On Appa – On Failure and Ending this Charade

It will be Avani Avittam tomorrow. The usual ceremony with the associated prayers and rituals will be done. The holy three stranded thread the ‘yagnopavitham’ or ‘poonal’ will be dutifully changed. Like the past six or is it seven years now; no appa, no namaskarams, no separate vadhiyar. Like a lot of other tasks that a distraught son and a grieving and weak mother do; this too will be a task done to propitiate the various Gods that reside in some strange dimension!

I have lost count of the number of times relatives have passed sly comments at our predicament. I have lost count of the number of marriage proposals/alliances that have been shot down because in the eyes of prospective in-laws; a drunkard, irresponsible, chronic liar’s progeny can be no different and will only bring doom and despair.

At 36, I have lived long enough to see how the dynamics of social interaction in reality and social networks work. I have seen love stories turn in to tragedies, arranged marriages turning into success stories, love marriages turning into bitter divorces and variations and combinations of all possible results. This is not wallowing in self-pity, this is the realization that people treat you for granted, call you names behind your back, mock you, spread rumours, create fights, all to satiate their own egos.

I have always believed in counting one’s blessings and looking at the brighter side of life. But the way life seems to stretch forward and the relentless pressure to wear a mask, stay happy, put fun-filled and positive quotes on social networks, find purpose in life, work toward it; everything seems to be one massive lie and serves no definite purpose. My inability to find my purpose in life continues to daunt me. What purpose do adherence to scriptures and rituals serve? Like one automated robot this charade continues.

I have thought a fair deal about this before penning this down. Someone I knew personally, young, vivacious and vibrant; a social butterfly of sorts; died. She boasted over 7000 friends on Facebook over 2000 followers on Instagram and led the so-called charmed life. She died of a drug-overdose and at her funeral ceremony, only a total of seven people other than her grieving parents appeared. This came as a rude shock to me. Where did all those friends – real and social go? Why do we do, what we do? My day-job requires me to handle multiple corporate social media accounts and I can’t run away from there. But I do have a choice, all the random drivel posted here and on my personal accounts, I can control that for sure! I can stop pretending to be the intellectual literary snob, the cineaste, the music enthusiast, shutterbug and all the other carefully chosen adjectives used to describe my foolish self!

This ends here – now! I need to get a life – a real life. Hope to meet you in the real world and exchange thoughts.

This post will remain here as a testimony to all the foolish words written here till date.

Let there be light!

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A Sense of an Ending – Life-Lessons in Free Verse

This trend to follow fads,
To add prefixes before names,
To crave for attention,
To pretend to be busy,
To choose to ignore,
The ones who care for you.
With practised ease,
Charm your way,
With white-lies and gossip,
How easy is this life?
Where is the value,
Of friendship in these troubled times?

I thought I knew you,
I now know,
That I hardly know myself.
Of groups and groups within groups,
Of name-calling.

The morbid need
To vilify others,
To mock others with rabid writing,
And lamest of lame jokes.
This is not what friendship is about!

As people find comfort,
In the company of like-minded geniuses,
I look at some pictures.

Some pictures that Facebook’s algorithm,
Chooses to pop-up on the screen,
Where are these people?
Where are these friends?
What changed in them?
What changed in me?
Where did I lose my identity?
Why did I surrender to self-pity?
Eventually, they all go away,
Best friends to good friends,

Acquaintances to strangers.
The transformation is complete.

No bitterness, no anger,
A sense of calm,
A sense of truth,
A sense of an ending,
That true friendships,
Can never exist,
Someone or something,
Will always come in between,
And when hubris grows,
It is pure self-destruction.
May God grant you light!
And please choose to do,
What you deem right;
I no longer have the strength to fight,
For you, for others, for myself!
I no longer care!
This had to get out of the brain,
Or I would never be able to set the demons free!

Soar high, make your dreams come true.
Good luck as always!

Trapped

I walked down,
The narrow streets,
Of the Evening Bazaar.
A shop caught my eyes.
In a 5 by 5 enclosure,
An enterprising young man,
Had set up a shop,
With cages all around,
There were birds,
With feathers of varying hues.
Blue, Green, Yellow,
The plumage was a feast for the eyes!

