I Dare To Stop And Watch

In the rush and hustle bustle
I dare to stop and watch
“Just like a painting”, I declare
“Just the normal, routine, everyday affair”,
They say, and break my heart
I click a picture and start
Walking towards where others are going
Feeling strangely happy, but not showing
I’ll read the painting when alone
Savouring its rhythm and its tone
A soulful visit, now and then
Who cares for where and when?
In the rush and hustle bustle
I dare to stop and watch

In Bloom

Gone are the days when a foggy day reminded of a short story that my Grandma read to me. It becomes just too awkward to step out for a walk and too dull to stay in. The wooden floor creaks when I don’t want it to.  The stairs quietly sit there, only talking to me if I stop in between and wonder about something.
Gone are the days when I wasn’t acquainted with the ceaseless and fleeting nature of time; when I didn’t understand what the wall clock was saying to me; when I thought of going through the mirror and meet Alice and her friends.
Gone are the days when the bed side table light’s friendly glow helped me to make last minute changes in the Mothers’ Day card. I always picked colours in pairs and tried my best to keep the card neat. This tradition is now forgotten though whenever I buy a card, I look for myself in the printed words.
Gone are the days when that old song transported me to my dream world. Now, my mind always takes me to a vacuum and when I suddenly come out of it I realise that that old song is over.
Gone are the days when I wrote with an ink pen, confident about what I am expressing. My letters looked as if I had scribbled throughout, but the response showed that the love always got conveyed successfully.
Gone are the days when the grass, the weeds, the flowers and I counted the clouds together. Some clouds changed the shape quickly and some remained the same – thick, heavy, floating nonetheless. The floor and the walls in the house are cold though accurately warm for me but not for the grass, the weeds and the flowers.
I try to take care of the plant. It lives in a small teacup, sitting shyly near the window. The curtains know the plant better than me.
Gone are the days when I wished and believed that it will come true. To see the plant in bloom just the next day after planting it is a silly wish wasted as a child but I am not silly anymore and so I don’t wish.
I am going to see how the plant is enjoying the weather. It’s foggy – I’ll say to start the conversation. Come along, if you want to.

