Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shifting Earth

This blog has been in reincarnated in a different land. Click on the link below for Tele-transportation -

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


[A tale for children who grew up too soon]

Once upon a time there used to be an uncle. He had a house. But much more importantly, he had two nephews. They were born on the same day, in the same minute of a same hour, in split seconds. But they were not twins. They were born to two separate women. Incidentally, both of them were the uncle’s sisters. Therefore, the uncle had two nephews.

The uncle had come to know of the birth of his nephews a few days later when the two letters arrived…. Each from one of his sisters who proclaimed they had become mothers to a little pink angel. The uncle smiled twice in a strange fulfillment as he read the two letters. He found himself longing to take them in his arms but both his sisters stayed in far-off places. So, he decided to send them two of his best roses chosen from his garden.

Before the mail containing the roses would arrive in their respective destinations, a telegram reached the houses of the sisters. Telegrams were the harbingers of ill-fate. So, the sisters cried before they broke the seals of the telegrams that still smelled, freshly of their brother’s garden. They had to sweep off the tears to realize that telegrams are written by businessmen – someone had proclaimed their brother’s death as if closing a deal. One of the sisters, picked up her newborn son in her arms, held him close to her breast and cried. Miles away, at that same instance, the other sister did the same too.

“Your uncle was a clever man,” they said to their children “he left behind no clues to his death.”

In a few days after the telegram, two more envelopes followed, each containing a rose, to the two sisters’ house. The roses were dry. And yet, they were the most beautiful roses that one had ever seen. The sisters walked straight towards the room of their children to let them have the roses which their Uncle very apparently had sent for them before he had passed away. It was the first and the only gift from him for his nephews. They must preserve it well. But whilst they wished thus, they were stopped by the maids. They said the children shouldn’t be exposed to the gifts of a dead man.

“’Tis a bad omen”, they whispered.

“No, this is the blessing he had left behind” the sisters retaliated, caressing the petals.

The roses, ever since, were kept in two precious silver boxes on the right side of the pillow on which the infants slept.

The infants grew up as the roses dried further, crumbling into themselves. They learnt to walk, talk and silence others with their innocent gestures. All day through, the two neighborhoods would reverberate in their giggling sounds. Falling silent only when they went to sleep in the night. Times when they rendered their obstinacy to their mothers, whispering their tantrums into their mothers’ ears. They wanted to listen to no fairytale, no folklore. They persisted on listening to stories about their uncle who used to live in a garden. And in a house surrounded by all the different species of plants. A house in which you had to always keep the lights on, throughout the day because the trees ensured the shadows of darkness rolled through the walls. And uncle lived in a damp, damp room which had three windows on three of its walls, each opening to some trees nodding their head in the perpetual breeze. The breeze, it seemed, never stopped and the garden danced to its sweet melody. The uncle sat in his room, late into the night, taking notes. But he never showed what he wrote to anybody. Not even to his sisters.

And their mothers’ ignorance was the seeds of curiosity sown in the mind of the children. Questions that rose up like smoke and lingered as mist.

And mist enveloped the times in which the children grew further, every night trying to look more deeply into the petals of the ancient roses, kept in two precious silver boxes on the right side of their pillow. Careful not to touch them, else they’d scatter like dust. And what constituted the dust that often flew about their room? And why must flowers turn to dust on being touched?

One morning when the mothers woke up they couldn’t find their sons any more in any of the places they would have been.

10:30 PM,

Dreams have been falling since yesterday. My garden’s all wet with its colors. I hear them. Colors saddened by the hues of emptiness. I’ve mastered the art of promising. Insensitive. I still see the horse. Its martyr fallen. I whisper into my dreams. A fresh gust of air. Never understood. Like forever. I stand with a torn cloth. Rubbing the strains off. Strains on the bark. Centuries rose upon my dreams. Like towers. Unchallenged. Never compromised. Unlike. Leaves of an autumn tree. Oh my children! I melt forever into sounds. Become shadows of the voice. I can touch dreams. Hold infinity. My garden’s a premise. A Premise. My dream’s the argument I held up, above my head, to restrain it. There’s sense in everything since yesterday. Sense. Touch, hear, taste, smell, look. Essence. Feel. Dreams have been falling since yesterday. Last night, I realized that all the darkness I had collected was drenched. Too drenched. All my fault. But I had nothing to cover my garden. No blanket. And yet there was no rain in the garden inside. Left dry. Dying seeds. When will the two meet?

The two sisters were meeting after many a years. Breaking their vow of never meeting again. And there were tears in a corner of their eyes. A few dead autumn leaves rolled over their feet. The wind was something between a breeze and the storm. They could feel it in the salty tears that washed their eyes. A cold touch that groomed their loss.

Two mothers who had lost their children recently met in a place equidistant from both their houses. The exact centre where they had met the last time before they had disappeared in directions, opposite. They said –

“Our children have ceased to be. But we had tried everything. Done all we could. And yet, can’t we be anything more than helpless?”

Inside, deep down, they wished that at least one of the children would return. And each wished that it’d be her son. They watched with keen observation at the dead autumn leaves that rolled over their feet, trying to find out which way the wind had been blowing.

10:15 PM,

Yet into the unknown they went floating. The log of wood in the river. Carrying the memories of a fall. Disseminate me into you. Lately the promise of a few seeds has been forgotten. But for the replenishment. The replacement that’s natural shall follow. Hand in hand. Arms. And disarmament. The restoration of natural order. The eternal return. Nietzsche. Cyclic time. To satiate the fallen martyr shall the horse return. To remove the strains on the bark shall the past. To remove the strains on the dark. Light. Lightness. Undo detachment. Bring down the fire. Bring down sun. Religion. Religion. Legion.

The two nephews reached the fields exactly when the dusk began that day. They were frightened to see each other, for they looked alike – exactly like the other. And even though they had never met before, only having heard of the existence of the other from their mother, they didn’t find it at all difficult to recognize each other. And they each knew that the other was equally conscious of The Invitation.

The consciousness of The Invitation never had a beginning for them. It was like a strangely sweet breeze that had been visiting their room all these years, in the night, when they tried to sleep. The breeze played inside their room for a long while and later, invaded their heads. A few dreams would float in those canvases of winds. An undeniable silence would converge at its center. And nowhere was a silence they’d found denser than this. And then, their mothers told them the stories of their Uncle’s garden in which the shadows rolled through the walls and an Uncle who captured those shadows in his diary. Silently.

11:00 AM,

Lately, the ink shall disappear from my pen over and over again. But the night leaves back her darkness in my garden. I pick some of it up to fill pages. Darkened pages. The strangest hues of intangibility. The keeper of the weapons have hidden a few arms in it’s darkness. Thought I’d never find. Thought they were intangible too. They’ve filled their guns with religions. And filled my sacred darkness with flashing sounds. I know…. I know they’re here for the fallen martyr. They’ve planted mines in the earth. My innocent plants - they take in the poison everyday. I can see the scars running deep into their boughs.

My dear sisters, you’ve infected yourselves with bravery. Where shall the meek go?

The nephews were infants when the first telegrams had arrived. It carried the news of their fathers’ death. Both of them had died on the same day, in the war field. As heroes. Telegrams had become the harbingers of ill-fate for their mothers ever since.

When the last telegram had arrived last evening, they knew it contained the carcasses of their last hopes. The death of their children, proclaimed by a businessman. Both of them had died on the same day, in the war field. As heroes.

“Our children have ceased to be. But we had tried everything. Done all we could. And yet, can’t we be anything more than helpless?” they said, as they met this evening, after many years. Breaking their vow of never meeting again. They had tried to keep the two children’s past apart. They wanted no more soldiers in the family. No more telegrams. They had created an uncle for their children, made him live and die in a serene garden. Done all they could. Done. Completed.

Nothing they did was enough to take away the consciousness of the invitation. The presence of a religion they needed to fight for. The holy scriptures. The pride. The bullet.

10:30 PM,

Dreams have been falling since yesterday. My garden’s all wet with its colors. I hear them. Colors saddened by the hues of emptiness. I’ve mastered the art of promising. Insensitive. I still see the horse. Its martyr fallen. I whisper into my dreams. A fresh gust of air. Never understood. Like forever. I stand with a torn cloth. Rubbing the strains off. Strains on the bark. Centuries rose upon my dreams. Like towers. Unchallenged. Never compromised. Unlike. Leaves of an autumn tree. Oh my children! I melt forever into sounds. Become shadows of the voice. I can touch dreams. Hold infinity. My garden’s a premise. A Premise. My dream’s the argument I held up, above my head, to restrain it. There’s sense in everything since yesterday. Sense. Touch, hear, taste, smell, look. Essence. Feel. Dreams have been falling since yesterday. Last night, I realized that all the darkness I had collected was drenched. Too drenched. All my fault. But I had nothing to cover my garden. No blanket. And yet there was no rain in the garden inside. Left dry. Dying seeds. When will the two meet?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Thriller Novel


The cops came looking for the summer breeze. They turned everything I had in my room upside down. “This place’s so dirty”, one said holding his handkerchief firmly on his scarred nose “don’t you ever do the dusting?” “Not since she left.” I said “What is it exactly that made her leave?” “I don’t know. She said she had seen me making love to the summer breeze.” “….. which is true?” “Depends.” “What?” “I said, it depends.” “What d’ya mean….. depends on what?” “On the circumstantial evidences. Are you going to arrest me now or should I go and finish the painting? I’ve an art exhibition tomorrow.”


