The Path of Paradox
“Carry on, my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more” (Livgren & Kansas)
In the crowd with a mouthful of stories, have you ever felt lonely?
With a charade of emotions have you ever felt, nothing is True?
In a momentary exchange of words, have you ever found that familiarity?
In a room with machinery heat, have you felt that cold silence?
In those age-old pages, have you ever had the warmest embrace?
Have you felt that sanity in isolation? Aloof, away, unshackled and emancipated,
Have you ever wanted to live with your head held high, and having answers to all those finger wielding questions, yet to remain silent with pride,
Because you don’t owe them a single word? To live with honesty and clean satisfaction.
The familiar faces can hardly get you with your clearest response…
But you are understood, here and Everywhere.
Have you ever followed those signs? Seen the playful irony and smiled on your own?
They will say, the path is too perilous to walk, they may say, it’s too linear. But it’s your path, only you are to assess. You may hit the impasse, you will break through. The struggle is the ultimate meaning, that’s how it goes.
We, who feel our disjointed belongings, are understood by our prime elements. You have to see. You are seen. You will see. That’s the meaning of it.
Photo: ©Moulina Bhattacharya
The Everlasting ‘Nothing’
What is a man, devoid of his emotions? Does a human being exist beyond his/her feelings? Human emotions are the fundamental constitution of our being. Life is a conglomerate of countless events, a composite of cause and effects, numerous possibilities, creating probable parallels and planes of existence. Many mistakes have been done in the human history, are caused by those feelings— that many good deeds have happened out of some sheer ‘gut feeling’ or petite hunches. Human emotion— a complex brain chemistry, integrated actions of amygdala— reaction of which is experienced as feelings— is abstract but our actions (or behaviour) are the expressive manifestations of it. Life parades on the world. Every one of us contribute our part on this greater dynamic— an individual life, consisting of family, career, personal and shared spaces and many more goes on and on with different effective factors, from birth to death, thinking the intermediary our own anxiety, we handle it in our ways. Have you ever thought, what if this world itself is the concrete existence and we are the minions of it, the net worth of human contributions depositing decades after decades since the beginning, what is the world really preparing for? The ultimate destruction? Yes! Probably the final saturation is the other name of destruction. But is it the End? No! As they say, with the desolation of one universe, another is born somewhere, some other minions will spring there too, contribute their parts to prepare another finality. Probably…
Coming back to us, human emotion is a trailing silhouette, tagged along with every single one of our thoughts and actions. The basic binary, sadness/happiness— are the black and white in the clusters of intricate human emotions. With the gravest shock, we feel ‘sad’— we purge— then we come to the inevitable ‘acceptance’, no choice otherwise: process of grieving. It calms down, with the healing power of Time, but our memory records several lacerations, one or more wounds might as well get open with the jab of Time. But that too eventually cauterises with other turns of events as time proceeds our life. The strength of the feeling fades, like energy transforms, it only changes, perhaps there is a repository somewhere!
Likewise, you want something, something you aspire for, you work hard for it, your motivation loses, you win it back, you drown in doubts, doubts of your own capabilities, you swim through it and emerge with doubled enthusiasm, you become restless until you reach that ‘destination’ you have marked yourself for… You are sored, sored with words and missteps and frights— emotional turbulences nearly capsize your ship… A ‘journey’ you take and… You have ‘it’. Current of blood rushes through your body. You should be ‘happy’. You have made it, you have reached your ‘goal’. But you retrospect and ponder, you praise the path, the journey that kept you going… A transition from hyperactivity (the preparatory phase and the execution) to the stasis (the apparent completion and anticipation for the outcome) leaves you perplexed. Now that you have reached your assigned mark, you feel that ‘void’, may be momentarily, as again, life sets you for another mark.
