Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Story 1

This is a story I wrote long ago. Honestly, I had forgotten that I had written this one. I was rummaging through my collection of files and archives and chanced upon this and a few others. I will be posting these without editting them, as I wish to same the initial works as they are (however pathetic they might be). I remember it was Hemingway who said that the initial draft is nothing but excrement! Here goes...

Started off as a story before getting transformed into a dialogue...

And the world goes round & round & .....

It was late in the evening . We had to go to Mr. Dwight's birthday party . I never liked parties . They were too noisy & usually too crowed.So I thought a quarter hour rendezvous with my solitude could ease out the party-time blues. I loved walking on these jagged rocks with waves lashing around for attention. They would get in between these rocks & swell to meet. If you acknowledged their eagerness,they might return, if you didn't they would recede & return nevertheless. I always wondered about the relationship between the rocks & the brine.Were the waves beating the rocks & foaming into Schadenfreud laughter or were they running across endless miles of watery landscape to meet their earthy friends, their zest broken down only by the steadfast friends who greet them in their entirety. May be every wave had a different relationship with each rock & the beautiful sun watched over them. I loved the sunset. It brought back the energy that my day's work hungrily consumed. I had no favourite spot, but usually sat atop the rock on either side of which, there were rocks. It was like a natural throne. The waves rarely reached my throne. I moved towards it & noticed a person at a distance sitting alone. His back was crouched, but he faced the sun. The only thing familiar about him was his fishing cap. I walked up to him. He didn't hear my footsteps or he chose not to. I bent a little & said,"Mr. Dwight?" He turned around, slowly and said,"Andy, what a pleasant surprise. What made you come down here?"

A: Wish you a very happy birthday, Mr. Dwight. I was just strolling & couldn't help but notice that you here all alone. Aren't you supposed to be at home getting ready for the party ?

D: (Smiles & pats the ground besides him ) Sit down Andy. Parties are a little too crowded.

A: (Waits for a few seconds) So, how does it feel to be 75, Mr. Dwight? Must be a wonderful experience.

D: (Breathes in deeply) Yes, but I wonder if it was worth waiting so long. (Smiles at me ) 'Tis heavy stuff for you, son, lets just watch the sun set half way & leave.

A: If I am not probing , what is it, whose worth, you wonder about?

D: Whether it was worth living with these people I know, whether it was worth being what I have been. Whether these 75 years have been worth the wait for 75 years to complete.

A: Why do you wonder? If you are happy right now,don't you think it must have been worth it?

D: (Smiles at him) That is a very interesting thing to say. You have a little poet in you. I watched you while you watched the waves. You have a different way of looking at them. But when you grow older you might have to stop looking at them the way you do now. The people around you take a lot of your time. Do you like the people around you?

A: Yes, a large portion, I would say.

D: Why is it that you don't like the rest?

A: Some I disagree with & some.....

D: On what grounds do you disagree with them?

A: Some are liars, hypocrites, unethical & the like. I couldn't like Johnny because he smokes & tries to force people around him to take it up, too.

D: I think 99% of the human race is crazy. They say something & expect something else.

A: Quite true ( but I noticed he wasn't listening to me)

D: They live according to their convenience & talk of ideals. They beat their child for being dishonest,but are ready to furnish a false medical certificate so that the school pardon's their child's absence. They talk about compassion & understanding but are to engaged in the super bowl or the soaps to give it to their near ones. They taboo sex but okay it between a married couple. They are so judgemental & feel that the conclusion is more important than the subject over which the same is drawn. They call a group, fanatics, & burn down their establishment. They pick at the person's personal life to prove him incapable of the position he holds in his professional life. If you say," It was wonderful", when it wasn't then you are a liar; when you say,"I didn't like it", then you are rude. You know something is correct, but you are not supposed to adhere to it. You speak honey and sugar, people love you no matter how ridiculous your statements were; you speak straight sense then you are bitter and hard-hitting.

A: But there still are the people you love.

