Mailbox on Mars

Well as everyone can see, it’s been a while since I last posted something online. I’ve been waiting for ideas, you see. And that doesn’t mean I have one right now. It’s just one of those numerous (that’s an exaggeration) occasions when I sit down to write with a mind as empty as a mailbox on Mars.

That reminds me. I saw a joke, on a website. It started off with a loud writing (that isn’t supposed to mean it was actually noisy; it means it was written in large, bold letters) that claimed that water had been found on Mars. I wasn’t too amused, and I scrolled down, because there inevitably had to be a pic. And there was one: a plastic glass of water seated on a bar of chocolate named Mars something or something Mars. Water found on Mars. Imagine that. And there were a number of option buttons below the picture, asking how funny the joke was, ranging from really funny to really stupid. I guess I don’t have to tell you which one attracted my mouse pointer.

I mean, if you have to joke, do it seriously (pun intended).

Of late I’ve been rather concerned about my destiny. Don’t laugh. I’ve read a few books, The Alchemist, and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, and they’ve got me thinking. You can see a reflection of that in my article named ‘The Machine’. After you’ve read it, you’ll see why you shouldn’t laugh about things like this.

In other news, I’ve been trying to put down a story. It’s named ‘The Mirror of Real’. Originally it was supposed to be quite short, —  two or three pages in Microsoft Word, but halfway through (that’s actually half a page through) I changed my mind and built idea upon idea till the plot was quite large, and now it’s the ninth page running, so you can no longer say that I had an idea halfway through, because half a page could have been halfway through the length of my old plot, but now that the story is so big, I don’t think I can any longer say that I had a revelation ‘halfway through’ the story. In fact, I can’t even tell how much way through the story I had the idea, quarter, three quarters, five-sevenths, nothing, because I don’t know how long the story is going to be. I don’t know if it will be eleven pages or twenty-two. That’s how my mind works. As disorganized as, well… hang on, let me search for a simile… oh yeah, as disorganized as me, what else. Ha-ha.

My jokes are as stupid as a glass of water on a bar of chocolate.

Oh, good idea!

Rate me:    Really funny;    Quite funny;    Er… funny, I guess;    Okay-okay types;    Um… not too good, really;    Really stupid.

 

 

 

Thanks.

1Life

(Proud owner of an empty mailbox on Mars.)

A Second Time

And it was in a rain-drenched garden-shed

That I woke to find that I had been dead

 

And the endless string of unfinished things

Of broken wishes and incomplete dreams

 

Looked me in the face through my own eyes

And I decided that wasted time wasn’t so nice

 

So I got up, you see, and looked for a thing

That could remind me to fly, return me my wing.

 

And when I saw that an ocean in your eyes did lie

Mean to be with the skies inside my eye,

 

I knew I had found the miracle that made this poem rhyme

And it was love that let me be born

A second time.

1Life.

One Day in the Life of a Politician

He was a tired Indian politician. He had won the elections, and he was coming back home after a press conference with his regular escort of fifteen government cars. As he watched the lights of the city night crawl by outside his window, he focused his mind on his last speech. Nice speech, that one, and original too. Not by his secretary as they usually were. He had even asked her daughter to check it once. She had told him that it was ‘Rocking, Dad!’ and he had smiled when he heard his daughter say that. It’s not often that he writes one of his speeches himself. He forced his attention now to a few well-chosen lines. And no longer shall we lag behind, because we do not deserve it. We shall move forth as all developed countries have, in mind and in work. We shall eliminate the barriers of cast, religion, poverty. We shall strive to build a better and more open-minded country for the future. As we have done before, we shall leave the great burden of orthodoxy behind, for this is the age of change, of rationalism, of accepting whole-heartedly the new generation. We physically live no longer in the past, and neither shall we mentally do so. We shall accept new norms and live for the present and future and secure free will, free decision and free life to all our people. Our children shall be given the rights they deserve, given the freedom of opinion, and the acknowledgement of their importance in building our nation, for their decisions are just as important as ours. And no longer shall our country be crippled by the menace of religious, cast-wise or regional discrimination and bias. We shall step into a new era of broad-minded acceptance.

Even in his mind now the words sounded so sweet.

His car halted a few meters from his apartment gate, and a bodyguard in black opened the door for him. He walked out, through the reception, and then into a waiting lift, accompanied by two armed guards.

At his flat, the guards left him and went back downstairs as he opened the door and entered. The living room was empty. He heard sounds from the bedroom and went in. What met him was a complete mess.

