Thursday, August 16, 2012

Of You and Me

"It looks so beautiful...but more than that it is so full of mysteries", she said looking at the sky filled with stars whose glitter reflected in her eyes. She was in a cheerful mood although more often than not the sky reminded her of the vast emptiness of life that caused more unhappiness than awe. He agreed. However she could not spot any trace of excitement nor sorrow in his face. It was exactly the way he had responded to her saying "The coffee is hot" in an attempt to make a conversation many years back. They had met each other for the first time in a crowded restaurant where they had shared the only vacant table. None of the two really believed in destiny so they considered it a happy coincidence when their paths kept crossing each other time and again. They finally decided not to rely on chance any further and made arrangements for her to move into his apartment. They were happy together.

"Has it ever occured to you that the world as we know may be a complete fallacy. The reality could be far different from how we percieve things. Doesnt the quest for the bigger picture ever bother you?" She asked. She knew he was capable of looking beyond what was obvious. However, she did not recieve any response from him, rather he failed to hear her. He was leaning against the wall on the balcony with a cigarette in his hand staring at a barking dog that was passing by. She loved him when he displayed such indifference towards the trivial issues of life but not when it was she who was being ignored. In an attempt to make her presence known she stopped abruptly at that. The silence did not seem to bother him either and he failed to notice it as well. So she decided to get difficult. "Do you have any idea what I was talking about?" , she asked. Now this was definitely getting tough. "Well, ofcourse. You were talking about some big picture but what about it?", He tried to fetch the words that were still floating in his memory somewhere."So you were talking about reality", he finally managed to put the words in order in his mind. "What makes you believe that the sky and the stars should be more of reality to me? I stand here under the sky with you next to me is what is real to me. Reality to me is how I perceive things this moment. " He said. "So don't you think there could be a universal truth free of all perceptions?", she inquired. "The fact that I don't know is what I feel is the closest that I can get to the truth that you talk about". She did not seem convinced, "So would you go to the extent of denying the existence of the universal truth?", she asked. "Not really but in a scenario such as this I am not left with much of an option other than accepting the truth that is closer to me. ", he answered. "You make me feel that we live in two different worlds with completelydifferent ideas and beliefs", with an unhappy feeling of dejection and loneliness she went away. "We all do" , he thought..."but what is important is that you play a very significant role in my world and I would like to believe the same about your world".

Monday, March 5, 2012

The listener

There was nothing particularly striking about him if one failed to notice his ears that were exceptionally large. He was the listener. People came to him and spoke for hours about all their grievances, joy, sorrow and whatever came to their minds. He sympathized with their sorrow, felt happy for their happiness, suffered with their sufferings and patiently listened to all that they had to talk about. He tried narrating his own story once in a while but quickly realized it was unsolicited. Not everyone had the inclination to listen. Soon his capability was known to people in distant places and people started pouring in to talk to him. With every new person he hoped to find someone who could listen to him. He tried to speak in between the monologues but was immediately asked to keep quite. Each time it happened his heart grew a little heavier. They liked him a lot except for his intermittent attempts at being heard. Slowly his heart grew so heavy that it failed to contain his own emotions which came gushing out at once. He could hear cacophony of voices in his mind and could no longer make out what they meant. He sat still and did not attempt to speak any more. People as always kept coming and continued talking to him. They liked him all the more since he had stopped interrupting them all together. He sat with his eyes still open but his heart did not respond anymore. It did not matter to anyone anyway.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gibberish - A product of the mind

I consider myself reasonably wise. I gained my wisdom at the expense of my life. You guessed it right – I am a dead man. You would argue, how can one claim being dead if one is actually dead. But then do you have any experience of not being alive to know what all claims one is entitled to, after one dies? You might find this absurd. Well do not bother with whatever comes to your mind – it doesn't matter. What is important is this piece of information that I have come to share with you, which I guarantee will not bring the slightest bit of difference in your life, but is significant all the same. Like many wise people, I strongly believe that you cannot trust your mind (other than the times it suggests you not to trust it). But that does not mean you should not…for if you do not, you are bound to be doomed.

