Two of Us #1

Somewhere inside is a world where nothing ever stops changing. You think this is the way you’ll remain forever, that it’s the best person you could be, but lo and behold, tomorrow you are sure to be different, and feel not one atom different about it. You’ll think again you have only changed in the past but that won’t happen again in the future. Life is strange.

Change is not variation in life. Change is not a property of life. Change is life. The only ones who have ceased changing have ceased living. This is not only true for us, but for most things. Sanskrit was an ancient Indian language. The perfect, logical, balanced language. It wouldn’t evolve because its structure couldn’t admit it. Today, no one speaks that language. It’s dead.

 

1Life  I’m feeling down.

Neo  Why?

1Life  I dunno. Just down.

Neo  Do you want to be like that?

1Life  [looks into his eyes] Why can’t you ever approach something without analyzing it like this?

Neo  Because being down isn’t good.

1Life  I wish I hadn’t told you.

Neo  Don’t be a baby. Come on, what’s wrong?

1Life  Nothing. Maybe everything. Maybe there are so many minute things wrong that I can’t really point one out.

Neo  Let’s take them off the top?

1Life  Sometimes you have to learn that when someone is down, he  may need company more than an immediate solution.

Neo  You like to be down?

1Life  You’re a blockhead.

Neo  What’s wrong?

1Life  I dunno. I guess it’s partly because of the rain.

Neo  The rain isn’t harming you in any way. Or do you not like it when it rains?

1Life  I love it when it rains. I just get sort of melancholy when it does. That’s it.

Neo  But you said you’re down. I mean, down…

1Life  Um… I dunno. Old problems maybe. Repression at home. Hey Neo?

Neo  Yeah?

1Life  I’ve dreamt of flocks of birds. Mostly pigeons. And mostly in a dark, confined space, fluttering. But they don’t scare me. I read in a site it means I feel a need to escape. You think so?

Neo  Sure. Some quiet place, loads of time to spend, more rain, and with her of course.

1Life  [smiles.] Thanks, Neo. You’re great.

Neo  I just gave you an idea. I don’t see it coming true. Why are you thanking me?

1Life  I hate you.

Neo  Here, gimme a hug. We’ll make it through.

[hug]

1Life  We’re becoming gay.

Neo  [breaks off laughing, clutching his tummy.] We are the same person, Life. We’ve got to be like this if we have to exist.

1Life  Hey, tonight when I was returning from Chemistry class, I was going to cross the road and there were cars whizzing by, and I thought, I’m actually steps away from death. Neo, I miss my friends.

Neo  And they think you don’t call because you’ve forgotten them.

1Life  I love her a lot, Neo.

Neo  You sure?

1Life  I hate your tone of voice.

Neo  Okay, my widgie-pidgie, you suuurrreeey?

1Life  [laughs.] Yeah, I’m sure. Thanks Neo. You keep me alive.

Neo  But first you’ve got to keep me alive, isn’t it?

1Life  We’re symbiotic. Some people at school think I’m a girl.

Neo  That’s coz you are all Indians. If you weren’t, they’d call you gay.

1Life  I don’t feel like one when I sometimes think of having a kid to look after. I don’t feel like one when I think of her.

Neo  Wo, don’t get worked up, soldier. You don’t have to defend yourself to me.

1Life  I’m not. I’m just getting it out of the system.

Neo  By the way, I thought mas was over. History. I thought I’d pulled you through.

1Life  You have. But there are infrequent occasions. Don’t worry.

Neo  Okay, but make sure it doesn’t return.

1Life  It won’t. Well, right now I’m not worried about that. I was talking about missing my friends, and that they call me a girl.

Neo  These are the people who’ll prepare a speech if you don’t call them one day.

1Life  Don’t divert me. You know why they call me a girl?

Neo  Why?

1Life  Coz I ain’t got muscles. I ain’t got brawn! That’s the fucking reason! And the other day, I told The Flightless Bird that I felt left out at an all-boys party, and she was elated about it and spread it all around. But do you know why I felt left out?

Neo  Why?

1Life  Coz they were watching porn videos on a mobile.

Neo  That’s a cool thing to do.

1Life  What, watching porn videos?

Neo  No, feeling left out because of that reason.

1Life  Thanks. Hey, time up.

Neo  Guess so. Bye.

1Life  Ciao.

 

1Life/Neo.

#1#120906050 / 14050150.

 

Thoughts ‘neath a rainy sky

Well it’s raining. Nothing special. It rains in India at this time of the year. But well, you know, it’s special for me. I like the rain. Some people get sad when it rains. I don’t. I feel so good. Have you ever seen the lower edge of heavy, low-hanging clouds? It looks like something from Independence Day: an alien spaceship. And have you seen the rare yellow glow that fills everything you see? It doesn’t happen often, but it’s happening now, and instead of going out and enjoying every bit of the rain, here I am wasting time in front of the screen.

In other news, a woman was being interviewed on TV the other day about her Mustang (for those of you who don’t know what a Mustang is, it’s a car). She said she used to own a white one before the red one at present, but she lost that in the divorce. Lost a Mustang, in a divorce. What an unfortunate incident to happen because of a divorce — losing a Mustang.

How relationships are cheapening by the day.

1Life.

Moment of Truth

The rain poured incessantly, sweeping away the dirt from the city’s much-used and unmaintained roads. Ever so often, a dagger of white would split the western sky in half, and the loud crack of thunder that followed would rumble and roll through the layers of heavy clouds till it lost itself in the eastern sky.

The drops poured unceasing on his dark and solitary figure, soaking through the thin clothes and drenching his skin. He had no care for it at the moment. He sat and stared at the wet pavement beneath his feet, thinking deeply about nothing.