His daughter was sitting on the bed, clasping something to her heart and crying. His wife was standing over her, and pulling out an endless string of rebukes onto the shaking, sobbing creature. The whole room was topsy-turvy. The clothes had been pulled out of the cupboards, a backpack lying on the bed was overflowing with clothes, and an expensive china vase lay on the floor in pieces.

Even before he could ask what had happened, she thundered her statement through the room.

‘A Muslim boy! She is in love with a Muslim boy. Can you believe it? Here, I found a photo of the bastard in her school books.’ — and she yanked a photograph from the girl’s hands and shoved it into his face — ‘And when I asked her dear, please come to your senses. Dear, we love you, she said she is going to leave his place for ever and started packing her clothes, can you imagine! And she accuses us of not understanding her point of view.’ — and she said the last three words mockingly and with utter distaste, and stopped and stood looking at the man with those big round glaring eyes of hers.

‘Let me handle this.’ He said at last, after he had taken his few seconds to take it all in. The girl looked up from her sobbing with fear etched clearly in her eyes.

After the wife had left the room with much unnecessary noise and banging the bedroom door shut behind her (never in all its years of service had this door ever been required to be closed) with a sound that was sure to have been carried to all the flats in the apartment, to the ears of all the voters that had voted for his husband and expected as reward if not education for everyone but still silence and quiet in the residential complex, the man turned to her daughter with the fire in his eyes that she had leaned to fear like the devil through the days she had been brought up.

‘A Muslim boy, eh?’ he shouted as he always did during his speeches, rendering the whole effort of acquiring a loudspeaker pointless. The girl quaked at his sight and withdrew slowly to a corner of the bed.

‘Tell me, a Muslim boy? Being a Hindu, you choose a Muslim boy? Answer me!’

The girl looked at her father through teary eyes, at the man standing at the doorway who was shouting at her now. He was still in the Punjabi that he had left for the conference in, and now it was wet and soggy with sweat, and revealed his underclothing.

‘Why don’t you answer me!’ and he came and grabbed her hand and yanked her to her feet.

She uttered some words amidst her sobs that sounded like ‘he loves me’.

And then she looked up to catch another glimpse of the familiar fire in his eyes before being thrown roughly on the floor. Her head hit the wall and it hurt like hell. She felt for the place where the pain was the greatest and could feel something wet. Her ears were buzzing with a constant monotonous sound and her limbs started to grow numb. She watched hazily as her father picked up the photograph from the bed and shred it to pieces. Then he shouted some more and she thought she could hear the words ‘how much we love you’ and ‘no food for you tonight’, but she was too numb by then to consider them. The last thing she heard was the bedroom door being opened and closed again, and with it the unmistakable click of the Yale lock, the special Yale lock that her father had installed specially for her daughter’s bedroom, where the lock was outside, not inside.

And then, in the few moments before going to sleep in the wet pool of blood around her head, like a red halo, she remembered last night, when Dad had come to have her speech reviewed by her daughter and daughter had admired his sentences more than usual for some unknown reason, for some reason that stayed inside her school books and in the precious few minutes that she and the boy could meet in a week, and in her heart. And now, before her senses went to sleep with her, she thought of those sentences.

We shall eliminate the barriers of cast, religion, poverty. As we have done before, we shall leave the great burden of orthodoxy behind, for this is the age of change, of rationalism, of accepting whole-heartedly the new generation.

Our children shall be given the rights they deserve, given the freedom of opinion, and the acknowledgement of their importance in building our nation, for their decisions are just as important as ours. And no longer shall our country be crippled by the menace of religious, cast-wise or regional discrimination and bias. We shall step into a new era of broad-minded acceptance.

And then the words became too heavy and hard for her tiring mind to read, and she gave up and went to sleep.

1Life.

 

About Organic Waste

Sometimes, you know, life is shit.

And sometimes it isn’t.

We live for the times that are shitless, and we try to ignore the fact that we live for shitless times through shit times, and we like to think life is generally happy, and shitless time is waiting just around the bend, waiting for me to just get through this shit time now.

