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!

 

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Clouds and Linings

Hey there!
Firstly, it would be a blatant arrogance if I don’t thank you all today. WordPress, as I’ve come to know, makes an annual report of the blog at the end of every year. Considering the fact that I’ve been hibernating, it is quite a surprise to find out that the blog has earned more than 1200 views throughout the year. Thank you for scrolling through my blog despite my very irregular blogging schedules. I promise to fare better in 2016. 😀

An year ago, on the same day, I posted about being on a spiral woven by time. And 365 days hence, I’m fortunate to say that I’m still spiralling in. I feel blessed to find that I’m not alone on this journey either, and watching my fellow-travellers has only helped me move ahead in the best way possible. Instead of taking a slice out of my personal life, which actually had a lot of acquaintances and beloved ones showing me my way into the spiral, I’d like to talk about the cloud that had a silver lining.

The CLOUD with a silver lining.

While the cloud had got many people talking, I was happy to find the silver lining. This surely was one hell of a cloud, ‘monstrous’ would be apt. Still no clue? Well then, I might have to be sorry for the vagueness. :/ The floods in Chennai!
This city is an epitome of resilience. The Tsunami hit it hard in 2005, catastrophic on many levels. And then, these floods a decade later. Destiny has a tiger’s fist, you see. And to be blown twice in a decade, you don’t see that coming often. The coastline and the clouds teamed up, and there was heavy flooding in most parts of the city. Natural Disaster, they said.
Chennai was already neck deep in water before the Govt. could set its foot. All of this happens, you know! Get used to it. But what doesn’t often happen was the silver lining here. Secularism was a mere silhouette most of the times. Here, it over-shadowed the floods. The mosques, temples and churches alike, those built on high lands were brimming with refugees, of all religions. The youth (often brought into the news for the wrong reasons) carried the old on their shoulders. The residents in the safer places offered food and shelter to the ones otherwise. Facebook and twitter had the flood updates trending. Power banks and food packets, evacuation, every kind of relief measure, you name it! The people did it.
The knee-deep helped the neck-deep.
Mankind didn’t sound like an oxymoron any more.
Humanity didn’t sound like fiction any more.
If ever there was anything the way it was, it wasn’t Chennai. Be it the geography or the people. There were floods of sorts. One that made the news, of a heavy downpour, water everywhere. The other, that brought it to the news, a heavy out-pour, humanity everywhere.
The silver lining and the cloud were like the beauty and the beast.

The silver lining is what caught my eye. It restored my faith in the world around. Every cloud, with the sun behind, gets a golden lining. I guess I figured it, the Sun. He was this virtue that shone in the darkest times. No wonder Chennai was resilient. It was always along the sea that it might have inherited the sea’s resilience.

If destiny could blow this hard, resilience can hit back harder.

With that said, I am grateful to Chennai for helping me spiral in, no matter what, providing me an insight most needed.

Happy New Year 2016 y’all!

 

After Myriad Nights!

Quite a push for an amateur like me, this one. This poem has been recently published in a magazine called ‘UnBound’ which released on the auspicious Independence day. The Editors of it being real wordsmiths. Thanks to this amazing group on Facebook, ‘For Writers, By Authors’, a wheel-turner, trust me.

——————

Lustrous eyes and a beaming countenance,
His tiny legs kicking the walls of the cradle,
his father’s blissful face, seemingly intense,
until a hideous traitor rocked the cradle.
Stabbed from behind, the father profusely bled.
Minutes later, he lay there, dead.
The kid oblivious, his mother widowed.

Days later, the highest bidder
bought the kid and his mother.
Enslaved, the mother would shudder.
Yet, there were none to bother.

Time pranced in elegance;
the kid’s destiny did not.
With a shrunken body, dreary countenance
and a starving mother, he fought.
He had a semblance of bravery,
to survive through such barbaric slavery.

The epiphany dawned as his diseased mother,
deprived of a morsel, turned to a deceased mother.
He stood against his master’s whip,
gathering more courage than sinew.

“I no longer belong to you.
Your vice has lost its grip.
I have unchained my pinions,
and I’m not one of your minions.”


He dawned in the dusk of his mother’s.
And freedom unveiled his feathers.
The sunlight initially blinded his eyes,
but freedom finally opened his eyes.
After all, myriad nights hence, it finally dawned.

Of pens and perks!

Hey all!
I know I’m back on the blog after a really long hiatus. I’m afraid I can’t promise I’ll be more frequent from now on, either. But as long as we have stuff to read, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, getting to the point.

