You there God ?

god

 

And so I wondered about the connected universe. This world that we share, has its fair share of saints and sinners. Its a world where kids die horrible deaths, mothers shot in their heads, folks die from starvation, drunk celebrities run their cars over innocent bystanders. It is also a world of noble hearts who volunteer their time , money and resources to support good causes. A world of people who’d go the extra mile to spread happiness and warmth. A world of wonderful souls who do their best to make this world a better place. A connected universe indeed and there I am, somewhere lost without an identity. Lost without a cause to hang on to.

One of the questions that I asked today was along the lines of HOW FAIR IS GOD INDEED? A conversation that poked the intent of a god who’d sit by and watch innocent kids suffer and die. Why would god want that? Why would this universe want that? Are there no limits to the cold stoic laws of this universe? Why wouldn’t the universe consider bending it’s dogmatic rules from time to time?

A lot of whys later, I found myself without an answer. 

The longer I mulled at the question, certain things became clearer to me. I remember the nights I’ve cried myself to sleep. Hinged on a prayer. A prayer so close to my heart that it would leave me overwhelmed with emotions which only my tears could deal with. I’d quietly fade away into the night begging for a miracle. The sun came along the next morning. Many a mornings passed that way. The miracle , it never materialized. In time, I learnt to cope up with life without the miracles that I desperately sought. In time, I got used to the disappointment. In time, I started believing in an alternate truth. 

It was a simpler truth. I no longer questioned the existence of god. I had no proof for either possibilities and frankly, I wasn’t even looking for proofs. I made peace with the fact that God might be a bloke sitting away at a distance and she had things to do. I didn’t mind staying absent from her priority list of people to support. This was a liberation of sorts. I no longer kept god a hostage to my childish demands. I tried to get things done with varying results. I never blamed god for the failures. I also refused to share credit for my successes with her. 

So with God being there, why would god allow certain ugliness that happen? I see it in the following ways

  1. God really does not care ?
  2. We don’t really understand the whys of why things happen.

While it is easy to conclude that god doesn’t care, I choose to ignore that possibility because it offers absolutely no further space to explore my thoughts. If god din’t care, it might as well be the same as there is no god to begin with. Why trouble ourselves to fit into a template to buy that acceptance from god? Would god endorse a little bribe to start giving us and our lives a little damn? I find this line of thought argumentative. 

I choose to run along with, We don’t really understand the whys of why things happen. 

A kid’s death is a hard thing to deal with. No question about it. In fact, any violence against humanity, any gruesome battle for health, any challenge that crushes our faith , all of these are the moments in time when we question both God and her methods. 

I guess the flaw rests there. I don’t know if I fully do believe in Karma. I’m liable for all my actions and that’s that. Maybe Karma cascades across lives. Maybe there are no other lives. Either way I see Karma, I will never bring myself to justify a heart wrenching tragedy by slapping on a little Karma to settle the score.

Karma , to me, doesn’t seem to work at that petty a level.

I guess this is where the connected universe comes into play. We are connected, the all of us. Hence, our destinies are connected in a way or the other. A body’s suffering is in place because that suffering holds the key to either Healing people around , or scar people’s faith and beliefs, or leave people with lessons to learn. I’d like to believe that there is a purpose to the event. 

I know it sounds so convenient and so cold. Incidentally, that’s all I think I have. A suffering may or might not arise from Karma. It happens because it’s meant to orchestrate (or) trigger events. 

How should this apply to infants? They aren’t even too old to sin! 

Perfectly valid question. One way to see it is, if the kid grows up, has a taste for life, and then suffers and dies, would it be justified? Death is just as inevitable as Life itself. Just because we find events around life repulsive, sad, depressing, undeserving, cold and cruel, it still doesn’t mean it should have happened. There is a purpose in this universe. I’d like to believe that all actions contribute towards that purpose. I’m not smart enough or awakened enough to understand the purpose. 

I will feel bad about events, I will feel life is unfair. I will feel god sucks and at times behaves in a rather sadistic way. I will crib, cry, whine, complain, and choose to disown god. When that anger vanishes, when the shock subsides, when I’m back to being myself, helpless and a kite in this world of winds, I shall look up to the heavens to help me steer myself to a direction.

I’ll pray for the courage to deal with where I land. 

You there god? Put up with my prayers please. When my tears dry out, I’ll find the strength to deal with life 🙂

Karthik

 

 

The three year old itch 

“DO IT FOR ARSENAL MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN” a sudden motivational scream gripped the floor. 


“BRO, what would BATMAN say man!!!!” , another voice contributed to the ensuing chaos. 

And before I realized it, I was caught in the middle of a frenzy.

****************

Three years ago I was a meek and an extremely conscious bloke at the gym. I did my best to mind my own business and I’d not bother stepping out of my way in making new friends. I remember the time distinctly. I’d go about my routine of running around and working out on the Ellipticals. I was a cardio junkie back in the day. 

