Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cry Of The Peacocks

Cry of the peacocks, made me come out of my house, I was surprised to hear them so close to my house in Suratkal, during my short trip last weekend. I tried to spot them but probably they had been hiding somewhere in the bushes. Towards the right to my house lay empty uncultivated fields. The coconut trees shook nervously in between the fields and green grass had grown to a considerable height after a good rainfall. In between them, they hid, I suppose.

All of a sudden, I realized that all this land has been sold to some builder, who will, in next couple of years shall transform it into a gated community or a commercial complex may be. The paddy fields will house huge apartment complex, swimming pools will replace the lakes and wells, coconut and mango grooves need to give way for malls filled with electronic gadgets, fancy clothes and shops having pictures of Swiss alps, Niagara falls, Massori and all the greenery from every other part of the world.

And then, people like me, will have to adapt to this new change, this new technology, because that’s what we are supposed to do as Humans. Humans only know to adapt, to change and if you fight against it, deny adjusting to the changes, then you are tagged as insane in midst of this so called sane and developed world. Probably this is what Virginia Woolf meant when she wrote in Mrs. Dalloway through the voice of a character, Septimus - I hate human nature; The act of pretending.

How much we pretend, how much we bound ourselves within phrases like-

"Don’t speak that way...”

"Don’t act like this..."

And of course, there are all those wonderful mannerisms around us to guide our behavior.

But in the process, we are only adjusting and adapting to the new look of the world. I also recall how, nicely Aparna sen had captured the mind of a schizophrenic patient in her movie "15 Park Ave". She had compared Mithi’s (Konkana) state of mind with the Iraq-America issue. A war that will demolish an "Ismail marg", "Abdul road" or say "Baghdad" and will be rebuilt as "15 park Ave" or "time square".

And the old Iraq will remain in minds of few and then become a history and then an imagination. Mithi (Konkana) denies coming out of this imaginary life that she has built for herself, she is happy in it with her husband and five children, and wants to live in it. But then, she isn’t normal, she assumes things and she is tagged as diseased.

But who actually is diseased? One who wants to live a life of his or her own choice? Or one who keeps on adapting to changes till death? There is such a thin line between sanity and insanity. Or rather should I say being Human and abnormal?

And back to what I see, I may still find my small foot prints in the fields. Today, when I look at the mango groves; I recall events from my childhood of having stolen some mangoes from them and even getting caught. When I see the channels between the paddy fields, I recall my tiny hands, with some more for company catching fishes. And then here today, the peacocks, monkeys, foxes, where will they hide? Will they ever sing again near my house? Will the peacocks ever spread its feather to display its beauty that probably it is unaware of? All this events from the past and the present will remain only in my thoughts. And being a human, I need to be sane enough to adapt to the changes and begin preparing myself to accept the shopping malls and the apartment complexes.

And slowly, unknowingly the present of today will soon vanish into an imaginary world.

So convenient!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Another Escape

I am in a crazy mood to scribble today. I have been thinking of writing a story or may be a poem, but can never make up time for it. Today, I have enough time to spend, so let me try to capture my state of mind since a few weeks.

Wow! What a relief it is to come out of that troubled re-occurence of events. How nice it is to feel good about having learnt a lesson from life’s experiences. So, to put together in a sentence, I was not in a perfect mood from past few weeks. Lot of questions arising, lots of troubled thoughts; lots of confused moments encountered. Even though I had all the quietness in the world (benefit of staying alone) I could not get a decent uneventful sleep, how does it matter when there is no quietness inside?

When some thing makes us dull, that is when events from the past reappear like ghosts and mix up with the present to make it worse. So I had to put it away, had to trust a pair of ears to let go, and found one too. I tried to dispose of some thoughts by talking. (How much ever was possible) So that’s how I got rid of the past. But what about the present? It’s right in front of me, facing me, looking at me every day. I have to deal with it positively and need to hold myself strong, so that I do not create mistakes done in the past.

