On how our dear friend spoke

Thus spake the exalted knight (when he chanced to visit a nondescript village in one of his so-called adventures) in as frank and revealing a manner as the unabashed (and according to some critics, highly contrived) bombasticity epitomized by, and indeed, as a definitive characterization of, unambiguously defining his speech would allow:

“To those skeptical through the seemingly unconquerable force of ill-developed habit, it is the duty of this servant of mankind, avowed protector of the meek and the powerless, and enemy par excellence, if indeed there be such a phrase, of the evil scum of this earth, who, through their unforgivable tyranny, engaging in the unrestrained exploitation of ones who can defend themselves as capably as a child newly born, have brought upon their unfortunate selves the enmity of one, unrivaled in might in the three worlds, to explain in as clear and direct a monologue as the complexity, and consequently, the convolutedness of his thoughts, and the self-evidently unimaginable depth of his vocabulary, would deem possible, the undiluted resolve of this quixotically pragmatic knight to tread in hitherto uncharted
territories by following the footsteps of that, the prince among knights, the undoer of wrongs and unparalleled dispenser of justice, the great Don Quixote of La Mancha. And as regards the apparent contradictions, as undoubtedly would have been observed by those seekers after sense, and by those, who, through personal identification or lifelong familiarity, as the case may be, can identify nonsense cloaked in however grand a mask, in the words that you were so fortunate to hear a fleeting moment ago, it is my desire to desist from expounding any further on them, and put to rest such trivialities with a categorical declaration of always having had the intent to convey to each individual whatever meaning as may be attributed to them, by the working mind of that person.”

Our dear friend had not proceeded much further in his utterly senseless monologue, when he was interrupted, we may add, aptly, by the village idiot; he, being of the same mental constitution as our knight could understand and empathize with him. The village idiot asked of our knight:

“O messenger of Our Lord Himself, pray, tell us, how you accomplished this, by no stretch of imagination enviable or easily accomplished, task of following in the footsteps of the great Don Quixote of La Mancha of hallowed memory.”

Our friend, rarely, nay, never before, in his aimless peregrinations (which were nevertheless referred to by him, in his megalomaniacal discourses, (which, in translating to the English language, do not reflect the magnitude of his genuine delusion) as the “wanderings the undertaking of which was incumbent upon him for the fulfillment of the sacred vows upholding which in their entirety is his life’s mission”) having been the recipient of remarks glorifying him in such explicit terms, was for a moment utterly stunned, but instantly resolved to not present a countenance of being perplexed before his audience (since he had, as had his hero, the celebrated Don Quixote of La Mancha, read in
numerous books on chivalry the quality of knights errant to be ever equanimous and self-assured, or at least, to make a show of being so), and having thus resolved, remarked with sage-like composure (or at least, that was how it was in his self-aggrandizing mind):

“You are certainly wise beyond your age, O noble knight, and being so, you have put forth a question, which this untiring soldier, possessed of an intellect as keen as that of Hanuman, a penetrating insight into what is variously described or termed by self-anointed scholars as the unfathomable nature of humans and the fundamental axiom underlying the field of study enquiring into human psychology as sharp as that of Narada, a resolve as unshakeable as that of Bhishma and a practicality as strong as that of the master in whose pioneering footsteps this disciple has since time immemorial followed, feels wholly incapable of doing justice to, and yet, since a question posed must necessarily be answered just as a sword thrust must, without question, be repelled by a shield, unless the recipient of the question or the sword, as the case may be, would desire to go down, either literally or figuratively, and suffer eternal ignominy by being written of in books on historical studies as one who could not dispose off with the dexterity unanimously expected of him, a simple question or a mere thrust of a sword, I would now, with due deference to your evident
keenness of mind, seek to provide an answer that may satisfy your understandable, and indeed if I may add, applaudable inquisitiveness.”

The village idiot was thoroughly pleased with himself, and seeing the look of eager anticipation in the simpleton’s expressive eyes, our friend continued, this time in poetic verses, which, to his mind, seemed to be the only appropriate way to give an account of his magnificent adventures:

“Many a mile have I wandered,
many a face have I seen,
many a heart have I conquered,
always a hero have I been.

Many a grievance have I redressed,
many a tear have I wiped,
many a maiden have I impressed,
pray, none of this is hyped.

I have been the accomplisher of deeds,
thinker of thoughts have I been,
I have been the satisfier of needs,
caller of shots have I been.

