Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ullathil Nalla Ullam

I have rarely liked Tamil cinema, though I have thoroughly enjoyed the music therein. Nevertheless, exceptions exist, and this particular one is brilliant in what is depicted, as well as in the music woven into this scene. Shivaji Ganesan was at one of his best performances in this movie. What I liked in this scene (and Karna is one of my favourite characters in the Mahabharata) is the sheer arrogance that Karna portrays when he is unfazed at the departure of his charioteer. NTR was always the best Sri Krishna in cinema (so much so, that I am told he was actually worshipped in AP where people would offer him an aarti every day or so it goes). I would like to thank sandycec for sharing this. The song's (sung in the raspy voice of Seergayyi/~zhi Govindarajan) meaning is as follows (thanks to my dear friend for sharing this with me): (Corrections welcome)

Ullathil nalla ullam
Vallavan vaguthadhadaa, Karna
Varuvadhai edhirkolladaa.

The most beautiful amongst souls
Shall never fall to the fatal tell of time
Thus, say the greatest of men, Karna
Prepare for the fate that shall be thine.

Thaaikku nee magan illai
Thambikku annan illai
Oor pazhi etraayadaa
Naanum un pazhi kondenadaa

You aren't a son unto your own mother (referring to Kunti's desertion)
And not a brother to each of your sibling (the Pandavas)
Oh! How you bore the insinuations!
I too shall be your sinner by my cunning. (The ploys Krishna uses to bare Karna)

Mannavar paNi erkum
KaNNan paNi seyya
Unnadi paNivaanadaa
Manniththu arulvaayadaa, Karnaa

He who is served by the greatest kings
(That) Krishna, to serve you, is ready
By bowing to your magnanimity.
Karna, will you grace me with mercy?

Senjotru kadantheerka
Seraatha idam sairndhu
Vanjaththil viyinthayadaa, Karna
Vanjakan, Kannanadaa

To repay the hand that fed you
You pledged your loyalty to the vile Kauravaa
And fell in the trap of great deception, Karna.
(Though) the greatest knave is the son of Vasudeva.

The roles of Karna and Krishna have always amazed me and leant me fodder for several clever debates with religious fanatics as well as those who love calling themselves atheists (such merriment one finds in hopping on either side of the debate!! :-D ). For all the virtue that Krishna claims (point is, he never claimed any of that!), he was the greatest liar on the "good" side and for all the filth thrown his way, Karna was the purest drop of gold in the "evil" side (Bhisma pitamaha was duty bound and faltered when facing Shikandi. Not done!!). The Mahabharata is one of the finest epics with so many sub-stories within it, that an entire movie industry could thrive on adapting them into movies (but our industry is busy copying each other when we are tired of copying from Hollywood).
Neither Krishna nor Karna were working towards setting an example for posterity. Krishna was aware of how the world was supposed to go and did just that. Karna was aware of what he was supposed to do and he did just that. Now who is to measure the greatness of each of them? Karna was the absolute measure of a man's worth. What a man can ever aspire to be, he was. His charity knew no bounds while he never asked anything from anyone. When Duryodhana offered him his friendship, the young man who was shunned by everyone as a charioteer's son, was overwhelmed and he embraced this friendship. Duryodhana was not conniving when he offered him his friendship as it was too early for him to know Karna's true worth. But people mocked their friendship. Karna lived through it all on the power of his mettle and inner core. When people and fate deserted him, he walked on and did what was expected to be done in his position. He lied but once (to his teacher, the great Parashurama) and paid heavily for it. His was a life filled with suffering and denial. He was never given his due and even Krishna who knew it all, never openly supported him or took care of him (well, he is the Param-dhama). Arjuna symbolised the fate of one who is protected disproportionately by the partial Lord. Karna symbolised the fate of he who has such a strong core, that the only way the Lord can maintain His station is by bring that soul to his knees. Ullathil nalla ullam, urangaadhu.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Idle Writer's Apology

Unproductive?I seat myself by
Caesious lakes
And wonder why
I write not
About the shimmering green
That just vanished
Into the whipping fin
Of a passing trout.

A warm Friday
Takes me o'er hills
Closer to the golden orb
Of taking delight
In things far away
And made into a tapestry
Of browns and yellows
And moving specks
Of men and matter.

