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!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The vampire with a fetish

My dragon set himself on fire,
Now there is a vampire to hire!
He has many a weird fetish,
besides he is half Swedish.
He Yodeled till he was blue
Then he'd lick the inside of a shoe.
Bearing his fangs he asked all those there,
"Would You rather that I licked you?"
Now a young girl who had a massive nose,
in her teeth held a red-red rose.
She said, "I'd like a lot done to me please."
holding out her shoe, she said like a tease,
"But first can you clean my stiletto heels?"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Smoking in Space

The Dragon, now free forever, sat at the edge of the belfry of the giant church. He managed to look a little like a gargoyle. In the modern urban space, life was a little strange and architecture a topsy-turvy avant-garde, so no one quite noticed him. He watched the millions of little humans, so ant like scurrying off to work and sighed, “Scenario one – I come screaming out and scare them all. Or Scenario 2, I turn into a human and prey on them. They don’t even make serious knights now! They turn into good obedient workers instead…sigh.”

The Dragon had been through centuries of warfare, but now it was dangerous to barge into human habitation, what with all kinds of automated shooters. A fire-breathing dragon could get the huffed up General, with a zillion stars on his shoulder to finally try his nuclear arsenal, who knows.

Of course, he would sometimes change forms and become human, and impersonate a general on the loose, trigger of a war and then move on. But that was not fun anymore, especially with the Cold War era ending, and the new enemy of the great state being the terrorist. It as perhaps the most boring time he had ever lived. The humans nowadays preferred staring into the television or intoxicating themselves with something or the other. He was seen either a hallucination or man in a dragon suit; the fire was taken to be advanced pyro-techniques, and applauded. Dull…

Ahead the Dragon looked into the building opposite him, in one of his metamorphosis he had worked there as an elevator man – you know pushing the buttons and reaching the people to their destination. A remarkable amount of people had got missing at that time, and then one bright spark began suspecting that it all happened inside the elevator. The Dragon, changed back….the metamorphosis was good while it lasted, gave him some time to think.

The building had an ad agency, nothing very major, a forgettable one. And it also had a real estate company, who were their clients. Together they created a whole load of nothingness. The time they spend together gaffing, scheming and brain storming, could have been put to better use, like fighting dragons and saving the world for instance. And the money they got paid…the mind boggled.

The Dragon had become a moneylender in one of earlier avatars in Venice. He called himself Cherie Locke, which had been later changed to Shylock. And he had a ball, asking for a pound of flesh from all those who failed to pay. Until of course a women came a ruined his game. “Women,” he thought, and she was a particularly pretty one.

Anyway, he dragged himself back to the present, and looked into the ad agency. Then flew in pretending to be a journalist, to chat with decaying shark teethed owner, they had quite conversation. He was easy to impersonate, so that’s what the Dragon did, only this time he did not eat him up, “too old, too gray, and bad teeth!” Instead, he locked him up in one of dungeons and let him sleep into oblivion.

After this he took charge of the system…his aim to somehow merge these two desperate businesses based on unrealistic aspirations and unsold dreams. “Darling,” he told himself, “It’s a question of space.”

Now looking like the ad agency head honcho, complete with the strange sharkish teeth and unseeming polish, he entered his office post lunch, in an appropriately pompous manner, condescendingly smiling at all those underlings. Some he could see swore under their breath, others ignored him and still others scraped their feet and semi-bowed, almost saluting the space he walked.

The Dragon gave a loud, “Good Morning – and let’s win the world today” and wondered whether employees made good meals. Then decided against it, never eat too close to home. A terrible line crossed his head, “Being a dragon in the twenty first century is a drag!” Yes!!!! He had the makings of a copywriter. And soon enough the real estate campaign was shoved down his nose,

It was followed by a visit from the boss-man of the real estate company. A truly smooth, corporate soul…you could eat him and replace with a robot, nobody would miss him. Then the dragon shook his head, better to go eat a chicken or a goat, inferior humans took their toll on the digestive system.

“I need a corporate image ad,” espoused the real estate space seller, “Every single soul in this city and across the internet should know that I am a man who wants to create healthy and happy spaces. Focus on the swings in the backyard.”

The Dragon smiled, “Go beyond the swing, and think people, think benefits, think trees! Let them think that every building you make is a favor.”