One evening, there I was. Iron maiden was screaming in my ears and I was following my usual routine of treadmill, elliptical and climbing the stairs a few times, when a hollering scream cut right through Bruce’s voice. A motely gang of regulars had ganged up around the bars and weights. They neatly formed a circle and a frenzy was taking shape. Blokes were cheering for the guy lifting weights. One section was trolling him with jibes. One section was trying hard to motivate the bloke into lifting ludicrous weight! One section was there to have fun. 


And just like that , the atmosphere in the gym changed. There was a buzz of electricity taking us by storm. A lot oh grunting, YEAHHHHHHHHHH, ARRRRRRRRGH, frantic cheering followed and hi 5’s were generously exchanged. Each muscle bound warrior had his moment of glory power lifting. 

Curiosity got the better of me. ‘Master, what’s going on there’ , I asked my trainer. 

‘Don’t bother with that. Bunch of guys all planning to get someone killed in an accident today’, the bloke dismissed. 

That was that. 

Bifurcation at the gym is a simple affair. We have pretenders. These are essentially slim blokes who hit the gym , loiter the premises, network with folks and usually have a good time there. There are us, the unfit blokes. We are the ones who are there on a MISSION, so to speak. All heart and a body that is not interested in what the heart wants 🙂 rofl.. yeah, that’s a wonderful phase. There are the GUYS. These blokes appear to be super serious. They usually don’t socialize with strangers. They come, they work out, they leave. 


Having spent quite a while at the place, over time , I got to move a few places in the ecosystem’s social strata. I’d hit the floor, share a few laughs with the regulars. The serious guys would take a minute to indulge in a few laughs. The newer blokes would ask me pointers and tips on how I managed to do it. The pretenders would knuckle bump me and we’d have the quintessential BRO conversations that would start with ‘Wasssssup Man’. 

This morning started on a breezy note. I stepped into the floor feeling awesome and pumped to start the day. As luck panned out, I found myself getting paired with a serious lifter. We were working on Deadlifts. I joked about how I’d only end up slowing down the bloke. My trainer declared that I was his SPARTAN and Spartans never gave up. Enough said, with my track record taking on reckless challenges, I signed up for my possible injury 🙂 


A little detour wiki read on Deadlifts : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadlift



And the game began.

The first round was a warm up. The bloke started with 35 pound plates. It was a casual lift. One through ten, I managed it without breaking a sweat. 

The bloke offered me a warm smile and asked me to increase the weights. 45 pounds. Round 2 .


I’ve been a casual lifter. I managed 45 with relative ease. One through ten. only this time, I broke a little sweat.

“Kill it bro”, My trainer reminded me that he was still very much alive and keeping a close watch on how I was holding up.

Round 3 , we upped the ante to 80 pounds. 

One… I grunted. two… it became a deliberated pull. I managed till seven and I gave up. I dropped the bar and it fell with a thud. 

The serious lifter walked up to me. “Almost there man. Three more. Lets do it . Don’t give up now”, he assured me. 

I took in heavy breaths. I mentally prepped up for the challenge. And finally when the count hit three, I walked away in style. The satisfaction of getting things done, I tells ya.


Round 4: 90 pounds!

By this time a crowd had managed to round up. Faces both known regulars and new ones were to be seen. Come on man!!!! the guys started cheering. 

90 was the heaviest I had lifted in a long while. I managed 5 counts and I knew I couldn’t push anymore. The serious lifter gave me a hi 5. Well done bro. His words stood to both cheer and motivate me. I guess I had garnered his respect at some level. It felt good. 

By now, the guys around decided to jump into the action and each of them had a shot at lifting . It became a game of speed now. 

Round 5: 135 pounds! 

I knew this was ridiculous. Three 45 pound plates each side of the bar. The bar was like 7 something Kgs. It brought the total to about 68 kgs! I had lost the round even before I started it. I didn’t have an ounce of confidence in lifting the weight. I still gave it a shot to appear COOL. Big damn mistake. I broke my cardinal rule about the gym. Never let EGO take control. I managed to lift the weights off the ground but that was that. I couldn’t manage to lift it all the way.



“DO IT FOR ARSENAL MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN” a sudden motivational scream gripped the floor. 

“BRO, what would BATMAN say man!!!!” , another voice contributed to the ensuing chaos.

“Life mama, lift.. Lift you damn ******* ,********, ********,**********” yelled someone affectionately! Wow, so much tough love. 

With renewed spirit, I decided to give it a shot. 

ONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, it was the longest grunt that I had ever grunted before. I felt a sharp soaring pain across my arms and back. I knew my posture was right but the load was a little too much. One done , I walked away from the bar. 


And that was that.

It took me three years to understand the frenzy that I had witnessed a while ago. I felt amused at how the time had changed. I started my term as a hopeful candidate. I was a spectator for a few things for a while. I became an explorer. I grew into a regular. And this morning, I was a part of the frenzy. 

Fitness is not a destination. It sure is a journey that one embarks upon. It’s a journey that keeps us open to so many paths that are waiting to be strolled. As I left for the day, my master called me aside and said he was damn proud of what I had managed today. One day Master, I added. I’m gonna push that 135. 

Bring it on, he said and we signed of the day with a knuckle bump. Oh what a fantastic way to start the day.

