September 22, 2009

Megh, Aakash, Brishti

Megh waited by the sea. She had finally been able to get through to Aakash. Otherwise, he was always sounding busy and preoccupied in his work. She remembered the last few times she had called. He had lost the usual charm in his voice. He was no longer the attentive friend that she once had. He was never rude, never out of place and yet she knew he was becoming distant.

Finally, today he gave in. He sounded busy as usual, but she was relentless. At last, he agreed to meet her. Their conversations were bland and uninteresting these days. She remembered the days when she spoke for hours and he listened, always understanding, always at her side. These days their conversations were at best “dangling conversations”.

They walked together by the sea comfortable in each other’s company but then the spirit within Megh began to feel suffocated. She knew the feeling. After they had parted ways, she had begun to realize the power Aakash always exerted on her. He came in only to devour the very independence that Megh desired. He wanted to be a part of every bit of her life. He wanted everything or nothing but Megh had grown up from her dreamy teenager days. Today, she valued her independence more than anything else. Aakash never seemed to realize it.

When he cared, he seemed paternal. When he scolded, he seemed patronizing. When he was silent, she knew he was scanning her very existence for that tiny speck of sorrow that she might have hidden from him. If he could, he would closet her up so that nothing in this world could ever harm her. He cared for her in a silent but ferocious way that always seemed too much for the free spirit Megh had become. And sometimes it was scary, like losing one’s own identity in the love of someone else.

They were silently sipping on their coffee. And suddenly they remembered how as kids the open terraces were their haunts for the mid afternoon escapades. They walked up again the same old stairs and looked up.

What went on in their minds, perhaps even they did not really comprehend.

Megh was furious with herself the next day. Why did she have to ask Aakash to come back? She knew that it was her fault and only she was to blame. Slowly Megh started building the walls around her again, walls that she had so deliberately built and broken down. The phone kept on ringing. Aakash was calling.

Aakash smiled. Megh was again not answering his calls. He seemed to understand what was going on in Megh’s mind. He just hoped Megh would get over it. He knew they had drifted apart and yet they were connected. She would miss him, he would miss her and yet sparks flew when they met.

The very confident Aakash lost his logic when he was with Megh. She was the only person in the world who could make him forget all else and come running to her. Aakash knew, the problem started there. A call from Megh meant Aakash would run like a free wind and in his momentum would sweep Megh off her feet, in a manner she once loved but now resisted.

Brishti smiled to herself. Bith Aakash and Megh had called her up. She never understood what the two wanted from each other. Perhaps even they didn’t know.

Aakash and Megh - when they meet it often results in tears. And in those tears, a new story is formed

(Started during the incessant weekend rains which hinders cycling but enables writing. And I thought what best to write about if not the hide and seek of the rain clouds on the vast sky. Then it got lost somewhere and suddenly it rained again)

September 15, 2009

The Greatest Sci-Fi Ever

I have sworn by Asimov for a long time now. I believed him to be the greatest of them all and Nightfall as the greatest Sci-Fi story ever told. But District 9 changed all that. For the first time a Sci-Fi movie was less about aliens and more about humanity and not the Good Humanity that E.T. championed but humanity in all its petty and mean plots.

It is a story about the common man. But it does not tell you that the common man becomes a hero and a saviour for the human race. Instead, it tells you how a common man performs extraordinary tasks for one glimmer of hope. We do not want to be heroes. We want to live and go back to whatever we have been doing.

District 9 is a movie about Space Aliens, Awesome Guns, big blasts and yet it is a sensitive story about one man. It is a story about the establishment against us. It is a story about underground economy and yet it is a story about hope in the time of adversities. It is a story about honour and courage as well as a story about decadency of a race when faced with adversity.

Watch District 9. You will question your glorified right over the term humanity and maybe on your own existence.

September 13, 2009

The First Pick Up Line Ever

CAS had swaggered into his room after the usual early dinner one night in 185 SK. Being strategically located it was the best place to sit for a while before you could rush off to your room to study. 185 SK was a great place. Time stood still there. In fact, Time there had gone back to Middle Earth. The inhabitant was learning to speak Elven. Anyway, this was the time when CAS and the man in question used to chat till suddenly C would give a jerk and run off to study. S would go to call up someone in Bhopal and A would look here and there and then go and plan out his next two hours of study which would be regularly interrupted by swarms of hungry hostelites.