I fail to write
Them into my notebook
Where I hope that
Some page shall bare
The words to me
So that I can run my pen
Along the outline
Of what already shimmers.
Maybe the next page will.

The market welcomes me
With shouts and bargains
Punches of red
And fruity peaches
Bunches of grapes
And undone jackfruit,
Like the open mouth
Of a green hippo.
I walk by the lady
with her skirt hitched up.
I admire the olive skin
Breathing in a background
Of bleeding tomatoes.
She smiles and raises her foot
On tiptoe and twirls it slightly.
Baubles of red, swell
Around her ankle
And I raise my eyes along her
Smooth calf
And thank her.

I return home
And take out my
Notebook, only to realise
That there is
Nothing much to write.
What was seen
That day
Will never be seen again
And I don't write fantasy.

At the park
I slide into an old bench.
When was the last time
You felt the cold
Rivets press against
Your thigh?
I see young children
Run around a tree
While the wind
Laughs through
The teeth of leaves.
Old men yaw
On stiff brown sticks
While they cluck their
At young boys and girls
With iPods plugged into
Their consciousness.
I watch how parents,
Parents to be
And those-who-never-will-be
Rush to placate
The fallen child.
And the child cries,
For wouldn't all that
Attention go waste?

I see this large canvas
And tell myself.
Never would you be
Able to capture it
And you wish to do
It on a small
Piece of paper?
What impudence!"
I recline
And watch the heavens
Spurt a star
Wherever I poke a finger.
I smile
And the crescent appears
From behind a cloud.
Why write
When all that can be written about
Floats down from the heavens
In our midst?

Hence, I am an idle writer.
But I ask myself
While I and I laze
Under the golden mesh
Of an afternoon shade,
How could I
Be an idle writer?
I could either be
Or I could well be a
I take out my notebook
But realise
That the poignancy of
That logic
Is lost.
I stretch and squirm
In the tickling sun rays
And let my notebook
Slip to the earth
Under my hammock.
I could write
Or maybe later.
Or be
An idle writer.

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Appraisal

"What the hell does he mean, he can't write anymore?"

It was the surreality of this crime, if one should call it that, that left Inspector Dharamdas undecided about whether to arrest the village letter-writer or not. Cussing his subordinates hadn't made the problem go away. For the tenth time since he first heard about it, the Inspector asked,"How can Shastri stop writing? He has to write. Did I ever stop arresting?"
"Old Sitabai swears that she saw his hand stop writing in the middle of her quarterly letter to her son. It seems Shastri-ji tried dragging his forearm in vain. It was like a hairy log of lead, she said, with a pen at one end and Shastri-ji at the other."
"She talks too much. We can't penalise her for causing it, can we? Maybe she made him write too much and ..."
"Not much, it seems, just ten lines before he ..."
"Don't you ever interrupt me, again", Inspector Dharamdas roared and turned around to look at the keeper of the keys, "And that goes for all of you."

Amidst guttural mumblings, the Inspector was solely tempted to arrest Shastri. Wouldn't that solve all problems?

"What does the village headman have to say?"
"He called in the priest and the doctor to assess the situation."
"And not me? What did those bigots have to say?"
"The priest is certain that Shastri-ji is possessed by the ghosts of lost letters and wasted ink - he does flick a lot between sentences - and a thorough exorcism is the only solution to this malady."
"And that doctor?"
"He diagnosed it as a problem of some particularly long-worded muscle. He kept tapping Shastri-ji everywhere before he pronounced this. He recommends a special oil massage prepared according to the ancient rules of medicine."
"So why aren't we doing it? Why trouble me with all this drama?"
"Apparently, Shastri-ji doesn't have the money for the treatment."

The Inspector mulled over this for a while.
"What about a new letter-writer? Is there no one in this damn village who can write?"
"Pankaj can, but everyone says his spelling is atrocious. People don't want his services after what he did to the Jeevandas family. He had advertised their son's marriage profile with the word "bald" instead of "bold". The young boy has lost a lot of hair since then."
"Then there is nothing else to do. Fine every household, including the priest's and doctor's, to the amount required for Shastri's treatment. Anyone who refuses to pay will be arrested."