The youngish copywriter piped up, the line, “We change the geometry of the earth.”

“ ….And make it more square! Shh…speak only when you are spoken to!” the Dragon growled back. The young fellow popped back into his own shell.

Then growling again, Dragon smiled as he espoused, “The world order has changeth appease to the conscience - trees free, your soul flies like the wind! ….As the glacier melts; save the penguin from a cold…Make polar bears your friends, not jackets.”

The corporate real estate boss looked as if something cold had slid down his back… “I’m selling real space…money into millions.”

The Dragon smiled, his newly acquired shark teeth looked as if they had seen better days. “Exactly…All we need is a famous line, an attitude….and anyway who gives a damn – as long as they believe that they have got what they want.”

Then he leaned across the real estate boss, “We are all selling something that could disappear and have no meaning in real time.”

“Pshaw…rubbish, just plain bad philosophy….what’s with you today, you are my ad agency. I need ideas, not pontificating,” screamed the real estate boss, his corporate image slipping just a little bit.

“They are all just ideas; no space in any sense is real!” The Dragon said as softly as he could. Then he stared with his dark black fathomless eyes and something happened. It all merged into one, the real space, the new space, print, satellite based media, the internet - and the world outside, became a single dimensioned entity. The young copywriter tried to lance with his ballpoint pen, he could see the dragon regain his wild form. But, he was not a knight. Not even a particularly good writer.

The dragon saw the pool emerge –this dimension had lost its forms and had only one side left- a vast ocean. He went to sit out of it. There was no chaos - the three dimensions were over, even before global warming had come to fore… and there was finally nothing left to sell. As for the humans, there were where the dragon always wanted them, on the Petri dish, ready for closer disdain and observation.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The End of Direction – A short story

It hurts to set you free,
But you'll never follow me,
The end of laughter and soft lies,
The end of nights we tried to die,
but you were never a part of me”
The Doors – This is the End

At the edge of thought…she sat, once a priestess, now a hunter. The noble dragon that she had walked for a while was now gone, chased away by the seeming chains that she never wanted to put on him…she was once again alone. At the edge…everybody is alone…a meek consoling thought.

Walking on the hill, afar the sharp lightening tore the road apart; the priestess felt the sudden death wish. The shining white light, giving a sense of the ending… the dragon would laugh at her fears. She thought about it sometimes, his sudden coming, possessing and then he was gone…on some words. Poof.... vanished….Actually she wondered if he really liked her ever…

He was strange -the dragon, apparently noble, but manipulative. There was righteousness in soul, but cunning in spirit. In a world where creatures like him are hunted down, he knew how to use his wits; survival depended on it….and his had been through a strange life.

Once, the fires of hell had tied him chains. This is how he told the story. “Be warned,” he had begun, “the only way you can free yourself if you find the power to do so.” She would tinkle, “The power is within me,” He would look at her and then away, “No, the power has to be far greater and wiser.”

Long ago, in the forests of the damned, he had lain for a while and carelessly supped. The beauty of the forest had enchanted him. “I could not come out, and got in deeper and deeper,” he said.

The tormentors of the forest had finally tied his willing body in chains and for a while he did not wish to escape from. And that’s when had met the lady in the far away castle, “She simply had to crook a finger at me and I was there. I thought I loved her.”

Hearing this Priestess had laughed, “You noble dragon, you ran to a lady….don’t believe you.” He then showed her the tattoo of his first love, when he was still young, and they had once again laughed, as they lay together. The dragon did not speak about the lady in the castle much, but the one he had tattooed himself for-you could feel the love when he spoke of her. This tattooed, brokenhearted dragon was not the fierce image of a noble beast. But he never gave in to her, neither she had the beauty or power to crook a finger, or the pureness of soul to keep him.

Then he told her more of his story, “I was dragged deeper into the darkness, my nobility exchanged for a few bits of escapism, and the chain was pulled tighter around me. For a while I was a slave.”

Then one day, he found the power to escape, and he flew far. Vowing never to forget his lost freedom…he still wore a chain, on his arm, which at once was a signature of possession and freedom. She never asked him about his past, and he never said anything…you never forget the chains when you are free, but you really never want to talk about them.