Never does an innocent cry,
once this knight has shown his might,
for wherever he passes by,
darkness goes, revealing light. ”

As you can see, our friend, with his penchant for making his verses rhyme, was pouring forth such unadulterated rubbish, that we, in order to safeguard our own sanity, must necessarily stop here. According to certain biographers, our friend, continued his poetic response for a whole night, and it is claimed by some historians (though strongly
disputed by certain others) that he had, by the time the sun had risen, become so proficient in poetry that he wished to be called Valmiki. It is also said that the village elders, who could bear this drivel no longer, consented to pander to his desires, and christened him Valmiki, with the sole aim of making him stop. Those who question this version are of the opinion that owing to the strain this composing of impromptu poetry placed on his limited mental faculty, he
grew very tired and asked for some food and water. It is also said that the village elders happily granted him his wish motivated by the same desire that made them do so in the other version. It is also reckoned that our friend was so convinced of the intellectual capabilities of the village idiot that he offered to [the offer was instantaneously accepted] take him along in his future wanderings as a knight errant. And finally, we will conclude by noting that exactly at
noon the following day, the two men proceeded (or were forced to proceed by the pained villagers) in search of new adventures. (The complete biography of our two heroes is readily available to us, but having survived this tryst with insanity, we shall desist from retelling it any further.)

The boy who grew up

The boy had seen the world, but had not yet understood the world of humans. He knew the language of the heart, but not the words that people spoke. He knew the natural art of being a human, but not the artificial artifice accompanying it.

But, this was all in the past. The incident I am about to relate to you had cured him of the malaise of being a human, and instead made him a man of the world. Now, my dear reader, being perceptive you may rightfully sense cynicism in my tone, and wonder if I approve of the change that overcame our central character. I assure you, dear sir, I have no intention of making known more than what I have already done as regards my views on this subject. After all, isn’t society too rigid a mountain for a single person to move, rendering it pointless for insignificant mortals to raise the flag of revolution? Let me, therefore, hasten to relate to you the story, and leave it to your thinking mind to cogitate over it.

It was late in the evening. The wind blowing across the town brought with it the gift of cold. It was fall, and the trees were devoid of leaves. The few that did retain leaves made a beautiful rustling noise as the breeze whistled cheerfully through them. The ones without leaves were bare and did not show signs of life; yet they were keen witnesses to what was about to happen. It was a holiday. The buildings in the town were closed. Sitting outside one such building, the boy had his computer playing songs to him. Music calmed his mind, soothed his senses and enabled the wellspring of life to reclaim its dedicated soldier. Spending time in the company of his own self, he had found a friend in his mind. Our friend was communing thus with his thoughts when the voices of the leaves were drowned by a shrill voice. Looking up, he could make out two figures some distance ahead of him. One of them was making those incomprehensible noises. The voice was that of a girl, or so the boy thought. Ahead of the two figures was a girl, to whom the speaker seemed to be addressing his speech, if you could use that term to designate those noises.

In a moment, as the three figures passed under the orange light of a street lamp, the boy figured out that the two figures at the back were boys. Their actions suggested the benevolent effects of alcohol. To the boy the girl seemed to be wanting to get away from the guys trailing her. He was faced with a choice. Passivity and the inertia that characterizes most conditioned beings would have willed him to remain a mute spectator to the drama playing out in front of him. But, if you would kindly recollect what we had observed at the very beginning, the boy was still a child of eternity uneducated in societal propriety. His innate curiosity emerged as the victor, and shutting down his computer, he decided to follow the trio.

It seemed the boy’s lingering suspicions were validated. The girl indeed did seem to him to be running away. She stopped abruptly in her path, turned sharply, and entered the nearest building. The two guys followed. Our friend, lagging behind, reached the building in due course of time, only to discover it to be locked. Evidently, the three of them had used keys to enter it, lacking which rendered our friend helpless.

The boy was again faced with a choice. Again, his piqued curiosity won over any feeling of unconcern and led him to call the local police to request their assistance in facilitating his entry into the building. Not sure whether to categorize the threat he perceived to the helpless girl (helpless she was, in his mind) as legitimate or to brush it off as the product of an excessively vivid imagination, he committed the cardinal sin of lying to the police. Cooking up a mundane reason for wanting to enter the building, he asked them to hasten to the building with the keys.

As luck would have had it, hardly had he got off the phone, did a gentleman exiting the building graciously allow our friend into it. The building was that of a school. The boy wandered through the corridors only to find the rooms empty. Unable to detect any indication of wrong-doing, he exited as he had entered.

At that very moment, a police officer, with his neatly pressed uniform and well-rehearsed speech, arrived on the scene. The youth thanked him for coming, but informed him that he had been into the building already. As the police officer, still polite despite having had to negotiate the chilly winds on his motorcycle only to be informed that it had been in vain, was about to depart, the boy hesitated.

