When the skies sang a different tune.

‘Such a wonderful day I had experienced not for a long time indeed, so long that I’d actually forgotten what it felt like to have such a good day. Tensions and workload at work were at an all-time high, trouble with the girlfriend had now become difficult to restrict to a couple of times daily, the accident had rendered the car and self both in the workshop, friends had moved on; a lot had happened in the past couple of years.” thought Gekas.

Gekas was on the first day of his first holiday in eight years, an achievement he was the first employee to receive in the firm. Today, he felt no pressure, balance sheets didn’t depend on his detailing, the stocks wouldn’t take a hit. He also felt a huge emptiness inside of him. Never in the past five years had he experienced so much free time in hand. Work had become his life lately. Apart from work and his girlfriend, he had virtually no other social interaction.

This day he decided to spend at the beach. The sea where as a child he spent the bulk of his time, had been avoided over the past decade. The sea always had the ability to bring out the child within him, this was also the reason he avoided it. The sea also had this uncanny ability to make him fall sick, and hence had been avoided as far as possible. Today though the weather was warm, a light breeze blew by him, there were just the right types of clouds and number as well. The sun was playing hide and seek ensuring that even when out, the temperature did not increase drastically. This was good, especially when he had decided to spend his vacation here.

He sat there staring into the vast expanse, feeling tiny and soaking up the atmosphere. Children were playing, building sand castles, pretty girls were sunbathing, well so were a significant number of others who he cared little about. Athletes were training, dogs having fun, and families out on picnics, then there were the surfers, the bunch who always looked good no matter what; even if a wave had just totally decimated their style! He had missed so much all these years, the sun on his face, the light breeze, took him to a different place, a different age altogether.

He was no longer seated, he was walking ahead, there was someone with him though, hand in hand. He looked at here and smiled, she smiled back, but who was she?? And how long ago was this? He felt younger; a good ten years, life seemed to be oozing out of every minute part of his body – resembling a temple of constant activity. The internal energy radiated and so did the happiness, a happiness one could experience only when he was carefree, this was Gekas alright, but one who most people did not recognize.

What had changed then to make this happy, energy bundle a dull, monotonous, lifeless soul, one that had by now achieved machine status! Who was the person with him who seemed to share synonymous emotions, and where were they now?

Gekas stood up, dusting the sand off his hands and clothing, he proceeded towards the sea, the only thing that both frightened and endeared him both at the same time. He looked up at the sky, he hadn’t realized the passage of time. It was sunset already, the sky turned orange and other hues, the air-crafts had left a wonderful pattern in the sky, streams of white criss-crossing each other at frequent intervals, he counted 12 such intersections visible to him, many more unseen. He sat down again, then lay down, flat on his back, looking at the spectacle above that only nature could give, and listened to the sea grunt and roar from time to time. It consumed him like nothing else could, he was lost in trance, spinning away, the smile on his face widening. The holidays were already worth it.

It was funny how in the past decade he had underestimated the power of nature, being one with it; no amount of money could buy that, the sense of calm and relief that could be derived from plunging into nature. The joints he’d smoked up over the years in an attempt to calm his nerves had failed miserably in comparison to today, why then did he ever depend on them?

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IN THE HAZE

The lights went out and the eyes closed, or was it the other way around? I had been transported into another world all together. It felt unfamiliarly light, bordering on floaty, if that ain’t a word; too bad,  that’s the only thing that comes even remotely close to what I felt then. My eyelids shut tight as I battled my brain in an attempt to open them, fear had now set in. I was beginning to panic, this alien feeling was now beginning to consume me.

Suddenly, they opened up, I could now see what lay ahead, or so I thought until I realised it was all black. Was it really pitch black? Not a speck of light coming from any corner at all?? I frantically turned around in an attempt to see the tiniest speck of light, colour, movement; anything that re-assured me of my vision! I waited, but there was no reassuring response. Sitting up my arms automatically stretched outwards, feeling for things, resigned to fate the brain was now in overdrive. What exactly had happened? How did it go from being a wonderful day with sunshine after so many gloomy ones to one where I had been stolen of the very sunshine of my life.

