Saturday, September 24, 2011


Everyone has a story to tell, so do I. Real life stories are cognate so I will narrate mine with a hope that you find a fragment of you in my story. Every tale has a beginning but I don't remember when it all started. Let's just say that I was lucky and the ants came to me. Let’s leave the unimportant beginning and fast forward to my wedding. I got married six months ago to a girl that I hardly knew but my parents thought would bring me happiness and take care of me. I never asked them why they thought I was not happy or I needed care. Even if I was not happy, a marriage was not going to change anything. I had been experimental in life and marriage was something I had never experienced with so I readily agreed. A friend told me that when you get married some secrets have to be delved. Not all, but some. You should never hide all your secrets from your spouse because pretending that you don't have one will make them suspicious. Also don't share them at the same time. Drop them cleverly for sharing a secret sprucely develops trust. I created my list. An affair in teens that till the point it lasted I thought was true-unconditional-selfless-timeless-blah-blah-blah love, a fling with a married woman, a failed suicide attempt in my teens, my long tryst with marijuana, and the rehabilitation torture that my parents put me through. I kept the ants out of it. I had to. Two days before the wedding I realized that I had overlooked the fact that she was going to live with me so I decided to be extra careful with when to let the ants inside me.

It was the usual rich man wedding. My father flaunted his money and spent it as if it was the last marriage on the planet earth. After the ants are inside me I can pacify myself in a funeral. In any case the event didn't turn out to be as bad as I had expected. My parents booked the newly wedded couple on a flight to Melbourne for the honeymoon. They got us a suite in Chateau Yering hotel in the Yarra valley. I packed my bags and stored the ants that I had collected in a small jar. It was a blunder as by the time we checked in the hotel they were all dead. The first two days passed as I kept myself occupied exploring her dusky debonair body. The love was passionate. She was a silk ball that melted to warm honey from my sheer touch. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before and for two full days I did not even think of the therapy. Nothing lasts forever but the ants. People get hangover morning after they drink but it is the other way round for me. My head was drooling because I had been away from my therapy for four days. The last time I felt such pain was when I was locked up in the small rehabilitation centre room. The ants had come to my rescue then. She was sleeping and her long hair sprawled over the white pillow seemed like a black river flowing on fresh snow. I tried to but could not sway away the pictures of the rehab room from my mind.

Several years ago I puked my gut out and passed out after smoking multiple joints and consuming cheap alcohol. Before I got completely knocked out alone in my tatty hostel room I could hear my heart beat like it was pumping blood for two more people. The thundering noise that came from inside me that night still gives me a heavenly kick. A friend found me and I was admitted to a local hospital before my parents took me home. "I was trying to explore my limits" I had replied when my dad had asked me lividly what exactly I was trying to achieve. The good times were over. My parents got me out of my college. I am a born rebel. I will always do the opposite of what you ask me to do. Alas, they have not understood this till date. Since the day I was born I was showered with love, something that I really was not looking for. There was just too much love around me and so by the time I was ten I had received my share of love for this life time. I felt claustrophobic. Someone told me that people move on to drugs when they are lonely and are not loved. I chose marijuana to find my loneliness. My parents were furious and put me through the rehabilitation shit. This delirious reaction instigated me further. Only if my dad had known me, he would have known how to make me do things he wanted. All he needed to do was pat on my back, say something like "Well done son. Keep it up" and pass a marijuana joint over to me. The rebel in me would have ensured that I kept an arm's length distance with marijuana. Instead I was put through the terrible excruciations in the rehab centre and was released once they thought they had succeeded.”welcome to life” they had said when I came out. They never realized it was not about them. It was my decision to quit as I had found a better pleasure and a better pain.    

She was still sleeping. I was restless. It was the longest I had stayed away from my therapy after coming out of the rehab centre. I felt the hair on the back of my neck raise. Restlessly I settled myself on a chair and cracked my knuckles, my right leg trembling like a mechanical device. Strange gruff sounds emerged from deep inside my stomach as if crying out loud for the therapy. I smoked three cigarettes one after another and gulped two cans of beer but it didn't rescue me from my misery. Neither nicotine nor ethyl alcohol can do what the ants can. I felt my ears twitch in wait to listen to the soul music of my life, the balmy sound of the ants crawling. Have you ever heard the ants crawling? Ever felt them because it's a heavenly experience when they are inside you. I was certain that I was not going to find them in my luxurious hotel room. I wrote a small note telling my wife that I was leaving for a drive and will be back soon. I poured bourbon and water in a thermos and set out for my hunt. 