He faced a choice yet again. And again, the perceived danger to the girl won over the probable tribulations he knew he would have to face if he went ahead with what his quixotic mind perceived to be the correct thing to do. And he informed the police officer of the actual facts of the story.

The polite officer, evidently agitated by this revelation, called in a couple of other officers. The boy was interrogated. The prima facie evidence would have wrongly implicated the boy had any wrongdoing been discovered. The boy was taken to a police station for questioning, while the field officers tried to ascertain the truth behind the facts revealed by our friend. And he was let go soon enough.

Drained of energy by the events of the night, the boy slid into a deep sleep. As he awoke the next morning, he realized the benefits of passivity over action, and with that he had completed his transformation into a product of the larger society.

The cold

The two friends had traveled many a mile, seen many a face and passed many a place. But this day was different.

The couple sitting in front of them was destitute. They were helpless. They were impoverished. And all about them showed that they were hungry – for recognition as human beings, for love as fellow human beings.

The night was cold. The travelers, as was their wont, had no place to stay. Searching for a place to lodge for the night, they had come across the dilapidated remains of a small hut. The couple who lived there were warm in their hearts, but their hands were cold. Their home was warm, but their hut was cold. They had been thrown out of work for speaking out against the establishment. Erstwhile acquaintances could not help them monetarily. As happens in society, poverty robbed them of voice and relatives. In the eyes of others, they had ceased to exist.

The cold was biting, and yet the couple did not have as much as a blanket between them. The travelers, accustomed to expecting hospitality and help from strangers, faced a new preposition. They did not hesitate. Of the two blankets they had between them, they handed over one to the couple. That night, the couple went to sleep with a blanket over them for the first time in months. That night, the travelers went to sleep with just one blanket between them for the first time in months.

The night was cold, and neither blanket could prevent either of the pairs from feeling the chill of the night air. Yet, the act of brotherhood kept them warm. The night felt cold, but it did pass. The travelers had a revelation that night – they were part of a larger family. They felt an empathy towards the suffering couple and a hatred towards those who had reduced them to such a state.

That very night far far away, another traveler looking for a place to lodge for the night, had come across another destitute couple. The traveler had two blankets. The couple did not have even one.  The cold was such that even two blankets would not have been enough to cover oneself. So, the traveler decided to keep both blankets to himself.

That night was particularly cold. The couple shivered in their sleep, but they survived. But the traveler died, not of cold, but of excessive heat.

How to write about nothing a la Seinfeld

It seems not so long ago that I was living in an atmosphere of certainty and security – one in which I could, without a moment’s hesitation, declare with utmost confidence, and more importantly, conviction, as to where I saw myself a year or two into the future. As I sit here ostensibly trying to coax my intellect and habitually recalcitrant will to compose a coherent piece of writing that could serve to convince the deciding authorities of my hitherto undocumented ability to stitch together words and thoughts into something meaningful and reflective of the mastery of compositional skills expected of someone applying for the position for the acquisition of which I am presently presenting my self-attested credentials in the hope that this serves in no minute way to attract their highly-sought-after attention, as a youth madly in love would seek to gain the undiluted interest of the girl of his dreams, I realize that this current state of uncertainty as to what the unfathomable future has in store for me does indeed assist greatly in the goal that this otherwise unqualified writer of this piece of prose seeks to achieve, by supplying his otherwise dull mind with the creative impetus requisite for success in what he aims to accomplish here. Unable to come up with a cogent essay, which would require a concentration of mental faculties which, to this author, seems to dwarf through its inherent difficulty, especially for a person whose mind seems to derive immeasurable pleasure in jumping continually from one thought to another just as a monkey would in leaping from one tree to another, the magnitude of the task before the legendary hero Hanuman in setting at ease the mind of his worshipful master, Ram in the aftermath of the abduction of his chaste wife, I have consciously decided to circumvent this seemingly insurmountable obstacle by artfully arranging an assortment of disparate sentences to serve the dual objectives of presenting  a veneer of coherence and simultaneously impressing upon even a skeptical judge the suitability of this candidate for work that would entail employing that marvelous part of the brain, a creative utilization of which has historically led to the creation of works which evoke a sense of genuine awe among the simple-minded and which lead others to cogitate over the perceived pointlessness (and, to those so inclined to characterize It thus, ill-effects) of providing an idle mind with pencil, paper and time so as to record for all eternity the resultant thoughts.

