Thursday, September 17, 2015

With You, Without You !

* Image Credits:


And then there was your supple lips, 
Marshmallow pink and candy sweet. 
I am taken to love them like a child 
To its teddy, for hours and hours. 

The end of summer and the start of more, 
For the fire of love, and steer of heart, 
I want your hips against mine, 
Humming songs in its own tune. 

Give me a taste of those ample bosoms, 
To lust is a distaste in my heart's chambers. 
For that morning after, your body's glow, 
In all its bare glory, is a sight - a misplaced bloom. 

When you were at an arm's length, 
In those days of drowsy rains, a pint in hand, 
I used to wiggle out, to get my soul wet; 
The pain of a messiah's sacrifice looms. 

Your laugh, so sprinkled in dares, 
To get me to ask for more. 
Fairness, righteousness, lost causes- I felt. 
That laugh - uncouth, I can't forget. 

The last we held each other, I dwelled  
With you pressed against my wet soul,  
Colored white in pain, I cried. 
That hug we miss, like a song 
I remember - weary now, I am, & glum. 

~ Arun

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Little Prince of Tinsel Town - Part 3: Prepare to Witness Madness

Continued from Part 2: Arjun the Contender...

Arya set his wooden sword back into his belt and bent down to settle himself into position. Like most great champions, Arya had his superstitions. Left leg knee went down first, then switch to right leg knee. In Arya’s eyes the world looked different. His world was now the scene of a live colosseum, where gladiators fought for glory. In his ears, the sounds of murmuring children around him were like a 100,000 strong crowd willing him on, to kill at will. 

Shabaaz stood by Arya, pumping him up. “You were made for this! Focus on this moment. Fly like a butterfly & sting like a bee.”, encouragingly Shabaaz said to Arya. Both highly driven followers of Muhammad Ali. 

While Arya had his superstitions and Shabaaz, Arjun had his younger brother, Virat, by his side. Virat never left Arjun’s side. Virat was 3 and a bunch of energy and seemed to always hunt for trouble. Arjun found it comforting to have his brother by his side and out of trouble. Virat loved the attention from his brother & enjoyed his self-adopted role as lead cheerleader for Arjun. In a match, Virat would string together all his known words to find new cheers to inspire and drive Arjun to victory. 

Virat’s simplest cheer was, “Kill him!” and Arjun knew it was clobbering time. 

The conditions were just right for the epic match, the mid-November morning sun was at a cool 25 degrees Celsius. Nature was seemed to be in full attendance to engage in the match. The sun played hide & seek with the clouds. While the Sun sided with Arya, the clouds sided with Arjun. The birds went silent around, keenly perching on nearby electric & cable wires right above the match area. A few stray dogs hung around, because Arya was a good friend to them. The dogs pitted for Arya and the birds pitted for Arjun. The only neutral play was by the light chilly breeze,  it allowed just enough for the Kancha’s to get an opportune spin advantage & tested each player's resolve to stay in the game. 

Both players were highly technical in their game. While Arya had his rebound trick shots to get 2 or more Kancha’s out of the game, Arjun had his long shots mastery that helped him get out of tough spots with ease. The refinement these boys had in this simple game could impress anyone with half an interest to step in and be lost in the quirkily named shots like:

  • I-am-Don shot: A shot that hit or moved at least 3 contender marbles out of place.
  • Arjun’s-Vengeance: A slight spin induced shot, special to Arjun, where the Kancha being shot swerved around one Kancha to hit another.
  • Arya-takes-it-all: Arya’s finisher shot, where he takes 2 Kancha’s at the last shot

Our players were just ready, but there was one last piece of this game missing. Right then, the heads of all the little boys around the huddle, including Arjun & Arya turn to realise a reckoning presence, there was Radhika. 

Radhika determinedly walks into the arena and says, “Today you fight for greatness. Let there be no doubt!”, she has her hands on her hips and head held high, “Win or forever leave the game!” 

(To be continued ... Part 4: Radhika's best Men)

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Night Sky Manual

Every weekend I returned from college, the four of us - mother, my two sisters and I, we had a little ritual. We had dinner under the open skies on the terrace of our home in Kerala. The typical city dweller might awe at this experience, but this was a regular for us. The beauty of most homes in Kerala is that there is space left around the home for plants, coconut trees, mango trees, teak & then quite a bit of strolling space. After dinner, we sat up a little later into the night, after keeping only the necessary lights on about the house, and lay down on the terrace together to star gaze and marvel at the night sky.

