Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Almost Doomsday …and then an after thought

“It’s strange,” he thought, “That she should feel so much guilt for such a minor misdemeanor.” The people she should have hurt, felt none, cause they did not know of it, the woman she had sinned against, was someone she did not know off, till the deed was done, and the one she apparently sinned with, could not care less. He could see her through the mist of the rain across in the café; her eyes still betrayed confusion and pain.

Sin, confession and truth…..he wondered watching the women, what it was all about? The Ten Commandments, the seven deadly sins - all now quite defunct, aside from the strange guilt she felt.

Thou shalt not do many a things… though shalt not use patriotism as a refuge for buying the dirty bomb! Now that constituted good old sin, dark and rampant, even Faustus would not hold near such depravity. And he laughed aloud, people on the street stared, many felt a shiver down their spines.

It was strange how the World leader, Tin pot dictator and the Terrorist, were equally chest thumping in their declaration of Nationalism. “To keep our people safe,’ each one of them said. Oh yeah, bump of people, finish off a part of the earth, to keep your nation safe, and of course the contamination of the regions. But he had work to do… his briefcase he carried that little job that would change destiny….

“Where has the earth come from, who knows that,
What shall happen when it goes, no one knows that either

Misinterpreted lines from the Rig Veda…..strange words to go through one’s head.

The rain was heavier, possibly the last great refreshing rain that the earth would ever know. The smell of fresh grass in the urban landscape left him with a nostalgia he could not afford. The postmortem of time, the actuality of everything changing in a few minutes from now, like a birth and then a quick death. For him there were no forty virgins, just an ancient prophecy that he had to fulfill in one way or the other.

Would the angels arrive or Kalki descent, or will the air become too tainted for anyone to arrive too offer redemption.

Moving inside the café, he ordered what would be the last cup of non-contaminated coffee. Grinning he shook his head thinking, “Enough power to unseal the seven seals of Revelation! Unleash the Gochihr comet!”

“You are mixing up religions,” the voice suddenly piped up next to him. “The end of the earth will be much simpler, we will all have enough and then simply die off!”

She had heard! Strange, the words were never said aloud, and how could she read his mind, “How do you know, what I was thinking about?” he asked. She was startled, the guilt still overwhelming her. “Did I say something?”

“Yes you did, about me mixing up religions,” he replied, with as much ease as he could. Warily she looked at him, whispering, “ I kind of thought you said Book of Revelation and the Gochihr comet together, one Christian, the other Zoroastrian….both about the end of the earth. I was not talking to you, just responding to the words.”

How could she read his mind, the Mephistophelian rage? He almost had the man on the cross, exchange his life for a better one and give up redemption. And had even helped spill enough blood on battlefields to call it righteousness. How could this dumpy, housewifely thing, so guilty about her aborted affair, hear the thoughts?

“Do we know each other?” he asked, normally a pick up line, this time it was genuine….had they met.

For a minute, she looked confused, and then she said rather meekly, “We have met haven’t we?” Had they? Everyone on the point of breaking a social rule and justifying had met him, at least for split second. Seen them all, right from the adulteress, to the person who decided to drop the bomb in Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. “Perhaps we have,” he acknowledged.

Then he saw the intense look in her eyes. Never liked intense women, turned him off, yet this one could read his mind. He nonchalantly asked, “So you read about religion and such like?” She shook her head, “Nope, it bores me, I used to, but now have collective fragmented Googled knowledge.” Then she took a deep, slightly frightened breath, “But it seems that you are concerned with the end of the earth.”

Fire and brimstone, he could cast her down now, this café and the earth, he did not even need the damn bomb he was carrying. Yet there were times when even Mephistopheles felt powerless. “We are all concerned with death, are we not? You know, the day we are born, we are doomed to die,” he replied as simply as he could.

She shook her head, “Death does not frighten me, life does. In this adventure, there are things that come up to change everything in one snap second.” Clicking her finger for emphasis, she added, “Like this!”

Then she stopped, why was she talking to this handsome yet strange fiendish creature with such intimacy? She had almost confessed her insane escapade to him. They had met before, somewhere and very closely.

He was unnerved; you could face the greatest heavenly warriors and yet shy away from a mousy woman. Blustering he said, “We all have our reasons to do the things we do, even the guy who waits for the end of time.”

“It’s not the need to see the end of time. Sometimes we are just not able to see eye to eye with someone who has given us the power to be what are now. An urge to rebel or even overthrow the power, and look beyond redemption. Of course, we don’t want to be ourselves,” she blabbered on irritatingly. Dear God, where was the confessor when you needed him? This one really could do with one, the priest or the psychiatrist.