It will not require a particularly discerning reader to point out the seemingly interminable nature of the sentences presented thus far. Needless to say, such indiscriminate use of long-winded sentences does not necessarily improve the quality of an essay. And indeed, by invariably obfuscating the message one intends to convey, it might serve to impede rather than facilitate efficient communication. Given this valid objection that might have arisen in your mind, I have decided, with uncharacteristic celerity, I might add, to avoid that propensity. Ah, this new-found freedom to experiment with shorter sentences, does undoubtedly make writing significantly easier.

Having digressed from the thesis of this composition in order to point out the futility of an ostentatious display of excessively-worded sentences, let us return to a discussion of the vagaries of fate, which, after all, is purportedly the subject of this essay. With my cherished ploy of masking a deficiency of ideas behind imposing verbiage having been unceremoniously discarded, it is with a heavy heart that I make known my solemn resolve to substantively improve the subject-matter of this composition. Indeed, the courage to venture into uncharted waters, conspicuous by its absence in lives that through the passage of time inevitably fall into the trap of predictability and repetition, does rise, as a phoenix from the ashes, to its full magnificence when called upon to do so through unforeseen and deliciously challenging circumstances.

Ah let’s end this crap. The end.

Fire

The propitious time has arrived! The sacrificial fire has been lit! The merry and mysterious dance of the yellow flames is uttering an esoteric mantra exhorting the spectators to pour in offerings! O lost traveler, let the roaring flames of this all-enveloping fire guide you!

The insults heaped on our Mother will be avenged! Fear not! This is indeed the time ordained for this by the gods themselves! The death-knell has been sounded! Arise, O sleeping warrior, lest thou bear the taint of failing to perform thy duty!

What do you see?! A political class engrossed in serving their own selfish motives. A political class disconnected from the masses. A political class breeding on the vermin of corruption, ignorance and ego. A political class which has enslaved the Mother Earth. A political class inimical to the rightful aspirations of its fellow brothers and sisters. A political class, which having bitten the forbidden fruit of ill-acquired power, intent on perpetuating its authority. O wounded soldier, fear not! Let the insults flow! Let the transgressions continue! The sincere have awakened! The atmosphere is charged with the talk of an upheaval! Every offensive action on the part of the political class is providing life to the flames of the sacrificial fire! The ghee is flowing unabated into the sacrificial pit courtesy those actions!

O Rip Van Winkle, arise! The time for revolution has come! O Rama, garner an axe! The time to become Parashurama has arrived! Unite, O brother, with thy neighbour! O Hindu! O Muslim! Forget thy external differences, and unite! The nation is calling!

O ignorant one! What are you to achieve by dividing our nation?! Be aware that unfettered regional aspirations is pernicious to a united national life! O keeper of the glory of the illustrious Marathas, what are you to gain by hostility towards your neighbors from the ancient seat of the Magadha empire? O resident of Pataliputra, become aware that this was once the land where the greatest teacher of political science taught. Become aware that this was the capital of the Maurya empire of his disciple, Chandragupta of hallowed memory. Then, become aware of its present state!

O descendant of that lion among men, Guru Govind Singh, become aware of your glorious history, written with the sacred blood of his followers! O sister, fortunate art thou to have taken birth in the land that nurtured a Sankara, a Ramanuja, a Madhva and a Chaitanya; a Shivaji, a Askoka, a Rana Pratap and a Lakshmibai; a Buddha, a Mahavira and a Nanak; a Kalidasa, a Bhavabhuti and a Bhasa; a Desika and a Krishnananda; a Mira and a Tulsidas! What have you to fear?! If not your life, at least spare a thought for your Motherland! Become aware of its pitiable state!

O protector of Rashtra dharma, take the sword out of its sheath! The sword for this war is the pen! Draw it out without delay!

O deluded one, where hast thou to hide? The time has come to deliver the verdict! Put the needs of the society above your selfish aspirations, and the aggrieved masses might yet contrive to forgive you.

The fire is roaring! The ominous dance of its flames is portentous. Understand the secret message it speaks. History will not forgive those who remain indifferent to the current state of affairs. The country needs you in its hour of distress. Arise!

Why are we sleeping??

It is a matter of indubitable shame and sorrow that the inheritors of an ineffable culture have taken to a self-destructing path of mental, social and physical slavery. Devoted to the satisfaction of selfish motives, a nation, that has produced heroes of supreme valour since time immemorial, has witnessed a cataclysmic fall from grace.

A people who could stand up and rise to the stature of world-teacher, have become a helpless and imbecile collection of individuals utterly incapable of discerning the fundamental distinction between truth and untruth, friend and foe, honour and dishonour, threat and security. A nation that illumined the paths of societies and individuals in want of guidance, is seemingly bereft of a sense of direction with respect to following a path that would be commensurate with its inherent national character.

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: