The dusty destiny!

‘Tis has been quite a while since we conversed. True. Time flew by and we walked into our own little closets, strengthened the walls around it and ensured the barbed wires saved us from any foreseen onslaught. The little that we heard, when we shouted across the inches of concrete, was the hatred and the hostility within. Staged? Practised? I know nought. Our keen discernment ensured that even a sincere act of fondness was falsified with riddles and mysteries. As each taunt built on another, the walls grew thicker, stronger and more fortified than before. The walls we built for one another, mysterious indeed.

In this lone cell, I hear sounds that baffle me; unknown visions from the past, I realize. A unified laugh at a played out hysteria, a cohesive smirk at the newest stereotype and a mortified scorn at tradition emerge, coerce and drift my way. I play witness to evenings spent in silent harmony, the music of the souls drifting by. I see two lone figures battling an entirety, the mass multitude. They walk together in their lone paths, alone in their combined missions, and yet powerful in each other’s presence.

Something stirs within, a wish? a dream? Fear maybe. I withdraw deeper into my surroundings, my facade from the outside world. And in the urgency to protect my heart from the hurt outside, have I forced you out with it? Did you want to be forced out from sheer exhaustion? Did the togetherness threaten your uniqueness?

The alter ego had vaporized, the best friend had vanished and out emerged my nemesis. Strong in knowing the real me, weak in being me.

[…]

She stiffened her sleeves, smoothing the crease that was beginning to develop. Smart move Mr. Murphy; throwing the wrongs her way, when she intended to make it her best performance. It was going to be the destiny she had fought for own her own, built it from the grave. The world had definitely been more accepting than it had been before. The bruises from her past wars showed themselves black and blue, reminding the observer to tread with caution. Was that the reason for the distanced reactions this time? Was the world busy living a more saner life for itself, untouched by her anxiety?

She shook her thoughts back to the moment she was basking in; the world could live its life and she hers. The walk towards the bridge had been painful. She had to conquer the worst enemy before setting out on this path; her inner self. The ego, bloated from years of hurt and neglect, had thrown its army of reasons at her, one more convincing than the other, declaring the entire episode a mere school girl’s trick. Her brain, the self-proclaimed master, had reasoned with them all, while the heart sat quiet, listening to the war wage on. As days turned into weeks and no consensus was in sight, the heart stiffly sat up, proclaimed the verdict and went back into its sanctuary. The trip would be made.

As her mind raced through the happenings of the past, her feet slowly tread on, stopping at the foot of the bridge. She looked ahead and gasped at the beauty that lay ahead. Pearly gates laid out for the mundane, reachable yet mystic in their ways. She took her first step forward and felt herself sink in, the soft touch of the feathers beneath her tickled her little toe. She let out a muffled laugh. As she lingered on, the season sunk in; little drops of rain slid by the window, concealing the harsh lights beyond. The familiar smells of the ocean swept by, bringing with them sounds from the past. Moments leapt by, as she validated the reality quotient of it. She walked out from aeons of movement and glared at having reached midway. The view amazed her.

She had lost count of the time she had spent there after the initial day itself. A sense of helplessness had set in, rising the devil within. As the heart lay curled at the corner, the ego threw its tantrums. The turmoil within manifested itself louder by the passing. They had all birthed a mistake in unison and now hell lay about. Sad, searching eyes flooded with drops of lost morale, as two feet slowly dragged the entirety back to the earth. She had won the war, but the battle was lost forever.

The world seemed more accepting at her return than anticipated, a welcome worthy of the prodigal was laid out. Aged fingers pointed to the direction of the rightful destiny; it lay in photographs floating in virtual space, clicked hastily by emotionless hands. Destiny flourished in names matched against the stars, lifetimes of congeniality predicted from meaningless scrawls on the eternal parchment. It lived in interests created with the purpose of hitting a match, wavelengths sourced to traverse as one. It rested on familiarity bred over time, distances being lost by it all. Destiny lay elsewhere from where she had sought it.

As the heart built its newest layer of fortification, there was a world out there that needed to be satiated. The brain promised itself to be just that. The head hung low, nodded in acceptance. Destiny lay elsewhere indeed.

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The best snow angel, ever.

tring…tring…tring…tring…

Heyy! Wassup?

Yo! Wanted to say a final GoodBye. Just in case you know. *smile*

What’s wrong? Final already?

Well! I am breaking up with my ex today, all over again. Over dinner. So if something does happen to me and I don’t see the tomorrow to come, might as well let you know, you’ve been great.

Shut up! You are kidding, right? You din’t tell me he was homicidal.

