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.

Lost

This is a story of all I’ve lost,
All those who believed in me once,
All those who I thought
Would stay here forever.
All those who were my people.
My people.

But there’s a river always,
And there’s the other bank,
And I’ve seen you go to the other side,
And there are beliefs there too.
Yet I’ll come there sometime,
If I’m strong enough,
To fight against the currents,
And to fight against the odds.

But what’s in store for tomorrow,
Nobody knows,
And the clocks go tick-tock tick-tock,
And I keep losing my faith,
And my people,
And they lose their faith,
And me,
An endless cycle.

But all’s not lost, there is a ray of hope,
Shining from behind the clouds,
Which cloud my mind presently,
Making me unable to see what’s across it,
Whether it’s a silver lining,
Or are there endless clouds,
Hiding the sun, my source of energy,
I don’t know,
And nobody can tell me, unless they go.

This is a story of all those who I have lost,
To love.
Because sometimes,
Love is a poison,
One which comes back to get you,
To destroy you, and to harm you forever.
Memories hit me,
Like cold gales lashing across my face,
Of things that had best remain unsaid,
That had best remained undone,
But were done, in the moment,
Not foreseeing the future,
And here I lie, in despair,
Thinking about it without a course.

And there are others that I’ve lost,
To time.
For time is like sand, forever slipping between fingers,
No matter how hard you close your fist,
People, memories, happiness, friends,
Dwindle out.
Like the candle, having served it purpose,
Reduces to wax, and a part of it,
Forever stuck to the floor,
Like memories,
The memories of my people.

I’ve lost people, and I’ve lost time,
But that’s not all,
I’ve lost memories, so many of them,
In a chest full of gold and other treasures,
But someone robbed me of it,
In a dream one night,
And I have never found them again.
I’ve lost dreams,
He came one night, and told me so,
That dreams were only for those,
Who had their memories safe and sound,
But I had lost them.
I’ve lost wishes, which I had saved,
To demand of a genie should I find one,
But he came in the midst of a night,
And told me he wouldn’t grant me any,
‘Cause wishes were given to only those,
Who had big dreams, and I had lost them.

But lost things may yet be found,
Like toys of a child hidden in the cupboard,
And some day when I rush across,
The pages of time,
I might catch one at the end of a page,
Waiting, sitting there, just like me,
Trying to look out for those she’s lost.

Return – Chapter 5

Sometimes things happen, and we do not really realize their importance until long after. As I now think of my past, so many events stand out in my mind, which at that point were simply instances, nothing important enough to remember, just moments. But those moments are what have made me what I am today, or at least attribute to it in some way or the other. And somehow a majority of the moments lead up to the same end point. Irtiqa. How I wish that it were untrue, and that there were more than one meaning to my life. I remember the first time I took her out for ice-cream. I loved a particular combination of flavors, and was exhilarated to make her try it, and she had looked at the icecream with disdain. She did not like it one bit. Chocolate was better. That was one of the first moments when I had realized that maybe things are not so common as we had thought they were. But what harm could it be? After all, an ice-cream flavor never disrupted anything, and we were too mature for that. Only, we were not.

Irtiqa. There was something about that name. And that something had kept me away from Shaena too long. I was not meant to do any of this. But then again, who could ever imagine that we would ever meet again, after the way we parted four years ago — she suddenly pulled me back. I had not realized I was crossing the road and that a car was headed towards me. I looked back at her. She asked, “What would have happened if I weren’t there here right now?” And I replied, “That could not have been.” She smiled. She knew. She knew what was going on in my mind. But she would never own up to it. She was too proud for that. And so was I. We already knew we had embarked on the wrong path yet once again, but somehow we had decided we would continue to walk.

“We should go drinking sometime,” she said. “I will make you vomit out every secret that you keep from me.” I smiled. She still did not know anything about that night. It is queer how intoxication can be a boon sometimes. Perhaps that is why people get drunk, to be themselves. They know they do not have the guts to unmask themselves when they are in their wits, but they desperately want to unmask themselves. And that is why they drink. That is why I drink. I remember the last time I was drunk. It was a total fiasco. I always drink only till I know I am okay. After that I stop. This one time, I did not. I wanted to lose my senses for once. I wanted to be just me for once. No limiting boundaries. People think that drunk people usually speak truthfully and that it is best to make them ogle out whatever they might have buried in their hearts. And that is somewhat true. Only, sometimes we lie so much to ourselves that the lie gets buried deep within, and we start thinking that it is true. And there lies the problem. We have moulded ourselves into something that we wish were true, and have believed in the alternate theory so much that it seems a part of our reality.

