Friday, December 25, 2009

The night journey of 9th december, 2009

2141 hours. The long winding road stretches endlessly. I look out my window and witness the scenes unfolding on one side of the road. The night is cool, dry and silent. There are no streetlights and I’m certain that this part of the world has neither seen any kind of technology nor will it any sooner. The roads are full of potholes: a result of what looks like long neglect or half-hearted attempts to make them traversable by journey-by-night trucks, long-travelling buses and the occasional smaller vehicles. The road snakes its way through hills and rugged plains that were long ago wounded, blasted away and razed to a level ground in order to lay down long, black and tar reptilian routes. Now, with their holes, humps and bumps and tortures surfaces they seem overwhelmed by the plethora of still untouched nature on either sides. The trees, plants and vines closest to the road are caked with mud and dust and look sinister and ghostly, illuminated only by the car headlights. Apart from the trees and vines, there are walls of sliced up earth where I can see dead roots of mighty trees thrusting out of the mud in the most bizarre angles, whose lives were cruelly cut short when great elaborate machines sliced away the earth. Undisturbed, these roots would have spread far and wide below the earth to their full glory. Now these skeletal roots with their dead trees lie grotesquely displaying a gory image of man’s activities. Now and again the headlights sweep over breaks in the seemingly infinite train of jutting vines and looming trees. Dark gorges and foreboding chasms, carved out by waterfalls that had gushed, gurgled and teemed with life and there was lush greenery and heavy water laden clouds to complete the picture, now lie painfully bare with only memories of lively springs and ghosts of tiny streams trickling down the slick and mossy rock faces. We move ahead seemingly uncaring: our car whipping up dust clouds and adding another layer of dirt on the trees by the side of the road. I gaze listlessly at the milestones and my mind vaguely registers the changing figures under the names of places known and unknown; each stone showing a couple or three miles swallowed up by our robotic, indifferent, relentless need to move onwards. I lie inside the car but my thoughts run amok, treading the perpetuity of nature. Sometimes they fade to a blur like the ground below, sometimes they surface and make their presence felt like the stars suddenly appearing through stray clouds and silhouetted canopy, sometimes meandering warily like our precarious journey on these serpentine roads to imminent destination and finally merging with the mysterious shadows and overwhelming darkness beyond the reach of the meagre headlights. After attempting vainly to bridle my thoughts, I sigh and resume gazing out my window, at the mourning forests and at the long winding road that stretches endlessly...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The nostalgia

12 years ago I was about 10 years old; young, innocent and carefree.
Things were blissfully simpler and the most worrisome problem was my little sister getting a bigger share of chocolates and sweets because she was “just a baby”.
The 6 year old rascal was my arch enemy.
The pinnacle of humiliation was my own sister calling me by name without a trace of respect.
The thing that shortened my 8-hour sleep to 7-hours was the frightening possibility of getting 9 out of 10 marks in my Kannada dictation.
I was a content soul and ignorance was my prerogative.
The most delightful idea of fun was playing hopscotch with all the neighbourhood girls who were more or less of my age. It meant I could leave my cheat of a sister at home and not worry about her going to Mother bawling, when I don’t let her have her way in hopscotch.
I used to experience a feeling of warm humility when those girls looked up to me to take any decisions and solve any complicated problem that we faced regarding a particular hopscotch rule.
My heart used to soar with joy whenever I realised we were not getting on the city bus to the boring market but the express one that would take us to Mangalore, the enormous city of wonders.
I adored the sly smile on Father’s face when this trick of his worked every time before we got on that express bus.
I used to do my chores with great enthusiasm when guests were to come over. With great effort and concentration I used to make myself presentable for the guests and wait for their arrival with barely contained excitement.
On my 10th birthday I glided around in my new dress proudly showing it off to the monotonous crowd of the apparently awestruck students in uniforms. Wearing “colour dress” on your birthday was an accepted rule then.
Whenever I fell and scraped my knees badly, it was heartening to see almost all of my classmates running around to get cotton, gauze and Dettol, even when I knew what would follow were a couple of painful stings.
The bitterest fights were over getting window seat in the school van.
The momentous day was when Mother told me she had a baby in her tummy and soon I’d have a tiny baby brother or sister.
The most mind boggling challenge was choosing a name when, eventually, my little baby sister was born.
The biggest dilemma I faced was when I was dying to hold her, yet didn’t want to; afraid I would hurt her soft fragile body.
I first felt cheap thrill when Mother admonished my rogue sister one day, to be more considerate towards our little sister as she was “just a baby”!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The distraction (excerpt from the not-very-highly-acclaimed "The Mental & the Mundane" series)