I don’t know…Chalo, Gotta run. Bye.

She sat up, the prediction was spot on, again. It was going to be the first snow of the season. The incessant rain over the last month, hadn’t helped the mood either. But she had dreaded the snow for a good while now. No, she din’t hate the snow, it was quite the contrary in fact. It made her senses reel and feel fresh; alive. It was the perfect way to prettify the world, consummate and lasting. But all the snow around reminded her of the past; nostalgic and painful memories were rekindled. And thoughts are creatures that one has little control over. Yes! It was going to be a tough winter.

The chill sinfully kicked her out of her world of thoughts. She adjusted herself atop the little wall, tried better at staying warm and went back to her thoughts. The events of the evening had not turned out the exact way she had pictured it. But then, they weren’t what she would have called miserably bad either. They had sat in a little table, the mad rush of the restaurant beating around in all directions. As inappropriate as the location may be, she spilled her worst nightmares. They had grown apart over time anyway, things hadn’t been the same. The energy for those midnight phone calls and five hour long conversations had seeped out of their lives. The distance between them hadn’t been all that favorable either. Since their lives had picked different wave lengths to beat on, might as well let go of the little strings. She felt the words tumble out of her lips awkwardly; all the rehearsing lay wasted. She’d looked up, in anticipation. Of what? She wasn’t really sure.

Tucked in doors, she watched the first flakes of snow drift down, prop a leaf near by and wait for its companions. A few more followed and before she could tell, they were everywhere. The barren tree had new friends now, the prodigal leaves can wait till spring to return. Man made machines lay helpless, for once powerless, against nature’s ways. Ones smitten by the distinguished bug walked out, hand in hand, breathing winds of love from across the worlds. Children, with their unending chirpy ways and padded layers to the foot, welcomed the snow with tongues out in the snow and angels in the making. The sight of foot prints in the fresh snow is poetic in a strange sense; our fleeting five seconds of leaving a mark on this wide planet. Yielding to the wily temptation, she pulls over a jacket and jumps into those boots. She quietly walks to the front door and opens it; a strong gush catches her off guard and forces out a tear.

She nimbly wiped off the tear before the neighbors in the little shack caught up. She felt a wave of fatigue catch over, and swarm her from all directions. Numb to the last nerve. She’d expectantly looked up, armed and yet unprepared for the counter attack from the person across the table. There had been melancholy in his voice, anger in his tone, hatred in his breath. A melange of emotions were thrown at her and she seemed to have lost track of the best way to react in such an inopportune moment. She’d fought back, argued, pleaded and tried her best hand at logical reasonings. She’d let out a huge sigh and looked up at the skies; why hadn’t anybody invented a sober way to break up as yet. It was going to be a long night after all.

She looked up at the skies and watched tiny flakes fly toward her, gently flowing with the breeze and finally settling on the most wayward strand of her hair. It felt as new and fresh as her first snowfall ever. She had run out frantically, ignoring the pros in the yard. She’d convinced friends into building their first snowman ever. She remembered the taste of fresh snow on her tongue, the way it quickly melted and left behind a chill. She put her tongue out again; Yes, the same taste all over again.

A couple of hours and many more drinks later, he seemed to have resigned to what lay ahead. He slumped gingerly on his chair, as words slurred out of his mouth. He promised to talk hours long, about their love affair, to his wife that dint exist yet; swore that he’d name his first born girl after her. He claimed that he’d never stop loving her ever, would only retire to the life his parents dreamed for him. She sensed a fabricated effort in the entire conversation. Bade quick, subdued goodbyes; promised to keep in touch for ever and left speedily. Not once did she look back, not once did she regret what she’d just done.

She looked back and not once lamented about all the places she’d been to. Every by-lane, ally and highway had given her something new to learn from, something memorable to take back. She’d had her share of burns, hits and bruises, but she’d fought them back with a strong mind. She knew that she had the best bunch of rocks to support her, fasten her to the roots, whenever she’d slipped. She remembered people with worse states of mind than hers. She was very lucky indeed.

A smile began to surface, as the realization dawned. She’d cleared her vision, rid of any noise, comforted her wound, was ready to move on.

She thumped down on the snow and wielded her numb hands and legs in new found revelry. Her snow angel was going to be the best one of the season.


Sahana, Santana and beyond.

It all came back in rushes, that one doomed day.

