Friday, June 10, 2005

A Self Portrait


(Tried out a multiple exposure experiment on myself some time back , seems as if it has become a metaphorical depiction of my tormented being now)

"You win a while, and then it's done -
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With my invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it's real.

You are turning tricks, I'm getting fixed,
I'm back on Boogie Street.
You lose your grip, and then you slip
Into the Masterpiece.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep:
You ditch it all to stay alive.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go.

I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
I made it to the forward deck
I blessed our remnant fleet -
And then consented to be wrecked.

I guess they won't exchange the gifts
That you were meant to keep.
And quiet is the thought of you
The file on you complete.

And sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat...!"

[A slightly altered version ( with due apologies) of Leonard Cohen's song 'A Thousand Kisses Deep']

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Emperical and Experiential


Blackholes and wormholes…
Time travel and quantum teleportation…

A dull evening with nothing much to do
triggered off a discussion
and arguments followed;
Ego levels raised,
Ignorance levels displayed.

Intellectual masturbation
craving for spiritual satiation
through emotional outbursts.

Brilliance in combat with insight
while insight went abegging for proofs.

Scientific arguments strayed
into poetic ramblings;
Theoretical possibilities packed into equations
with multitudes of unknown variables
criss-crossed their path with
experiential absolutes
wrapped into personal realities
stretching beyond the framework of
mathematical models and verbal expressions
and all plausible intellectual expositions.

The empirically verifiable and the experientially cognizable need not mutually supplement each other but perhaps could add up to a new dimension opening up new perspectives towards a more meaningful existence.

A smile just seen could give
an explanation of the mechanism
of muscles stretching the lips;
while the smile understood
could be the very pathway
into the other’s psyche or
it could even be the very pathway
to freedom from the known.

The Buddha smiled thus once,
and many more Buddhas laughed;
the secret of the golden flower
is in every bud abloom.

We walked together…
the interludes of silence
stabilized the mounting heartbeats.

A poem to surmise
and a few reasons to summarize
signing a silent pact
of not having to lose
as long as the other does not want to win.

We parted our ways
Learning yet another lesson
of arguments often turning into
after-convincing reckonings.

What an evening!...
I just cannot wait
to embrace what tomorrow
brings along.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Celebrating Seraphic Desolation

What an evening!

I just wanted to get away from my cabin that very moment and go for a long…long walk. There was such gravitating heaviness deep within , that’s what I always do when I need to work on myself – Walk , till I am unable to think the same thoughts again , till I begin to see new glimmers of growth where despair cramped once.

Myriads of thoughts swarming my mind, over taken and often overpowered by a gush of memories, storming grief , dreams in flight and unspoken concerns…, walking has always helped me to calm down myself during the darkest moments of despair.

Like a huge boulder with sharp edges rolling amok down the far stretching slopes of a mountain, I walk along , and coming to rest at the valley after the rough edges have been smoothened out…ah!..then it is like a pillow I lay myself to repose on in a suspended awareness of blissful oblivion.

I was heading for such an evening when I set out. I dropped in at the little tea shop near the village railway station for the customary tea and an evening fag. I had little patience to finish either of it…just wanted to get going, walking!

I knew I was heading for such an evening, such were the turn of events during the last few days. Those were real days of confronting myself and treading through the darkest recesses of my being. A roller coaster ride within as well!

She left this evening…wish she comes back, there is immensely more to learn from her…there is much I have to give her as well. Wish to hear more of her laughter, wish to be a bin she could pour out her woes yet remain elusive too!

How well she tolerated it all…my over indulgence being overtly concerned. My outbursts failing to see things as they are, until she too reached the breaking point of seeing myself thus. Sure enough, my behavior must have debunked the larger than life dimension she saw me projected on so far…and she had her way of dealing with me from then on which revealed those facets of hers I would have never seen otherwise. My oddities do pay off well some times.

Over an year of getting to know her and the last few months interacting, I saw in her great potential to become a well strung professional and every interaction soon became a learning experience. She is quite an exemplification how simple and straight forward one could be, yet how gentle and strong as well. How well, though I was read terribly wrong of my acts of concern, she kept me at bay… showed me my assumed distance giving no room for any slip. Incredible…I felt devastated for quite some time utterly at a loss to explain myself, but then that feeling of helplessness and forlornness soon gave way to deep reverence for the individual she is, a woman of sum and substance.

In the last few days she taught me quite a bit… she showed me the difference between being sentimental and being sensitive, how one could be content with the bare minimum of material well being, how to tolerate and how to react. Amazing, lessons that I failed to learn in 3 decades came along into my being and could easily help me grow in just 3 days. Such is the masterly touch with which she conducted herself, with real grit and grace.