Mom was the child in our family of 5, she still is. It was Mom, who like a fascinated child would ask a naive question like - ‘What lies beyond these stars?’. My sisters had & still have an aversion to the philosophical and were always the last to engage. It was then left to Mom & I to argue out our versions. Quite predictably, I approached the question scientifically, and Mom would direct the discussion towards to God and say "It is God that lies beyond all this. He made us and send us here!". Easy said, but who could not be swayed by the beauty of the splendidly clear night sky and find themselves in a haste to simplify the answer to God’s paint brush? It allowed so much more time to absorb the enormity of all this bling. How do I be more like mom & less analytical about existence?

When I look at the sky, the first thought that pops in my head is ‘The Big Bang theory’ – to explain the dispersed nature of everything in the sky, by extension somehow then to the show ‘The Big Bang theory’ &  Sheldon Cooper. Then it raced into ‘the Doppler’s effect’ – to explain the shifting of wavelengths of components of the lights spectrum, trying to understand what I could be seeing was really Red or Green. While at it now, I even went further to the most obvious extensions: time travel & parallel dimensions, and wondered if I could time travel & erase some blunders of old times or what myself in a parallel dimension would be doing now. As you see the journey was not as easy as I imagined. But finally, the poet in me wakes up!

A bright and dimpled moon, almost Ujala *safedi*, shines intently through a clear bluish black carpet strewn with the brightest & most eagerly twinkling stars. When I look at the moon, of all the stories of a Rabbit in the moon et al, I always think of a dignified aristocrat posing for a portrait that goes up the walls of a duke’s home. There is also this beauty in the idea of the moon, a singular highly committed object that revolves around another in a symbiotic relationship, one that keeps each other in check. Although I could cheese this up by saying, the moon reminded me of my girlfriend, at that point, and her beauty, I feel that’s the most lackadaisical & uninspiring  metaphor for describing either’s beauty. Who does that? {rhetoric, don’t answer that}

Orion, Ursa Major, Pisces & others that stand out and not requiring any optical instruments to observe & identify. The milky way unambiguously splitting the bluish black sky in half, as if a sword had slit a door to another world. To get a good view of the milky way without time lapse lenses, you would have to lay down for a while & get your eyes adjusted. Then a question arises in me, is there not glory in this creation, and if there is then why does the creator not rise to claim this magnificence? I would have just stood at Times Square with a placard with a billboard running at the back, saying ‘I did this!’. Someone chooses to be extremely humble towards their creation or considers us irrelevant to his presence. Who gives a damn, I then think!

They came, they were wished upon and they just faded away. Do wishes really come true? I am too
much of a cynic now to understand the nature of this naivety, but I do my share of wishes even now - habits. I feel they are really calming. Whenever these little meteors or shooting stars spark, for the bare milliseconds they were visible, there is this rush of a childlike animation inside of me, a quick rush of hope. Hopeful as they sound, these little morsels, remnants of the creators refinement of the world, are a deceptive bunch. You would expect them on a tough day and they never turn up. But that’s the beauty of the night sky, the window to a world infinitely more beautiful than the speck of dust that we ignorantly reside upon.

I thank my mother & her naivety to show me that there could be humility in ignorance to be able to just observe, humility in giving up to learn more, humility in acceptance of a larger force that drives our existence. The night sky is my measure of sanity, my totem[1]. And thanks to my Dad, who toiled to ensure a beautiful home & thus our basic naked-eye observatory, our terrace is a humble but immeasurably valuable boon and one of my lives most treasured belongings.

This piece has been 6 years in the writing and what it took to complete was a simple vacation.

[1] totem: a natural object or animal that is believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and that is adopted by it as an emblem.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Little Prince of Tinsel Town - Part 2: Arjun - the Contender

Continued from ...

Some marbles from an earlier game, Arjun had started, lay lazily inside the circle drawn for the game. In the background one child intently looked, while Arjun collected & cleared all the marbles in the circle, reminiscing at all the marbles he lost in the match that he had wrapped up with Arjun just prior to Arya reaching the game area.