Analysis of previous experience have always helped me a lot, they tell you how to treat re-occurring situations, or rather, how not to. Well after spending some time with myself, I feel so good to finally have fought my trauma. And now it feels like heaven. I am back to normal, of course not that anyone outside could even get a faintest glimpse of the confusion in my mind.

What I learnt, is that knowingly or unknowingly, I always tried to attach myself with the past. I tried to relate things happening currently with the events that had happened. And in that process, I failed to recognize “the new” in present; its beautiful side; the vibrant new colors; an innocence untouched; a caring smile and all I was doing was, finding my past in the present which for some reason I wasn’t letting go of. Today having learnt this, it feels so free and much better to say that I have escaped the Miasma again. All we need to do is learn from the past experiences, shape our present in an ideal way and not stick to it; not keep them stored behind the layer of consciousness. The solution is not in avoiding the present, solution is not in avoiding something nice and beautiful because of some bad past experiences despite knowing that this present will once turn into a past.

At this point I recall the dialogue from the movie "The Hours". (which i had also mentioned here)

“You can’t find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.”

Virginia Woolf says to her husband Leonard to describe her need to move to London.

And of course the ending note from VW again on life -

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is and at last to know it, to love it for what it is and then… to put it away.”

I am sorry; I know I am not crystal clear. But this is the best I can reveal at this point.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Meenakshi Temple & Bannerghatta Park

It was Mahesh's idea to go on a drive during the weekend. We decided on Meenakshi temple on Bannerghatta road. Sundar joined us. At 11:00 Am, three of us took off on two bikes. 

We reached the temple in just half an hour. The temple is constructed by the same trustee that runs the Madurai Meenakshi temple. Of course, this is a miniature version of the original master piece. But what pleased me the most about this place is its serene atmosphere. I loved the place for the divinity it generated in the midst of busy, hectic Bangalore life. For Bangaloreans, who want to spend some divine moments at a temple that provokes Bhakti, this place is a must go.

After spending some time at the temple both Mahesh and I agreed that the journey had to continue, not back home but to some place, even further. So we decided on riding to Bannerghatta Biological Park. We had to convince Sundar, which wasn’t that difficult though. Soon, we set off on another ride. On our way to the park, we got lost by taking a wrong turn that would have led us to Annekalu. But that road (seemed less taken) and was even more exciting. It made me want to flee away on a long journey, to some place unknown, where no one knows me and I know no one; a journey that probably would never end. Sundar was the first to figure out that we were heading in a wrong direction and gave us a call. So we had to return back to the reality of two day weekend.

Bannerghatta Park was a surprise. We took the Lion-Tiger safari. It was a good drive in a mini bus into the Lion and Tiger Parks. Few tigers walked very close to the bus. A white tiger stole the show. Lions were dull, probably heavy with sleep after a good meal.

That Was A Heavy Lunch

After Lunch Walk

I am Cool, I am Different

After the safari, we took a tour of the zoo. We were very disappointed by the maintenance there. Crocodiles looked as though they were on diet. Monkeys were sad as never; there was a dirty duck pond which probably has not been cleaned for a decade. In spite of the tourist crowd, in spite of fairly reasonable entry fee, if this is the case, then it definitely needs some investigation. I would love to see this place developed as it is truly a treat to have a national park, so close to one of the major cities of our country (Only 22KM South of Bangalore).

Look, I can Walk With One Leg Closed.

A Drop Of Water Please

All in all it was a great trip. Bannerghatta road has plenty of nice Dhaba’s. So we treated ourselves with some good food along the way. Well that was a short, unplanned trip, yet for me a special one for various reasons. Every unexpected journey is special for plenty of reasons, for what is seen, heard or felt. At this point, I recall a thought that had once come to me – “It’s not the place where we go or what we see that makes them memorable, it’s how we feel at that particular moment, is what stays.”

Weekends Up!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Old Man Beneath The Tree Speaks

I had been away for a little longer than expected and haven't got anything to write. So I prefer to publish one of the stories that I wrote few years ago. It is about an old man, his thoughts and his experiences.

Old Man Beneath The Tree Speaks

They say life is a journey and we walk along. But things have been a little different for me.

