Tuesday, January 03, 2017


“Close your eyes. Do you hear the wind whistling through your ears?”
“Can you feel the slight pressure on your back, pushing you forward ever so slightly?”
“I can, yes”
“And can you feel that one inch of nothingness where your feet teeter over oblivion?”
“Don’t you want to embrace it? Don’t you want to just let go, just get swallowed into whatever is there down below?”
“I don’t know. What is down there?”
“Only one way to find that out, isn’t it?”

He opened his eyes at that and looked around. Obviously no one was there. There never was. Time and time again he had come up to this place and time and time again that voice had egged him on like it did just now. It had become a cruel twisted game this, make Jack tumble down that slope. He thought he was strong, god he always thought he was strong enough to resist those mesmeric tones! But sliver by tiny sliver those dulcet tones had shaved away the edifice of his resolve till there was nothing left but mere strands quivering amidst the gusts and swirls of the fickle heavens. He was spent, truly utterly spent as he stood here once again at the edge of the precipice.

His gaze returned to the nothingness below him. He thought he could see some vague shapes in the gloom below, but it could have just been his eyes playing tricks, like the fantastical beasts he used to spot in the clouds as child. Oh how long gone were those glorious days! Nothing was as iridescent in the glades of his consciousness as that sun-dappled meadow where that little kid used to chase butterflies and laugh at the joy of it all. He felt like a ghoul, standing invisible in the shadows at the edge as the carefree child ran past him, trailing behind musical peals of laughter that made him tear up. He longed to grab onto that child and hug him fiercely, but was afraid that he would sully even him, this one bright bauble that he had managed to salvage from the wreckage. The past was long dead, the future even more so.

A particularly fierce gust of wind suddenly hit him from the side and almost made him topple over the edge. His survival instinct kicked in before he could even process what was happening and he immediately righted his balance and clung on harder with his toes to the edge of the parapet. His heart thudded hard for a few panic-stricken moments before settling down into the same dirge-like rhythm that he was used to. He heaved a little sigh at the suddenness of it all. He wasn’t sure what his intention was at this point of time but he sure as hell didn’t want to fall to a whimsy of fate! He thought of stepping back down and calling it a day, but he could still sense that voice in his head even though it was silent at the moment. No, the game did not end till that voice did not vanish, it’d be cheating if he did anything before that. He remained standing as he was, half of this world, half elsewhere, ne’er anywhere. Persistent transience. Consistent evanescence.

“Here today gone tomorrow, down which hole no one will know!” the voice cackled gleefully. He couldn’t hold back a wry grin at the fatalism of it. The game was never that easy, too many twists and turns and snakes to slip back down on. The other player never let up, never surrendered, for he knew he had the winning hand. He had always had the winning hand and everything else up till this point was but a mockery of him, his life, his hopes and loves and dreams and ambitions and everything in between and beyond. This was how it was always going to end, from the day he first set foot on this grubby insignificant rock in the vast ether and thought he was different, that he was special and meant for great and wondrous things. And yet here he was, at the edge, with that voice, always that voice…

“Will you come with me?”
“I have always been there, haven’t I?”

With that last syllable, a sudden force pushed him inexorably over the edge and plummeting down into the waiting void. He fought back the urge to scream and tried to seek solace in his friend, but he couldn’t sense it anywhere. His body tumbled over and over again as he frantically tried to right himself and seek out that warm soothing presence, but couldn’t sense anything beyond the crippling fear welling in his throat. It was only at the very last infinitesimal instant before vanishing into nothingness that he heard a distant cackle fleeing into the heavens. The last emotion he ever felt was the abject horror of being truly and utterly alone.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Brief Rant from a News Viewer

I would really like to write something witty about current affairs for a change, but the brain wants to go on a rant today, especially at the  omnipresent "Breaking News" ticker plastered like Band-Aid across the bottom of each and every news channel I open these days. Not to give you the false impression that I am a qualified expert on such matters though. Not for me the morning breakfast show, nor the matinee slot with the afternoon cuppa and certainly not the prime time telecasts with hyper-charged anchors and panelists who wreak havoc on the poor unsuspecting tables beneath their emphatic palms (rather like the flimsy tables that keep breaking at the drop of a hat on those wrestling shows that I watch inspite of being a grown-up and responsible tax-payer). I am but a dilettante, a butterfly if you may that skips from flower to flower, sipping but never partaking of my fill at just one place. And news channels rank slightly above mushrooms on that totem pole. But I do look in once in a while, and I don't like what I see much.

