An Ode to all you-know-who’s

28 05 2012

Remember you emperors, who built own statues
And asked people to pay respects.
For those erected idols will be pulled down
Right in front of your naked eyes,
Smothered to dry earth and watered with the spit and vomit
Of the ones you fooled, hired and compelled;
The ones who hailed you with ‘long live’.
Remember you demagogues, who dare to play demigods
You sailed and surged ahead on the waves of hopes that came from deep despair.
Beneath those high waters lie hidden
The deep trenches for you to slip down and bury,
From which no yacht or boat can take you above.
And there shall remain no laurels,
No numb eyes to mourn or even emollient tears,
That might leave a spread mark in a lone page of history.

(Inspired by ‘Hirak Rajar Deshe’, applicable to all the past, present and future you-know-who’s.)

PS: In the era of censorship I too am concerned and scared enough so as to avoid using certain words, in certain contexts and especially against certain people.


Back to books

18 08 2008

It has been quite a long time since I posted something. Even worse, it has been months since I have had some serious reading. The last book I read was the English translation of Feluda by Satyajit Ray. Also apart from thrillers and classic detective novels I had no other food for thought. I guess it is time to wake up from the hibernation.

Internet is addictive; much more than I had presumed. Sitting before this idiot box and browsing through pages at random has been the only pass time since I bought a laptop. And yes, I did pay the price for it in many ways. So dear blog, it is time to be “back with you”; back to my home in the virtual world and stop fooling around aimlessly.

Now in the real world I finally won the battle to get back to the self. Thanks to Tinni for the marvellous books. I really treasure them and more than anything you just gave me what I needed badly. The smell of fresh printed pages, the feel of home and a lot of care.

Here are my gifts (and the current reading list)

  • The Argumentative Indian. Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity by Amartya Sen.
  • Science and Society. A Collection of Essays by Sushil Kumar Mukherjee.
  • Perilous Passage. Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital by Amiya Kumar Bagchi.
  • Why I am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russel.

Three Bongs and a Briton as authors (Calcutta and the Raj legacy). Out of the four, two (Sen and Bagchi) are economists (and Bongs!) and both educated at Trinity college, Cambridge with academic interest in developmental economics. A mathematician cum philosopher (Russel) and another scientist (S. K. Mukherjee) talking about scientific thinking and two Nobel laureates (Russel and Sen) also known for being vocal atheists speaking out. Altogether it is really a treat for the variety of topics and the repute of the authors.

So thanks again Tinni. I will get back here with the reviews .


12 04 2007

Kani konna

Before the heat consumes you
Draining every life drop of water and salt
Extinguishing the splinters that once burned undettered
Before you fade into a shadow of self,
Unfeatured and fuzzy in appearance
And before you conclude and surrender with dismay
Cursing inevitabilities while locking your pulses in cold freezers
Take a minute to look around.
Ponder the golden smiles of red hot summer
The halos of life around every dried falling leaves
Poignant thirst deepening the shallow roots;
So why let drudgeries shape destinies
For life’s beauty are its oddities

Desperate Times

17 01 2007

There are times of desperation.
Times, so consuming that you hardly know
The soil under your feet withdrawing.
Times, so realistic that the rusting fasteners
Which bound you to hope, breaks abruptly.
Times, so disturbing that you feel to shatter
All clarity in thoughts.
And then stick to the times and burn in heat.
Without shying away from the unbearable pain and torture,
Not for the pleasure from pains or eternal promises
But for those reminiscent scars.
For only they will remain with you forever.
For only they will teach you to hope for life in the face of death
And to love for the sake of nothingness.
After uncountable seconds that pass like aeons
Someday when bruises heal and life proceeds,
A juncture might turn so for people to wish for a journey to past,
To those desperate times you treaded alone.
Then for many repentence might fill,
But my friend, you will smile looking at your scars.
And the scar never made you ugly ……….

The City at Dawn

7 04 2006

My cigarette tip has burned into nicotinous flames

And the morning is creping out with a blushy smile.

This is the best time for ‘crazy’ thoughts.

Thougts that breaks in like the dawn after a drunkards merry.

Back to senses, as people say.

In the darkness crushed by the neon lamps,

The footpath tredded by the tiring steps of prostitutes,

When the silent rickshaw drivers hopes for the next bread,

I am walking through this asphalt floor.

There are no odd hours for a metro.

For the galies flooded by poluted water is awake.

And their numbness makes the city agile,

As a bottle of rum for the dwellers,

As a shot of marijuana for the dopers

And as a cup of tea for the walkers.

The whores, they say, live up on the dirt.

But from which eternity did that come in.