The Ipod sang “Carry on my wayward son. for there will be peace when you are done”, and an Amen to that 🙂

#KeepRunning

Karthik

The big goodbye

rnr

“Because it is too damn hard, Ross! I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I am going to miss you! When I think about not seeing you everyday, it makes me not want to go! Okay? So if you think that, that I didn’t say “good-bye” to you because you don’t mean as much to me as everyone else, you’re wrong. It’s because you mean more to me. So there! All right? There’s your good-bye! ” – Rachel & Ross

One of the hardest things that I’ve endured is a heartfelt goodbye. In the truest of sense, no one really leaves. We share the same place in the same universe. We can call ourselves as being on different pages of the same damn book called LIFE. We can console ourselves by reminding each other that the world is a small place and we are always a thought away and a click of button away. Yes, all of them are true. AND YES, none of them mean jack squat. Distance distances people. Distance throws in a challenge. Distance shows and there is nothing much to do about it at times.

Yeah. As I stared, a goodbye is one of the hardest thing that I’ve endured. 

Growing up, it was easy to deal with byes. I never did care enough to feel affected by the word. While my school mates cried their tears to glory sitting and staring at the empty stage of nostalgic memories, I stood smiling about the glories of life waiting to be experienced. Then it was the time to leave the college and I was happy as happy could be to get myself liberated from its walls.

Saying goodbye to people has different as opposed to places and routines. Amicable goodbyes have always been a rarity. We’d let life continue and that was that. The stereotyped obligatory birthday wishes would kept us connected. Then the birthdays would come followed by the birthday messages. I enjoyed placing folks in this category of the ones who mattered enough to wave an amicable bye. It’s these folks because of whom I’m thankful for the age of technology that is today. These have been the folks who were always a Whatsapp message away. These were the blokes who were a poke on the Facebook away. These were the folks who were a phone call away. Only such calls were made once in a bleeding blue moon.

Saying goodbye to someone close to heart is a tricky business. The easiest way to deal with the separation has always been the tried and tested means of picking up a fight. A quick fight, a temper tantrum later, I’ve found it easy to pack bags and leave. That was all there was to the method though. The moment of fight and once things subsided, I’d fell the remorse over not making that one last-ditch effort to share a smile, or a tale to sign the day off. The matters of the heart are as messy as we choose them to be.

It is the moment of goodbye that brings the history to life. The moments shared, the smiles smiled, the miles walked, the stories shared, the life spent in each other’s company, all of it springs into a nice little flash of a montage. I’ve seen death. I’ve seen heartbreaks, I’ve survived treachery of the deceptive devil of the mind. An amicable bye, That is the hardest that I’ve had to endure.

The telly played the episode where Rachel gets to say her goodbyes. Her hardest was the one saved for Ross. I couldn’t help but feel that pinch in my own beating heart.

As the song from the movie Haider goes, ‘ Bada hai dard ka rista’ . Let me leave you with the words that capture my moment to perfection.

Bada hai dard ka rishta
Dard ka rishta…

The relationship with pain is a big, important one..
The relationship with pain..

Bada hai dard ka rishta
Ye dil ghareeb sahi
Tumhaare naam pe aayenge gham-gusaar chale..

The relationship with pain is an important one,
Even as this heart is poor,
Hearing your name, the consolers will come (easily)..

I guess this is goodbye huh!!!! Ah damn. As my bags get packed and I’m all set to leave in a jet plane, I’d probably sit and wonder.Hey you

Karthik

Three ghosts of the day

Oh but I did have a very eventual Christmas yesterday. For the first time in a long while, I was in the city and very much at home. I sat back to reflect on the years that were Christmas to me. 




The first three years of TCS, my friends and I would gang up and hit the streets in Goa. Overpriced everything, and we’d sit through the waves and unwind the toils of the year. Now that I look back, we sure were petty with our grievances. If I could re do the years, I’d probably sit and smile through it all and celebrate the time well spent with friends. 


And then came B’lore. Tony’s folks would play the wonderful generous hosts. I remember getting off at Kempagowda bus stand and Tony dragging me to the shop that sold piping how vada at 4 am. It was a home away from home and I did feel both honoured and blessed to have spent a day of celebration with the family. We’d sit by the hall , watch TV and chat about life. Humour was always in the air and I do remember the smiles which have stayed with me over the years. 

From playing santa to Tony’s niece and nephew to playing master chef at kitchen which was an adventure all by its own. Fun times indeed. 


I sat back and lost myself to a timeline of sorts where I had a moment to unwind and treat time like a slave. I remembered the days spent lazing away and conversations brewing to mischief. The omnipresent mood of trolling and getting trolled, the random talks about aspiration over career and life, the holidays were a fun time to sit back and reflect. 

The three ghosts of Christmas paid me a jolly visit yesterday. The ghost of the past made it first. He reminded me of all that I was and all that I aspired to be. Some were wistful wishes in frantic desperation, some were choices left to take , some were hopes searching for the sunlight to grow. In short, the ghost reminded me of the things I so wanted to be at one point in time. I couldn’t help but laugh at the mess that I choose to be. 

