Lilies

Dreams are in fact the only way of repose, in my understanding. Because that is only time when the mind is at rest, even if not fully. No, I do not mean to evoke psychologists to rubbish my thought by saying that the subconscious is awake at all times, and so is the unconscious during dreams, but as long as the conscious is at rest, you have an option to keep away the worries of the day piled up lazily in a corner like dirty laundry to be washed the next day. And that is exactly why I like to sleep. Because I love to dream. To dream of castles I’ve never been in, and races I have never won, and meadows I have never lay in and lilies I have never smelled.

Unfulfilled dreams and the urge to fulfil them or at least keep dreaming about them until they get fulfilled is perhaps one of the main ways I keep myself happy. Happiness is a rare thing, and looking for it is indeed difficult in my world. Don’t assume me to be a sad person, I am in fact a very jolly and funny guy who can crack the right jokes at the correct time and make those around laugh merrily. I can also bring a smile on a child’s face by giving him a chocolate or an old lady’s face by helping her cross the street. To say I do not derive happiness from these small acts would be cruel. Indeed I do. They do make me happy. And if that surmises to happiness found easily in the world, then by that definition I am indeed a very happy person. But there is more than that to life. There is a personal space, and there is an ego, and an ego needs to be fed, and food is expensive, and it comes at the cost of happiness, inner happiness, not the joys of the world that can be experienced ever so easily.

I sat by the river one day, looked into the water and saw ripples of my reflection smiling back at me, as if it almost knew what went on in my mind at that time. It is funny how reflections are just what we are, but devoid of their own emotions and feelings. They feel what we feel, they show what we ask them to. They do not have an individuality. And many people think that individuality is in fact one of the foremost important things in this world, but indeed in the case of reflections, it is not. So for shadows too. Shadows and reflections. It is such a nice thing to talk about. Shadows, darkness, reflections, brightness. Shadows do not smile or be sad, they are stoic, they are our internal selves. But reflections are what the world sees, whereas the shadow is what it needs to see to learn what is really going on in our heads because at the end of the day, what we show and how much we smile doesn’t count a penny.

My set of posts is almost at an end. Only one more post to go for this series to end. I do not remember why I had started writing this, so it would be difficult to tell you whether or not I feel that I have justified the need of these posts, because I cannot remember the reason why I began in the first place. But sometimes it so happens that we must be happy with the way things end even if we don’t remember the beginning and even if we don’t remember the entire journey but only parts of it, for the end is what counts. They did have a saying, “All’s well that ends well”, and if that is true, then I should believe all is going to be well for me, and that might be the subject of my dreams when I sleep tonight.

For I Will Walk

For I will walk those paths again,
Only this time you won’t be there,
And can you blame me?
Yes, you could, but deep within,
You’d cry for you know,
How much you’ve wronged me,
Day and night,
And the cycle continues,
A vicious one,
Engulfing one and all into it,
I was probably just another prey,
But you hunted me down well,
And that made all the difference.

For I will walk those paths again,
Though I really don’t know,
Where they will take me,
For the last time I walked,
You had blindfolded me,
And I knew you’d take me right,
That faith, that mistake,
But now I know,
I must go,
Come what may.

For I will walk those paths again,
And hope to find,
Another lost soul,
Looking out to find her way,
And maybe we’d hold hands,
And comfort each other,
For we both know how it feels,
To be stranded in a desert,
Knowing you’ll die soon,
And nonetheless striving,
To see it to its end,
Or at the least reach an oasis,
And that is not tough,
And I promise you,
I can do that.

For I will walk those paths again,
Paths which you can never walk,
For you might know the ways,
But you don’t have the keys,
To the gate that lies,
At the other end,
The gate to solace,
And freedom and happiness.

For you’re a captive,
Of emotions such as hate,
One that’ll pull you back,
Much like a spring,
The more you go,
The harder you come back,
And it serves you right,
For love you I not,
And I pray to the gods,
Those that might listen to me,
That you stay so forever,
And slowly forget that love even exists,
For you are not meant,
To love or be loved.

Wilderness

Issue:
Nations should pass laws to preserve any remaining wilderness areas in their natural state, even if these areas could be developed for economic gain.

Response:
Nature has its own way of showing its wrath upon the humans. While on one hand, we have ever so increased our standard of living by letting industrialization encroach upon both nature and our lives, on the other hand, we also know that this comes at a price. Though the governments have been willing to pay this price for long now, they have come to realize that this bargain is not going to end on a happy note. And so we come to the topic of wilderness areas. These are those areas, those patches of land, that have yet kept themselves hidden and safe from the wrath of mankind. These are those tiny specks of land here and there (and by specks I mean forests, because if you see the world, or the universe, they indeed are merely specks), which are still in their natural state, and which flourish in themselves with habitats yet untouched, with animals yet unharmed, with trees yet not felled, and with life yet undisturbed. What should then be the approach of a nation towards such a land?