Lost in thought, worried more than anything else, I felt around to see if I could make sense of the situation, to figure where it was that I was now located. Not a sound to be heard either, nothing even remotely familiar. Had i lost the ability to hear as well?? A cold chill ran down my spine, I shuddered, something cold had touched my arms. Suspended I was in mid air now, something superhuman had gripped my arms like the talons of an eagle, I felt like a rat that had fallen prey: petty and insignificant.

As I hung there suspended in mid air disgusted and disappointed with myself I saw life, as a whole, the essence of it. This is probably what death felt like, one probably felt light and funny and unimportant during their travel to the “other- better place”. “Gary, Where are you honey?” a voice sounded. Who’s voice was it, and who was Gary but most importantly where was I??? The suspense was killing, what was worse is I did not know if I was truly alive or in a transient state.

The speakers started blaring, “take me back to the paradise city,” it sang, a track way too familiar but also one, the implications of which at this moment was questionable, I shuddered; more so in an attempt to convince myself of life within. as the speakers continued, I heard more voices, however none of them seemed familiar. I seemed to have been transported to a new world altogether, one so new, the only thing I could relate to was the track still playing out of the speakers, wait! “What was my name again??” “Who am I?”

I heard people banging on the door, “Wake up you ass! Enough of sleeping Michael! Get your butt out!!” The banging on the door continued, “Was I Michael?”, I wondered.

The alarm rang and my eyes opened, this time though to be greeted by sunshine! The birds were chirping in the trees, and the smell of fresh coffee, a beautiful day it promised to be. Dizzy and dazed I tried standing up, my feet touched the ground and I did stand up. The state of trance seemed to have abated but woah! That was something. Pretty graphic for a dream or rather a nightmare it was. As I sip my coffee and try to remember the events of the night, I draw a blank, one puff of the joint besides and it all comes back!

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Shit this thing is strong!

 

Insurgence

A silent uprising had started somewhere deep in the depths of society, the depths that we can now call the mind. The protests, even the loud ones had been ignored all these days, and any proclivity to retaliate was suppressed. As is with any form of pressure; suppression, oppression: an eventual burnout is inevitable. The question then is how long you old out for. When does the rage within take over the better senses and flush out like hot lava. A volcanic like explosion is only typical.

The volcano, when erupting does not think twice about all the livestock, families, infrastructure that is damaged in the process. Neither does it think about how people displaced would deal with things, whether they would be able to at all. Starting from scratch is always difficult, no matter who you are, change despite expecting it takes by surprise when it comes through.

Emotions get the better of you, you flounder and are nothing if not a small child who’s let go of their mother’s hand and now find themselves lost in a big busy city. All the directions open to run to but not knowing the road back home. An equally worried mother looks around frantically for her child: her world, her life. Where does she look??? Displacement of anything in the lives of people is difficult. There’s always trouble dealing with that.

As the molten lava comes gushing down the hill slopes, I see panic everywhere, would do they take with them? Who do they take with them? Where do they run to? The eyes, they give away these questions as people turn from one corner to another searching for something, anything that would give them solace. Having lost all in the fire, the survivors decide to fight! Fight everything and anything that was promised to them but never provided for by people, fight the insecurities for only people with anything to lose could feel insecure.

The beginning of the insurgence looms. It is only a matter of time before radicalism shall chance upon an unsuspecting mind. You do not know what has hit you, just like a crocodile hunting for his prey, it is quiet, the turmoil beneath the surface, the impending loom is absent to the unsuspecting eye. You go to feel the water and snap, before you know it your prey to the lizard. The state of shock that engulfs you leaves you incapable of rational thought, fear sets in and you try beating out.

Frantic movements of the arms and legs and any body part possible, clenched within the jaws, these very actions only inflict irreparable damage, one that shall not need repairing if you are consumed either way. You tire, and pass out. One more falls prey to the insurgency. The mind played its fair share of tricks and one devious swine took his chance and it paid off.

Tragedy strikes when one is at his weakest moments. The vulnerability is what makes it such easy work, for tragedy is more a figment of the mind than the absoluteness of a grave reality. Thought gives birth to it. And when the mind is weak, the body is at it’s nadir. A sense of grief overcomes you, you do not think straight and then you make mistakes, decisions you will only regret later on.