There is always an impassioned issue and equally impassioned personages discoursing heatedly on that issue. There is always a blow-by-blow, minute-after-minute, Botox-plus-Botox cacophony which somehow numbs me into a blankness that no emotion permeates. Probably my malfunction this, but the information overload just gets too much to bear after a point of time, post which I switch off completely and turn to a double espresso and studied cynicism about the world around me. Politicians suck, athletes dope, businessmen cheat and celebrities cavort. That is my worldview now, barring a few instances that give rise to a little flutter of hope before that also gets crushed under the overwhelming bilge surrounding it. I know I pontificate from a shaky podium at best; I am no saint that is guaranteed a green card to St. Peter's gates (or Indra's gilded halls if I stay true to the religion I was born with). I am a common man with common foibles and bellyaches about a faithless immoral world that doesn't give the common man a break. I am Joe Nobody, whose brains are moulded by the latest fibre optic network in vogue. I would probably have an aneurysm if you told me to come up with an original thought. But I am also increasingly worried by my increasing nonchalance and lack of concern for shit that is going on around me. Rather than wading in knee deep in it I am cooly sipping a Mai Tai and watching the few who give a damn struggle with the ginormous task of cleaning up the plumbing.

About time I lent a hand innit? Walk the walk and all. I am doing that, bit by slothful bit. I hope Newtonian physics will take over at some point of time and some decent momentum will be achieved. I hope some day I can actually make some tangible infinitesimal difference to another electron at least. Till then I will watch my fellow countrymen get airlifted one by one into helicopters and wonder why the hell so much havoc could not be prevented. I will probably watch this latest reality show on mute though. Any more of the accusations and counter-accusations and I will probably have an epileptic fit. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Been watching a lot of anime this weekend, so maybe that is the inspiration for this. Not a complete story though and hopefully I can develop this into something more later on.


The blood dripped slowly down her extended hand, the hilt of the dagger barely clasped in her trembling grip. Her face was chalk-white, with twinkling drops of sweat making their steady track down the ridge of her elongated cheekbones into the void below. She tried to say something, but her will had completely deserted her now, that last thrust taking every remaining ounce with it. Her frame undulated erratically, the random heaves and grunts mirroring her arrhythmic respiration and turbulent mind. She would not have been standing but for her tenuous grip on that hilt that was stuck into her opponent's torso. Her guard was completely open to any counterattack, but his blade lay uselessly in the crimson pool inexorably widening around him. This battle was well and truly over.

Her head was feeling light as blood poured serenely out of the many cuts and gashes on her own person. Never had someone pushed her so far, to within an inch of her death, and for that her opponent was to be admired. She was the chosen one after all; a noble, gifted by birthright and honed by the best teachers her land had to offer. She had forded mighty rivers, conquered majestic mountains, roamed the length and breadth of this world and the various adventures that it offered. She was one of their best, among the fiercest warriors that ever roamed this realm; and yet...yet...this heathen had reduced her to this pitiable condition!

She let go of the hilt in self-disgust and staggered back, willing herself not to collapse and further extend the ignominy of her situation. Somehow she managed to make it to a nearby railing and leaned gratefully against it. Her vision was getting blurry now and the blood streaming freely down her forehead wasn't helping, but she didn't even have the energy to wipe that away. She took deep ragged breaths in an attempt to calm down her adrenalin-loaded nerves and bring some sanity back to her world. This can't be happening, her brain was screaming, this has to be a nightmare! But the blood was real and so was the opponent standing in a pool of his own blood.