Since time had started ticking before I died, there was a time when I was still alive. I was as good in getting along with people as any misanthrope with a thought process that would place one only marginally on the “right” side of sanity and a morality that does not allow one to be completely insolent towards others could ever be - which did not amount to much. However I was not lonely. I was in love with my own mind. It was my best friend and a guide I completely trusted. So one night when it suggested me to leave behind my friends and a well settled life to live a solitary life in a remote place, I followed it. I was free to do anything that I wished to and was no longer under the compulsion of displaying an acceptable behavior in the society. In the beginning, I was happy on most days but there still occurred certain gloomy nights when my mind would curse me for giving up on my previous life. It commanded me to feel lonely and miserable. I argued that it was after all my mind that always wanted this life. However, in the end I obeyed it and felt terribly lonely and sad. My mind pulled me towards varying choices in different directions. It revealed new conflicts in me every day. With years passing, I slowly started doubting all that it had told me once. All my beliefs and ideas grew feeble. Even my emotions seemed driven more by my mind than by circumstances. In those tiresomely empty years I was haunted by my own presence. It appeared, living an empty life away from the burden of humanity weighed heavier than the everlastingly disinterested and alienated life in the society. I decided to go for the lighter option; it wasn’t an easy one though. I once again got busy with the mundane activities of life and tried escaping from the continuous confrontation by my mind. However, it did not miss the slightest opportunity to bother me. I had no control over it; it was the mind that was controlling me. I got into terrible arguments with it but drew no conclusions. After all whatever argument I gave against it was a product of my mind itself. I lost all faith in it. And yet there was no way I could go against it...There was no way I could win against it till I was alive. So on a similar night as that when I had left my home many years back, I got on to a building tall enough to ensure a safe exit from this world and free me from the clutches of my mind on landing on the ground straight from the roof.

During my final flight towards the ground when I was still alive, I felt I finally managed to defeat it. But before I could feel good about it, I knew that it was in fact the greatest victory of my mind, which let me live as long as it wanted to and now against all my instincts it has made me execute it’s final command on me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Sugar Coating Business

Are you one of those who in your childhood loved anything that your mind passed as sweet? Well childhood love usually does not last long. Here is a new kind of sweetener in market that will evoke similar “feel good” emotions and if one has a heart, can last forever. On top of it, this does not even cause diabetes. The product is widely available in different forms, in all parts of the world.

A booming sugar candy business can be seen in the film industry. After all who can resist the “all is well, and even when things are not, we are still a family” films coated with sugar syrup from the beginning till the very end? This business cuts across language and space. Our superheroes not just possess extraordinary strengths but come with a heart too. With tears in their eyes and a heavy heart they take up their “great responsibilities” that come as a package deal with “great powers”. All the pretty women, maids from Manhattan, Tom, Dick and Harries & Sallies and now our “desi” Ayeshas, after many conflicts, misunderstandings and emotional drama finally manage to get hooked with their “Mr. Rights”. They are meant to live happily ever after although they have, in the past, not been able to hold on to any relationship long enough. But it doesn’t come that handy….they all need to immerse themselves in a concentrated solution of sugar syrup to prepare for the final speech dripping with emotions. They may either get on to a stage or climb some uncomfortable ladder (or do something as dramatic) to deliver this last set of dialogues that is usually witnessed by hundreds of people gaping at them with tear-filled eyes and a pasted smile along with our audience.

A large contribution comes from our renowned authors who are widely known for their meaningful writings that fill the hearts of millions of people with excessively “sugary” emotions. They make us realize how the whole world conspires to make our dreams come true when we truly wish for something (at least such is the case in all Paulo Coelho’s worlds). It has also been revealed to the world by some famous psychiatrist (who might not have been as famous by his practice as he became by his books) how “only love is real” and how souls travel together across life times for the sake of love. The articles and books where the facts are coated with a feel good layer of timeless love, selfless sacrifices and lessons of morality are read by many men and women who go to sleep with sweet dreams (that are made sweeter with these writings) only to wake up to the unhappy reality of life.