Why should we then succumb to this insurgency? The insurgency of the mind, something that everybody at some point of time experiences, is funnily also what keeps the spice in life, it’s what keeps us alive. Peaceful, fulfilling sleep is a sign of control of this brewing turmoil for when it begins, the uprising would burn everything; right to the ground. The ashes  remain. 

Haunted.

 

 

 

Why hadn’t Stuart lived? To this day Nero had been haunted by this very question. Today on his 24th birthday, exactly 15 years after that fateful day Nero had decided to make peace both with himself and the world. That very world that had left him questions, very few of which had been answered.  He sat in his room going over the events of his life that had culminated to this day, the 24 years of his existence. This was a decision he had arrived at after days of deliberation.  The goal was clear, only the path undecided and that he would finalise this very night. The modes of transport had been narrowed down to the economically feasible few.

 

Spread out as his desk were a knife, a rope, a pint of morphine (that he’d stolen from the pharmacy close by), sleeping pills, a bottle of the finest whisky, water and cocaine. The stand out members though were the writing pad and pen both kept neatly at the corner. Two years of therapy had done him no good. They asked him to look upto “GOD”, to befriend him, ask all the questions. Gabriel at the rehab had always maintained that “GOD” would have the answers to all his questions however asinine they were.

 

Why then was he drawing a blank about Stuart? Was this “his” way of telling Nero that he was a worthless wretch undeserving of an answer to a question that had vexed him for 9 years? Was the pain and the suffering worthless? Why then should he live on in a world that isolated him? One that did not see his pain? Did he exist at all in the world?

 

Lara had once told him about a greater good, about forgetting one’s own pain in the quest for that greater good. Not once had she said the journey would be an easy one. However she had always maintained that the journey would give him peace. This though hadn’t happened either. Or was it something he’d achieve in the near future?

 

The thought of Lara brought a smile, however small to his face. Lara had always held a special place in his life. They’d lived right besides each other, gone to the same school, graduated with the same major in “Modern Literature in English.” She’d been there for everything and always faced him with a smile. The love she had for him oozed out of her eyes. Two years earlier she had moved in with him. That thought, for a moment perturbed him. What would Lara feel about his decision? Would she move on and live with it, “make peace with it” or would she for the rest of her life be haunted?

 

“The smart girl that she is she’ll find the greater good in life and work towards it, morphine and whiskey it was,: said Nero!

 

To the year that was and then that wasn’t.

So as every year passes by we are left behind with memories, experiences, some shit that’s etched into us forever, and a lot of shit that’s gonna be etched into history. Like it or not, that’s the way the world functions. Every year gives you something to remember, not just you but everybody has something or the other they’d remember about every year. Now those maybe the good things, what about the bad stuff? whoever said you could forget all of that?? With the good also comes the bad and then the ugly!

Life’s kinda fucked up sometimes. All you can do is to sit and wonder where the fuck your headed and surprise surprise, you still have no clue after a day of wondering! Yes everybody does go through shitty phases in life. We all feel miserable but the question is how do we react to the shit? Now giving shit back to whoever gave you shit, the “an eye for an eye” Maoist views are all crazy ass heroic when you listen to it at first but think of this, what if somebody goes all bonkers at you for a genuine mistake of yours?? We’re human after all we do fuck up, sometimes we fuck up pretty bad, so bad that everybody associated with us gets fucked too, what do we do then? Do you sit and cry over it? No. you get your ass back into the game and trying making amends, you try saving the day and no matter how fucked up the situation is, you still go out there and get your act together. Some days that leads you back to deeper shit! You realize you’re getting fucked over and then what?