All the desires in the heart and yet no sweating determination to getting them done. I thought of the lucky stones/gems of success. I giggled at snake oils and miracles that men could muster. I thought of a secret Santa with a magic wand who could swish his stick of magic and set everything alright. I had a hearty laugh alright. It was easier to laugh at the what the ghost showed me yesterday. Wounds heal to leave behind scars and scars stand to get written off as tales of a time. In time the scars serve no other purpose but to help narrate a tale of sorts. The fate of scars I tell you 🙂 


The ghost had nicer things to show too. I showed me the time I spent as a musician this year. It showed me the exhilaration of doing something new that others enjoyed when they eventually got to listen. It felt wonderful. That ability to wing things without learning or certificates that would vouch me to be something. I picked a skill, tuned myself to it and let myself fly behind a new made dream. It was that simple. 

The ghost showed me the meeky mouse I was when I expanded my world to meet fellow budding authors. I still remember the first time I met new faces. Strangers they were, stranger I was. Yet in a short span of 6 months, I’m in their thoughts and I found a sense of acceptance and gratification for the efforts I invest into words. 

The ghost then waved me a bye and parted off with a sealed letter. Read it once I’m gone, it instructed me. I kept it aside for a moment. I was curious to rip the envelop and read it’s contents. I was a bit anxious and a little scared to the secrets that it stood to reveal. I sat contemplating my next move.


OH HELLO, a voice interrupted me. It introduced itself as the Ghost of the present. Jolly bloke she turned out to be. She took me through a quick montage of smiles that I had earned in the recent past. I saw it all. I saw the year flash by. From meeting wonderful friends, from coffees in new cities to the now accepted and well accustomed hugs of introduction, the ghost did put on a great show indeed. I sat amused at how different I was to the eyes of the two ghosts. The Ghost of the past showed me my pain and successes that seldom mattered to me. This one , she showed me the laughs and times I spent in a grateful awe with family and friends alike. The stark difference could not be dismissed easily. 

What I had aspired in desperation and in despair, I apparently was living it without acknowledging the journey I’ve been through. I sat amused at how myopic my eyes were to my grandest accomplishment. In pursuit of what I thought I wanted, I had grown numb and blind to what I had become. Quietly, I took stock of what I now was and made a note to self to appreciate it a little more. Secretly , I promised myself to give myself a little more credit than I usually bothered to give. 



She left me with a sealed envelop. The instructions were the same. She waved her byes and we hugged to see her off. I now sat with letters waiting to be read. The suspense had already peaked. I wanted to rip their protective cover and get straight to the secret that had evaded me for long. 


What up,,, came another voice. The spook looked old. I couldn’t make it’s features from what I could see. I knew this would be the one of the future. The ghost from the time to come. I grew excited and anxious over what it had to show me. 

What am I? , your friendly video rental ghost??? The spirit mocked me. GO on, I’ll wait , it instructed. Read them letters. We’ll talk about it.


I picked the letter left by the ghost of the past. I ripped off the envelop and pulled out a paper in while. Neatly inscribed were the lines

“You are what you are. You were what you were” 

It made no bloody sense to me. I tossed it aside and went ahead to read the note left by the ghost of the present. 

“You were what you were, and now you are what you are” 

I started seeing a pattern here. Both ghosts acknowledged what I was and assured me that I was the architect of both my past and the present. There were no wands and spells of magic to alter the fate that I had managed to determine. It was all starting to make sense. 

So, What’s your gyan like? I asked the Ghost of the time to come.

Be yourself. Coz sweetheart, you are what you are. What’s to come aint gonna be a surprise. If you think about it, you can either fight it and question everything around and stay miserable and hold everything around you hostage. OR, you can accept yourself and be what you are and eventually walk the road of your choosing by owning it. You wont have a scapegoat to blame, but you’d never lose respect for yourself for being you. 

I guess that means, You are what you are and you will remain to be what you have always been. The ghost summed up.


Fair enough… so what’s next???? 

Oh me, I aint a lazy bloke like you. I have places to go and people to haunt. Hang in there… and yeah, enjoy your Monday morrow!

And with that the ghost vanished. It was a nice Christmas indeed. Sober and still ghosts.. now that made me wonder. Maybe it was the time to go easy with the cough syrup, I wondered. Maybe I was dreaming all this up. I was too lazy to figure out what was what. I knew I had something to blog about 🙂

Merry Christmas ya all, and maybe your ghosts did have things to tell you too. Hope you took the time to listen! 

Karthik 

Armageddon and a rather Cold Heart

“I couldn’t help myself guys” , the message started to read. “It left me in tears” , Vibha concluded. 




So on a lazy Sunday afternoon our gang of distributed rug rats were catching up on how our lazy day was spent. Armageddon was a movie of choice and apparently, Michael Bay, (holly version of mr Desi dude K Johar) had managed to inspire a few tears in my didi’s eyes. 


Kyaaaaaaa re , you are probably the only bloke in the planet who would have cried over Michael bay blowing up well known landmarks across the world, I teased. 


A good laugh later, I did admit to being a teddy bear stuffed with hot choco lava myself. Movies reduce me to tears too. What can I say, I cant help myself. I lose myself into the fictional make believe world. Our junta settled down with a list of movies that are worth watching and that was that. 