"Where do I find ants" the hotel receptionist sprang from her chair after she heard my simple question. She handed me a fat yellow pages book and I found an ant farm eighty seven kilometres from the hotel. I got into my rental car and listened to Jimi Hendrix. Mind that focused on ants, hands that trembled, vision that was blurry made it a tough drive. I sipped a little from my thermos and after two hours found the ant farm. An old man greeted me and walked me around the farm. The farm that smelled like sweat had over one hundred species of ants each one of them living in a separate glass vessel filled with dirt. I had no time for the details. I found the Tasmanian Inchman ant's nest and immediately liked them. This species was black in colour and a closer look revealed the short yellow hair and reddish brown antennae, and legs. I was in for a treat I thought watching the huge ants with their squared heads and small mandibles. The old man told me that the species was known as Inchman due to their large size. I bought enough ants to last for the entire trip and rushed to my car. The ants were kept in a special vessel that ensured that they would live for at least four more days. I drove for about three miles and found a secluded place. I parked on the edge of the road and opened up the vessel.

The ants inside were as restless as me. It was as if they knew their fate. I couldn't wait any longer and opened up the thermos. I picked up about fifteen ants with my right hand and poured them into the thermos. The ants struggled on the surface and made futile attempts to come out. I pulled the handle to recline my seat at sixty degrees and sipped the bourbon retaining it in my mouth. Soon my mouth was full with the whiskey and live ants. One of them bit me on my tongue and another one crawled on the inside walls of my cheek. I shuddered with immense excitement. I took a deep breath and gulped the cocktail slowly. One drop and one ant at a time passed through my throat. I always wondered how the ants felt getting washed away in a deep burrow probably knowing that there was no turning back. I controlled the pace of the liquid to ensure that the passing ants had plenty of time to bite me. Bite they did. The sting on the tongue was just a beginning. The next one was felt on my pharynx. The slow pace of the flow and my reclined position always presented an ant with the opportunity to find its way out through the nasal cavity. Only a calm and composed ant which is a rarity would find its way out through that passage. An ant slowly creeping through my nose was the best appetizer for my therapy. I waited for one smart ant to make a move but it didn't happen.

I didn't mind that as the feeling of the ants crawling and stinging me multiple times as they passed through my throat and then the esophagus to my stomach pacified me. Each sting felt like someone had pulled a chord on an electric guitar. Every time they chewed upon my flesh I moaned with pleasure. Some of the ants had died by the time they reached the bottom of the pit, my stomach. Some were alive though. They were alive for their climax and for mine too. I had tried a variety of ants in India which included the tiny house army, harvester, carpenter and weaver ants. This however was my first rendezvous with the Australian ants and I had high hopes. I was not left disappointed. I could feel the half alive ones moving in circles inside my stomach. I put the thermos aside and caressed my belly with the left hand. The ants were my fodder and I was theirs. They died chewing upon me and gave me a new life. They were moving inside but I felt the exhilaration all over my body. My finger tips felt like mild electric current was flowing through them to my arms. The storm as it always does was followed by a sudden silence. The turbulent waves threw me from the turmoil to a state of tranquillity. I closed my eyes and didn't realize when the sleep took me over. I slept for about two hours and before I drove back to the hotel I took another ride to the heavens. This time around one ant did oblige and passed through my nasal cavity. When it came out struggling through my nasal hair I set it free. It deserved to live. 
She was furious when I got back but I calmed her down. The rest of the trip went just fine. Every morning I would get up and say a phony "I love you". I would rush to the bathroom and that was my place for the morning prayers. I had hidden the ant’s vessel in the small storage located in the bathroom. She never interfered in my matters and things went smoothly. The ants lasted till the day we flew back to New Delhi. I hoped to be back to my normal “Collect ants-therapy-sleep-wake up-therapy-breakfast-drive to office-work-lunch-therapy-work-drive back home before 7 PM-evening tea-therapy-dinner-read-collect ants” cycle. On the flight back all I was thinking is where she fit in that cycle. May be I could drop sex right after the last therapy of the day. No, that won't be fun. Sex would be so banal after the ants. I decided to replace dinner and reading with dinner with wife, reading and sex with wife. All my planning went down the gutter once we got back because she went through an astronomical change. One week after returning back she turned into a combination of my father and mother. I would hardly get time for the ants when I was home as she was all over me. Not even a moment went by when she would leave me alone. I must have done something wrong because no one till date had understood that the last things I needed was care, attention and love in that order. In my own home I had to make efforts to find that twenty minute window that I needed to sing with the ants or to collect them. I couldn't comprehend the reason for this change in her. In a nutshell, within a month my life was miserable.

