Not-So-Sweet ’16

Hello Everyone!

I’m ranting here after so long. I’m not sure if you missed reading me here, but I missed writing here. The mandatory year-end post is here. I was seriously contemplating on reviewing the entire 2016 this time.  What good is that? As if surviving it wasn’t an achievement in itself, reviewing it? I don’t think it’s worth all that effort. Yet, I guess I’d end up doing it anyway.

Personally, I had to wrap up three semesters in one year. Thanks to a strike we held last December, our semester exams were postponed to January. So yes, our new year started with a week full of exams (by far, the most stressful week in my life). It got worse when the results were due in the next two weeks. So yes, it was also the most stressful month in my life.  But, in hindsight, I’m happy it’s done and dusted with. In foresight, I’m sure it’s out there to haunt me again. :-/

In short, 2016 had one HELL of a start.  What makes me feel better though is that it’s not just me who hates 2016 the most. A major part of US (at least 59,739,748 people) are cursing their destiny right now for the 11/9 disaster. (9/11 was when the twin towers crashed, 11/9 was when the hopes for a better future crashed). Britain joins the bandwagon too, thanks to Brexit. Months have passed, and still nothing to fix it. Not so great an year for the Pakistani artistes either, you know why.
Boys have been brozoned and friendzoned like every other year, thanks to the many Sonam Gupta(s) around. The worst of all though, was the fate of the 1000 rupee note. It’s like one of those moments where everything has been going great with you until a single day wipes you out of existence. Often rejoicing in the hands of rich ladies and gentlemen, the note had to finally end up in the trash can for the rag pickers to grab. A move to curb the black money, they say. (Isn’t that a racist move?) The 500 rupee note was revamped, like those many old Bollywood songs. Pink, the movie, deserves a national award nomination. Pink, the colour, earns a place in the highest denomination.

Mitron, kesh kale hona chahiye, Cash nahi.
Mitron, desh ki bhalai honi chahiye, sirf  khud ki nahi.
Mitron, soch badalna chahiye, currency nahi.

Currency affairs have been a major part of the current affairs. I hope that changes in the days to come.

That apart, there have been silver linings too. But the dark clouds were overwhelming.
Speaking of clouds, Chennai had to bear the brunt of yet another cyclone and have been resilient enough to get back to normal in no time.

On a personal note, this year has had its ups and downs for all of us. While I don’t really want to focus on the downs right now, the ups have been a huge solace. YourQuote, this microblogging platform which kept me away from blogging here all this while, has been the best happening so  far. I write under a pen name Landlocked Sailor on the app.
Follow my writings at
http://yourquote.in/bharath-nandibhatla-dfa/quotes
I have been interviewed for the first time ever, in 2016, again thanks to YourQuote.
I never thought I will get there. 🙂

Here’s to wishing you all a happy new year 2017 and that it’s nothing like 2016.

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Beauty and Beast

Once upon a time, in the peaceful community of Conscience, there was a severe drought. The famine was too terrifying to survive. The otherwise flourishing community was lacking any nourishment and the drought was turning out to be quite the nemesis for  Conscience.

Just then, out of nowhere, like a spark in pitch dark, sprung an angel.

The community which was known for its lush green pastures and perennial rivers, now bore the look of a torrid desert. It all happened when a few folks were walking by the dry riverside.  Less than half a mile away, from what was initially thought to be a mirage of sorts, appeared a huge bubble. The sight sure enticed the folks of the community and they walked towards it. The bubble cracked open and a fairy walked out of it. The folks were in awe at what they beheld. The fairy called herself Beautiful Lie.
Most people in the community hailed it to be the most wondrous creation they’ve ever seen. Soon, the Beautiful Lie rose to fame and she was hailed as one of their own kind by the community. Of the many things that one could envy about her, it was her ease at making friends that stood the most coveted. She roamed with this huge bunch of friends she made, everywhere she went. And before they knew, almost the entire community was into her.

Yes,  Almost! Not the whole of it.

