Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Musician's Silence

The musician was quiet. Not literally, though. He had been silent long enough now that the people associated with him started worrying about his career. One day his assistant asked him: “If you continue to be lazy like this, it’s not just you who would starve, but all of us and your family along. We would be charged with cases for not carrying out our professional commitments.”

“I know.” There was a pause. “I was taken in by the sudden success I had and was creating a lot of music at a time. At one point, it ceased to seem music any more. It was just a noise. Too much noise. And in this noise, I failed to listen to the music of my own heartbeat. I am mending my mistake now, by listening to myself in silence. Be with me.” The musician fell silent again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Like It.

"In Facebook we are lucky. We have the like button to say that I like it. But in life, we are under huge trouble. Since, no word could match the way we feel when we like someone."---Anu
I never believed it. But I have to tell you how drastic the change in my view was. After meeting the girl I met in my town I started believing in it. Nothing serious: I never once believed ‘liking’ someone, something, etc. could be propagandist. No, it certainly and seriously should not be.

Being a propagandist myself, I can inform you what propaganda really means. Well, don’t misunderstand me. Propaganda is a word usually used with politics and people associated with politics. I am no politician. I am teacher. And believe me, teachers too can have propagandas. Not political, though. But there are teachers with political desires under cover. And I never intend to be one of them, frankly. Being a teacher, I have my own propagandas. Like, a good student is someone who behaves well to teachers inside the class room and outside. He or she must read all the books prescribed as the course material. The questions he or she asks should strictly fall within the course structure. Using mobile phones is harmful to health and they should understand it and abide by it under any circumstances. (They should not question teachers even if they are spotted using one.) Finally, they should always strive to be a good student. I preach this as some mantra

My propagandas exceed this, but I limit them unto this. The reason, again, is propaganda. Another one: the reader will lose interest in reading this passage. The rest of the passage is really important. In fact, we did not even discuss the primary matter yet. ‘Likes’ and ‘dislikes’, indeed, are not motivated by propagandas. Or that was what I had thought. My students ‘like’ to chatter in the class. They also ‘like’ to call me their best teacher (secretively, though). And in some curious occasions, they ‘like’ do this weird thing; to bunk the class. An angel in the back of my head used to tell me, ‘you try your best, and yet they don’t think you are worth listening. Why can’t you stop?’ And I never listen.

It was a public strike day. At my home, honey ran out accidentally. It was actually spilt. Mr. Stranger, the rat, the night before. So the first job of the morning was to go to the town to get the early morning shop, to get some honey. And I was chosen for that job. How important honey is for a middle class Keralite family is senselessly clear. Honey is not part of the daily diet of the family. There is every chance that without honey one can survive even a whole life time, here. No one even cares about it in the actual life, or ordinary life, except during the festive sales and exhibitions conducted by the IHRD or the state handloom union, where they sell some really good quality honey, directly obtained from nature. The need of honey in my house was actually motivated by the Ayurvedic-come-astrology guru in the telly. He advises, and mother listens to his advices carefully, that a bottle of honey in your home can keep the positive energy surveying your building constant. You will prosper, as a result.

And for the hypothetical prosperity of my home, I went for the exclusive utilitarian morning walk. A couple of shops were opened for the early morning business that was the specialty of these strike days. There might be someone with some emergency. The shop had just opened as I reached. There was one more person I knew, apart from the shopkeeper. She was my colleague in the college I teach. I knew her house was in the same town, but never intended to cross her, as a result of the fear of losing my precious privacy. But there was something I must tell you. I had seen her there in the town at a distance, and smiled at her. She too had seen me. It was, therefore no surprise for both of us to find each other there.

She got her purchase and was waiting for me to finish mine. I had my Honeybee and I looked and surprised to find her waiting for me. She had to take a different turn of the road. So I was relived. It would just be a good bye anyway. I said something, but my throat was not prepared and the voice did not come out. “Are you apolitical?” She asked suddenly. “Me what?” I asked back in bewilderment. What is there to be so political so early this morning? It is almost 6 am. By the next half an hour the strikers would come and make the entire shoppers close down and people go home. Yes, indeed that was political. It was not she who was being out of place. If at all there was something incongruous that was me and my big ignorance. I decided to do it. There was no way, even if I liked otherwise. I picked it up.

“Are you a political person? Then what do you think about this whole day strike, known as Hartal?” She took a little time to answer. It seemed she was serious all of a sudden. Her expressions changed, the same way I found almost all of the people in and around Kannur change their expressions when asked about their political views. And surprisingly enough, they all say the same answers. “Yes, I do. We are all Communists; generations of my family are. And strikes are all part of democracy, what do you say?”

“But you are a teacher, and you know what loss such strikes cause to the people, young and old alike, to business, to the economy…”
“I… I know…” She looked down and suddenly looked up straight into my eyes. I felt a bit uneasy. Was that an attack? “I told you. This is a strike called by the Party. And I support it as my family does. So eventually, I like the strike too.” her expression was mixed. I read a little contempt and a lot of determination. Sometimes, what we like is what people want us to like. As they say propaganda decides likes and dislikes. May be or may be not. The story goes like this, I went back home with my Honeybee, and she took her road as well. Soon the people of the Party, whom I call “strikers” (a nick name for convenience) came and closed down the shops.                 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

That Day...