After thinking through I changed my cycle and started spending more and more time at work. That way I was able to increase the number of therapies at office from one to two. If I thought that everything was in place and I had achieved the perfect married life cycle then I had made the mistake of counting my chickens before they hatched. I was introduced to a moron who used to work in my department and was related to my wife through some complex connection that I can't even remember. The moron stalked me during office hours as if that was his job which left me with no time for my therapy. He was not the only idiot that I was introduced to. All of a sudden my recluse life was filled with shit load of people leaving me no time at all for the ants. Random people whom I couldn't decide if I knew or past acquaintances that I had never spoken to were saying hello to me or waving at me hoping to light up a conversation. The whole world was conspiring. It was as if everybody had one agenda, to keep me away from the music of my life. I managed to balance things out in my changed life till the day when all hell broke loose. The ants that I collected from the little garden in front of my house were no longer to be found. In fact there was not a single ant in the fifty meters radius around my house. It was summer time and I had not yet started storing the ants for the winter season in my basement so I had no stock either that I could utilize. I was left high and dry that evening. Once I gave up and came back home I realized that she had gone on a cleaning spree around the house which most certainly put me in that precarious situation that night. Enough was enough. I was not going to live my life on someone else’s terms.

I decided to tell her about the ants. It was after all a decision to let her know who I was and then she was free to make her own decision. I had made mine. I needed ants and I was willing to pay any price for their company. "I have to tell you something really important", I told her nonchalantly. She looked at me and didn't utter a single word for almost a minute. There was a vacuum like calmness in the room. I waited for her to say something but she did not. Just when I was about to say it she got up from her chair and hugged me. "I love you" she whispered in my ears. I didn't know how to respond so I just stood there. "I know what you want to tell me. You want to talk about the ants, don't you"? The earth beneath my feet suddenly felt like a marshland that was sucking me in. I felt a sudden ache in my heart and with my head spinning I pushed her away. "How do you know"? She slyly smiled at me and said, "Why do you think we married"? "Whatever you had with the ants is all over" she said. I sensed the voice of authority in her speech and shouted back. "Go to hell, you are no one to tell me what I will do or not do". She laughed. The entire room shook with her laughter and before I could say anything else two huge hands appeared in front of my face and strangled me. I struggled to break free but the hands were very powerful. I tried with all my force to break the shackles but all in vain. I felt a throbbing pain in my abdomen after it was kicked hard from behind. I saw two strong men built like bulls all over me and decided to give in. I had trouble breathing and was utterly terrified. My eye balls spun and my vision was blurry. The two guys loosened their grip and I fell on the floor. I thought I was dead.

I opened my eyes. It was pitch-dark. I was lying on a bed and couldn't move my legs. The whole body felt like needles were floating in my veins. I moved my hands and found what seemed like a table lamp. I located its switch and turned it on. The yellow light that sparkled in my eyes took me by surprise. A neck collar supported my neck that hurt like a broken bone. My legs were chained to the bed, the chains locked up with a massive old iron lock. After a minute when my eyes had adjusted to the light I found myself in a small yet expansive room. The interiors resembled medieval architecture. To my left was a red wooden parabolic window, the only one in the room. The walls were all full with simple yet elegant ancient glyptic art. There was a huge wooden door that appeared like an entry to a castle in front of me. A small chandelier hung on the dome shaped ceiling that was so high that it seemed to belong to another world. It seemed like a corner room built inside a huge ancient castle. I turned to my right and saw a huge painting. The painting was so huge that it covered the right wall completely and I had to rotate my hurting neck to view it in entirety. The top left of the painting presented the outside view of a room that hung up in the air hundred feet above the ground. A pale man in an anxious state was looking down from the window. The window was shaped like the one in my room. I turned to the right to find that the man was looking diagonally below to what seemed like black brushes. I focused my attention to the right and realized they were not brushes but ants, dead ants, trillions of them. It was as if the whole community of ants had been wiped out from earth. I turned to the left to look at the man and was taken aback. The man who looked out was no one but a younger dying version of me. Was I really there or was it a dream? The door to the room opened with a loud creak.