I like movies. I used to be a movie buff at one point in my life. These days, I don’t mind watching a select few movies over and over again. I guess I am bracing myself for an early onset of old age!!!!!!!!!!! One such movie which never goes into the archive folder of by back up hard drives goes by the name Jigardanda.. As the movie’s protagonist explains, Jigar means heart and thanda as in cold. 


That movie is a lot of things. What stood out during my recent watch was something to subtle yet packed a devastating punch that reduced me to tears! 


The movie is about a hardened criminal who accidently finds himself in a spot where he gets to star in a movie that features his very own life’s story. His rise to criminal stardom serves the plot of the movie to be made. The movie is shot and there is a dramatic reveal and it is a wonderful twist. As the audience and the ‘Star’ of the movie, both discover that the movie shot was not which was intended but boiled out to be a spoof of sorts which now stood to be rib tickling comedy flick.

The bad man feels insulted and finds his trust violated. Pish posh, watch the movie. This aint a review blog!!!! 



**************************

A decade ago, there I was. ILP Trivandrum and I don’t remember who facilitated the session. There was but one message that was being nailed hard into our wood like minds. “If you feel like a cornered dog, the world would always seem hostile”. The context was around surviving the first year in the IT industry. The lesson conveyed, the lesson ignored, all of us set out to start working towards our dreams and we got busy trying to build our own careers in the way we thought fit. 

The movie had a wonderful moment captured very beautifully. The bad guy, the star, his villainy alienates him from his mother. He hates being laughed at and it was that sentiment which spiralled him into a life of brute violence. The mother talks to her boy once she sees him as a movie star. The villain has a moment of catharsis as he realizes the difference between instilling fear in people’s heart as opposed to earning respect from them .


He meets the director who had twisted the context and made a mockery of him. The moment of anger, he acts out by speaking gibberish. Of course, I killed the moment trying to explain it with lousy words. It’s a thing that has to get watched. The message to me was rather clear.



HAVE YOU EVER LAUGHED AT YOURSELF ? Have you ever joined the world when it laughed with you? Have you ever realized that the world was not laughing at you? 

A man who can laugh at himself, stands tall without a fear of devastating failure. 

I’ve watched the movie a lot of times, but that message had evaded me for the longest while. This time around when I watched it, the intensity of the moment, the realization of the villain that the world was not laughing at him, but was enjoying his new avatar, his acceptance of what he had become, his realization that there was no hostility to begin with but all of it was in his head, he finally would grow aware of what he had become and be at peace with it. 



The message hit me hard. I looked back the many years I’ve been here. The pointless fights, the pointless sense of feeling helpless or cornered. The senseless conspiracy theory that the world around wanted to see me fail, and my eventual realization that what works works and as long as we can deliver business and results, one needn’t indulge in insecurities, all of it made me see the amount of efforts that we invest into an ASSUMPTION that’s necessarily not real at all to being with.


*********************

You cried for that scene!!!! It’s a funny movie Katzy, the birthday girl teased me . World had come full circle. 

Karthik

Of Katz and dogs. 

The calm approached. One could say it was the calm before the storm. Of course, I saw it both before and post the storm. 


Monday was fun. A nice song by ARR and a pleasant windy rainy drive to the gym. Deserted gym is one of the most beautiful things that I got to behold that Monday morning. Left all by myself, I was free to do what I was free to do to begin with. The song taking me places, and sweat ensuring that I got there in style, I decided to let myself live through that moment. 

The biceps all curled, the body aching a bit, the rains packing speed, I made it back to my car under a thick blanket of rain. The soothing sound of heavy drops crashing on the car was blissful and mesmerizing indeed. I made it home before the fury unfurled. As the windows clattered, branches beat against the glass, as trees swayed their last swing rebelling against the force of nature, they refused to budge till they could stand no more. Locked within the safe comforts of my prisoned room, I slept oblivious to things unleashed around me. 

It was probably the evening when I decided to brush off the lazy inertia that I had gathered through the day. A quick scan of my vicinity, I knew the four wheels of creature comfort were useless to me. Uprooted trees rested scattered across my roads. Sentinels denying passage, is what I made of them. They refused to let things in, they refused to let me out. Or so I thought. 

The rebel in me did what he did best. Rebelled. Armed with a characteristic disregard for personal safety and blatant carelessness about the safety of the smart phone, I hit the city around me for a quick calming walk. 

It felt different. My neighbourhood felt different. One, It was the first time I realized that ours was a land of trees. and Two, I realized that ours WAS a land of trees. They weren’t there anymore. I saw curious folks venturing out. Some were interested in shooting photos and ‘Reporting’ things online. Some were in a state of shock and denial about what they were witnessing. Some were thoughtful about the animals whose lives were now disrupted. They carried bread and biscuits to feed the dogs. I can’t imagine the plight of the birds.

I walked amused looking at things around me. The roads were the same. The sights were different. My state of emotions and mind was altered too. I saw the ravaging destruction for what it was. The world around me , that day, shared the fate that my mind endures from time to time. It felt odd to visualize the destruction. Each step that I took, my thoughts took me deeper and deeper into my own self. 

