Buried Babbles : Burnt Side of the Sun

We are born into a world where material is primary and the absence of which, renders an opaque, ostentatious sheet of ignorance over our overworked minds. We are brought up to believe in investing – in estates, possessions, inheritance, but foremost, in people.

And somewhere, amidst those investments of implored deceit, we start groping onto a tingle down our pulse, when we start to feel.

We bond, we love, we hate. We burden ourselves with absolutes, extremities of each abstract feeling, never quite reeling at the intersection of two. Mostly never knowing how to establish any ownership on either without falling into prejudiced cradles of self-doubt.

We have an abyss, an incomplete identity, with nothing to boast about except for a vague, transient, almost gravity-defying mass of overreach. There is struggle to give a face, a wistfully acceptable face to this hollow charade, by attaching ourselves to whatever is around us. It could take the form of art, of science, aristocracy or diplomacy. So we prey on people’s emotions, never quite fathoming the self victimization.

How desperately unfulfilled is the quest.

Unheard of voices say that all sinful, albeit useless, emotions have a charm. The staggering example of ‘Love’ strikes. Being a die-easy-rather-hard kind of love fanatic, in the rarest of moments, I allow myself the occasional wriggle room to question my beliefs. So, yes, love. It is there, here, everywhere. Each one talks of it whilst in their deepest moment of predicament, positive, negative does not quite matter, for hate, and every other tributary feeling, is derived from the prerequisite of love. Love is lost in the slight moments that we miss out on, when there’s the following moment of expectation that takes precedence, or the past alignments which linger on in our minds. Love is charming, intoxicating, willful, excruciating, empowering, every form of Yin and Yang, and thus takes the most out of us.

If not for the redemption of love, we would be utter pragmatic, selfish, self-absorbed beings with nothing to offer to anyone, nor to take away.

But is that so bad ?

Love weakens us at a point when it’s charm seems diminished and for the lack of a better term, unsolicited. Yet, we resolve to see it reach a positive end. Whoever asserts that lack of love is equivalent to the lack of soul, did not have wisdom or maybe had too much of it. For, something as grotesque as love, could only touch the physical peripherals of a being.

What impacts every soul is peace. Isn’t that why we have meditation camps in all numbers, so we could aspire for that which is greater than one emotion and helps us overcome passion, thus welcoming stability.

But again, who am I to talk.

With such vicious significance, love triumphs as the refuge of common man, who lacks in courage and conviction, to attach to it in order to complete his distorted existence.

So, we see a life oscillating between the love for material, flesh, more and then material again. Love makes us incoherent, sublime with a sense of ignorance, thus extricating the regardless, practical, blatant in us, insolent to masses, and most importantly, inducing in us the primal meaning that is attached to the term ‘human’. In all its bare necessities, love becomes a socially acceptable nuisance, co-existing with objectivity amongst the most evolved yet unreformed species on earth.

Being a skeptical optimist, I can only hope for it to prevail under this veil a while longer.

 

Causal Effect

So we all have ways to avoid confrontation, with bosses, with better halves, with parents and most often with our feelings. But sometimes we like to take a break, set ourselves up for emotional upheaval and well, lose it big time. No I’m not that psyched, my stimulus is in perfect shape, my reactions absolute and requisite, but nonetheless, my mannerisms are adept yet dishonest.

But today, something broke inside and fell apart, like a fragment of inadequacy detached itself from me.

Alright, I’ll shake off the drama.

But it’s empowering to know, that under any circumstance, there will always be that ‘one’, who will listen to you as much as you speak, without condescension, judgement or correction.

It is an honest piece of paper. It answers without your attention, for all the answers are within.

So, I bounced back to it, after listening to this version of Going to California by Led Zeppelin. Of course the version was by a very unknown and terribly powerful artiste (well, to avoid legal suits, let’s refrain from credentials). The version itself resonated with a captivating feel in the song, the feel that the artiste must have felt when composing it, and what I felt, as I listened to it. The song is about this man who looks for love, after failing at it, and looks for a perfect woman, never to find her, but giving himself hope all the while, that it isn’t such a long shot.

The version seems to be a prelude to the original score (apparently a nod to Joni Mitchell by Plant. What a rippling laughter that woman has !). Not flouted by lyrical nuisance (ahh.. yes), it forms a conjunction with the original song, as a happy introduction before the misery begins. What stunned me was when I played the original and Version X(let’s call it that for now) back to back. Version X had an originality of its own, transferring different interpretations to the listener altogether, and yet it fits with the original, even from the other way round. Oh Yes !!