For both Arya & Arjun, the game of marbles was an important part of who they were. Cricket & other common games seemed too insignificant to their marble player identities. For them, the game required individual precision, which seemed a much more challenging task like the games of tennis or badminton. Although both were exceptionally technical players of cricket & football, here they had something more - an arch-rival, someone who they defined their identities around. Legends were drawn against their rivalry often. One legend says, Arya & Arjun kept at a match of marbles for 18 hours at a stretch, and yet none of them could be a winner when suddenly Arjun pulled an impossible shot and won.

Arjun was 8, was no rookie & knew he had the experience advantage over Arya. Arjun could be likened to Batman, with his dark demeanour & deep entrancing eyes. He could switch from an endearing, flamboyant playboy to a supremely focussed and horror inducing vigilante. There always seemed to be two sides to Arjun. He took every challenge as was his last. He tended to dance on the souls of every contender because he had never lost. Every shot he took, ate a part of his contenders soul. With every marble he earned, his life force grew larger and larger.

Though dark as he may sound, Arjun had his reasons. His father & a younger brother was all he had. His mother took ill after his younger brother was born and passed away. Void of a mother’s touch & a younger brother to take care of. Arjun grew up as a bit of a hard-ass, in an attempt to prove him selves strong and not needing aid. Although, his father was caring but because he had to drag him selves through two jobs to keep the house & his children’s education going, he was barely available to Arjun & his brother. Arjun never took to feeling alone, he chose to be strong for his father & brother.

When Arya said, “Let's play!”, Arjun felt different, he knew this was not one of his regular inconsequential contenders. Arjun knew he had to raise his game. Arjun responds to Arya’s confident attack cautiously, “Let’s just chose to remember how incapacitated I was able to make you feel the last game we played!”

(To be continued ...)
Next: The Game begins ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Little Prince of Tinsel Town : Begins

A wooden sword in hand, cape tied on, Arya woke up from a difficult night of sleep. He immediately knew what he had to do today, doubt evaded him. The glimmer in his eye could have inspired soldiers to win wars or dinosaurs to nuke the meteor that killed them. He felt as if he was born just today and with a singular purpose.

His mother, with a glass of milk in hand, was his biggest obstacle now. He jumps to the left & then to the right, holding his cape & covering his face, his mother skips to stop him in his path each time. But alas, a mother’s persistence could beat acts of God to pulp, and he was but a mere child. He gives up and gets the glass of milk from her. Half a glass down and there is a knock on the door. It was Shabaaz, his comrade & closest friend, exactly the person he needed to win the war he woke up today to fight.

Arya & Shabaaz have been friends since they were 4, rarely left each others side and as inseparable as Batman & his mask. Half the milk down his shirt & another half gulped down, Arya wipes his mouth and tackles his mother one last time successfully, rushing now gallantly towards his ally. Arya & Shabaaz looked at each other, they were warriors, so they just knew what the other had to say and tacitly agreed that they had to win today. 

They rushed. Capes fluttering in the wind, dust dispersing hither & thither under their feet, in unison. At 7, you would think that having such clarity in what Arya needed to achieve was unimaginable. While, the other boys engaged in foolery, he preferred spending his time practicing his favorite game, Kancha or Gotti, as some call it. As simple as a game of targeting marbles with fingers sound, there is a high level of precision and mastery required to target a less than 1cm radius sphere at another that's around a meter away. The images in Arya's head, as he approached the game huddle, were only about his practice sessions. 

They finally arrive.

“Hold on to your marbles!” Arya says.

A group of children, aged 5 to 10, huddled around a roughly drawn circle on a barren floor, were startled by this roar like the noise that resonated inside their heads. They turn around and there stands our prince. The scene was perfect and just out of Arya’s favourite movie - Krrish. His cape flowing in the light breeze and total silence that had just encompassed around him. The children cleared up space for Arya and he stepped forward. Now he was looking straight down at the screaming eyes of his arch enemy and rival marble player, Arjun.

“I was waiting for you, Arya. What’s with the cape, wanted enough clothes to cover you face when you lose today.” Arjun said, mockingly.