Like emotion is the permanent shadow of our being, each emotion is fleeting towards the Nothing. The Nothingness prevails over every preceding emotion/ feeling, in the name of ‘acceptance’ or ‘void’ or that feeling of ‘pit in the stomach’. There is no ‘concrete’ feeling, we just name them upon some discrete traits they carry, like the ‘concrete’ reality is questionable beyond human perceptions, each emotion is a tributary of that Nothingness. At the optimum point we only feel that ‘void’. The Nothing is not the existential nihilism but it is that saturated place, that repository of ‘everything’— the all-receptive conundrum. The epitome is always the Nothing. The Nothing is the only ‘everlasting’.
Cover image: Internet
A riddle in ‘YOU’
The wild wild mind,
Can only be captivated by YOU.
I can not ensnare, it would not sit still,
But only when it hears call from YOU.
I do wonder, where’d the thunder go,
It’s all calm now,
When it’s caught by YOU.
It changes— breaks all hinges
Of toxic disdain
When it gets embraced by YOU.
The wild wild bird,
Stops fluttering its barging wings—
When it sings songs of YOU.
She seems lost in the jungle—
Where the creepers creep her out,
The black river gives her shiver,
Amid sap green mist and cloud—
Then You came, sang that song—
Her fear withered, she followed your light—
Enchanted by that song, sung by YOU.
She is tamed, off the flame of anger
And shame, as You fetch her from the verge,
Like no one else, she leans on YOU.
They call you inanimate—
A cover over pages a few—
But you speak louder than them,
Paint picture in worldview!
Your words don’t hurt
Like their beguiling darts would do.
You impart peace in restless soul,
Cast magic in mystic fold—
Put dreams in dreamer’s eyes,
You are fewer than few.
Read or to be read,
My heart has always felt for YOU,
Without a tint of regret or rue.
No, you are no flesh and blood—
That most will assume,
You are more than that.
I know who you are, or may be a few—
You are everywhere, as of interest or honor,
In every nook and corner—
You enlighten the world, ever since
These earthlings could write and read.
Who else could you be—
You are my books,
On your words I feed to live,
Until my eyes would cease to see.
Until I fly off the oblivion and no more will BE.
The wild wild mind,
Will only be enchanted by YOU.
Photo: ©Moulina Bhattacharya
So who wins?
The one who is angry, despair of life, she writes,
‘Life is a mistake, it is filled with mistakes and errors, you are haunted by your past mistakes, leads you to make a bunch of new mistakes! It is horrible! All I do is wrong, I take wrong decisions, chase wrong paths, and say wrong words! I am done. I hate everything. Please cut me a slack!’
Heat cools down, attention passes on to other things, for a while, she thinks again, she sees again, she starts writing again,
‘It is like writing, you make mistakes, you write again, you learn from past mistakes, you do not repeat it in the new, because you know now, but there comes another mistake, you learn another one. It’s a process, it’s a flux, and hence it’s not a straight line. You make mistake, you learn, you may repeat it again, because it’s a long run. Who keeps the score? If anyone, it’s you. What is your existence beyond life? If you are discussed, when you are gone, if you are remembered, when you are dead, it is by life, by another lived ones. A world devoid of life, might remember you with your elements and matters: carbons and oxygens, to its atomic level, but that’s not you, that’s all, all lives possess some or the same elements, every other life possesses those atoms as in you. Life celebrates life, life of the lived, life of the dead. You do not exist beyond life. Life does not exist beyond life.’
So really, who wins?
Header-image source: IMDB, Room, 2015 movie
[A short story]
Where am I? Aah! My head hurts—
Whoa! Watch out. What! How am I on the road?!
What was I doing?
Why’s all blank?!
Wait, do not panic. Let’s count. What is the last thing I remember?
Well, I probably fell asleep. Yes! I came home, I was tired and then, then I think I passed out. Where is everybody? What is this place?
Let’s move— Why does it feel I have been here before?! Oh I know, there’s the sign, “Regnarts lane”. Which means two blocks to the rail gate. Keep walking M—
There used to be a rail gate here, where is it?
The roads are awfully empty today—
There’s someone, finally!
Hi! Excuse me! What happened to the rail road here?
What? But… Probably my mistake—
Could you— show me the way to Edoba bakery? Seems I took the wrong lane—
What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? Everyone here knows it. Ok, sorry—
What is wrong? It is all of a sudden like a whole other dimension! Except it is the same place—
Wait! There used to be that Namon statue, where is it?
