- Essentially Gold, The Lavender Hill Mob
- The Source
- In The Sundarbans
- The Knight’s Missing But The Horse’s Here
- Temple Food
So Carl saw a crow feasting on a Lays packet thrown on the roadside by an insensitive/ a silly/ confused/ messy person. That crow croaked and called his friend to join. Carl stood there for a long while, thinking and thinking.
When did this switch happen that the crows are opting for Lays, that also spicy flavour, rather than their normal diet? Is it by choice or the circumstances are no more junk-food-free for the crows?
The crows fly away and take the Lays for their young ones, who slowly adept to the tangy taste. All the crows sitting on the wire talk about it and the one flying far outside the city takes the news along. As time rises and sets every day, the crows become accustomed to the plastic packed diet plan.
And the story is rewritten… the thirsty crow finds a pot of water and a half-eaten doughnut, he chooses to binge on the doughnut, because he isn’t really thirsty, it is just the spicy lunch that burned the crow’s tongue… and the crow knew that water cannot solve his problem, so, children, the moral of the story is, directly go for something sweet and easier when your mouth is burning and you’re struggling…
Carl was staring at the crows and the passers-by were staring at him. Suddenly, Carl rushed towards the crows and shooed them away. He then picked up the Lays packet and threw it in a dirty dustbin nearby.
A sigh of relief! Carl started to walk away, where ever he was going to when he first heard the crows. He turned, the crows sitting on the lamp post where looking at him, they croaked. Carl smiled and said, “Thirsty Crow is my grandma’s favourite tale.”
Carl knew the crows have understood his words, beaming, he walked ahead.
Aaahhh! A crow flew and pecked him on his left ear. So, Carl stood there rubbing his left ear and the crows took a flight to Hawaii.
It’s a foggy day and I am walking to somewhere all alone, carrying a green umbrella pendulum-like. Rain shower won’t stop me. The blinding whiteness won’t scare me. I check my watch, it assures me time is good.
Hearing footsteps following me, I try to hasten, only then I realise it is no one, but me. These gumboots I tell you. It is all very funny, but still I cannot take a chance to laugh aloud.
Never knew the fog could trick. The fresh green plants and giant trees that till now looked painting-like, now seem spooky.
Suddenly I hear fresh footsteps running from a direction towards me. Numbly I tell myself don’t move, still I turn and find someone in a funny raincoat running towards me.
Then a voice, “Smarty pants, give me back my umbrella, don’t want this silly raincoat of yours’. It is my friend Marcia. I smile and say, “But you look good in it.”
We fight and then laughing aloud walk ahead together.
That I am and that I am not is a seeming. Life is a seeming just like its partner, death.
Rosaline, sitting on the branch of a huge tree, was collecting the passing clouds. Though friends with the clouds, she didn’t like to see them at night, maybe because she also collected stars.
The day-night cycle confused her. Grandma’s solution “you’ll understand it once you become a big girl” didn’t help Rosaline at all.
And so she started living in different worlds – the-bright-blue-sky-world, the-mischievous-cloudy-world, the-paper-boat-rainy-world, the-sparkling-starry-world, the-moon-pie-world, the-ghostly-pitch-black-world…
Two worlds sometimes merged into one and formed something unique.
Whichever world Rosaline was in, she was always excited to live it fully. Happily, she always announced early in the morning “today I’ll be in the-mischievous-cloudy-world’ or ‘give way to Rosaline, the-moon-pie-world awaits her.”
Lost in her myriad worlds, she lived madly. She even recorded her visits to these wonderful worlds.
She was proud to be the youngest and the oldest member of her family, youngest by age and oldest by the many visits she made to these worlds.
On her 92nd visit to the crunchy-autumn-leaves-world, she died. She fell from a huge tree.
Her last words were, “Grandma, you need to plus 22 more worlds to break my record”.
She is just ten years old. Talkative and curious by nature, she wishes to know, but only about the magical, the dreamlike and the pleasing.
Her world is of all the shades of pink. With the warmth of an honest, caring canopy overhead, she looks at the stars and floats in the Milky Way.
There is ample clarity in everything she sees and time’s her friend – blistering fast or dragging slow. There is only one melody she is tuned to and it is called life.
She is young and brave. Quietly, she observes the world and the world within her, laughs at her.
Battling the questions and transforming the answers, she moves ahead with every failure and tries to fathom the success.