But in the end, we know life isn’t so. It’s a shit-based dish with sprinkles of shitless delicacy strewn around the top. And we try to forget that and go on with life as if it were shitless, and the shit was our fault, which meant we could correct it if we wanted, now and here, if we started off with determination. Well dude, I’m not blaming you for blaming yourself, but the shit in your life isn’t your fault. It’s the fault of the reason that this universe was woven with. The reason says life should be exactly as it is: a generally stinky recipe with overtones of clean stuff. That’s why there are wars, there are elections, there is Abu Ghraib and George Bush and missing a world record in athletics for .5 millisecond, and reservation in higher education. That is why there was original sin and the fall of Adam and Eve, and that is why God had the idea that he should create shit in the first place; all of these have the same reason for their existence: shit happens. And yeah, God’s idea that shit should happen in our universe is also because shit happened when he sat down to plan this world. And that’s because it was woven into the reason of His world: that shit should happen with important things. Which means God is subordinate to some higher logic and reason, created by some Mega-God. And maybe shit happens to Him too, because he is bound in the fabric of reason woven by a yet Giga-God. And then a Peda-God, Tera-God and so on and so forth.

What I wrote just now was, you guessed it, shit. And that’s because some shit just happened in my life. Never bother.

1Life.

Conversations with G #2

Dream

 

I had had a nice weekend. I went over to a friend’s place on Saturday, and then all my friends came over on Sunday. I found a person who had copied all my writing over to her blog, without a note or link. Monday started well. I found some articles on The Matrix and Hinduism. Then Tejal called. I couldn’t talk too well. She talks British English, in the British accent. Yeah, that smooth, soft, vague, hard-to-understand accent. Sometimes she pounces on the words, sometimes she polishes them, and sometimes… oh rats this was supposed to be another conversation. Well I went and settled myself on my bed with Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress in my hand. I wasn’t really reading. I was tired. My eyes were heavy. I was dragging myself on through the pages, through the lines, through each word towards a paragraph of cipher-text on page… I forgot the page number. It looked compelling, enticing, a paragraph of code. I was hoping I would wake up completely when I got to it. I hate falling asleep, which I did, eventually, before I reached it.

And I was there. Oz, or Eden. Infination, yeah. That sounds like a nice name. Electric sky and blue ground. The soft glow, bright as a lightning bolt, lit up everything. I was surprised. I was only admitted there when I needed it for something. It wasn’t the case now. I didn’t have any questions. I was a little scared.

Within a minute G appeared. (Only an assumption that I constructed when I woke up later. That place gives you no sense of time. You can’t figure out how much time is passing. Something just numbs that part of the brain.) He wasn’t in his usual Jeans and T-shirt. He had a black leather jacket on, and heavy black boots. He somehow looked older than me. The haze seemed thicker than usual. Now I was really scared.

‘Sit, N, I’m not gonna assassinate you.’ His voice was slow and suppressed, I thought.

I sat down beside the stream and stayed quiet. I didn’t like the atmosphere at all.

As if smelling the uncomfortable silence, G sat down too. Not as close as he usually sat. He lowered his head and watched the stream flow smoothly.

‘I wanna share a thing.’

I turned towards him without saying anything. I hoped my persisting silence would convey to him my disapproval to the way things were going.

‘You watched The Matrix, did you?’

Now I had to laugh. ‘Seriously, G, you’re asking this now?’

He turned fully towards me and stared into me (like I have described in the earlier conversation). Then he said, ‘They woke up, didn’t they? Neo and the gang? They woke up from the dream, right?’

‘Yeah, they did,’ I said, feeling uneasy.

‘What do you think they woke up into?’

‘The desert of the real?’ I said, quoting Morpheus.

‘Real?’ chuckled G. ‘That’s the problem with you people. You stop too soon.’

‘Why? Wasn’t that real?’

‘Give me a definition of that word.’

I looked at the stream and thought of a good definition.

‘What actually exists.’

‘The matrix exists, doesn’t it? As long as you dream, the things in your dream exist, don’t they? So they should be real, right?’

Now I realized I’d left a little logical loophole. I stared at the stream again and pondered on where I had gone wrong. Then after sometime I said ‘Reality is when everything in actuality is not different from what it appears to be.’

[Think about the definition, fellas.]

‘Good one.’ He stared appreciatively at me. ‘If you hadn’t given a definition like that, I wouldn’t be able to get to the point so quick. Tell me something,’ he looked away at the horizon, ‘who decides if everything in actuality is what it appears to be?’ He turned to face me. ‘As long as you dream, you know only what things appear to be, not what they actually are. You take them for real, when in fact they are illusions. So how can you decide what’s real and what’s not when in both the cases you get to know only the apparent view? How can you define real with that confidence when you are half-blinded?’

‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘I don’t get you.’