She marveled at how he could still be standing. Surely there can't be anything left in him! His body was festooned with tattered skin and gaping holes, including the one an inch from his weakening heart from which the hilt of her favourite dagger jutted out. It had been the perfect move, a desperate but successful gambit that decided life-and-death battles such as this. She had taken his hit, dodging enough at the last moment to not get pierced in any vital organs before unsheathing the hidden dagger in her sleeves and piercing through his now open guard. But even in that split second he had enough speed and energy to move that vital half-inch that saved him from certain death. Her eyes were still staring with disbelief at this demon that stood before her, this greenhorn who no one ever heard of and who shouldn't have lasted ten seconds against her.

Movement! He moved! What? How? How could he still move? How could he be losing so much blood yet even now reaching slowly for that dagger buried in his chest! She stared in utter disbelief as he grasped hold of the hilt and with a slight grunt yanked it out of himself. The sudden spurt in blood flowing out his wound made him go down on his knees, but he still managed to somehow tear some strips out of his ragged sleeve and fashion a crude compress on it. She tried to get over her initial shock and attack him, but her legs refused to move. It was as if a giant hand was keeping her pinned against that railing, and it was all she could do to breathe. She could only watch in growing astonishment as the man finished bandaging himself and started picking up his sword. Impossible! That arm was completely useless! Not even the best medics in the kingdom could ever heal that ragged hunk of flesh! But slowly, surely, the fingers that should not be moving clasped the hilt in an almost loving embrace and the man who should not be alive got to his feet with the sword hanging by his side. Impossible! IMPOSSIBLE!

He now started to trudge towards her, his sword hanging loosely by his side. She tried to struggle up, to do something, anything; but her power, her much vaunted, feared, awe-inspiring terrible power was exhausted, consumed by this demon-incarnate who even now looked at her with inscrutable eyes as he made his inexorable way towards her. There were no guards to defend her now, no secret reserve of power that she could yet tap and emerge triumphant. This well and truly was her death approaching her, cold cruel death that made no distinction between nobles and commoners and claimed everyone equally for its own.

He was now standing over her, that young unworn face implacable as always. She felt so small right now, lying at the feet of this monster who simply would not go down. His sword quivered as if about to move for the fatal strike and she reflexively closed her eyes.
"Look at me!" he thundered.
She opened her eyes and stared grimly into those bottomless grey eyes.
"I'm going to kill you now".
"I know", she replied laconically.
"Aren't you going to beg?"
"Why not?"
"There is no honour in begging".
"There is honour in killing innocent villagers then?"
"They were enemies of the state!" she shouted, her anger suddenly giving her energy,"Insurgents! Filth! Vermin!"
"Not all of them."
"I don't give a damn! This is war, war has casualties. We didn't seek this!"
"You did not seek this?" he snarled through clenched teeth, "You DID NOT SEEK THIS!"
In a burst of motion too quick to even follow, the tip of his blade pierced the soft skin of her neck. It was not a killing move, but enough to draw a trickle of blood.
"This is your doing!" he raged, waving his hand at the ruins of a once prosperous community behind him, "This is all your doing! You cut them down where they stood, slaughtered man, woman and children like stray dogs! And for what, hunh? WHAT? Your stupid laws, your stupid tyrannical state that has smothered their hopes and dreams for generations!"
"Don't be naive!" she replied back equally fiercely. This rabid attack at all she held dear was too much for her to bear. "We give structure, moral, code, justice! We raise men from beasts! We create beautiful cities and prosperous communities! We are not like you rabble who want nothing more than to return us back to anarchy!"

She paused, taking heavy gulps of blissful air as her would-be executioner surveyed her impassively before leaning in towards her.
"Was this necessary?" he sighed. She looked up surprised. The anger had suddenly gone out his voice, to be replaced by a heavy sadness that was literally weighing him down.
"Answer me!" he said, louder this time.
"Was what necessary?"
"Was all this...this massacre...so much blood...was all this necessary? Do you really think you did the right thing?"
"The law says..."
"I DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE LAW SAYS!" he yelled with such force that she recoiled involuntarily, "WOULD YOU HAVE KILLED ALL THESE PEOPLE!"
She looked out behind him at the corpses littered on the ground, including the guards that he had slaughtered before she started fighting him. Grass, tiles, clothes, bones; even under those dark dark skies everything gleamed with a crimson hue. It was a psychotic's canvas, just blood and more blood everywhere. She had never ever seen so much blood in her entire life.