"Life is a journey and I am an observer."

So has it been always. I have been sitting beneath this age old tree at the last few hours of the day, as the light diminishes, darkness takes over and even in the dull light one can see everything so clearly; as if everything has turned so transparent.

They walked by the street near by and I sat there watching them. Some just walked away without noticing me, and some stopped by to talk for a while and very few actually joined me most of the evenings as I watched and only watched.

The old man looked dull, but still with so much to talk. He stopped by and shook my hands and chatted for a while of everything that he could remember of; the country politics; his young old days and all the current issues. He talked and talked as if he had not for years and then he stopped as if he had realized something and then left. Half way gone he turned and smiled. The look was captured; his eyes bloated and the tears were received. So many unspoken thoughts flow or was it only my imagination? Or just an illusion? I don’t know but the eyes spoke, the thoughts did flow.

And then I sat again the next evening beneath the same tree watching people; having spent the previous night recalling the old mans words and then packing them all behind the pillow and sleeping for the rest of the night as if there never existed a day.

One evening, an old lady murmured some words to herself as she walked by me. Some words of pain, some thoughts of sadness and the wind that flew past her loosely tied hair came near me, with the miasma, with the silence that always follows the eruption. Words split, stories unravelled, possibilities increased and then followed the questions - Is this all an imagination? Only an illusion?

Days change, sun rises and then sets and I sit waiting, for whom? I don’t know. People drop in words like one drops post into a box and they leave as if assured that now the letter has reached its destination. They smile, drop a letter and move on and some never look back. But those letters, I carry and keep them safe, in my closets and drawers.

They come to me sometimes weeping, sometimes smiling, sometimes dull, and sometimes defeated and they talk as I listen. One would talk about his age old stories, another of his failures. One spoke of her traumas; horrible childhood memories and other of her love stories or nightmares. One spoke of his ambition as another would talk about the hobbies. So I had no less of these stories which I couldn’t even share or re-mention. So it always stayed inside the closets of my room permanently locked, always in there I don’t know hiding from what?

So the letters where dropped every single day or was it every single hour? The postman usually receives the letter and then takes them where it needs to go but all I could do was collect them as may be they were some treasure and make a heap of them behind the locked doors of my room. So there they lie even now, untouched for so many days, undisturbed.

One must be wondering what I did with them? One may not find out why was this anxiousness to listen to the others pain? Was it for fun? or forget ones own pains? Or just to make others feel that they are felt? If you ask me I may not answer this even if I know the answer, so please don’t ask me, instead watch me sit every evening beneath that tree and try to look at my eyes. Not a single person who passed by my tree did that. So won't you. Because people always want to be listened so they go on and on. And one day when they realise that all they had to say is finished they walk away and that’s when I learn that I haven’t spoken at all. All through the conversation I was only a listener and then I smile and walk back home.

One day, I walked through a forest with another companion who stayed there in the deep forests; where wild animals howled in the dark; where the rattling of leaves is no more music. That night I could not sleep, I went out to the forest and slowly began to explore my friend’s home. On my way,  I saw two deers, a peacock, a tiger and a fox. They appeared to me as shades or images of one common animal.

In the deep woods, as the daylight struggled to enter I realized that I was lost. I cried, wept to free myself from this imprisonment; to break away the chain of clay that bonded me. That was when all the locks exploded and the words came out, as if like the fire from a volcanic eruption. And they all flowed out of the room, from the closets, from the drawers into the narrow pathway. The words haunted; smiles and cries became scary and every thought pricked. Was it still an illusion? Still an imagination? Know not I.

And as I stepped into my room that was filled with letters and words and thoughts I saw that deep beneath the heap were some more unnoticed words; some more thoughts that I had never encountered. And it dint take me long to notice that they where of mine, so much wanting to come out of the room, so much wanting to be listened but always got submerged beneath the words that rushed in, always moving back towards the shell. That was when I decided to sit beside the tree and talk as I listen. The room was cleaned and the words locked behind the closets and I was there as always sitting beside the old tree to share and receive.