Voices played inside her head even when she sat on the roof. Voices she couldn’t discriminate. Nor own. At times she wondered if they were the voices of all the people she had killed. “Is it you, Kelly?” she’d ask. “No. I cannot be there inside your head.” Kelly would answer. “Why?” “Because you’ve never killed me.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m still alive. And I’m sure that I’m living somewhere.” “Oh Kelly, please forgive me. I’m so sorry. I just can’t seem to differentiate the living from the dead, anymore.” And then, the voices would disappear. What would follow is the terrific silence. The silence in which she’d wish she’d once again get to kill someone. “Who?” she thought. Moments later, she shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Blood needs no calculation.”


In his childhood, he’d make exact errors on every mathematical problem he was told to solve. Even his teacher was baffled. “You need infinite imaginations to make such absurd calculations.” She’d say. And it was not an exaggeration. Each of his mistakes was carefully calculated. So well crafted that the possibility of any other error but the one he had committed would be nullified. His teacher would have to go through the heaviest of books in permutations and probability, and yet she had nothing to prove him wrong. It was impossible to be wronger than him. Because English had never defined a word called ‘wronger’. “One problem could have exactly one perfect error” he’d say, “nothing less, nothing more. Once you get to it, you can feel the beginning of all fallacies.” That is exactly how he had learnt to paint. “A painting is the mathematics of distances….. between the root and the tree, between the bird and the sky, between the color and its absence, between the river and that drop of tear on the man’s cheek. And you could infuse movement in it once you discover the perfect error in it. All of us were nothing more than a painting until god made the perfect error. He made Eve do the same too, to introduce the concepts of reproduction. There could be no creation without the perfect error. It’s hidden in everything to be discovered. It’s just that we never do so because we have been taught to be afraid of errors. When we land into an error, we are told to learn something from it so as not to return to it. Instead, if we were to delve deeper into the error we’ve made, we’re bound to find the perfect error. And we would find natural creations. All my paintings linger in the glory of the perfect errors.” He had written a book once called ‘Human and Fallacy’, but whoever started reading it said they couldn’t find its end. They said the book repeated itself with the page number being in a perpetual ascending order.


When your corpse was brought in my house, you had turned your head and smiled at me. So happy that I could recall you. “Well, I’ve to do something ‘bout you, else you’d start leaving your stench on my paintings. Where would you like to stay?” “In your garden.” “That place’s already congested with the trees you had planted last summer.” “Don’t worry. I’d find my place down the roots.” “Who did this to you?” I said looking at your wounds, “you’re bleeding profusely.” “Oh! Let’s not talk ‘bout that.” “I wish I had some medicines. I’ve also misplaced my first-aid kit.” “So….. you still care?” “I’m….. I’m just afraid of blood.” “Those are not your words”, you whispered. We both smiled. I could sense my heart beating faster as I did.


The cops came in the evening. They said they’d like to question her about the murder. “Murder! What murder?” I asked, taken by surprise. “Don’t you know, she was killed?” “What’re ya talking ‘bout?” “Yes. She was. And you are one among the suspects’ list. Now, if you don’t mind, can I talk to her?” “But I’ve already buried her.” “Don’t worry. Our men would bring her here. Where’s the shovel?” And thus, you were brought, still smelling of the wet mud that covered most of your skin. “Gosh! Didn’t he even think of giving you a coffin?” The cop asked you. Meanwhile, I thought of the rain that fell this afternoon. And the maddening fragrance of the first wet mud. The Frenzy.


Their first meeting was a mistake that repeated itself, ad infinitum, like the book he had wrote. He had been sitting that evening in the shade of the summer breeze. And he had been painting the summer breeze. For the last few hours he had been mixing the different shades of the colors. Waiting for a perfect error that would create the exact shade of the summer breeze. She came following the summer breeze. Since the summer breeze went right through his paintings, she passed through his paintings too. Later, when his painting was completed, since he didn’t know her, he mistook her for the summer breeze. It was a perfect error – The beginnings of the perfect love story. And the beginning, as she had told elsewhere, does not lead to an end, but create newer beginnings. Perhaps, there was never a first time when they had met. There was only a sequence of moments – each preceded by some and followed by the other. And each time, for him, she was the summer breeze. Each time, she’d pass away like colors on his drying palette. He wished his paintings were yet to be completed, forever and evermore. But time did to his paintings what a full-stop would always do to a phrase. For time was always the hole in both the barrier and the bridge to the accumulating moments. And then, to set them free, like birds from a cage, in a kiss. “Too much of a perfect error in there”, he thought. She nodded.


After you completed the bath, we all sat on the porch talking. The cops took the lead. “Do you remember the events that preceded the killing?” they asked you. “Yes, I was with him, making love.” You answered pointing towards me. “Okay. That sure is news to me. You never informed us of any such incident, sir.” I was given a harsh glance with that statement. However, I couldn’t make out if an answer was wanted of me…. And what exact answer was wanted of me…. And who wanted it. I fumbled a little. “I liked you a lot better the day before yesterday, sir. I thought you were much smart then. Which reminds me – how was your art exhibition?” I could sense the sarcasm flying in the air. A few drops of darkness were assembling in the horizons. It was much too silent in my garden. Exceedingly calm. I knew this atmosphere well. I knew she had wished to come. She had wished too long. And nobody stops her when she wishes thus. None. The summer breeze is coming. She had sensed the break in the rhythm of my breath. She had sensed my heartbeat as I sat with the cop and, more importantly, you. She had sensed that I was trying to defend your point of view. She knew I’d fall. Fall down the edges. Of my Frenzy. Our home. Frenzy. I had refurbished. Frenzy. With her. And I was about to stumble. To fall. If she doesn’t come. The edges were calling me again.


The first time they had made love to was to the fragrance of the approaching storm. Few of his paintings that were on paper, were fluttering. Creating a sound of liberty. They knew that they must cover themselves up before the storm. He knew he had to set the summer breeze free before the storm. And she knew she would lose to herself. The first sounds of the storm were unmistakable. The first dissociation, unavoidable. She left, you stayed. Still beneath the weight of incomplete recognition you lied. Looking into your blank eyes. Without the shine. Lifeless. You were never the summer breeze. You were her gown. The robe she wore before she came to meet her lover. They made love in the storm, that dusk. Dusts converging on their eyelids. Rain washing them through. Rain washing his paintings, too. “You must come back to me”, he said “for without you she’s faceless.” You had smiled, darkly. You will never be her but I shall keep being him. It was an error that never seemed perfect enough.


You never wanted to open the window to her, last night. “Own me, not her. Make me your soul”, you said while she whispered on your glass window-pane. Your closed windows trembled on her sweet, cold touch. “Let her in, Kelly”, I said moving my fingers through your hair. “Let her in, if you love me.” And I found your eyes becoming just as hazy as your glass window-pane. But tears always meant you’d listen. You got up and opened the window to her. And as you stood motionless like a shadowy figure in front of the window, I found the summer breeze glowing on your skin and the shine returning to your eyes. And I was once again becoming him. “Tonight, I’ll hide”, she said, “and you shall find me in the deepest of her chasms.” I accepted her challenge. Our love shan’t be confined to the shackles of skin. I slit your skin in the places she could be. You never made a sound – telling me she wasn’t there. Whole night long I kept on searching but couldn’t find her. I was losing my perfection in erring.


“Do you trust him?” the cops asked you. “Not half as much as he trusts me”, you said “But he had killed you, last night.” “No. He had killed her.” “Her?” “The summer breeze.” It was true. For even though the atmosphere had every sign of her arrival, the summer breeze didn’t come that evening. She was dead. You had made me commit the perfect error. I felt defeated. How I wished I would kill you, too. But I couldn’t. It was impossible. You were never there inside yourself. You always lived somewhere else. Inside me.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Love's Long Awaited Tale

The Distance

At last, she decided to mosaic her bedroom floor with his letters. They had been enabling her past. A past which she wanted to rob of the form and the structure. She wished she would find his amnesia, left behind in his forgetting, lying in full carelessness, on the creases, in between the folds of the letters. Manifold. But as always he had forgotten…. To leave back his amnesia. She decided to create her own amnesia.

She decided to tear his letters, off. Carefully down the creases. Exactly from their seams. So as not to hurt them.