Spatial awareness is a beautiful thing indeed. While my mind wandered, I couldn’t dismiss the feeling of being followed. My personal space felt invaded and instinctively I turned around to spot my stalker. There she was. Brown, clean, soaking wet and had hope and despair in her eyes. She looked at me and yelped a soft woof. She was a wanderer, caught off guard in a ravaged land, just like me. 

Fear gripped me and something else prevailed. Instead of shooing her away, I let her walk beside me. She obliged. I guess I obliged too. We walked a few yards together. Neither had anything to say. We walked in silence. She could have walked faster and left me behind. I could have taken a detour and eased a frightful fate that I imagined. We choose to walk in silence. 

We both navigated through uprooted trees, through slush and muddy goo. We walked in glee through puddles of slightly dirty water, we avoided the foliage of exiled branches. A walk down a straight road, a walk snaking through hurdles. We reached a small temple that still braved to remain open. I put my hand to my heart to offer a silent reflex prayer. 

The roof of the small temple housed a hawker selling tea. I asked him for biscuits and fortunately he had them browned butter ones. I picked a few and crushed them to bits. I found a dry patch of stairs and knew it would make a decent plate for my lady friend. 

‘We are going to be fine sweetheart’, I assured her. I was still a little scared to pat her back or tickle her neck. I guessed she knew that I didn’t have it in my heart to brave playing with her. She was okay with the distance. She was okay. 

The two of us separated ways from there on. I took a different route to scout if I could manage a drive. 

We are going to be fine sweetheart, I assured myself and lost myself to the rain clad city once again. 

funny thing. Last December, I was busy pretending to be a hero. This December, I was busy pretending to be human. Will be fun to see what I’ll pretend to be the next December 🙂

Karthik

The Last Leaf : A tale of Perspectives

last-leaf

Against all odds, I stand to inspire faith

O. Henry’s the last leaf is a short story that I remember reading ages ago. I was a brat in school when I first came across this tale. I memorized it and in time, I aced that English exam. The story remained in memory and as I clocked mileage in life, I came to understand the beauty  of this wonderful story. The last leaf.

Today, I find myself in a spot where I see this tale in a brand new light. As a blogger who fancies narrating tales through diverse perspectives, I’ve come to enjoy writing tales as seen through eyes which usually don’t have a say in the general scheme of things as far as tales go. I’d like to view this tale through three distinct eyes.

 

The Leaf :

As a work of art from a dying man, I see myself as an object of purpose. I was brought to life in pursuit of life. Of course I do feel precious and good about myself for I did inspire a will to live. How many of us are presented with an opportunity as special and meaningful as that?

Yeah, I was drawn to near life like perfection. Yet, I can’t help but wonder at the obviousness of the truth. Drawn to a near life like perfection and yet a tad whisker away from life itself. I do wonder about what’s next. Immortalized by purpose and cast to a lifetime of make-believe pretend.

As I cast my eyes across the world around me, I am but amused at the pursuit of people that surround me. I see a glimpse of humans consumed by their pursuit of meaning and happiness in their lives. It is that pursuit that both keeps them alive and at the same time distracted away from the very life that they are in pursuit of. While here I stand, fulfilled of purpose and now left with no further reason to exist. I will remain as a testament to one man’s unconditional love and care. I will for ever exist as an extension of his sacrifice. I will forever remain robbed of a self and an identity of my own.

 

The smiles of satisfaction keep me happy today. That happiness is of course short lived.If lucky, humanity would believe blind in the power of what I stand to represent. It would reduce me to a shaman trinket, an artifact of blessed omen. In time, when I’ve witnessed my fair share of life and death, I’d probably be jaded with the conflict of faith and will in humans that I behold. I’m forever left to witness in silence this state of will.

Maybe I’m blessed to see that struggle for life. Maybe I’m cursed to see that succumbing to fear. Time would probably unravel the odds to me.

 

Johnsy  aka Joanna 

johnsy
In you, I see the stroke of life

Ah, the sweet cold embrace of death surrounds me. I can’t help but find that courage and strength to carry on. There is no fight left in me anymore. I can see the curtains now. They are set to close down upon the stage that I call my life. I had dreams. I anchored wishes and desires in my heart. Tonight, I see the decimation of that heart. I wish there was a god who generously offered miracles. I wish there was a sign that would tell me if my time was up. Maybe the leaves would announce my exit from this life.

I smiled a defeated smile. I must sound desperate and childish to pin my hopes on a tree of leaves. It’s not about a blind faith or forced superstition that rules my heart. I’ve seen that look on the people’s eyes. I see myself in my grave in their eyes. I’m too scared to will upon a life. Maybe this is the end and I’m struggling to come to terms with it. Of all the prayers that I’ve prayed, of all the requests turned down which were screamed upon deaf ears, I no longer have the courage to pray again tonight.

 

Maybe I’m not god’s favorite child. How could I be? God left me at the foothills of death. Why would she see this as a befitting end to my time on this mortal plane? Maybe I should have been better. Maybe I should have prayed harder and lived a life of a little more purer white. I don’t think I have it in me anymore. My sins have consumed me. My illness is my sentence. I shall embrace it with a smile. I’ll try.