During one such discussion, the topic veered towards women. The species were abundant in the land they lived in and as enigmatic as ever. S was the most experienced of them all. After all, he was the one who was calling Bhopal. A stayed away from Women. They were supposed to know Black Magic and no good boy would ever fall for it. C on the other hand was already going around with a subset of the women Species called Seniors. They called him cute, pulled his cheeks, took him out to dinner and of course to the back stage. Now now, come on. Taking someone back stage is not as bad as you might be thinking. It was pretty common there – in the land around 185 SK.

Anyway, as I was saying, C and the man from 185 SK had an altercation over pick up lines. This was a new concept to all of them. This was supposed to be a potent weapon against the other species. And then had begun the hunt for the first pick up line. It was beset with difficulties. It had to be original. It had to be smart. It had to have the ability to filter out certain sub species.

And then exactly 8 years later…

Our man in question was looking lovingly at the second love of his life. What he saw brought tears of joy to his eyes. The Papri Chaat looked heavenly. And then he remembered Shimla Mirch, then he remembered Gulabji, then he remember 185 SK, then CAS and finally the challenge which he had forgotten all about.

This is called mind mapping in the industry he is in and he never quite figured out how it worked. Anyway, buoyed by the tasty Papri chaat he thought and then it struck him. The first pick up line ever.

And he was thrilled. It met all the criteria. It was original and smart and snobbish.

“So, now I know the cause of Global Warming.”

It took 8 years to find the first pick up line ever. I guess it will take him 8 more to use it.

Till then, he would enjoy the Papri chaat.

September 04, 2009

Satan, The Son of God and The Son of Man

When I look back, I often find that two distinct theological ideologies shaped my childhood beliefs. While liberal Bengali Hinduism encouraged me to seek for truth both inside and outside, the strict catholic missionary education made me read up The Bible in as much detail as a school going kid could. I went deeper and very early in my life I realized going deeper into anything could just leave you more confused but at the same time, it is intoxicating.

Mythologies followed next. Greek, Norse, African, the entire list. Patterns began emerging. I continued reading. The Mother Goddess and her oblivion through male dominion were clear and simple to follow like all great cons by men. Folk Tales followed. And somewhere when I just started getting into Folk Music I decided to put an abrupt end to it all.

Somehow, the concept of God always intrigued me. That had resulted in an academic paper letting go of other important matters. That is another story. The point is that spirituality has always been an important part of The Search.

A insisted a few nights back that we should have our own Ganpati in our house. Given that our sinful lives take a great toll on our mental peace, it seemed like an extremely awesome idea. But as we started preparing, I began to realize how far away the kid from Calcutta had come away from anything remotely Godly. In fact, post the nights outside Temple Lawns in the Rajasthan Village, the connection has just become weaker.

It was a difficult transition. The childhood memories of performing a Puja at home were hazy. None of us knew exactly what was to be done. We just knew we wanted to do it. It was like a calling. It always is.

Then Swati saved the day for us. An amazing woman, she deserves a separate post on her own. She invited us over to our house, helped us with our preparations, scolded us when we were slacking away and stopped the entire thing from becoming a good intentioned farce,

On Friday night, I returned to a dark home. The lights were out. Only a small lamp was lit in front of the idol and the surroundings seemed ethereal. And I sat and thought. About Good and Evil and God and Satan.

Suddenly it struck me; in Hindu Philosophy, the concept of Evil is extremely strange. While the religions arising out of the Middle East believe in the Opposite of Good being present in the universe as much as Good itself, The Indus religions believe in One Supreme Good and various manifestations of evil. Both have hell. Yet while Satan or Iblish rules Hell in one, A God is the Gatekeeper of another.

The forgotten ancients also grappled with this confusion. Was Loki Satan? Or Hades the Greek Yama?

I looked at myself. Sometimes being evil is just about stopping to be good for most parts of your life. When I was a kid, I thought ourselves to be images of God, the supreme being or whoever that dude up there is. The scriptures agreed – Tat Tvam Asi

The lights came on and the trance was broken.

Saturday was Visarjan. Standing chest deep in the dirty waters of Juhu with the idol on my head I felt a part of the Visarjan Microcosm, vibrant, euphoric and full of life. People around me were ecstatic. They led hard lives and yet for this one moment they were moving their bodies to an eclectic mixture of Bollywood music, Bhajans, political propaganda and drums.

Just then it dawned on me. We are sons of Man, unable to stick to the extremes of righteousness and that made us so unlike our Creator.

And while their children frolicked in the carcinogenic wastes and Swine Flu Scares, She and He had a hearty laugh upstairs.

(This post was originally 3 pages long. Had to cut it short)