I dropped her at her home, but decided to stay out for a while. As I walked, the breeze blew through my hair. It was a starry night. The river shone brightly, lit up by the street lights and the stars and the moon. I sat on the bank, the cold water lapping against my feet. In a restaurant a few blocks ahead, someone was singing folk songs. I checked my phone, the battery was dead. There was nothing else that I could want at this moment. Nothing more, nothing less. I think I was happy. I was satisfied by my life, even though it had nothing to give, because I was too full to take anything more, like a tumbler full of water. The friend I had met in the morning crossed paths once again. “How was it?” he asked, not waiting for an answer. He knew I would say it was okay, irrespective of how it was. Sometimes it is foolish to anticipate anything out of anyone. And we had both learned that, the hard way. He left after a while, when he realized I had nothing more to say. I walked back to Shaena’s house. She opened the door, but blocked it. “What troubles you so much?” she asked. “Tell me or I will stop talking to you.” Déjà vu. Was she still so kiddish? “Are you seriously gonna do that, now, again?” “No, I am joking. But you need to tell me. I am a friend, believe me, I am, and will be. We are past all that now, and I promise nothing of that sort will ever happen again.”

Perhaps I took a wrong decision at that very moment.

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Travelling Around

You have seen Game of Thrones, and the widely famous dialogue at the end of the episode where Jaime pushes Bran down the wall. “The things I do for love.” How true is it? Can anyone really do something which is beyond what words can describe, only for love? Enter, the Taj Mahal. When I wrote the post “What’s Up“, I might have been swayed into a completely different perspective regarding the monument, for which I have the weather to blame. However, I visited the Taj once again, this winter. So in less than a year, I visited this monument a couple of times, and it would be worthy to mention that my perspective has changed by volumes during this visit.

The Agra trip has been one of the best moments this year, more importantly because it provided me with ample time to spend with my family. In the busy world that we live in today, where work is worshipped so much that people are ready to sacrifice some of the most important moments, and take some of the most important wrong decisions in life, being succumbed to the pressure in their organizations, a few moments of luxury deserves a special mention. In a weekend that was so jam-packed that I could not take out the time to write this down, I visited some of the finest places in and around Agra. The Agra Fort, the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri. The latter was one of the best road trips till date, the constant drizzling with heavy showers intermittently, yet sunny whenever we got down.

It is not every day that you see your parents contented, and sometimes just that one smile speaks volumes of satisfaction. I realized too late that travelling is one of the best, (and in fact the best) way to spend life. It is rightly said that the world is a book, and not travelling is akin to you reading only one page of the book. Fatehpur offered so much more than we could imagine, primarily because I did not have first-hand information about that place. It was a place I wanted to visit, only because people had recommended it for Agra trips, but the ‘dargah’ of Salim Chusti, and the Buland Darwaza, make for one of the most calm yet huddled places in and around Agra. However, the most important part of the trip was the visit to the Taj. I obviously will not spend time writing about it because that is what Wikipedia is for, but if you are someone who values history, contemporary or ancient, I strongly urge you to definitely visit this place at least once in your life. You will definitely not regret it.

I have been staying in Delhi for more than a year now, and yet occasion has never proved worthy until earlier this month. A fortnight ago, we had guests from Jamshedpur. And since they had come to Delhi after a long time, it was but obvious that they would have wished to spend some time visiting places in Delhi that were noteworthy. Astonishingly, I myself had not seen much of the places in and around Delhi and wanted to avail this chance. It was a one-day tour, from morning till evening, but the sheer number of places that we visited made the day worthy of remembrance. Most of us know that one of the most fascinating things about India is the diversity that it encompasses. This diversity is most prominent in historical monuments and structures specific to religions. Also, something that gives me great pride about this diversity is the open-mindedness and tolerance of every religion and section towards the other. This means that a Hindu would not mind visiting a Gurudwara, and a Sikh can go to a church and no one will frown. Freedom. And freedom is important, because that is what keeps you going. That is what makes you take the next step, and the next, and see yourself through the entire ladder of life. We went to a number of places, and you should really google them up, and read a little bit about them, because they are a definite “must-go” places if you ever get a chance to come to Delhi. Among the many places that we went, the Laxminarayan Temple (also known as the Birla Mandir), India Gate, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, the Jantar Mantar, and Akshardham are a few of those that you must definitely pay a visit to, whenever you are free. Just so you know, the Lotus Temple and the Qutb Minar are two other monuments that are spell-bounding as well, but I didn’t include them in the former list as they were not a part of this trip.

All said and done, when I got back home, a sense of happiness wrapped me around, like a mother cuddling her infant. I was happy that I did this, and could not have wished for a better day. See you soon, with more posts. Hopefully the next ones will be sooner than this one was. I have been out of writing for some time now, but I think it is time I get back to it. Bye.

How Cities Reflect Society

“To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.”


One of the most important factors that defines a society is the variety within it. A society is not composed of people all from the same background, or following the same practices, and hence it is important to appreciate the variety in a society. Studying the major cities of any society can in this case prove very powerful in understanding what the major principles are that drive the society together.