The priestess looked once again, and this time she looked into her eyes. Black as coal, fathomless…and somewhere she saw the pain. But she could never ask him….dragons like to keep their distance.

She too had chains, but these were invisible, those that she tied around herself. Made of the ghost of the past, and unable to find the will to escape. A while she sat with her one master, uncomfortable in obedience. Long ago she had sworn allegiance to her master, never thinking that she’d wanted more.

Then in the depth of the night one day she had heard a screech, the dragon had come to her. He had watched for a while from a distance, and in his new freedom coveted her. Life had changed him, and the nobility, was scarred with the need for occasional warmth. He saw it in her, and so they walked for a while.

The dragon wounded by his past, gave up some of his nobility for that little comfort, so though he stayed, he also roamed. And she the serving priestess of another lord, had to let him go, she was not the dragon's, they were just walkers. In his wanderings, he found the world and gained power from it.

The priestess watched joyously as the noble dragon now had begun to spread wings, and went further. He roared fire and made the paths, and soon destiny was made, he even found a purer soul...and became hers. The priestess watched it all, and knew the days of wearied worshiping were drawing close, the dragon was someone else's, and she needed something more.

For the dragon drew away from the priestess. His path was strewn with wars, and so many maidens that he had manipulated to rescue and anyone who tried to make him theirs...he did not want them anymore. The priestess still walked for a while. Though he was now the pure one's. There was no point of jealousy; you can never claim what is not yours.

But now, he was gone, to be free. She watched him leave, as he politely told her, that he could no longer be of service. Hysterically the priestess asked him for his allegiance, "My world depends on you being there." But the dragon swore none, “All allegiance is of convenience. Let us go on separate paths.”

She did not want him to go, but there was very little she could do. The blame was hers, fallen, she suddenly wanted him to redeem her, tell her that she could have been special…but the dragon was not given to love or redemption…. The knights in the realm had wearied him, with their endless battles, some even challenged him to wars, and he had to fight on, simply to stay alive and free from his chains.

Then she became the hunter and set her across the course of freedom. The priestess gave up her chains and her deity. The lord summoned her, “The power to leave is not yours,” he said. She never said a world, but picked her meager arsenal and walked the broader path, telling her lord, "Walk with me as an equal and we can make a newer world." The future was scary, but the dragon had helped her find faith and she knew she could make it. Though he longer wanted to walk with her anymore.
I am not particularity serious,
No wisdom and thought I confess
All I can make are rhymes so silly,
that come out whilly nilly!

Once upon there was a dragon,
his name was fake Fagan.
Large he was, with glistening scales,
and given to eating large raw whales.
Anyway one day a knight called for a fight,
and that day his dinner was not light.
So he blew our some garlicky fire,
that burnt up the old bent squire....
The Knight was not too pleased
So he ever so loudly wheezed.
"Fie oh fie, Monsieur Fake Fagan,
You are now an eclipsed dragon."
But he just smiled, a scary smile,
The knight took out his unscaling file.
The poor dragon is now shaven and shorn,
never to fight he has sworn.

King Kong At the Bus terminus

Waiting for a bus in the big terminus,
The loud King Kong created quite a fuss!
"The bus gone, the toilets stink,
my girl friend is too small and pink."
Now he was quite large, and scary too,
not someone you could say boo to.
So he shouted louder beating his chest,
scaring away the passengers rest.
Till an old lady who had enough
shook her umbrella and said, "now stuff."
"You may be scary, big and quite hairy,
but your girlfriend is bored of you truly.
So behave, or in the corner you stand."
King Kong was so taken aback
That he ran up the magazine stack,
and up the Empire state building he scooted,
saying, "My sense of sanity, a grandma looted.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A vampire came to the city

A vampire came to the city,
seeing his teeth a woman took pity.
"Your fangs are mighty pointy
they make you slightly ugly.
To a dentist we shall go,
To get a neat pearly row"
The vampire just smiled,
and so ever gently filed
her toe nails nice and curly,
till they were also pointy.
"I'm a vampire with a foot fetish,
who is also kinda high on hashish!
I need no dentist, just a toe will do
Some wine and Swedish cheese will too."
And now I must say something censored
But it must be quickly mentioned.
The lady has a blissful look and strange toes,
the vampire has a pearly white but defanged rows.