 

I’m leaving it to the universe now. This is a call that I no longer dare to make. If the leaves survive, maybe I shall too. If they perish, maybe I shall with it. So be it.

 

Mr Behrman

 

mrb
And breathe life into it, I shall. One for another. Fair trade

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha” , I laughed in the comfy confines of my walls. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of life here. I squandered my dreams away. I braved to dream but could never bear to watch them burn. I lived a life of despair of what  ifs. What if this world would never recognize my work of art? What if I was another failed artist? What if all I had to look forward to were jibes and ridicule?

 

I’ve lived my life in fears. I don’t think Johnsy deserves that in her heart. I’ve wasted my youth to thoughts that were never mind. My youth was spent on opinions that I never got to hear, but repeated them loud in my head of things I imagined. I laughed at the irony in the comfy confines of my walls.

An artist dead and living while another was struggling to stay alive in death.

If all it takes is a leaf to bring her life, so be it. I shall give it my best shot. I shall breathe my life into it so that it inspires a will to live in her heart.If it does work, maybe I’d deserve the place I’ve always wished that I had always had. If my art fails, well, it sure doesn’t change the death that I’m already enduring.

 

******************************

 

Last leaf. A simple tale of triumph of life over death. A celebration of life.

 

Karthik

Go to Hell

oual

 

“You know what?, Just fuck off. Go to hell.” , she screamed. The intensity of the moment felt a little too much for her to take in calmly. Her outburst was a necessity. Hell, I’d say it was bloody inevitable.

 

“Are you picking up a fight with me?” I teased her in my most playful tone. “Coz if your, It ain’t gonna work out. Not tonight. I’m not going to fight back tonight”

 

“Hmmm, Why?” , she replied after a moment’s deliberated thought.

 

I spread my arms wide open, inviting her to a hug. I patiently waited.

***********************

I met Ritu when we were in college. It was a funny meet of sorts. I was glued to my phone and I wasn’t particularly aware of where I was headed. I was caught up in this Facebook war. We were discussing something so irrelevant and so pointless that it had my utmost focused attention. The heated debate was over women rights activists who were full of themselves and I was busy trolling a pseudo feminist, who in my opinion was a sexist pig but was pretending to be a feminist. Sure, I hated his guts. Fucking twerp.

As the last of the messages sealed the poor bloke’s fate, a door slammed into me and I was left with a broken bleeding nose. That was the first time I met her. Ritu, a name that I would learn a few hours later. A person for whom I’d fall head over clueless heels much later. I was left in a state of dazed shock upon the sudden impact. ‘Da FUC’, I screamed out in reflex. I was quick enough to not complete the verb as my eyes caught the culprit.

 

I raised my hand to announce that I was ok. Blood trickled down my nose and that was it. She obviously felt guilty about her unintended accident. She apologized and made it a point to accompany me to the campus hospital.The doctor cleaned up the wound and bandaged it. And that was that.

“I’m Ritu”, the young girl enthusiastically introduced herself by offering a handshake. She managed to both shake my hand and life in time.

*******************

“Get lost. I’m not going to hug you”, she replied.

“Awww, don’t be like that.” I tried comforting her. “It’s not like I’ll be gone forever! I’m still gonna be around”

It was a hard choice. After years of being together, staying as one, this decision to separate was hard indeed. I knew I was going to miss her, but I never really worried myself. The world meant nothing to me and I meant nothing to it whatsoever! We both were happy with the status quo. For her it was different. The loss was more personal to her. I completed her in ways where she was left incomplete.

“No, that’s ok. I’m not going to hug you.” , she fought on.

 

She sure was a complicated little lady. She was a true Gemini. The whole concept of Geminis being dual was very much in line with her. She was both a beauty and a beast. She was an angel and the devil’s demon child too. Soft as a kitten and feral as a lynx. And tonight, yeah , she was being both sweet and stubborn. She was talking to me. That was a sign of her being sweet. She was still putting up a fight. She never backed off a fight after we met. She always went all in.

***********************

Ritu’s life was complicated. An abusive father, a deranged mother. She felt trapped between their worlds. Her father had his eyes set on taking advantage of her. Her mother blamed her youth and beauty. She’d accuse her of being a seductress. Ritu was trapped right in between two hells. There was very little comfort in her life those few years. New adulthood, plagued by fear and guilt, her life was getting miserable with each day passing.

 

She hated heading back home. When our friendship grew stronger , we both walked late into the nights with her holding my hand for a comfort. She loved talking to me. She told me her fears. She told me her dreams. I never spoke much in our relationship. I loved listening to her. I liked it that way. She would never run short of things to talk about. The challenges at home, her father’s perverted failed advances, her mother’s icy cold accusations, the guys at class, the jealous girls from class, she never really had to think long to strike a long conversation with me.  Deep down I always knew we’d eventually be one.

*********************

I rested myself comfortable on the couch. Ritu stood. She never sat down when she was harboring anger. She felt that anything that stood to comfort her would mellow down the burning rage in her. She’d never drink water when she was angry. She liked the fuming burning anger in her. It consumed her and it gave her a twisted sense of comforting peace. It was that anger in her which helped her maintain balance in her world.