This is a possibility most of us may have faced this year and there’s no guarantee that we ain’t gonna go through that shit next year as well, but we appreciate it for the year it was, for the records that were broken, the people who came, those few who left, the others that made us feel complete, the music that got our feet tapping, the people that got us smiling, the events that got us thinking, the stages that demanded us to act and the experiences that made us stronger, the others that made us feel human, knowledge of someone’s prayers, the quarrels, the fights, defeats and victories, injured pride and inflated egos; everything, all of that in its own way has made us the people we are today. We may loath ourselves, love ourselves, think there’s room for improvement, or wonder if the downward spiral is all that awaits us, but that for now is a mystery, one that only time will tell. For now all those stories, the complete and the incomplete ones have gotten us through another year of life where we all grew another year older and some hopefully wiser.

This year has been marvellous and even if we’d disagree on that its only a matter of time before it’s gone and then we’ll all agree on that. I am thankful for such a year, one of a little bit of self discovery, some emotion, some craziness, people, old and new who were part of the journey that got me here this day. The travel was fun, the partings bitter-sweet. I got no idea what next year has in store for me, I can’t say with any degree of conviction if all the decisions made this year were for the best either, but one thing’s for certain, next year, the new year is something I am looking forward to. This year has been a breeze, looking back at it, I remember how last year ended, exactly how it ended, and I can bloody well assert that this is how I felt last year too. At the end of each year, this is how I feel, uncertainty is always part of the game of life and embracing it happily looked like the better solution.

So thank you to everyone and everything that made this year the year it has been and may all of us have a kickass year end and an even better year ahead, at the end of which we shall all still be pretty much as confused as we are today. You never know what’s out there until you get there. ImageCheers 🙂 Another thing I suddenly fancy the typewritten font!

What happens now?? II

There were two gun shots. Not more, not less. Two distinct gun shots! I froze in the alley, my heart urged me to run to the bar, to check on Jana. I however fled, homeward bound. Another sleepless night. I resemble a zombie now. The caffeine is what supports me as I flip through every news channel available. The radio has also been switched on. Yet no news of any shooting.  Strange. I wonder to myself that nothing has been reported. On another day something like this would have been the headlines of every paper in town, journalists would have rushed to the spot within minutes of the incident, each trying to get his piece of the story. So why then was this ignored so long? Reflecting back, a thought passed my mind. Was the shooting a figment of my imagination? Was I hallucinating? After all I didn’t go back to see for myself.

It’d have to wait until evening. That’s when I could go back to see if all was well. However calling Jana was a possibility, one that I had ruled out may a time. Especially after walking out on her the way I did last night. She was about to tell me something, something very important and then I chickened out. I owed her a phone call, however dreadful it sounded. So I did call her. Not once but repeatedly, every single one going to voice mail. Fearing the worst I decide to go pay her a visit. Her place however was deserted. I’ve run out of choices. Waiting it out seems to be the only possibility that remains. Bound by a sense of responsibility and guilt, I sit around. An hour and a couple of coffees later, my restlessness has gotten the better of me. 

I walk out. Worried about what happened at the bar, more so about whether it did actually happen or not, I walk towards the bar.  I find it closed as it should be at this time of the day. No signs of a crime scene. I breath a sigh of relief. Immediate scenes lead me to think that I was hallucinating. I am concerned now, for my sake and pretty sure that Jana’s angry. Dismissing any notion of last night’s shooting I walk around the city making a mental note to return back later on in the evening. I try reaching Jana a couple of times but get no response.  

The walking around has made me tired, however I still make it back to the bar. This time I skip Joe’s and go straight to Mac’s. Surprise surprise! Jana’s missing. I ask around and Ralf tells me she’s been gone since last night. She’s alive I comfort myself. Just then Ralf calls me over and tells me he’s got something for me. A year back was when I came here the first time, and I’ve been here pretty much every night since. All this time and I knew Ralf was serious when he meant he had a package for me. Something about that discomforted me. In all this time if there was one thing I knew, it was that packages meant trouble! The look on his face said it all. A note on the top said it was Jana who wanted me to have.

Bidding Ralf good night I left as soon as possible. Even in all the hurry though, something caught my eye. Holes in the wall. Two of them right besides the door, holes that resembled those from gun shots, like a bullet stuck in the wall. Startled, I leave in an attempt to get back to the safe confines of my home. What was it that Jana had left me and why in the world was she missing? The bullets, did they mean that there was in reality firing at the bar last night? Why me?? Why did she choose me of all the people?? I ran, ran like a man possessed, reaching my home, I fumbled for the  keys. Where were they?