He wondered for split second, has she figured who he was? Who was she?

The looking across at the now setting sun, he knew the bomb in his bag had to be detonated. The nuclear fall out would quick and devastating.

The voice next him piped up again, “You know, there is no point in trying to end the earth in a flash. It will happen on its own. Worse, it will simply decay just look around you. Pollution, radiation, facile material of mined uranium flow into village streams green house grasses, corruption, ever rising buildings….it’s happening. We don’t need the bomb to destroy us, nor the asteroid, we are doing a marvelous job on our own. Everyone one of us….”

He had to ask her, mindful of the dirty bomb in his bag, “Do you know me?”
Shaking her head, she looked at him, this time her mousiness had gone, “I don’t know you, I feel you, I sense you and sometimes I am you – as you are me. Involved in the same game of living and making some sense of existence, just as you did, in the beginning of time. We are all cast out of heaven… never ever to return.”

Looking beyond at the horizon, the words came out as they did many years back. For a minute, she saw the power and tiredness, the need to defy the truth and let the earth burn. She quietly whispered, “The seven deadly sins….” Then she left, walking out in the rain. It seemed to clean her up, wash away everything and even enter into the soul.

He to got up, the bomb untouched in his bag, there was no need to use it as everything was heading to an inglorious end. Then again, who knows, perhaps there was redemption, even for him…..only it had to wait, as doomsday still had not arrived.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Waiting for the Storm

He watched her in the deep, surrendering to the sea. Sitting on the cliff, he wondered if he should rescue her. But, it seemed as if she quite enjoyed it, arms open, waiting for the end….

For centuries, he had seen women like her come, waiting for their lovers and husbands to return from the sea. They were not given to much expressive love, but you could see the loss in their eyes. Moments of life slip away as they waited, once young and then slowly aging. Soon they got used to being alone. Though it seemed that this one did not want wait aging anymore, or perhaps she really wanted feel the the power of life in her veins as she slowly died.

“Love,” he thought, “makes fools out of such clever woman. Suicidal fools.” Her hair spread out on the waves, and soon it would be over. There was no struggle only giving in…

But now this was more than he could take. Sacrifice, what for, a human being who in few years would forget to love? And a love that would most likely become humdrum and perhaps even lose its way. There has to be much more to life…so spreading his dragon wings he went to her, towards the deep sea

The water crashed against his him, as he once more changed form. Her breath was shallow, as she seemed to give in to the water. “Damn! I’m not supposed to save these damsels; the myth does not allow me.” Yet he did, there was something about her. A sense of power…like one of those women who fought the raging wars all alone.

He had been seeing her since she was but a child. A village daughter, she would sit beside her mother cleaning the entrails, and then the boats. Scraping of the thick barnacles that crusted the bottom and sides, hard at work, gossiping, and laughing Each monsoon they struggled with the news of death. Till they again rose up to sing for a wedding or a birth.

One day she too married, and then widowed a year later. The monsoon storms had claimed her man; she was left with a child. Like the other women, who had seen it before, her strength grew from within. But in the evening she would come back to the edge of the sea, sometimes her baby would be there, as she would watch over the horizon. When alone she would wade int the water, swimming through the lagoons where the jelly fishes and mussels crowded together, into the wide open sea. Then the wails of her child beckoned her to return. Today she did not heed it, because something else called her further in.

He, the dragon would have none of that; he wasn’t against killing off a human or two, when it suited him, but sacrifice for a vague emotion…no too disillusioning. He dragged her to the shore, leaving her there enveloped by the darkness.

As he turned, he heard a voice. “I knew that you would save me, have been watching you for a while.” Her voice startled him, snapping his head around, he saw that her eyes knew, “I had to see whether you would come.”

“Is that why you went in?” he asked, wondering what human emotions were made off. She smiled, “No, I have no idea why I went in; perhaps I needed to give in. But, I’ve seen you waiting ever since I was young,” she said her voice barely audible.

“I don’t rescue women, I covet and then have a knight save them from me, or so the myth goes. And definitely not above sacrificing a few for myself.” He grinned, slowly metamorphosing back with his dragon wings.

But he could not take people for long, and his end of that specific time was already stretched. The fisherman’s daughter sensed that and got up, “Death and the sea are as interlinked, as life and the sea.”

“Fisherman’s philosophy,” he thought, as earthy as they come, and it did not appeal to him. He was made of roaring fires and stronger impulses, “No I saved you because loneliness is not a good enough reason to die.”

“What about love?” she asked.

“You never die of love, it is just that feeling of emptiness, being left behind,” he replied. And then he was off, as she walked back to her child.

