Pachi's Blog

Beyond the period.

Hope leaves

“I’m not dying”. It was the first step towards snapping out of it, something he had become uncomfortably familiar with. The sea of black immediately leaped into existence, and his body sprang to keep him afloat. The stars dimly lit his mangled self on the sidewalk, as he came to. He sighed.

He had to pick himself up, and searched in vain for a reason to. “Are you okay?” someone said. “I’m fine” was the immediate response, in compliance with the lie half the planet told each other everyday. He lifted his head up to see the woman in red, a gust of fresh air in a world devoid of color. He only saw her eyes.

“You will never be.”, she said, “It’s over”.
“That’s a shitty thing to say to someone who’s on the ground”.
“You can’t handle the truth?”
“The truth is what I make of it”
“That’s a lot of confidence for someone who’s dying”
“Death is for the weak”

“.. and I’m not weak”, he finished in his head. The pause was enough time for him to fight back. “All you need is Hope”, he always told himself, and he still had an ounce or two left.

Hope is for the weak”, she corrected him, reading his mind. How did she know! “You know it’s a bad bet when you start hoping after you put your chips in. If you don’t already know that you’re winning, you’ve already lost”. The pause this time around was unpleasant, as he raised his guard up.

“.. but you already knew that..”, she continued in a fashion reserved for the omniscient, “.. and it’s not the only cognitive dissonance in that head of yours”.
“You’re right”, he submitted, fighting every urge to sound defeated.
“Have I ever been wrong?”

He then felt his strength leaving him – smiling at the comfort of familiarity – only this time, there was no substance involved. The stars started turning off, until he could no longer see. It was happening, and he prepared himself for one last fight.

And just like that, the dream was over.

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I shall remember you

” Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before.
Say please before you open the latch, go through, walk down the path. “

 

Beneath the familiar carpet of your made-up world, you brush away all the dust that must not be seen. After all, the dirt is for the wretched, and you are a beautiful people. But beyond that, is where all the skeletons lie. Those vaults you claim are locked into eternity. Until our man orders tequila on the house, of course.

” hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue. “
 

When all that you guarded is lost, you’ll find yourself outside a quiet room in the midst of trees. You’ll notice that it’s too dark to see, and not complain. You craved for that loneliness but you long for company. When you’re alone beyond controlled loneliness, you’re either sad or angry. Not happy. Not in love. Not connecting with yourself. You are overwhelmed by emotion and thought. When the levee breaks, you go out screaming into the woods, tearing everything that stands your way. Wishing only, that someone would hear.

 

” if any creature tells you that it hungers, feed it.
If it cries to you that it hurts, if you can, ease its pain.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going. “
 
When you’re an old man diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you’d start thinking beyond such pettiness. Your mind will slowly deteriorate, your motor functions will cease to be reliable, and when the day comes, you will start doubting yourself. If you were to find out today, that you were going to die slowly, can you pick one that would stand by you? It’s a touch more than letting the person order a drink for you. It’s to let him end your life with dignity when you will lack the mental capacity to decide for yourself. Alzheimer’s or not, we’re all dying slowly, and with each passing moment, are worse judges than what we were.

” Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story. “

 

 

 There’s nothing more moving than 64 year old celebrated writer, knowing full well that he cannot control his memories any longer, telling you that he shall remember you.

 

” And then go home. Or make a home. And rest. “

Stories around us

Meet Nitish. You’ll find him looking intently across the street at the corner of Rajajinagar where Navarang theatre sits. He’ll do that until he finds a person that will get the job done for him. Nitish sells raw mangoes to unsuspecting customers. But before that he needs a ride.

His family travels to the city market well before the sun does each day. They buy the produce and bring it to these parts to sell. The headquarters of sales sits by the side of the cinema’s walls where a large number of people amble hurriedly by. The “busy” people, they be. Nitish is on field sales. He extend’s the company’s reach by remotely the fast food version of the product. Cut, slice, salt, chilli powder, the works. He makes sure the not-so-busy people at the Regional Transport Office, where papers move around more than the well-bottomed kings of bureaucracy. His boyish charms seem to work on many, since he reports decent sales figures.