What happens now?

So this is how it goes. You see her, and you hope as hell that she’ll see you too. Not just see you but also take note of you and then you hope to set on a conversation. You’ve been in town for sometime now and you haven’t really stumbled upon too many conversationalists. You’ve decided to take matters into your own hands and pub hopping has started since then. Possibly it’s not a good idea to hop pubs. Maybe they deserve some loyalty and you may get lucky if you stick to just one of them. But then again how do you know for sure for you may be missing out on all those wonderful people in the other pubs and thereby doing them a grave injustice by depriving them of the opportunity to interact with you. Wouldn’t they be mortified at knowing that you discriminated against them just on the basis of the pub they went to? 

Wouldn’t that make you as much of a racist as the Nazis? Maybe that’s right, guess everybody needs a chance. Whether they take it or not is their call but they should be offered a chance. A chance to interact with you! After all they do not know what they’re missing until they’ve got a taste of it. However, for now your transfixed to the spot and your head seems to be transfixed to one specific position. Even as I talk to you, sitting right besides you, you respond, your gaze fixed elsewhere. I follow it and why am I not surprised for its still stuck on her! The bottle of beer in your hand has suddenly been replaced with a glass with whisky, on the rocks. Trying to be all classy are we now?

If that’d help you then so be it, I think and then can’t help a smile. How many times have you coaxed me into drinking beer and while I swore my allegiance to my whisky! Classy it was, refined taste and a drink for the man! And the brash kid in you reverted back to your boyish beer! Yet today, you’ve switched your allegiance! Why am I not surprised, you had to get it eventually. That is when I got it! the switch of drinks, that was a sign for me to leave the scene wasn’t it? I may have taken a touch longer to figure but now I was going to make amends. Casually I leave the bar bidding farewell to Lindsay and of I go on my journey now. 

You had reason to stay there and as I saw whilst moving out, she was now at the counter. A smile on her face and that was a signal, an invitation, one as definitive as an upfront smack on the lip french kiss! Go my boy, this is your chance. I though shall continue ahead and head out to Joe’s. Jana at the counter smiled, a wonderful girl with a smile on her face at any given time! That was Jana, perpetually bubbly be it at 10 at night when business had just started or at 2 in the morning when she was kicking people out! Yes, she smiled while kicking people out. Incredibly pretty is what she looked when she did that.  So as I walked in today and sat by at the bar, she came over something about her felt different. The smile was still on her face but I could sense something was different. 

Jana,was the only person I had spoken to on a daily basis ever since moving town and today, she brought along with her a glass of my regular. The eyes though told me a different story. One that I felt I should listen to but one which at the same time, I dreaded. The last night I left this place we were talking about murders and assault and all the gory things that could happen in a shady neighborhood and everything that could lead back to a bar. She had just about started with her first tryst with crime when it was time for us to call it a night. Now Jana was not one of those people I would sleep around with, she was way too special for that. It had to wait until today and I was worried, afraid to listen to what Jana had to say.

What was it that she could tell me that worried me so much? I had lost a night’s sleep over it. Was she by any chance an absconding murderer?  And if she was would she reveal her true self to me? And what happened if she did, would I be able to live with that?? So many questions that needed answering and it would all come to tonight. Now was the moment. I however emptied the glass in a hurry, paid my due and left. As I walked out, little into the alley, a gun shots fired!

Happiness, Why?

So what happens now? We smile and walk away, never to turn back again.. or so we wish! Instead, we smile and walk away, and a few paces later lose all self control and turn back and guess what! You’ve turned around as well. Surprised, I take a step back trying but failing to suppress that smile! A sweet surprise, it is indeed, in the distance showing all your 32; each reflecting light rays in a different directions I see your pretty face. Now that most certainly called for another conversation and we’re back at the bar. AGAIN!!! A couple of drinks later I suggest and you agree that it’s time we called it a night much to the dismay of Lindsay, my favorite bar tender. 