But were the birds happy?
They were scared!
Tired, hungry and angry,
Looking for someone,
To buy them and set them free,
Or probably offer grain and water,
With love, care and affection.
They conversed in low chirps.

As I stood for a while and pondered,
I wondered, am I any different?
Trapped in doing something,
For a living – without a big choice!
The SMS alert from the bank,
Every month reminding me of the EMIs,
The happiness of the salary-credit,
Being overlapped by the splitting,
Of expenses all around!

The rising medical bills,
The growing costs of grocery,
Lesser and lesser interaction,
With friends in the real world,
Being replaced by bonhomie,
On Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
I wonder!! How elegantly I am trapped!!!

A vicious cycle is this –
That has no signs of redemption.
When was the last time,
I smiled honestly, without fear or pain?
When was the last time,
I attended a social event,
Without worrying about the ticking clock,
And the long commute home??
When was the last time,
I stopped worrying about an aged parent?

The mountain of worries and fears,
Piles one upon the other.
Neither is there peace within,
Nor confidence outside!
Like a wolf caught in the glare,
Of powerful headlights from an SUV,
I stand dazed on an icy path,
In the treacherous forest path!

As the clock keeps ticking,
I continue to question my choices,
Of having let go of opportunities,
Of having accepted challenges,
Of realizing that nothing,
Nothing at all matters,
And one is only as good,
As the last published post!

This urge to break free,
To bid goodbye,
To this false sense of security,
Is rising, the head throbs,
There is this intense frustration,
That builds into a castrated rage,
That seeks an outlet of release!

I am trapped, well and truly trapped!
And that’s the only truth!!
That’s the only truth!!
Perhaps, tomorrow, may offer hope!
Hope is the only emotion,
That offers comfort of any sort!
Hope is a good thing,
Despite being brutally trapped,
Hope is a good thing!

Of Questions and Answers!

Where are the answers?
My questions,
Do they even reach you?
My prayers – do they,
Have any conceivable value?
Is not the price,
That I continue to pay,
Every passing moment,
Sufficient proof,
Of my loyalty to you?

The clock continues,
To do its duty.
It ticks, every second,
Joining hands to make a minute.
The minutes turn into hours,
The hours into day and night.
But I remain clueless,
Without any answers!

Gently the light,
Of the setting sun,
Seems to caress,
The gaps between,
The curtains, twilight is upon us.
We seem to have nothing,
Constructive to do,
Destruction, death, illness and rot,
Of the body and the soul,
That’s all that remains.

Of people, busy in their,
Own little cocoons,
Glued to the notifications,
That pop in and out,
Glowing in coloured hues,
On their smartphones.
In this mad-rush of humanity,
Somewhere, someone, has the answers,
To all my questions!!!

Jottings – 20/01/2017

Who am I?

Am I the son of my parents?

The brother of my sister?

A friend of those who treat me as their friend?

Who am I?

What is this intense pain?

That starts mushrooming,

Throbbing at my temples?

Why are the visions?

Of another life,

Returning to taunt me,

Haunt me again and again?

How long do I run?

Till which point do I run?

Where is my chance at redemption?

Will I ever find answers?

To the doubts that plague me?

I have not been able to be a good son!

I have failed my siblings!

I have never understood,

What my friends saw in me;

I have never been able,

To live up to their expectations.

Never have I been able to celebrate,

Their special moments,

As I sink further and further,

Into an abyss without an end,

Darkness creeps around me,

I embrace it like a welcome rug,

That comforts me!

But then I awaken,

From this endless dream.

I return to the mortal existence,

Of chasing mediocrity.

Life goes on,

And as I fail,

Yet again to dazzle,

You with my brilliance,

I continue to baffle,

You with bull.

No redemption…

 

Till we meet again – Cheers!

It is 7:30 PM on this Monday evening as I type this out. Last Monday, same time, the winds were howling, rain pouring in torrents, there was no power supply and we were managing with a single light running on the inverter. It has taken a full week for things to return to some semblance of normalcy. Power came back late on Wednesday. Took a day for regularisation. Many pockets of the city and the suburbs are still without power and it is a scary proposition. How powerless we are in front of the elements??