You feel you live in a democracy. You just feel. That is what democracy does. It makes you feel. Many times I felt that democracy itself is a feeling. You feel a lot of other significant emotions alongside, too. Like freedom, for example. Is freedom a feeling? It can take up a whole two thousand words argument and still can remain chaste. Doesn't it hurt you when you are not free to do anything, say to move out with your boyfriend? Indeed, and so freedom belongs to that above mentioned category of psychological traits—feelings.

As we have started a healthy discussion about feelings, let us continue with it. There is a lot more to discuss. And it can exceed any word count again. You are not just a box of feelings, like the old time gramophone. You are a complex being. You belong to a better category, a genre that hasn’t yet maligned by the presuppositions. If you are in a new territory undiscovered by any one, you are lucky. You are experiencing the most original of the earthly scene, untouched by any eye, not even a thought. Instead, what if you were living in a completely known, predicted place, like the moon or the craters of mars, you might get so accustomed to what others have to say rather than exploring your original creativity. This is exactly what it means by being different. You are in an unknown, undiscovered land. No one suggests upon your what-to-dos and how-to-dos. You are the master of your creativity and originality. Your difference spills from your soul into the depths of every shallowness and makes it deep, really deep.

One day you find yourself locked up in your house. You think it as an intellectual closeness to Kafka and check the daily news paper, to know literally what had happened. You look around. No one is moving. Nothing is moving. No kid goes to school, and no adult goes for work. It seems a public lazy day. It is surely not a holiday, since holidays have such a hidden charm in them that they make you alert from its early crow itself that it’s a holiday. You plan for a shopping expedition, attending a marriage reception, and many more funny things. But it’s not exactly what you feel. You feel lazy like every one else, and you sleep. That day is called the Hartal day.

You are a different person; complicated. And so you don’t want to be like others. You take it as an opportunity to learn. You learn one of the best lessons of life in India: adjustment. You adjust with others, learning each moment. You are different and you must understand what it means to be different.   

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Snowflake and the Sun

A wind from the Far East crossed the Himalayas one day, full of moisture. The moisture condensed. The high cold weather that was usual in the region, transformed the moisture into an ice flake. The wind was pleased greatly, because it had given birth to a baby.

After a year the wind returned to the mountains to meet her child, the snowflake. The snowflake was happy to see his mother, too. Seeing the snowflake sparkle with happiness, the wind asked, “Why are you so happy my child?”

“I am happy to see you mother. And I know this too, that you will be traversing over the oceans after leaving the mountains.”

The sun, who was bright over them that time, heard what the snowflake and the wind had said. It is surprising how a snowflake living in the high mountains knows about the oceans, the sun thought. It embarrassed him, because he had never expected the snowflake to know a lot of things. He decided to talk to the snowflake.

The sun talked with the snowflake with its rays of light. He asked: “How do you know about the seas?”
The snowflake replied: “I have heard about the seas from the pilgrims who pass by this mountain peak for the nearby holy place. I have heard them compare the vastness of the mountainous terrain and the depth of its valleys with the oceans.”

The sun felt a little awkward and small at the awareness the snowflake possessed, of the customs and thoughts of humans. “You seem very happy. Why?” The sun asked.
“I am happy, because I have a dream.” The snowflake replied.
“What is it?”
“To meet the sea in which even bigger mountains drown.”
Upon hearing this, the sun became infuriated, and said: “Are you belittling the high mountains and praising the sea? You are a snowflake, destined to live forever in the peaks of this mountain. How can you even think of such a thing as meeting the sea?”

“My dear friend,” The snowflake said peacefully, “You are going to help me achieve my aspiration.” He smiled cheerfully with a gleam at the sun.

The infuriated sun had smeared the snowflake with enough hot rays that by the time the sun could see it the snowflake became hot and melted down. The wind cried aloud, seeing her child being killed by the sun. But then there was a voice. It was from the water, which was the snowflake transformed. It said: “Mother, do not cry. I am not dead. Now I can flow down the mountains to the great sea. And you can visit me every year and can hold me in you translucent bosom, while you pass over the sea. It’s just a step in achieving my life’s desire. So do not be sad.”

And he flowed down the mountain and reached the river Ganga. Journeying with the Ganga all through the cities and villages, finally, it merged with the sea.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rain i-poems

This is the final i-poem in this series, “Rain i-poems”. This poem is short but says about the perseverance of the drops that make the rain.

Until the final drop,
It rains.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rain I-Poems 6

Summer or autumn,
This rain is not seasonal,
Happy or sad,
Like my tears.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I-Poems: Rain

Before it rains,
The clouds go grey.
Before I cry,
My heart bleeds.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rain I-Poems 4

You complained of the mud,
But I was grateful,
Of our toes, the rain had cleansed.