To Dig Out Some God

Part I
I heard Gudiya and Ginni making a plan to dig out some God today. These little girls are always up with something funny, I have noticed. Like it was only last week when both the girls organized a wedding of their toys- Gudiya’s Doll and Ginni’s Joker. It was a big occasion, I tell you. Four to five children who live near that hill top… that one… can you see it? I can from up here, anyways, Gudiya and Ginni invited them. The wedding took place under this very tree and in a grand style – buntings, balloons, biscuits and a fruit cake, indeed a big occasion as I said before. While I eyed for the food items, I slowly started enjoying the proceedings. It was a ruckus I tell you, but when children are involved it is always fun to watch. Then suddenly Gudiya and Ginni starting fighting like they many a times do. It was because Gudiya and some other girl said something about Ginni’s Joker and she started crying. And like drama unfolding on a stage, the marriage never took place. I didn’t mind you know, the Joker actually looked silly next to that pretty Doll and when they all left, I enjoyed the fruit cake crumbs.
And today these two are up to dig out some God, at least that is what I have heard from up here. They looked quite secretive about it. Oh! They have made me curious now, you know, like they did once on that raining day. Ginni had come to Gudiya’s house and they were playing inside, I guess. I don’t always look out for them… I know how to mind my own business. So, I was sitting on my favourite pine tree, on my favourite branch, fully protected by the rain. In fact, I was enjoying the cool fog that was dancing all around the hill, when suddenly I heard the giggles of these little naughty minds. And as I turned, I found them looking directly at me. It was alarming, you know, I almost flew. Through the window, Gudiya and Ginni were pointing in my direction. I blushed, yes I did. Then they started making some marks on the window which was lightly covered by fog. I thought it was some kind of message for me. I flew down to a branch near the window when Gudiya’s mother called them and they left but only after rubbing the message away. I blushed again and then I got drenched. Not because I wished to but because someone else took my place on my favourite branch and the rain got heavy.
I’ll admit I enjoy being around Gudiya and Ginni, they are just like me you know, adventurous. And here they go, they must be running towards their secret place, near that old bungalow just a turn away from their houses. It’s not far, I can tell you that. An old lady lives there, she is deaf and doesn’t speak much either. She doesn’t allow everyone around her place but Gudiya and Ginni are exceptions, they are adorable and I think the old lady will agree with me. I will not join them right now because I know they will return back to their houses twice at least. Once, to get something that they must have forgotten and then, Gudiya’s or Ginni’s mother will call them to take apples and other food stuff along. Till then I’ll soar high.
The view is beautiful; all the hills look a giant mass from up here. I am feeling good. Hmm! Where is this group flying to? They must be heading towards that new food sight. Food and just food, it is the only thing on their mind. I feel a misfit in their society…oh, here they come. ‘Hello folks!’ I am courteous, now you know. I think I’ll get back…where have Gudiya and Ginni reached? They have already reached the old lady’s bungalow…now that was quick.
But I can’t see them, they usually play near the front porch. Wait, I can hear them. Oh, here they are, outside the backyard…. I think I should get a closer look.
Gudiya: This place looks right. Let us start.
So they are going to start digging here and find God. Little kids, they are so innocent and ignorant, I tell you. Let me at least give them the credit for being fully determined to do something. Just see they are sweating already but they aren’t stopping. Their poor little hands!
Ginni: Gudiya…will we find God? Are you sure?
Gudiya: Ginni keep digging, we have just started. And I heard it from my own ears. Dadi told me… that kid kept digging and digging and digging and finally God came out.
Ginni: How will God come out?
Gudiya: First we’ll have to dig and only then….
Ginni: What if his clothes get dirty and….
Gudiya: Ginni! God knows magic and wears magical clothes….
Ginni: Which God will come out Guidya?
Gudiya: Some God…who so ever will be free…now come on!
This is really funny but don’t get me wrong, I mean it in the right sense. I am actually very interested because both Gudiya and Ginni have a habit of finishing a game properly that they once start. Once, Gudiya must have seen a spy movie and was really impressed by it. She narrated the whole story to Ginni, I was sitting on a nearby tree the whole time and then the two of them decided to become secret agents and a spy movie started right in front of me. This movie went on for almost a week. Sometimes the whole day went in a hide and seek scene and sometimes in a car chase scene. The movie would have ended on the fifth day as Gudiya and Ginni had cornered their imaginary villain when it started drizzling and both of them had to leave. Nevertheless, the film ended with a clean face out and Gudiya and Ginni reported back to their boss where they got another assignment, which will become the film’s sequel, I guess.
For how long will they dig and how will this game end? They look tired but they are still digging. I wonder why they want to find a God. Definitely, they want the God to grant them few wishes so that they can ask for lots of toffees and chocolates and games and all that little kids enjoy these days. I wish they could answer my question but alas, they can’t even hear me and even if they do, they can’t understand me.
Boy: What will you ask God once you dig one out?
Now wait a minute who is this little boy? I have never seen him here and he is not Gudiya or Ginni’s friend either. But hey, he has asked my question, I better pay attention now.
Ginni: (As if questioning herself and Gudiya.)What will we ask God?
Gudiya: We are just trying to dig out a God….
Boy: But don’t you want anything in return?

Gudiya and Ginni look so confused. It seems that they haven’t given this point a thought.