I wish and pray that I do justice to what I learnt. But still, the big question remains…why is that there is no one to show forth their care and concern to me. Why is that I feel so utterly forlorn. Perhaps my generally cheerful disposition makes every one take it for granted that joy is my nature , joking my habit and reaching out my weakness. I do not know what I am seen as and I am no more bothered about it, this recently acquired courage of conviction will help me continue to remain thus.

Sitting and sipping the tea, then gulping it down to get on to my walking spree one by one the bygone began to appear like a snap shot-flash back show. Never can I forget that day when I exploded in a rage for a seemingly insignificant reason .She stood there silent, intimidated and frozen…mortified! When I calmed down after a few moments all I could see her as was like a little Jewish kid in the ghetto standing before a Nazi soldier. I explained myself… seeing the way she remained silent…looking at me with fear. I broke down…I wept silently and it took me quite some time to compose myself.

That was her first lesson in silence… she taught me what I should never be, to any one.

It did not take me much time to err again…this time it was a childish sense of being treated indifferently and I told it out as well knowing that I would be wrong in my assumptions, but I wanted to air out my angst. She became furious, yet she contained it so well. But she asked me with a penetrating look “ how could you think so mean?”. That was like a bolt from the blue. Few days before I saw her as a timid little lamb, now she appeared like a ferocious lioness. How true “Smitten on the head, the cobra rises its hood; stricken to the heart, the Lion gives out the mightiest roar…….”

She had stirred me enough to go on a pilgrimage within any way! I had to really look into myself.

The next few days she dealt with me so well that it had such a healing effect on me later. I felt shunned and distanced…doubted and scorned as well. It is bound to be so I guess when we see many plotting every moves for calculated returns. But I was not that to her. Right from the very first day of meeting her and during the course of interacting and getting to know her…her hardships..ambitions…fears…I had nurtured deep affection towards her that had absolutely nothing sensual about it…it was tender affection, a feeling that I must be there to help her..and helping her was a sheer joy. I was just trying to bring in some happiness into her otherwise dungeon like existence. I felt honored when she used to pour out her woes, of course in much restrained measures. I find it amazing to see her moving around like a kid, despite the fact that she had reasons enough to feel despondent on many things. Getting her medicine…few books and music was a real joy…I felt that would bring in some element of joy during the times of utter despair. All that I expected , all through, was to see her happy…considering every act of giving as the only opportunity I have to reach out thus. Perhaps it is my way of going and asking people “hey…this is good...i think you need it...can I do this for you?”…that made many and this time her too wonder why am I so eager to help and doing things without even being asked for. True, some times unasked for concern and help turns out to be an act of over indulgence. But then, I never wanted any one to feel obliged to me , and I had always thought it is best done when you reach out with help before it is asked for.

There is one scene from the movie “Gandhi” by Richard Attenborough that would perhaps visually convey what my verbal expressions fail to. There is this sequence lasting hardly a few seconds....Gandhi sits down by a stream to wash the only piece of cloth that covered his bust…he lays the white cloth on the stream…ripples coursing through the cloth afloat….and he holds one end not to let it flow away. He looks to his side…a few yards away he sees a woman with a kid, shivering in the chill breeze…he just let go of the cloth and it floats away to her. Gandhi just gets up, smiles and leaves…silently…without even looking back.

That, to me is real giving…exemplifying the saying “What is not given is lost!”

I felt I owed her some explanations for my outbursts, and I wanted to open up myself the best way I had understood myself. Sure, much of my behaviour and the recurring sense of emotional insecurity has its deep roots in my childhood experiences. I opened up and it did not take me much time to realize that I am beginning to see in her as an integral part of my being because I could really feel the seraphic touch of her presence and I told her that as well knowing very well that integral elements need not be indispensable entities. I do speak out the undercurrents of my thoughts to the ones I revere because it helps them understand me without attributes and more over it helps me understand others too based on what they speak about themselves.

Sure, one can see the other only based on one’s experiences and perceptions and I am no exception to be seen otherwise. I felt as if every act of reaching out and every communication of mine was seen as deliberate attempts to woo her, to win over. The assumed toughness in her expressions, the deliberate acts of deriding me away, sharp remarks and cool indifference soon drowned me in despair…I knew that the unspoken me will never be understood . Every act of hers, and every word of hers soon appeared to me deliberate expressions that seems to yell at me : “you do not mean anything, and I am smarter and more sensible than you think I am !”.I am only happy to see her thus... because this is the toughness and courage that is needed to get going.