Long before the Beautiful Lie could set foot in this community, there was an ill-fed, well-ignored and a sunken beast. It was called the Ugly Truth. It had been there ever since the community was born. The drought had its most adverse effects on this creature. Soon, the creature was hailed a beast and it went on to earn the title Ugly before its name, Truth.  Before the drought rooted its sinister claws into the community, Truth had two best friends – Honesty & Happiness. Ever since the famine occurred, Happiness stopped talking to anyone and Honesty was worried about Happiness.
But, things began to change a lot more and at a faster pace after Beautiful Lie entered the community. Happiness switched parties and started hanging out with Beautiful Lie. Honesty felt isolated. Truth would never talk or stay awake,  thanks to the drought.  So,  Honesty was devastated.  Assuming the drought to be its winter, Honesty slipped into Hibernation.
Beautiful Lie, they say, had a spat with Ugly Truth. It was a first, for the folks of Conscience. A fairy known for her vivacious persona would never spark a fight with the vicious beast. So, the folks gave in to believing that the beast might have pounced upon the Fairy. And it’s also believed that the fairy defended herself by throwing the beast into the raging fire the beast used to warm itself with.
Charred throughout, the beast got uglier, or in their words, a lot more beastly.
The community exiled the beast. Ever since, the beast wandered naked in the woods that dare-not-be-named.

The woods of Crisis, it was called. But, the community feared it and never called it out loud or even whispered. Ugly Naked Truth was actually tracking down its lost friend Honesty, who was hibernating in the woods.

The community had to send a representative to the Governing body to report their state of events. The unanimous choice was the loved-by-all fairy, Beautiful Lie. (You must trust me, the fairy’s appealing stature was such a stark contrast to the beast’s appalling demeanour. )
The fairy seemed to have done quite a commendable job at it and once again, won everybody’s heart in facile. Everything seemed to go right, but for the drought, which seemed to be invincible, inevitable. Even the fairy couldn’t care to think about it.

The elders of the community gathered to discuss the issue. They resolved to vent out this concern to Beautiful Lie. She was enjoying herself in a party when they approached her.  Happiness threw a party for the gang, apparently. As the elders began to elaborate their concern and read out the help they wanted from the fairy, Happiness noticed a slight tremble in Beautiful Lie’s otherwise firm stature. She started growing frail, all of a sudden, and most of her body was on the verge of an acute paralysis.  The elders were baffled and Beautiful Lie’s friends started to grow worried about their dear friend’s plight.

A cloud of smoke and the fairy was nowhere to be seen.  Beautiful Lie, who was thought to be the nemesis of the drought, dissolved into thin air. Baffled than ever, Conscience broke into utter chaos.

Meanwhile, the beast, Ugly Truth was close to tracking Honesty. Ugly Truth stopped nowhere. He followed Honesty’s trail and finally spotted what it was looking for.  In the Cave of Oblivion!

The Cave of Oblivion!
Somewhere, deeply seated in the densest woods of Crisis, this cave was a refuge to anything that lost its way from the community.

Ugly Truth did its best to awaken Honesty. Together, they rode their way into Conscience. By then, most of the community was trembling with fear. The drought had deepened its claws by now. The folks’ screams didn’t sound any louder than a whisper.  Honesty headed straight to the Elders. They were too shocked to say anything.
Determined, Honesty carried Ugly Naked Truth on its back and left for the Governing body. The Governing body never knew about the drought. Apparently, Beautiful Lie’s  report said that Conscience was flourishing as a paradise and the woods of Crisis have been cleared long ago.
Honesty’s report came as a blow to the body. And they found Ugly Naked Truth ghastly than ever now.

It was more than a while before the drought entirely left the community, but thanks to Ugly Naked Truth, the drought did loosen its claws. Why, Ugly Truth was fierce in his approach ever since it began to gain strength, thanks to Honesty’s toil.  Truth faced the drought’s claws, even if that meant he’d have to lose in the battle. Resilience, another refugee at the Cave of Oblivion (He had to go homeless after the elders drove him out of his home to make room for Beautiful Lie. He lost his way and ended up in the cave), traced Truth & Honesty’s trail into Conscience and gave a tough fight to the drought.  Honesty’s toil, Truth’s fierce defense and Resilience’s attack , the drought had to give in to them.  After a fierce battle, the drought left.  Most of Conscience was ripped apart by then, but the Governing body passed the grants and Conscience was being resurrected to past glory.