Boy: How long will it take for you to…?
Ginni: Gudiya’s Dadi told her that once a kid kept digging and digging and digging and he finally found a God standing in front of him.
Boy: (Smiling.) Hmm! It looks quite deep already, what do you say?
Gudiya: But we’ll have to dig some more.
This boy looks strange to me. He has a very unique smile. Oh! He looked at me, directly. Yes! Yes! He did.
Boy: I’ll show you some magic.
What? The Boy knows magic? The way he is swaying his hands shows that he knows what he is doing. The pit actually looks much deeper now.
Ginni: He is filling this pit with jelly, Gudiya just see.
Gudiya: You know magic? Wow!
Boy: Come with me, I will take you to a magical world. (Looking at a tree nearby) You can also join us.
Ginni: (Looking at the tree) There is a same kind of bird, it lives near our house, right Gudiya?
Gudiya: (Looking at the tree) Yes! Very same indeed or is it the same one. (Looking at the pit) Can I touch the jelly?
Boy: We all will jump in it together, okay?
Gudiya and Ginni: Okay!
I am feeling excited and suddenly very happy. I cannot resist the Boy’s invitation to jump in the pit…so here I go.
One, two, three, jump!
A world full of colours, I can see colours everywhere…red, blue, and yellow and my favourite colour green. Stars are shinning and it looks like day time. I guess it was day time when we first jumped, I don’t remember it anymore. Let me touch this star…oh…it sprinkled away. What a wonderful shimmering world this is! Gudiya and Ginni are also jumping in joy. Thanks to this Boy. Who is he?
Boy: Let us explore this magical world.

Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird: Yes!
What, I can speak their language? This place is amazing. Hey! I didn’t see this roller coaster ride here before. Nevertheless, I’ll sit next to the boy…wait, if I can really talk now then why am I not…?
Bird: What is your name?
The Boy smiled and waved his hand beautifully in the colourful sky, got a peacock feather from thin air and placed it in his head. Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird were awestruck and couldn’t utter a word. The ride started and the three of them felt entranced by the marvels of the magical world and by the Boy wizard. When dancing colours took them into a land of the Red, Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird all became red in colour. The Boy laughed at them and they laughed along. They got down from the ride and went near a beautiful red coloured tree. The Boy took out his flute and started playing it. Meanwhile, Gudiya and Ginni tried reaching for the cheerful fruits of the tree. They jumped happily under a branch, trying to reach a bunch of fruits, until the Bird helped them. Gudiya and Ginni offered the Boy a piece and gave a little to the Bird as well. The Boy saw them eating the fruit and enjoying it. He with another trick turned his piece of fruit into a butterfly and Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird looked at the butterfly completely bewildered and dazed.
The butterfly was leaving a trail of silver sparkle where ever she was going. Once again the Boy clapped his hands and Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird were back in the ride and were following the red butterfly. Soon the Red world changed into a world of the Indigo. The sparkling butterfly changed into a shooting star and it rained shooting stars all around them. Gudiya stretched her hand and grabbed one; it made her whole body sparkle. Ginni followed the league and soon her body was also glittering. The Bird copied them and was astonished to see his wings sparkle.
Out from the sparkling Indigo world they all entered another world, a world of the Barren. The colours were dull all around and there was a queer sound of silence present. Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird turned with a questioning look in their eyes towards the Boy who brought them in this magical universe. The Boy smiled his serene smile.
Gudiya: Why is this place so quiet?
Ginni: Where are the colours all gone?
All of them got down from the ride and walked towards a slanted tree that looked almost dead. Once again the three looked at the Boy expecting him to do some kind of magic and turn the land of the Barren into a colourful painting. But the Boy stood quietly and simply smiled. It seemed as if he was waiting for them to ask the right question which Gudiya and Ginny finally did ask.
Gudiya: Can’t we do something to make it colourful?
Ginni: Can’t we make it like other colourful worlds?
Boy: Yes, you can.
The Boy indicated them to check the ride they have been travelling in and when they did so, they found bags full of all the colours they had just visited. Each of them carried a bag, even the Bird did and they began with the colouring of the slanted tree. Gudiya poured the red colour around the roots of the tree and Ginni coloured the trunk of the tree Indigo. The Bird with its wings threw a mixture of green, blue, orange, yellow on the branches of the tree. Together the three of them spilled the bag of silver and golden sparkle on the tree. And just in a wink’s time the slanted tree came back to life and changed its shape. Gudiya and Ginni jumped cheerfully and the Bird also relished the scene. The Boy appreciated them and then walked towards the tree. He stood against the tree and took out his flute to play another melodious tune. Engrossed in listening to the Boy, Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird stood there for a long time until the Boy asked them, ‘Why did you stop?’ Then realizing the work that they undertook, the three of them ran towards the ride and got other bags full of colours.
Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird as if dancing on the tune that the Boy played, threw colours in all the direction. The world of Barren was full of colourful riots.
Gudiya: It’s like the Holi festival.
Ginni: Holi!
Boy: From now onwards, this will be a world of the Holi.
Dancing on the tune of the flute and playing with the colours, time went by happily. Then the Boy clapped his hands and all of them were back in the ride again. They moved faster than light but simultaneously felt that everything around them was passing in slow motion. The ride, once again, made the three of them overwhelmed to utter a word.
Boy: Would you like to see another magic trick?
All of them nodded eagerly. The Boy smiled again.
Boy: But make a promise to me that you will always keep these colourful worlds alive within yourself.
Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird: Promise!
The Boy smiled and this time there was a hint of omniscience in his eyes. Gudiya, Ginni and the Bird found themselves lost in it. Galaxies were moving in his eyes and his presence was making them feel on the verge of being exploded in happiness. And so they did, the three of them as and when the Boy clapped exploded with joy and vanished.
What just happened? Where am I? My head! Oh! I am back in this….
Gudiya: Ginni…we couldn’t find God!
Ginni: What should we do now?
Gudiya: Should we go back and play at my place?
Ginni: Okay! Let’s go!
What! Don’t they remember a thing? Gudiya…Ginni…they can’t hear me anymore. How is this possible? Oh! Was it a dream? No it wasn’t! Oh! That boy was some God…. Gudiya, Ginni you were successful, you did find a God.
Part II
“How can one forget such a ride to different worlds, different galaxies Jo, maybe humans can but not us…in fact you know what my uncle Xu told me, he was a little one back then, he knows everything about HIM, about HIS extraordinary deeds and….”