I met Nitish when he was looking for a ride from the headquarters to the RTO. He stands there everyday at around 9 am and picks a biker to serve his purpose. He is a good kid, he’s only into the family business in the holidays between the semesters; semesters during which he works hard to be a good student. He rejects my long-held notions of “good-jobs” saying “I want to be a policeman” in impeccable Kannada and an unflinching confidence. Our conversations last 2 minutes each day on the short journey. I told him about the IPS and the IAS and he seemed curious, and I’m yet to explain what those are. He wants to tell his story to the world. Maybe someday he will. Maybe he wont. Maybe,… he just did.

Follow your heart

Guest blog

Miss Anonymous sent me a small write-up. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was about my blog, and persuaded her to be a guest blogger. So there you go.
P.S: Excuse the bastardization of links, but it’s just easier for you and me.
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It was one of those days when I had nothing much to do and was just going through different pages, until I hit this particular page. Someone had written about how nice it is to have your birthday in December as to how you can plan your year ahead and so on, and I was just wondering as to who plans their year ahead on their birthday. Well, I scrolled further down to read that birthday is just a special day that needs to be celebrated for all the years that you have lived and enjoyed not bothering about when its celebrated, to quote the exact words “it’s not the birthday that’s important, it’s the day. You can choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day instead if you want to. I think it’s the same.”  If he thinks it’s the same then how it is different if your birthday comes in October, November or December. It will always remain special to the person. I was still very much impressed by the way everything was written and how the words weighed. It was late in the night but there was no way I would stop reading before finishing it coz I was thoroughly enjoying the writings.
                The stories went on giving a different view of things, it made me emotional when I read and thought that there are actually so many people in this world who cry alone, if only one person would help only one other person, so many smiles would have appeared. Wondering how each one of us is actually busy with our lives that we miss to notice the tear of a person standing right beside us. I was astonished as to how someone could communicate with a boy in a single ride to make him so comfortable to tell the story of his escape. Amazing I thought. Rajnikanth lied? Well that sounded nice in my head. Dead man’s words scared me, scrolled it up and down more than once to understand what it was, that I was actually reading. A different way to look at death the person has I thought, emotional way. Everyone of us know that death is something that is not in our hands, few things are just meant to happen, still we blame ourselves relating to someone else’s death some way or other, that’s only coz it shows that we know the value of the life that we miss. The number of lives that is lost daily, the number of tears that are shed are countless and the love that is expressed is priceless.
                Engineering, well I could easily relate to all of the posts which included this word in it. Including the bunking of classes, to different kind of people you can find, easier way to just do anything you want to and still be a degree holder, the emptiness you feel when you think of the life after this, the blank future ahead of you, the long lasting interviews that you might not be interested to attend to and all the great memories that you carry with you anywhere you go.
                Pumpkin talking? Bringing pumpkin’s thoughts to words felt a little weird and nice. How every small thing is processed differently in each one’s mind. I realized cleaning the table does take a lot of effort and sneezes. Elections..Hmmm.. This made me think a lot, this is how we always end up with the “bad” politicians occupying the most respective seats which they don’t deserve. But well, seems like the deserving candidates hardly stand for election. It just reminded me of my dad’s words which said “please get a voter’s ID card”. Still don’t see the use of it. Bangalore traffic is messed up, but then without it I think Bangalore would not be complete and the rickshaws are always annoying by their “mann pasand” movement on the road or when you don’t find one for a really long time when you are in a great need of one.
                I read on for more to find a story with bridge crossing, where did the sudden bridge come from? The promises? The bus? With all the verses in between the stories which had a musical tinge to all of it, with guitar involved in stories, it made things musical in a way that even I didn’t realize. Nirvana!
                Here comes my favourite part: the post about bike rides and foot ball, guess I’ll never fully understand it. Loved the license story. Just a small instance of how corruption is crawling into everyone’s life, but I liked the story more. Just wondering how the inspector had the guts to ask for a ride still makes me laugh thinking how weird people are. Narrating a scene in the cat’s point of view, well will a cat really think so much? How I wish I could actually listen to what the little fellow was thinking. Only if I could become a cat and see how monstrously the world around looked in its chotu eyes. My favorite of the lot was the killing of the rat. Reminded me of the rat that I had to handle with when no one was home and how scared I was of the small rat. More than that what I loved was the way the story was written. Very different, simply amazing. Enjoyed every minute of it as I went through the flashbacks.
                As soon as I read all the blogs, I felt like writing again. Writing the thoughts that flow through my mind not thinking twice about it. Not a story but my thoughts. Just couldn’t think of anything else other than the blogs I read. Wanted to tell how I enjoyed the blogs to “the blogger”, waiting to hear more stories. I just clicked the small button which said “Follow” on the page, before I closed the page with a big smile on my face.