And the old lamp post? The post box? The toffy store? OK, Ninth street, the bank? The bookstore? I have been coming here ever since!
They all had been here for last twenty four years, now what? All vanished?
Something is terribly wrong here or with my memory!
Am I dreaming? Is it again a lucid dream or something?
What’s the time? Oh yes— my phone! Yes that’s it— it should be in my pocket. There it is. Quarter to six! Isn’t it too bright for the time— light usually goes down by now—
Whatever, but what am I doing here and why? Was I abducted? No. Can’t remember any such thing. But how?!
Man! What am I, mad? I have my phone. Let’s call mamma, I guess it’ll be clear. But…
If she too does not know— and— I am really lost?! Again! I am detouring— Will see, let’s call first— then figure out. Does it have signal? Now’s not the time, please be there, please. Yes! there is—
Oh thank god! Please pick up please…
Hello! Maa? Wh… What’s up? Where are you?
Whoa! Calm down—
Why are you yelling at me?
What do you mean past two days?
So you are telling me that you have not heard from me since Saturday?! (But— we talked, just before…)
Yes I am quite alright— The matter of fact is, I am…
I am coming home. Yes I am…
Don’t worry. I’ll be there soon—
Except I don’t know my way back HOME…
Cover and footer images: Snapshots taken from Another Earth, 2011 movie.
The curtain parts asunder
Holograph of Dreams
Dream is such a concept! It is more astounding than its regular apprehension! Once Freud stirred it real hard, not sure if anybody brought a revolution of that range ever again. Well, it is not going to be leaning on such concept or theory. But I wonder why dream has not been subjected to the mainstream episteme! Dream has impact over so many things, such as, everyday thought, emotions (dormant or active), actions (may be) and many more. There are bunch of famous or not-so-famous or even not-known-at-all people put down their everyday dreams, decode them and give them real meaning. American novelist Jack Kerouac composed his Book of Dreams after his day-to-day (or rather night-to-night) dreams. So many people do not even remember their dreams or may be simply ignore them (especially those whose actions are driven by what, is hard to track on). I am a wonderer of dreams forever. Those dreams I remember from last night or the one from long ego, suddenly popped up through a course of actions, felt like déjà vu. I stop, think and try to find out the deformed metaphor hidden in them. I have just a little familiarity with psychoanalysis and this genre fascinates me.
There are certain places or emotions, I figured, keep appearing in my dreams like recurrent themes! Among other prevalent themes like space, decadence, being chased, relieved life, meeting the desire and so on, the theme of landscape is very prominent (more like topographical dreams)! Most of the story revolves around me, discovering a mystery-place led by narrow lanes, not fully impassable but a bit risky, quite secluded from crowd and common interest, as if anyone scarcely knows of its existence! Each time it would appear in different forms, once it was a waterfall upon a small waterbody, placed like a surprise amidst a lost forest. Another time it was a cliff from where the best sun set could be seen: the perfect tint of orange, yellow ochre and burn sienna syncing in a socked paper! There would be a shadow tree, black, unidentified. I would sit there calm in stasis like nothing bad had ever happened to me, like a newborn’s clean slate, only cherishing every scoop of what my eyes could see. A few people would be there this time, but they are strange, as if they do not belong to my world or time, they would walk past me like I am invisible, some of them would carry dry branches fallen off the trees stacked on their head, they would work their own, rustic life, like of countryside. I would have mixed emotions of suspense, worry (of my unnoticed absence/escape from home/ work) yet satisfied of the ‘terrific beauty’ I was relishing (Oh! It rings a bell! Like Thomas Wilson in the island of Capri, straight from Maugham’s story? But it started even before I read the story). Feels like I have travelled the time backward, in the primitive earth when it was not crowded, either with people, or our complexities. Like the narrow labyrinthine lane is a time-tunnel separating the world of now and then. The place always feels like an ideal space for the self to soothe and erase the trampling burdens; a proper escapade. Sense of being chased by unknown danger, impeding thorn walls and fear of exposure remains, for I liked the fact that I am the only one knew the existence of the place and did not want it to be littered by others.