It was either the fact that I was up since 4AM (somehow reminded my brain of the old Diwali days, I guess) or a recent conversation that I had with pEePeE, that got me hooked on to a totally different wavelength of music. Definitely not a genre new to me, since it is customary for every Iyer household to make sure their daughters learnt carnatic music or Bharatnatyam and their sons knew how to play the mridangam. But I surprised myself by listening to M S Subbulakshmi, K J Yesudas, and the likes, all day, reeling in the memories attached to each of those songs.

The earliest memories are brought to life by Yesudas’ rendition of Harivarasanam and SPB’s Aayar Paadi Maaligaiyil. They some how remind me of early days in the Rock City, when I was too young to comprehend good from bad. These “had to be” the tunes the Gods sang to put us to sleep each night, tired from vandalising the neighborhood. It is the same tranquilizing calm I feel every time I listen to these songs. I close my eyes and see myself running through tiny rooms, the walls distinctively highlighted by our crayon artwork. There is a baby-swing hanging bang in the center of the bedroom with the life size mirror in one corner. Bang Center? Wait! Where would that place the fan? Interesting! Heck that’s how I remember it, so it stays. I run out into the make-shift portico and stare out of the grilled partition. God’s Yezdi stands under the neem tree, three, or was it four, floors down. Or was it peepul? Was there a tree at all?

Pancharatna Kritis, unquestionably, remind me of days in the Garden City. Summers in the at-home summer camp, with mid noon walks up to the temple, only to practise for the umteenth time. I remember all the coloring books, action figures and the ingenious games waiting for us, with dimple studded faces, while we sat there singing the same lines over, till we got the perfect twist and got it in unison, as a group. Those gruelling sessions definitely helped the ones who eventually took their art to the stage. But for poor disinterested me, they were but distractions, the bridges between me and my interests; surprisingly similar to work in today’s mindset.

Entharo gets specific mention among the others in the set. Not as much for being the sweet kriti, marking the end of the long and tiresome lineup, as for being the one that reminds me of God, every single time. I can still picture him in every other place that he would tune it up and sing along, head rocking in every direction, hands zestfully tapping along.  We could see him get the same degree of pleasure listening to it, as H would out of Santana. Or is it Metallica now?

Snap! and I was back to triage calls and post deploy validation. The wheel keeps on turning doesn’t it! This is where the day stands clear in my mind. As I listened to each song, humming along and redoing some of those almost forgotten tricks with the tunes, I realized that deep down inside I missed it. All of this felt like an integral part of who I was, what my upbringing was and I was worried that with each passing generation, this rich tradition was going to slowly fade away. Would that leave me with grand children in thrash bands?

Had I listened to God’s Ma’s wishes and given up studies to take up her passion, would I have made it big? Would I have had records to my credit and a fan following to live for? We would never know. Would I have had the pleasure of turning to something apart from the lame work I go to everyday? Would this have kept me going through some dark, gloomy days? Would this have earned me a new boy friend? We would never know that, either.

Would all these questions stop me from listening to them again? No. That much I was sure; for at the end of the day, I had enjoyed myself thoroughly, not once missing the Maidens and Metallicas of the other world.

So I live a king’s life indeed; Vishnu sahasranamam to wake me up and Dire Straits to lull me to sleep. Rich in all the music around me after all. And who is not!

The idealized past, A teaser

This is one of those posts lying in my iTouch Notes, as a draft, for a really long time now. I remember the day I started it and the snow storm that had hit us the previous night. It was the first time in months that our car had to be ploughed free of snow and it was the first time that there were only the two of us, instead of the usual crowd. Quite a workout, it had been, and sweating-it-out always gets me thinking.

If you have followed my posts at all, or have sat through any of my conversations (God bless you few), you would recall my reminisces from the past, those F1 races, and midnight walks. If both those statements are untrue, fret not, they are definitely going to be in one of the upcoming posts. Till then, sit tight, read on and remember, Michael Schumacher ruled F1, in the times mentioned in this post. Oh wait, he still rules, doesn’t he? Light at the end of the tunnel, here.

We had spent an complete hour sweating it out together. We had pushed each other into it and we were in it together after all. As we alternated between watching and shoving around, we realized how little we knew of each other, how little it really mattered and yet how we were forced into being the strangers we were then. Job done, sweat wiped out, we walked back to the house; car free from all the snow we had just shoveled out.

As we sat by the window, gazing into the ocean ahead, a steaming soup bowl to warm our frosted fingers, I remembered the times that had been. Earlier in the day I had bumped into something that made total sense now: The notion of a satisfactory future for a lot of us is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.