As for Happiness, I’m guessing it’s in the Cave of Oblivion. Sooner or later, it shall find a trail and trace its way back into Conscience, to reconcile with its best friends.

Only Now-Fierce-Truth knew that Beautiful Lie was no fairy, but a form-shifting wildling that broke loose from the woods of Crisis.

As for the bubble, it’s the same bubble we need to break out of, yet!

cave-of-the-springs
 

Eye of the storm!

It really hurt.
Looking at her hurt.

It was only a while until all of it faded away, everything I thought her to be.
Or maybe, it was never there, to fade now.

It is like the night fading into dawn, when there was never actually a night, but a break from the day. Who could have seen the twilight if there was only a dawn! Who would have known what it feels like, to see the sun set and await his rise!

Anyway, she wasn’t like anything I knew, or would have known. She was a storm, and I caught her in  the eye of it. Guess that explains the calm. I should’ve only guessed further… that a storm awaits. But hey, I was too caught up with the pre-storm tranquility, to care about what’s up next. Yes, indeed! I was too caught up with it. I should’ve seen what’s coming.

Or maybe, I needed the storm. Once in a while, you shouldn’t see what’s coming your way. You might want to be clairvoyant or fore-sighted, but not an anticipative idiot, or to think of life as a map with definite ends and routes. Life’s rather a sea, which isn’t often detailed in a map. Why, a map is all about the surface!

You tell me, should a storm always culminate in chaos?

Maybe it always does, but I wouldn’t go as far as stating that it’s a chaos that’s detrimental. Trust me, behind such utter chaos lurk the fanciest epiphanies. A labyrinth is chaos, but to know there’s a way out is an epiphany. To figure out the way is the rest of it. No? I am having second thoughts too. To strongly ‘believe’ there’s a way out, might be the epiphany.

 

It hurt.
Looking at her after all that happened, really hurt.

It hurt me enough to break my heart, that fragile one… to break it beyond repair. But, here’s the silver lining about it. I have given in to believing that she stole this heart of mine, long ago. And now, she broke it. It was all hers, and she could do anything she wanted with it. Fortunate as it is, she doesn’t have it anymore, she broke it. She wouldn’t get to play with it anymore.
I’m at liberty, and she’s at loss.

What of my heartless soul, you ask.

What of it? I’d be like time, without emotion, yet in motion.
Even better now, looking at her would never hurt, not a feeling that I haven’t already felt.

…………….

It hurts.
Looking at her hurts, more than ever now.
Darn me! She has the pieces of my heart now. That’s a million hearts at her dispense, those that still throb for her. Damn it! 

The storm hasn’t faded yet, I reckon. It was silently gathering itself into a raging tempest.
Or maybe, it was never there, to ever fade?
Oh, this chaos! I’ll have it figured. You don’t bother.

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Picture courtesy: Google!

P.S.: This is a pure work of fiction and none of it has happened to me. 😛
Inspired from the first line of the movie ‘Stuck in Love’, I gave a shot at this. Totally an experiment, and a first for me. 😀

Castles on either sides..

Castles on either sides.
At war, were the blacks and whites.
Oh, don’t get me wrong,
this isn’t a racist song.

Crippled Kings fight their way,
with a well-guarded army.
Queens have quite the say,
and dare you to call that barmy!

The Queens prance over the battlefield,
guarding their Kings, safe and concealed.
The Knights, chivalrous as they are,
move in patterns, and not very far.

While the Kings bear the Holy Cross,
the holy Bishops cross their paths.
The Rooks only head straight,
mighty after a worthy wait.

Of all that fight on this battleground,
the myriad Pawns are the virtuous.
Pledging their life to His Majesty,
these are powerful than you can see.
Storm them into the other castle,
and they can resurrect your lost army.
They vivify the battle, create the hustle,
they make the rattle, and as much stormy.

