Friday, July 13, 2012

A LIFE NO MORE


I have always believed that we get a sense of our real self when we are on the road. It may sound a little far fetched but I may not be too off to think that traffic is a strong signal to the values of our society. The roads have a cold blooded indifference and candor. They lay us bare. Our humanity, gentleness, rectitude, courtesy or the utter lack of all these is on public display and we feed off of one another. And over my lifetime, I have seen more souls than bodies bleed to death on these roads.

I don’t drive anymore. I prefer to get killed rather than committing suicide. Or is it the fear that someone else would get killed or worse might get to see a glimpse of the darkest corners of my heart? Whatever it may be, I take the auto everyday. Some bonds are strange to describe and trying to understand them defeats the whole purpose. Thankfully the auto driver doesn’t question why I give him the luxury of taking me anywhere he pleases to and I don’t wonder why he entertains me every time. We are both comfortable in our uncomfortable silence.

I try to detach myself from everything. Listlessness strangely keeps me sane. The roads are full of bustle and chaos but I merely watch it with a callous apathy.  A man on a bike, in an attempt to impress his pillion interest, zips past us miraculously bisecting the auto and a scooter, almost rams into an old man in a bicycle before his short tryst with the gutter. Alas, a sad predicament to a romantic endeavor. Another who is not acrobatic enough stays behind us and shows his grumpiness with a generous dose of his boisterous horn. The auto-driver is calm and unruffled by the hullabaloo around as he listens to something he calls “a song” that has a pitch to rip apart the jarring loudspeaker which has the potential to replace any hearing aid.

I see a huge car in the distance. Its shimmer tells me that it would have preferred to happily stay off the road in the pleasant confines of the showroom. Reminds me of a newly wed bride who would have rather stayed with her parents. A raw wound is touched. The road’s narrowness is no match for the car’s grandeur. There is a hefty man at the helm. He looks rich from the outside. But the narrowness of his mind is too much even for this road. He is coming right at us and bludgeons our ears with a thunderous honk. It is a one way street and he is on the wrong side. My blood threatens to evaporate.

A dude in a motor cycle comes whizzing from the right hand side and threatens to rewrite all laws of physics and human belief by trying to sneak through the microscopic gap between the car and auto. Physics prevails and he gets caught in the muddle like an arachnid trapped in a Venus flytrap. Everything stalls. Nothing but chaos ensues. In the world of fistfights and word barbs, I stand speechless and thoughtless as an insignificant alien. Meanwhile a miniscule kid in a cycle achieves what the biker dude couldn’t. He gingerly balances his right leg on the auto, provides thrust by pushing his left leg against the car, squeezes his frame through miraculously and accelerates by using his hands as oars against the two vehicles and launches himself through and out of this commotion. A child who was looking at this feat all the while breaks into rapture.

The auto driver gives in finally and backs off slowly in an attempt to create an incredible angle for the mammoth car to slither past him and the horde of vehicles that have accumulated like bees on honey. Seeing his opening, the biker dude vrooms into action as he starts his engine directly in fourth gear and in the process deposits soot on a few fuming faces around, dents the car, teeters off precariously and ultimately spears into a little school girl. A moment of stunned silence is followed by his cowardly flight into oblivion. The auto driver helps her up and nurses her wounds. Why am I so surprised that good men still exist? Perhaps I have been living with myself for too long. 

I am superstitious. I get out of the auto and walk away from the scene. I feel like I am leaving the world on a happy note. I walk aimlessly looking around, searching for something I will never get back. A tall gargantuan tree stands towering above all things living and otherwise. Its branches are spread out like tentacles engulfing infinity ready to suck the blood out of all humanity. I have always wondered how a tree can still look gorgeous without a single leaf on it. Barren beauty if I may. I think I know why it doesn’t have a single spot of green on it. Humans are not made with blood anymore. Why have I always felt that it is the lushness of our hearts that is on display as greenery on trees? Or is it anymore? I wonder if mankind has only aridity to offer.