The ideal past where we spent the weekends lying on the house floor, God and H in stowe, fighting and fisting over the latest moto racing result, while the Goddess pitched in with the hot and spicy counterparts. That ideal time where we spent the nights racing each other in our walks around the airport. The past where we ran back into the hostel as the gates shut behind us, brimming at the turn of the evening, and the respite that those trips had from the hell within. The moments where, after having panted an hour or two uphill, we lay in the grass up there, letting the wind chill the sweat away and listening to verses from a saint who claimed that ‘nothing else matters’.

I still see images of a past where the house was a hullaboo, with tempers rising and egos getting flustered. The days when a lone tear was shed, to soothe a crying heart. The nights spent in dreamless sleep. The times when the volcanic outburst let all the entertainment to the hours going by.

Yes, the ideal past.

Cliched… yet… Nostalgic….

It was a thought that struck at a weird moment..but i sat wondering…have i ever come across a synonym for ‘nostalgia’…? Was a tough squeeze…hit the aisles of google..to find out meanings like…’longing,yearning’..’homesickness’…? not quite an impact like ‘nostalgia’ itself….

Sure go back in time…a long time back..when wearing frilled and lacy frocks was okay…it was not an issue to get boys back home after school….when you dint think twice before stopping the local ice cream man for a native bite of ecstasy…It was a time when you needed just a tear to get your way…it was then when beating your sis up red and blue was totally ok…

I remember very little of times in the pink city…except that guy whom i made friends with, with no idea of the language he spoke…and of my dad comin back home all pink and wet one day, after a blast at holi…then there was that whole bunch of kites in the attic that got me interested for their mere colour and the vibrance that came along…vaguely remember one curfew that left us sittin at home with no school to worry about….

Then there was the move back home…a life amidst family….yeah we flew back i know…my first flight…but i remember none of that…
coz recently when i sat on that plane after nearly 18 long yrs…i felt like a kid on her first flight onboard…eagerly stared out of the window…and continued doin that till all the skyscrapers seemed miniscule…and eventually succumed to a blanket of white…then there was the pleasure of looking at the sun from the same level…it was a new sun..staring back at me…and that rush down your lungs when the plane travels the runway…woah..!!

Coming back to the stay at home…there was all that singing in that little school…arraying at the ground for prayer every morning…and remember that fish shop in the same road..from where we flooded the tank in our house with those lovely ones…Then i remember those drills in school that we prepared so rigorously for…to go off to the main branch..with starched white clothes..and crispy white shoes…to act smart with those kids…always won in that i know…

I remember hiding from that mad man who lived on the corner where the road turned…felt an urge to prove oneself courageous by looking into his house every time we passed that way..Then there was that outburst of excitement every time i heard the quiet thump of dads yezdi as it turned into the street…recollect playing the bully…forming the favorite groups every summer vacation…remember those weird in house plays that we put…with family playing audience and cheering for every crap we put up…oh..those summer vacations with cousins were fun…with all those back biting and ear pulling…miss them….

Till date i feel the move to hitech city was destined…to move away from all that politicing…but then it had its own memories too…the wait for holidays to welcome cousins home…and take them around the city…and then there is school…the place i learnt to live..remember runnin out at 5 when school closed…running out to waiting junk sellers….there was always that craving to buy everything out from the canteen…when all those rich kids dined there every other day…and for us it used to be a blessing to get enough money for that..morning assembly was a pain…roasting in the hot sun…with kids around fallin unconscious every other day and waiting to be able to do that ever….

Oh i remember that first cycle…it was a weird one running on four wheels…trying to hold me on….there was the embarrasing attempt to hide from classmates when i took that to school the first time..I used to chain it to the tree by the canteen i remember..Then was the move to a bigger one..Felt good with a nice big one..remember exploring a lot of the neighbourhood on it..with harini tugging at the back at times…Kept it till i left college..it took me up and down those dirty college streets…a winner it was….

I totally recollect that little house on the 2nd floor where we grew up…Still see it in my dreams…we eventually outgrew it…and shifted to that house in “layout”…Thats where we actually turned little adults…grew up to being children no longer…Dont remember doing any studying when there…coz i used to be tired for gods all day…going down two buses to that school on the other side of the town…gettin there was a different story all together…then there was that phase of being a misfit…and still finding some great friends…boy..!!

Yeah I remember a lot of that too..then i remember moving out…to college…to adolescence…to freedom….whatever….

hmmmm…Its always at a point where you have nothing else to do but write blogs that you seriously get thinking…and the past floods into you…and you manage to write crap…like how i have successfully managed to do right now…

If you’ve managed to read this far..then your as jobless as i am, i understand…Long live thee….

Replay.