He had written each of his letters in pencil, in some nights. He wrote them all in the light of the candle. She could still sense the smell of molten wax on them. All his letters bore this strange broth of a fragrance: of wax and lead. Each of his letters he had written in the form of dialogues. Each one he had decimated in acts and scenes. And she knew he had been writing one of his greatest plays in the form of letters with her as the protagonist and him, as her fool. She loved living in the play. She loved to take a dip in each of the words that made the letter. Words written by a trembling hand. His hands trembled most of the times. More so when he was excited. His words quivered down the line just as his hands did on her skin.

Once, he had written a story on her belly. It was a pseudo-whirlpool that originated from her navel and spread outside as loops. It tickled her when he began. She giggled incessantly but as his orders were, she didn’t open her eyes. She started to read the words from the feeling of them being written. She had never felt words on her skin. She had never read words with her eyes closed. She had never imagined words moving on her body with each of her breath. And as the words moved, so did the story. Slowly, the story kept running deeper into itself and she found that she could laugh no more. She was becoming a captive in its thoughts. The farther the whirlpool spread, her expressions were more choked in tears.

“What’s happening to me?” she had asked.

“Words have just engraved themselves on the other side of your skin. They’re now playing inside your body.”

“But how come it feels as if the words have repositioned themselves to create new meanings? Why is it that the way of your thoughts feels so distant?”

“Are you sure that you feel that way?”


“….. Which means that the curse has befallen”, he had said, shaking his head, forcefully.

“What curse?” she had to open her eyes.

“….. Of the creation becoming greater than the creator; of a son who would despise his father, of a barrier more powerful than the distance.”

“But if there is distance there must be nearness, too.”

“Yes. That’s true. But there’s something else that you need to learn: The distance moves away like time. One day when you wake up from an empty night’s sleep, you’ll know.”

He had bid her farewell, unbolted her door and stepped out in the naked darkness that majored the night. The hungry darkness like a perfectly camouflaged man-eater had taken him. And as he faded slowly, she knew he’d never return.

He had written each of his letters in pencil, in some nights. He would say that he loved the music that was created when you wrote with a pencil in the dark. “Each word”, he had whispered into her ears, one night “has its own music.” Even after he left, his pencil written letters that really was the somber script of a play kept coming. And slowly, as she went through the dialogues she realized that he was losing her to the character of the play. He had that dangerous amnesia and she had become its aftermath. Day after day, as she went through his letters she came to realize that he was forgetting her slowly and was replacing her with one of her many imaginary characters. But this, somehow, turned her on. She wanted to know who she would become in his play, until the catharsis.

Then, one day, the letters stopped coming. And she realized that he had forgotten her address.

The catharsis was incomplete. And she understood that she must live on as an incomplete protagonist of the play. She tried for days, months and years. But then, when she couldn’t take it anymore she decided to tear his letters off carefully from the seams and mosaic her bedroom floor with them. She’d love to watch them in their perfect formlessness and let her past lay scattered on the floor.

Only when the words had repositioned themselves on her skin did he leave. “Let my memories scatter, too.” She wished.

When she finished mosaicing her floor with his letters, night had befallen. So, she lit up a candle to take a look at them. After looking at them for a long while from different corners of the room she suddenly realized something. The play was very well crafted. So that if you looked at its torn pieces from any of the directions it would still have an artistic flow of thought and more importantly, a plot. However, the genre would change – it might become a tragedy, a comedy or even, a monologue based on the direction from which you watched it. And all of these would happen because the distance between the scattered pieces of the mosaiced letters would change on being viewed from the different corners of the room.

The distance.

The next morning when she woke up she found that the distance between her bed and her bedroom window had increased. The window had moved farther away from her bed. And so was the case with all the walls. They had all moved away from her. Then, she considered the chances of this being a dream as she would often find happening with the protagonist in many of his tales. But no, this couldn’t have been a dream. She was never taught the art of dreaming. And so, she walked towards the closest of the distances and yet with her falling steps they all seemed to move further away. She would have to put her steps carefully so as not to step on the letters

“The distance moves away like time”, she remembered him saying.

“Reality has now become one of his prophecies”, she thought “What could be any worse now that I was trying to forget him?”

It became worse everyday: the distance kept increasing. And that included the distance between the different pieces of the letters on her floor. Their plots expanded and their spaces expanded. She had to be less careful these days on where she put her feet.

On some evenings, she would sit on her balcony, looking at the sky. It seemed to have moved away as well. She wondered how so very far he might have moved now that the distances have increased. She wondered if he still wrote letters and dispatched them to random addresses since he didn’t remember any particular addresses. She wondered if he still created the musik of dementia when his pencil moved on the white paper, whether he wrote much slower these days, whether words had replaced her, and whether time too, had moved away with the distance. She wondered. And wondered how she had been wondering.

Then, when she walked into the bedroom, she would find in the expanded spaces of her mosaiced letters, new acts of the play have been introduced. That night, she sat on the floor reading the newly discovered acts of the play in the candlelight. But it would take infinitely more time for her to move from one torn piece to another. She realized that time had now, full control over her. And that she was infusing into the time itself.

All of it came within that one unconditional revelation. She understood catharsis.

She remembered once again the days when she received letters from him that she thought that slowly he was forgetting her. It was not true. He could never forget her. So, he was forgetting himself, voluntarily. Fading. Melting himself into his letters. And taking himself to her. Letters that had become his creator; letters that wrote themselves; letters that were his home. And then, one day, letters stopped arriving. It wasn’t because he forgot her address but because in his last letter his melting was complete and he was all there in her room, without her knowing it. But she knew now. She knew it all.

And all at once, she recognized what he had said – “The distance moves away like time.”

“When distance moves away we come closer”, she murmured.

All this while she had been shrinking into herself. Melting, too. Because she was a part of the play, too. She realized that all this while the moving distance had brought her closer to her self. She had been a reader for all too long and now, it was time that she became the protagonist of the play. This, suddenly made her laugh out loud.

“We’re all fictional characters and we never realize it. That there are people who are reading my life as a tale. That I was always a tale that started as a whirlpool on my reader’s belly…. On your belly”, she said looking into your invisible eyes.

And saying this she faded into one of your letters that you’ve been reading all this while, here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


[This is anything but fiction]

Narcissus was born inside a mirror. Many people who came to see the baby were disturbed on not being able to take it in their arms. They didn’t have access to the other side of the glass and so was the case with Narcissus. What, however, frightened them even more was their own absence inside the mirror. As if the mirror was a barrier between them and the baby. They realized later that the mirror itself was Narcissus’ mother and like all mothers it protected the child from the big, bad world.

Time passed and the town grew up with Narcissus. And Narcissus grew up with the townsfolk. Some claimed they cared for Narcissus much more deeply than they did for their own sons and daughters. They had watched him smile, weep and celebrate. Silently. Narcissus was deaf, for there was no sound on the other side of the glass. But all the same Narcissus was a beautiful baby right from the day he was born. The townsfolk could forget all their incompetence and incompleteness as they watched him smile. When he wept, unable to provide him with the warmth of the human touch, they recognized their incompetence. And as he celebrated his personal world on the other side of the glass, they became yet more incomplete. And then, he smiled again.

But as he grew up, people realized that Narcissus had become more powerful than the mirror. His beauty had overgrown the space on his side of the glass and now spilled on to this side. He had imposed himself inside the head of the townsfolk and went with them to all the places they went. There were people in the town. He watched each other with their eyes; smelled how each had its own fragrance; felt each one breathing on the other’s skin; but most importantly, for the first time, he heard voices. Voices inside their head. Voices, undesirable.

Voices, undeniable.

In their growing frenzy, he found that each claimed that Narcissus was in their head. They also claimed that he wasn’t present in anyone else’s head. Each claimed that he owned Narcissus, now. At these times Narcissus wished he could speak. No, he couldn’t. But he had other powers. He knew all of them would have to slee……

I couldn’t complete the story last night; so, I slept. Or perhaps, I couldn’t complete my story last night because I fell asleep. It was a sound sleep. A sound that was unbearable. A strange form of silence. It crashed into itself a thousand times creating even smaller grains of silence, each of which was the mirror image of the other. And the only thing I noticed as I slept was that the silence became deafening. Even when I woke up in the morning the silence reverberated in my ears.

I woke up to find myself on my writing desk. The pieces of paper on which I had been writing were scattered all over the floor. They were the different parts of the story. I remembered that I had written the beginning and the end of the story; also, many of the parts in the middle. Last night, as I wrote I had been assembling the pages in their correct sequence. So that when I finished writing all the parts all I had to do was connect the separate pages with the appropriate verbs and conjunctions. But that was not to be. A wild wind last night had scrambled all that I had wrote. I got up from my chair to pick up the sheets and I saw myself in the mirror.

“Where is Narcissus?” was the first question I had to ask myself.

“Where am I?” I had to ask myself, then.

“Why was I present where he should have been?”

“Maybe, he is present now, where I should have been.”