A person is, to a large extent, defined by the region in which he lives and grows up. For example, in India, people who hail from the northern states differ in many characteristics from people who hail from the southern or eastern states. This is because through generations, different cultures have been imbibed in people. Nonetheless, studying major cities can help a lot, and the reason is this: People from all areas usually flock to the major cities of a society. Hence, if we pick up ten random people in a major city, it is highly probable that they actually belong to different areas of the society and show variegated traits depending on where they come from, for example, in the food they eat, or the clothes they wear. Also, it is important to remember that there will be some characteristics that will always remain uniform throughout all of them. For example in India, irrespective of where you hail from, touching the feet of elders is a sign of respect towards them. In Korea, bowing low is a custom that everyone practises, irrespective of which area they come from. Such habits are universal for everyone in the society, and so a major city could help us in noticing this.

However, every major city is not alike in all perspectives, and these small differences can help in knowing about the nitty-gritty details about the society. For example, the architecture of different cities can help us deduce the overall mentality that persists in a place. Open-minded people, for example, reflect their mentality in houses by building spacious constructions. Another example that comes to my mind is food. The staple diet of different major cities can help us know a lot about the people and the kind of livelihood that they have. For example, in an area with heavy rain, it is more common to see people consuming rice, compared to wheat. Hence, we might see people who are more active than others simply based on their diet. This is important because learning to recognize people according to where they hail from might be helpful in many cases. For example, if a person wants to open an agricultural industry, he would profit more if he hired people belonging to a particular area.

We might also find many differences within the same city. For example, there might be posh areas within the city, and slums on the outskirts. Learning the sentiments between these people, and whether or not religion plays a role in these sentiments, can play a major role in understanding any society. A secular society might at times face dominance by a certain set of people. Hence the different religions also play an important role. This is particularly visible in major cities where people from all parts of the society flock and work together, and it might be interesting to observe the amount of cooperation and competition between various sets of people.

Sometimes, major cities also impact the individual. Many preconceived notions of individuals are broken, and they themselves realize what their society has to offer them. Hence, it is not unusual to find radical changes in an individual after shifting to a major city. To conclude, I would agree with the fact that though major cities might not give an entire outlook, they succeed in giving a rough overview of the society. Studying its major cities can therefore help in understanding the similarities and differences between different sets of people, and how the society overall impacts the individual.

Quick – Chapter 8

A week later.

My beard had grown from a stubble to one which made me look like a beggar. I had been asked not to shave, and the reason that I could only comprehend was they were stupid. Turned out they weren’t.

A guy turned into my room. Name Charlie. Okay, I had got a second chance at figuring out what exactly this was about. Though I was almost sure nothing would turn up, just like always.

“Hallo,” said he.

“Hallo.” He looked strange; standing tall, almost one and a half my height, and had only one hand. His left eye was bruised, and his beard unshaven for almost half a year. In his only hand, he had a ring on each finger, thick rings, made of steel. He looked strong too.

“Komm, will mein Manager, Sie kennenzulernen.”

A week had rendered me useful in but one way, I now knew bits and pieces of their language. “in Ordnung,” I said.

The manager was strict, and a man who liked to speak to the point. “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”

“Nein! Only little bit.”

“Then in English we must talk. Little bit I know English. We make comfort in that. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Cipher, you know? There is one. No one solves. Everyone foolish. I hear you good. Do it, and be free.”

“Okay.” So finally they give out why they keep me. Hah.

Shaena – Finale – Chapter 9

A little bit of background research never harmed anyone, so I had proceeded to do that two days earlier, only to reach to the conclusion that Saeeka studied Commerce in our school, which was of course, by no means, a path towards finding solutions to problems in graph theory. As I strolled down the path, I saw her. She hurried out of her block, and pretended not to see anyone around, though I already knew what just happened. Research says that when you are more than nervous you tend to spill out all the truth, and I was going to apply just the same in the next few minutes, for Saeeka’s presence at Shaena’s block made absolutely no sense to me.

“Okay, I know what this is about, and Shaena already told me everything about it,” I said as I moved towards Saeeka from behind. She turned, dismayed, eyes staring the concrete road, and for the first time, it wasn’t how we talked earlier. She spoke up, “Okay, I am sorry. I did not intend to do all this. I have always considered a friend to be above everything. But sisterhood sometimes takes priority, and what I did was for your good. You didn’t stand up to it, and I am sorry about that.” Of course, that made no sense to me, because neither had Saeeka been much explanatory in her excuse, nor had Shaena ever actually told me anything about it.

In the next few minutes, what I gathered was that Shaena still had hopes that I love her, and was trying to find if it was still true, so he had asked for help from her first cousin, Saeeka. I had absolutely no clue why she would try to do this, but since I had never talked to Saeeka about Shaena, they both assumed I had got over it. And that was not true anyways. So, here I was, in the midst of a conspiracy, with no way to go out, losing something unintentionally again, and not being where I should have been.

Saeeka and I never met again after that. Shaena continues her no talking system even today. Sometimes now when I think what all happened, I can’t help but laugh at how things turn out just the opposite of how you want it. Of course, there is no God that does things good. If there were, I would have killed Him by now for being so helpful towards me. Had I believed in God, I would have prayed things turned out good one day and that she realised the fact that I loved her, only without deploying queer ways to do that. And there it ended, not so happily ever after.

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