It was another one of those times when you felt life was in the replay mode…

It was the same village…mounted high up in the hills…With the smell of the heavens oozing out of every street….People looking very affable…waiting to serve u at the cost of their lives…Those up hill and down hill travels were all too familiar for words…

There was the same monsterous weapon of mass destruction..it had haunted me the previous time….I was wrong to have wished it gone now…coz it was back…Howling the lives out of innocent visitors…these rickshaws knew no fear…autos that decided the fate of their passer bys…They hadnt changed…

The man’s face was a distant memory…but this one sent back shivers….there was that weird feelin within that was tellin me to warn my companion…to remind him that it was wrong…to let him live back the then when it had all happened….to tell him to get out…before it was too late….

We sat snug in the vehicle…the driver looked up at the heavens and laughed….my heart began to beat harder…i felt that crunch that sucks your soul out of you..i could feel it comin any minute….

And there it was…I knew it..it happened….as it had the last time…The squabble broke out from a nothing…I hadnt remembered why the last time too…but it was worsenin…and the final blow..that sent him flying out of the rick…

What happened next and how i reached him is a distant memory…i cant get down to the details in my head…but as i knelt and looked down on him…lying there helples….with blood oozing out from the face that had lit up the life in me….i lost it all…

I panicked for starters…Here was my life, lying there wounded, hurt, most probably because of me..and i wasnt doing anythin….i looked around…the all so pleasant mountain village dint seem half as inviting now…walker bys stopped to stare at the mass of bleeding flesh that lay below…and seemed to care the least…i could see backs turnin to us and walkin away…what was wrong…? wouldnt somebody help a hurt in this world..?

No..! i was not gonna depend on others to save this man lying here…It took no herculian effort to mount him in my arms…and i ran….god knows where though….Throughout my run for life, i peered down into those eyes…a pair that was searching for life…that was knocking on heaven’s doors…but fighting to get back…for there was a life to be lived….

I heard myself scream to him…wishing that he would hear…i begged him to not let go….i scremed at the heavens…to not take him with them…no this could not happen…i ran down those pristine white corridors…with him lying frail like a lump in my arms…

Ran straight through the doors…and OUt…!! I sat up ram-rod straight….It had happend again…the same dream…the same plea….the same door that i woke up at….

I lay awake in bed for the rest of the night…Praying….!

The me!

Times when my mind wanders off to neverland. Back to days eternal when the body strolled free. There were no deadlines to be met; no fellow students to beat in competition; no grades to make; no bills to pay. It was the easy path out of troubles. The experienced showed the way and i just walked. A hand held me tight on every path i tread. Every cry was soothed; every mistake was covered up; every dream was attained; Life was bliss alright.

Then times of condititional troubles began. There’d be those times when i would be left astray alone in the world, to defend for myself. Protect my favourite pink toffee from the enemies on my own. No more was my life at peace. Things had to be fought for.

Moved on to times, where there was an array of numbers to distinguish me from the rest of my kind. That girl who stayed 2 points ahead of me was always the loved one. I understood not this system of discrimination, for where we all not from the same roots? The tight comforting hold from the Gods loosened up. I had more trouble swimming those waters. But I learnt.

I won something I knew I dint deserve. A mortal had designed a means of determing my efficiency in sustenance and this so-called system of examination had passed me capable at it with flying colors(As the cliche goes!). They called me an Achiever, and pushed me one step higher.

At this stage, I knew I had done something a lot others of my very own kind hadnt. Had gotten into one of the best tutorings in the city; the few of my kind actually looked up to me. But the mind was lost. What was I doing here.? Was this where the mind wanted to be.? No. The answers were nowhere to be found. And I survived. A bug in a mass. Ran with the crowd, cawed when I heard my neighbour. And they called me an Achiever.

The next day I was into a place I would call my alma mater years down. A place I would go visiting with my offsprings and successors. They took me in coz I was supposed to be just the one for it. But what was I.? God You there..?

It was there that i tasted the sweet bliss in Freedom. I no longer needed the comforting hand to take me around. It hurt to depend. The world was hell and I wanted to survive on my own. Yes.! I needed no support. I could make my changes, call my shots, ride my own wave. I had tasted the life of free will.

Rock ruled. It brought out the liberal me. I could take anything you shouted at me with a composure you never knew of. Some called me a Rebel. Was I wrong to do things my way? Was I wrong to stand on my own and put my shoulder down when I felt the weight.? My head still nods a no. And thats what i did. Be myself.
At the end of this journey, when I look at myself today, I am tired. For I have lost a major part of me. The Free Me. The Real Me. The Me.!