A chill wind whipped through the air, dragging stray leaves stained red behind it. She watched them flutter by as her eyes suddenly started watering. She tried hard to control herself, but couldn't prevent a stray sparkling teardrop from rolling down her grimy cheek. 
"No", she whispered.
That same impassive stare, the same steady hand on his sword.
"Again", he whispered.
"NO" she screamed out defiantly. "NO NO NO! I WON'T! I...I..." she gulped, tears streaming freely down her face now. "I won't!" she finished, before breaking out into sobs.

The greenhorn continued to stare at her as she buried her head in her hands and wept uncontrollably. Then silently, imperceptibly, he moved his sword away from her neck and gingerly sheathed it. She looked disbelievingly as he turned around and started walking away into the shadows.

"WAIT!", she screamed. He paused and half-turned towards her.
"What now?" she cried imploringly, "What do I do now? How do I go back?"
"Go back to what?" he murmured.
"My home, my liege, my life..." she broke off, choking up, before continuing, "How do I live with meaning and honour! I, who could not even beat a village bumpkin and uphold the law!"
His teeth gleamed in the dark night.
"You don't."
She stared wide-eyed at him.
"You get well", he continued, "you train, get stronger, faster. You look at the world, the pain, the suffering. You look at your justice and how fields like these run red with blood at its behest. You open your mind, as I have, noble, and when you have finally seen the truth come find me."
"How...how will I find you?"
He guffawed at that.
"By the time you are ready, I'm sure my fame would have spread enough. I will also be training to be stronger you know", he concluded with a wink, before turning around and proceeding onward.

She didn't stop him this time, just kept staring at those blood-spattered clothes until they vanished into the darkness. The sound of running footsteps was intruding into the welcome lassitude that was now enveloping her conscience, like irritating flies on a sticky summer morning. Ah what she would give for a glass of cool ice water now, she thought as she drifted off into unconsciousness, maybe something sweet to go with it too. But her last conscious thought was of that inscrutable face and the blood-red field and she knew she would never be the same again. She won't, she simply won't...      

Monday, February 10, 2014

Spittle and Moonshine

Take a gander. Take a long LONG gander. Can't remember the last time I did that at least. Can't remember the last time I sat like this with a clear(?) head and clearer(??) thoughts that flowed effortlessly like a warm summery brook off my buzzing brain into whatever form or substance my medium took. I type what I know not, I pontificate when I believe not, I crave which I need not. Meandering balderdash this, but I haven't done this in a while. Please bear with me if you can.

I live a tough life by all accounts, though I really don't believe that truth be told. There is a lot of stress yes. Expectations and tempers run high, both on and off work. I am not quite my usual equable self. But I survive you know. I make it work, somehow, anyhow. I sleep less, I run around like a headless chicken, get more brickbats and approbations than I used to, but somehow the darned leaky coracle sails on. Drowning rat that I am I keep frantically bailing the water out with a bucket just a little bit too tiny, but gosh dang it I do that with a silly maniacal laugh on my face and a frantic hand waving at the elements! And I use outdated words from the times of R.L. Stevenson like 'coracle' to make my point, so I am putting the 'hip' in hipster too. Or 'tummy', to judge by my 'slightly' tighter trousers.

This should be one of those passages that make no value addition whatsoever to your lives. 'Tis hard enough as it is making sense 15 hours a day in office, not to mention staring at the same 14" of TFT almost every waking moment of my weekday (and many of my weekends too). That being said, I also don't want this to be an off-putting rant on the rancidness that is the corporate world. I chose my bed, and dang nabbit I will lie in it now (notice hipsterity again, which is probably what a senior would nickname his / her 3rd hip replacement). This piece of literary garbage is nothing but a glimpse into what happens when you give me 30 minutes of peace and a laptop with enough charge and nothing to watch. So here we are, dear reader, while I contemplate assaulting your senses further with dirty limericks. But that'd be too much effort and creativity down the drain. Better save that for my next salvo at the workplace, when I bring "out of the box thought process" and "synergistic competencies" to own your ass! Not to mention "best-in-class work ethic" and "diligence beyond the call of duty"! (I hope I get a good recco for this boss!) So instead, I will discuss certain metaphysical musings of mine with you -

