Happily, ever after

In a room so big
that you can’t see a window,
or a door, there’s no exit,
so my life stretched,
and stretched on,
beyond my senses
before you came,
breaking the daze,
a beam of sunlight
that fell on the wall,
and I knew, like I now know
that nothing else lasts long.

There were no promises made,
no confessions,
except the gleam in your eyes
that reflected in mine,
before it faded away,
in the shadows of twilight.
Some things better not last,
we all hope,
like I hoped then.

To be in that moment,
in those moments
just before the night breaks,
when the smiles linger,
or were those your sighs,
I remember how the red lips moved,
and clouds of crimson filled the sky.
Maybe it was the shadow of a cloud
passing over the sea,
an unending life, and a love story,
that searches for a sign
that searches for a wave,
and everything is beautiful
during this search
till the winds blow
and the magic breaks.

Some things need not be forever,
and everything magical
needs it’s breaks,
I know those who ask
for permanence
must be happy and wise,
but all I ask from you,
as I asked then,
are these fleeting moments,
a beam of sunlight,
a gleam in your eyes,
a passing cloud,
and this unfinished poem,
in which I want to live,
with you, happily ever after.


A few steps away…

Wandering the deserted,
unknown lanes
in the city of thoughts,
I look at the ominous gray sky,
one that clouds the wisdom
of a million lost stars,
the wisdom of a missing moon,
and the fluttering moths
that circle the gloomy lamp
at the end of the street,
they fill me with a pang,
for that familiar yet unknown joy,
which always seems just out of my sight.
But I know it’s there, and not too far away
beyond the bend of that dark alley maybe,
and all it would take to reach there
is for me to close the door
on this warm room,
and take a few steps away
from the ties,
the ones that hold me together.


ESPian thoughts shine with insight

We respect our parents, not because they are great guys, not because they played a vital role in bringing us into this world, but because even after seeing for themselves and knowing what we really are, they have stoically owned up to their mistake and didn’t desert us.

We are possessive about our siblings because it is the only guilt free bitching that life offers, and no matter how much we crib about them, we won’t tolerate when the others chime in, the right to guilt free criticism is solely ours.

We love our lovers because they are the only ones who truly enjoy remembering and reliving our past moments, listening to our stories, and joining us to laugh about random details, all of which is utterly useless and boring to everyone else.

We are proud of our opinions because they are, usually, the only things we have brought to existence, our only true achievements, and the pride only grows when others come up with inane refutations or rebuttals, for it proves how they are jealous.

The greatest tragedies seem like child’s play, when compared to our sadness, mostly because the depressing thoughts we have about our lives, our universe, and our existence are derived from that of our friends and relatives who we know don’t deserve any better.

The only thing that stops these thoughts and us from becoming psychopaths, or from a cocaine addiction, is our faith, not so much in the virtues of mankind, or god, or destiny, but the faith we still have in our beer, whiskey, or rum.

At the end of the day however, or anytime during, true happiness – that much underrated, innocent and unconditional type comes from the most disgusting things, or so how the others think about our burps, farts and shit. All we would say to them, is that the disgust is mutual.


Silences and voids

We all have been there, slowly getting sucked into them, against our wishes, helpless.

We try to navigate our way out using whatever device we can engage – tact, humility, stupidity, sometimes verve, but the more we try to fight the silences and voids in our lives, the more deep we fall into them. They keep expanding over time, enveloping our nights and days, our thoughts and dreams, with their suffocating embrace.

They unsettle us even more as we grow old and mature, forcing us to strive hard in filling them with pettiness, mundane undertakings like small talk, work which doesnt interest us, food that dont appeal to our palates, love that is never there, each of these undertakings no different than a random fling, a bizarre nightout, so that we can forget that the next day won’t be any different.

