Abstract

Reflections in the dark (a repost)

There is a sense of foreboding rife in the night air. Tonight there is no moon or stars, not even the distant lights that shine in his dark eyes when he searches for her. The absence of the celestial lights is not due to clouds either. The clouds from south are yet to arrive, there must be another explanation. He might be going blind. This inability to rationalize is always disconcerting, it makes him ask questions. Indulging the unknown by asking questions makes it tolerable. What is it then that holds the night together in the absence of the moon and the stars? It is not the dark sky that seems too big to care, no the sky never cared. Maybe what keeps the night alive is its arrogant defiance of light. It is only in the blatant disregard to doubts that the absolute is ever achieved.

He must learn more from the night. He must learn to swallow the light even though it burns within, leaving the taste of charred regrets. He knows he must go on till he devours the last of the wavering wisps of pride. The enemy, she had told him, lies within. He had then spent ages trying to fight it, fight them, looking for her approval. Each victory felt a load off, expunged, they became shadows. Even in the dark of this night, he can see their silhouettes. Memories don’t have a shape, structure or silver linings, they just have these haunting silhouettes. Her eyes move rapidly as if excited in his forays, but he can see from within. Beyond the eyelids, beyond the eyes, the vision she finds difficult to fathom, a vision that betrays the disappointment in him.

She was never afraid of the shadows, it’s the reflections that disturbed her. She defied them, but not with conviction. Since a young age she would stare deep into the mirror, trying to look for a movement, and often trying to gauge the depths of her soul. Is the reflection exactly as she appeared to others, or do they see more? We don’t always need mirrors to see ourselves, he had said, sometimes the reflections in our mind show us graver truths because in this case the mirror is made of our conscience. All we need is a calm mind, and a calm mind is like a black mirror. It absorbs all the light, all your essence, rendering you void. The only proof of your existence is in the reflection, but to see the reflection emanating from the black mirror requires an assimilation into the void. She must go further to look for him, before he wakes up and she becomes one of his reflections.

He feels his mouth dried up, the tongue feeling the back of his parched throat. She must be probing again, he could feel himself drained out of life. The dryness progressing further, reaching his now withered heart. He is convinced it would spread further leaving him with a shriveled soul. The prospect is comforting. But he must exist, not because he loves her. He must exist so that she has a purpose as she sleeps keeping his night alive. He takes a last longing look at her and retreats back into the depths of the night, before she can find him and destroy them both.

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Thoughts

The irresistible charm of music (a repost)

There is just one thing that philosophers from various schools of thought and inclinations agree upon. It is the questions that they collectively ask, questions that arise from philosophical ruminations. The topic of these questions range from life, universe, God, existence, behavior, dreams and cover just about everything a human mind is capable of inquiring about. The nature of such questions are universal in nature, in the sense that they don’t discriminate between instances. Questions about existence, for example, applies to all individuals equally. The same goes for enquiry into the metaphysical aspects of an emotion, say love between two individuals, the same question applies to both the parties involved, or the whole population.

This plethora of questions has kept on piling up, forcing mankind, starving for answers to take refuge in science, faith, religion and such systems of well structured beliefs. The reason why we have failed to address these questions in a satisfactory way lies in the conflicting premises of these questions and their probable answers. The questions may be universal, but the answers as it is more or less established are existential in nature. Philosophers who have attempted to create an universal model have usually failed. This unique combination, however; brings to the arena the human endeavor of art. Art fits so well in this situation that the lines between art and philosophy have been flimsy since the earliest known civilizations.

Art, in its various forms attempts to answer the philosophical questions but it does that by taking a path that is not straightforward. The artist tenders the answers for mass consumption but stops short from getting down to the details, the intention and thesis is neither defined nor defended. This indirect approach makes art susceptible to attack from the philistines and fundamentalists, alike. On the other hand, this circuitous nature of the presentation allows the individual to investigate further without external aid, it acts as a guidance on the path to discovery of the answers to the posed questions, paradoxes and dilemma. The individualistic aspect of art might explain our fascination for it, a fascination that has pervaded time and space. To further elaborate on the idea, let’s take a painting and its import on the individual. It might evoke a feeling of longing, act as an exposition of love for one, while another person may derive a sense of peace, or an answer to the question on the apparent futility of existence.