‘Look N, as long as you are in a dream, you take everything as real because that is one property of dreams. You misinterpret reality because the dream induces you to believe that things that are not real actually are. In this respect your definition is correct and may lead us to find the ultimate real, but that definition’s like a hypothesis, you know; it’s logically correct, but you can never find real with its help. When you are conscious, whatever you experience seems real to you because even if they have an actuality that is different from their apparent aspect, you never get to realize it because you never experience the actuality until you wake to a higher dimension that allows you to see that actuality. In other words, you can never tell for certain whether a thing is real or not.’

‘Means I may not be real?’

‘That’s where the concept of relativity comes in. You are real in the dimension that induces you to believe that you are real. For example, a flying elephant is real when you are in the dream that you see it in, isn’t it so? Now when you wake up, you are actually entering a higher dimension that allows you to see the actuality behind the flying elephant and hence you declare it as unreal. So you see, the classification of what’s real and what’s not changes with changing dimensions, although the definition of reality, like the one you gave, may not. That is because the definition itself includes a parameter that is variable: the dimension, the level. Neo and his gang may still be dreaming a dream called the “desert of the real”’.

It took a few seconds for me to take it all in. Finally I said, ‘Where does it all end?’

He smiled. ‘I’ll avoid that question.’

This was so like him. Always left a doorway to admit the nothing that contained the seed of everything, something that made me keep coming back to him.

‘This could be a dream,’ I suddenly said.

‘You mean this meeting?’ He said. ‘Yeah, sure, why not?’

Tremendous thoughts were running through my head. Fast, very fast, like F1 cars. Blazes of colours representing varied thoughts each with its own flavour. I felt lost. I couldn’t be dreaming this, now, could I? Does anyone in a dream know it’s a dream and even talk about it?

‘But…’

‘What’s stuck in your behind now is a very expected pin. You can’t accept that you are talking and thinking about the dream while you are in it, right?’

My mind was racing so hard I didn’t even wonder how he hit bull’s-eye again. I nodded eagerly.

‘That’s the difference between the normal dream you have at bed and this one, N. This is a dream in a higher dimension, blocking the realities of a yet higher one. And if this dream belongs to a higher dimension than your bedtime ones, won’t you expect the rules to be different?’

I stared at the ground for a long, long time. I realized now why I had come here tonight without wanting to. It’s because he wanted me to. This wasn’t an answer to one of the usual questions I have in mind and come to him for. This was a message from him. That’s why he wasn’t sitting so close. A teacher doesn’t come as close as a friend.

‘Who’s dreaming?’ I said at last.

‘Who features in your bedtime dreams?’ he said softly.

‘Me, who else?’

And who dreams them?

‘Me.’

I waited for him to continue but he kept quiet. I looked at him as I ran over his words in my mind. Who dreams them? Me. Who dreams them? Me.

‘I’m dreaming this dream?’

He smiled.

‘Life’s a dream that I am dreaming?’

‘Yes.’

‘But then, why don’t I know it?’

‘Do you ever know, in a dream? You even have trouble waking up from a dream as you slowly float back to reality, don’t you?’

‘Why don’t I know  now who I  actually am when I’m awake?’

‘Because this is the dream. Do you know who you are, who your parents are, which school you study in, in short your social identity, when you are in a dream?’

‘I am dreaming you now? You are a part of my dream? Wait, if that’s true, then I have no reason to believe in you because you are just one of my thoughts, and so this is not a dream, and so you are real, and… it’s a paradox.’

‘Calm down, N. I’m not something you’re dreaming. Your best friend is equally a part of your dream as you are a part of his. It’s a single dream, and all souls like you, like your best friend, like everyone in the dream, is in actuality the person who’s dreaming it. You’ll know when you wake up.’

‘Who’s dreaming it?’

G stood up, suddenly. He gave me a very, very mysterious stare and said, ‘I can see you have trouble accepting your life as a dream. You know N, anything can happen in a dream. You need to accept the possibilities of your dream-life first. That’s the positive side of this concept. I’ll help you accept them. I promise.’

‘G, you’re avoiding my question. Who’s dreaming it?’

‘I told you. It’s you who’s dreaming it.’

‘I know that. I mean, who am I really when I’m awake?’

‘N, do you remember that you once used to call me Morpheus?’

‘I still do, in my mind.’

‘Do you know who he was?’

‘He was a teacher, but he left gaps open that he wanted the student himself to find out. “I can only show you the door. But you are the one that has to walk through it.” So very much like you, ass-hole.’

‘That’s it? That’s all who he was?’

‘Yeah. What are you hinting at?’