“Fo, I have also heard that HE didn’t look like us all, that HE changed colours.”

“Why sure Jo, after all HE visited the land of the colours. Now will you let me speak? My uncle Xu told me that after that magnificent experience HE could fly for days without getting exhausted and that once when it wasn’t raining, our elders and everyone asked HIM to do something and so HE took a flight and crossed the clouds and returned on the seventh day with rain.”

“How did HE die Fo?”

“Die…? Eh!”

“Your uncle Xu must have told you.”

“Of course…actually HE didn’t die…one fine morning HE just flew away and never came back. But HE could be around, after all this is the same tree.”

“Are you trying to scare me?”

“But this is the same tree Jo!”

“Fo, now you will say that your uncle Xu told you about it.”

“Yes he did. So what? I can tell you everything that he told me.”

“I have heard that your uncle Xu tells a new tale every time someone asks him about HIM.”

“Don’t you try to make fun of my uncle, okay?”

“No…I mean there are a lot of versions….”

“Listen what uncle Xu told me, it is considered auspicious to talk about HIM and the magical experience HE had, remembering HIS words.”

“Yeah, I know that.”

“After Returning from the Magical World….”
— I lost the count of days and didn’t understand what was happening around me. I didn’t eat or drink for many days and simply didn’t feel any desire to do so. Then one day it rained heavily and I felt like flying. Everyone who knew me tried to stop me but I refused to listen. Just after crossing the first hill top I lost my strength to fly anymore and I fell down on the ground. I had only one thought in my mind; I thought it was my end.
The rain had stopped but it was still cold and foggy. I took few steps on the ground and tried to recognise the surroundings. And then what I saw I couldn’t believe it, the same Boy with a peacock leaf tuck in his head and a flute in his hand, the supreme magician was standing at a distance from me. He smiled his serene smile and I walked towards him. Seeing him again left me dumbfounded as by then I had accepted the fact that I have lost all my senses and death is the next thing that will happen to me.
The Boy sat down next to me and took me in his hands and then took some rain water collected in a pit nearby and helped me to drink it. I have never tasted anything sweeter than that, it quenched my thirst forever. He then said to me, ‘Try flying now’, and I obeyed him. My wings felt light and a new wave of strength made me strong enough to touch the sky. I soared very high and very fast. I was thrilled by this rush of energy but then I thought of the beautiful Boy and returned. He was nowhere to be seen. The fog disappeared and I found myself in the same place where Gudiya and Ginni had dug that pit. It was from that same pit that the Boy had offered me water to drink. From that point I visited that place every day; I often saw Gudiya and Ginni playing but I never followed them again. I was upset and angry…how could they forget the magical worlds? Slowly I thought maybe the humans have a curse to never remember a God’s visit in their life and maintained my distance from Gudiya and Ginni. I didn’t want the curse to affect me. —
“Wait a minute, I have heard something else. That after HIS second meeting with the Boy, HE did meet Gudiya and Ginni and scolded them for being so forgetful.”