As expected, there was a lot of mayhem. A few youngsters, who had spent most of the sunny year in the shade of some nose-down bullock cart, took upon themselves to raise slogans against the poor working conditions of letter-writers in the world. Some folks claimed that they never used the letter-writer's services and were not planning to. Most of them were arrested. When the prisons were filled, offenders were tied to a nearby banyan tree.

In the meantime, the massage and ghost-removal ritual were alternately applied to the letter-writer. Since Shastri's hand started moving before they completed their respective ceremonies, the village headman demanded a discount. This lead to further confusion and more slogan chanting. Shastri completed Sitabai's letter and left for the day.

In the solitude of his home, he pulled out his notebook. On a new page he wrote the date and paused. His chuckle fossilised into a lopsided grin when, beneath the date, he proudly wrote "Done. They definitely need me".

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Living, simply

Today is Earth Day. That we created such an occasion is the mark of human declivity. What will we think of next? Breathe In Day? Smile Day? It makes my insides curl into a fist which rams into my conscience. We are the only fools who burn our very homes in order to progress our lives. Amongst all specie of animals, we are the only blood thirsty one to plot murder and mass murder for thousands of reasons other than self defense (the alpha male's act of combating for supremacy over a herd/pack/aggregation is not a form of mass murder). We continuously create divisive notions in an attempt to unite people. We rape this Earth and sweep our murderous knives over the fate of other inhabitants of this planet.

Crichton in a book of his mentioned about the baseless concern that plagues environmentalists. He said that as once oxygen was poisonous and the earth managed to survive the increasing levels of the same, this earth will survive all that happens to it. Yes, museumware will increase and perhaps the oxygen-breathing man will find his place beside the Neanderthal. Would they model it as a Brad Pitt or a billowing-skirt-Marilyn or perhaps a Mother Teresa so that mutants of the future can feel romantic about their ancestors? Do we need a conscience when we will live but once? As Kundera said, Einmal Ist Keinmal - an Earth that exist but once in my life need not concern me.

But why does this entire affair of living thus repulse me? Why does the watery eyes of a felled doe appear in my nightmares and then transform into the eyes of my daughter hurtling down a chasm while her cry for help only gets louder? Why do the rapids frolicking down the boulders of yore, make me cry while they pass me by, fishes a-jumping, wondering "Why does this frail human being grieve my joy!?" Why do the notes of music (be it those of Badrachala Ramadas, Brahm or Bhimsen Joshi) unadulterated by those of honking cars leave me feeling empty and suddenly scared that I might lose this beautiful solitude when the next remote incident in some distant country has foolish men burn vehicles on the road and break anything breakable, including a hope for sanity? Why does a child's smile and awe leave me worried about whether she should have ever entered this world?

In the mad rush to become, to live better, to achieve, to acquire, we have cleverly disguised what we desire into what is essential for living. We make a six-figure salary something "I deserve". We make winning the Booker more essential than writing something to touch people's soul. Aaah! Soul! Such a wonderfully abused word. What is the soul of living? Can it be something objective without being selfish (Dear Ms. Rand, it was unfair that you died without waiting to engage in a debate with me)? Can we ensure that we will prepare the world for our children before we brew ourselves a comfortable life?

Yesterday, I saw a man accompany some military official to a site where they were testing a new missile. This was on Discovery. The missile had a very good range (several tens of thousands of metres) but what was noteworthy was its accuracy (in the range of feet, I recall). The missile would explode about 30 feet above the target, dispersing a volley of shrapnel aimed at maiming any human occupants of the target. Dispersing at 30 feet provides maximum damage of two kinds: shrapnel and pressure bursts (sinuses, ear drums, etc.). Then the missile lands on the target and blows it up. The scene before and after the explosion can only be associated by pictures for nothing remains the same. This gentleman (sic) explains the damage by pointing to parts of the mannequins where the shrapnel have pierced and is clear when proclaiming "This guy is a sure gonner!". What he said next was the last thing I heard before switching off the television: "I love explosives but what has happened here in this bunker stands as the statement of the reality of intended damage." (or something like that). Men have turned so ugly that they feel no shame in confessing to "loving" explosives.