A small man dressed up like a doctor walked in. Behind him was a nurse who was wearing a heavy makeup. I thought I had seen that face but in my dizzy state I wasn't be sure. "Hello Mr. K. I hope you are doing fine" he said. "What the fuck is going on? What is this place? What are you guys up to?" I screamed and lost my cool. I pounced on the doctor and held the small man by his neck. The two huge guys that had almost killed me few days ago appeared from nowhere and got the doctor free from my grip. One of them pulled me by my hair and put me to the bed while the other one tied up my hands. "Easy, easy" said the doctor smiling, his white teeth shining bright. "You have become aggressive. Just like those wild ants, haven't you? Calm down. Let me clear the air first. We are not your enemies. In fact we have come here to help you". "I don't need any help. I am fine the way I am. Just let me go" I said. "You think you don't need help" he said and laughed. "All of us need help. Let me tell you that the ants have done severe damage to your food pipe and intestines. It is a wonder that you have survived but you are on the verge of severe gastric disorders that will lead to disaster. You do need help". He got a small vaccine out and pointed to the nurse. The nurse looked at me and smiled, "How are you honey"? That was my wife's voice. I looked at her and failed to recognize her. One moment she looked like her, the other she seemed to be a different woman. She rolled up my shirt exposing my stomach. The doctor shoved the vaccine in it. "Good bye. Spend some time together the two of you" he said and walked out. "Your parents have said hello. They will visit you soon. Your mother has sent your favourite fish curry" she said and placed a bowl besides the table lamp. "Let me go. What wrong have I done?" I said on the verge of breaking down. "It's hard for me as well darling. I am doing this for you because I love you". "No, you are not doing it because you love me. You are doing it to turn me into a man that you want to love". "I will be back soon" she untied my hands and left. The injection had its effect and I was fast asleep. When I woke up I was hungry. No, I didn't need the food. I needed ants. I didn't bother looking around because I knew I wouldn't find them. I cried.

Time passed at a deadening pace in that room. The doctor would appear every day at the same time. He was always accompanied with a new nurse that had something in her that made her look like my wife. Every day they came in I would protest and the two guys would beat me up. They would then tie my hands and then my stomach would be injected with the vaccine. One day after few weeks had passed without the ants my whole body started to shiver. My tongue was dry as a desert. I put my hands up to cover my ears and looked up at the ceiling. I wailed loud in pain. What is wrong with the world? Isn’t it my life? Isn’t it my flesh? I will decide what I want to do with it. My intestines. If I want to I will feed them to the dogs. Why should anyone have a problem? As long as I don't interfere with someone else's life what is wrong with sleeping with the ants. Neither I asked anyone to accompany me in my journey nor did I want to step into someone else's path. Why should anyone complain? The only community that had a valid reason to complain were the ants. I continued to scream. Then something fell on my lap and looked at me with its small eyes. I stopped screaming, looked at it and smiled.

The next day my parents came to visit me along with the doctor and as was the custom a new nurse accompanied them. I decided to be cooperative from that day on. My parents promised to visit me every other day. I was fed the best food and I started to recover. My craving for the ants diminished gradually through the injections that I was subjected to everyday. I never saw the two guys. There was no need for them. I was improving the doctor told me every day. The wounds inflicted over the years by the ants had almost healed said the doctor. They allowed me once in a while to smoke and have a drink. The painting to my right I realized started to change. The black brushes were changing their colour to green with every passing day. The anxious expression on the man’s face was changing gradually towards a blithe spirit. The picture changed one frame every day. It was as if spring was breaking into a hard cold winter. I woke up one day to look at the painting. The ground was greenish with a tinge of yellow and red. I looked at the left and saw that the man in the window was no longer there. I looked at my legs and realized there were no chains. I got up and walked to the door and opened it up.