As I walk to the door with you by my side, I look back again and for some odd reason can’t help smiling. Lindsay sends out a flyer with her regular wink. I give you a ride back home and then you invite me over for coffee. The coffee offered with a wink stimulates me. Is it the coffee or is it just you? All I can think of is to take you in my arms and make sweet love to you and that is exactly what I do! Happiness, sadly for a lot of us has come down to this. Picking up somebody at a bar and end up experiencing the pain and pleasure of “making sweet love”. 

So what is happiness? And why are we always working towards it, in a desperate search of happiness, we wander across nations and people. Only today, as I was walking down the lane towards my subway station I happened to spot a couple of kids, a boy and a girl, maybe about 3 and 5 years old. The joy on their faces, the fearlessness of the world didn’t really surprise me but it got me thinking. Both the kids smiled and waved. I couldn’t help myself from returning the gesture, but when was the last time this happened with an adult, I thought! This lead me to analyse the life I have lived in the past couple of months in this alien land where I knew nobody prior to my arrival. I have come across so many people at my university, at the gym, in the stores, across the lanes and in trains, buses basically everywhere. Not many though were smiling. Then I thought of the people I met in India, the different cultures I had experienced and also the various regions I had visited. The story though was similar, all those people and still not many were smiling. Again, I would like to emphasize that these are only adults that I was talking about. 

Then I wondered about the kids in these places, both in India and here in Germany, I saw kids, most of who smiled and waved. Why was it that these kids could afford the smile? What differentiated them from the supposedly wiser adults? Did knowledge hinder man’s capacity to smile? Did it reduce happiness? Do you remember how as children a meager pocket money also did provide a sense of happiness. As adults we work our asses off and get paid but however, we are never happy! The constant search for more has lead on a wild goose chase and we seem to have lost happiness somewhere in the middle.

As I continued to think, a random thought drifted into my head. Think about dogs, they’re wonderful creatures! Truly adorable and they love you probably more than they love themselves. So dogs are angered when a new person/entity tries entering their domain. Same goes for most other animals and we should remember that we also classify as animals. However on the other hand, if it’s a known person that enters into their proximity, they’d be the happiest creatures on earth. A deviation from happiness is thus an animal’s cognitive response to any change. This I guess holds good for humans as well. Only though for kids, its different. Ignorance is bliss and their tiny little eyes are constantly exploring the world for any action whatsoever. 

Where, then in our journey did we lose our capacity to be happy? I guess, we got too comfortable to how things were. Once we had things aligned a certain way, we hoped they’d just stay that way. So when you wake up in the morning and find that newspaper isn’t where it should be, you are angry. An anger that is a direct consequence of a minor change. This in turn results in anger throughout the day, so you go to bed unhappy and cannot sleep well which in turn results in you waking up cranky and the cycle just continues. Alcohol helps you to relax your neural system so a drink at a bar tonight makes me feel a little better. I realize that I have been unhappy over nothing, and then like magic, I see you, sitting there right across the bar, and can’t help but feel a smile form on my face. She smiles as well, and then as we say the rest is history. 

Wasn’t she alien as well?? Weren’t you alien to her a well?? So why weren’t we angered?? Was it the alcohol, probably, but what’s more important is that we were relaxed and only then could we accept the visitor with a smile. I was happy because for that moment, I had become that kid who had met someone new, intrigue had taken over! At that moment, I could possibly accept most changes. Only when I was relaxed could I take sensible decisions at ease. An unnecessary pressure is what most people today experience at every juncture in life. In schools, in the university, at home at work and then it eventually becomes an attempt at damage control everywhere. The pressure gets most of us to wind up with things we are not genuinely happy with. It results in us becoming or rather attempting to become different people and as a result we do stuff we shouldn’t be doing. We study the wrong course, work the wrong job, dismiss our passions, make love to the wrong people, rather attempt to love the wrong people and as a result frown perpetually.