D:(Looks at me as if I slapped him). Love? Son, people play around with that beautiful emotion too. They expect to be loved in return. They are not interested in whether they truly love X, they want to make sure that X loves them, too, and accordingly might continue to "love" (draws quotes in the air) him. If they can't accept that they are just another very good friend of X, they run away, withdraw, stop talking and interacting with X or worse still, call him discriminatory and other names. So why shouldn't he be? Doesn't everyone have strata of friends? And why should you expect to be dosed in the privileges X offers to his closest few? Aren't you supposed to earn it? People are lazy.
They are not prepared to work on relations. They just want them to fall into place & expect it to be ever-rosy & beautiful. They take things for granted & then when things worsen, a wiry haired shrink tells you that things need to improve. Can you believe it? People go to shrinks & marriage counsellors & child specialists (I think he meant psychiatrist), whom they meet for the first time, to solve problems they face with people they have known for a considerably long time! People are satiated by quick-fix solutions & that's why buildings come crashing down but the Pyramid of Giza stands arrogantly upright. People aren't interested in relations; they are more interested in names; mother, father, girl-friend, boy-friend, husband, wife, son, daughter,etc. The depth is gone.
(Takes a very deep breath).When I was a kid my father made me feel what fatherly love is & I loved him & revered him like any son would have. When Robby was 12 he tells me, "Dad, relax, I'll manage it from here." My job was over. But being a father wasn't a job to me. I wanted to be with Robby everytime he won a race & everytime he fell down. I wanted to help him out with his homework & learn the new stuff. I wanted to meet his girlfriend & not by chance. He thought I was denying him his freedom & independence. So I gave it to him the way he wanted it. Twenty years later he tells me that I never seemed to have time for him. And today he goes out and buys the cake. Why? 'coz that's what a son is supposed to do on his father's birthday.
These books and talk shows have made things so stereotypical that spontaneity is restricted to those kids in high school whom everyone call "coooool". People try to do things & match them with the ideals in books and mags. "If your score is between 24-29 then you are a caring spouse, if it is between 20-24 then you are fine enough, if it is between 16-20 you are on the edge, if it is below 16 your marriage needs counselling. Contact the phone number below and get an appointment immediately". People are crazy enough to score their lives. But against what? An upper score set by a god-knows-who with a dainty degree from god-knows-where? People are no longer interested in living.
They just want to perform. They just want to top their SATs, the GREs, have an ideal girl-friend, get a 6 figure salary, marry an ideal woman, have beautiful kids, make them top their class. They call this ambition. Why? "You have to give up something to get something" or "You can't do this if you really want that" could be some of the replies. If everything has to be done exclusively then people should brush their teeth on Monday, bathe on Tuesday, breakfast on Wednesday, lunch on Thursday, dine on Friday, go to work everyday as that is their ambition, maybe talk to their kids & spouse on Saturday & sleep on Sunday. This is as ridiculous as giving up on things to achieve something else. Trust me, people are crazy.
Then there are these cults & religions all man-made but treated like the Truth. They would kill their loved ones if it was protocol to their religious faith. Don't do this, don't do that. This has to be done & that may or not be done. You have to go to the Church on Sundays & say your prayers. Why can't I say them at home? Can't i just talk to God? Why doesn't any religion teach us to try understand ourselves & people around us? We are supplied with orders like "Be nice to thy neighbour" and "Give to the poor" & not "Understand your neighbour" or "Empower the poor". "The seven sins" are proclaimed in nearly every religion. Why are they called sins? Just because our sense drive us to them? So, if it is so natural, why call them sins at all?

A: Maybe 'coz we lose our control & sense to them. Maybe 'coz if we spend too much of our time & energy on them we become less productive to society.

D: Firstly, why do you wish to be in control? Who is this "you"? Is it not your senses & your mind that manifests as your ego & wishes to be in control? Hence you are released from the bondage of some senses by being enslaved by another. Secondly, how productive is a saint or a priest? Why aren't they called sinners? Just 'coz they talk big stuff and have embraced ascetism? Aren't they more interested in talking about Jesus or Jehovah or Allah or some Hindu God? Are they productive? So why blame a man who indulges himself in food whenever he can or never refuses a sexual favour? Why ostracise them? Thats why i call them hypocrites. But it's okay if he has sex with his wife 10 times a day, but even once with another woman then he is an infidel. Give me a break. Sex, hunger, thirst, rest, shelter, raiment and money are all basic wants and cannot be sullied by the narrow-mindedness of the human race. People are just not able to get out of their confusion & don't seem ready to, as this confusion awards them a sense of security. So be it with daily life. You get into a party & everyone tell you that X is so good & nice & caring & understanding & the works. If you interact with him/her & realise that all this is just a mask, people call you jealous and a jerk. Criticism is entertained as long as it doesn't challenge the person's stance. Once it does, you are castigated. People are not interested in discussing the truth & vivisecting it. They are merely interested in opinions and gossip. As long as you are nice to them they are nice to you. You do anything that is correct but against them then you are an aposter. Principles take a back seat. Everything is romanticised (I wonder if there is such a word, but I didn't want to interrupt). You cheat then you are wrong; if you cheat X 'coz he cheated you then its quits. The biggest hypocrisy is the tobacco industry. They sell cigarettes after telling you that they can kill you. Its like stabbing you after informing you that it could be fatal. And the government insists that they warn you & its illegal if they don't! A whole big bunch of buffoons.