Yet, unlike the wars fought on land,
you don’t always have to march ahead.
You don’t have to always kill, instead
make a move after you take a stand.
Devoid of revenge or vices,
this is surely a war of the intellect.

Look at it, all Black & White,
just like victory and defeat,
with a fine line in between.

Corner the crippled King,
you don’t have to kill.
Bring His army to a standstill,
and you shall be their King.

To corner is to conquer, mate..
the nemesis is a checkmate!

Pen drop Silence

I saw him again, Sir Verseworth..
this time, waiting for me.
Before him lay a parchment,
and a feather dipped in ink.
Not to spare a moment,
my petty mind began to think:

Here lies he,
 who, with insight, shall see.
Too many feathers to his cap,
dipped in ink, most of ’em.
Wandering places found in no map,
from a soul in wanderlust, great verses stem.
Is it just another hour of dawn,
where I read his verse, and let epiphanies dawn?

The parchment, empty,
the quill, dry.
Sir Verseworth would cry:

Come hither! Come hither!
Let the autumn leaves whither,
or let the flowers of spring bloom,
or let the world brim with gloom.
Yet, you come hither!

This dawn was different.
He was being indifferent.

Be it a raging tempest,
  or the roughest of tides,
 there’s no such tranquil
 as a pen drop silence.

The past or its diabolic sting
or the pangs of a wounded wing,
the merry of a mother post labour
or that grateful smile from your neighbour;
every ounce of it, a verse can take.
Multitudes more than that, a verse can give.

A part of the bigger paradox
is all that poetry is.
The deeper you go,
the higher you reach.

Somewhere, treading over infinity,
shall you find the summit
elegantly lurking in the abyss.

Only if your shovel was a pen,
shall you dig deeper.
Stop not at the springs your way,
for deeper inside, lies the core.

Let the ink fill empty parchments,
let its trail fill empty souls.

The quill was dry.
It wouldn’t be, once I try!

Dig deeper, Reaper!

Oh, Grim Reaper…
why don’t you dig deeper?

In the twilight of life, am I;
and my lips have gone all dry.
The winds swept away my pleas,
and my hopes drowned in the seas.

For so long, no soul I could behold.
For so long, this world has been really cold.
For no wrong, I’d to part with all that’s mine,
but for my shadow, when there’s sunshine.

Cast away, to the lands of solitude,
since a time that faded in memory..
just like I faded in the world’s memory.
Hence, here I am, waiting for my postlude.

So, I beseech you Reaper,
to hunt me down, to dig deeper.
Beneath those old bricks,
I wait for you, as the clock ticks.

Ferry tale

*le me, in the midst of a sound sleep
*Knock, Knock..!
*Opens door

“Dude, what’s wrong with you? Lost track of time, eh? We are late already, and look at you… you look like a drunk swine.”

I kinda got back to my senses. Darn me! We were supposed to be in the bus by then. Its 7 a.m. and I was still not completely awake, let alone, getting dressed. But hey, we are engineers, studying in a residential college. You can wake up at 8:25 a.m. and still reach the class by 8:30 a.m, dressed up.
“Wait up. I’ll be ready in five.”
7:15 a.m., and I’m running towards the bus already, with Jai rushing behind me. Trust me, to be the last one getting aboard, late by almost half an hour, to be greeted by sneering faces from your friends who have given up on expecting you to be on time, you feel like you’re on the verge of having your worst morning.
“You seriously need to see a shrink. For once in your life, don’t get late for something, at least not for a picnic”, Jai yelled at me.

We started off, the mist on the windows slowly dying and the fog around fading.

It was almost 3 hours later, that we reached her. She is called Mukutmanipur, in the district of Bankura, West Bengal. Having the second biggest earth dam of India, she is a picturesque beauty. As I got down the bus, hardly did I know that this day was going to be more than just an excursion, an adventure.