Slowly, it occurred to me that the replacement was complete. I was Narcissus, now. The man whose smile was oblivion; whose silence was music and who was more powerful than the mirror. I was so glad with this revelation that I suddenly felt the urge of letting the world know who I had become. Narcissus, the almighty. I put on a dress and went out.

Once on the streets I started feeling as if I was walking through the mirror. I found Narcissus everywhere. I met thousands of Narcissuses on the streets. The entire town had transformed. They had turned into him.

I had, too. I had become a part of the collective him. Identity-less. Like ants. Not an individual anymore.

And yet I couldn’t hate that face. It was mine.

Then, weeks passed…… like soldiers, marching. In synchronization with each other. And in these weeks I found my story getting completed gradually. One of the Narcissuses would come and write a paragraph or two and go away. Another would come to pick up from where he had left. When the story was finished I suddenly realized that there was only one character in the story: myself.

And there could be only one reader: Narcissus.

Somehow, it all seemed so futile. I had written a story on which I had no control. It became what it wanted to be. But not what I wanted it to become. I wanted it to have all the beauty and the brevity that each of my other story had. But not all stories that are finished, complete. As for this one it became the more incomplete the closer it came to its completion. I sat down in my darkened room that night and wept. I have created a crooked child.

And in my crooked mirror the Narcissus that was me wept as well. He no longer had that common face. He looked different in every mirror of the separate houses. He would have to assume the face of the person who used to live in that house before he had transformed into Narcissus.

It is true that as Narcissuses we have all become creators more powerful than the mirror – We can steal the identity of the person living on the other side of the glass.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

A River Measured in Time

Alberto Banks had been saving all his life. He wanted to buy a river.

As a child, he had been given a ribbon by his father. A blue ribbon. His father was always this strange man who would scrutinize his past much more spontaneously than he would do with his future. When he had brought the ribbon for his child, he would have seldom thought what the boy would do with a ribbon. The consequences of his actions were never quite as important as the precedence of the consequence itself. When he handed over the ribbon to little Alberto and noticed his confused expression, he wondered why he had bought it on the first place. He wondered whether he had done it subconsciously. He wondered what particular knack or interest had he noticed in little Alberto which could have prompted him into an action so decisive for the child.

“This is a magic ribbon”, he said at last “if you spread it, it’d become as long as the river.”

His father’s words were just as unmindful or irrelevant as was his buying of the ribbon – once again, in total oblivion of the collective future of the child. But for little Alberto it was the greatest of prophecies ever been foretold. He had no idea till then as to how long a river is or for that matter, should be. It had never occurred to his little brain what a terrific mystery it might hold in itself. A river that could be measured in ribbons. The feeling itself was so big that little Alberto was too afraid to open the ribbon and roll it to be seen. “It is a great gift and must be dealt with lots of responsibilities” – is what he realized. He just went and hugged his father, who watched with great amusement how his child’s confused expression changed to something immeasurable.

It was from that day that little Alberto slept with the ribbon under his pillow. And he dreamt all night long. He watched, in his dreams, a river which was more like a brook. At its center was a blue ribbon stretched from the misty infinity from where the river originated to an equally hazy eternity to which it went. The ribbon ran right from its middle, as if dividing the two parts of the water, parallel to the flowing river. And that imagery was so intensely beautiful that every morning when little Alberto’s father would wake up he would find his child’s room fragrant with an aroma of his dreams. Sometimes it would rid him of his asthma, as he let his child sleep late into the morning. Slowly, it became the only medicine he would take for his ailment and he had never been healthier.

One night in his dreams, little Alberto noticed that the two equal parts in which the ribbon had divided the river were of different colors. It was the setting sun. One of its parts was red like someone had mixed, with uncertain ease, the deepest of bloods. The other part was yellow – a dirty yellow as if all its water was drenched in malaise before it was let into the river. For the first time little Alberto was experiencing a nightmare. And a premonition. That morning when little Alberto’s father came to his room, he found his child sweating profusely as he lied trembling in a fever and there was a stench of rotting flesh in the room. At once, his attack of asthma returned. This was the moment when he should have run for some medicines left in his cupboard for such emergencies. This was the last chance he had of changing little Alberto’s life….. But, as we said before his father was seldom concerned about the consequences. He didn’t want to leave the motherless child alone in his fever. And so, he let himself die, comfortably, as he watched his child still trembling in his nightmares. It was so cruel of him to leave his child alone in the very first of his nightmares, for even when little Alberto would break out of his sleep the nightmare would continue.

Alberto Banks doesn’t remember what happened in the next few days, but he recalls that it was in the womb of those dark hours that he lost the magic ribbon, forever, without it being opened even for once.

Alberto Banks had been saving all his life. He wanted to buy a river.

He had been to many rivers all throughout his life but had never found one that was much like the one in his childhood dreams. Alberto Banks was an old man now who lived with an equally aged wife. His children were married and lived in a far-off town. He had inherited the same asthma that had taken his father’s life. He was sure it would take his too. But before he died he wanted to complete his dream. He wanted to buy a river. His wife wanted to buy gifts for their children with the money.

“We’d leave back the river as a gift for them”, he told her

“What would they do with a river?” she asked

“The river I’m talking ‘bout is the magical river. It is the healer of all diseases. It brings with itself the gifts of immortality.”

“But don’t you see you’ve spent all your life looking for it. How much longer do you wish to keep looking for it?”

“Till I die….. and I cannot die till I find it.”

And so Alberto Banks decided to do what he had never done throughout his life. He decided to buy ribbons of different shapes, colors and size. Then, he spread them on his floor, hoping that they would give him some hint as to where he might find the river. The ribbons tangled with each other, forming a diverse shape, intermingling with one another.

“Perhaps, the river I’m looking for is a maze”, it suddenly occurred to him, “maybe, that’s why I couldn’t find it in all these years.”

“Or maybe….” It occurred to him subsequently, “We’re living inside a maze and the river is just outside. Maybe, the river is an object in time rather than in space. Maybe, the river crosses itself so many times that even though we see it we fail to notice it in our linear search. Maybe, the river in actuality is cyclic.”

And as he climbed the staircase of realizations, he found that the river was slowly becoming visible to him. Yes, it was the magic river with the blue ribbon flowing from its center. He wanted to get down inside the river and leave all his money into its sacred waters. He wanted to scream “you’re mine”. He wanted to go and touch the ribbon that divided the water…… but before he could do any of these, he woke up.

When he woke up, little Alberto found the corpse of his father lying on the floor. He put his hand under the pillow on which he slept and found the blue ribbon that he had never opened, was still there, intact. Exhaling a deep breath of relief, he smiled.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Intermittent Life of Pratti

The growing up years of Pratti was different from rest of the girls. She had developed a hobby of collecting the corpses of her earlier lives. She even made a transparent glass cupboard to keep them in. She had thrown away her dolls and spent the entire day tending the corpses. She would give them meals, brush their teeth, comb their hair and dress them up. Gradually her corpses grew up with her to become just a beautiful as her.

Pratti lost many of her friends in these growing up years. They abandoned her because they were jealous of the attention she paid to her corpses. So, her corpses were the only friend that Pratti was left with. In the evenings, she would run out of her house with her corpses following her through. They would arrive to a field nearby beside the brook where they would play different games. At the end of the evening, they would go for a swim in the brook. Pratti did it for fun, but her corpses needed the swim to get rid of the stench that the day had left back with them.

Pratti found her love in one of these dusks. The man was a metallic luster of the sun that had surely shone on him all day long. His feet were weary and he walked slowly as if dragging his body above the earth. Fighting against gravity. “He is the martyr of slowness”, Pratti thought “and he belongs to a world of a single pace. Of monotony. A world devoid of accidents and anomalies. And yet with an absolute absence of boredom: because boredom belongs to the world of speed. Boredom is the fastest spreading infection in the minds of serenity.”

“Take me to your kingdom of slowness”, Pratti wanted to say to the man but was too shy for the words. After all, she was only an adolescent girl who hadn’t encountered too many lovers in her life. Also, she felt she was not enough matured, beautiful and slow for the man.

For your sake, readers, let me assure you that Pratti was as beautiful as any of the heroines of a fairy tale are. When she walked down the road with her colorful corpses following her through, she seemed like a princess passing with her playmates. As for her maturity, she had the integration of all her earlier lives. She hadn’t got much experience of slowness as yet in this life of hers but was renowned for her slowness in her earlier lives. She could breathe in the rhythms of slowness, dance to it, make love in it.

The man looked at Pratti eagerly, hoping, perhaps, that Pratti would say something. When she didn’t he came towards her slowly, took her hand and walked away. All her corpses kept standing in a daze – they too, had fallen in love with him.

The next few days were even better than Pratti had imagined they could be. She had never known that souls can be exchanged in the union of two bodies. But that’s exactly what she found to be to be the most calming effect. The man had infused his slowness into her. She felt herself transforming into a courtesan of slowness. A world devoid of accidents and anomalies.