All I could do was to be silent…finding it hard not to reach out every time I felt the promptings to. I did not wanted to barge into her existence…found immense release when I managed to pen down my woes…I do not know how poetic it is, but I know how truthful it is…:

Glimmers from the Wayside

Just as I wish to understand,
I wanted to be understood too.

Just as I cared,
I longed to be cared too.

I too wished to know
That I am not all alone
and realized that expectation
Is the alienating factor.

I could never get into your mind
and see myself as how you looked at me,
All I could do was to be my true self.

I react and retort
mostly at the spur of the moment;
but i am sure it is far better
that talking sweet nothings
in seemingly innocent whipers.

I wanted to believe more of what you speak
about yourself than what I assume on you.

I opened up because I could be understood as I am,
not what I seem to be.

I agree I have erred, but I am not an error embellished
Yes, I have hurt too…but I am not hatred personified.

All I could do after a terrible fall
after a burst out
was to pull myself together...get up and walk again…
And this time I am going climb many a peak
because I am learning to walk barefoot.

Yes…weird thoughts crossed my mind…
And I let out all of it, because I could not contain…
because I could not smile when I felt hurt.

You asked “how could you think so mean?”

True, thinking mean is despicable
but hiding them, my friend, far more deceptive.

I am not a cool surfaced one
Plotting silent acts of defiance.

But how about the ones hiding good thoughts,
when it could redefine the other’s life positively,
and later use it as a double edged weapon?
… and how about the ones
Who in a friendly touch
finds the satiation of lusty grabs??

I am glad ,
I am not that!

In work let me forget my grief ,
transforming every jolt of pain
into a triumphant laugh.

I shall be content seeing you happy
from the distance you have kept me at.

In this silk worm’s existence
woes are the mulberry leaves I am fed with!

So be it,
Life will go on…
My presence will not
Make you transfixed any more
For, I am here not to destroy,
But to fulfill…
perhaps leaving a legacy
as a legend
who never really lived
but also as the one
who never choose to wear a facade
every waking hour.
…who never talked a song
or walked a dance
to the seraphic symphony
wrought with much noise, a little voice
silence , and missing notes.

I sent it to her, but I never got a reply!

… and she left today on a short vacation, leaving such an emptiness of uncommunicated fullness.

I had gulped down the tea…and got up to leave and it is then I saw him beside me. In fact I had always avoided long conversations with him because his esoteric blabbers used to drive me to my wits end knowing very well that he is the one who leads such a weary life under psychiatric counseling and medication. As I said ‘bye’ to him… he gave such a longing look and told “Please sit with me for some time..please…I need your company”…he had such a pleading tone of helplessness. I decided not to go for a walk…and sat down…kept my shoulder pack down….and that was the moment…i felt the heaviness within just began to melt away...I sat opposite to him I felt all my heaviness melting away. He began to speak…all ramblings and laments…I listened to it all holding his hand…after he got done with his outpour he told me “now you go…enjoy your walk…I feel much better now!”

I did not go for a walk, I came straight in and started writing this.

The emptiness she left was in turn filled by his relief of having let go of his pent up perturbations and he created a vent for that release by asking me to sit down and listen to him. I could feel the change deep within…I was totally overtaken by a deep sense of compassion… love and reverence to all…I felt like hugging and kissing every one…I could clearly see the child in every one…as if nothing mattered. It was as if the pangs of misunderstanding, loneliness, helplessness and hit me so hard that it opened a little flood gate of compassion deep within... a brief glimpse into our true nature at a much subtler level. Wish such moments recur again…and to live it out I am prepared to go through any hardship...wish I could see with unfailing vividness the esential humanness and latent divinity in every one.

The way she treated me of late was quite a taming process of my ego that gave me a much deeper understanding of myself and others , her conducting herself thus was also a glimpse into a womanhood of grit and grace.

She proved it so well, that 'to live like an angel in this world you need to wear the armors of a warrior.'

His reaching out to help himself was another lesson of being not ashamed to ask for help, the way he left smiling was also a display of how well one could end up accepting oneself if you include others too.

It doesn’t matter any more what way I am looked at…how misinterpreted and misunderstood I remain…it does not matter who disowns me…or of what renown I get elevated to, I feel now convinced that at the edge of despair I will stumble upon a new meaning to my existence…Just like the way she taught me a few lessons in detachment, just like the way he taught me a lesson in reaching out to help oneself…some day some one will teach me a few more lessons on things I have not even thought of.

Dusk assumed the serenity of dawn all of a sudden, retaining its afterglow!

Here is that complete verse from Dhammapada : "Smitten on the head, the cobra rises its hood; stricken to the heart, the Lion gives out his mightiest roar ... and the glory of the soul comes forth when one is wounded to the depths!"