I smile as I Write this, not because I have been perfect, but because I have understood that acceptance was the secret to happiness. Accept what you were comfortable into your life. Accept what your not comfortable with and attempt to smile at it, over some time, you shall smile genuinely. Love genuinely, always love the person that makes you feel complete and tell the person that you love them. Its bound to cause some changes and you are bound to resist making the move but do tell her you love her if you do. Work the job of your choice atleast for some time! You need to know what your missing out on and only then will you do everything in your capacity to get it and be successful at it. Only when you are happy can you create a better tomorrow, and that is what each of us should do: work towards creating a better tomorrow,

So today, as I smile after making love, I know I am happy! I know it because I know what happiness feels like! You need to feel it as well, and you should search for what makes you happy because when your happy, your better and when each of “you” is better, the world is a better place. We all need happiness!!! 

What is love?

A song rushes to mind the moment this question is asked and it goes “What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, Don’t hurt me, no more..” Funny isn’t it that even music associates love with hurt. Apprehension: the mood the lyric conveys, something probably many of us would have related to at some point of time in life. For those who haven’t, don’t fret about it, you may be lucky, or your luck might be running out just like time.

In the park, in the class, in markets, tuitions, at work, in hospitals, and while planning to jump of the cliff, love has a weird way of making its presence felt, tough part though is that when it comes along, it just takes you for a ride. People are suddenly lost in this weird feeling, workaholics abstain from their addiction, absolute failures raise their game, numero uno’s suddenly find themselves lost. Weird are the reactions, mannerisms of people in love just like the feeling itself.

Have you ever been in love? Ask yourself, if you have, it won’t take you long to relate to what i say, inevitably a smile spreads across your face, and your lost in thought ; be it for a moment but you are lost in thought. Mature women become little girls, old granddaddies become boys, and war heroes suddenly seem mortal souls again. Strange thing that love is even the most experienced become naive little idiots! So what’s the fuss all about?

I met a few people at a bar the other day, on knowing I was from Mumbai (the Indian part they just guesseddd!)  the first thing they ask me is about “Bollywood” and why am i not surprised! Nobody cares about the capital of India or even in which continent the country is in, but still for some odd reason, people know Bollywood! Now drunken conversations can be crazy especially if you don’t know shit about the native language and I am beginning to dread it. Funnily though, I made comfortable, I guess the booze gets even the Germans to swallow their pride and English it is! Yay!!! Such a joy to listen to that language, something I can say only for my mother tongue Malayalam otherwise.

Nevertheless coming back to the focal point of our discussion, what is love, my new found friends ask me one question, “Why do you have only happy movies in Bollywood?” “Why is it that either the girl or the guy are from adverse backgrounds (economically or caste trouble) and they fall in love, and how do they manage to end up living together in wedlock?” Now it is strange enough to the normal realistic Indian like me as to how this really works, so to a german, who’s concept of marriage and love is altogether different, it should be super weird. But somehow, for some odd reason they are happy it is that way. Now what is wrong with these people???

I thought only the “aam admi” who enjoys this “movie terrorism” would be happy for its presence but here I found others happy as well. On prodding further, they tell me what strikes them as intriguing and also exactly what fuels their interest in such movies is how “love” is always given so much importance. Moreover, the institution of marriage which seems to be the root cause of all problems (deducing from movies) is given primary status! They like it coz everybody is happy eventually. WEIRD!

Ok, so everybody is drunk anyway, I gather the courage and ask them, “So, what is love?” Now why did I invite trouble at 2′ o clock in the morning??? Why??? The group goes silent and I am wondering which direction I should flee in, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, a spot a smile, and then two, and then three, suddenly all my folks, the old and the young, rich and the poor are all smiling. Thankful that I am in one piece, but still apprehensive about what may happen next, I can’t help but let out a smile; more to myself than anyone.

So what is this strange thing called love?

The Beatles once sang “All you need is love, love, love, love is all you need.” 

Who’s who Today??

The sun had set and the mourners had left. The relatives, or so they called themselves, had begun packing. Joan was still scurrying around in a frantic attempt to ensure everybody was at ease. , Dev and family had already left, Shanti aunty and family were set to leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow, slowly the relatives would clear out. Newlyweds Vivian and his wife would be the last to leave and that would be tomorrow evening at around 7. Then the house would be desolate.