I doubt whether we can change this world. I would love to see a world with no armies (only internal police for managing law and order), a forest maintained for every car produced, a dozen children fed and educated for every man dying for no fault of his, no man dying for no fault of his, waters regaining their purity (and they can do it well if we simply clean up our act and not touch them). I think the world and their wives need one big cardiac arrest. I think we need to slow down, for achieving hasn't gotten us anywhere. It is fine to die of diseases; we are anyway going to die, so let's not use medical advancement as excuses for a lot of what we are doing. Let us not build any more cars, any more industries, produce any more people... If we can't get our act cleaned up, what is the use of adding more to this? None of this is going to happen, so let's not argue about this.

What could happen is realising the gravity of the entire situation (or simply brush it off if you feel that melting glaciers won't reach you in your life time, so why worry?). Can we change ourselves, just our individual beautiful self? Can we first realise the ugliness of what surrounds us? Can we see the ugliness that has taken root within us, in the form of our misunderstanding of the world, I and the relationship between the world and I? Can we realise that the world doesn't need us, but we do? Can we stop giving excuses like: Why see only the ugly things? See the beauty of technology, science, commerce? ? Can we accept responsibility for making our lives beautiful in a way that no one else would find theirs ugly because of our actions? Can we decide to give up control over this world and let the natural order prevail? Can we realise that it is only in our hands to make this world beautiful for our children and that doesn't merely stop with sending them to the best schools? Can we realise the need to live consciously, honestly, sincerely and simply?

If we can do this, do we, then, need an Earth Day?

An interesting article I had read a while ago...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What colour is this blood?

And this is what the world has come to...

What I had heard
Was Denver's land -
Dusty (I had thought dusky).
An idyllic expanse
Where people sat on fences
With a twig in their mouth,
And strumming guitars.

What I hear now
Is the trickle of blood
And the silent
As people cry
For Ryan and Christopher
And Reema.
While their family
Stare silently
Into a future without them.

I never knew
Blue Ridge Mountain.
I never knew
Austin Cloyd
Never will.
But I know that
The Blue Ridge Mountains
Can't match her pretty tresses.
Or Brian's toothy smile.
But it does mirror
The hard reality of

What has this world come to,
When a young man
Is given a gun
But no guidance?
What are we being
Educated to become?

While governments
Are interested in warheads
And votes,
And news channels
In maximum coverage,
Let us spend a minute
Nay, a lifetime
In praying for those who died
Before they could live
The full life
They might have dreamt of.

A Punctuation Game

Care to play this game? (not that challenging, but still a game!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

BBC up for free

You might like what this portends:,,2057506,00.html

Eyes Wide Shut

When I shut my eyes, the world follows...
"Close your eyes", she squealed and continued flapping her hands while she jogged herself into a jump at the same spot. The one who was dressed in pink and girlish (PAG) shut her eyes promptly while the little one also in pink and boyish (PAB) leaned forward to make sure that her friend wasn't peering through the cracks of her palm.

I couldn't help smile at them and rekindled the long lost assurance that eyes shut gave to our plans. When what the child's heart wanted most was a gleeful surprise in the face of her audience, the best way to effect that was to demand that all eyes were shut and eliciting a promise following a "No cheating, haan!". Then the childish fervour worked on the elements which would make her proud of being clever enough to surprise the "bigger" people in spite of the latter's size and power to put them off to sleep whenever they wanted that of their children. When eyes were shut, the world was lost in darkness and everyone ceased to exist. It was like a world turned off and back on. The possibilities were endless behind closed eyes, rather, in front of them. We would also love it when our favourite audience cheated on us and would be surprised at what was going to come. They would grab and hug us as we protested and pouted at being cheated of a chance to create the greatest surprise on earth. Then they would tickle us and apologise and promise not to open their eyes this time around. We would believe them and be so clear about the fact that all memory of the surprise would also be lost behind those closed eyes. We'd proceed to create the surprise all over again, of course, checking more often for cheaters!

PAB had to hide the small Kinley bottle somewhere. She looked around and spotted me. I widened my eyes in the direction of the grand pillar in the mall where this was staged. She liked the idea and thanked me with a smile. She rushed to the pillar and went down on her haunches with her left arm securely caught between her thigh and chest. She carefully placed the bottle behind the pillar and called out to her friend.
I shook my head and wanted to tell her to move out of the "spot" and go somewhere else before "readying" her friend. Decoy!