But then, maybe the right way to handle them is to let them be, to not fight, to not ignore, but to be comfortable in these uncomfortable silences and the soul numbing voids. Maybe that’s when we will start to see them for what they really are, and maybe it will be the revelation that we all live our lives for, the beautiful essence of existence, the exhilarating truth about everything, in its primordial and therefore most powerful form.

This is how the optimists talk, the ones who have subscribed to religions and faiths.The rest of us must try to forget or try to fight till we fill our silences and voids with rational answers. Oh, how wonderful it would be if we could only believe.


…on the fragile bridge

The sound of the ripples
kissing the banks,
of the wind rustling
the leaves of the banyan,
the sound of bells
from a place far away,
is it a temple, I wonder,
a church, or probably kids
rushing out of their school.
These sounds make me calm,
as I add to these
my sigh of relief,
for I am finally there,
with everything real,
and in it you are too,
at the other end of the bridge.
Your presence wavers
in the heat of the winter sun,
in the pounding heart that goes on,
and I know you hear it,
and the sounds like I do.
You too feel the urge
to make a move.
But we know, another step
and this bridge will crumble,
we won’t even
take each other’s name,
for our voice might shatter
this surreal beauty,
waking us up from this dream
into each other’s blinding reality.


imagination is not always fiction..

“She is not the typical fiction writer who conducts methodical research and then labors to produce a faithful simulacrum of a time or a place. She doesn’t bother about each and every detail of a major event that will form the backdrop of her novel, just a facet, an anecdote enables her to recreate the event in a way that fits well into the plot. If she visits a place which appears in her work, she doesn’t research the social, economical or historical aspects, instead she wanders in the streets stopping at a building, or a mossy wall from which she creates the whole building.”

As I read this critic review of N’s latest novel, I remember her telling me with those wondrous eyes – ‘The outside world is a place from which to snatch inspiration, details, people and feelings.’

It was one of the first animated discussions we had on the subject of writing, where we debated with passion at extreme ends of the spectrum. But she wasn’t forthcoming with her views at first, this conversation for instance happened many months after we were well acquainted. Once you get to know her, you develop a real sense the power of human imagination, and how to be vivid about it. It’s a feat I still cannot manage with finesse.

Also, I find it a bit queer, but then I am an insufferable realist, judging people at the first go. I knew there was something amiss when I met her the first time. In a room surprisingly crowded for a book launch, N looked lost, misplaced, a beautiful pearl among the oysters looking for empty chairs. Her beauty was however not in the feminine projections or the curves that are the usual indicators. It was her face, with a small forehead, her inquisitive and ever wondering eyes, the sharp nose, full lips that she never put lip colors on and a curving chin. It looked out of place in her unremarkable body. But place is what I had saved for S, who was late as always. I was so moved by N’s appearance that I had offered her the save seat as if in a daze.

She was thankful, of course, but the way she offered her thanks had wrenched me out of the charmed state and then put me off. She looked through me, a smile that betrayed it’s distance, in response to an old joke that one recalls, or a pleasant memory that visits us out of the blue. She belonged to my world, was present in that room, but i was certain it was just one of her imaginary identities, another N was probably visiting the streets of Cairo, and another kissing me passionately, but that was just wishful thinking. I had tried to make harmless, mundane conversation but her responses had made me regret my decision and I started preparing for the wrath of S.

On our subsequent meetings, N started acting more sane, and social. She would engage me in conversations about things that ranged from the most petty to subjects like molecular biology, or say theoretical physics. But her presence wavered, one instance she is listening to me intently and the next there she would have the lost, glazed look. Even though she was against explorations in the usual sense, she wanted to explore each and everything she could. What she wanted from me were those little triggers to set her imagination soaring. And once in flight, she had no use of me or my views.