At hours when the glossy life style pages,

Cannot be read in the foggy street lights,

And concrete jungles perspire after night’s intercourse, I

t is easy to sleep at the break of a dawn,

Avoiding the vision of paralysed and stinking streets.

The tonnes of sweatting vegetables in the mandi.

The fumes of cruising wheels.

Let us not awake at dawns,

Let us blame the vampires in galies who rob us in day light,

And let us make more metroes……….

But please, atleast allow them to crawl with their life in the filth.

To My Omnipresent

27 03 2006

Your omnipresence drives me
To the drudgery of lonliness.
Like a dagger drilling through my heart; through my raw living flesh,
Like the meaning of self getting devastated by dependency.
Still the haunting chill of my amorphous words; those unordered idioms
Ceases to take my last breath away.
And like a fool I live.
Like living in a virtual glass house of memories.
Awaiting a stroke of torment which will compel me to break it;
To break it to tell you or yell for you ……..
Your omnipresence make my vision blind,
Like a glare in front of my spectacles.
And I still drive home expecting the console of death,
For what value should I owe to my presence, when I feel your omnipresence.

Mahabharata – A Dialogue between Time and Human Life.

25 03 2006

Dharmakshethre kurukshetre,
Samaveda yuyuthsava,
Kimi varthaka sanjaya.

So began Bhagavat Gita. It is no coincidence that the epic which moved along the emotional battle fields of its infinitely many characters had its climax in a real war. And the very fact the eternal human dilemma – ‘to be or not to be’ – requires a well constructed logical argument sequence to be resolved, made a Gita inevitable. Perfect in every context. Even if we extend it outside the frame of its time of occurence (or conception of the author) this is true. But Mahabharata is much deeper than that. So much as there exist no comparison to it. Not even ‘Lord of the Rings’, the whole of ‘Harry Potter’, ‘War and Peace’, complete storyline of Bible or any human literary work. Its uniqueness emerges from the infinite scope which the author(s) have left for the reader’s imagination and interpretation. No preach of sermons or attempt to prove ‘truth’ when the whole script is taken into its entirety. It is literature at its best where each character is an epic in itself which is so complete and possesses a unique identity.

My granny used to tell me a lot of stories when I was a kid. Stories about animals at first, in which cats, crows, donkeys, monkeys, lions, cows and a few human beings used to be the characters. I would have not felt any difference about them from being real life stories. Not even the concept of humans and animals should have existed for any child. To any new born which has seen life outside the uterus for only two to five years, they are as real as real. But then, after a few years- let us say two more – she used to tell stories about princes, queens, magical people whom they called as incarnation of Gods and many others. At some point she connected them together and described them as the stories from an epic. She called it ‘Mahabharata’. Obviously the child did not know what an epic meant or whether it is real or not. Still those stories imprinted a unique picture in its mind. I grew and once I realized that they belonged to a unparalleled collection of myths – the greatest one ever written by humanity – the one and only MAHABHARATA, the wonder knew no bounds.

For long, the characters of this epic remained with an aura of magic. Bhishma, Karna, Drona, Yudhistira, Draupathi, Kunthi, Panchali, Krishna, Vidhura, Vyasa and a countless many. Once I tried to ponder deep, the magic enmated with the thoughts about life and became something much higher to being divine. It became the real definition of art. Anand, the renowned malayalam writter, described ‘krithi’ or literary work in these words- “Shrutiyum smritiyum vismrithiyilekkum pinne mrithiyilekkum marayumbozhum krithi nilanilkkunu.” A ‘krithi’ – true literary work – remains even after ‘shruti’ – vedas, brahmnas and upanishads – or ‘smriti’ – other interpretations like puranas and shastras- disappears and eventually dies in the depth of our memories. Truly, Mahabharatha, whether written by a single Krishnadwaipayanan (Vyasa) or many, is an epitome of all possible thoughts about human nature. It is not a story written for conveying few then contemporary or arguably eternal morals, but a descriptive portray of human psyche.

Mahabharata is the most brilliant collection which India has contributed to the world. Uniqueness of each character and the closely interweaved web of stories complete in itself has rarely not evoked the imagination of any kid who have heard it once. In fact, it requires a whole ‘wikipedia’ to do some justice to the entireness of the epic. And when I think about it, at least some ten characters come to mind with whom I have empathised. Still, an empathy for one, when I go deep becomes a wonder for the creater of the epic and still deeper, a state of numbness devoid of words to think or covey. I have felt it with respect to very many characters. Let us say Karna and Kunthi. Who deserves more empathy? I maintained Karna did. But when thought from the perspective of Kunthi, the grounds becomes shaky. ……

Kunthi who was granted a boon from Durvasrav maharshi happened to test the power of the ‘mantra’ in her teenage spirit. There is no logical reason resisting an innocent girl, filled with the curiosity of the age not attempting that. Once Surya (Sun God) appeared before her as the result of the divine power of the ‘mantra’, there was no way out for her. Also, she could not have resisted the handsome, young, divine and powerful God of light by any human measure.