Version X brilliantly sticks as an aftermath to the song, painting a picture of joy where post struggle, the man meets his Queen, who does sing and dance. And it could easily come in full circle again with the original signifying how happiness in love is not a destination but a journey.

 

Some days. When making sense does not have to be my skill for the day.

 

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The Afterglow

I live facing a building which is a testimony to perhaps one of the most vane times in any person’s life and maybe also the most real.

This building is a marriage hall, a Kalyan Mantappa.

I like the bustle this place showers its otherwise quiet neighbors with because its frequency is wittingly scattered and gives us corporat(e) spitballs our fair share of loose evenings; except for the mornings which result from my conscious betrayal to an early bed time at the behest of being possessed by the evils of Netflix or worse, official work; and I wake up disoriented to a slightly archaic drumming as part of the morning rituals of a Kannada wedding. Those mornings are particularly hard on my day.

I see people placing their faith in the good wishes of somebody else and watching their fulfilled happy beginnings and endings in the eyes of the truest of well wishing folks.

And because this is the Southern part of India, most weddings are conducted in the day time, leaving the in(formal) merriment of the Reception for the night.

And just as shiny as the night was, with the buzzing of fairy lights and the matte of the immaculate collection of the choicest flowers, it all mellows away into a horizontal whiff of an afterglow. This one is bejeweled with disconcerted, distant relations trying to find the first cab out(because weekday nights and weekend nights are not treated with discrimination in this part of the country, especially for the older, city-settled folks).

The afterglow also lights up the tired, albeit, stuffed faces of children, aged between 8-11, a careful forum bordering on the just-about-to-throw-adolescent-tantrum age. Their murmurs are not distinct but infectious. From a distance, I can watch them shaking their hands and moving their chairs into each other, some game I assume.

The fairy lights are out now, just hanging from the railings of the roof, alone.

The flowers are now trying to sleep and ignore the crafty wind which doesn’t let them rest. If only they could show their punch out scans to the demanding winds.

The chairs are getting stacked upside down and seem to hurl their behinds into the air to show signs of protest and non cooperation. I hear them say, ”That’s all, folks”, dismissively.

And suddenly, a flash of light hits the wall of my kitchen. Yes. Most faithfully, the pandemonium of photographers giving their last shots, quite literally, to capture the departing brideandgroom has begun.

The bride, emerging now in full view of the Mantappa neighbors for the first time, wrapped and cloaked in her Naavari, looks visibly tired and presumably excited. I bet myself silently that the excitement is a resultant of leaving the mantappa cum hotel and coming back into the world of monotonous apartments, once and for all shutting down those day dreams of an Instagram-worthy wedding. The flowers in her hair have outlived the evening and their purpose of bringing about a deity like innocence and fierceness into the bride’s ensemble. They gently wave to their friends hanging at the venue entrance, and slander the wind.  They too have hopes to retire now.

The groom seems lost into an air of inattentive smiles that he willingly gives today, and a bevy of cars – some that need immediate checking-out. In-between are thoughts crossing through his right ear and across his forehead. Of video games, I believe. Both exclusively punny.

Shy goodbyes and prolonged exchanges between the brideandgroom, all parents and relations put me in a ‘ciao’ mood too. And the timing of my ready tea couldn’t be more perfect. So long.

The Right Turn

I was run down an academic profile which was the beginning to my end.
My carefree report cards were testimonies of a someone who was in the making.
My hard-earned degree made me a no one.
Often, the filled out corridors would call me back to them.
The corridors where all we were, were infantile projections of an often forgotten world,
Trying to outshine each other at everything and sharing a soda amidst.
The redemption through free periods or in the culinary rooms was lost on us.
Maybe because dance and craft, and music and drama were just synonyms to a bleak end.
I rested my bones until I crossed the threshold.
The one which would ensure my farewell to the other half, to the right of my brain.
Raving and ramming into potholes,
What’s left is a dull hallway.
Luxury engulfs me now.
It is a sweet encore which I request every time the song tries to control its blare.
It is the melody which mutes every creative organ in my body.
And I listen to it every day.
My hands and my heart are two parallel demigods.
They fight each other passively.
While one works, the other watches over to make sure that some day the lost time is reminded as regret.
Faces crossing me on the street resemble no familiarity nor comfort.
Awe and anxiety are just about the two feelings I can feel when I’m not alone.
The measure of my success is now directly proportional to the distance I stay away from home.
Earning a living, and beading the beads, my fantasies are lived through superficial syndromes.
Surrounded by make belief fairies and unfamiliar roads,
Within full sentences and incomplete thoughts,
These are my old ways, my old words,
Because I haven’t had time to learn new.

