Saturday, January 26, 2008

Potli Wale Baba

guchcha hai bhai guchcha hai
kahaniyo ka guchcha hai
kahani le lo...

khatti ho to namak laga ke
khatti ho to namak laga ke
gale mein atke paani
kahani le lo...

His mind had left the room and decided to go into an overdrive. He watched wistfully as it left the confines of the four walls. The room had relapsed into silence, once again. Well, almost. The only other soul had decided to tease his dream girl. On the other hand, he thought he never dreamt, neither in colour or white. So he had trouble imagining himself planning clandestine meetings with the love of his life. Often giving up in exasperation, he resorted to the comfort of yellow light. It smoothed the creases the day that had just passed had gifted him with. The soft notes playing in the background eased the transition into a different mode. The words seemed to be coming from a parallel universe. They spoke of exotic lands and romantic getaways. Sometimes, they whispered about woes and longing. However, he tricked himself into believing in them all. Not a soul objected. After all, his reason had just departed through the window for a game of poker with the stars.

Sometimes, his reason, sensing something wrong down below, sent his minions to check up on him. They usually arrived in all their pompous glory, not troubling with the much needed subtlety. Finding him alone and puzzled at the sudden fanfare, they would take pity on him and tell him stories about poker games and how his reason had often cheated and yet managed not get beaten up for it. It seemed as if hIS reason was a celebrity among the minions. So he began to take them from granted and believed they were just trying to get into his good books. But he was no fool to become too complacent. He listened to the tales from the other universe, rapt in attention. When they pompous guests had left, he sold their anecdotes as his own, not bothering with even copyright issues. He was never very creative to begin with. So his conscience never bugged him about the literary blasphemy. When the reason returned late into the night, he had already done the dirty deeds. He sniggered at his own smugness. Fooling one's own reason was a commendable job.

He went about his day in hurried eagerness. The minions would be back again, with more scandals. He had to prepare for their arrival. It seemed as if both needed the other's company. He yearning for it probably a bit more than them. After all, they had other windows they could slide into. But there was something about his yellow window of light that did the trick for them, time and again. We have heard rumors that he still sits there, waiting for the minions with their endless tales. We speculate that they never disappoint their strange companion.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rape of the Senses

The “I” has been conspicuous by its absence for quite some time now. Silhouettes have been complaining of its continued scarcity. “Whispers of unknown shadows have been shared”, they groan. “What about your miserable self?” I, being an obliging stranger, give in to their sustained protests. Here’s the journey, backward in time.

Let’s start at the beginning. It’s always the easiest. It’s not that the shadows were conjured from thin air. Their inspiration came from substantial sources. But what followed was a flight of fancy. Or was it something closer to yours truly? Let me be at the mercy of your discretion. Haan, so the dark shadows came and whispered their stories in my ears. I listened, often laughing, more often jeering. But they kept coming back to me. So I started sharing their anecdotes with fellow mortals. Their lives were opened up to enormous possibilities. Their love stories were discussed with unabashed zeal and their failures guffawed at with an equally shameless juvenility. An unsuspecting couple, lost amidst several strata of passion, became the starting point of this weird rendezvous. The story would have ended there and then. But fate often sneaks up on you in a variety of ways, often leaving you flummoxed, if not aghast. A chance book was thrown down the alley by a stranger wearing a pink cape. The weary senses were, well, wary of any new onslaught. But the stranger had asked me to keep my word, before disappearing with a fashionable swish of the cape. So the pages were devoured while trying to catch some ZzZz.

The ignorant senses went into hibernation, not realizing that a new consciousness was seeping through the small orifices. The senses, being true to their pompous master, denied any such blasphemy and went about their daily business. But the new consciousness had started making its presence known. The pompous master drew caricatures in the void emptiness of space. Hyperspace and star ships became the order of the day. Some gila monsters were disposed of with a clear conscience. So were certain Cheekat characters. Personalities were born and slowly took a definite shape like a potter’s surahi. The world of philosophy changed its course and took notice of a new star. A gullible android wooed one and all with his paranoia, making manic depression something of a cult. Kekda jeered at the unknowing masses, marveling at their ignorance. Chirkut seemed pleasantly surprised that the unsuspecting public had not yet included her in its discussions. All seemed content and at peace with their own parallel universe. Meanwhile, backstage, some senses were being subjected to well, let’s say, a rape.