What every nation wants today is to be on top of the world, and for that what it needs is economic prowess. So suppose an area can be utilized for economic gain, though that could literally mean extinction of a particular species, should the government allow the land to be encroached and utilized for public benefit? Or should it pass laws to preserve any remaining wilderness areas in their natural state, even if these areas could be developed for economic gain? Only if the answer to this question was in black or white. Now and then I have been talking of the grey area, the grey thoughts, the fine lines between the right and the wrong where seemingly most of the solutions lie, the potholes in the ever increasing miseries on the road we take. And this is one of those potholes, secretly filled, but taken out at night, so that one who does not see or is used to the light will be mistaken and fall into it, an ever swirling down spiral, taking one down to the depths of wrong, to the castles of misery, to the wrongdoings and the hidings and the money and the shutting up and the darkness and the spiders and the moths and the bats and the distant memories of sound of the chirps of the crickets and foggy mornings. Well then, to answer this question, one must get into their shoes, and see if they can really distinguish between the correct and the wrong.

What I say is my view, and maybe it does not reflect well on you. But then, this is my way of thinking. Because I am in love, in love with nature. I would rather see the trees around me and listen to the chirps and at night silently shiver at the howl of the wolf, rather than remain amidst the bustle of the city and the horns of vehicles and the smoke from chimneys and the pollution and the grief. I would rather see a sunny morning with the sun gleaming bright and the sunflowers turned towards it rather than walk on a path made of bricks and a road full of bikes. And that is because I believe in freedom. The freedom of thought. The freedom to let everyone live as they wish to, without interfering in their business, without encroaching their lands, without asserting my right on them, without anything that would lead to the thought of one being superior to the other, because in this world, there is no superiority, and there is no inferiority. We all are equals, and we must believe that, come to terms with that, because the fact that we believe otherwise (and yes, we do), is what is leading us to our doom. And it is ever-increasing. We first thought that we were superior to animals, and could do whatever we want. We now think we are superior to other humans, and can do whatever we want. Of course, we can. But should we? That is the more important question. That is the question that needs to be answered. Do we really need to prove ourselves? Who are we proving it to? Do we really need all this? Do we really need money? Do we really need space? What are we? Grey questions, so many unanswered that a life could be spent searching for the answers. And then there will be none.

Let us stop for a while, and stop considering this planet as a place where humans were meant to be, and start imagining it as a place where humans just happened to be. Maybe that will be the time we finally relinquish our desire to control everything, and maybe that will be the day when things will again become normal, and everyone will live happily ever after.

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.

At Schiphol Amsterdam

Excerpt from my diary.

Date: Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello, you are not intended to be read by other people, unless I give them permission to do so. I don’t have my camera with me, and I haven’t got out of the airport till now, so I do not have many pictures for you today, but soon I will be flooding your pages with pictures.

I am sitting at the Amsterdam airport. It’s huge and it’s wonderful. There are so many things to see and do and watch inside the airport itself. I love the walkers here. I don’t know what they are called, and there is no internet right now to google it and write down the correct word, but I think you know what it means; it’s a conveyor made of escalator material. Everything here is in Dutch. Earlier in the morning I had gone to a library, which had lots of books. Sadly, all were in the local language which is beyond my understanding. There was free internet for sixty minutes, but I stopped after fifteen minutes, only to realise later that the time was not split and that I could never use the remaining forty-five!

The Amsterdam airport is huge. You can keep walking miles and miles, literally. There are bars, spas, food courts, and casinos. There is a huge place for kids to enjoy, and there are comfortable sofas at one particular place where I went. The entire checking-in process here is very fast. There are big windows, entire walls made of windows which add an aesthetic sense, and every second minute you can see an airbus, which is, to me, enthralling. The attendants and employees at the help desks are very polite and helpful, and the airport is well labeled so that you can figure things out on your own. People talk a lot here, which is a very interesting feature, because in most other airports where I’ve been, people tend to sit grumpy and serious, which makes the entire thing a very sad affair.

I have been sitting and waiting for the plane for a long time now. My flight landed here at seven in the morning, and my next flight is at one. I had earlier thought it would be convenient because I assumed wrongly that there would be many procedures involved in here; there were none. So here I am, sitting, waiting at the airport, with practically nothing to do. I am carrying ‘Best Kept Secret’ by Archer, but I lose interest now and then and close the book after every five minutes. I bought a coffee worth 3.30 Euros and it pained my heart for every single sip. People here do know English, so I do not face the problem of language barrier, which is lucky enough for me.

