Diaspora

People moving here and there; leaving their homelands in search of happiness; the grass is always greener on the other side, and then the ego comes in; happiness they do not get, but they can’t come back either, no, they are not losers, they must stay and seek happiness yet, while they have a chance. Everyone dispersing, spreading; groups all breaking down into fragments by narrow domestic walls; people start thinking, and then they start over-thinking, making plans, reverting back, new plans, no, these won’t work out, something else then, yeah, let’s try this maybe; two weeks later, back to square one. Some confused, some exasperated already, some tired and longing to go back to where they came from, but now it is too late, and they must work towards their goal, for the goal is what is important, but they know they can’t achieve it, but try they must, and try they do; but they do know, that nothing’s gonna happen, but yet they don’t stop, for stopping might make them look foolish, and they are sinking, deep in their thoughts at times, and floating mid-air at other times, sinking, floating, drowning, catching a stick, coming up, going downstream, swimming against the currents, trying to reach the banks, for the banks now are full of silt, but no, oh no, they can see, right in front of their eyes, how the river floods the banks; now only desolate land, devoid of everything, a barren island, just like their hearts, barren, empty, devoid of feelings, and now they realize, oh, they did not want this at all in the first place, their hearts that were filled with joy and hope, they want it back, yet they have sacrificed it, and they don’t remember a thing, because their memories are so short-lived, and there’s a fire somewhere, but they’ll put it out later, and they remember bits and pieces, from long back when they were together, in another country, with other people too, oh, where are they now, and what do they do? And the fire is burning, red flames and yellow, orange flames and red, burning every single man and every single woman, yet they do not flinch, for how would they show that they were vulnerable, when the opposite is what they have tried to prove to themselves all this while; and the fire keeps burning, but it will go out in a while, for there’s nothing around that can burn anymore, already the ashes are working against it, and the ashes do fly, and the sky is now black, the air is now black, the wind carries the ash, to other desolate lands, with other desolate people, and in this process, they all meet, ashes and memories, joys and pain, the joys that were once a reality, now only a myth, only a dream, an unfulfilled prophecy, a crescent moon, slowly covered by clouds, yet there will be no rain, for the rain would quench the thirst all around, and that cannot happen, for happen it will not, because that is the will of the One, the One who created this diaspora.

Yet in the dark of night when the sky is black and black is the color that they all love because black is what they have seen forever, they dream and their dreams are wild and wild as hell but no one stops them for no one can, and why should they when dreams are the one that give them hope and let them live and stop them from gnawing into each else’s lives like rodents burrowing into a hole in the ground, removing the soil and getting into the skins of the earth, and here something is getting inside the skins of the people, something warm and they can feel it, oh now they are warm, but the heat keeps increasing and now they burn, oh look at them, from black and white, and brown and yellow, all their skins turn red, and they cling to each other, likes babies clinging to their mothers’ aprons, and they walk through puddled grounds, wary of falling, yet now they fall, from hills they fall, down into the vales, they tumble and they tumble, and the ground breaks free, and rocks now fall, crumbling into stones, and joining to form caves in the vales, and the people hide their faces, for fear of being scathed, their faces they hide, and they’ve done so at other times too, but then it had been for shame, for ashamed they were of what they did, and how they lived and what they thought, for thoughts they cannot control, and they creep in the midst of night inside the mind like tigers leering in forests looking for prey, and the thoughts encumber them and burden them and now the weight is too much and they need to get rid of them, but the parasites keep clinging, much like a baby, clinging to a mother’s apron, and the cycle continues, a vicious cycle, no one can come out once they’ve got in, and yet they still get in because it lures them in, like a black hole, sucking all their energy, pulling them in and making them its own, and look at them now, how they struggle, how they fight, how they battle among themselves, oh yes there is bloodshed, and how the blood and the fight made them forget of the heat that was burning them only a while ago, but the heat has now subdued, though some have been diseased by it, and some have recovered, but the change is visible, and now blood flows out, out of the cycle, and out they rush, all of them, racing towards the periphery, they do not care where they are headed to, as long as they are running, for all are running, and though they are out of breath, see how they run, and men are running, and women are running, running they all are, because their lives are at stake now, and they value it, see how they value it, and now they’ve realized that their battle was not against each other, but it was them against the One, and One against them, destruction trying to overwhelm their lives, but they are strong, and they cannot lose, and so fight they must, and so they fight, and they think they can win, and who can tell, for all you know, they just might.