Renew

It’s a good deal to have a birthday in December. You start thinking about the year ahead for yourself and write about it. By the time you publish it as blog, it’s new years and people relate to it. September ends, October’s drunk, November rained, but December stays. For some reason, most of us get stuck in a loop for about 5 minutes trying to introspect. Trying to reckon what happened so far, and what we must work on anew. Some of us abandon that thought and retire into blaming the time of the year and telling ourselves that the new year shall somehow be a fresh start and wash away our troubles.

“You’re 23.”, says the doctor, in a tone that suggests you should have been older before you were diagnosed. You’ll smile at his offer of medicines, saying “Say no to drugs, doc”. Some events change you.

Miss Schulz speaks at length on TED, on why not to regret regret. Mr. Cash’s vintage voice says he’d do it all over again, a million miles away. That allows ourselves to carve for ourselves a middle path, using some regrets to change things while dousing the rest to reaffirm our constitutions. So choose carefully, what you wish to change. It’s the holidays, and it’s the time to wear a hat and be merry. But when the wine is over, and the snow settles, you’ll have yourself to reckon with.

Me? I’ll raise my arrow a tad bit northward. The bike’s come a long way. She’ll get some new tires, shocks and brakes. Like turtles, we dig out the hippies in us. I’ll find myself a beach, and look to the sea. I’ll remember you all; whether you are living oceans away, engrossed in your overtly busy work lives, getting married, or raising a toast.

Come,
let’s live;
our separate lives,
together.

P.S: If all that was a little too deep, fret not. Miss Lenka says everything’s okay.

Mukesh cries alone.

Mukesh sat on the curb of one of the busiest streets of Bangalore. At the far end of the road was a huge house, with flashy cars and busy men, and a signboard welcoming a certain Prathibha Patil. Of course, he didn’t know the last bit, since he was illiterate, or that it was the Raj Bhavan. All he knew was fear. He was scared as hell, and was in shock. Of course, he didn’t know the last bit. Shock is a fancy emotion; simpletons don’t have it.

He sat beside his Golgappa basket now. There was a loud cry. It would’ve torn the sky apart if this was poetry. It was doused mercilessly by the blaring horns of the multitude of motors that sped by. Mukesh had just survived a harrowing ordeal. He was threatened at knife-point by a stranger, who took away all the money he had. He was scared the stranger would kill him. He was now certain his Ajman would kill him. Crying till he died, therefore, seemed like a reasonable thing to do. At least the gods would hear him.

A bike stopped in front of him and left. He didn’t know it. He was crying in the darkness of closed eyes. There was a sense of safety there. A few moments later he looked up at the hand that held him. He cried anyway. What’s to be scared of? He dies tonight. I spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out his story though his gulps and sobs. I tried to understand why he thought he would die tonight. I told him there’s a decent chance he wouldn’t.

I understood the meaning of a hundred rupees. It could change somebody’s life. Mukesh wanted to run away. I knew the feeling. I tried to reason with him, without deciding for him. He probably needed someone to hear his heart out. After a long rant with words he shouldn’t have learnt, the catharsis did him good. Mukesh had stopped crying.

For a long time, I beat back the feeling to reach into my pockets and hand him some money. I asked him, instead, what I should do to help him. He asked me the money. I could have been the hero and saved the day. I could have restored his faith in God. After all, everything ends with a happily ever after. I asked him instead, if it would really help him beyond tonight. He wondered if there even was a “beyond tonight”. I chose to tell him the realities of life. Its ironic that a software engineer earning a lot of money was talking about life to a guy who lived on the streets robbed of his earnings. It didn’t feel good.

I was angry that a city of thousands would let a child cry on its streets. I was angry that the big rich men at the end of the road were getting off their fancy cars to be busy about something a lot of policemen care about, while a child was threatened at knife-point just yards away. We talk about a Bangalore that welcomes all and a Bangalore that cares about other people it lives with. Have we become an indifferent people? I did not see anyone stop the whole time I was there. Nobody would have stopped if you were on the streets either. Unless of course, there’s a camera and a Facebook page involved. We live in tough times. Every night I spend on the streets of Bangalore, I see it become a Mumbai. I hate the fact. I hate the fact that we let hundreds among us cry to sleep; hungry, lonely and scared. I hate that we let ourselves hide behind our own walls until we find that we’ve lost we could’ve had. I hate that we make movies about holidays in Spain and teach out kids that angels will save us. We welcome white men with garlands and palaces and step on vermin that make up our streets. We are a proud, principled people, patriotic and polite. We care, we love everyone equally, we stand on our feet, we do all the right things, we help out, we stand apart, we believe in god and we’re all supposedly happy.

