowed upon the youngest of the three. Working upon her fears and her curiosity, they induced Psyche to light a lamp while her lover was asleep and to gaze upon him.

When Psyche did so, she saw not a monster as they had predicted, but the most handsome of all youths. In her excitement she let fall upon his shoulder drops of burning oil from the lamp. Eros awoke and admonished her thus, "Love cannot live without trust." After which he disappeared.

In her despair Psyche went to Venus to beg forgiveness and to offer to do deeds of penance. Venus was unforgiving and assigned the most difficult of tasks to the beautiful girl. While performing the superhuman tasks assigned to her by Venus, Psyche falls into a deadly sleep from which only Cupid's kiss can awaken her.

This work depicts the final scene in the story of Cupid and Psyche.

My photography does not do justice to this marvellous sculpture. The marble of which it is carved looks so soft, so alive with the burning passion with which this work is infused, it gives one a sense of immense pleasure just to behold it in person.

The connection to the seemingly drab equation which follows is at least as fascinating as this sculpture itself, if not more. The key here is to see the two bodies of Eros and Psyche, entangled into one, forever. Their destinies eternally woven as threads to form the single quilt of their one life.

I will complete the answer in the next post.