Differences

The toughest time though, was when she had just left.

Though I had never really told her how much she meant to me, my actions spoke volumes, which she pretended to not notice, lest things became uncomfortable for both of us. There was a lot that was going in our lives individually back then, and neither of us wanted another issue to take care of. We just let it be as it was, hoping that one fine day would definitely come when we would have to address it, and then we would. That day never came.

When I now look through old pictures, sieve through memories, or sometimes even talk to her over messages, I wonder how different things would have been if we had had the guts to face the truth. The truth hurt, and we ran from the pain. It was one thing to run, but I was literally scampering away from it. It was not necessary, I later realized. Once she left, things became just like it were before I had met her. I started growing back to what I was. People who had not met me in the interim did not realize how much I had changed. But those friends that I made in that interim when she was around, knew. They knew how much I had changed since before, and they knew how much I had struggled to get back to the point where I had begun. It would have been easy if life were a circle. I could just have continued and reached back to the initial point. But life was a complicated maze. And to retract it meant almost as well as to solve the entire thing again. Nevertheless, I did that.

An afternoon in February, I sat with her on the outskirts of what used to be a fort once upon a time. She talked nonchalantly as she always did, and it did not seem to matter to her that this was the last time that we would be meeting. She was happy because she was meeting me, and she wanted to enjoy the moment. It was then that it struck me how different we both were. There was a reason we had never fought till today. We had no common topic to fight for. We had nothing that could be same or different. We were two trees in a forest, the entire woods separating us. And we kept looking at the skies, never realizing the differences that lay beneath. Perhaps it was time to embrace the truth. Or perhaps it was too late.

I would never know. Nor would she. Unless we met. On the other side of the sea.

Three

We were three of us in the beginning. Always together, always happy, fun and frolic all day round. Until it changed. And then we were two, and they were two too. And it would have been good if we were four, but we were still three. Life is strange humdrum affair, or is it? Is it a notion that we like to perceive only because we read that line long ago in ‘Silver Lining’, or do we actually think it is true? There are a thousand such questions that we ask ourselves daily, and then we leave it midway, because somewhere, deep down, we know we do not really want to know the answers to them. And that is the secret to our happiness. Ignorance.

“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise”.
This saying has the truth of all worlds embodied in it. It is foolish to be wise. And why should we be, when being a little foolish may earn you so much happiness? I live in a country where day in and day out, engineers are kind of manufactured. They come in all sizes, some defective, most come out alright, some come out exceptional. This write-up is going to be much different from my other write-ups because in this, you might actually find a very bitter taste. I am annoyed with the education system. And whereas I am not someone who likes to rant about things which should be done the correct way, the education system is something I would definitely crib about. Students in India go through an education of 2+12+(3 or 4)+2 years of studies. Pre-school, school, under-grad and post-grad. By the time we are done with our studies, our childhood, our teenage, and a fair share of our twenties is eaten up. Then we fake that we are happy, where indeed, we are not. And how can we be?

George R R Martin, in his book, mentions Daenerys will be deceived thrice. Once for love, once for gold, once for blood. His subtlety must not be misinterpreted for fiction. The deception is true in real life, and three symbolizes the evil in it, much like the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. But I do not want to go into critical appreciations and literary criticisms of what people have written or meant, because whenever I think of that, I am reminded of a joke where the author doesn’t really mean anything even close to what the teachers misconstrue it to be for. Yes, if Robert Frost popped up in your head, you were probably right.

Anyhow, Merry Christmas, and I hope you have great holidays!