Fact and fiction coalesced to form one hazy outline. The opinion of the junta on the sidelines, often mattering more than expected, further assisted the deformation. The senses cried out in suppressed amusement and amused pleasure. Their master, the grey gooey matter, felt the ripples of disturbance reaching up to its previously uncharted shores. He set out to find the cause and, as is most often the case, ended up discovering quite a few. We are not here to psycho analyze each one of them. We are here probably only to point out at their stupidity and chuckle to everyone’s content. So be it.

I (or more precisely my wandering grey gooey matter) had been feeling left out of everyone’s story. Garnering attention, while denying providing it, seemed to be my wont. Somehow, wise people of the world realized the fact and set out to avenge my selfishness. Devoid of some much needed company and attention, I retreated into a cocoon and started concocting stories for my strangers. They seemed to be the only one around. In the meanwhile, I tended to jump at those who had sought a vendetta, further distancing them. I had somehow managed to forget that their soothing whispers had been the only thing that kept me from losing my senses in this increasingly maddening world. Their lewd jeers being the only thing that made me blush. Their ill suppressed retorts being the only constructive criticism available in close proximity. The shadows were fine. But they could not fill up the space. I needed them whom I had pushed away. I realized this with unrelenting desperation. Could they not see the same? Could not they for once come to my rescue without my pleading to do so? I believe we must all feed our ego. But eventually, all that matters is finding someone who knows you for the weak person that you are. But I must not generalize. So I shall rephrase my statement. For me, not having to put up any appearances, however subtle, is happiness. I continue to seek it. The façade is for the world. It breaks down in front of a selected few. Choosing the right few is what takes some a lifetime.

The pompous master and his even more reluctant senses were made known of this bitter truth. Inhibitions had to be shed. Some apologies needed to be handed out. Frank conversations were on the charts. Letters were written to a few. Some just talked about the last time someone had hugged them so tightly that the world had seemed small enough. While a few broke the barrier of silence that had been stymieing the flow of emotions and whispered about lost love and shattered ambitions. As for me, I tried forgetting about love’s labor lost. Thereafter, I tried believing in perfection, all the time keeping my eyes closed, lest the bubble burst again. For once, I ventured far enough to trust someone else with myself. Let’s hope the concerned don’t just flush it down the poop hole. I couldn’t help but smile at the simplicity of it all. It does not take an abstruse equation to find the key to satisfaction. But people learning cryptography can hardly think on straight lines. They must continue to seek evermore complex solutions, while the answer jeers at them from behind commonplace situations. So we must decide for once. Is it just these simple things we seek? Is it just the smugness at knowing that there is someone to whom you mean the world, despite your umpteen pitfalls? Is it something different like proving an unsaid point to no one in particular and everyone in general?

I think I am a selfish person. But I feign concern so that the few people I value think otherwise. This is the only way in which I fool them. This is the only way I deceive them. I hope they don’t mind.

PS - I wish to dedicate this post to all "the few" people in life whom I give more than I can take back from them. I hope I have been honest enough that they know it's them.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Episode of the Giant Gila Strut Monsters

Word of Derision – This is NOT science fiction. NOT inspired by dreams, true or concocted.

The very dangerous Kekda Man had been in the dumps for quite a few days now. It’s not that life had been particularly miserable and the subject of pessimistic research. The two suns shone brightly, set even more gloriously, and the half moon bathed the small planet of Dungbucks in a pale white soothing glow. There had even been a few highs. But he tended to ignore the highs which were not too conventional. And hence the dumps and the doldrums. To cap everything else, giant Gila strut monsters seemed conspicuous by their absence in the Boomerang Galaxy.

Exasperated by the monotony, Kekda Man decided to visit the Bugster Cluster in the western spiral of the galaxy. He asked his driver to ready the state of the art aquamarine Clux-5 Star Ship, his latest fad and obsession. The journey itself proved to quite uneventful (with the exception of the boring company of two philosophizing hitchhikers, Wholesome Hole and More of The Moron). Kekda Man was harassed by unrelenting fans as soon as he reached the cluster. But he was in no mood for indulging in stardom. He somehow managed to excruciatingly wriggle away from the mob and it was then that he decided to pay a visit to his friend, Chirkut Lady.

(Aside – Everybody knew that Kekda and Chirkut had voluntarily broken the pact (or more precisely contract) of love that they had entered into. Both of them claimed to be just friends now. To gloat over the details, please go through Love in The Time of Palmistry.)