I felt the first pang of hunger when my lecturer said "Kitchen". I don't know why he said that and in what context but it was enough to remind me that my meager breakfast was almost 3 hours old. I was keeping up a good pretense of listening to each and every word of my lecturer's jargon with rapt attention when, in reality, all of those words were taking detours way around my head. That is, until he mentioned kitchen. My brain somehow managed to register that one word while it effortlessly ignored everything that came before and after it. Once my stomach brought to my brain's attention, its profound emptiness, it decided to go for a full-fledged attack. Similar to a furious war-cry that precedes a bloody battle, my stomach growled wildly much to my embarrassment and increasing discomfort. Within five minutes from the moment my lecturer uttered the godforsaken word, I was ravenous with enough energy to attack any type of food with the enthusiasm of a ferocious pack of hungry wolves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The night of 20th May, 2009

2.12 A.M and still the sleep won’t come. The deficient slumber has driven my mind to paranoia. All is still in this tiny room of mine that I rather reluctantly share with my sister. As I write this, I curl myself up trying to make myself as insignificant as possible at the corner of my bed. Through my unsettled and unexplained fear that has been tugging at the brink of my sanity, I desperately hope that whatever is out there - an unknown entity of some kind - doesn’t breach the sanctity of this humble abode with its dark reaches. The fear is steadily growing now, tightening its icy grip over my heart and making its way slowly and surely to my mind. In the distant thunder rumbles and through the windows that dominate the wall beside my bed I see the flashes of lightening bathing the world around me momentarily with its brilliance. This happens in a random profusion. The rain has been falling for hours now but the rumblings and flashes in the sky seemed to have gained strength, as if they had been biding their time, until now. Lightening, with an ability to disorient its watchers, precedes loud thunder claps that have now become sudden and vigorous and frighteningly close. This startles me, adding to my growing discomfort. As if sensing my uneasiness the rain has abandoned its steady, comforting, almost lulling pattering against the windows and has resorted to an uneven pattern; one moment silencing itself to a whisper of a light drizzle and in the next coming down hard and purposefully on the wet earth and everything over it. Yet my senses are riveted by this amazing display of nature. I feel humbled in front of this awesome, frightening power which never, for a moment, fails to remind me how insignificant and vulnerable I am. This unsteady, haphazard, disconcerting sequence of rain, sound and light continues undauntedly and I begin to wonder if nature has some fantastical sense of grim levity that it uses its prowess in such ways to show the meek, unsuspecting humans their place.
2.41 A.M and sleep is elusive as ever. My body is protesting for rest but my mind is playing a remorseless vagabond. To prove its point, it has set my imagination free into the wilderness. Apart from the nature’s cacophony outside, everything is silent and still. No sign of activity or sound can I sense from the civilization around me. The power cut in the city still continues and as far as I can see everything on both sides of my window-dominated wall is covered in night. The senseless fear that had begun as a disturbing uncertainty is beginning to spread its black and cold tendrils, wrapping itself around my mind. My mind is repulsed by this illogical primeval instinct and a fresh wave of anger washes over me giving a strange but welcome support to my teetering sanity. My terror, however, refuses to give up its dominion over my heart that is ramming against my ribs. My sister lies peacefully on her bed shrouded in darkness oblivious to everything including my sanity warring against my feral terror. I envy her and all the beings asleep, lost in the worlds present only in their subconscious minds while I lie here, with a measly source of light barely illuminating this book, cowering under the conscious reality. The room tends to become hot and stifling and so, one of the windows is slightly left open to lure some blessed air in. There is not much success though, with only an occasional light breeze making its way through the crack, bringing with it the smell of wet earth and ozone tinged with the unmistakable reek of a polluted city. The air also blows against the curtains and their movement, caught by the corner of my eye, sends fresh waves of unadulterated terror coursing through my body. The relief that I get once I