Recently, ran into an article on a ‘reputed’ website that talked about why girls should prefer dating writers over others. Much as it sounds intriguing, I wasn’t half convinced it was a writer’s perk. Oh c’mon, since when is earning a date with your nemesis(just because you write), a perk? (Please, with your humour hats on!)

So, every field, professional or otherwise, has its perks, in its own way. Since I pen down my thoughts more often than never, it’s not totally invalid if I talk about the perks of being a writer.
 

If the writing bug has bitten you sooner than many, you grow up believing in subtler dimensions of everything you see and your perspectives are mostly unexplored by others. And these are etched within you throughout your life. For instance, you get to go on a holiday to a place that boasts of beautiful waterfalls, and the first thing you say witnessing the beauty, would be something different than usual. Like, you might say “Did the river just bow down to nature, as if spell-bound at its metaphors?” Trust me, when people around you hear something that different, they might either wear a puzzled face or that of awe. Nonetheless, to have unbridled expression of thoughts is surely a perk.
I bumped into this particular line while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook a few days ago:
“Writing is putting yourself into someone else’s shoes.”
Not exactly the way I would prefer to call it, but it does imply a part of the bigger truth. What I personally believe is that
“Writing is delving into people’s souls.”
Might strike as a hyperbole when you first read it. Allow me to elaborate. When a writer, or for that matter, anyone who cares to express himself in a comprehensive manner, interacts with a person, the person often ends up revealing his deepest thoughts and projects himself in a way he has never done with other people. I have friends and it’s pretty obvious that they open up to me. What sets the whole thing unique is how acquaintances portray their deepest beliefs and opinions. You get to see them as the person they are, deep inside rather than a mere external demeanour. You get to see between the lines, you get to realise what sets them apart from the rest of the world, you get to touch their darkest fears and brightest dreams. No! Not because you asked for it, but because your tendency to pen down your deepest feelings resonates with them. You remind them of introspection, you remind them of the sea that lies within them. You show them to the oars that could set their boat for sail. That, I say, is a perk. Yet, more than that, it is a responsibility. If they could share their pristine space with you, it’s your responsibility to let it stay that way. To not judge, to resonate with the silence of their sea and its waves too.
If you’re still not convinced, let me get it straight:
“If you pour your soul out on paper, it’s very much likely that the one who reads it, pours it out on you. What gushes out of your heart might as well hunt for another heart to touch.”
This is one of the noblest of perks, or I prefer to call it a Blessing, that a writer can ever dream of.

When you’re in the ecstasies of mirth, or the pangs of despair, entangled in chaos or in any possible state of mind, there’s always a channel to vent it out: writing it down. In most cases, it’s the coconut scenario. Hard to crack open. The inside would be teeming with emotions craving to gush out. Writing, I believe, is like breaking open the shell, revealing the pulp that was so long concealed. This isn’t an exclusive perk though. Everyone has their own way of expressing. It is just that this mode of expression reaches out to a lot more coconuts waiting to crack open. Call it the magnanimous perk.
You might be bereaved of your dearest ones, and a day later, you could be writing about it, to off-load yourself of the grief. You might achieve your biggest dream, and that very night, you could translate your mirth to words. You might be confused as hell. Give it a shot on ink, and the epiphany might dawn, sooner or later. This works, either way!

Did not mean to make it this long, but I’d wind up listing just another perk:
“You can fathom the stars in you to constellations.”

Hope you had a happy read. If this reminded you of the sea within you, by any chance, and if the tides have gone too strong, go grab a pen. You have the ink, a pen is all you need.

Signing off,
Ink in a pen.

The fault in our stars: Mining the galaxy!

Hey,
This is just one more of those instances where I’m going to put you up through a long, tedious write up. But don’t blame me for that. Either John Green or the fictitious Peter Van Houten might have to turn up to take the blame.  However, I am short of any reasons at all, to call The Fault In Our Stars as An Imperial Affliction. Surely, I wouldn’t scratch the Imperial part, but Affliction needs some working. Why not call it ‘An Imperial Affection’? Umm, based on the notion that affection always has attachment clinging on to it, I might be wrong, because the whole story is about not-being-attached, or at least about not-being-desperate. But, I’ll go with it, and take pride in calling it ‘An Imperial Affection’, one that crosses all boundaries and merges into the depths of nature, in facile.

I have watched the movie before I could get my hands on this amazing book. While the movie left me in utter awe, dwarfed and dumbfounded at its genius, the novel was a novel experience. I can’t exactly frame out which parts of the novel have been abridged into the movie, but there were a few lines that were worth a mention, even more, contemplation. (A few lines were fortunately included in the movie too. But there was a lot more gold that was left in the mine, pristine.)