The sledging had started. This day was big, as big as an Australia versus England Lord’s test match or as thrilling as Federer versus Nadal on the clay court. Today was the day, the Kancha match between Arya & Arjun would be written in the history books of Tinsel Town in red. Arya was planned to take the sledging with apt responses of his own. He knew that a winner is always prepared.

Arya looks intently into Arjun’s eyes and says, in the boldest tone he could muster, with the slightest lisp in his voice he could not grow out of, “The world is not big enough for the both of us, its you or me today. Let’s play!”

(To be continued...)
What do you think about Arya? Leave comments. :)

Click here for Part 2: Arjun - the Contender

Sunday, July 12, 2015

To be or not to be Child, is an Important Question

Will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?
 ~ Lana Del Ray, Soundtrack - The Great Gatsby (Lyrics)
Think about someone you love, think about the precise moment you fell in love with them or realised how important they were to you. That moment of lucidity, when you knew there they are and nothing can take the moment away from you. We go through our lives rarely experiencing such moments of clarity & pure elation. A moment of childlike naivety & deeply ingrained sense of faith that things are just going to be perfect. A moment when judgement, the future and survival did not matter. Then you see children who live in a similar state of lucidity, always about constantly moving forward & always in love - giving without reason, and getting attached without reason. And then you are jealous of them & cannot help but reminisce - if I could just turn back time! So, the question for me was, can we live like them?

For children, play never requires a spot, happiness does not require an object of a specific measure, gratification in just the doing of anything is enough.
For children, play never requires a spot, happiness does not require an object of a specific measure, gratification in just the doing of anything is enough. Who would not wish to live that bit again, but then why can you not be like a child now? Why not love someone because you feel like it and not fear what the world thinks of your kind of love & also not fear the judgement that comes associated. Why not be a child - when you take the wrong road and not be annoyed that you made a mistake. Why not be a child - when you find that it's raining and not be worried that you could be late to work & just get drenched.
Then I think, how can I keep living in that moment of childlike lucidity, where there is no pain and no haste?
I was a weirdly content kid with no real friends to talk about. Looking back, I was well off without any friends, no regrets. As a child, I had two such moments of lucidity. The first was the times when I used to go for random walks that became sprints, with no target distance on an empty road, for the love of it. The second was the times I used to just sit in the middle of a playground and there was no one for long distances, munching on my favourite piece of material pleasure - A Snickers bar. Coming back to adulthood, "state defined", I felt this childlike sense in writing and completing a writing piece - one that was not defined by any literary structures, construct or refinement but coming out the desire to let it be. I started typing this piece and could not stop for hours together until I completed what I wanted to write. I haven’t written like this for 4 years now and let me tell you I am really enjoying this. Then I think, how can I keep living in that moment of childlike lucidity, where there is no pain and no haste?

If you noticed, in my exploration of what being childlike meant, I have not used happiness. I have realised that happiness is an adult construct, for good or bad- you decide. An attempt to control the status quo - forcibly adhering to rules, defining objectives or a path that will lead to some state of happiness. There, I believe, exists our biggest misconception of adult life, that the pursuit of happiness towards a day when the absence of pain is our purpose in life. Then you look at children, again, and realise that they are not distressed about the absence or the mere possibility of pain. They run without the fear of tripping or even engage with complete ease with a stranger & have fun in it. They engage in these tasks with insatiable craving & unquestionable focus. If you Watch Master Chef Australia Kids, you get what I am saying; there is a near absence of doubt. And then I ask myself, is it even possible to reach there?
I have realised that, like children look at the world, there only is the now & a hopeful ROI - return on investment, on doing things worth the pain to obtain a result.
Just like there is no darkness and only a lack of light, quite similarly, I feel there can never be too much happiness or too much pain. I have realised that, like children look at the world, there only is the now & a hopeful ROI - return on investment, on doing things worth the pain to obtain a result. It would have been apt if like children we could move without fear of potential pain, but we can at least try. And so like the song by Lana Del Ray that I started with, the naivety and blind faith that the girl hopes for, the unconditional love she gives in hope of return, is how we should all be - Childlike!

So, close your eyes & go back to the time when you played, not because someone told you to or when you had to ask for it. Go back to the time when there was no fear of pain & yearning for comfort in the status quo. Do something like a Child, why not be naive & content for your own sake! I am sure going to.