PAG emerged from her world of dark bliss and looked around. She spotted PAB and skipped towards her. PAB was afraid that her "spot" would be discovered and started waving PAG away in another direction asking her to check things near "that uncle's bench". The promise of discovery and the fruition of the game pushed her into hysterical giggles which when coupled with her frantic pointing towards other potential "spots" had me laughing and shaking my head. When PAG inched her way towards the pillar, PAB started pulling her away from there telling her that the bottle wasn't there and it was elsewhere.
"I promise!" she shrieked.
PAG was growing more certain of finding it there and then pounced on the bottle as PAB covered her mouth and shrieked in excitement of a game going its normal course, thanks to her clever friend.
"Now my turn", lisped PAG through her recently lost tooth.
PAB looked at me and shook her widened eyes. Of course, I wouldn't help PAG and shred my loyalty towards PAB. But then, isn't the world lost behind closed eyes?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Song of the boatman

This is a song I heard while crossing fluid chasms of a desultory life. The boatman was about fifty and that estimate kept fluctuating as I watched him control the basket shaped raft. When a little water trickled through the curved sides, he smiled at me and said, "The river likes you." I smiled before replying, "Just this much of liking is sufficient, brother. Just this much", and I plugged the hole with my thumb. He inquired into my whereabouts and was amazed that so much money was made sitting at the desk.
"You mean, you don't move or pull anything?"
"Must be an uncomfortable place to sit in, perhaps?"
"Fairly cosy, I could say."
"What has the world come to, when a man is paid to sit in one place?"
"We help people solve their problems."
Someone interrupted our conversation to ask whether there were eddies in the river which in turn cheered another person to ask about crocodiles. The boatman pointed to a distant greyish blue to our left and said, "There you will find eddies. No one who has ventured there has ever come back alive. Every full moon night, the ladies of the village come there to pray to the river goddess, begging her to protect their marriage and seeking the blessings of married women who were drowned there to grant them the good fortune of dying before their husbands. Ever since a slew of taverns opened in this side of the river, I think the women have changed their minds."
Everyone laughed while I smiled at the wink he shot at me.
Where shall we travel to, today?"How many years have you been manning this boat?"
"Who keeps track of years on this river? I have seen five droughts and sixteen floods. Hence, for five summers people didn't need my boat and for sixteen monsoons, they were transported everywhere even without my boat."
People enjoyed his jokes and he kept talking, before he abruptly turned towards me.
"If you can solve people's problems by sitting at your desk, why don't they do it themselves?"
"Because the way to solve them is known only to a few of us?"
"Are you spinning tales like I do?", he whispered and winked again.
When we had reached the middle of the river and the tossing had subsided significantly, I replaced my thumb on the hole with my middle finger. He started slapping his oar on the water in a rhythmic fashion and began to hum. What followed was his crackling voice softened by the slushing lisp of the river.

Come listen to the song
That I sing
About a world broken across rivers.
Come listen to the song
Which alone
Connects a world broken across hearts.

While everyone seeks rest
On the lap of their lover,
My boat tosses in its watery sleep.
While you seek to bridge
The shores
She promises you a journey far.

Come listen to the song
That I sing
About a world broken across rivers.
Come listen to the song
Which alone
Connects a world broken across hearts.

When worry seizes you, a bottle may help
Or better still
A bottle while you stand waist deep in this river.
But I have known days of great such sorrow
When with a bottle
I watched the river recede till I could not drown.

Come listen to the song
That I sing
About a world broken across rivers.
Come listen to the song
Which alone
Connects a world broken across hearts.

Listen to the heartbeat of the young man
Who holds to his breast
The moment he will meet her on that bank.
Listen to the heartbeat of the young man
Who in that breast
Allows hope and fear of an unknown morn.

Come listen to the song
That I sing
About a world broken across rivers.
Come listen to the song
Which alone
Connects a world broken across hearts.

So many people have crossed this river
And who will recall
That this song is what made distances small.
Such is this song that the river taught me
It will fill your life
With the truth about shores and what lies betwixt.