A: If I am not being rude, Mr. Dwight, what is it that you expected out of this world & its people? Maybe then you might realise which is plausible & which isn't. Idealism is beautiful but not always practical. Somethings happen not because that is the correct way, but, because they were supposed to happen that way.

D: You believe in destiny? (I just shrug). Maybe you do, maybe you should, maybe everyone should. But there are quite a few things that do not rely on destiny for their existence. Things like virtue, ethics, morals, humane traits. I wish to rationalise on these issues. It might be destiny that Robby & I couldn't share a relation like my father and I did, but it isn't destiny when it comes to him acting like a goody-goody son today. That's hypocrisy. And then ....

A: Aren't you being stereotypical yourself? You want a relation between two people viz. you and Robby to be like a relation between two different people. When people don't have standards in their life, they resort to books & talk shows. Its just a different frame, but the underlying motive is the same, isn't it?

D: Very good, you are right. I fell into the trap myself but I did try to give that relation its rope. I gave Robby & the relation what it wanted & not what I wanted to & hence i feel i can shift my scrutiny to the underlying emotion or the absence of it.
You wish to know what i expect from this world? Nothing much, just honesty & simplicity. No pretense, no ideals, no beckoning the truth & ignoring it 'coz it is unpleasant, no conflict in the mind, no confusion, no fervid urge to judge people, no fanatic drive to make the world nod to your words, no denying love to an orphan, no act of putting people on pedestals & later debunking them, no rushing after money & status by selling your near and dear, no reaching the top and kicking the ladder which let you climb, no waiting for the person to greet you first, no words which you don't mean, no expectations of sweeter words to render false intentions, no hopes for someone to love you, no score books, no talk shows which teach you how to live, no acts done because they are supposed to be, no hesitation in doing what is correct and heartfelt, no agreeing to what everyone says merely on the grounds of democracy but for the truth in their statement, no acting caring because it impresses people around you, no expectations and hence no disappointments, no conditional love, no blindly unconditional love, no cheating on someone, no ambitions, no fanaticism, no groupism, no segregation, no loss of interest in simple things, no glorification of small things, no hype; in short, no hypocrisy. I suppose this is too much to ask of this world.

A: I guess it is. I think the approach, hence, could be changed. Instead of expecting this of the world, one should tune oneself to live up to this. I fear the world will never achieve these. If it did, people will make these their ideals, expect them from everyone else, expect them to happen but not be able to accept the consequences. It is a vicious cycle.

D: (Standing up and dusting his trouser seat). See, I told. One wonders whether it was worth spending 75 years in this cycle.

A: Look on the bright side, Mr. Dwight, you get to meet people from such a variegated collection of background, psychology, attitude, shapes & size. It is impossible for the intelligent not to learn & unlearn from these events of interaction.

D: (Looks at me). True. I am not sure whether 75 years were worth it, but this evening & definitely this conversation has been worth it all. It isn't what I expected, & which didn't happen, that disappoints as much as the complacency in the human mind towards all that we discussed. I guess you are right; the world will never change. It will just go round and round ....

The sunset was never more beautiful, the air never so crisp. Was it just today or the import of the conversation? I refuse to realise.

1 comment:

  1. Parvati3:33 PM

    Again "shoulds" spelled out to a second person, to society interests me less and less.

    I find constant lamenters and complainers boring and enervating.

    Let people do as they will with their lives; free will / individuality / to each unto his own and all that crap..

    And let us for ourselves, for our own sakes, live life exactly the way we want to, be ourselves, natural, spontaneous, moving earth and heaven to do as we want to do.

    There is nothing more to life. Let others find their own pace, their own paradigms of working out things for themselves. Let us let them be, and let them go. We are not the wisest, and as Jesus Christ said "No man is a fool"...