Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I think...

I am going to clear up the links along the left pane... I haven't been maintaining them properly. Expect a few changes in the days to come!

Silk Butterflies

It sickens me. As she moves farther away I feel my breath pulled out of my breast with scalding iron claws. No, it is not an asthmatic torso that wheezes. It is she. The feel of her skin beside me, against my opisthenar, her exhalation rippling down, leafing through the hair on my arms, her eyes in which I see myself, those vacant, large, black eyes which hold everything with the innocence that only blindness can give, all of this and more kills me. She perfects me for her world while making me entirely invalid in the world where we met.
Aah! And how we met! Like a salve to my festering reality, I recall those days when she innocently stood me naked and vulnerable. It could have been a pair of butterflies that bounced of my forearm while she searched for the exit out of the metro rail. It could have been my racing pulse trying to match the starkness of her gaze which was, as I later knew, but a non-gaze. It could have been the trepidations of the Devil and the God alike, while they draped the anchors of prescience around my arm begging me to rush in the opposite direction. To you it was but her fingers; to me a beckoning into a world best left unknown.
Innocence is not a virtue, my friend. Innocence is what leaves you aware of your filth. Innocence is what leaves you feeling sick. Innocence is what murks the looking glass in your toilet-room. Innocence is what stares from behind those moist eyes as it holds me above her, while I lie spent beside her, innocence is what makes me want to give her more while I struggle to find the same strength in my veins. Innocence is what tears my skin when she kisses me without knowing that I work at the garbage disposal unit of New Yorkshire and not at the management circle of the city beautification department. Those kisses that mar the end of my working day, burn like a dollop of frozen acid melting to the retching warmth of my skin. As I reel under this torment of innocence, she slides under the cover and looks vacantly in the direction where she last left me.
I walk towards the bed and vainly attempt to discourage her innocent demarche with a conversation of corporate banalities which I had overheard while carrying the crates across the floor. She continues to look at where I was as if she prefers what I was to her kiss over what I could be to any woman. She slowly lifts her knees and I watch the silk covers slide down her shin while her gown rushes down her thigh, like a figure skater covering the length of ice, but moving backwards. Every word I speak is now turgid with gasps and I realize that my earlier gestures in conversation have migrated to quick movements which leave me undressed. She prefers that I wear my tie.
What followed has never been available to recall and hence, I confess to having but one mnemonic salve. But one thing I always remember is that hours of meshed togetherness leave no telling mark on her eyes. It is the same dewdrop face with those large vacant eyes peering straight ahead unless I call out to her along her cleavage as I lay on her stomach. We spend a few silent moments while our chests fall with lesser sharpness and transform into a roll.
Now, I come to what sickens me. Like the friction of a hairbrush on dry hair, I watch myself involuntarily swell with her departure. And as I study her rise from the bed to wash herself, I feel my entire throat stretch towards her departing thighs. I throw out an arm and voicelessly beg her to return to my side. She is my lungs. Love is not in the heart, my friend, but in the lungs of a breathless man. As she walks under the shower and slides the tip of her fingers along the ceramic, I recall that day, that day of butterflies and anchors, till the coldness of fluid drenches her and leaves me drowning in the want to have run away that day.
I call out to her.
She turns around under the cone of watery darts and I watch them lecherously cling to her skin. She looks towards the door as if all that allows entrance can be likened to me. In that sight of wetness, I feel my skin go dry and scream, "Anushka!"
She runs towards me, her hands defining the contours of every impeding object. The wet squish of feet against the wooden floors assures me of a returning calm. She nearly topples over the bed which struck at her knees. She pushes the covers aside and climbs on the bed, on her knees. Wet depressions on the bed mark the ascent of life in my blood. She lies on top of me irrigating my skin in more ways than one.
"I am here. I am here."
This desperate revival is all that is left of me. It is in this revival that I know that I am alive. Love is not the pleasure of knowing that you are wanted, but it is the pain of being bereft of that want. As our hearts beat in the other's breast, I hear the water pour down the drain in choking sobs.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Zen Koan

Okugawa sensei walked in calmly into the stiflingly packed auditorium. He was smiling as he walked in, his eyes fixed on the floor. He came up to the mike and surveyed the auditorium. It was quite unlike the open field where his Master had introduced him to Aikido. His Master never smiled; hence, Okugawa sensei learnt to smile. But their hearts were the same.