Come listen to the song
That I sing
About a world broken across rivers.
Come listen to the song
Which alone
Connects a world broken across hearts.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Designs within designs... that is the clue to heavenAren't the designs of life but fugues, tossing over the other's plaintive cry or bubbling laughter while the dark fumes of a past, carried into the present for fear of a future that one cannot conceive in its entirety, thread their way through the permanent - made too vague - and the ephemeral - made vital - giving a shade of grey where a glitter once caught your eye and lending chatoyance to the graphite edges of rough sketches? When the lows of today reverberate in the metallic chambers of a promised tomorrow, aren't the tunes very different and all present?

I watch relationships around me and wonder as to why there are more distraught ones than engaging and invigorating ones. It is not the intricacies of the relationship per se that calls on for turbulent clouds, but the people involved who, often, aren't clear as to what to expect from the relationship, from the other individuals involved and - what is most unfortunate - from themselves.

Does a person cease to exist once they accept a relationship?
Does a relationship become so important that the rest of the world is not worth one's time and association?
Isn't conflict between choices and possibilities the main cause of a fracture in a relationship? (and there was one post, long ago, where a commenter and I discussed this nearly threadbare)

The relationships I talk about aren't necessarily the "Luhv" ones but just about any association between human beings. I might not discuss the purely monetary/designed forms, though there is a lot to learn form them.

People enter a relationship to satisfy a need, a want and quite often, a lack. There are certain voids in a life which aren't one's own creation. A want for companionship or for conversation would be such an example. The human being, being what he is, does prefer company. Hence, entering a relationship, it does help to realise what is the want/need/lack that is being fulfilled.

Often, a consciously chosen relationship also serves the need to possess or make a trophy of the association or the associate. One needs to be aware of that. The want for a good looking girlfriend might be purely that well cloaked need. Rarely does it stem from the objective want to be associated with someone good looking, like the need to furnish your house with the best linen purely for your own personal delight.

Often the need is purely utile. One needs someone to earn the money for the house, cook the meals, have sex, gain social acceptance, enable procreation, etc. I have heard ladies from the older generation say: "You need a wife to light the lamp of the house!" I took it literally and showed them how it could be done easily without a wife!!

I think relationships primarily reward us with a better understanding of ourselves, and only the fool goes about saying that he always knew everything about himself. In the mirror of the alien soul does one find oneself. Thereafter, one might be able to observe and realise oneself devoid of human souls to reflect one's being. It is like the assistence sought in spotting the hidden pattern in a large clever sketch, and once the outline is familiar to the eye, the rest of the picture disassembles into more tangible elements. Often I wonder whether the only way we recognise ourselves is by denying what we aren't. Reminds me of Ramana Maharishi's "Who am I?".

In life - and so be it in a relationship - there are three patterns which one needs to be aware of. The primary pattern that continues to undulate and chequer one's life till the very last breath is that of one's own self which evolves according to the Divine pattern (which isn't one of the three). The second pattern is that of the one with whom we relate and how it influences our own (or so it appears). The final pattern whose influence is best realised in retrospect, is that of the non-entities, or those (including inanimate entities) with whom we do not recognise an explicit
relationship. I would intrepret these to follow the Hindu concept of the trinity. There are relationships that nurture and preserve our self in the best form. There are relationships that wear out the individual, revealing facets hitherto unknown or ones we never expected to wear over our bare shoulders and then there are relationships which are always there around us and are created as a casual consequence of being alive.

The deterioration of relationships on this Earth are primarily because of lack of understanding these patterns. Neither life nor relationships are made to be perfect. They are made in order to let the soul metamorphose into what it needs to become (hmm, sounds like the Samkhya shaka of Indian philosophy). Some souls will never learn, but that is their role.

So the philosophy of relationships apart, I think what I have observed is that the need for clarity is the singular reason for the deterioration in relationship. Some call it lack of maturity. I like the word clarity.

How can a person relate to someone when he is unaware of himself? If he only has an idea of what he is, then he can only relate to an idea or an image of the other person, and the relationships is fictitious, or rather real till the day when one of of strive to go beyond the mirage. I, often, wonder about the truth of this statement: We only get to love or hate ourselves.

In a happy and smooth sailing relationship, nothing much is required. Understanding and clarity are only required in times of conflict and uncertainty. Since more relationships are likely than not to run into a storm, it makes sense understanding the need that one feels for the particular relationship. This can be endeavoured only after a fair amount of understanding of the self is achieved. The exercise of understanding a relationship aids in understanding oneself too.