On top of all the chaos unleashed by Mother Nature and the resulting catastrophe in terms of power failure, the great demonetization joke is truly taking a toll. I see construction work that has stopped, small workshops and factories shut down. The markets are no longer full of hawkers with their produce. I have to look for a shop that accepts card or Paytm for digital payments. This in turn is being used to advantage by these supermarket chains, which have cleverly hiked prices of fresh vegetables. Every single ten and twenty rupees note is quite precious and the 50 and the 100-rupees note, well they are like diamonds now!

The purpose of this post, as usual, I don’t know, 2016 is coming to an end. My mother gave me a scare of epic proportions as she had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment and the recuperation is taking its own sweet time. 2016 has been an eye-opener, I finally found out that I am a joke to a lot of people. People who smile, laugh and joke with me in my presence, mock, tease and call me names in private and spread rumours. Well to each his/her own. Life goes on!

I learnt a key lesson, trust your gut instinct, everyone will offer a 1000 opinions and nuggets of wisdom, but it is the gut instinct that will always prove true. I have seen friends blossom into successful novelists, photographers, singers and accomplished artists and I am happy for all of them!

Being betrayed by people whom I trusted with all my heart has once again proved the gospel truth — “Be your own friend!” As the clock ticks, every passing minute, I can’t help but rue the lost opportunities. If I had been selfish enough and honest enough to pursue my own dreams, life would have been different. Despite letting go, the past returns to haunt me. I have run far away from the past, trying to create a new life for myself, but karma catches up in weird ways!

At 34, I am not even a shadow of what I was. The hands tremble, the battle to sleep without nightmares is a trying task. This year again, I bid goodbye to some people. In front of my eyes, I see my mother disintegrate physically and mentally and I can’t do anything about it. I am resigned to fate, trusting that the medicines will offer relief. The intense fear that she will leave me when I am away, scares me to no end. But then that’s life isn’t it – always be ready for the unpredictable to hit you bang on the head!!

The cherished desire to complete the Girivalam at Thiruvanamalai was accomplished in the middle of 2016. On the first day of the new year, I embark on a pilgrimage to Sabarimalai, my first visit to the holy hill. I will be away, aiming to find answers, seeking to find pardon for actions that cannot be corrected. I seem to sink deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of thoughts that plague me. The sense of abject failure and dejection never seems to leave me. Despite having supervised a fair number of creative writing projects, when I seek to write my own story – I am a big zero.

I am supposed to work on a 500-words essay on the modern classroom – but try as much as I can – the words are not satisfactory enough and I have deleted two pieces of writing. It has reached a stage where even the one skill that I trusted would not leave me is slowly disappearing – the ability to string words together at will! My mind fails me, I forget things with unfailing regularity. I get these blank and blind spells, everything turns hazy for a while and I have to stand or sit silent for some time till normalcy returns. All the bashes and blows to the head from another lifetime, keep haunting me in these quirky little ways.

This will perhaps be the last post for a long time to come. I need to look inwards and find purpose and meaning in my life. I can’t continue to fool myself and others with this mask that has now turned into my identity. Till we meet again, if it is destined; we shall meet again here!

May 2017 offer all that you aspire for and bless you with joy and good health!

Cheers!

M

Rains, tears, times, friendships lost!

How a year changes things?
Friends no longer friends,
Blocked, banned, ignored,
Wiped, scorned and deleted.
It pains me to no end,

Why? Why? Why would I,
Invest so much in a friendship,
Emotions, love, respect, time.
And why is it that people,
Can get so easily influenced,
And judge me with such remarkable ease!

We all pay for our sins,
I fully agree to the theory,
But where is that I went wrong?
At least give me a clear answer,
Tell me why my friendship,
Is no longer of consequence,
In any way to you!

Don’t I even owe the courtesy,
Of at least knowing,
What is it that I said,
Or I did, sparked of anger,
Such intense and heated,
That I do not even,
Merit worthiness of a reply,
From you!! I have no answers.

I continue to be losing people,
One after the other,
The ones that I have trusted,
The most – have always,
Managed to let me down,
The most, without fail.
I look at myself,
And wonder, with so many losses,
Well – It is I who am to blame.

Yes, that is the only answer.
Clear as sunshine,
I am the one who is flawed,
I do not deserve,
Your friendship,
Or of others, who worship you.
For I am a negative influence,
Who preys on unsuspecting minds.
So it is best for me to just shut up.
And smile, and pretend that – “All is Well”.