“What? Who told you that?”

“Your uncle Xu once told my late uncle Ka about it.”

“He did?”

“Yes, but my late uncle Ka told us that your uncle Xu liked to exaggerate things….”

“Jo we were talking about HIM and not about my uncle Xu. Hmm! Now will you let me finish the story? I hope you know it is ominous to not to do so.”

“I know, please continue.”

“Okay. Then….”
— One day I saw Gudiya and Ginni walking towards the old lady’s bungalow. Gudiya was carrying something in a bag and Ginni was carrying a water bottle. I thought they were going to play their favourite game ‘Ghar Ghar’ outside the porch. They usually played it near the little ground next to their place but the old lady’s porch actually provided them a better option to set up a kitchen and the utensils, to imagine a kitchen garden, and a lawn etc. I thought these girls were going to follow their usual routine. But instead, they came behind the bungalow and slowly crossed the backyard after explaining something to the old lady. I flew to hear what they were saying. I was confused about their intentions and also worried because for me that place had become sacred.
I flew and sat nearby, I tried talking to them but all Gudiya and Ginni said was ‘what do birds chirp about all the time?’ and then they started digging the pit. I felt helpless; I couldn’t do anything to stop these little girls who were big enough to tackle me with a single blow. Then I thought that these girls can’t be cursed nor do anything negative because even if they don’t remember they did visit the magical land with me. A beautiful thought came in my mind – what if the girls were again trying to find God and that maybe the three of us get lucky and get to meet the Boy, the beautiful God with a peacock leaf tucked in his head and a flute in his hand, once again. I kept waiting anxiously but nothing happened. After digging the pit a bit deeper, Gudiya and Ginni carefully took out a delicate young plant from the bag and placed it in the pit. Then covered it with the soil and used their water bottle to pour some on it. Their face blushed with happiness and both looked immensely proud of themselves. So was I.
Both Gudiya and Ginni came to meet the plant and watered it regularly for some time. Slowly they became irregular and after their school started they stopped coming at all. But I came every day and I can tell you that it was not just any simple plant; soon it started growing into a tree and was easily distinguishable from the rest of the flora. It had a magical glow, the trunk, the branches and the leaves, every part of it kept shinning whether it was day or night. The water that dripped from it after the rainfall tasted sweet. This tree truly reflected all the magical worlds that I, Gudiya and Ginni travelled along with that lovely Boy God.
Were we lucky or it was all just a dream? I don’t have a concrete answer to this question but I have a feeling as strong as the feeling of being alive that we did visit the different worlds of different colours and experienced the magic it was full of; with the blessings of the Boy God we even got the opportunity to colour one of the worlds…if I could term the joyous ride we undertook in one word, it would be called spiritual. Utter bliss!
I don’t know if I or Gudiya and Ginni or anyone else is devoid of such an experience in this world. I was skeptical and proud before Gudiya and Ginni planted this tree here. For me this grand tree is the connection between our world and all my magical worlds…all thanks to Gudiya and Ginni…the colourful worlds are alive in their hearts. My life is ecstasy! —
Part III
Today Gudiya and Ginni are not in touch anymore. They live in the same town (i.e. when they return from the respective cities they work in), but Gudiya shifted to another locality. What drifted them apart –time, place, the world and its ways, they themselves? It is not clear, maybe there is no reason behind it and maybe all the above mentioned reasons are true. Gudiya is a writer and Ginni is an architect. Let us hear them once, just to get an idea about who they have grown to become.
Gudiya (talking to her friend on the phone): My story is about a little boy who becomes friends with a giant oak tree in a forest. And just listen the title of the story, it is really catchy, the title will be – Krishan and Shakespeare. How is it? No-no, Krishan is the boy and he names the oak tree Shakespeare. I know, I know you have doubts but wait till you read my first draft, I just finished it today….