  1. The Big Bang: I want this issue resolved ASAP. I mean really. So much time and effort and money expended, and for the love of god I still can't figure out what Penny sees in Leonard!
  2. Narendra Modi: What gives man! I like the "tea" funda as an avid tea afficionado, but surely someone told you about those Tea Party schmucks across the Atlantic!
  3. Deepika Padukone: Where does the midriff end!
  4. Japanese Anime, Manga, & c.: What is it with the boobs! Is it aspiration or compensation? And do your kids really need so much silicone to digest cereal with?
  5. Swedish House Mafia: Why? Why? Why?
  6. Yash Birla: "What" are you?        
Notice the cleverly placed quotation marks for extra emphasis, so that even drunk retarded (apologies, I meant mentally disabled) rabbits can drool their way through these gems. I am nothing if not user friendly, though you probably have a headache by now and are dearly wishing that I wrap this up and run into a wall or something. Or maybe you crave your usual fix of alcohol / ganja / coke / sex / iguanas &c. Or maybe both. Not for me to think (especially the herpetophilia, you sick pervert). Do what you want with your free time. You can count your lucky stars I don't get much of it, else you would probably be locked up in a loony bin by now. For now you'd have to be content with banging your head against the screen and wishing that you had never opened the blasted link that I so helpfully posted on Facebook. But that's the thing innit! Put an interesting enough but obscure title, throw in some big words and voila! Another intellectual claptrap with potential hashstag opportunities (my full consent of course, I am a glory hog after all)! At the end of the day, as I stated somewhere in the beginning of this ego trip, the past five minutes added zero value to your already burdened lives. I, however, got to vent. I can sleep in peace now hopefully and not dream of 'index' and 'match' functions in neon-lit lattices with serpentine numbers. Maybe a good dream for once, of liquorice and unicorns and a hopelessly addled leprechaun. Gorblimey that'd be a hoot!

Apologies for the hipsterity. Won't happen again by Jove! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


What is ambition? Is it a vague idea in the head, comforting in its warm fuzzy ambiguity and lack of any definition? Or is it a blazing light in the distance with fluorescent highway makers leading the way? Is it now, or in a year, maybe ten, or even twenty? Is it pragmatic or fantastical? Achievable or well nigh impossible? Is it supposed to make sense to people or move them into paroxysms of disbelief or admiration? Is it a maddening heady rush or a sober batten-down-the-hatches-and-keep-the-rudder-straight kinda job? Can I live without one? Do I need to have one? If I do, can I have ambition, plural? Or it has to be one overarching all-consuming objective?

I find myself wondering a lot about this these days, simply because there is so much to do, so many things to sweat out and grunt for and see them to the end. Not that I am only one with these things in my head. Almost all of us would be in the same position, where we are constantly juggling priorities  and trying to bring everything to a satisfactory conclusion. Maybe one is of greater import than the other. Then is that my ambition, or just a mundane necessity? And if all of them are equally important, then what? Is everything an ambition then! I might find happiness and contentment while striving towards a goal, or only after achieving that purpose, or maybe never. Is ambition supposed to be responsible for any of this?

What I do know is that I never want to be anonymous. I want my name to be known to a large number of people. But again, hazy concept that, not to mention a sentiment shared by the other 99.999999% of humanity. Nothing special in that. Surely that can't be my ambition. Lots of money....hmm. Nothing novel there either. Fancy cars, bungalows, travelling the world, living the jet set life....all inane and mundane. I want to excel at my job. I do. I always try to be good at what I am doing. But I do that for everything. That's just the way I am. Surely that can't be my ambition.

What is it then? What is my purpose in life? Do I even have one, or I am just going with the flow? I have love, family, writing. No fame or fortune as yet. Need to link these two subsets into something meaningful, a credo if you must. I want to wake up every morning and see blazing letters across the wall in front of me telling me pithily and concisely what I am here on God's green earth for. I want to close my eyes every night with that image burned in my head. I want to live every moment with that thought in my head, wherever I am, whatever I am doing. A bed of nails to lie down on, or a soaring aria to lift my spirit on; whatever shape or form that push comes in I want it. Things might look up after that or not; it is immaterial at this point. People live and die by their faith. This would be mine and hopefully I would be much happier for that.