Gradually, as days passed she found out that she was not the only one the man made love to. The man slept variously with all her corpses. And even though she loved all her own corpses like her own sisters, this somehow infuriated her. One day she broke into a room smelling of fresh green chilies and found the man making love to one of her corpses, both of them screaming and tumbling on pepper dusts that was spread all over the floor. She went and picked his pepper covered body and slapped him on his face.

“You don’t love me”, she said.

But as she slapped him a few particles of the pepper flew and landed right inside her eyes. She couldn’t open her eyes. And they began to burn. The man picked her in his arms and led her to the fountain. There he washed her eyes with his hands.

“You’re different.” He said.

“From whom? From all my different corpses?” she shouted

“No. There’s something inside you that really interests me.”

“What is it?”

“Your life.”

“Why don’t you accept it, then?”

“Can you give it to me if I ask?”

“It’s all yours.”

And so he picked her up in his arms once again and led her to another room. It was the room of daggers. He pressed her body onto the wall where the daggers were, and made love to her. She groaned in pain and ecstacy as she found herself transforming to a corpse amongst her many orgasms. And slowly, as she found herself dying in his arms she realized that someone must come to claim her corpse as well. Someone from her future lives. Because it was a cycle of unending.

“You cannot keep me and my corpses forever”, she told him “Someone would come to claim us.”

“Someone already has, who is your subsequent life.”

She kept looking at him with an eyeful of unanswered questions. And waited until she died.

He picked her corpse in his arms and walked with all the corpses trailing behind; corpses that had belonged till now to Pratti’s earlier lives but now in the same cycle were his.

He walked towards the kingdom of slowness.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The World

I realized I was going blind for the first time when I started seeing things in the dark.... Things that couldn't have existed..... Like a figurine of love, a dead eagle on my window-sill and myself in the mirror. It was a matter of time until I lost my sight.

When light came back on earth I went searching for a blind man. I found a woman, instead.

"Teach me blindness", I told her. And thus, in a grey, cloudy afternoon our lessons began.

"Blindness is nothing but an alternative to the world you live in", she told me. "You believe your eyesight is the best gift you have..... But you see, you never know what infinite options you have. Your eyesight is a limitation to your pursuit of these options."

"What do you mean?"

"Eyes attach properties to objects. Blindness removes them. There are no particularities in blindness. As a blind person, you can see anything in as many ways as you wish. Tell me about your experience when you felt for the first time that you were going blind."

I told her about the figurine of love, the dead eagle and myself in the mirror.

"Do you remember seeing them before your attacks of blindness? See, that's what blindness gives you: Freedom of sight."

When I returned home that night her words kept returning back. I remembered the number of times she used the word "see" in her words. It sounded pretty awkward in the words of a blind woman. But I couldn't understand her purpose of using the word: Was it a mockery or enlightenment? I couldn't understand the meanings of the things I saw in the attacks of my blindness….. Or if they had any meaning at all. Only my complete blindness could help me find answers to those questions.

The next few days, I kept waiting eagerly for blindness.

But the woman came back to me before blindness did. I told her that I was confused.

"Well, all of us are, sometimes", she said taking my hand in hers.

I found she was looking into my eyes, constantly, without her eyes blinking even for a second. It took me some time to realize that she was blind. But aren't blind people meant to see better than people gifted with eyesight? Wasn’t she seeing into me much more clearly than any normal person would do?

"Are you in love with me?" I decided to ask her.

She left my hand as I asked her the question. And moved a little farther away from me.

"What makes you think so?" she asked, a little concerned.

"You were looking into my eyes in such a strange way."

Even though she was standing turning her back towards me, I could see her leaving a deep breath.

"Maybe, you should stop imagining things." She said, as she tried to leave in a hurry.

"Why are you going away?"

"Because...." She shouted; then, fell silent. At last, in a much calmer tone she said, "because it's fearful how you...." She fell silent, once again.

I waited for her to finish. But she never did.

"....Is it how I see into you? Is that what you were trying to say?" I asked.

"Not me, but everyone..... everything." She continued, "Let me tell you a secret – We can see ourselves in mirrors. You don't exactly need to go blind for that. It's true that blindness assures freedom. It's true that blindness is much, much more powerful than eyesight. Blindness in never dark, as the popular belief goes, but is capable of colors unimaginable by a common man. Only blindness gives you access to spaces intangible..... But you see it's very, very difficult to come in terms with the fact that you are blind."

"But I don't think it would be difficult for me to come to terms with the fact when I do go blind. You've already taught me so much." I said, hoping that I was able to understand what she tried to say.

"No. It's you who taught me all these."

Unable to understand I kept looking into her eyes, vaguely.

"The doctors did indeed, find you blind from the very day that you were born", she completed.

And she reminded me what the world always would, that I cannot go blind ever again.

Monday, September 25, 2006


One evening when we sat by the distances, she told me of her wish to burn her body to see her souls catch fire, too. She said she loved the perfume of burnt-out souls. I realized that it was going to be difficult but decided to give her this gift on her nearest birthday, anyways. I asked her which of her souls she would like to burn.

"The wet one", she replied.

It had snowed last night. It had started when we were playing with each other's bodies. Fondling. Jostling. Mingling. In our silent apartment. I was drenched in her presence. I always was. Despite her perfumed hair, her ethereal nudity, the sentiments of her fragrant touch; her body was only an effigy. A mirage. Because she were innumerable women at the same time. In our silent apartment, her converging souls passed in and out of her body all the time. And in every parting moment, she fragmented herself more into the nooks and corners of my room. With every passing instance, my partner in the bed would change. I made love to all of them. It felt like a game of betrayal in which you'd stopped counting. And you had no idea any longer who it was that you were betraying. You betrayed each for all. And none for the other. Living inside a deadly turn-on.

I didn't notice the beginning of the snow until she pushed my body aside and ran outside. Into the snow. Trailing one of her souls with her. I put on some clothes and followed her outside. Snowflakes landed on her naked skin. I found slowly, that her color was changing. She was becoming a deep, deep blue. I asked her to come inside but she refused. I was worried both for her and the soul that she had brought for herself. Gradually, I found that her body had begun to glow so that the space around her seemed to be lighted up in a divine light. The light kept spreading until it went in through the windows of the people who slept. All of them woke up to find their eyes being washed in a light so deeply blue as can only be found in dreams. Thinking of the light as a divine purgation all of them started to pray.

She stood unmoving, in the snow until she fell senseless on the accumulated snow. I went near her and asked if she would like to come inside. But she wouldn't answer. So, I carried her in my arms and took her inside. I put a blanket around her. But before that, I took off her wet soul and put it next to the fire to dry.

It remained wet.

As days passed, we made plans for the burning. Even when we made love we spoke about her burning body and soul. It would turn us on. We started collecting matchsticks of different sizes and shapes. Ignite each of them to examine its flame. Our days passed like dreams.

At last her birthday came. She was apprehensive from the morning about the evening 'cause that's when, we had decided, we would set her on fire. She seemed excited from the morning. I had never seen her so exuberated ever before. By the time evening came, she had tired herself out of excitation. She quickly put on her wet soul. I, on the other hand, lighted a matchstick and set her on fire.

As flames started playing all over her body she started dancing in jubilation. First she set a few of my important papers on fire, then my beautiful Arabian carpet and slowly, my entire apartment was on fire. But we little cared for any of it because nothing was important beyond this moment.

"Come take me in your arms", she said at last, stopping "and see if I've started exuding the fragrance of burnt-out souls."

I went and took her in my arms, but couldn't find the fragrance of her burnt-out souls. I told her this. She seemed surprised. It was not some thing that we had planned for. I looked more closely at her. The flames coming out of her body seemed calm and composed. They were blue….. exactly the color of her snow drenched self.

Snows were nothing but frozen blocks of fires.

I realized that the fragrance that she was looking for would only be possible if she would burn in the snow, like the last time round. I realized, also, that I was on fire. Perhaps, I had caught it when I went and took her in my arms. When we stared outside, we found that the snowfall had started.

I took her hand and ran outside.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Prism: Final


On the day that the soldiers were to leave the carnival town, a few gunshots made its way through the parting air and made a home exactly where their love resided - in their hearts. And thus, the solemn silence of a few love struck, warrior hearts that stopped beating proclaimed the beginnings of a war.

A few numb eyes of girls who had been crying nightlong after their final lovemaking last night, watched their lovers' bodies being carried away and left to the rivers. They had came following the river and let them pass away so. The news of the soldiers' passing away didn't wound their beloveds' heart any more than did the news of their going away. A soldier's leave-taking, after all, was synonymous to his death. There never is a promise of return.

The soldiers, who survived, however, went away with an added hope - They might get to use their guns after all. The soldier, who was our hero, was among this group. He took his farewell roses from the girl and left.