He spoke as if from the pit of a ravine and his voice struck every attendee with full force. Some people gestured awe for the auditorium acoustics; those who knew, smiled.

"Welcome to your free introductory session in this Aikido camp."

His smile seemed to increase although physical limits would have told you that it didn't...

"I have 4 things to tell you and I would like you to reflect on them and decide whether you wish to enroll."

Some children took out their notebook and pen and wrote something like "Aikido Tips" on top.

"After sharing each one of the 4, I will leave the auditorium for 10 min. Your actions will not be questioned or judged."

Notes were made: 10 minute intervals are vital to Aikido.

"Firstly, we will not be breaking anything for the next 3 years. No bricks, no tiles, no iceblocks. We would not be throwing the opponent 30 feet away. I am sorry, there will be no dramatic improvement in your display of martial arts capabilities."

He walked out, though some thought he glided over the floor.

Murmurs rose even before he had walked out of the door and many people packed their bags and were exchanging other camp details where "they teach you how to bend a bar in 72 hours. Can you beat that?"

After 10 minutes, Okugawa sensei returned and was still smiling.

"Secondly, we will not be learning kicks and punches everyday. There will be sessions of meditation and discussions on the philosophy of creating harmony out of conflict."

He disappeared with an ease which seemed to leave him exactly where he was, but merely invisible.

Some of the parents who had come to escort their wards, grew impatient.
"I wanted some good activity for my son, not old wives' gossip. Come on, Hiro."
"My girl needs lessons in self-defense. She can't talk to people who come to attack her, right?"

After 10 minutes, Okugawa sensei returned and gestured the remaining 50 attendees to come closer. He moved away from the mike but thundered in the same tone and tempo.

"Thirdly, there will be no competitions nor any red, brown or black belts awarded. You will get a receipt of your payment and that might be the only document that you will receive from this camp."

He stood there for a few seconds ensuring that this point sank in, before walking out. His pace never altered, nor did he stumble or roll anywhere. It was as his Master had once described: Silk over purer silk.

"Damn! What am I going to show Kunio? See, Kunio my-love, no belt, but I can close my eyes and ponder over the great ... bull! I'm not going to stay here!"

Okugawa sensei returned after 10 minutes, but was now in the customary uniform. He beckoned to the last boy standing.

"No gimmicks of resilience, strength, power, depth and truth will be taught here nor will they, on your part, help you further yourself."

So saying, he started to walk out.

"Master, I am not going to go. In all your four points I still haven't learnt what Aikido is. I do know what it isn't, now."

Okugawa sensei turned around to watch this dark haired boy kneel in supplication.

"Who are you, boy? What is your name?"

"Morihei. Morihei Ueshiba"

[This is a fictional story about how O-sensei merged with Aikido.]

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's Out!!!

Finally, Alvibest May 2006 issue is out. The official blog carries the announcement in detail. Here is the cover page design for the same.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Crazy Days

You know what gets me? Arrant confusion (gotcha!)

I think we are worse of than the days of slavery (did we in India ever have them?) or being ruled by someone else. Think about it. Freedom, everyone says, is the right/will to chose (or something like that, I really dunno). God save me if I get freedom and the inability to choose from so many brazillion (no? that's not 100 zillion?) things!!! And lagniappe to the choices is the various possibilities!!!

I want shoes: Nike or local-maal? Why do I need it? Will I use it? What is best if I am only going to use it occasionally?