I haven’t touched my brush. What will I paint when I can’t see the colors anymore? My eyes recognize them but the heart doesn’t feel their radiance. I wouldn’t mind if it was the other way around. I have poured my heart into my paintings so much that I don’t even have any red left to dip in. That my heart will be immortalized piece by piece but seen or understood by no one is another irony! I wish someone would burn all those paintings and mix it with my ash. Perhaps my heart would beat again! But do I want it to?

My legs have been leading my mind for several years now. I amble along. Aurobindo and Mother usher me into their shrine. The Ashram calms my senses for the moment. Everyone around seems to be in peace. The Tulasi leaves bring me to equilibrium. But why are they not sweet anymore? An old lady smiles at me. She knows I am beyond help. Yet she tries! I cry. Something I should have done long back! It doesn’t placate me. The burden is mine to shoulder!

I reach the end of the road. I look the sea in its eye. Its vastness once fueled my imagination. Today it reminds me of my inner vacuum. I stand in emptiness right in between a resolute Gandhi who is in his fervent stride and a tranquil Nehru who is welcoming him with open arms. I will never know if the architects envisioned this when sculpting but it has been my source of enlightenment and resolve for years. Why don’t they talk to me anymore?

I painted the sky blue. I painted the tree green. But I could not paint my life happy.   

                                                                                     - From the diary of a man who was happy once!


57 comments:

  1. Thought provoking and enlightening at the same time.It sent a chill in my nerves.Words reflecting the bitter truths of this fake world...for a beginner like me there's definitely something I can draw inspiration from :)

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    1. A very warm welcome to you here. Thank you so much for your kind words. It really means a lot if this inspires you.

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  2. Yes Raj the roads do mirror our attitudes & personalities very clearly,but what is the use?So much of pondering only depresses the soul.

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    1. I totally agree with you. So much of pondering does depress the soul. But sometimes it clears your mind!

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  3. Thought provoking post, Raj.

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    1. Thank you so much Ash. Really glad this post kindled your thought!

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  5. You have greatly written it! It arises many thoughts about the different layers of human life..

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    1. Thank you so much Abhinav for the lovely comment. I am glad this post got you thinking about life and its many colors.

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  6. I feel the under current ...

    Magnificent writing...

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    1. Thank you so much Makk. I am glad this post touched a chord in your heart.

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  7. abhaaaaaaa such a powerful post every sentence I started interpreting different things then finally gave up and decided to go with flow to get a totally different view in the last...

    Yeah value of little happiness is known only when u lose it, Very well written I read it thrice to get the meaning right ...

    Raj, keep writing this is very very good

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    1. Thank you so much Ramya for this lovely comment. I am glad you could interpret different things from this post. I had several thoughts and emotions while writing this one and I did leave it open to different interpretations. It is very fulfilling as a writer when someone is able to see through the layers of his writing. :)

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  8. it's a privilege to get a chance to read such posts!! exceptional narration!!

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    1. Thank you so much Deb for this out of the world comment. :) It is comments like these that inspire me to write. :)

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    1. I am sorry Rachna. That wasn't exactly the intention. It was just one of my reflections! Wonder why pain is such a strong emotion!

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  10. the last line made me sad .. I wish after we have colored so much our life also get colourful .. and we are happy ..

    Open letter to all -Bikram's

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    1. Sorry Bikram to leave you sad. :( I too wish your words are true and our life is always as colorful as the rainbow. :)

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  11. I wish to echo Deb here: it is indeed a privilege to read a piece of such mesmerizing beauty. It is an intensely surrealistic journey across the lethally rabid consciousness hogging the roads, mirroring a perturbing regression of humanity into barbarianism. You have described well the resounding hollowness of the minds of those at move. How can you paint colours in your life, my friend, when all your eyes can see is a tar black slate?

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    1. This is a phenomenal comment Umashankar. I must say your comment is much more beautiful than my post. You crystallized all my thoughts so succinctly and beautifully. I am truly amazed.