My wife who appeared the way she did when I had seen her for the first time stood there. I recognized her at the very first glance for the first time in months. My parents stood besides her smiling. The sun was shining bright. The doctor was missing. They approached me one by one and hugged me whispering "welcome to life" in my ears. No one noticed the small house lizard that slept sound in my pocket.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A walk on the beach,
The sand between my toes,
Feel the wind, my eyes closed,
I miss where the sun goes.

A long stare into the sky,
The stars and the spree,
I marvel the darkness,
The moon I don't see.

I feel the pain too,
The heart bleeds and I cry,
The tears stay within,
My eyes remain dry.

I say it all,
I say it's true,
In her eyes though,
The sky is a different blue.

I have the key,
Still prefer to be jailed,
Heaven's door knocks at me,
And says I have failed!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Critique of the 'C' word

You can take it as my innocence, or my ability to let my mind wander, or the fact that I have nothing better to do on a weekend, take it as a constant itch to dig out, or you can simply take me as a Chutiya but I plan to dissect the word Chutiya today. This is one post that I want the stringent censor board to give a U certificate to as it's an attempt to save our culture. The gen-x today who have upgraded to the western verbiage of slangs and utter the word 'fuck' once every forty seven seconds have failed to live by our dandy heritage and it is necessary to infuse the importance of this word into them. The manipulative west has polluted our slang world as well. My heart bleeds when I see that the young ones who are future of our country consider the F word to be cool but the C word only entails responses like "eewww", "don't use that fucking word" and expressions as if someone just smelled Anil Kapoor's hairy chest. This contagious ailment extends to many a folks from my generation as well. The great word that our ancestors gifted us is fighting hard to stay afloat and I consider it my duty to explain what the colossal word stands for. This essay is my journey to discover the true meaning of Chutiya.

When and where did I hear this word for the first time? When I was 13? May be 14? It really doesn't matter but the fact is that it's been a long time. Nonetheless it was a time when you eschew the analytical spree. It is afternoon. My brain works the best when it's dark so I pull all the curtains down, turn on the air conditioner and tuck myself in a blanket. So what does the word Chutiya mean? It is an adjective. That's a good start. It's an adjective that I have used for people I can't stand, my foes, my colleagues, my friends and have even bestowed people I love with this word. Now that's where my mind stops to work and goes in circles without making any further progress. Information these days is at your finger tips. I reach out to Googles and the Wikipedias of the world to see if they can help the cause. I am disappointed as they best describe it as a 'Simpleton' or a 'Moron'. Something's amiss. Let me explain why. Let's say the word 'bhenchod' was described as a-person-who-fucks-his-sister. Assuming that you are not a chutiya you straight away see the word lose its meaning. Completely. If that's the case then someone who doesn't have a sister should never get offended by it. You get the drift. I lay in my bed thinking.

I had thought that this would be a relatively easier problem to solve but as I watch the wall clock a strange depression engulfs my mind. I watch it strike 6:37. The second hand chugs along and it is 6:38. I observe the second hand till it is 7:47. I think of how many revolutions of it had I seen. I make no progress so I decide to come out of my bed. I lit up a cigarette and pop up a can of beer. I usually do that when I am solving problems. I am a very good problem solver. It's because I never muddle the planning and execution. Most people when they plan to solve a problem then actually try to solve the problem. I only plan. The beer gloats down my throat and I make the first headway. If I think of a few chutiyas may be that can give me a lead. I will draw parallels across them to crack this problem. I pick up a pen and a paper and prepare the list. For the sake of this essay I have removed the names.

Chutiya#1. A colleague who picks his nose and observes the small round ball of mucus he makes by rolling his fingers around it. After extracting all the juices he flicks it and watches it fly. I have been in the line of fire many times and only my quick reactions have saved me thus far.  