On the very next day that the soldiers left camouflaging themselves with the river, a bunch of well-prepared bombs, verified by the authorities, were dropped into the town busy in cleaning the leftovers of 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. Houses came tumbling down like the tea cup on the table. And there originated from the center of the town a stale air of mutilating flesh. It became a breeze and passed onto other towns. People who had to breathe in that air cried out -

"It's the stench of the massacre. Doom's day has begun."

The carnival town became the dwelling of spirits and new-born orphans.

The troop of soldier fought with a newfound vigor. They used their guns. And contested with each other on the number of targets each of them had hit. But that phase passed away as fast as it had began. Then, came a disillusionment of war. And they found themselves being the target of a new vigorous enemy troop. They started dying and laughing at the foolishness of the new enemy troop. War, after all, was meant to be carried through and not to be lived. "They'll realize this in time", they thought.

Our hero, the soldier saw his comrades dying one by one. He gave to each of them one rose from the bunch that the girl had gifted him on his leave-taking day. Then, slowly his bunch of roses started getting thinner. And one day, he realized that he had no more roses left with him. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him - what flowers would he have after he dies? It suddenly occurred to him that there was exactly the number of roses as were the days he had spent in the carnival town with the girl. And one by one he had given it all away. He had given the girl away to the dead.

That's when he decided to surrender.

The enemies found him much too dead to have been killed. So, they decided to punish him by letting him live. They had found a weapon much severe than the gun: Life.

Our hero, the soldier, wandered through many lands and then arrived to a town that recalled no visitors. There he built a house for himself. Strangely, it became the house of three corners. It took the shape of the prism.

Then, as years passed and he became madder, he wondered why in all these years he hadn’t heard the voice of the girl in her head, as was promised by the game of the prism.

One day, when he could no longer take the void that had been created above his head; he went out searching for a mirror. That day, a breeze named agony, took him in and landed him on one side of a table on the other side of which he found the girl and on the center of which a tea cup had tumbled down.

He didn't realize that the desert was the exact place where the carnival town had been once..... that time had taken away its belongings...… that time would once again, recreate itself. He didn't realize that time had returned. The process had began. That time itself had become a maddened soul searching for answers.

He didn't recognize the table in which he had poisoned the man who had initiated the magic that was lost forever.

But he recognized the girl. He did.

She didn't.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Prism: Third

A Loner's Tale

My death had come like slumber - vanquishing between imagination and reality until none of it was left, anymore. I slipped into the realm of a mindful of voices.... Trying to adjust their tones. And their hearts.

They would make excellent characters for my story. Unlike all my other stories, this one shall have no ending. With quite a few beginnings. Like my vagabond life.

Life. Perhaps, lives. I had left behind in places I didn't know.

I had started my journey on a day when I had realized that I've quite a few words but not a carnival of faces to assign them to. So, I traveled into unregistered towns. And found a herd of people, everywhere, clinging to each other, frightened of their impending doom. Living their lives into a prophecy of massacre. I lived with them. Taught them dancing steps in which you could raise yourself above the ground and dance into the floating air .... Thinking that they might discover a relief in their new-found lightness..... Thinking that I might be able to reconstruct a civilization - abandoning itself. But I was too small a unit for this. There were no societies anymore. The heart had been abandoned. When I had turned back for the last time, before living a town, trying to wave a goodbye to them, found them staring at me like awestruck children who could understand nothing no more. They had forgotten to greet visitors or wish them luck for their journeys. They believed they had none left with themselves. Even after I left, I felt I could see them dancing their lives into a sundry prophecy of massacre.

Even then, there were places where the disillusionment couldn’t spread their blinding white sheet. Like in the land of the prostitutes. Yes, it was a dark valley. And most of the times it rained all over again on the drying streets, drying leave, drying apartments. And whenever I would pass a somber woman, she would spread out her hand towards me and cry out –

"Look, I'm drowning. Won't you save me?"

"I think I've lost that power in all these years."

"Then come, drown with me", she would say laughing out at me.

I would go and hit her on the face, again and again. And again.

"Do not laugh, ever again. It doesn't look natural on your face."

"Face? What face are you talking about, monsieur? We don't wear a same face twice."

"You have a way with your words, you little thing."

"What else do you think we sell? Do you think people need to come to a whore for a body? They could find it anywhere and they won’t have to pay for it."

"But aren't people too afraid these days to be visiting these streets?"

"Oh! Those poor trembling souls. I can't help feeling pity for them. If only my words would have caused not a single stir in their heart, they wouldn't have returned to these dark, dark alleys."

"Ain't you afraid yourself?"

"I'm immortal. I've already drowned so many times in these rains...… Look, I'm drowning. Won't you save me?"

In the land of the prostitutes, I learnt to make love to life. And write stories.

I fell in love for the first time in the last town I had visited while I was alive. It was the only place where I found people celebrating. It was 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. A carnival in tribute to the passing soldiers. Love was sprinkled all 'round. In the mornings, a beautiful girl passing by the streets would turn to look at me. And there was something written all over her face, that I couldn't forget.

But then, gradually, I came to realize that she forgot my face everyday. And took my face for someone else's that she was in love with. Naturally, due to her amnesia she couldn't remember his face as well. He was a soldier and every morning I became the same.

For her it was an illusion. For me, a chance I couldn’t let go. I posed for her beloved every morning and tried to live in her lovely eyes.

Then, came the night to play 'The Prism of Extinction'. The soldier took her hand and came forward to play the game, looking for a third fellow to complete the magic. That's when a miracle took me in. She chose me as the unknown man to be taking part in the game. I agreed on a condition that they would give me food and shelter for the night.

After the game was over, I came to the girl's home along with her and the soldier. I was told to sit by the dining table till they would bring me food. So, they went away in some other room. Then, slowly the magic of the prism began to work. I could hear in my head voices of both the girl and the soldier.

"I have a plan for him", said the soldier.

"Yes. I know what you have been thinking. But don't you think it's a bit harsh on the poor fellow."

"But it's our life and it's our duty to secure it. We can't let him in all the time."

"But that is not the way to deal with someone"

"Look, my dear girl, we're soldiers and that's how we are told to treat our enemies. It's our profession. It’s no big deal."

I wasn't mentioned for a single time in that conversation and yet, since I could hear all of it, I knew it was me that they were talking about.

And then, they came in with the tea-cup. The storm in a tea-cup. Somehow, the perfume of death seemed to be attracting me. So, knowing all of it I drank the tea.

My death as, I told earlier, came like slumber. And I kept hearing their voices inside my head -

"At last..."

"I hope you'll forgive me'

"We'll be free now"

"I didn't want to do this but..."

"Happy dying, fiend."

"You see, there was no other way."

Slowly, it felt as if their words were all jumbling up. And I couldn't figure out what they were telling. But this lasted only till I died. Then, once again their voices were all clear inside my head. I had decided right then, that I'd write their story.

"The tea cup tumbled on the table for the first time, that night."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Prism: Second


Once again she'd have to spend an eternity in a stranger's eyes. She'd take a chair and sit in there. Pick up a novel and read it. Waiting but unable to find its end. But she would know that it is a destiny she couldn’t resist.

But before any of these would happen she wondered, as she looked into his eyes, if this was her sacred death.

And even before that, when no one had ever thought about this story and when she had been independent of a writer's selfish interest; had seldom been someone's muse – she used to be a child.

When people would ask her name she used to say that she was an orphan and had no particular name. Even though no one had ever told her what an orphan meant, she liked using that word in describing herself. She had seen orphans. They were children who were set free from all boundaries; had to obey no rules. They could do anything. And she had deduced that when orphans grow up they become spirits. In their growing years they develop wings on their shoulders and learn to fly..... becoming invisible as they do so. That's exactly why there were no grown up orphans.

She had a name, though. And all of those who had ever heard it said that it was the most melodious name they had ever heard. It was like the strange softness of a silent winter night. However, she couldn't recall her name most of the times. As a matter of fact she always found it quite difficult in remembering names – of others and her own.

"You must always remember your name." her grandma would tell her "As you grow up that's all that would be left of you which would differentiate you from anyone else."

After this she found out that along with names she had also started forgetting faces. That's exactly when the news came and big, bright posters were put up on bricked walls announcing 'The Carnival of Fading Lights' celebrating the arrival of a troop of passing soldiers of a faraway land.

It was told that they were to bring a gift for the townsfolk - a strange game.

He had come there with them following the river. Into 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. And found the girl.

The girl was young. Much younger than him. A child.

But ever since he saw her there's nothing else he wanted to remember. He had seen her passing by the street. Alone. Indifferent to people who existed. He was sure that she was a woman who wore the skin of a child. She was a fallacy of nature. She would die soon, someday. Because nature doesn't forgive fallacies.

As much as he wished, he knew that a soldier is forbidden to fight against the forces of nature. He had been a soldier for a long time now. He had come to realize in time that there is a soldier, not because there is an enemy, but because there is a gun. A government needs soldiers because it is concerned about the guns that it produces. It needs to make sure that the gun doesn't land into the lap of a wrong person. Therefore, it needs soldiers to take responsibility of that gun.