 

I sat and watched her twitch a little from time to time. Time flew by fast enough. Probably a quarter of an hour had passed before she sat down beside me by the couch. I still didn’t choose to say a word. Neither did she bother an attempt at breaking the silence. She leaned her head sideways and rested it on my shoulder.

 

“That’s it. So you are going away like that?” , she asked.

“I’m afraid so Ritu” , I replied.

“I thought you promised to look after me forever. Was that an empty promise ? ”

I couldn’t find the words to answer that question.

“It’s not going to be like that sweetie” , I assured her. “You really don’t need me to keep you safe and looked after. You are a strong , very strong woman. You don’t really need a bloke like me”, I said.

 

“Says who!”, she challenged me

 

I smiled at how adorable she had become. She was almost like a gentle child.

“You know”, I answered.

 

She turned to face me and hugged me tight.

“Get lost. Go to hell”, she gently whispered into my ears. “I’m going to miss you dude” , she said.

I felt our hearts beating as one for one last time.

*********************

“I’m going to slowly count down from five. You will grow awake and more awake with each count. Once I’m down to ONE, I’ll snap my fingers. When you fully wake up, You will no longer remember Karthik. He will no longer be the personality that your mind created as a self defence mechanism to keep you away from committing a suicide. You no longer need that baggage in your head Ritu.” , Doctor Verma spoke in a soothing comforting tone.

“And five….., four…, you are slowing waking up from your deeper inner self… three…. you are waking up as a complete person, strong and determined. two….. You are in control and you are going to do fine. One…….  and now you are all set to fully wake up.”

 

And a finger snapped. One died, one was born again. A sun set at a distance and a moon rose high across the night sky.

Karthik

 

 

 

 

Smiles, nonetheless

hh
And nothing stays broken FOREVER

 

One of the most difficult questions that I’ve asked in the recent past was “Why am I not making new memories? ”

 

I do not suffer from a medical condition where the mind refuses to make new memories. It’s not the case of the brain’s inability to register events and record- recall them at will. I did endure a suffering though. Of the emotional kind. That , in my opinion, is a condition far worse than living with a medical one!

I woke up this morning, hit the gym and returned home tired and refreshed. For no apparent reason, I decided to clean my cupboard. A cupboard which has never seen anything rearranged or removed in the last twenty years. One could call it a ‘Hotel California of sorts’. Things could check in any time of the night, but they’d never leave!

 

From USB thumb drives with a storage capacity in MBs, to hard disks with a whopping storage space of 250 GB, that cupboard is a testament to my life. The cleaning took an unexpected turn. I came face to face with a lot memories that I had spent years in tears and turmoil to forget. From soft toys to hand made greeting cards. From sweet innocent love letters to photo frame that had smiles from a happy time captured. From guitar cables running like twisted snakes in heat to adapters and thingy-ma-jigs that I once so preciously cherished from my time as a guitarist. The cupboard did have a story to tell. It had patiently and quietly recorded the story of my life.

“I so hate you Karthik, You should try sitting and making 26 bloody greeting cards. You are so old”, the lady protested and a moment later planted a soft gentle kiss to wish me a wonderful birthday. An event so tiny, so insignificant yet had reduced me to my knees a few years ago each time I thought about it. I never could muster the courage or the strength to go through the letters of love which spoke about simple tales of the day. We never wrote mushy romantic ones which promised the moon and smiles ever after in a land of rainbows and unicorns.

 

Dad! I called out today. Can you please hand me the big black bag?

It was finally time to make space in the cupboard.

 

Memories are but moments in time that were filled with magic and made us feel alive. Memories are also moments in time when we felt the defeating crush of dreams crashing down in front of our eyes. Memories are memories and are possibly a reminiscent trace of a moment witnessed, participated , endured and survived. That’s all there is to them.

 

Oh I’ve tried to relive them memories. Through words, through music, through plots where I relive the details by making my characters go through the same. I’ve tried. And today I do realize that all I’ve accomplished is to retell those memories and share it with the world. Put a smile across strangers who see these words, gather a few tears when they connect to the pains around the words. That’s all I’ve really managed.

 

free
SET ME FREE

 

As I went on a thrashing spree of all the trinket that got trapped in time in the cupboard, I realized the answer to the question that I asked myself. Maybe I don’t choose to make new  memories is because my cupboard is already filled with stuffs that are there but I don’t use anymore. I tried and tried a little more harder, holding on to the past and the memories had now become an obsession to refuse letting things go. The memories did not direct me to the roads that I was yet to take.

 

I refused to let them go because I felt it would be wrong to let go. I felt like I was betraying myself and the promises that I once made by making that choice to let go. And finally, eventually the obvious hit me. Letting go is a simple enough process of accepting how wonderful things were, acknowledging that they aren’t there any more, and making a choice to either wait for it to recur for all eternity or go ahead and try something new irrespective of what the outcome might be.

 

My cupboard is clean. I’ve managed to free up four shelves of a free space. So is my mind.

 

Karthik