As per the interpretation of my dream goes, I found many aspects. My love for solitude and seclusion or taking the road ‘less travelled by’ is basically inspired by my hatred for being commanded and competed. Even in real course of actions I am at my best when I am unnoticed or away from the race. Comparison and imposed expectations are those thorn walls encumber my brain like a negative reinforcement. I have always been influenced by others’ actions, I had to, that littered my spontaneous self/ space, and I think, I could have had done far better without those mental hydraulic pressures affecting my headspace. At least that is what I think, and thought is pulled away in the Subconscious, eventually bubbles up as dreams. Talking about how dream actually intervenes real actions or emotions seems like another string to pull, but later. I have felt its effect, transitory but effective, because it is a circle, differently processed but it is to acknowledge that one’s thoughts sediment, crumple and evaporate as dreams, hence dreams are the mental projection of thoughts through processed metaphors, sometimes much complex, sometimes linear, but I believe, an analytic mind can decipher its own tricks. I have had some exquisite dreams, difficult to narrate or make them sound Hitchcock-ish, but every time they left me in awe about how our brain works, really!
Postscripts: Speaking of metaphors, even this web space works like a metaphor to me, not like a ghost-space but it is seen/read by people around the globe (especially by those whom I do not even know). Recently I was going through a social media survey by an institutional research group where they asked a very thoughtful yet factual question, to rephrase, it was quite like, whether or not my social media impressions leave tracks of my lifestyle or current status. This space might not have such serious coherence like that of the question but it does feel like the mystery-place, one might read and explore or it becomes solely mine, only this time I don’t have the fear of it being littered.
Photograph: ©Moulina Bhattacharya
Dreamy petal cocoon, stretching on the sepal. I wish you wake…
Through your petal nest, into which you have veiled your pollen chest!
Shine! Onto the sky of the earth,
Put on the Cirrus gown. Enchant the night gazers heart.
Ease your anxious frown! Don’t you remember,
Once you lulled the Lotos-Eaters’ eyes?
Relieved the war crushed brain of Odysseus! When he pulled his train
To your island of perpetual afternoon?
You are the oleander, over the cloud and the sea! Captivated the seers eye!
I can keep looking at you! Forever can be a while…
Spring atop you floret moon…
Bloom away you intrepid lune!
The July moon, shining full! Mystic dark, dimming light,
Smiles the lantern of night… At the lotus plume!
But now with your flourished crest,
I see you drowsing death…
Feathers falling away! Your hour bell tolls!
Day is coming up, You will wane and depart!
But You will come again I know,
As another moon bud!
I’ll see your regal bloom! With my whole heart!
You will surpass my life time… Only with your half-a-day!
We bloom together and wane…
In the same nature-continuum.
The evening is leaning.
Flux of time. It’s five thirty one.
The ever-winding continuum.
It certainly imparts something,
My evaporating existence.
An effervescence. Waning it is.
But I don’t want to disappear.
I just want to write something.
I want to write what I bear.
My sufferance and dripping tears.
That what inflicts pain and happiness.
I want to relieve my soul,
My psychic womb from its natal pain
And give birth to something new.
The evening’s serene, behold the flora,
There’s a plantation behind that,
A society and its cultural notions.
I want to pen those notions,
‘Cause I want to write something.
I want to write down those skies, rivers
And those evening chandeliers,
The customs that the society rears;
The trees, their branches and the leaves,
Those twigs and the saplings,
They all have their stories to tell
There’s something beyond their being!
I can perceive their tales.
I want to learn something from them.
I want to write what I have learnt.
I want to write something else…
PostScript: This poetry is inspired by Superintendent of Police, Vinay Tiwari, IPS, his poetic thoughts, “मैं कुछ लिखना चाहता हूं” (“Mein Kuch Likhna Chahta Hoon”: Hindi for ‘I want to write something’). My gratitude to him.