A soldier can't fight against nature because guns can’t wound the forces of nature. And there's no point in fighting an enemy you can't hurt. Like shooting a corpse.

For the next few days he watched her secretly as she passed. And followed her sometimes. But she seemed ignorant of his existence ..... even, her own - drenched in her own thoughts. At last when he could take it no longer, he decided to speak to her.

"What's your name?" he asked

"I'm an orphan; I have no name." she answered smiling at him. And went away.

He wished he could forget that smile.

She had to come out every morning, because each night she realized that she had forgotten his face. But how would he recognize him in the morning for she didn't remember him anymore. So, she decided to pass through a common road everyday so that the man could expect her. She walked until she was been followed. Then, slowly while taking a turn she would take a quick look (so as not to be caught) and drink the grace of that reincarnation of a face.

When she recognized him all over again her heart yearned to speak to him. But mostly she was afraid that she would fail to recognize him the next morning. Thinking how embarrassing that situation might be, she decided never to be completely acquainted with the man. She even went away time and again when he approached her. He seemed hurt, but would somehow come out with doubled vigor the next day.

Since the carnival began every dusk when the night would be taking over the day, it was called 'The Carnival of Fading Lights'. People from different places came to attend the carnival. As the darkness would become dense, the colors of the carnival would become sharper. People would believe, however, that the colors of all things present in the carnival had a strange property: change.

Then, came the night to play the strange game that the soldiers had brought. They brought out from one of their bags a triangular prism. They said it was a gift they had got in the land of the magnolias. It was called ‘The Prism of Extinction’. And none of them had any idea why it was called thus. But they knew that it had strange powers.

"The prism gives you access to your loved one's heart. You would get to know all that’s going inside your lover's mind for you, forever ..... As long as you live or that person does. Wherever you live, however far and at whatever time, whenever that person would be thinking about you, you'd know. I'd like to make it clear over here that this prism does not give you access to your lover's thoughts which are independent of you. Also you could play this game only once in your lifetime. The process is pretty easy though. You and your lover must come in front and put their right hand on two separate faces of the prism. However, since the prism is triangular, in order to initiate the magic there must also be a third hand of another person on the prism. This person could be anyone you wish. Both of you would have access to his thoughts about you and he would have access to your thoughts concerning him, but not to your thought concerning your lover. So, I would say that it is pretty safe. Now, whoever would like to take part in the game is requested to come with his or her partner and a selected person who would complete the magic."

As happens with any new game, there were many people who were afraid in taking part. They were afraid perhaps, because it was called 'The Prism of Extinction'.

There were also many who took part. Among them were the girl and the soldier.

They decided to take any unknown man as the third person so that they might not have to think of him ever again. The man they chose seemed disconcerted about taking part in the game with them but agreed on one condition that he be given food and shelter for the night.

The game began. They put their hands on the prism. And suddenly the entire place seemed illumined by a deep, dense orange light. It only lasted for seconds until everything was back to normal. None of them found much difference inside their head. And the more concentration they would like to apply to delve deeper into their thoughts, the more they found nothing.

The unknown man who seemed the least concerned about any of it accompanied them as they walked together, for the first time, into the night. The soldier concerned that he would have to leave the town soon along with his troops; the girl concerned 'bout the same. The silence was becoming unbearable. So, the unknown man decided to break it –

"I hope you'd agree with me that it's quite cold tonight. I'm really looking forward to finding a nice, cozy sleeping place in your home. And one more thing, before I have my food I'd like to have a cup of tea....."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Prism: First

Three Corners

The tea cup tumbled on the table. And an emptiness that had filled it up to the brim, spilled over the orange tablecloth. Straining it. Alas! There was no one to praise the beauty of the spreading strain.

* * * * *

She woke up on the wall. Her eyes still unable to recover from her dream of the orange tree. She climbed down onto the right side of the wall. She remembered that on the other day she had been on the left. There were trees on this side; so were there on the other. There were houses on this side; so were there on the other. There were people on this side; so were there on the other. Both sides were essentially the same..... Except that the left became right and the right was left.

She had deduced a few days back that the wall was actually a mirror glass. None of its sides were real. But whether any of them were imaginary, she could not tell. She just had to live in both of them.

* * * * *

In the years of the massacre, there used to be a town that recalled no visitors. And deep inside this town was the house of three corners. No one knew why it had such a strange shape. No one knew, as well, who lived in that house. Some said, though, that they had watched a man standing naked by the window. He had his body painted with a compilation of unknown colors. Indescribable. And that he would look at them as if they were clowns. And laugh.

* * * * *

This morning when the girl started walking, her head was still filled with the words and imagery of the last night's dream...... the color of the tree was orange. And like all people who couldn't forget their dreams, she was trying to analyze it ..... trying to decipher its meaning, when she reached the windmill. She found that the wind was blowing from exactly the opposite direction than it had been the other day when she had been on the left side of the wall. And the windmill went exactly the other way round. But then she left a deep breath - A change in direction doesn't change the world after all.

* * * * *

Sitting in one corner of his three cornered room this morning the man realized that the void that he had been feeling so long is actually just above his head. A region of wordlessness. Yet not silence. A cluster of meaningless noise. A crowd of disturbing formlessness.

He had tried to look up... to the space above his head. But God had created him with a strange form. He cannot look above his head. His head recedes in the same pace in which his glance follows it through.

The solution, however, was simple. A mirror.

The difficult part was - He didn't have one in his home.

* * * * *

The day was ageing, slowly. The sand in the desert was burning. Alas! There was no one to praise the beauty of the invisible fire. Alone stood a table in the middle of the desert.... For no certain reason. No one knew how it had come to be there. Or who had ever taken tea in the cup that had been left on the table-top. No one knew, as well, why the tea cup tumbled on the table. No one was there to know.

A warm, warm breeze started in the desert. Its name was agony.

* * * * *

For the first time in his life the man decided to come out of his house. For the first time he stepped out on the road. The road was empty. They were the years of the massacre, and this morning there was a premonition of chaos. So the townsfolk decided to stay behind their closed doors. Security was their only aspiration.

The road was empty. But it didn't matter to him at all. In fact, if there would have been people on the road it would be difficult for him to control his laughter looking at them. For just because there was no mirror in the town none of them knew that they looked exactly like each other. But right now he needed a mirror for himself .... To watch the space just above his head.

"I might have to walk miles for that", he thought.

That's exactly when agony arrived. A warm, warm breeze carrying grains of sand bathed him so that when he opened his eyes he remembered not being able to see anything.

But whatever it was that he was trying to see he could not remember.

* * * * *

"What is it that changes our world forever?" she was trying to figure out. At the same time, she was also trying to figure out the cause of her meaningless meanderings upon things so insignificant. Perhaps, this search for a cause too, was a part of her meaningless meanderings. And this almost gave her Goosebumps for it meant that all her thoughts were meaningless.

Then, it suddenly occurred to her that the breeze that was blowing from the opposite direction was a lot warmer than the one that had been blowing the other day when she had been on the left side of the wall. A change in temperature was not a property of the mirror.

"Does that mean" she thought once again, "that a change in direction does change the world after all? Or perhaps, I was wrong from the very beginning. Perhaps, the wall is not a mirror at all."

That's exactly when agony arrived. A warm, warm breeze carrying grains of sand took her in so that when she found her senses back she remembered not being able to understand anything.

But whatever it was that she was trying to understand she could not remember ever again.

* * * * *

Both of them found themselves sitting on opposite sides of a table, on the center of which a tea cup had tumbled down.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Prism: Prologue


Orange was the color of the tree. We went and sat underneath.

Her: Can you breathe the color?

Me: Orange.

Her: Yes. But the smell…

Me: Maybe, I have a bad cold.

Her: I know you do. Try smelling it with your eyes.

Me: I find nothing.

Her: You have to. Touch the shadow scattered all over the ground around you.

[I put my palms down onto the grass. My eyes closed upon me.]

Me: Ah! The smell of wet mud.

Her: Exactly! The smell of dusts drenched in rain... the smell of softness... of beginnings..... and virginity. The original smell of the color orange.

Me: Perhaps, you are correct. It feels like the fragrance of the day we had met in the grey lanes.

Her: In the land of the Prostitutes.

Me: Yes. But you never told me what you were doing over there.

Her: I was trying to live the life of a whore... To sleep with different men so that I might not have to remember any of them. Maybe, I was looking for the man whose blood was pure orange. Rather, I'd been looking for a suicidal man... hoping that he might permit me to taste his death.

Me: You wanted to die with him?

Her: No. I wanted to live his death. [silence] Did you ever make love to a person who is dying... Felt yourself touching a departing soul... In a body that's drowning into itself? I wanted that. To tempt freedom into the maze of no returns. The labyrinth.

Me: So, you wanted a slave?

Her: I only wanted myself back.

Me: No. You only wished to have a scattered life. To lose meanings. To cherish all leave-takings. To die after each of your deaths. Didn't you always wish to be in a carnival of fading lights?