The sea below called, he too was alone, had been for a while. For a minute he wanted to let go of the loneliness. But, it was not a good enough, just not enough…

Once again, the monsoon clouds gathered above him, and the sea stirred. He wondered how many wails would reach him this year of the women left behind, and how many more would walk to the depths of the sea.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Look Ma - There’s a Bird in the Sky….

“Guess what the leader of any democratic country, a despot, a terrorist and perhaps even a construction site engineer have in common – they build their dreams on the lives of the young.” Then he stopped randomizing, his audience was already hooked. Some were uncomfortable, others ready with jingoistic claptrap, and a few nodding their head vigorously. But nobody could ignore him…..

And then he went on, “The crashing, perhaps faulty MIGs in the Indian skies , the unimportant American soldier fighting a causeless war, undernourished girls giving birth to future workers and suicide bombers barely sixteen years old,” Radical enough…he thought. Meaningless too, who really cared…..and then he stopped. Hands rushed up in the air, someone told him about the greatness of the army, others about freethinking democratic leaderships, there were of course the apparent arm chair radical who vociferously thumped the anti-established line.

The moment was over – ageless as he was, he really wondered at the shallowness of this century. Such intense thought, over as soon as the voices mellowed down. He looked around….

And there she sat, unmoved....rare, usually humans are give to spontaneous combustion. For a minute, he wondered…

So he stepped out of the darkened auditorium with her, “You have nothing to say about war and the sons who die?” he asked. She laughed, “Humans have always sacrificed the young…nothing new, why am I expected to react.”
“Women’s love, motherhood and such like…” he said.

“New research say that the important reason for a mother to defend her young is to ensure her genes pass on,” she replied.
“Same reasons the lions eat the young of another male,” he added.

“Why blame the lions, the Greeks, Romans and every capturing soldier clubbed the male babies, making the women and girls their slaves,” strangely she was still grinning when she said so.

He was beginning to get uncomfortable, difficult when you see a woman with such lack of motherly love. “True, but it doesn’t seem to bother you, after all love has made our species the great protector.”

“Hmmm, about a thousand years back, perhaps more, many sent a young man; we claim to love to the cross, calling him a traitor, so that he could take our sins. All human love is essentially selfish,” she said in the same careless tone.

“We did,” he agreed, “But some would say that it was an act of redemption, and we were supposed to learn forgiveness from his act,’’ This was getting weird…he had to see where it was going.

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us,”
she recited, a memory from Catholic school. "This was said on the cross you know." Then adding with the same careless grin, “We never do forgive do we; instead we let someone take on the burden of sacrifice.”

“So the young are sacrificed, so that we can redeem ourselves,” he asked, “Now that’s a strange view.” Then he asked, “Who are you?”

“The same as you are, the harbinger of evil. Only you are ageless, and were the first to fall. Look around, the darkness has set in, the apocalypse has begun way back, and it is never going to end. The little man with the horse will not come, nor the archangels....we have sacrificed too much of humanity.”

Changing into his mythical form, he looked around, and saw the business suits, the party wear, and even the apparent casualness disappear, there was a metamorphosis…the difference was in the degrees.

There was neither heaven, nor earth anymore.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Feet and Shoe Thing

I saw her walking, stepping across the boulders on the hill. The MP3 player on her ears, locking out the world. She needs to get in the world now…how does one tell her? Have been waiting to talk to her forever, but she just hasn’t been listening. Of course, there are times that you have to play your little game of chess and move towards this pawn. And here she was – so predictable. Over the years, everyone seemed to have turned free will into a habit. Strange…but at least I knew where to find her.

A slight turn and in front….and she was near. “Hi there,” I said, she was wary, but polite- not the kind who really wants to be rude, replied cautiously, “Hello.” Then the familiarity caught up. We have met before, she knows it. So she smiles, to an old friend, then she whines, “Am kind of down you know, borderline depression.”

“Why?” I asked keeping a straight face – I think she likes being down, giving essential darkness, which is actually missing from her well-lit life.

“Don’t know – things have happened, moneywise and relationships, a certain lack of control in both,” she replied.

“Yawn,” I had to suppress it, how many people could you listen to with the same complain. Luckily she did not see the yawn, and went on, “I have no idea why I am telling you this, I seem to know you forever.”

I nodded my head and grinned, but what does one tell an atheist, that we have met before in stranger times, only she does not know. “You know I just find it so difficult to cope,” she added with a flash of tears for full measure.

The sun was setting prettily today, and I had to keep it on for a while longer, just to let her know. But she was not really interested.

“Why do you find it difficult to cope? So there are a few crazy things, perhaps even screwed up parents, and even loves that have slipped off – so what?”

