Sunday, June 29, 2008


The light mist at the horizon blurred the sea into the sky in one uniform shade of cobalt blue. He sat on the jagged outcrop of rock, overlooking the bay. The north west sea wind slipped and swirled over his bald head. The wind had not changed, in all these years. It still sang to him, a different tune every time - just what he wanted to hear. The blues it sang now seemed beckoned him to fly far away, from beyond the open sea.

He stared into empty space with tired eyes. Half open with memories, half closed with a life gone by. Clouds that had morphed into the shape of wooden horses, were melting like orange chocolate souffle. He could see the surf breaking on the shore. Flashes of white hope that disappeared as soon they formed.

Sixty four. Had it really been that long? He held his right hand in front of him and traced the lines with his left hand. Another thing that had not changed. His aging fingers were shaking now. Funnily though, because he had never been more sure of what he was going to do next.

He rolled the sleeves of his checkered flannel shirt. Yes, it was time. His frayed denims carelessly dangled over the sole of his mud crusted boots. He took out the crumpled, folded sheet of paper from his pocket. The folds had become as much a part of the sheet as the writing. He opened the letter and read it one last time. Time, that seemed to have a way of getting lost in its folds.

Threads of a frayed memory,
Yarns of a future that has passed,
A night wrapped in a letter you wrote,
And a few days of monsoon.

Autumn of a few crumpled leaves,
An evening lost in a misplaced earring,
Clothes let out to dry, and a dry heart,
Crescent of the new moon.

Permission to breathe one last time,
Last moist breath of that parting kiss,
Mottled pages of that novel you wrote,
Now, then, sometime soon.

A few stones broke loose and rolled down, as he stood up. His legs had gone to sleep. Yet, he wanted to peer down and see exactly where the rocks broke the fall of the nothingness around him. He bent his head down and held his loose spectacles with one hand, lest it fall down before time. That would be such a pity. He did not want to loose a second of the view, all the way down.

This place was just right. He could see the endless sea before him, the infinite sky over and the hard, lifeless rocks below. "Grandpa, grandpa!" A voice called. He turned around. A small figure in a polka dotted skirt was running out towards him from the direction of the foster care home. "It's time for dinner, grandpa." "Coming, sweetheart."

With one last look at the letter in his hand, he let it go. He stood there as it dissolved into the wet evening. A tiny hand gently slipped into his trembling fingers. "Let's go, grandpa." "Yes, my love, lets go."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One Song

The clumsy flute shivers
At your slightest blow
Vibrating like never before
Making the music of life.

A life of one song
Played once, in one breath
Suspended in time
Forever, forever, for ever.

The promise of tomorrow
Wrapped in your breath
Stale, stinging, intoxicating
Fossilized in smoky embers.

The flute lies in splinters
in the ruins of a melody
clogging it's veins, for it will
play no other song, ever again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A quick dream

Afloat in grey mist, a canoe glides through still water. There is no end to the mist and the boatman is in no hurry to reach anywhere. What does one do when one is on a journey of one's dreams, except dream. Dreams do not particularly fare well all the time, amidst the silent shadows of reality. But dream on we must.

In me, I've found the most compulsive dreamer I've ever met. I dream by choice and by habit. It's my escape and my inspiration. It's the amalgamation of all my what could have been's and what can be's. It also the sole keeper of all my fears, my hopes, fantasies and frustrations. In it I see myself, as myself, alone and devoid of the artifice of the world around me. I see myself, because of what I am, not because of what the world has decided I should be.

Do I dream in words, sounds, images? I do not know. Do I only dream when I am asleep? Most certainly not. Do I dream only happy things? No. Sometimes, I dream the worst that can be, by choice. Just to make myself cry. When I am precariously balanced at the threshold of pain, then the ability to make myself cry is a big advantage.

People are not always mindful of other people. People are almost never mindful of me. Especially when I do not want them to be. I can fade away into the background without a whimper as if I am just another random pitch in the white noise of space. In such times, ignored by what is concrete, I dream about the abstract. I gaze at the space in front of me and reflect myself in the shards of my imagination. This blog post, is turning out to be one such shard. Nobody, absolutely nobody, at this moment, is particularly bothered about what I am doing. So, I am writing, in my dream.

Soon this illusion will break. Even real dreams or dreams that come true are illusions, and I always mourn the passing of the illusion. Much like dreams, mourning is not always sad. But that is the subject of another post.

So as I let this dream go with the hope of being led into another one again, soon, I am ready to have lunch. Why? Because I am hungry! Sadly dreams don't fill the stomach.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Of football and fear in the city

Somewhere between watching Carrie Bradshaw fall in and out with Mr. Big and in again, I seem to have found something that I thought had been eroded away.

The Netherlands won against France, 4-1. I watched the match surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans in an open air cinema with a huge screen. From ecstasy to depression to ridicule, I saw emotions flit across the innumerable unknown faces around me. Winning and losing. Battles and wars. They say that the spirit of the game lies in playing and not in the result.

But I am by no definition of the word, a player. I am like a golf amateur sent out to play for the national football team in the world cup finals. In extra time.

I do a worst case analysis by habit. I have found if I can grow into the worst case scenario, whatever happens afterward, is always a bonus. But when life deals you a blackjack, the worst case can morph beyond recognition and leave you surrounded by ruins you never expected to inhabit. That such a thing may happen, is not the question. That it used to scare me out of my wits was also firmly established in my psyche. Fear, as a reaction, can be very crippling sometimes.