‘N, you really gotta do your homework before you meet me. Especially your history homework. Or, should I say, mythology. Then maybe you wouldn’t be sitting here like a loser whining about who dreams you.’

‘What? Tell me straight, G. What are you talking about?’

‘I can only show you the door. But you are the one that has to walk through it, Neo.’

‘That’s the shittiest door-showing I’ve ever seen in my life.’

‘I haven’t finished. You’ll find the answers a while later, N, when I am not here, or rather, when you are not here, so that you can think about them alone.’

I kept quiet now, realizing he wouldn’t give up.

‘Okay, see you soon, then, I s’pose.’

‘Yes. But I sure do hope you figure out the answers to most of your questions yourself before you come knocking on my door.’ And he turned and started to walk away from me, a solitary figure in black, his outline growing slowly hazy as he moved into the haze, or maybe because my vision was growing blurred, and my brain was slowly shutting down, but through all the confusion and blurriness, I thought I still could hear him singing something as he went. It was a line from a song I knew; I had heard it on the radio. It went ‘Knock knock knocking on heaven’s door’. And I thought vaguely as I heard him sing, ‘What heaven? When I’m knocking on him, I’m not knocking on heaven’s door, am I? This is not heaven. What shit…’

 

I woke later, in my bedroom. As my field of vision sharpened itself and my head became slowly active once again, I became aware of a very insignificant, but not inconspicuous, thing lying on my bed. It looked like a piece of paper. I could swear it hadn’t been there when I left. I walked over to it slowly, my head still swaying a bit. When I picked it up, I noticed it was an A4 sized paper, and all over it was my handwriting in pencil. I couldn’t read it because my vision was still blurred. So I went into the bathroom and washed my face and woke up a bit more and returned. Then I picked the page up again. I could tell at once that I had never written it, although the handwriting was plainly mine. In an instant, a tiny voice echoed from a tiny compartment inside my brain. I knew that compartment: It was the one that had led me to G. And now it was saying, You’ll find the answers a while later, N, when I am not here, so that you can think about them alone.

Nonsense, I said to myself, and read the paper. It appeared to be a collection of notes jotted down for some research that I had never taken up:

 

 

 

Ancient Greek mythology states that Morpheus was the son of Hypnos, god of sleep, and he himself was the god of dreams.

 

● Hinduism Source: http://bighominid.blogspot.com/2003/09/hindu-cosmology-and-matrix.html:

 

“It was early in S. Mark Heim’s provocative Salvations: Truth and Difference in Religion that I encountered a passage recounting an exchange between a Hindu monk and a Muslim, in which the monk offered the insight that reality is a dream, and we are dreams talking to dreams. Here’s the passage (p. 13):

 

When we are in it, a dream can be extremely vivid, [the monk] told us. We feel its objects, we move in its world. Yet in the instant of awakening we realize completely that the dream was but a veil for our actual place and being. Just so will our present world appear when we achieve moksha [liberation]. One of the Muslim students frankly shared his puzzlement. If this world is like a dream, he asked, then what are we to you, or you to us? Are we illusions, figments of each other’s imagination? The monk adjusted his robes with a smile. "We are dreams, talking to dreams." He was silent for a moment, while we savored the peculiar beauty of this image. "But of course," he went on, "you will ask me ‘Who is having this dream?’ And I will tell you that it is God who is having this dream, and it is God who each of us is when we wake up." ”

 

My head was swimming again by now, as realizations came too fast for me to catch up with, to believe. I wanted to deny it all, but at least in this case he had left no doorway open. I simply couldn’t reject what my own handwriting said one a piece of paper. As a last resort, I thought: But G cannot interfere with my life. It’s only in that place that we meet. And yet, right now this thing in my hands, it can’t have been written by me. Then how is he doing this? How can he have control over my life?

And at that precise moment, that tiny compartment in my head woke up again. It didn’t say anything, but I felt it. And together with that there were phrases going through inside my mind, jostling and fighting with each other for order, and then, then…

How can G have control over my life?… We are dreams… Morpheus was the son of Hypnos, god of sleep, and he himself was the god of dreams… god of dreams… We are dreams, talking to dreams… Morpheus, the god of dreams… ‘N, do you remember that you once used to call me Morpheus?’… ‘ “Who is having this dream” And I will tell you that it is God who is having this dream, and it is God who each of us is when we wake up.’…Morpheus, the god of dreams…Morpheus, the God…

 

And I guess my head was closing down again, so tired, so tired, that I went off to sleep.

And dreamt.

 

N.