realize the real culprit – the breeze, is not at all enough to squelch the overwhelming terror that preceded it. As I hope against hope and wait patiently for the slumber to take over, I glance outside; afraid that anything more than a glance will shatter my resolve and fixate me on the unfolding wonderment of rain, lightening and thunder. But a glance is enough for me to register that the mighty old trees sprinkled all over the city have started swaying. The gentle breeze has picked up speed turning into gusts of wind that whips through the drenched night and rattles the window panes. Not unlike the rain and the thunder, the wind blows haltingly, unsure of its path but surging ahead with determination and impatience. It presses and slaps against my window with sudden bursts, rattling the panes and scaring the living daylights out of me in the process. To make its presence even more pronounced the wind develops a haunting howl, fuelling my fear. The howling is incessant, the sound rising and falling in an unpredictable patterns mixing with the angry rumblings of the night sky. My imaginations takes wild turns and brings to my mind’s eye a vivid picture of an unearthly, savage creature. Outside, the howling reaches a high, frightening crescendo and my out-of-control imagination mercilessly associates the feral sound to my immaterial savage fiend; an enraged cry mingled with pain since the creature is injured and incensed beyond the limits of natural instincts. Its next prey has its fate sealed and it will suffer something worse than death. In the corner of my bed I strive desperately to shut my mind’s eye and the effort makes me shudder involuntarily. For the thousandth time I will myself to sleep; with no success of course. Abruptly, the grim horror symphony of nature stops and I’m jolted by the sudden silence from my curled up position to an upright one. For an unknown length of this strained silence nothing stirs, not even a faint whisper of breeze. Vaguely I realize I’ve stopped breathing, not wanting to break the silence. A sudden noise behind me: like a rustle of fabric that sounds unnaturally loud in the unnerving silence. I whip around on my bed in search of the source in the darkness, only to regret the act terribly later. As soon as I drag my gaze away from the window to look behind me, a flash of lightening lights up the sky and everything beneath it with a brilliance surpassing every flash that had preceded it. My room is illuminated by the light and everything in it appears grotesque, the shadows dancing, terrifying. Undoubtedly, my on-the-loose imagination perceives the scene before me with a staggering exaggeration. It all lasts for only a moment but in that minuscule point of time the last vestiges of courage that had resulted from the anger over my senseless horror, take leave of me. I exhale explosively and clamp my mouth tightly shut to keep myself from screaming. On cue with the lightening comes the imminent clap of thunder, much more loudly than it actually is on my sense of hearing that has been rendered overly keen by my fear. Unlike the light the sound persists for long excruciating seconds rattling my bones and battering against the earth until I feel the bed vibrating under me. My mind finally surrenders to the bout of fear joining in defeat with my beaten heart. Fear takes over everything boldly as if it was confident from the start that it was going to triumph anyway. It eclipses over my senses, its shadow numbing every taut muscle and every frayed nerve in my body. Incredibly I wonder why I hadn’t surrendered myself- heart and mind- to this nothingness earlier, before my consciousness was bludgeoned. I sink deeper; effortlessly into the fear, - was it fear? – the incoherency, the numbness and the darkness. The blessed darkness... 

The beginner

As a first-time blogger I'm clueless about a lot of things. Starting with what on earth exactly I'm supposed to type. I'm also just beginning to get around these formalities I've to comply to before I can even start typing anything. I write a lot. "A lot" can't even begin to describe how much I write and how diligently I love writing. I've been loyal to the old pen and paper when it came to giving an outlet to my plethora of thoughts, opinions and my vivid imagination. Until now. After a lot of thinking and brooding over the potential consequences and a bit of incessant nagging from some external factors, I've finally decided to start this blog. I don't know what I'm going to post particularly or whether I'm going to post on a daily basis. A lot of my writing has been a result of intense inspirations that leave me scrambling for some blissful distraction(e.g. an extremely boring lecture). All in all, I just hope the readers like reading my blog at least half as much as I like writing them.