Some people enter a relationship because a rooted coconut tree is of greater use than the eddying foam gurgling down a cascade. What they seek is the stability that the knowledge of being in a family numbering more than one person is more reassuring than the possibility of a happier or rewarding life. Some will always wipe it off with a "The grass is always greener on the other side" which isn't necessarily far from the truth.

Some people are in a relationship because they are unsure of themselves and wish to have another person to placate their worries of insignificance. The dependence is usually very high and negative traits like possessiveness and jealousy creep in.

Think about it, why would I wish to possess someone? A human spirit can never be possessed. Resistance seems to be the most common knee jerk reaction to any attempt at being possessed. I wish to possess when I wish to ensure that no one else shall have what I have. Marriage, according to me, was an institution created in order to realise that. That a few people entered it because they wished to offer themselves to a relationship doesn't justify the need for marriage. Realise that those few would have done so even without the rigour of marriage, but what becomes of those who can only have a man or a woman by digging moats around their togetherness? One cannot love and also wish to possess. They are orthogonal feelings. One loves by losing oneself, and one wishes to posses because of the self. Where one is, the other is not.

Having understood the design called "I" and twine of the pattern called "us", understanding the tapestry of "them" is vital too. A relationship exists in a context, in a social setting. While one might be clear of oneself (or so one might think) and is aware of what they expect from a relationship, the sudden introduction of a variety of other and affecting relationships might only confuse things further. Take the case of a man who believed in the freedom of his woman, thought he understood himself well and entered wedlock with his lady-love. What became of them? When the lady was immensely focussed on her work and wasn't around when the guy wanted her, he didn't know how to react and didn't understand the dialect of his relationship. He forbade her to work, there was a major disagreement, she quit her work and sat around whenever he wanted her to, but they couldn't relate to each other. He might have defined his want from the relationship as a simple "I want her around me".

Having said all this, I am still stumped by what people do with their relationships. Many things defy all logic or understanding. Possessiveness and jealousy are just some of the acrid venom in a relationship. Some bring in their ego and will not bother to talk or stay in touch with the person they once related to, but will still cling to the memorabilia of the yesterdays. Some people will always want reassurance no matter how often they had received them in the past. Some people will take the other for granted and never invest in the relationship although they expect everything to be normal and work as a well-oiled machinery. Still more do not accept that they are never in the relationship for what the relationship entails, but merely because they don't want to be out of a relationship. The sordid wants of the human ego disallow realising a relationship in its purest form. And once a pure relationship is realised, the need for exclusivity, for self-propagation, for resisting, for suppressing and the fear of being lonely vanish into thin air. Before relating to anyone else, love yourself. If you can love yourself honestly and in all earnest, then throw your doors open. Well, you are right, there wouldn't be any door!

Monday, April 02, 2007


“Imagine the horror that shook the walls, Graciano. Never, never had I imagined that.”
Padre Norton’s words always followed his gesticulations, like thunder did lightning, giving the listener ample time to conjure an appropriate reaction to what might come. But today, his hands and tongue spoke with the unison that tragedy often forges. Rosa had scribbled her flight, with lipstick, on his shaving mirror and vanished. It was as simple as she: “Sorry Padre. I have to go. This is my final massage.”
Padre was the ambitious chaplain left behind by some passing army. He kept inventing ways of being holy and useful. Most recently, he adopted the orphan Rosa with the promise of making an elegant woman of her. Tongues in black mantillas never stopped wagging after that day.
Pedro rolled into the tavern and spotted Padre. He walked over with a serious face. He knelt at Padre’s feet and held his hand.
“Padre, I need your blessing.”
“Why? What is troubling you?”
“Nothing. Bless me that no elegant woman will leave me and run away.”
The whole tavern burst out laughing and Graciano found it hard to stifle a smile. Padre pulled his hand back and shook his head.
“It’s fine, Padre. This too will die down soon.”
“Graciano, was that all I deserved? I gave her the finest food, finest clothing, finest education in the finest English. I even taught her how to use opera glasses. And what do I get - a pathetic message done in lipstick on my mirror?”
Graciano laid his hands on Padre’s shoulder and hoped that he would shut up. His attempts at being pitiable only made him more comical.
"And you know what hurt me the most? She still hasn’t learnt to spell ‘message’ correctly. Now, she won’t ever.”