      A tar black slate! So true. The colors in our life don't come easy!

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  12. I am really mesmerized by this post. Very powerful and inspiring piece of writing. So many thoughts going on in my mind after reading this post but I am not able to put those thoughts into words. Speechless! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Akshay for such an inspiring comment. I am so glad that my writing has kindled so many thoughts in you. I think I felt exactly the same way while writing this as you are experiencing now. :)

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  13. "souls bleeding to death" kind of hard hitting...but very true! lots and lots of thoughts here, and sometimes the best way to get these thoughts out of your system is to spill them out in your writing! I am sure you'll feel better soon...you did a great job here!

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    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. :) Glad you were able to connect with the thoughts. And you said it right.. sometimes letting things out of our system relieves us a little bit.

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  14. That "man who was happy once" can always be happy if he doesnot take Gandhi and Nehru as ideals.
    By the way, it doesnot take much effort to be happy. You can be happy by smiling. Smiling is a charity and it is contagious. Smile at unfortunate ones even if you can't give a penny to them.
    BE HAPPY and Keep smiling.

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    1. Thank you very for your comment and good advise. I do agree that one definitely can and should be happy. And there are several ways one can find happiness. But this post was not about how a man cannot be happy. It is just about one particular man who is not happy due to several tragedies in his own life. It is not intended to be a representation of mankind or a society. And having Gandhi or Nehru as ideals was not the reason for him being unhappy.

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  15. Lovely post! Great narration! It seemed as if you were not involved in the happenings around you but witnessing them objectively from a distance.

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    1. A warm welcome to you here Manju. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. And you were absolutely right in your observation. :) It is indeed about a man who witnesses and analyzes happenings in a philosophical way.

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  16. I can so relate to your writing but the only difference is I can't write it in words. I observe and then question myself. At times I feel life is a puzzle and I don't have the energy to explain anything to anyone. I want a detachment from everything.

    Very powerful and something I would bookmark to read whenever I loose sense.

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    1. Saru.. that is such a profound comment. I can totally understand your feeling as I have been in such a state on several occasions. The mind thinks endlessly but fails to extrapolate the thoughts to words. Detachment relaxes a tired mind. Am so glad you feel this could be a companion in a time you feel low. I can't have a better compliment.

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  17. A sad reality of our life so well depicted. The entire culture or the absence of it is so visible on the road. A sane person you are to take an auto in the mad chaos prevailing on the roads!

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    1. Thank you so much Rahul for the nice comment. Sometimes stepping out the mad rush gives us perspective. :)

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  18. Hi Raj

    An absolutely powerful post...I am sort of mesmerized by its contents......Very philosophical and deep....Superb... :)

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    1. Thank you so much Jaish for all the nice words. It gives me immense satisfaction that you found the writing powerful. :)

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  19. To express angst in a manner that communicates the feeling to the reader is truly difficult..most people can manage to communicate "I am sad" with their words..but it takes a magnificent writer to make the reader feel sad while reading him!

    Of course, I am not the sort to dwell on the negatives of life and the people around me - so, while I can appreciate the quality of the writing, I do not vibe with the feeling:) I am too shallow a person, I guess! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Suresh for the lovely comment. It really means a lot. You are perfectly sane and as you have rightly said, one should definitely be happy. I was just trying to bring out the emotion and not propagate it. :) Being happy is a gift and I wish everyone gets it.

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  20. As I writer, I loved the expression, the choice of words... Brilliant !!

    As a person, I would like to say that..
    Interpretation, thoughts, expectations.. Everything is an outcome of a person's state of mind, when you're happy, you find the blue sky and the green trees beautiful, you fall in love with the beauty of nature !! When you're sad, you wonder how everything else is perfect while your life is not.. happens !!

    You've portrayed this beautifully here !

    Honestly speaking, I never really like reading sad posts, my blog posts talk of things like "Love yourself", "Life goes on" etc. for this is what I feel, and I write only to express what my heart says..Even when I wrote bout sad phases, I wrote bout acceptance and life lessons ! But to describe the pain using no harsh adjectives, but simple yet effective description that's so deep in itself !