But she was not listening, caught up in her own misery. Then I thought I’d give her the old shoe and feet routine. And I did…. “Look at this way, what is worse not having the shoe or not having the feet to wear it?” She had this incredulous look , “What does my life have to do with feet or the lack of it?”

Now whom do I blame for such lack of awareness. “What I mean is…” and then I knew once again it would some more time, “Look it’s not all that bad, look at closely.”

Then of course, she whined on again….the sunset could not be held for longer, and I let it sink. And moved on, I would always be there, but perhaps she needed to find herself a bit more. She saw the sun sink, moodily, and still unaware. One day… will wait for the day.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Taking his art seriously

The young politico was wrapped in the latest issue of Penthouse smuggled in by his favorite uncle, when his mobile burst into an appropriately jingoistic tune. “’aloo, bass, there noode painting in art ischool….do we burn it, throw stones, walk on our hands…order and we do!

This was a bad time to be bothered, just when he was whetting up his fantasy, “Arre yar, nude painting, kuch bhi karo – stone shone throwing, hungama, just do it. And suno how nude is the nude.”

“ Ekdam noode, our great Goddess, no saree, no nothing… our culture getting damaged – no! But saar you have to come, party headquarter order.”

So the young fellow left his magazine aside, went hunting for the red tilak, smirched it across his forehead, snogged his single malt on the rocks quickly and marched on. Practicing his religious face, he found his crowd, gave them the correct instructions, all connected to the pride of the nation. And they marched on.

On the way they were met by auntyji, who had just paid off her gigolo, she too had a protest march against nude art. In the car, she practiced her speech, “Thees iz insult to womanhood, nude painting of the mother!” The young politico had to keep his thoughts clean as she went on thinking her words aloud.

Soon they were there, by now looking as if they could shatter the earth itself. He in his white funeral clothes, with the red tilak shining like a blood spot. She indignant and shaking and together they had a critical comment to make on art….something like tearing it apart and torn assunder,then possible held across crowned with a very shaken and stirred artist.

The Crack Open Wide

He wasn’t really a vampire, it was only more fun to think of himself as one. You know the bare fanged – loony attitude, so incredibly sexy in its way. Made him feel good, covered up for the oddness he felt for himself, especially now when he watched the entire street open up him like a full scale meal… but then it was not blood that he was looking for, just the chase to find it.

She was there, closeted, dumpy in a sweet way, she’d do…and besides she may even hit the high Cs, with greater ease than others. Easy enough for pretend vampire like him.

And so they sat, "Ever had a cherry,” he asked not really sure why he asked that, just slipped out. “ A cherry,” he repeated, “red, round and a word prone to some vulgarism” She of course was most amused and laughed, it was a nice laugh….her cleavage showed, that was the degree of kinkyism she was all about. But that was okay, at this moment she needed the least effort.

And so in time they did it, locked away in the room filled with soft screams - marks on her neck…and then it was over in more ways than one. The urge to escape the room had got into him. He saw the strange look in her eyes; it had begun....the change over – now he could no longer wait.

“Gotta go babe,” he said, and she nodded, adding “Yes if you can find the space ahead,” A strange sentence , he put it down to post coital madness, and smiled indifferently and slightly indulgently. Opening the door – he heard the scream…..hitting like a force.

He looked at the wide cavern, empty and it screamed at him. The voice somehow spoke of loneliness and his past. The sheer emptiness of life, and his actions. At this point, he knew that nothing mattered….he was just a fake a complete shell of nothingness. His non-descriptive affairs did not matter, nor his despairing relationships. All he saw around was the depth of everything he wanted to avoid. Behind she was there all dressed and ready, “like a cherry,” he had no idea what it meant. It did not work being a fake vampire, because somehow he just could not give up his soul. But she had given up hers, the moment she stepped in the room with him.

She crossed over, and looked down the cavern, “ I am going – it is the free-fall, someone has to take it or this pit will never close.” And so she fell, weightless, the fake vampire watched her. One more sacrifice, for nothingness. The pit closed as she neared the fire below and everything went back to a certain normalcy.

Then he walked out, closing the door behind him, carefully stepping over the cracks. These show up in the most unexpected of places.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Horse whispering

Now do read this tale,
it may get me into jail!

There was a man, who's profession was horse breeding
he claimed he could do horse lip reading
It struck me strange and wondered what he could read,
Did the mare tell him, "He's a stud, ahem,I'd breed,"
or "yuck, him, really him! Could you find no other!!!
His child you really want me to mother?"

Anyway there were too many questions that came to fore,
and for your sakes I wont tell you any more!