Well, what we’re talking about here is the reservoir of this famed dam. There are about at least 10 islands at this place and ferry-rides is how you can visit them. I, for one, love ferry rides more than anything. About 20 of us, booked a ferry and started off to a certain island called the Deer Park Island. Not many deer, hardly three could be spotted. It is like that these days, the deer find worse predators in humans than lions and tigers. However, besides all the hullabaloo about the deer park here, what intrigued me the most was the blend of gardens and barren lands. While most of the island was barren, and sand was all you could see, there were tiny tracts of land which had those little yellow flowers, of mustard. I remember seeing them first in DDLJ, where Rahul and Simran run endlessly towards each other, and somewhere near forever, they end up hugging each other tightly. I didn’t get the cliche then, but these flowers are lovely. They have this vibe about them where you feel radiant. The garden wasn’t spread long, but was amusing enough. It was one of those moments when bees did not freak me out.
Here comes the best part, our visit to the Never-go-island.
We were supposed to get back to the place where our bus halted, by lunch time. Would we get back? Uhmmn, you tell me. There are atleast three islands in your sight, and one of them is elegantly placed between the other two. It looks uninhabited and there’s a lot of foliage centrally on the island and the rest barren with rocks. It was more like a Mohawk with the hair dyed green. That’s one reason why I also call it the Mohawk Island. This was a very small island and our ferryman refused to take us there. We had to try real hard to convince him. In the island, there was a pile of rocks and we raced our way to the top of it. That view, believe me, I could die for.

A wide expanse of blue,
above and below.
And there I stand, without a clue,
as to why tides get high and low.
Yet, this much I know:
Far beyond lies our horizon,
and in between, lies an ocean.

We carved on the rocks there: “NIT DGP o’14-o’18 WAS HERE!”
For that little while we stayed, where in our sight were nobody besides us, where we had a sense of belonging to this place, where we could call it our own, isn’t that something you could treasure all your life? I was in the ecstasies of mirth, needless to say. And then, I did a crazy thing, something I’ve always dreamt of. Took a piece of paper, penned down a verse or two, rolled the paper, and dropped into a bottle. We bid our last kisses to this island, our island. On our way back, while in the middle of water, I threw that bottle into the water, far away from us. Who knows! Someday, after endless drifting, the bottle might find a shore, and the verse might find a reader. Along with the verse, went my contact no. saying “If you read this, please call me!” Maybe, years later, when I totally forget that I did something like this, when the verse I wrote slips into oblivion, I might get a call, and I might walk down to this day again. You never know the surprises life has to offer. The best part is that you don’t see them coming.

So far, so good. While on our way back, the water got turbulent, like real turbulent. ‘Typhoon-type’ would be a hyperbole, but ‘the usual’ would be an understatement. The boat was swinging violently, and there were just the twenty of us besides the ferryman. The latter stayed mum, and most of us were too scared to talk anything. I, for one, thought it wouldn’t be worse as we’re in no sea, but a reservoir. Besides, I did not mind what happened next. It was one of those moments of Deja vu. The turbulence lasted for a major part of our retreat. It wasn’t until all of us stepped out of the boat that we realised what just happened.
That and lunch, followed by a short walk along the shore, and we were back in the bus. Most of us were too tired. I was in no mood to sleep. The day was still in Replay-mode inside me.
Mustard flowers and the beautiful sight of them, the Mohawk Island, carving our names, my Bottled-up-feelings <pun intended>the turbulence inside and outside the ferry (obviously the former followed the latter) and the day as a whole, I can never forget it.

Enough of the day, here’s the epiphany:

There shall be at least one person in your life whom you think knows everything about you, one who you wouldn’t mind talking about anything and everything, one whom you feel one with. But, there’s always a part so pristine in you that surfaces at moments like these, when you are all by your self, and the silence inside you is resonating with the silence outside, when you don’t mind what happens next, and all that matters is YOU living that moment fully. Never lose a chance to live that moment. It is this part of you that was excavated from its depths, its the YOU that never sounded more than a whisper, its the YOU that was pristine, untouched, just like the moment you witnessed.

I had one such moment in the Never-go-Island, at the top of the rock-pile. Watch out for yours!

Good luck, folks.

Signing off,
The excavated part of ME!