One less person cries tonight.

Bathos

So much to dig, beneath your smile,
Nothing to dig, beneath your cry;
Almost always,
Nothing at all, beneath your cry.

Without a doubt, there’s poetry.

Then of course, there’s an interlude.
Where nothing makes sense,
but nothing needs to.
Its an interlude, after all, and its merry:

She’ll fling her tresses the other way, and call herself July.
Talk to her:

“Take a long walk through the green,
forget the hour.
Celebrate, its your day.
Don’t turn around, you’ve had enough chances to.
Abandon sadness. Let the destitute cry.
Hop, skip, jump.
He gave you his word, that he’d stand by your words, your choices, your decisions.
Check if he’s wavered. A decent man wouldn’t.
He gave you his word, he’d stand by you.
Wait till you trip. See if you fall. Chivalry, you see.
You can twirl away, but don’t look around.
You wont see the humble soldier.
He still stands by, less humbled more soldiered.
So, never you mind.
Hop, skip, jump.
Celebrate, forget the hour.”

The interlude fades,
She’ll now paint a different hue,
It’ll take him slowly;
He’ll smile, of course.

“Fresh and blind, let’s live our lives;
and raise a toast to a future date
Don’t you remember
Vienna waits for you.”

The momentary return of a muse

In the silence of chaos,
there ran a line,
dividing the tempers and misunderstandings with a clean stroke.

Who wouldn’t take,
the olive’s smell,
while the night seemed young as day.

Pushing harder,
I took a breath,
Stretching to hold, willing to let go.

She stayed on,
Fortune’s fame,
You don’t question what’s rolling your way.

After ages of distance,
we wished good night,
For the company still brought us happiness, if nothing else.

Then again, I had rhymed.
Then again, I hadn’t.
The muse was back for a night.

Life gives you lemons

Words in my head,

Dying to be said,

Swear at me like they aren’t my own,

until I wonder if they are anymore.

John once told me to “Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a bloody big television. Choose your friends. Choose your future. Choose life.”. Words to live by, if you’ve got the will. Life has no reset button. Career does. You can smash it against a wall and when you have nothing left, you just hit it. The big, red, glowing, reset button that says “Dont touch”. The last exit on the left. The big U-turn. And when you come to it, your hand will steer you before your head or the element that’s screwing around with it.

 

Life usually gives you an odd number of lemons. Like a one and a half. Much like a rickshaw, only with gravity. Its huge enough to make you write, but small enough to make an analogy to lemons and give your most perverse reader something to laugh about. Big words wont cut it. Not writing wont kill it. Somewhere between the introspection and believing reality, you find yourself gasping for a pause button as a compromise. But nobody gives a shit if your tummy hurts when it rains. You have to get off the highway before the lorry driver calls you a roadkill.

 

Much can change in four months time. What matters is when you step out of that roller-coaster, are your screaming your heart out in the callous revelry or puking by yourself in the dirty back alley of the amusement park. Thats when you think about what happened to the stranger you took the ride with. Are they puking somewhere too, or pointing a little finger at you saying “Ew!”.

 

Perspective can shove it. It has no business if you’re trying to be honest about it. You’ll find a kinder two-faced murderer than that. So can clarity. Its over-rated, and by a mile. You can be clear about anything if you give it too much time. Conscience is perhaps the way to go. Its a much healthier friend to trust. Something that gets snubbed in the face of the pursuit of clarity and perspective. If you give it all you have with a clear conscience, if you be honest about it, if you try to do everything right, you take care to see everyone’s having a good time, then by common sense, you must end up happy, right? Seldom happens. Tough luck. Now go cry about it, I have ice-cream to eat.

 

If you’ve had a good ride, be smug about it and smile like Jack. But look around to see if you’ve made your friend happy. If not, you’re as empty as your Vacation fund. What use is it if you cant make one person happy while you were at it? Nobody wants to write about the sad guy. Its always about the bad guy. The one with the big blue eyes. So let me give you something you really want to hear about:

Rajnikanth lied.

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