September 18, 2010

I want to Believe

Agent Mulder wanted to believe in what he thought was true, rather believed was true. Once upon a time, I believed too, in sorcerers and goblins, in princes and knights. Then someday in the mad rush of believing “Impossible is Nothing” I began to lose my power to believe. My stories no longer had my dragons; my quest was for Market Share than for the Legend of the 13 Crystal Skulls.

But the other day I spelt Djinn with a D and I felt nice. I felt I was back to the days of the Arabian Nights where only men and djinns were allowed free will by Allah. But the Hindu philosophy strangely complicated matter. If I am God myself, I must have Free Will, yet then it undermines the doctrine of Karma. And if there was Free Will then Kayanaat would have conspired to give anyone anything they wanted.

Bruce Almighty did not have Free Will. And if he didn’t who would?

But I digress. Free Will is too big a concept for me to grasp yet. But the point I was trying to make is that when your day goes in fighting corporate battles, your mind often fails to fight the Fenrirr as you used to do when you were The Great Odin yourself.

All my life I have believed in symbols. But somehow even the signs were not coming through. In moments of despair, I lacked words to describe what I felt. And then an old friend’s blog told me exactly what was wrong - Sometimes I miss my non recurring dreams.

In a very forgettable adaptation of a classic Asimov, the protagonist was told, “Detective you must ask the right questions.” I did. And the answer came in the form of a little known movie, The Fall. And in my mind as I watched, it gave Pan’s Labyrinth a tough competition. The last 15 minute were extraordinary where I fought with the characters on screen to begin believing once again on our imagination, on the world we create.

For in all our fairy tales, we ensure that there is a happily ever after.

Tonight as I post this, I notice the Unicorn outside my hotel window heading towards my sisters’ homes to see if my nieces and nephews have slept.

Their childhood will start with the likes of Ben 10, but it doesn’t matter who you imagine your foes to be - Demons, aliens or Dragons. What matters is if you believe in them and believe that you can beat them.

Tonight, with them I again shall start to believe.

September 09, 2010

The Last Image

“Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted…One moment

Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

He stared at the blade in his hands. For the first time in weeks he smiled. It was a smile which he knew was hollow, almost sarcastic to be honest. Honest! That was a joke. He wasn’t honest to himself over the last few months and no other honesty matters when you are dishonest to yourself. He looked at the photograph in front of him. It was their last one together. He pressed the blade to his palm. Millimetre by millimetre, the pointed edge moved in and a red drop of tear formed on his hand.

She always smiled when they were together and he felt peaceful. A certain calm and serenity which had been lost to him since she had left. He had made peace with himself but at nights when he lay on his bed and the lightning streaked across the sky, the memories came back to haunt him.

He needed to focus and the pain on his palm helped. All his energy was directed towards it and his mind was becoming numb. Millimetre by millimetre, the pointed edge moved in and a red line of pain formed on his hand.

The night they parted he had cried, a silent cry that none heard but since that day tears were lost to him. The heart turned into cold stone and the world to his playing field. He kept himself busy, never thinking about the past. Millimetre by millimetre, the pointed edge moved in and a red river of unfulfilled promises formed on his hand.

On her wedding night he could have told here once again, how much he loved her. He wanted to tell her that she completed him and yet all he could do was smile. She never understood the pain behind that smile. They hugged for the last time and the white rapper sang in his ears.

But he chose to “just let it slip.”

He looked at the picture one more time. Something snapped within him. With one jerk he pulled out the blade. And smiled. Millimetre by millimetre he had let go of the pain. Sometimes not seizing all that one ever wanted was the best gift he could give. He would be there, all his life.

September 05, 2010

Adding Up

A now forgotten letter published in all major Indian newspaper spoke of riding a tiger without knowing how to get off it. The entire nation was shocked. But few realized that we all do it in our day to day lives. Taking on commitments that ensure we run and run and run. A recent confectionary advertisement actually realizes this – stopping by to smell the flower on the side of the road; that’s what you forget when you ride the tiger. To sit under the shades of a tree and watch life pass by – that’s a luxury few of us have anymore.

Last few weeks have been different. Probably the process of growing up is finally trying to start amidst strong resistance. Whatever it is, the churn is telling and the worse affected by it is the boy who was always happy, no matter what life dealt him.

There are two ways you can remember the old days. You can revel in its glory or you can let it be sweet memories and move on. My life is made of memories, like everyone else’s. However, what I realize is that our brain filters out the images that we do not want to remember always invariably making the past seem romantic. That’s where my hyper active brain creates problems. It loves to remember images and memories as they were to savour the pain and love, suffering and exhilaration, just as they were all those years ago.

The past has a strange way of mixing and messing up the present. Over the last one week I have met men and women from my past and what I realize that every one of us remembers incidents that are extremely trivial to the world around us. We remember the debates on tram cars in Calcutta, we remember an article accepted at the cost of a sketch and we remember a broken promise forgotten unwept.

There have been meetings with people who could have been friends had we known each other better, there have been meetings where old friendships have asked for their cheques to be cashed, there have been moments when the world has come crashing down. And all these incidents have taken their toll on the smile. The worry lines make their appearance beneath the eyes, the eyes droop every night unable to bear the burden, the weddings get missed and the mood darkens.

The closest friendships are the ones built on trust of yesteryears but the reality of the present. A friendship which does not evolve with time is slated for doom and that’s what I see happening all around me. Imagine your parents still considering you a two year old still in dire need of some toilet training. Gross right? Exactly my point.

But then someone messages “Happy Teacher’s Day” and you remember the innocence that still exists. Strangely, you feel happy again even though feeling old.

The people in the US are nice. They are the ones who prove to me that things don’t change much post your closest friends in college get married. I mean they do to a certain extent but the world does not come to an end as had been predicted. When my friends here are in their deep slumber, the phones from US come to ask if I was doing alright. And the world seems nicer again.

The next weekend is a long one in Mumbai and the keepers of my sanity plan to descend on the city. They are needed, to restore the balance, to bring back the faith, to clear the webs of confusion. Because sometimes to add and subtract, you need to lend and borrow at times.