A mirror walks with her; she has broken it umpteen times but they are still in a relationship. Her cries, her sighs, her laughs, her smiles, her ways and one life… all packed in a rucksack is her pride and joy.
The doubtful star burns with her glare and the rhythm of change trespasses the old.
She is living for others now and has placed herself on the top shelf, in a green trunk, under an old book. Close to many and far from herself, she is standing on the border – this way or that way… her life is slipping away…
She just woke up and whatever was under the old book, in a green trunk, on the top shelf she burned that rusted world to dust.
Walking on ashes, she turns black and grey until the mirror returns. It is not going to be joyous all through, but she doesn’t mind the sound of a burned guitar.
They say she is weak and crouched, that she hears less and that her wrinkles make her a puzzle. A puzzle indeed and a child from within, no one knows what a good time she is having.
Her old eyes shine like a starry night and things magically appear and disappear with her touch. The words cannot express bliss; she is singing, hear this – ‘La-la, li-li, o, la-la, li-li’.
She is extraordinary. She is over there, can you see her? I know you can.
Papa said, ‘I am not a negative thinker’. I almost clapped in approval, but then I saw him drinking at 9:45 in the morning. I dared to speak and I did, reminding him of the 80% blockage in one of his arteries. Gulp! ‘No negative thinking’, he advised me.
His red eyes and newly ignited soul went into the garden to work. After a few hours, I checked the fresh hairstyle of the garden, it was almost bald. Papa said, ‘Plants should grow this way’.
Which way you must be thinking? Whichever way Papa wants to grow it, you fool. He replied so, I am just quoting it.
My sense of understanding is weak; I am the wrong person to walk left when the right is right.
I am also stupid if I don’t remind Papa, thrice, that he wanted to drink tea, which invariably loses all its piping hotness and turns dead cold by the time he returns from the garden.
Kindly ask everyone in the street not to stare at me. So what if I look like an outgrown, zigzag tree, my Papa will prune me.
I have the whole life’s agenda, second wise, installed in my brain. I am to wake up early every day and run to the office, work and be good in it and come back home to get recharged for the next day.
Every hour I am to be alert; I am allowed even to worry about security. I again dared and asked Papa, ‘Security from what?’ ‘That thing… that… something…’ he said.
I understood zilch about it. Patience please, I am a slow learner.
Every minute of the hour, I am to relish the complexities of the present. It is to be like the dogs, they are so cute and hold only one feeling at a moment – hunger, aggression, love or anxiety.
I reluctantly told Papa about my opinion. He laughed and then shooed me away like a dog is shooed away.
For your benefit, I am sharing that it is not a wise thing to do. Homo sapiens sapiens can do better. I have read so in a book. Of course, I didn’t say a word about it to Papa. Do you think I am stupid? Ha!
Every second of every minute, I am to remain lost in whatever shit crazy thing I am doing. This will result in an unhealthy body, but a good position and a reasonable flat after a few years travail.
I am a middle-class being, this means to me what nirvana means to that mad ascetic I once met.
Do you know what the ascetic told me? He asked me to sit under a huge tree, pointing in the jungle’s (point decimal of what is left) direction. That’s it!
What am I supposed to do there alone, I shouted behind him and he shouted back, ‘Think’.
Confused, I asked Papa about it one day – a day that showcased crimson clouds from the window. He didn’t say a word.
I looked at the crimson clouds once again. Then I stared at Papa. I didn’t know there were four clocks in his room, one on each wall, until that day. I was sweating when Papa suddenly opened his eyes and asked me to get some water for him. He coughed badly.
He is coughing badly right now. From that day the crimson clouds haven’t left the window. I mostly stay near Papa and only occasionally go to sit under that huge tree.
“Civilization begins with distillation said William Faulkner….”
The way he wrote it on the blackboard, I first felt as if I am in a management class and I should note it down, word to word… later, I did note it down but the feeling wasn’t the same. The white chalk on the blackboard and the handwriting suddenly changed and I felt I had heard a secret that William Faulkner said long back. It happens a lot and though it’s strange, I enjoy these secrets… no I don’t understand the secrets, all of them, immediately, no, I just absorb them quietly.
I generally don’t remember all of them, especially on the occasions when there is a need to quote them but nonetheless a beautiful, warm and sweet feeling stays, the secret stays, forever.
The ink on my paper also talks to me but I rarely pay attention. And when I do, the ink has nothing to say. When it has something to say and when I also listen to it, a tear falls and erases it. Yes, tears can erase and paint beautifully.