  1. Pain demands to be felt
    Sure thing! Pain draws its victim into its clutches, by feeling it. Its demand for feeling it is so strong that, the moment you start ignoring it; it might only worsen, forcing you to feel it.
    Nonetheless, there’s always a way out, observing the pain.
  2. I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown.
    This had me thinking, for at least an hour. Not much of a revelation, but something I have never cared to project. Poets and writers have written about the joy of having the waves soar and recede OR the violence associated with the sea waves. Yet, not a lot of them have cared to demarcate the borders between being washed over and drowning. Green had an amazing context in his plot, to plant this beautiful sentence.
  3. The dead are visible only in the terrible lidless eyes of memory.
    ‘Lidless’ struck to me as an excellent metaphor here. Memory looks at things without a filter, right? 😉 Memory is unbiased, forever exposed to the gray and yellow of the past.
    And the dead, we often avoid to think about them. Yet, the no-filter-sight-of-memory brings to us the deeds of the dead. While the bodies are buried, the souls are resurrected time and again, along the memory lane.
  4. I was living with cancer, never dying of it.
    Need I explain? The most chivalrous wars are fought with spirit, not weapons.
  5. It’s hard as hell to hold on to your dignity when the risen sun is too bright in your losing eyes.
    Metaphors are just lurking behind the veil of beauty that drapes this particular sentence.
    As the dawn breaks into the dark ambience of your room, the rising sun might be a threat to your losing eyes. After all, dignity needs to arouse the warrior in her, to fight for its survival, in the light of dawn.
  6. Like all the innumerable dead, he was demoted from haunted to haunter.
    No subtler way to hint the aftermath of bereavement, than this. He, who was haunted by the past and many other events that shaped him into what he has become, might one day embrace death. And after embracing, he might become the haunter, an affliction. He might be someone else’s past. His loss might be an event that shapes someone else. Hence, Haunted-to-Haunter.
  7. Funerals, I decided, are for the living.
    No comments. You got to read the plot to get into skin of this line.
  8. So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay.
    Time and tide wait for none, not even gold. Oblivion, a curse, at least in the most cases.
    Or may be it isn’t. May be, “If the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.” Or “Oblivion is universal and inevitable. The problem is not suffering or oblivion, but the depraved meaninglessness of these things, the absolutely inhuman nihilism of suffering.” (I’ve been quoting Hazel Grace here. I wouldn’t have been able to put it in better words.)
  9. Grief doesn’t change you, it reveals you.
    Grief is brief. Only its aftermath lasts long. It just strikes as a tide at the need of the hour, when you have grown oblivious to all that YOU were made up of. It doesn’t change you into someone you’ve never known, rather unveils the disguises you have involuntarily made over yourself, to reveal the YOU that you have long forgotten.
  10. At a height, the ocean seemed a great and endless monolith.
    While the ocean generally reminds me of its tides, there are often times when it resembles a vast expanse of sheer silence, and a personified resilience. Times like these, when I have transcended its ticks and tides, I fly in the air. In my flight, the ocean is but an endless monolith, serene, engulfed in solace.
  11. You could hear the wind in the leaves.
    An exercise for you, to unveil the metaphors and allegories.
  12. The marks humans leave, are most often scars.
    I’ll try my best, to leave as few scars as possible. And more smiles.
    I’ll try to walk light, so my trails won’t divulge the scars beneath.
  13. My thoughts are stars I couldn’t fathom into constellations.
    What a genuine way to say “I think, but I can’t make a lot out of it. And it sucks!”
    Galaxies thrive in my mind, and I couldn’t make the constellations. Only black holes.
  14. We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we’re to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.
    Disclaimer: Any attempts to describe this sentence will result in robbing its lustre.
  15. She was loved deeply and not widely.
    It doesn’t matter how many of them love me, how much of them loves me does matter.
  16. The real heroes aren’t the ones doing things. The real heroes are who notice things, paying attention.
    Staying witness to what you are, and the people (even better, the world) around you, isn’t despondency, or arrogance, or a lack of compassion, it is a liberty… a liberty from the nuances and shades of life. This isn’t the kind of liberty that lets you out of the shackles of life, but liberty of the kind that lets you live it, to the fullest.
  17. You don’t have to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.
    After all, I could choose my afflictions. Scars are inevitable, after all. At least, it’s good to be bestowed the liberty to chose the scar-ers.