Will it do my image a lot of damage if I admit that I almost shed a tear when towards the end of the movie, Carrie ran and hugged Mr. Big, like there was no tomorrow. Believing in fairy tale love stories seems to be a sure shot way of setting myself up for disaster. The dream at once seems so fragile and ephemeral. I was so scared of ruining it, that I actually stopped living it.

Yes, I live in my dream world. With my head buried somewhere in the clouds and my feet flailing in mid air. It doesn't help at all that I can see all this with my eyes. Other people mostly can't, so whenever I am caught talking to myself, I get the loony-tunes look. But coming back to the subject of being scared.

A long time ago. Well, it seems like a long time anyway, but you'll find it on this blog if you'll search for it, I gave up on hate. I haven't quite been as successful with anger, but mostly so. Well I would like to claim today, I give up on fear. I would like to. But that is not the way to look at it I guess.

I have just grown extremely comfortable in my own skin. Narcissistic? Maybe. A lot of doubts, of suitability, of being worth it, of being perfect for someone have fizzled out. The fear of loss is gone. Simply. Just like that.

As Beethoven wrote, and Carrie read out, and Mr. Big whispered, and I quote -

Ever thine,
Ever mine,
Ever ours.

How can one love someone without expecting them to love one back? It is not surprising that praying in a church in Pondicherry and a mosque in Istanbul will bring you to the same conclusion. A tiny instant of absolute clarity.

There is no greater liberation.

Ludwig van Beethoven's Letters to the Immortal Beloved can be found here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The soot of civilization settles on my heart, giving it the burnt, spent look so characteristic of the fuel that fires the furnace of society. Through the grime of mechanical drudgery, the tattered dream of individual spirit still glints with promise. Restless, in its agnostic hope of a tomorrow, any tomorrow; lies the anti-thesis of my defeat. The life blood of my vampirish existence, my love. In this dark asylum of misery, we resonate to the tune of the sacred melancholy. In that liberated vibration, I am defined and obliterated, for ever.

Aaami jamini, tumi shoshi he, bhaticho gono maajhe.
Momo shoroshite tobo ujolo probha, bimbito jano laaje.

Tomaye herigo shopone shoyane, tobo tamburo raanga boyane,
Mori oporoop roopo madhuri, boshonto shomo biraaje.

Tumi je shishiro bindu, momo kumudiro bokkhe,
Na herile ogo, tomare, tomosa ghonaye chokhe,

Tumi ogonito taara gogone, tumi prano-baayu momo jibone
Tobo naame momo premo-muroli, poraner gothe baaje.


Time warps and distances melt. Everything shrinks into an infinite point of confluence. Here the self-defeating righteousness evaporates into a mist of non-existent wrongs. The absurd commonly defines the choice of a free mind. Conditions of sanctimonious behaviour morph into gemstones of rare clarity. Refracted through this point, I see my whole world as a projection of you. This point rivets the torn fabric of my spacetime to the singularity of my consciousness. Here the identity disappears, every determinant vanishes, leaving you, only you, resplendent and beyond doubt.

Hoyeto tomari jonno, hoyechi preme je bonno,
Jaani tumi ononno, aashaar haath badaai.
Jodi kokhono ekaante, cheychi tomaye jaante,
Shuru theeke shesh praante, choote choote gechi taayi.

Aami je nijeyi motto, jaani na tomar shorto,
Jodi ba ghote onortho, tobuo tomaye chaayi.

Aami je duronto, du chokhe ononto,
Jhoder digonto jude shopno chodayi.
Tumi to boloni mondo, tobu keno protibondho,
Dekhona moner dondo, shob chede cholo jaayi.


Ceaseless, relentless, breakdown. A world determined to erode at whim. In that world I am the grain of sand stuck between the teeth of the grinding wheel. I am the wall of air to the roaring canons, the porous net to the rambunctious tempest. I am transparent to the spears of cleansing light, I am the surrender of all wars. Every war that has ever been fought to win you. I am the mute in every voice that has called your name. I am the arrogance of understanding and I am the poison of fidelity. I am the eternally false in truth. Truth that begins and ends with you.

Aami gaan shonabo ekti aasha niye,
Ae gaan jano tomar bhalo laage.
Aami rong chodabo ektu tuli diye,
She rong shudhu tomar onuraage.

Onek chawaye jaani na ki chayilaam,
Praner kheya kon okule bayilaam,
Shudu jaanlam, shrote bhashlaam, bhalo bashlaam.
Aami poth harabo ekti prodeep niye,
Je din joode tomar aalo jaabe.

Aamaar eyi to onhonkar,
Haarmaana haar tomaye diye porbo joyer haar.
Onek bojhaye eyi to shudhu bujhbo,
Chiro jonom tomaye aami khujbo,
Aami jaanlaam, haar manlaam, bhalo bashlaam.

Aami daak pathabo ekti hridoy niye,
Je mon diye keu dakeni aage.


The Bangla songs are from: 1) The movie Antony Firingi, sung by Manna Dey; 2) The movie Teen Bhubaner Pare, sung by Manna Dey; 3) An album by Hemanta Mukherjee; respectively.