Ginni (talking to her friend on the phone): I have news too ya, that idiot again rejected my plan. Hmm…says it is not an economical approach, waste of space and the things he always say. And so easily he just destroyed the entire model…said that the park section and the trees on the road are taking a lot of space. What will happen to this country ya?
Both Gudiya and Ginni seem to be completely lost in their own world now and whether the colourful worlds are alive in them or not, only they or the Bird or the Boy with a peacock leaf tucked in his head and a flute in his hand, knows.

The End

That Old Beggar’s Sweet Life

She doesn’t remember much about herself, though bits of her childhood days are still nicely preserved. Her skin has become rubbery soft and her hands, murky, hard; the wrinkles run madly on her whole body. She walks in the town and is known as That Old Beggar. A dingy, skinny dog tags along with her. She spends most of her time around the old damp junk yard, sitting under a scaly tree and pondering over things.
She talks elaborately about her home, sometimes. She speaks of a beautiful country house, her sheep and goats, the kitchen garden and the birdhouse. Once she was found humming a tune and dancing on the road. With an invisible partner, she swayed elegantly in her mind’s ballroom. She had almost stopped the traffic, but when asked, she agreed very politely, to move aside.
There were few people in the traffic who noticed That Old Beggar – A man who had come from the hospital where his mother was admitted.

A middle aged woman with her husband, busy with her thoughts about her family; she didn’t know about her husband or her kids, but she wanted all of them to stay together.

A taxi driver who was humming a tune and a lady sitting in the back seat, reading a newspaper (she was reading about a Muslim girl who won a prize for making a ground breaking discovery in the field of neurology).

A physically disabled girl, who was proudly showing her mother the drawing she had made in her class that day.

Others passed without noticing.
Later That Old Beggar, sitting under the tree, caresses the dingy, skinny dog with a lot of love. She then takes out a burnt, left over cigarette and lights it up. She sits there… quietly for a long time.

The Freedom to Have Freedom

Who has the power to oppose freedom? Is there a need to curb freedom? Do we all really understand the meaning of freedom?
The dictionary explains the word freedom beautifully and very clearly; it says freedom is the right to live in the way you want, say what you think, and make your own decisions without being controlled by anyone else. It is so amazingly apt that the word ‘right’ is used in the definition of freedom. The Right to Freedom!
But because of some terribly silly causes we are still devoid of freedom, freedom in the truest sense. Layers and layers of senseless questions, which at times have proved to be highly sensitive and superbly great ones, have given birth to a confusing labyrinth whose starting point and finishing point is the same.
The rise and the fall of epic revolutions all over the world, the deadly wars fought loudly with a bang and quietly with the money, capitalism, fascism, liberalism and the rest of the -isms, socialists, communists, anarchists and all the other –ists, democrats, monarchs, elites and the general public in question, knows it very clearly (especially when things come to a sudden halt [usually after a huge fight]) that all of it is a big mess.
Haven’t you heard of this show – A Big Mess; The Puppeteer – few rich blokes and the Puppets – rest of us? It was made into a film a long time back and strangely, it is still running successfully.
Fortunately, there are many individuals all around the world who get a chance to know freedom, but unfortunately they still have to face the above mentioned confusing labyrinth. Nevertheless, such people, knowingly and in a simple way, bring a change… they keep walking silently.
Nothing ties them because they know how to break the shackles, nothing makes them weak because they have the power of reason and nothing confuses them because they practice freedom.
Every question fails to exist in front of the power of freedom. Whether the exuberance is limited or is for an entire lifetime, the free soul soars high.
A happy fact is also associated with freedom and it is that of equality. Freedom is meant for all, without any discrimination, without any prejudice it stands boldly, waiting for every single hand to reach it with a free mind.