This applied to our love too, or whatever you might want to call the relationship that was between us. She took cues from me, my actions, inactions and confessions, but that was all she needed. Breaking up was an equally surreal moment, she was right about most of the things, on how I am never sure about what I want, of how I am years younger to her, but what remains with me about the event is how she calmly told me that she loved me like no one she ever did, and how she had taken all that was to take from me, in form of inspiration, details and feelings and how she had built me in her imagination, in her soul, that will remain so even if I wasn’t there. In a way she taught me the same, the N I loved remains etched in mine no matter what I read or hear about her.


The lure of dark literature

Why are we attracted to dark literature?

The art of living, as the wise gurus tell us is to be thankful, to enjoy every moment of it, every breath we take. To the practical mind this translates to finding happiness in every moment and the mind concedes the futility of this search. However, it sees the logic in the search for a less ephemeral and less insignificant happiness, one that transcends concepts like moments and breathing. This practical and average mind, average because of the number of beings it rides on is far more than the other types therefore makes people live in the search of happiness.

With the platitude elegantly established, we will attempt to address the question in the first line which must feel misplaced in the paragraph that it finds itself in. We might even modify the question, now that it feels happy to be back in focus and therefore amenable to changes, and ask what is the happiness that people derive from reading dark literature. For, if reading the material is not making them feel good, then they wont belong to the club of averages. And if that was true, there would only be a few lovers of the dark writings, the irrational being the minority. On the contrary, tragedies over the ages have held a greater veneration than any comedy or writing of the type that justifies why we should be thankful for the gods, for mankind, for our existence and such things as world peace. Contemporary literature is also mostly dystopian, it reeks of suffering of the individual, a pain that one must live with, in every moment and every breath. A darkness pervades every word that comes out of the melancholic souls of these writers. It is overdone to such an extent that to a discerning reader, discerning being a euphemism for the cynic, this blatant display of darkness starts to seem pretentious.

Discerning or not, we all enjoy the books we read, and that takes us back to where we started this ramble. The question remains unanswered. Instead of jumping into the arena and proffering an answer let us remain on the sidelines for a little while longer and examine the nature of the contradicting states of happiness and sorrow.

Happiness compels us to seek company. It makes us look outwards, mostly because everything looks good when we are feeling so. It induces the urge to spread it around. Happiness demands dissipation of the inadvertent answers it conjures up.

Suffering and pain on the other hand makes us look within. It makes us introspect as we are flooded with questions. Everything we believed in, we loved, we thought of ourself, lies shattered to pieces rendering us incapable of expressing the gruesome reality that lies within to others. Suffering is inherently implosive, it leaves us stranded on the island with a heavy backpack of these debilitating questions.

Given these definitions, and being forced to accept the definitions as they are offered, we might re-establish the platitude that no sane person would like to indulge in anything that leads to the island. At this juncture, one might feel like giving up on the answer out of frustration with the author or one might persevere and delve further as one does while reading dark literature. The reader and connoisseur, or even the sceptic of the dark must understand that though the author has been striving to apply the question in the purview of grand schemes and ubiquitous definitions, the question is not pertinent to darkness in life, it is about dark literature.

Reading is an exclusively private activity. Even though some might cite book clubs and public reading, those same members of the clubs and the audience would understand the frustration of expounding the inexplicable more than the outsiders and the non participants. Reading, as we all know and which we in our personal spaces are doing right now with this post, is a private affair, but so is suffering. The subject matter resonates with the verb when we take up writings of the darker shades. It also seems promising because it relates and joins us in the search for the answers to our suffering. As a result, we tend to immerse ourselves in the work instead of the detached, flippant attitude we wear while reading something comical or something uplifting.

The reason we love dark literature is also because of the fact that we all suffer, unless we are the smiling gurus making others aware of their suffering and then providing ecstatic vacuous solutions. Dark literature provides us with perspective that might equip us not only in answering the questions that fester, but also prepare us in coping with life as it would unfold, both on the introspective and the emphatic grounds. The art of living is not about finding or acquiring the state of happiness in every moment, but in accepting the nature of the contradicting constructs that life is made of and reading till you drop dead.