The most refined product in this industry, meant for people who are not satisfied by mere dialogues or bookish words, is the sugar coated morality. This product guarantees it’s users a feel good factor in their lives without making too many changes in their life style. They can continue buying expensive, luxurious products but only from the brands that promise to donate a small percentage of their money to a charity helping malnourished children in some remote village. It is not important to know if the same companies are in some way responsible for such conditions at the first place. One should not try to dig deeper as these products are sugar coated only on the surface. They may come out in hordes with candles in their hands in an appropriate white dress and a suitable make up for the occasion, to fulfill their moral duties and display their support for a cause that has greatly moved (or entertained?) them on television. People may feel good about themselves by donating old clothes to a drought hit village but don’t scratch them too hard or else the sugar coated morality might just peel off.

In the world of conflicts and confusions of the privileged class, who are comfortably settled in their lives but want a little extra for their entertainment, these sugar coated candies are selling like hot cakes. All interested people may hurry and grab these products to add some sugar in their lives.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Village

A banyan tree stood tall in the center of the common meeting place in the village since it was planted there many long years ago. Apart from the trunk of the tree that had grown thick over the years along with it’s branches that had expanded and occupied the nearby area around the tree and a few new huts that had cropped up, one could not spot many differences in the village during the day. In the eerie darkness of the night these small differences seemingly disappeared and the place looked just the same as it always was in the memories of the villagers as far as they could recall. It was difficult for comfort to find an entry into the village in its crudest form, although comfort was certainly not one of the priorities of the inhabitants. They had more serious issues to deal with. It was survival – the most basic instinct of any form of life that they were struggling against. Some of them had even been successful in defeating the beast and putting an end to their miseries forever. Others were still desperately clinging to it holding on to their pain and sufferings with all the strength that was still left in them. The feeling of love and compassion still persisted and the morality that they had defined for themselves still existed in most in varying degrees. The desperate struggle against hunger and pain brought in distorted beliefs. As the human attempt miserably failed to bring relief, god took an even larger form. It was after all God – the supreme who was to be made happy. God’s indifference to their issues did not discourage them much. One of the villagers unable to cope up with his struggle for survival and yet not ready to give up ran as fast as he could.

Many miles away was a prosperous town unfamiliar with these struggle for survival. Their circumstances differed but the instincts were the same. People continued with the practice of accumulating more and more although they had forgotten the purpose of it. This process of accumulation left them completely exhausted and stressed out. It was a habit that they found difficult to forego. Comfort was in abundance but they never gave up continuously creating new forms of comforts day and night. However, the accumulation of wealth and comfort failed to bring in happiness that they longed for. Their belief in god was growing feeble and many had started questioning the existing morality. They had created new set of issues for themselves and faced different kind of emotional crisis that was not heard of in the village. The man from the village found himself in this new place amidst people with completely different set of problems. Disillusioned with this new life of confusions and conflicts, he ran once again. But this time he did not know which way to go.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Gift

I instantly fell in love with it the moment it first appeared in front of me wrapped in a colorful gift pack. It was a beautiful angel and brought with it an exciting world ahead. I would sing and dance with it and was happy for no particular reason.

I slowly became familiar with all its demands, its likes and dislikes. I did all that was in my control to make it happy. Its dissatisfaction grew and I toiled day after day to meet with its demands. It gave a devilish look each time any of its demands was not fulfilled…It was an angel all the same.

One fine day I noticed its small feet that were slowly growing. I realized instantly that it would leave me when it's time comes. I clung to it and cried inconsolably. I experienced fear and sorrow of losing it like never before.

With time it’s demands grew larger. It developed strong feelings about everything. I loved all that appealed to it and hated thoroughly what it did not like. I became aggressive and hostile to anything it disliked. I saw people kill others and get killed to obey the commands of their little gifts. Without any hesitation I followed them. I grabbed more and more of what it asked me to get but could not bring satisfaction. It was no longer the angel that I was once familiar with – it had taken an ugly form!! I loved it all the same. I feared immensely each day as I saw its feet grow. I was no more happy.