Today with the Clouds

I say the clouds by nature are very funky and awe-inspiring. I enjoy watching them pass; just a simple hello or a nod is appreciated. They swirl and sway, move in waves and dance every single time, yet they maintain their uniqueness. I mean something which can be counted as a routine, an unchanging event, is actually a very grand and beautiful journey.
Only time might be able to answer how many eyes have dreamt and seen their secret mysteries getting a platform on the clouds – a bunch of flowers, a giraffe eating tree leaves, a cute rabbit, a candy bar, a bicycle, a boat, a pretty face, a simple smile – everything floating silently, invisible to others but clear to those happy eyes.
I say the clouds are a blessing in disguise. They are what freedom might look if given a form. I often try to paint them, to capture them, to be like them… a far-fetched dream. I am trying and I’ll continue.
I tell you there is some sort of sublime never-ending party that is going on up there. I have a proof… I didn’t believe it until I shared it and got to know that many, many, many people know about it too. Some of them have, like me, heard the clouds laugh… not just giggle but burst into laughter.
Others talk about the clouds as singers, dancers, good listeners, painters; a well-known scientist had said once that the clouds have the coolest particles, meaning that by nature they are funny and calm. Clouds also like to play. But more than anything, they are profound… I mean they have depth.

Wise people say that all the answers become clear in the end… it is now believed that ‘all the answers become clear’ because they are hidden in the clear looking clouds. So I guess one should not wait till the end and just keep looking. I am going on the hill top today… let’s see if I get any answers… nevertheless, I’ll have a good reason to burst into laughter.

It Came Quietly To Me

Cry at times and don’t hold it back
Take a pause and then look back
You’ll find a way
You’ll see the light
With a calm mind and free eyes
You’ll connect to your soul and realise
That you were, you are and you will
Always be free

I am happy I am free

Death

I was wondering about death… then about someone dying and something dying within… is there a difference or is it just the same thing? Maybe the latter is more cruel and inexplicable than the former. One dies and leaves suddenly without any answer, answered or question, questioned… while sometimes it takes time. Whatever be the manner, it makes us sullen… until we are charmed yet again by our friend/foe – Dear Forgetfulness.
And when something dies within, it dies in spite of being very much alive, it dies no matter if you understand the phenomenon or not. The aloofness rules and takes you away from that person. Rosie and Vanessa are still friends and share a lot with each other, but one of them knows that it will never be the same, ever. This invisible but imposing wave that runs smoothly in this world was the reason that made one of these friends aloof. She is always busy with something or the other.
I talked to my psychoanalyst friend about it and she got the opportunity to lecture me about her theory (she has one for everything). She said that in both the cases, when someone dies and when something dies within, a return-trip ticket is possible and in the majority of the cases it always happens.
The theory goes like this – one can connect with the dead through memories, resolve things in the mind, make up stories with happy endings and firmly believe that the dead one is happily floating and dancing somewhere in the sky (she laughed for five long minutes, saying that one of her patient saw his late dog doing samba one starry night); when something dies within you, its dead body remains inside you, it then depends wholly on the person to either do the burial ceremony properly or let it roam like a zombie. She said, “Fascinatingly, a majority of the people like to have a zombie….”
There were umpteenth dimensions of this theory (she spoke for two hours) which didn’t clear anything to me. I mean what do you mean by ‘sometimes you become friends with the zombie, sometimes you try to kill it and sometimes the zombie turns into a butterfly and is redeemed’? Balderdash! She is bonkers!
It was only later that evening when I sneezed loudly and couldn’t find a handkerchief in time, that I realised what my psychoanalyst friend was trying to say. Sneezing and realizing…it is not linked, I just wrote it to tell the eh …am …the chain of events. I washed my hands immediately. Yes!
Anyways… oh … I was talking about death and… how incredible is this… my friend/foe… Dear Forgetfulness you are too much.
One last thought – I know I will die one day, but this simple truth is something very powerful, I don’t mean I am now waiting for it. Why wait, when it is coming sooner or later. But I thought of it with eyes closed and I saw snow capped mountains and it made me feel grand. Should I share this theory with my psychoanalyst friend? Oh! Not at all! It’ll mean another long session, a very long one or simply death.