So as it stands, my ambition at the moment is to find an ambition. Ironical that. All those questions and whats and wherefores have led to this anticlimactic and absurd answer. I hope I am not the only one in the same boat. And now that I am here, I need to get out fast. No time to dawdle.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The World As I Know It

It's a funny little thing,
This realm of the living,
Where anything is everything,
Everything nothing
And why's it so, nobody knows!

Great lives are lead,
Great leaders they tread,
But footprints never stay,
Blind still we tackle the way
And we wander, aye without a clue we wander!

Glorious edifices to rival all Creation,
Giant monstrosities defying Imagination,
But the elements still hold sway,
Bit by bit they crumble each day
And we sing paeans to glory, fools that we be!

Grand thoughts and theories that simply amaze,
Grandstanding grandiloquence that puts us in a daze,
But the ether still cloaks many a mystery,
Blurs what is myth and which's history
And we still drift aimless, amidst dazzling infinity!

Grown we have and still we stride on,
Glory awaits us at the break of a new dawn,
But those whom we crushed weigh down our feet,
Bare inches away from where sky and earth meet
And we bemoan fate, doused in blood and misery!

It's a funny little thing, 
This realm of the living,
Where anything is everything,
Everything nothing
And why's it so, nobody knows!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


What is a myth if not the truth for some. Someone somewhere in some remote part of the world probably looked at the sun rising in the east one day and had a sudden great epiphany about some aspect of the cosmos. Or maybe it was a starry night and he was stoned out of his wits. Or she. Or it. Whatever works for you. The person/sentient being came up with a big brainwave that set off the EEG and gave a nice fuzzy feeling afterwards. Then the same entity/existential construct went up to his or her best friend and shouted boisterously, "You gotta hear this Mac!"(or Joe, Cynthia, Reshma, Odombo, or whatever else you prefer). And Mac heard it. And liked it. And passed it on to other people (or maybe he just thought his friend was off his rocker and was cautioning the others to keep all sharp objects out of his reach). Anyway, end result was dissemination of said idea. A few drunken binges later, we have a belief, a way of life if you must insist. And then came the naysayers.

It's almost inevitable really. Your parade will always get rained on, regardless of how gingerly and non-offensively you went about setting up the darned thing in the first place. Maybe they were pissed with you, or they actually genuinely believed in their essential rightness, but soon enough there is a competing truth in the market. And more. And one of them catches on more than yours, hence rendering you well and truly screwed. Supply and demand. Simple enough. And hence lady and gentlemen we arrive at the creation of a myth.

Obviously science is logical, cogent and comes with all the right credentials and references. I am not foolish enough to think that the sun revolves around the earth or that my behaviour is dictated by four humours.  But it is in the end a truth simply because it is believed by most people. The heliocentric theory simply just caught on. Before that was egocentrism. Similarly with the four humours. They were actual realities for people at some point. For them Freud and Jung would be myths, mere constructs of fevered imaginings. Some of our truths will stay, others overturned by posterity. And on the generations of humanity will march onwards, filling in the universe one theory at a time till finally the whole cosmos is spread out across the skies in front of us in all its glory. Or maybe the universe might end five minutes before that final awakening. Fascinating journey it would be nonetheless.

What about the past then? How did we come to be? What happened before the beginning of time? Did time even have a beginning? Did someone create all of us and everything around us? Doesn't there need to be a creator for everything to come into existence? Or maybe we don't need one anyway. Time had no meaning before the Big Bang. Nothing mattered before that infinitesimal infinity. It is only after that cataclysmic explosion is when meaning came into existence. It is futile to search for anything before that. What is is, there was nothing before. Two alternatives but no definite truth to believe in yet. No matter how sceptical I might be about creationism, I don't have anything else that I could believe strong enough in to disparage it as a myth. So here I stand with a foot in each boat waiting patiently for another epiphany. Who knows when that will come.

The celestial orb pirouettes in the sky,
What secrets it keeps, what dreams it hides,
Such vistas and landscapes I weave with my mind,
What is truth, what fiction, how do I divine?