Comprehension is essentially a sensory phenomenon, or at least it is stimulated by the senses. The wise men and seers may advocate detachment from senses and urge us to inculcate a method of understanding that comes from insulated meditation. What they also say, which is usually found in subtext is you need to envisage the world with enough lucidity as presented to you through the senses to appreciate the inadequacy of the sensory perception.

Art in its attempt to come up with answers to the eternal questions appeals to the senses, at least at the first glance. The purpose is half fulfilled in this appeal, as it triggers the latent sensibilities and inchoate profundity present in every human. What follows then is the path taken by the individual beyond the realms of physiological limitations of the senses and psychological limitations of a cognitive mind. This realm is visceral, a personal space that obliterates the existence of everything else, one that transcends the conditioning received over ages, it is that world within that defines the essence of the individual or soul as the romantics and poets would prefer to call.

Most forms of art are about visualization, they are meant for the eyes and even if it is not the case, they would require one to keep the eyes open. The intended transport to the surreal world happens with intermittent closing of the external eyes and opening of inner ones. But it is still intermittent, one can’t get away without the visuals and in this process one is inadvertently aware of the external world thereby impeding one in the unobstructed flight, the dive into the soul.

Music may be the only art that doesn’t rely on eyes for perception, it actually demands the listener to close the eyes and feel the art. As soon as we do that, we are cutting off the rest of the world, people around us, emotions we struggle with and the questions that confound us. The quest is expedited by the prerequisite. It’s easy to critique or discuss a painting, a book, a poem, dance, sculpture and almost about every possible form of art, because the critic visualizes the piece in juxtaposition to the external or peripheral reality. Thus the criticism is understood by masses since they also perceive it in similar circumstances, similarly a discussion on a piece of art remains pertinent. When it comes to music, and here we might leave out the lyrics which might require a rephrase. So, when it comes to pure music it’s almost impossible to critique, discuss, analyze or do anything that might require others to be in the same plane as you, or having the same perception as yours. At the best, one may only give the verdict, that the piece of music is good or it is not. Equally impossible it is to find a person who doesn’t enjoy music.

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Poetry

Mirth of the insane (a repost)

When love, that doesn’t remember the dawn,
forever smolders but refuses to burn,
when blemishes in time and space
reek of a festering eternity,
the enervated horizon manages to
shine with the grey shade of insanity.

Rambling on in the fjords of a bruised ego,
and the confounding shores of dusky scruples,
battling the waves of a rising conscience,
a shattered mast, a tattered sail, an unanchored life,
yet the despondent crew hang on to faith, undeterred,
intoxicated, by the dark bottles of insanity.

A quiver of nascent ideas waits for a story,
the mesmerizing past, the non-committal present,
a fairy land that longs for a scorching desert,
these crumpled notes in my recycle bin, on the floor,
once that craved for a closure, are exasperated,
as they seek solace in an edifying touch of insanity.

When the kiss of the lover’s lips seems cloying,
making love no longer douses the raging desires,
when the parched throats seek no wine,
and sips of the pinot evoke the same sweet faces,
when the gods start to seem too distant to fail,
and your prayers seem impersonal, and almost cruel,
guilt laden bliss is easier to endure, you feel,
in the soothing ignominy of insanity.

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Poetry

The story of life

My poem got published on Sudden Denouement Collective. It is a great collective of writers and artists, each with a unique style and aesthetic, including me 🙂

The story begins
not in the present,
not with any intent,
but in the mind of the writer,
lost, perusing his tomes,
as he creates a new history
with words filtered through
experiences and such
prismatic domes.

Continue to read here.

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Poetry

Elements of a grand philosophy about life

The alphabet of life,
is a caravan of letters,
riding into the dusk of our thoughts,
each guarded by a sense of conformity,
surrendering to the fate
of falling into places,
forming words
to fill the empty spaces
of the grand scheme,
grandeur is just our wishful thinking
that the puzzle is unsolvable.

The phrases of life,
are a collusion of words
to find a common purpose
and create those ideas for redemption.
Nothing but fragments of the plot,
each carries an awareness
of what is missing
and of voids that need filling
with lesser brush strokes,
to create our universe
in a grand collaboration,
grandeur is the levity we seek
to believe that the design is inexpressible.

The statements of life,
formed with cabals of phrases,
masquerading as logic,
the notions and prejudices
repressed for association,
as a compromise is reached
to defend the thesis.
They fall into places,
in their ordained spaces,
reluctance subdued
by the grand revelation,
grandeur is just the ruse the mind longs for
to establish that its limits are unsurpassable.