I don’t know why, but I use the word beautiful a lot. There are so many other words like charming, pretty, gorgeous, lovely, graceful, even heavenly… how does it matter anyway, every word is beautiful. I scribbled some lines on the last page, it goes – ‘how beautiful the scene was but when I tried to capture it…it died.’ On that page then, I couldn’t write anything, not a word, I just doodled.
The flowers, the creepers, the sky, the moon and the sun close to each other along with the stars circling them, a small boat and a butterfly all danced their way towards what I wrote and then stopped. I darkened the moon, till it looked very deep and I have plans to colour the butterfly.
What is he saying? What are we talking about? Have I missed something important? I flip the pages and peep at someone else’s book. To confirm! Ha! It is the same page, nothing has changed, he has been talking and talking; I felt for a moment that ages have passed, time rushed some centuries back and forth for me, swinging in different worlds I almost always forget to live in the present.
Everything is so cold for some never ending seconds, then why will I not want the warmth of the other worlds? The last page…and I float again.
Oops! The duster fell from his hand and we all smiled. I shared my smile with a guy sitting next to me. How stupid is that? Laughing without any reason…though I generally do that a lot.
I have a story in mind… it’s an image that has stayed with me for a time I can’t recall.
An old man, he is tall but thin, his wrinkled hands and tattered clothes tell me something different from what his wrinkled face expresses – a smile.
He is always smiling or is it because the wrinkles have taken such a shape… or is it just my imagination. We are on the same bus and I never think about the bus fare because I just don’t, but the old man with a wrinkled smile fixed on his face seems to be thinking about it a lot. For two-three minutes, he requests the conductor to allow him to travel without the bus fare and then from his invisible pocket of his torn coat, he takes out some coins and gives it to the conductor.
I can’t hear the exclamations of the conductor, I am too engrossed to see the old man with a wrinkled smile fixed on his face.
The pages are turning, millions have written in it, the ink is dry and still alive… a lot has been said and there is still a lot to say… the blank page looks exciting and it says the most and aloud. I am listening. Are you listening?
‘Are you listening?’ Yes, I nod! He has written something else on the board, but I didn’t see him writing again.
“All truths wait in all things – Walt Whitman.”
Wait… for there is some truth waiting to get revealed in everything.
I wrote this on the blank page, there I also drew a time machine, then the whole universe danced its way towards what I wrote and then stopped. I plan to colour it with light.
La la la
I am dancing
La la la
I am laughing
La la la
Sky is clear
La la la
Life is near
La la la
Brightness in me
La la la
Lightness in me
La la la
All I see
La la la
Is the glee
La la la
I am Miss
La la la
I know bliss
La la la
Tiara was singing this weird song. She was hopping in the garden. The flowers were looking at her and so were a white rabbit and a caterpillar.
Lost in the present, Tiara was happy. There was no particular reason behind it. Everything looked beautiful, pure.
A blue bird was sitting on a tree near the garden. She had a message for Tiara. It was full of lustre. The blue bird thought it was time to deliver the message.
Tiara, who was without a clue about it, was blushing with joy.
Joy that brings a big smile on your face, that makes you peaceful, that stops your mind from thinking and time from running.
The blue bird landed on the lawn and Tiara took notice of her. Their eyes met. Tiara immediately knew what she was meant to know.
The lustre will stay with her like a fragrance; all she needs is to remember.
Deep eyes for whom are you waiting? You look like a forgotten painting hanging high on a wall of an old chalet. I wish to talk to you…come alive; the mortal world needs a touch of your beauty. Just for a few minutes or even a second will do…come alive.
A blink of your eyes might melt million hearts; your smile could dance in the darkness and glow. Lost in the hazy splendour, talk to us once or make a gesture.
Hypnotising colours that you are adorned with has the power of bringing serenity. Share some with me; one shade of it in my life and I’ll be seen flying without wings.
Surely you are waiting for someone but what is the pleasure in it? A beloved resides in your mind or… a question?
The elegance in you speaks for you. It says you know the answer and that you are just playing Life.
Are you happy to be a pretty curse? I dreamt you are. Clever!
I am capturing your colours as much as my eyes can discern, your elegance as much as my mind knows and your love as much as my heart can hold.
You have made house in many souls and though you go on living many lives, you know that your wait is not over. You know peace, but you are waiting for it to complete.