Her: I always was in the carnival. I only wished to take you there.

[I saw some teardrops roll down her cheek]

Me: Why are you crying? Don't you know it's forbidden?

Her: Don't you?

Me: Why? Am I crying?

Her: Yes, you are.

Me: Are you sure? I never realized I was!

Her: Yes, I can see tears down your cheek. They are orange.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


In the beginning there was a rain in the valley. A perpetual rain. It didn't stop for many years. People told that it was one of the driest rains that had ever been. It hadn't quenched the thirst of a single lonesome leaf. It was the glass-rains. A shower of glass-dusts. Zillions of glass-dust particles had poured over their houses, trees, fields and dreams.

They had a small space in one of the corners of the valley. This they called their sphere of dreams. All of them used to preserve their own dreams in this space. A library of dreams. All people living in the valley had access to these dreams of many people. They had their reveries, their trance and nightmares all heaped up in this space. The glass-rains poured on them. All dreams, henceforth, in the valley were infected with glasses.

I had came into the valley when the glass-rains fell. Thus, I was christened as the glass-boy. I was described variously by different people - the boy with glassy-eyes; a boy whose touch was like the cold glasses; transparent as he is, like the glasses. There was a girl who used to describe me as a boy with a heart of glass - it did not beat and was much too fragile.

It was generally believed that I was the harbinger of the glass-rains. The messenger.

The glass-rains kept perpetuating when all of these names were assigned to me. So that, gradually, living into the glass-rains I started believing that I was the God of glass-rains.

When the families of the valley-dwellers had their dreams infested with glass-rains, they were brought to me and I was able to heal them. In most of the cases I took away their infected dreams and kept them in one dark corner of my room - so that they may not spread ever again.

Most of the afternoons, I lied on my bed beside the window and kept watching the glass-rains. It piled on the roads on which people tried to walk. Their feet bled, but they were used to that after so many days. They toiled about, indifferent to the glass-dusts in which their footprints were imposed for ever. I looked more closely to the blood-soaked glasses.

They had become part of my existence. My children. Often lost in my thoughts I would lose myself to sleep.

One evening, I was woken up by a chaos that seemed to be originating somewhere outside the door of my house. I got up and opened the door. I found a group of people howling, trying to say me something, but since all of them spoke at once, each drenched in their own choice of words; what they tried to say was indecipherable. All of them had forgotten their umbrellas and they were drenched too, in the glass-dusts and their own blood.

Since I'd been healing people for a long time, I knew that when people arrive in front of my doorstep in the glass-rains forgetting their umbrellas, it invariably means some thing serious. That evening I was taken to a dusty, shabby looking house. Inside I found the girl who used to call me the boy with a heart of glass, sleeping peacefully.

Her peaceful sleep was a curse of the glass-rains. She had transmogrified into a dream herself. This was the worst form of the disease, in which the infected person slipped onto a surreal world of her own made up of glass imageries. A sphere of infinite mirrors. The realm of fragility. Of extreme loneliness. And multiplied selves.

Her father was looking at me with much hope. I took my eyes away from his and said -

"I can do nothing for her." "Is she…." Her father gasped, unable to complete his sentence. "No, she isn't dead. But she has been taken away by the dreams of the glass-rains." "What happens after this?" "Nothing in the reality. Anything in her dreams." "But you can do anything. Can't you bring her back?" "No. it's beyond my powers." "But you are the emperor of the glass-rains." Her father was almost shouting right now, "And you don't know how to bring her back?" "You can bring her back only if you could visit her dreams and drag her out of it." I almost screamed back at him, as I stepped out of the door. I heard her father still shouting behind me – "How cruel can you be? My daughter is dying over here; at least, you could have given us some hope." "Well, she is not dying, but I'd rather like it if she would have." I screamed back.

Walking on the way back to my home, through the glass-rains, with an umbrella over my head, I tried to recall what it was that I was trying to say. Why did I suddenly become so cruel? I had never been thus in the past. I looked up to the glass-rains. Some drops of glass poured in my eyes making them bleed. Suddenly I could see nothing in front of me. I could only hear some distant voices coming from afar.

That's when I woke up from the dream.

I was woken up by a chaos that seemed to be originating somewhere outside the door of my house. I got up and opened the door. I found a group of people howling, trying to say me something, but since all of them spoke at once, each drenched in their own choice of words; what they tried to say was indecipherable. All of them had forgotten their umbrellas and they were drenched too, in the glass-dusts and their own blood.

This time I knew all of them by their faces. I recognized the father of the girl who used to call me the boy with a heart of glass. But much more importantly I recognized myself. I recognized the dream that I had been. I recognized my voice saying -

"You can bring her back only if you could visit her dreams…."

Isn't that what I did? Isn't that what the dreams of the glass-rains had made me do? The infected dreams that I had taken away from people and stored in one dark corner of my room. I heard her father was requesting me to come to their house. I looked at the fountains in the corner of his eyes. Wet. Like the simple rains in the world from where I had came from. Left too far behind. Much too far behind. Here in this valley of glass-rains I had saved the life of a girl who called me the boy with a heart of glass, but could I ever quench her thirst? Could I quench the thirst of any of these people who come to knock my door? How can I ever do so in this valley of glass-rains where there is no concept of water?

But I had brought her back to life. I looked beyond the eyes of his father. And beyond the eyes of all the fathers who surrounded her father….. And I saw that the glass-rain had stopped. A nice, bright sunray came and touched my skin.

I did find the valley of glass-rains, myself. I was its founder after all. I realized this.

Exactly at that moment, I started evaporating.

For the first time I realized that I was made of mirrors. An assemblage of glasses. Fitted to perfection of angles so as to create an illusion of skin, flesh, bone and blood. An entrapment of light in the zillion of glass-dusts. My body. A frame of delicacy. Fragile.

I evaporated and became translucent clouds floating around like glass-slides over the silent valley. At times someone would speak out breaking the silence:

"The glass-rain could come down anytime like the avalanche."

Monday, July 10, 2006


I had seen the avalanche coming to cover her sacred nudity. Between that potentiality and actualization resided this tale. I had found it over there and tried to save it from being buried forever.

Me and her. We both knew of the tale. We had been told about it..... Had been told that it was too dangerous..... That we should not listen to the tale even if the tale tells us its tale. We knew. Me and her. We both knew of the avalanche. We had been told about it..... Had been told that it was too fragile..... That it could come down anytime like the glass-rains. We knew.

[I know I never told you of the valley of glass-rains. It’s quite difficult to write of it but I promise to try and capture it in my next piece.]

She loved walking down the way the avalanche would come. She told me that she had had a premonition in which she had found the tale exactly in the center of the potentiality and actualization of the avalanche. She had found the avalanche waiting for a provocation of sounds. And she was voiceless. She told me that she had been a mute child ever since her voice started to disappear.

She was upset when she had discovered this, one fine evening. The winds had been blowing from the north when she found out that everything she had told a few moments earlier could no longer be heard by any of her relatives. Her voice had started to disappear. She had lost her power of speech. Her utterances had ceased being there.

When years passed, she grew. So, did her silence.

Many seasons later, she met me. And I taught her that silence was a form of sound. And just as we have access to different kinds of sound we could find silences unlike each other. It didn't take me too long to make her realize this. I only took her to the silence of a soldier's death being mourned and the silence in the shade of an old tree. Then, she learnt the language and spoke to me frequently.

She told me about all her speechless years. And she told me about an evening when her voice started to disappear. The wind was blowing from the north. She had made a tale and was telling it to her relatives. But when her tale ended she found that the words that comprised her tale were not there anymore.

She told me all these tales every evening while we walked down the way the avalanche would come. I had heard them many times, but since she spoke in a language of silence the tales became new every time. They were independent of the limitation of words.

After a few evenings the same independence was infused to her being. She became a libertine; even though, I had very little idea then and even now, about what that word really means. I knew she had become one since she told me so. And then she told me about her tales of love-making to different people in the consecutive nights when she had not returned home. She told me that she had slept, on the way the avalanche would come, in the arms of insignificant men.

I had closed my eyes and in my visions found her trying to cover her skin with her sacred nudity. For reasons unknown to me, that evening, I had started to scream.

My scream. The exact center of the avalanche. Sound. The core of its potentiality and actualization. And in my continuing vision, as was promised by her, I found the tale:

"It was a distant evening. A group of people had found themselves a dark part of the evening in which, as a cluster, they all sat. Everyone in the group was silent… except for a little girl who seemed to be telling them a tale. A wind was blowing from the north and she told them the strangest tale ever been told. A dangerous tale. A tale in which a man and woman keep walking under the promise of an avalanche searching a tale that they are unknown to, even though it belongs to them. A tale that they keep reliving over and over again…"

When I opened my eyes I found the avalanche coming down. And in that glory I evidenced a strange, incomprehensible phenomenon – I found the tale covering the avalanche. And her sacred nudity, too.