It so happened that Chirkut Lady was doing some research on boring books at the Jhakaas Institute for Constructive Philosophy. Kekda Man somehow managed to get a ride to the institute (and more importantly escape recognition as well). Reaching the destination, he chuckled to himself and decided to act a bit sly. He smuggled himself into Chirkut’s class and attended the monotonous thing in its entirety, all the time realizing that fighting Gila Monsters did indeed make life simpler. The unsaid became the obvious. Chirkut Lady was quite surprised by the unexpected visitor. She suggested a lunch outing, but Kekda was in the mood for some musing and suggested something utterly rubbish. They bickered for some time and eventually decided to explore the lush gardens (inhabited by the endangered golden langurs), something amiable to both the pseudo-intellectuals.

But all great beginnings seem to have sting in their tails in the western spiral of the galaxy (they have sour endings in the southern spiral). It turned out that a certain Cheekat Aadmi had a crush on Chirkut and he seemed to think that the converse was automatically true. He had been informed of the presence of a prospective competitor by a certain malicious species. He winced at the sight of the two going around in the gardens, discussing the pros and cones of Constructive Philosophy. When he could stand it no more, he went up to Kekda and asked him to stay away from his girl, not realizing anytime that Kekda was very dangerous, even if painfully moronic. Now this quite obviously pissed off Kekda Man. He had had a harrowing day and just wanted some quality time with his friend. He therefore asked Cheekat Aadmi to funk off for two main reasons. Firstly, Kekda Man knew Chirkut Lady had the hots for Bhabhkan Bhai, a fellow constructive philosopher, and secondly, Kekda was just a friend to Chirkut.

The small amount of brains, that Cheekat had been gifted, with went into a hyperglycemic overdrive. He summoned his cronies, which fortunately turned out to be a few giant Gila strut monsters, Kekda’s favorite bad people. However, the evil guys were far too many in numbers for our Kekda. They surrounded him and began to circle him like African tribals doing some obscure ritual. Kekda was in a fix as to whether act like a hero (and a fool) and get bashed up fighting them alone or whether to act smart and shout for help with as much decibels as his lungs could muster. He sided with the latter and paged Bikaji, a well known goonda in the cluster. Bikaji provided illegal muscular assistance on demand. As soon as he got the message, he metamorphosed through time and space and appeared at the scene of goondagiri. That was it. Kekda found his (lost) valor and together with Bikaji, he beat the shit out of Cheekat and all his cronies. But Bikaji was no police and after collecting his 42 Clam shells as payment, he katofied from the place in the blink of an eye. Kekda and Chirkut had no inclinations to prolong the unfortunate incident and with one baneful look at the grossly disfigured Cheekat, they too left the scene of maara-peeti.

Left alone in uncomfortable company in a state of the art aquamarine Clux-5 Start Ship, the twosome felt, quite obviously, uncomfortable. Whispers shared long ago gained fresh perspective. The pact made while indulging in some harmless palmistry became a wound freshly rubbed. Not many had expected them to stick together. Their failure might have sub consciously been influenced by the opinion of the junta on the sidelines. None of them would know. They never gave it a second thought then. Now it seemed too late. Inhibitions needed to be shed once again. Weaknesses needed to be rubbed in. It seemed as if both were too them to allow the other this opportunity. Or were they willing to give it a fresh start? This time with more commitment than a childish agreement. It is only speculated that their silence must have done the talking. Pseudo-Intellectuals have been known to mess things whenever they think and talk at the same time. Reports to the contrary have not been unearthed in any spiral of the galaxy. Well, that’s how a highly predictable episode ended. Kekda confesses his (temporary) love for Chirkut, this time managing to make do without palmistry or any of the sappy stuff. Chirkut reciprocates the feelings, saying that Bhabhkan Bhai was just a rumor her friends had spread in order to tease her. Of course, we have uncovered an entirely different story. But even publishers resort to ethics sometimes. They wouldn’t be humans if they didn’t ;-)

It is said our man and his woman are still together in uncomfortable company. They bicker more often than they agree with each other. But the highs make up in height what they lack in length. We at SleepingTablets hope it’s more than what anyone can ask for.

So long, and thanks for all the monsters.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

In Memoriam

April 14, 2005 - January 5, 2008

To Buddy, who proved to be a patient and morose listener, if nothing else. To Buddy, whom I now regret scolding each time she tried to eat my hand. To Buddy, for whom the world came to a standstill each time her tummy was tickled. To Buddy, who was selfless as long as food was not concerned. To Buddy, who gave the world seven more reasons to make itself a better place for everyone.