The essay of life,
made of circuitous statements,
juggled with the adept hands.
A magic construed
with fancy flips of conscience,
conviction and applause
are driven by the the need for a facade,
to toe the line
and feel each other’s comforting presence.
The game is forever played
as part of a grand vision,
grandeur is nothing but the optimistic delusion
to prove that life is much more than what we live for.

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Poetry

Innocence regained


I. The Origin

I have always existed, they tell me,
like a shapeless infinite
or an idea of eternity,
soaked in timeless wonder.

Weakened limbs and fledgling wings
dipped in a blue blood – the water
that still carries the primordial cries
of unborn thoughts and unsung civilizations.

An unwanted evolution
that carved me into a mirage,
a reflection of origin, of truth,
and also of something grand
like the vision of innocence.

II. The Ocean

The story unfolds
in the folds and wrinkles
of the great unyielding rock,
aging and decaying as it breaks
reluctantly into small rugged images.

I, like my peers tried to battle the flow
holding my ground with ingrained roots,
a tenacity borne of sediments of time
under the waves, nurturing and violent.

Unaware of the erosion of my doubts,
I winced when the weak drifted to the dark
and then rejoiced my fortuitous survival.

Polished to a shine, I danced, frolicking
under the gentle caresses of mother,
a god of tides on a shore of consciousness.
Lapped in her breath and feeling loved
I remained in bliss, my conscience burnished.

III. The statue

Why then did you create the grounds
I asked the god, mother who let go of me,
a world beyond my world and its hands
that smelled of reason, of sweat and war.

They plucked me from the pristine embrace
and guided me towards an unquenchable thirst
for knowledge and a discovery of innate evil.

Bruised, probed, and examined for years,
scalpels of right and wrong and
chisels of science and art
gave me a shape, a rigid form
as I transformed into a man, standing alone
at the altar in the middle of nowhere,
a statue in the town square.

The center of attraction and deference
I stood discerning the facade, vying for a glance,
for an unassuming love, a kiss of fleeting interest
and on lonesome nights I looked up for a sign
waiting for rain, or even a few dewdrops to hide,
a bolt of destiny that might shattered my anguish,
as I mourn the loss of innocence.

IV. A reincarnation

It didn’t burn like my ambitions did,
it didn’t break the way ideals always do,
just vanished, like an angel in the clouds,
with wings made of white nothingness
and the feather it dropped is probably fantasy
as on the vestiges of my loss grew tendrils of
a few insipid dreams, fragile as a tentative faith.

The bliss I search now is not in ignorance,
or despite the despotic logic that refutes
and mocks, it’s not in my dreamy escapades.
With a unfounded resolve I delve deeper
into the excavations of the lost cities of innocence.
Nothing deters me, not the aches of a lost limb,
of the lost wing that once carried a purpose, of life.

At the end or the beginning of another origin
a reverberating voice speaks, to me,
speaks like me, rising without pain
from the ocean within, piercing the
stone that is now the rational heart.
Continue to read on Olive skins

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Poetry

The inescapable curvature of attraction

Every love story starts
on a meandering path,
among the red spires
of antiquity, pickled with
dragons and veiled ladies,
or with a surprise swipe
towards the right,
guided by a profile
with a proverbial picture
that minced no hashtags.

The numbing tangent
that usually ensues
feels like a daze
without the chemicals, of course.
Towards the end however
every story longs
for a convex arc
to make it real,
for something true,
reminiscent of all
that we once were.

Everything curves
and coils back, they say,
riding on not just
the seductive words
but also the body of an
ophidian paradox.

Even gravity is borne
of the space time curve,
gravity of your thoughts
and actions are dictated
by the space and time
of your life’s transcending arc.

The circle of life may
seem broken at the tangents,
following love, family or dreams,
going astray on singular tracks.
Each may digress beyond us,
beyond logic but always
looking back wistfully,
they recount often
about how it began,
and of the curve
they originated from.

They teach us to follow dreams,
to aim bigger and better,
to be relentless, preserving faith
in ourselves and in others.
But when you see ethics bent
for building the arches of success,
what attracts are the curves
of rectitude that when aged,
ride not just our senile backs.

Attraction needs
a better explanation
than that of following a curvature,
for we know the truth
of our coiling wishes,
and the recoils of
a resurgent conscience
every time the elusive line
we think we are following
curves back to where
we started from.

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