Finesse of a Witness

I love the way every day has something different to offer. Just imagine, considering a healthy lifetime of 100 years, you’ve got about 36,500 different and fresh ways to live through the day, barring the déjà vu instances, that is. One morning, you wake up from a dream that you wished, never ended. Another morn’, it’s a nightmare and you could not anyway sleep through it. Yet another day, you are awakened by the lustre of the dawn that briefs you about the surprises awaiting you. So, from the perspective of an opportunist, every morning has an opportunity that deserves the best of you, nevertheless the most of YOU.

Now, after having lived through the day, without losing an ounce of your energy by twilight, with the horizon extending to the farthest reaches of your insight, you sleep. Otherwise, it’s only slumber. One fine night, you sleep considering yourself an achiever,as all the vigour in you was manifesting to the best of the world around. Another night, you sleep with hurt pride, because some stranger to your world, who has no idea of the emotions you’ve hidden behind the veil of a blank face, has said something unruly.
Trust me, of the 19*365 nights I have survived, there have been sleepless nights, there have been a few years that are now oblivious to me (and the bliss that I’ve been in, too), and there have been quite a few nights that reminded me of the chivalrous knight in me that could fight any thought that tried to hurt me. I’ve had them all. Surely, I get it now, when they said, “Life has its colours, and then, their shades.”

After reading two monotonous paragraphs that had me blabbering in all honesty, you must surely be wondering what all of this is about. Well, better late than never, it’s just that I wanted to say
“Stay a witness, and that alone.”
I bet! I can surely see a few raised eyebrows, shot up like a bow.  Even, I’ve been taken aback when I realized it. The sole reason why I took you down the memory lane to talk about the different kinds of mornings and nights you’ve been through is because I wanted you to witness them, one after another. You’ve lived them, undeniably, but ever cared to see the various shades each day offered? Quoting myself,
“Stay not in your thoughts’ embrace,
Step aside and watch them race.”
You’ll just stand astounded, at how liberating it is, to watch your emotions and thoughts, in third person. Staying witness to what you are, and the people (even better, the world) around you, isn’t despondency, or arrogance, or a lack of compassion, it is a liberty… a liberty from the nuances and shades of life. This isn’t the kind of liberty that lets you out of the shackles of life, but liberty of the kind that lets you live it, to the fullest.

Just sit back and watch, like the sun does. Even when every other element of nature gets involved in some kind of activity, the sun just stays there, unperturbed. He is a perfect witness, to the tick and tide of time. And that’s one reason why he’s out there, at the zenith, beyond our reach. You attain certain superiority over everything else, by staying a witness. There’s a lot more divinity in beholding than in begetting, in being the eye than in being the hand.

Those people who think they are inactive because they only listen, watch and enjoy the show,
“At least, you’re unaffected by the results, you don’t lose grip on the neutrality you’ve always had. It’s not inactivity, its silence. And all silence is action transcended.”

If you keep trying fitting into a shoe that doesn’t fit you, you can neither run nor walk. All you can do, is stand still. Just the same way, if you feel the need to fit into a bunch of misfits, just stand still and keep watching. Better that way! Good luck.

Signing off,
A Witness(unfortunately, not that alone)

The moth in my Orchard

As the sun rose to a dreamy morn’
 and the tiny squirrel savoured its acorn,
yet another day was born
much to the midnight’s scorn.

The daisies vivified the orchard,
even as a pyre lurked behind.
Caterpillars, in cocoons bind..
their older siblings, in wings coloured.

The dawn might have its perks,
but as nature has it, the metaphor lurks
in the darkness of that previous night,
when my eyes opened to deep insight.

I shall talk of the moth,
that grabbed my eye in facile.
Owe that to its futile hassle
to get to the pyre, burn in its wrath.

Or maybe that’s all my eye could see,
and more to it, there could be.
Or maybe that’s all I could infer,
blind to the pristine metaphor.

Broke the incessant thought chain,
basked in its vivid silence,
in such solitude, moments hence..
chaos condensed and chose to explain:

“A pity though, the moth is pitied.
A paradox that deserves all pity.
Despite all life and its brevity,
that light was the moth’s prime need.
Ah! It stings to call that greed,
as inferred by a mind en route insanity.
Blind to the pyre’s wrath,
bound to the  fire’s warmth,
docile to the pangs of the pyre,
devoted to the purity of fire.
The fire it has seen,
flew into it, light it has been.”

Wary of all my thoughts, in a morbid quagmire,
this insight of a blind moth, I shall admire.
For, it has taught me:
“WHAT YOU SEE, YOU MUST BE!”