Life hadn’t been a bed of roses, obeying its rules. But what it had been, would perhaps call for an exceptional stretching of the rules. Life had been vacant and miserable, and life had always been what he had been least prepared for. It was enough to break anybody’s fort of mental strength.

He opened his backpack and fumbled inside for a few moments before he extracted a small knife. Small, but sharp. It could serve its purpose if he wanted it to. The last clause of that last sentence could decide his life. Never, never had he been faced with such a barrier, such a hopeless situation. Life had never seemed less fruitful, and he was feeling now the force of the inevitable choice. If he were left with the knife for five more minutes, he wouldn’t let himself live to see the rain stop. He closed his eyes and listened to the quiet rhythm of the raindrops falling on the pavement, on the streets, on the grass, on him; a moment of quiet before the moment of his decision.

He opened his eyes. The landscape looked hazy. He clasped the knife tightly. This was it.

With one hard swing, he had sent the knife flying through the raindrops, through the dark night. From all his baseball training, he could bet it would meet the ground so far away he wouldn’t be able to hear it.

He turned, picked up his backpack, and walked away slowly from the moment of his decision, a solitary figure in the rain.

1Life.

The Machine

Who am I? I am not talking philosophy. I mean who am I to certain people, like my parents? Their son? Mmm… nope. The other day my aunt came and said something about my good results. I said how does that describe me? She said you know, good results means a good job. She stopped there. The meaning didn’t. The meaning went on to say and that means good money. Yeah, that’s what I am in their eyes.

Every society, be it prehistoric, ancient, modern, tribal or civilized develops certain peculiarities over time, peculiarities that only stand out as peculiarities to anyone who does not belong to that type of society, anyone who hasn’t been in the society long enough to forget the peculiarity of the peculiarity. There’s cannibalism, although that’s not too strange a practice, and then there are tribal rituals, Egyptian myths, formalities, punks, you name it. Well, my society has a few of its own. One that would not be irrelevant in this context is the ‘good boy/girl’ epithet.

Everywhere you look, you’ll find only them being talked about, referred to while arguing with a reluctant student, admired in social gatherings. They are the ones who had good results in school, — but I’m not complaining about that — got a nice good well-paid job, most likely as a doctor or an engineer, and made good money. And, well, that’s about it, folks. Then they die, and leave nothing behind in peoples’ lives, leave nothing at all except a good record at school which no one will mind looking up after he’s dead because he isn’t around to be praised any more, a good job where the employers have already forgotten him, and good money that is no longer his, money that can no longer earn any credit for the dead him in the living world, that cannot make people remember him, because that would be too much of a job for money. And I keep wondering why people admire these good boys and girls. Maybe because they want to see their child grow up like that, having good grades in school, and a well-paid job. And trust me when I say that here in India the people who want that sort of life for their children are not few in number.

And well, I am left wondering, what of life? Does anyone of these people know what they have been living this far? It’s not a life, is it? Surely not. Neither the parents nor the good girls and boys know what that word means. I once saw a Border Roads Organization sign on a mountain road that said: ‘Stop existing and start living.’ Yeah, that’s what this is. Existence. Dragging yourself through each day to make sure there comes a tomorrow, never stopping to think that there is no point in dragging out another tomorrow from the treasury of life: you are only going to spend it trying to make sure there is again a tomorrow to that. Then why do this at all? What does it amount to at the end? Nothing. Yeah, you heard me. Your existence amounted to nothing. You had a nice record at school, got a rich job at an international company and made so much money that you sometimes didn’t know what to do with it, and felt so satisfied at the feeling, telling yourself all the while ‘See, I got so much money now that I have reached the point of not knowing what to do with it.’ And yet you left the world as you had entered, empty of all but your self, the most precious thing, the only thing, and the thing you forgot to nourish amidst all the hullabaloo about terms called results, job, money and looking good to all the people, looking good and normal and ‘successful’ so that they could nod their pathetic heads and murmur words of approval about you. You have led an existence, not a life.

So here’s a word that goes out to every one of those girls and boys who could never earn the attribute ‘good’ to come and stick itself to your ass, but all the same knew more, much, much more about life than all the good boys and girls: you know who you are, and you are rare and precious. What’s more, you are alive, and that’s the rarest and most precious thing to have sticking to your ass.  It’s a pity the ‘successful’ people don’t know that, but that’s their reward for being only successful and nothing else. And you, yeah I’m talking to you now, don’t lose yourself. Don’t get lost in the crowd and become just another of those indistinguishable heads that swim in the sea of success and gulp mouthfuls of approval and admiration and complement till they can breathe no more, and suffocate and drown, their influences as nonexistent as their existence was mechanical, like the machines they were through the course of their existence. You are you, and I think that means a lot.

 

1Life.

Miracle

In the heart of my hearts I know I exist, and I can love.

I stretch from the first rain over the savanna to the lofty and rugged peaks where eagles learn to fly, for I am the first raindrop on the dry earth, the first eagle that learned to fly, that quiet bend on the mountain-road that you have visited so many times in your dreams, the world inside your pet’s eyes, the world that you can see through every song, like a window to an infinite realm, the profound silence and friendship of the night sky, and the quiet before the storm; I know them because they were never without me, they were within.

I know you too. I have dreamt of you ever since I existed as myself. I believe in miracles, because they are the only thing that ever existed. Storm clouds over the forest, the rain, and the colonies of wild insects on the forest-bed, and the scent of a similar mind, a teary goodbye at the airport, a chance encounter with someone who will change you for ever, and happiness: aren’t they miracles?

Aren’t you one?