Sunday, May 27, 2007

The quest

At midnight, he was back at the sea. He was hoping to find answers to some questions.

He had looked under a creaking ceiling fan, on a yielding armchair, through the pages of a book, between the notes of music, through the crowd on a bus, around one unforgiving concrete bench, in the throes of textual intercourse, between the seats of a movie theatre, in a pair of bottomless sleepy smoky dark eyes, down soft flowy silky hair, along glazed milky irresistibly smooth skin, through rivulets of tobacco smoke, in the haze of night clubs, behind the stroke of midnight, in the corner of a glass cabin, at the bottom of many cups of coffee, down a railway line, and even on his person. But he didn’t find any.

He had consulted silence, solitude, darkness, sleep and alcohol. They entertained him for hours but they had no answers.

He was hoping the sea would answer his questions, like it had before.

He was one of the last few in line. The queue of devotees ran down various ages, and many life-stages.

It was quite late when he went up to speak to it. But the sea did not wish to. In fact, it withdrew its waves. As the waves receded, they laid bare the jagged doorstep of the sea. The rocks looked like they were there to protect the sea from whoever it deemed undeserving of its wisdom. The rocks were the ‘unwelcome’ mat of the sea.

He left it alone. Waiting all these hours had amounted to naught. He decided he would consult alcohol one more time.

Friday, May 25, 2007


The melancholy, lonely planet suddenly felt something tug at it. In a jiffy, its humdrum journey through space had transformed into an exciting adventure.

Its pace had quickened. Its belly was abuzz. The momentum had blown dust and dirt off its surface and revealed its true colours, and among them, a scar or two.

It had travelled several light years. It had joined many galaxies, had a few satellites orbiting it, waltzed with many stars. But none had held its attention long enough or strong enough.

It was doing nothing, except giving in to a feeling it did not have time to understand. It resisted just a tad before surrendering to the force. It finally grasped what was happening; it was getting attracted to a bright blue star. (Why the star was blue, it knew not.)

The planet was strangely happy. It had found something. It had found someone. Someone it could give its all. Someone it could care about. Someone it could make happy; be happy with, happy for and happy from. It had found someone, and not just anyone but a star. It had found a purpose in life. It had found the centre of its universe. Its world, quite literally, revolved round it.

It started orbiting the star with childish abandon. It had rediscovered the small joys of life. The wind was chipping away at its bumps and filling its craters. The star’s light was adding strange hues the planet did not knew it could carry off with √©lan.

The star’s attraction was curiously balanced. It was strong enough to keep the planet encircling close-by but nearly not strong enough to pull it closer.

(Hang on a minute. No, no. This isn’t good. How can it be so perfect?)

The star had noticed the new entrant. It smiled wanly at the planet. It told the planet, not unkindly, to go find another galaxy. It asked it to let it be. The star-struck planet implored it for a reason. "Many a wild planet like you has hurt me. I've, therefore, decided to keep everyone at arm's length. Unfortunately, my magnetism I have no control over. Forgive me, if I have hurt you in any way."

The planet did not know what to say, what to think, what to do. Eyes moist, it continued orbiting the star, hoping that someday it will bask in its loving light.

It unwillingly tried to break away. But the star’s attraction was too strong to resist; its allure, too strong to tear away from. “I’ve done this before”, the planet thought. “Then why is it that I just cannot bring myself to break away this time? Besides, I should be ashamed of myself. What was I thinking? Of course, the star’s right; it’s out of my league. What am I but a mere planet? No amount of goodness will qualify me for its love. I don’t deserve it. How I wish I did.”

The grief of unrequited love was unbearable; the idea of letting go was unimaginable. “I’ve travelled enough, seen enough, experienced enough to know that there’s nothing out there but empty space”, the planet convinced itself. “I’m too tired now. I won’t go looking for that elusive feeling. Not anymore. I’ll just trace this path and keep out of the star’s way.”

“I'll be here if anyone needs me”, it said to no one in particular. And it did exactly that, eyes downcast.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Trial by fire

“I am a lost cause”, said the diamond. “I am just carbon. I have gone through a lot already. Suffered unimaginable grief. And it has changed me irrevocably. Something inside me has died. I covet nothing, I offer nothing. You will be wasting your time and energy. Just let me be.”

The artisan heard the diamond, but did not listen. “You have no idea how precious you are, my dear”, he thought to himself. “I’ll find you your rightful place. I’ll break my back, lose my mind, ruin my life. But I’ll not rest till I find a lifetime of happiness and glory, for you and for me. For in your happiness lies my own. Your sufferings are over, my precious. Nothing will remain of them. Nothing, except the scars on your soul. They will be testimony of your worth. What’s a diamond without a flaw, the world will say.”