When she conceived her first child, nothing could have saved that poor princess bound by royal responsibilities and manners from abandoning it. The pain endured by a woman to deliver her first child is reasoned to be the most acute physical pain which can be endured by any human being. Also, the attachment to it begins from the ten month long nurturing inside her womb when the child was just a naive fetus feeding up on its mother. Like any mother, she would have loved to care it and bring it up. But no! So forced the situations. She must have wept for days, tormented for months. The debt she owed to the piece of flesh and blood which once resided inside her uterus, cut off from her physical self by the mechanical process of dissecting an umbilical chord, the emotion snatched away by the cruel world around that she can not even weep for him in front of the public, must have tortured her for a life time. A cruel game up on the life of two individuals for preserving the existing social manners. Whose fault is it? Was it anybody’s fault at all? Unanswered questions about life…..

The noble Karna, brought up by a charriot rider (Suuth) and wife got insulted infront of the whole royal family and public when Drona questioned his ‘kula’ – caste – when he (Drona) could not deny his merit and was overwhelmed by the selfish love for his disciple Arjuna. There was just one Duryodhana (some texts refer as Suyodhana) who offered some human consideration apart from his adopted parents in his whole life. Duryodhana is portrayed to be an unholy character in the later turn up of events. So should he reciprocate the favour of his friend or not? This is an ultimate dilemma in any social or political decision making………

Karna opted to side his only friend and his brothers (and the only sister Dushala). In every walk of life including death he receives insult and lack of consideration. Even a ‘poetic justice’ is denied to him for a reason of his birth. Look at his death itself. Arjuna killed him up on the advice of Krishna when his chariot wheel gets trapped in a gutter! An ultimate tragedy of life! A virtuous person from whom his protective armour gets snatched away by fraudulence of Indra (king of Devas and the biological father of Arjuna) first and then by own biological mother!

What could have that mother felt when caught in between Arjuna and Karna? Her love for Arjuna can be traced back to her bringing up of the child. The one she had seen throughout her life to that point. The child which has reciprocated her love by all measures to the extend of sharing his wedded bride, Draupathi, with the other four brothers including two step brothers (Nakula and Sahadeva, children of Pandu’s second wife Madri) up on her request. But there always remains a heart breaking urge for her first born. The strongest emotional battle. Whether to choose her abandoned (due to circumstances) son or the brought up son …….. Well, wouldn’t she have wept …….. ? The whole consequence of war becomes irrelevant for her ….. What is there for her to choose? What about the poor Karna who lived and died in misery?

The same Kunthi went for ‘sanyas’ (saintly life in forest) with Ghandhari and Dritharastra and when Krishna asks her after the war what she would like to have as a boon she replied. “Dear Krishna, I want only pain. Just pain. The pain with which I lived my entire life and the same pain which haunts me …..” Pain, pain and pain alone ……… No wonder when asked about the epitome of Ramayana, a saint replied “It is just melancholy and melancholy alone …….”. If it is so about Ramayana – just an ancient story about morality and life- how much more true should it apply to Mahabharata?

When I go deep, the puzzle becomes recursive. It is not about solution but about mental state that one have to endure in life. Rarely have I seen a work which has described such dilemmas in its vastness and depth. Not just about a Karna and Kunthi but about the interrelations pertaining to every character. Ekalavya and Drona, Ghandhari and the war, Krishna and the role of politician which he had to play, everything……… These thoughts make me convince something about literature – a good old verse. “Sloka comes from shoka.” It is pain that gives birth to a masterly literary work……..

Now I feel for the pain of characters. The pain of the master brain who when glorified feels a more intense pain up on his fate to play the role despite convictions……. The real meaning of people being pawns of an unknown destiny………

Dear Vyasa, you are simply the best in the world. Who else have created such an epic which presents the most univocal dialogue between time and human life?

PS :- No wonder the wiki page about Mahabharata and its links could not even describe the tip of the iceberg. Well, I guess it might take a whole new www to discuss and appreciate the whole storyline and its implications. But I wonder how such a classic text whose leagacy could be shared by all Indians be described as a ‘Hindu religion’ text! Neither is it Hindu in the religious sense and nor religious as per the standards of religion (like uniformity in streams of thought and propaganda of a moral code).