The time that I feared most finally arrived. It was ready to leave me anytime. I pleaded it to stay a little longer. I suffered miserably but yet desperately tried to fulfill its demands. It was no more beautiful and I cursed it. But I could not let it go anyway.

Friday, August 27, 2010

God only knows...or may be not!!

"Donate generously and win a ticket to meet with God", I read it aloud from the notice board in front of an old structure. Had it been some other day, I would have preferred a ticket to one of those mindless comedy shows that painfully try to induce laughter in its audience to spending my evening in a gloomy conversation with someone whose existence didn't concern me much. However since it was one of those days when the conflicting and confused part of me was exceptionally active, I was willing to go to any extent of silliness to pacify it. So I made my donation and went in.

Well I was not the only one. In fact it was a rather crowded room with people standing patiently in a queue. So I waited for many long hours before I was finally summoned into God's chamber. As I stepped in I saw God standing right in front of me. "I must say you are immensely popular in today's world....I haven't seen such a long queue as it was in front of your chamber today, anywhere except of course the local wine shop in my street", in my confusion, I blabbered . God didn't seem pleased. "Based on the meager donation you have made which is a direct result of your inclination or the lack of it to meet me and considering the number of followers waiting outside, you get exactly four and a half minutes to talk...and your time starts now." he said looking at the watch.

Without wasting my time further with any more pleasantries, I came straight to the point. "It appears you have put in a lot of hard work in creating this universe. I am sure it was doing absolutely fine before mankind was launched. What I am not sure of is why you went all the way to create the human species and place it in this world absolutely clueless of what it was supposed to be doing with itself. Ever since we managed to get a little comfortable in your world, we have been trying hard to find the meaning for our existence. Some do manage to create their own meaning but the mysteries still remain unresolved...the purpose of life is as elusive as ever".

"Looks like narcissism has become a driving force in your species. Or else why would you amuse yourself with the thought that I have created a higher purpose for humans if I haven't created one for any of my other creations? May be you are looking for a meaning when there is none at all." said god. "I was coming to that.” I said. "After a long search for a meaning many of us have concluded that there may not be any. But then that doesn't clear our conflicts, in fact it aggravates them. Many philosophers have spent their entire lives coping up with the meaninglessness of their being and have filled their over exerted minds and many blank pages trying to define a reasonable way to live life in the absence of any meaning. How does one make a decision to choose something among the innumerable options that you have made available in this world if there is no meaning of any choice that one makes? "

"Hasn't any one told you that I don't play with dice? Do you think I would let you fiddle around with the rest of my creations? Do you think I would give you the freedom of choice?" God responded. "Now this confuses me further....So are you saying that this decision of mine to come here today after making such a huge donation was not my own but something which was already decided? Could I have not just walked randomly on the streets instead of standing outside your room for hours?", I probed further. "May be not, although there is some amount of uncertainty involved in this assumption...you should know this better, having been born in this modern world of science and technology…haven’t you heard of the causal chain? Are you not familiar with the philosophy of determinism?” said God. “So that should absolve me of the feeling of silliness caused due to this absurd action of mine today.”, I said hoping to find solace in God’s words. “I only said that I may have deprived you of free will…. But not from the sense of having a free will. It is after all not the ability to make a choice but the feeling of the ability to make a choice that evokes guilt or pride. Moreover, may be your emotions are as inevitable as your actions”.

There was no conclusion to be drawn from the discussion that I had so far and my time was running out. “Dear God, like everything else, the time allotted to me and our discussion have both come to a futile end and I haven’t got any definitive answer from you for any of my queries. All your answers were accompanied by a confused “may be”. Please clarify this one doubt of mine before I take leave of you – are you the god of Ramana and Krishnamurti or are you the god of Camus and Sartre or are you with Einstein and Laplace?”, I made a final attempt to know the truth. “I am the god of all those standing outside my room as much as I am the god of the ones who prefer to line up in front of the wine shops. I am equally the god of the theist and the atheist. It doesn’t matter if they see me differently and paint this world and its creator with different colors that they have access to. What is important is that they learn to love the picture that they paint of this world.”, God paused for a moment and added, “…or maybe not!!”.