Putting up a brave front Joan continued her arduous attempt at pleasing the relatives. Wonder-struck she was two days earlier when she first encountered these strange creatures that had suddenly landed up at Gayatri’s house. Crying kids, snobbish teens and parents ho for some odd reason believed their very social existence depended on the gadgets they carried. “Did you see Julian’s phone??”, Vineetha asked her husband, “Vivian gave it to her as her wedding gift, and what did you give me haan??”. A mere spectator in her friend’s house Joan wondered what had happened to the breed of relatives her grandparents used to talk about.

Recalling tales she had been told as a kid by her grandparents who had brought her up, Joan longed for a complete family. She had also been secretively envious about Gayatri about her family. She had everyone she needed, a loving mom, a dad who always made her smile and scores of relatives who would pop up at her place at odd times. What a joy it must be to be Gayatri she thought! Time and again though, she had eaten her words.

Death always brought about weirdness in life. The deceased always left behind a void in your life, one that would take ages to heal. Like the departure of one person wasn’t punishment enough, you had to deal with the bickering and crying and worst of all dramatics of the relatives. Genuine concern was a sentiment that seemed to have lost its place in this fast paced world where selfishness and self-centricity had become the governing principles. The times when relatives were actual support and provided strength had suddenly ceased to exist. She recalled her grandparents telling her about how each year, everyone would gather for festivities at their ancestral home. Those were true ties. Relatives who would stand up to be counted. Contrary to the scenes she witnessed today, those stories told her of happier times when humanity was a virtue practiced by many.

What had gone awry? There had to be something drastically wrong with the people of the world! She remembered an article she read a few days back titled “Son slaughters parents, loots house and flees. Captured and in custody- No remorse.” What had the world come to  was the same thought that had occurred to her while reading this.

The scenes at Gaya’s house only asserted the fact that everything was now about money, fame, comfort and “IMAGE”. The image factor is what had reduced human beings from caring humanitarians to fools obsessed with materialistic pleasures. Suddenly what mattered was who had what, and did what!

Gayatri’s loss was her own. She had lost her mother and suddenly she felt like an orphan. Her boyfriend who had been with her for over six years had refused to leave her house. With her through thick and thin, that’s what he had promised her and by the looks of things he was up for it. The shunning of “relatives” and scowls that he got, he patiently accepted. He had experienced many a loss in his lifetime to let go of Gaya now. She had been with him for the past 6 years, and he took her seriously. Relationships to him weren’t child’s play. It involved hard work and he had accepted that. If it was to leave her side when adversity struck, to stay alienated when “inconvenient”, how was he different from rapists and molesters, from the sleazebags trying to get some action?

In Rafael, Joan saw her only hope in resurrecting her friend’s life.

Ten years since this incident that had left a mark on her, she now felt happy for her friend. She had met Gaya today, a smiling, content Gaya and her toddler, after seven long years. Back then, she had sympathised with her, felt sorry for her friend and somewhere deep inside felt happy that she was an orphan. What good were relatives if they bothered about you only during the reading of a will? Today, she was a relieved woman, a friend. The past ten years had been no cakewalk narrated Gaya. The struggles and sorrow, ad however left her friend now happy. As Rafael walked into the room with Ishan, their toddler on his shoulder :a Kodak moment, it summed up their entire life.

The joy of life was not in the many that abandoned you, but in those who fought for you, stood by your side and even if in a losing cause, battled for you. The photo on the table said it all: Gayatri, Rafael and Ishan, a smiling Ishan who most certainly felt at the top of the world in the safe arms of his caring parents.

It’s sometimes only when you see how flimsy relations are that you learn to respect the beauty of the good ones. Humanity as a virtue is back, probably not with a bang but it is in mode resurrection! This done enters Joan’s child, a 4 year old who runs straight into his mother’s arms.

As a mother Joan appreciated the value of relations, especially having seen the dark side of it. She teaches her son to appreciate them, to appreciate people for who they are, and not for what they possess in kind.

To Joan and the many parents who battle it out everyday to ensure their children grow up in a world where some part of goodness still exists. To all those people who struggle today to ensure the child has a childhood that is really a “childhood” un-hounded by gadgets and material possessions accounting for their worth in society.