Duma Xan

Duma is a 2005 film directed by Carroll Ballard.
©Warner Bros. Pictures

Xan’s life changed forever. He didn’t change his path; he walked on the path that was meant for him.

Everything revealed slowly and transformed him and made him aware. Xan cared for Duma, loved Duma to an extent that he started understanding him completely.

Though he accepted it only at the last moment, he somewhere always knew that Duma deserves to live a free life.

The laughs, the games, the tears, the silent talks were soon going to be nothing but shared moments stored in an old box kept somewhere in the past.

All Xan knew was that he could open that box anytime and relive those memories – memories of his late father and his lovely friend, Duma.

Xan often thought about Duma and the time they said goodbye to each other. At first, he was skeptical, he thought Duma might be upset with him for leaving, but then, he realised that it was the right thing to do.

He closed his eyes and saw Duma’s eyes –big, beautiful, and alive. Xan was hit by a gust of wind which slowly tried to calm him down and stayed with him until he smiled.

He told himself, ‘Duma must be with his friends right now, going down to the riverside or maybe already there… relaxing under the shade.’  

Xan and Duma.
The film is based on a children’s book How it Was with Dooms
that tells the true story of a young boy’s friendship with an orphaned Cheetah.
©Warner Bros. Pictures

Duma is sitting on a tree branch, one of his friends is sitting nearby and the other one is strolling in the bushes, just like that.

The sun rays are not falling on Duma, but his eyes are shining nevertheless. He can see Xan.    

Watch the trailer now

While these questions circle uneasily in our minds, “Duma” creates scenes of wonderful adventure. The stalled motorcycle is turned into a wind-driven land yacht. A raft trip on a river involves rapids and crocodiles. The cheetah itself plays a role in their survival. And the movie takes on an additional depth because Xan is not a cute one-dimensional “family movie” child, and Ripkuna is freed from the usual cliches about noble and helpful wanderers. These are characters free to hold surprises in the real world.

Roger Ebert, the film critic.
Read his review of Duma here.

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I Forgot

I was coming back. In the bus people sitting attuned in silence, hypnotised to the bone, were no different from me until I looked outside the window with sleepy eyes swaying without a reason. I wasn’t asleep. Whatever was passing was in a rush and I was in a deep slow-motion, so nothing matched. A thought came to me and I started pondering over it. Gauged a bit about the thought and would have done more, written a few lines, but I forgot; whether I just forgot the thought or to pen down the thought or both, I don’t know.
It is really funny, the party lights seem to be dancing just because they are in a party. But in that sullen room where a solitary sullen bulb glows, no one dances. Rich place for getting scolded and for discussing the future. Who listens when the elders talk? Who listens when anyone talks? My mind keeps running a never ending tape that I have to adhere to. Yet another thought that I wanted to work on, but I didn’t because of two reasons – I couldn’t find a pen and then I simply forgot to. Hah!
Could it be that while you are walking all alone, nothing changes in you, you are naively, accidentally, mistakenly moving with tranquility and when you are a part of a loud ‘what’s up-oh that-like really?’ crowd everything changes in you, you are then surrounded by absolute confusion and fear? Changes that crawl and form a labyrinth inside, of which you stay completely unaware. It can happen. I completely forgot that it can.
What I remember though is that I should make a card for my uncle and auntie. There is no occasion but then cards aren’t meant only for some special, grand celebrations alone.
“Where are my colours?” Yes, I remember that and so one day I began. I half did it; learnt a good lesson though. Here it is in parts – 1) even if you are not a 10 year old, you can still spill water and make a fabulous mess and 2) (the best one) the comfort of your bed and using water colours is not at all a good combination.
Soon million tiny things around wage a war against you without even moving and you are certainly helpless. You’ll then not find the scissors, the only clean brush, the pencil or the eraser and as soon as you get up to take a stand, things fall and laugh at you.
My hands… they are muddy green and bluish… am I an alien? Using water colours means getting your hands dirty. Oh! This didn’t bother me when I was a kid. I very often made cards for all my friends, getting my hands dirty never was a problem. I guess I just forgot.