I think it is because of the waiting or connecting flight system (or maybe it’s just the way it’s followed here) but I wasn’t frisked at the security counter. I simply had to take off my belt and watch, and keep all electronic goods in a tray, including the earphones which my father gave me; they are a bit strange when you use them. The lady who sat beside me in the plane was quite talkative; she is a teacher and says she has a son of my age, may be a bit older than me. My previous flight was at one in the morning and landed at seven, though actually it was a ten hour flight; so they served food twice, and it was quite edible, so I do not feel hungry now. I took the coffee not because I wanted to drink something, but because I needed change for the tram which I will board once I land in Bremen.

It is supposed to be cold here, but I do not feel the need of a sweater. I had wanted ‘Inferno’ and ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, and my friend was kind enough to look for them on the internet and mail me the e-books. She did good, because I saw the same books here and was wishing to buy it, until I noticed they were a Dutch-translated version. I am excited about the trip. This is the first time I am abroad, and luckily, things are happening smooth enough for me; I cannot call back home though I can still send messages. I have a feeling my mother will be a bit tensed about me, but it’s only natural since this is the first time I have left for so far.

So far so good. I like the people who come and go around me, because everyone smiles at most of the others. I keep hearing murmurs of people in an unknown language. It may be Dutch, it may be something else, but I don’t care. The lady who was sitting with me in the plane had done a Major in Computer Science and was reading a biography of Steve Jobs; I think I want that book. There’s a flight which is going to arrive now, and people queue up. The cup of coffee that I bought is still beside me, only it’s empty. I feel lazy to get up and throw it in a bin; I have been travelling for almost thirty-six hours now and my legs are swelling. Somehow I don’t feel tired, and the jetlag doesn’t affect me. I am not sleepy, but soon I will once I reach my new home for the next two months.

The accent of the people here is very different; it’s not like us, and it isn’t like the British or the American either, and it’s funny to listen to them speak in English. The battery in my laptop is going to die soon, and so I will switch it off now. More when I get to Emden. I have to take a flight now, then a tram, and then a train, after which I will meet Mr Engelmann, my employer. The next two months are going to be fun, and quoting the lady beside me, “the best two months of my life”, though I hardly think that is true.

She Didn’t Fly

I put her out of the cage, on my table,
Kept a few grains in front of her,
Hoping she’d eat them,
Or at least fly away,
She didn’t fly.

I thought she’d cherish her freedom,
Dance around for a while,
Then fly into the sky,
Be forever free,
She didn’t fly.

It seemed to me she loved the cage,
Maybe she just loved me,
The cage, her world,
Who’d she fly to?
She didn’t fly.

I learnt that sometimes we nurture,
Thoughts of freedom alike,
But given the chance,
Still hold back and,
Do not fly.

The Journey – 2

Read the first part in The Journey – 1.

For in my previous life, I was but you,
Now you are dead, didn’t you realize so?
The woman in sand put her hands over her face,
She was alive, only a moment ago.
She had crossed the barrier of one afterlife,
And now was born in another century,
She would have a brother, a child and a husband again,
In a world where everyone was free.
Freedom is what she came looking for,
And freedom is what she had got,
If not for her, for another her,
Her voice welled up, and in her throat got caught.

As she sat softening the soles of her feet,
Which had turned hard for the sand she walked on,
She knew what next she had to do,
That she would have to walk on and on.
For on the other side of the meadow rested another desert,
Its sands hotter than the one she burnt herself through,
And at the other end rested another of herself,
One she knew through and through.
There would be large walls, and larger iron gates,
Breaking them would be difficult, that she knew,
But the walls within oneself were stronger than those,
And broken them had only a few.

So she walked and she walked, by the light of day,
And she walked and she walked, by the shade of nigh’,
She had been dead once, and she knew for one,
What is dead may not die.
She didn’t know if it was the right thing she did,
Or if she was trotting the opposite way,
But she walked and she walked, never stopping,
The desert would still be miles away.
She heard a song her mother used to sing,
The words didn’t come, but the music had,
A faint tune that carried over the sands,
Said she could walk some more, it wasn’t that bad.

A dragon flew today in the skies above,
Its hiss as loud as thunders in the rain,
And it turned the sky from a blue to a red,
Carving in it a fiery lane.
But she walked and she walked, never caring about it,
Though it came and perched on her back,
And after a while ate a part of her meat,
Charring the rest of her shoulder to black.
The nights were colder, the fires never burnt,
She shivered in her cloak, though it was good fur,
Her dreams were wavy, she thought of other lives,
And someone in her ears some words did murmur.

A fortnight later, the desert abruptly,
Gave way to a mighty castle of stone,
It was huger than any she had imagined so far,
Its door carved out of a huge mammoth’s bone.
She heard voices inside, her own kith and kin,
From a life she led once upon a time,
Where her breath had been taken away from her,
On account of someone else’s crime.
Her journey had ended, she would relive this life,
Undo things that were best undone,
Before she moved to the next spoke of the wheel,
Around which all her lives spun.