    Great post !

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    1. A very warm welcome to you here Sonia. Thank you so much for the lovely comment. You articulated your thoughts very well here. And I totally agree.. everyone should be happy and should strive for ways and avenues to be happy. I was just bringing out an emotion associated with melancholy and not trying to justify or propagate it. Indeed the world would be a better place with people happy all around.

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  21. excellent work, raj. you have drawn so many threads together in this post and so masterfully, it is really a superb piece of writing. thanks for writing.

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    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. I am glad you were able to see the several threads embedded in the writing. Your beautiful compliments made my day. :)

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    1. A very warm welcome to you here. Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you liked the post.

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  23. So brilliantly written; you created so many crystal clear images in my mind.
    That was a very profound post too. I hope you felt better once the writing was done. Blogging is pretty cathartic, isn't it?

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    1. Thank you so much Divya for the lovely comment. Am glad that this post brought a lot of thoughts to your mind. Yeah.. you are right. Blogging is indeed cathartic. I felt better after writing my mind. :)

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    1. A very warm welcome to you to here Shona. Glad you liked it. :)

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  25. This one made my eyes moist, Raj. You can paint, you can create beauty, for if you can't who can? Someone who weeps for the environment and the bleeding of souls has to be able to create beauty and happiness. Hugs.

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    1. Zephyr... your comment brought a tear to my eye. It gives me immense satisfaction and happiness that you understood exactly the deep undercurrents in my thought! Your comment means a lot to me and I wish I remain sane enough to paint my world with happiness!

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  26. That is a fitting indictment of a Machiavellian fox who has like a leach sucked the soul of this nation dry. Sonia has been deftly manipulated into playing the catalyst. Sangma and Mamta have surely provided comic relief at the expense of a tottering nation.

    Mr Mukherji will go down as the most atrocious finance minister of any nation in the recorded history of mankind. His failures and worse, his petulance, that has brought manifold miseries and fortitudes to billions of this nation, amount to crimes for which he should be punished by having his eyes gouged out and being made to sit on the footpaths to beg for food. What could have been more preposterous than his manoeuvers that have earned him the crown instead.

    Thank you so much for the brilliant unveiling of the wicked private plans of Mukherji in which he has been an exceptional success indeed.

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  27. Please remove the above comment pertaining to "The Last Dance" along with this one. I have accidentally posted it here: thanks to my smartphone.

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  28. Our Life is so similar to this, right? We see people walking with us, behind us, infront of us, trying to put as down, some trying to help us, for the sake of it. We are left alone to face the harsh realities of life and to deal with the numerous kinds of people.Sometimes we never know why but that sense of dejection looms over us, and we push ourselves trying to find the reason and get even more dejected.

    Wonderfully written Raj.

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    1. Thank you very much Ashwini for this wonderful comment. Very true. We come face to face with several harsh realities and inconvenient truths. How we take them in our stride alone determines our path in life. And it does put us down at many times. How we get up matters! A lovely and thought provoking comment. :)

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  29. Raj, I know this is not just a narration, not just another blogpost...Raj, sometimes our souls have to go through the awful Dark Night, to the lowest ebb, to deepest deep, and succumb to that unending uncertainty...you have allowed yourself to capture the moments very very well.
    One day you will capture the same moments in a very different light or rather in light...
    Your writing is beautiful, Raj and very deep...but stay anchored, my friend, without losing your art!

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    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. Your comment made my eyes moist. It means so much to me that you understood every agony, every feeling and every emotion that was associated with this piece. I agree.. some day I will look at these things in a very different light. To that day.... :) I hope to keep my art alive to see that day as well. :)

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  30. Good one ..you write well and have the ability to drive a thought in peoples mind ! Keep writing

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    1. A very warm welcome to you here Vaishali. And thank you very much for the beautiful comment. :)

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