Monday, May 21, 2007

Just a thought

Some say I'm a man's man because I lust after gadgets and gizmos and trip on technology. But, in reality, I simply compensate for the happiness I cannot get from life with material pleasures. I guess at some point in life or another, at some level or another, we all do the same. Or maybe, it's just me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Darkness descends

Apart from being absolutely beautiful, this satellite photograph is historic too. It was, apparently, taken by the crew on board the Columbia Space Shuttle during its tragic mission.

The picture is of Europe and Africa, on a cloudless day/night. Half of the earth is in various stages of night and the other half is enjoying various degrees of daylight.

The bright dots you see are lights in various cities, towns and villages.

The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert. Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and Barcelona, and that it's still daylight in Dublin, London, Lisbon, and Madrid.

The sun is still shining on the Strait of Gibraltar. The Mediterranean Sea, however, is already in darkness.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores Islands. Below them, to their right are the Madeira Islands. A little below them are the Canary Islands. And further south, close to the farthest western point of Africa, are the Cape Verde Islands.

To the top-left, totally frozen, is Greenland.

Note that the Sahara is huge and can be seen clearly during both, day and night.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bye, my love

The waves rushed to her as she stepped on the moonlit beach. But only the little ones. They expressed their joy unabashedly. The big ones, instead, chose to stay far away, from her and from the imminent sadness. They seemed to be trying to act stoic but were unconvincing. Besides, they preferred to appease their first love – the moon.

The little ones, however, had no such fancies. Like every new generation finds its own conventions, they had found theirs. She was their very own source of happiness and resplendence.

They were slow and sleepy because she had woken them up at such an ungodly hour. They were sad too. After all, it was time to say goodbye. At least, for a little while.

For two blissful days, they had accepted her in their fold. Played with her. Caressed her. Embraced her. Soothed her. Enveloped her in their tranquilising coolness. Made her skip her meals. Brought out the child in her. Reminded her of all the happy moments in her life. Made the unhappy ones seem easily bearable. Pulled her back in whenever she tried to get back to the shore. And now she was off home.

She was as unwilling as them. Neither of them had had enough of the other. But neither of them could help it.

Like children, the little waves quickly abandoned their sadness and returned to do what they do best – embrace her with open arms again.

Silent night

There were millions of them out there. Some were sneering at him. Others were laughing at him openly. They were whispering among themselves, occasionally pointing at him accusingly. Every single one of them seemed to be enjoying looking down on him.

While half the world was asleep, he was out there in a borrowed balcony, thinking, contemplating, playing the last few scenes of his life over and over again. While others surrendered to the blissful darkness, he let silence surround him, keep him company.

He had confessed his love tonight and, in doing so, hurt the one he loved. It was the last thing he would have ever wanted to do but it became the first thing he ever did. He hurt her.

Alcohol had coursed through him for hours but it couldn't sway him. Sleep had given up on him. It had tugged at him for hours. But he had refused to give in.

He could sense their accusing eyes. Hear their silent jeers. See the glint of their fiendish smiles from afar. "What a fool", they seemed to be saying. "If only he knew what she has been through."

He hadn't been impulsive, he assured himself. Maybe the fact that he expressed it all or the way he let his heart overtake his mind and dictate his actions was impulsive. But his decision was not. That is not really in his nature. He isn't that easy.

He had certainly felt something. Something he had been hoping to feel for a long long time. He had thought about it a thousand times before. Perhaps, that is why he had instantly recognised the feeling. He had met it before, hadn't he? He had spent countless beautiful moments with it, caressed it, basked in moonlight with it, dined with it, danced with it. He had even got drunk with it. What was its name again? Yes. Love.

He was surprisingly sure. Well, he wasn't the one surprised; it was her. If only there was a way of convincing her that his mind was made up. It was made up years ago. Long before she came along. Nothing could change it now. Nothing.

But he knew how words can be sometimes. They can be achingly inconsequential.

The crowd was still mocking him. He was about to shout at them, ask them to go bother someone else. But suddenly, amongst them, he noticed some who were looking at him kindly and empathetically. Their eyes were talking to him. They seemed to say, "Have faith, my friend. All is not lost. Give it time. Draw inspiration from us. We're scattered hundreds of light years apart. Alone in the never-ending darkness of night. Understandably, with time, some of us have become bitter. In fact, every day, thousands simply give up and plunge to the ground in one final blaze of glory. But there are a precious few amongst us who have the courage to continue sparkling in the gloom."

Sleep tugged at his sleeve one last time. With a wan smile on his face, he gave in.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ego on his sleeve

I had written about this chauvinistic cab driver earlier. I think I spotted his cab today.