Two | Four

Subtle Differences

As the land and the sea,
And the day and night,
Opposites, yet complementing,
We ourselves have become.
Have we changed so much,
Than when we started,
That now when I look back,
All I see is the remnants of an old self,
Looking into a mirror,
Finding his image mentally altered,
Seeing his reflection in the ponds,
Ripples distorting his face,
Just as much as his mind was distorted.
How the smiles back then,
Turn into frowns inside the heart,
But the face never shows them,
Fearing it would be contagious,
Seeping into the lives around,
Yet when all around seem happy,
With whatever this change is,
Good or bad,
Should we think so much about it?
Or leave it be,
As the rocks wither out into grains of sand,
By the rushing streams,
From the top, that is where the mind is,
To there, where the heart resides.

Ah, I’m Old

It’s strange how with the setting sun,
When the skies turn pink, to purple, and red,
The birds all chirping, sparrows and eagles alike,
Make way for their homes, a day well spent.
Only if I could fly, only if I could fly,
I would fly up and ask them,
‘How are you different from each other?’
When you both have wings, and you both can fly,
Are you different ’cause you’re small in size?
The sparrow would laugh, and stare at me,
Don’t talk about differences, it would say,
At least we birds are different,
All you humans, all are the same,
And yet an eagle never bombarded a sparrow’s nest,
In the skies, everyone is free,
Our freedom didn’t come with a price,
And we don’t bend in servile notions,
Else we would be destined to fail like you.
Seventy name days you have seen,
Yet what good did you achieve?
You cry in happiness, “Ah, I’m old,”
And people come and serve you,
Without any rhyme or reason,
Showing how much they all love you,
But were you to die on the morrow,
Do you think deep in their hearts, they’d mourn for you?
Or would they dress up in white, shedding fake tears,
All the while thankful that you’re gone,
No one to remind them how old looks like,
They are green, and young at heart,
You, are old, withered and tattered.
I replied, “Ah, I’m old”,
As I woke up from my dream.

An Unfulfilled Dream

He pricked a thorn to see if it were true,
All the while believing he was living a dream,
For what he saw was not of this world,
The world he knew had brutalities extreme.
People walked by, smiling at each other,
The pretty little girls with pretty blue eyes,
He was amazed to see how no prying eyes,
Scanned them from top to bottom.
On the other side, a lady stood,
A group of men beside her too,
He was amazed to see how neither cared,
And stayed as if the other didn’t exist.
In his world, things happened differently,
But he wished this world was his,
For he had dreamed for a while, for this to happen,
And how now he savored it.
When the mendicant outside cried for money,
People didn’t throw waste food at him,
When the eunuch smiled at the guy beside him,
He smiled back too, shaking hands for a second.
He was amazed how this world had changed,
And thanked God for a while for fulfilling his dreams,
Only then he realized the thorn wasn’t pricking him,
And woke up dismayed, back into this world.

Two Worlds

I kept walking though I knew,
I had lost my way a while ago,
But the crowd moved so heavily,
And in such vast numbers they walked,
That even if I wanted,
It was too late to turn back.
But then I suddenly saw your hair,
And though you were quite far,
I thought I might make it to you,
If I cut through the people,
And purge towards you,
But then you disappeared.
The sun was right over my head,
I, too tired to walk any further,
But were I to stand I would be,
Stamped and trampled by others,
So never stopping or missing a beat,
I walked the path everyone took.
No one seemed to care where it was going,
As long as there were others on it,
They had a belief in each other,
But looked at me with wary eyes.

Suddenly there was a fire,
And everyone started running in all directions,
I was lost,
The people I held faith in were all gone,
Every time I followed a path,
It divided into two and there were,
People on both the paths.
There was no road less taken,
And not one not taken,
All were stuffed, like raisins in a cake,
Finally we reached a river,
And some of us rowed a boat to the other side,
We will start a new world now,
And though now you aren’t there,
Though I can’t see you anymore,
I know somewhere,
You’ll start a new world too,
And maybe one day,
Our worlds would meet.