A. Day.

Gazing at the sky lights
In between the drudge day,
I see you climbing up on my thoughts,
Showing me the life ahead.

Another day goes by
Into counting more days
Until I can see your beaming smile again.

With coffee in the jar
Whiskey in my humble bar,
I conjure up the promising evening
That takes away the week’s dread.

And the day comes just too late
And falls away much too soon.
The air, the sheets,
The strings and all that’s bittersweet,
Treat me like a betrayal
After you leave.

The night comes and it comes unaccompanied again,
I gaze into sky lights,
Losing to my dreams again.

The Awkward Air

The air is hungover with the anticipation of awkwardness.

Speaking frugally, we are dissolving conversations in the cocktails, thinking of formidable ways to overcome our anxiety.

All the while thinking to ourselves the virtues of a single malt.

Touching upon subjects of creation and annihilation, we succumb to the worldly ways of winning over a frivolous evening.

Surrounded by a handful, the pretense of these 6 minutes was hardly lost on our delusional manners.

Our words opened into a Juliet balcony and then restrung themselves over scattered, repeated motifs.

Who drew the first blood, was never known, but she and I were left pale, gasping for air.

We could feel the sentences evaporate into staggered glances at the bustling room.

Not soon enough, the outline of the corners of our lips widened to bid adieu and shut instantly.

Our eyes met briefly and then left each other, only to be reminded years later, of a misguided fantasy.

I left her, and she left me, deserted amidst our self loathing thoughts of another failure.

Another failure to make a friend in the overwhelming crowd, another failure to shatter through our shells, another failure to be one with what’s-her-name.

The Ringing In My Heart

Like the dark shadow beneath a lit window
You leave me cold
And desperate for warmth.
As if the light was hushed
Not only in the alley
But burnt out from our hearts.
My damp pillow reeks
Of the stories
I told myself to sleep.
In them, you were one
And I was many
In them you were you
And I was me.
Hunched beneath the light
I am fond of the dark.
A few startles
And some mist later
It is a prose
Ringing in my heart.
It is all one,
One blanket of black
Through which I see me
And now, less of you.
It swallows me
In one instance,
Leaving no sign
Of body, nor soul.
The truth is a distance
And the black escape
Is a lie.
Eye to eyebrow
Lips to ears
The shadow darkens
All that glimmered
When I entered
Through the door.
The ringing in my heart stops.
I can breathe no more.

Declogging : The Art of Exaggeration, Drama and Tackling Tea Aunties

Ahem, so picture an evening when your neighbour Tea Auntie-ji (a gibber term I had to coin for neighbour homies wanting tea every time they visit) comes over to your place and you, like a decent host, welcome her to a cup of tea and marie(now digestive) biscuits. After slurping on the first few sips, she pretty much gobbles much of marie and tea and tea and marie in between her gossips and wide-eyed reactions to Mrs. Mehta’s niece’s successful marital bliss and honeymoon destinations. Her evening rendezvous ends with your mother saying “Aate hain hum jaldi hi”(we shall be seeing you soon) and the pleasantries, last minute steals of updates follow where the lesser significant neighbours are discussed quickly because how could they be left out of the rendezvous syllabus. Amongst these moments are 7 particularly specific seconds when Auntie-ji offers to wash the china she drank her tea/marie concoction in. Under obvious social obligations, you refuse her “genuine” interest to get wet with Vim drips while battling Mum’s red, spectrum eyes which command you to sink with shame. But what do you do when she asks for the twentieth time in the six point fifth second ? You snatch away the not-so precious china(‘cos who are we kidding) and shield it from Auntie-ji, asking her to go home and do her own dishes, all a frenzy of exaggerated reaction only to communicate to her that she, being a guest, holds the place of God and cannot possibly be allowed to wash dirty china, figuratively. 

To your relief and the crumbling china’s, she gives in, blesses you and returns to her evening of neighbourhood hopping.

Whoever accused us of exaggeration and drama must not have lived in Geeta Auntie’s colony. 

I rest my case.