I want a good career: Should I switch now? Where should I go? Teacher? Architect (software)? Consultant (business)? Start my own restaurant? Write? Should I wait till I have X amount in my account?

I want a good wife (replace it with a husband, if you aren't interested in a wife. Sorry, married men who realise that they aren't interested in their wife are not eligible ;-): Homely (what on earth is that? Now to sit and choose the characteristics that make someone homely!)? Good looking (whoever says no to this, send me an email. I really love collecting rare species.)? Intelligent? Artistic? Suave? Understanding? What can I do without?

I want peace: Should I go to the mountains? Should I first earn enough? Should I become a teacher first? A writer? A monk? Would marriage bring peace? Think a monk's better? Kids? Surely a monk? Should I strive for fame before I try for peace? Shoot the monk?

I want nothing: Nothing!? Damn! What about food? Books? Clothing? Shelter? Pizzas!!!?

So many choices for nothing!! Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Blog Updated

The Tao blog is now updated with an incomplete rendition of the 2nd verse (commentary is mostly complete). Most of the commentary for the verses are ready, but the accompanying material that I have promised per verse is consuming a lot of my time.


Filled with the nourishing wetness of zest, I push against the life-giving decaying humus. I burst my silken cloak and lay myself bare with the confidence that I will grow. The harsh heat above and the patient earth below gaze at me with questioning eyes:
Are you sure you want to do this? After all the security of being well ensconced in a tough epidermis, impervious to the ruthless world which feeds you for no more a favour than the fruits and flowers you shall bear them till your natural decay, would you, who contain the wisdom of several generations, want to abrade against the very soil which promises to protect you, rise for a purpose unknown or at best one which is steely destined?
I cleave my tender green coat and push it apart with my cotyledons and embrace the dark world fragranced by the petrichor of promise and a world beyond. The umber of the grains lie lazily, awarding nothing but stiff resistance. Is this how one must grow, breaking through strata of impeding forces, constructive by no means but obstructive by instinct? Is this the world I must face, tiny individuals who collectively scrape my resolve to be perfect, to accomplish what I aspire?
Water trickles down to break my strife and I fill my veins with this divine impetus. Tenuous roots offer me the strength to push against this lumbering earth on which I intend establishing my worth, my full.Birth
I watch my roots nudge the grains and expand to push them apart in order to establish their rightful footing. My zeal and energy take form as a slight and pointed shoot. How rightly they call it so? Shoot. Nothing else could describe the fervid effort of mine. As my roots and cotyledonous arms brace me for my heavenward growth, I patiently press against the soil that bears me so possessively. I wince as sharp corners cut through my shoot, but grow I, nevertheless, do. A faint unknown seems to wait for me. What is there beyond the world of burnt colours and nourishing rot? Will it be the same onerous brown ad infinitum? Will this toil be worth it? What if I wish to return to my early days? I look at the torn epidermis now nourishing me. Is this the divine will to grow or a devilish plot to lead me deceptively towards my own ruin?

I do what comes naturally to me.
I rise.
I stay steady.
I steady myself and pierce the enormous earth with my pinpoint resolve.
I must give my fullest.
I can only do this.
I can only rush strongly, patiently towards my calling.
I would rather do what is instinctively mine, than lie in foreign inactivity.

As the grains fall apart unable to contain my determination, I break free with my roots deeper in the soil than I have ever been, but my head held high for I have been honest to my calling, to my love, to my passion... to myself.

And if this is what I should get for my single-minded march, this beautiful firmament with its never-repeated tapestry, this breeze with a fresh song every hour, these scented whispers from mustard fields leaping into the green velvets of long stalked paddy, this bliss to offer myself, in my entirety... then I shall do this again, and again.

I would do this even if I arrived on a dark and foreboding world of less engaging sensual wonders.

Isn't this the wisdom that I silently bore?

This post is dedicated to a dear friend who readily suggested that I write on such matters... Here is to you, dear void!