Chutiya#2. A friend whose goal in life seems to be adding at least one Facebook friend every day. Pass by him and smile, sure enough next time you log in you would see a friend request. Don't worry if you don't have a Facebook account because you would get it within two days of creating your account.

Chutiya#3. An acquaintance who is meeting up girls for the purpose of an arranged marriage these days and told me yesterday that he is looking for someone who is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs between 51 and 51.5 kilograms. My deep sympathies are with the girl.

Chutiya#4. A female friend who for one week rattled me on the phone explaining how a manipulative guy has used her. Rather abused her. Physically, emotionally, financially, blah, blah. The day I got chance to speak up I advised her to cut all ties with him and she responded, "How can I do that? He is a great friend". But of course. Chutiya me. How could I miss that point?

Chutiya#5. A school friend whom I met after ages and who gave me an unsolicited advice on how to find the right girl to marry with just one question. Yes, with just one question. "Do you know what a Play Station is"? That's the million dollar question he suggested. If she says "Yes" then she is not the right girl. He gave me logic as well but I will spare you the torture. However if you are a female and you don't know what a play station is and are interested please let me know. I will be happy to pass on his number.

Chutiya#6. A relative who told me that Roger Federer is a lucky chutiya to have won 16 grand slams. Yes of course he was just roaming around with a tennis racquet, trotting around the courts and found himself with the trophies in his hand.        

I think this is a good list to start with. All I need to do is to find the common things across this set and then try to formulate a theory. I get myself another can of beer and visualize each one of them. I hit the wall very soon. There is no one quality that I can point to which is common across them. I get back to the clock and observe the minute hand now. I try to see the slightest movement but I don't. Still it moves. This is going nowhere I think when a thought strikes. There is no commonality in this set of people but each one of them has something that attributes to them being a chutiya. I rush to pen and paper and think again. How do I define that 'something' that this set has? It's time that I define some terms. I told you I am good at it.

The 'something' that they have I will term it a quality. The next thought that comes to my mind is that all of us have 'something'. All of us do things, say things, have things or are born with things. All of them I also term as a quality. All ethics, good, bad, killer, saint, male, female, black, white, brown, creed, job, love for a music genre, love for a sportsperson, rich, poor, tall, short, fat, thin, gay, straight,  picking nose, bathing every day, movie lover, movie hater, and the list goes on. Let's define this universal set as Q. It's a huge set, a set of googolic proportions. Many of you would say it's not possible to define this set or it’s too big to be defined. First things first I am not trying to define each and every value in this set. All I am saying is that it exists. When I was in 7th grade my English teacher had asked the entire class, a class of about twenty to come to the board one by one and spell a word I can't remember. After no one could spell it correctly she screamed, "You are all idiots. I am wasting my time with you. You are all monkeys. A monkey with a typewriter if types randomly will never end up with Julius Caeser". I raised my hand and said, "How many monkeys are you talking about? Give me enough monkeys & typewriters and I will find out one who would end up with Julius Caeser". Hope you get the drift. The set of all the qualities exists. The set Q.           

Let's define a new set now. A set that defines the qualities that are attributed to all chutiyas. Let's call this set C. Clearly C is a subset of Q.


I think I am getting there. Let's define a set for everyone on the earth. The set Vn which stands for the qualities that can be associated with the nth person on earth. So there are about 6.7 billion such sets. This set in a nutshell defines the nth person of the world. With me? I can now say that if Vn intersected with the set C returns one or more qualities then the nth person is a chutiya. Thus the following formula is the chutiya check.

n(VnC) > 0

This helps me define a new term. The Chutiya Index. For any chutiya the Chutiya Index can be defined as

Chutiya Index = n(VnC) / n(Vn)

This is amazing I think and help myself with another beer. I think of all the chutiyas around me and may be you come across in my thoughts too. That's when another crucial thought strikes. The thought of what is this chutiyapa that am I doing? I see myself in the mirror and I see a chutiya. Seriously, if I were to ask you at this point in time to think of a few chutiyas I am sure more than half of you would name me for what I am trying to do here. My world comes crumbling down and I realize the grave mistake I have made. I have to define C in absolute terms and I can't be the reference point. I need a new definition.

Let's define the set Cmn which represents the set of qualities that makes the nth person of the world a chutiya for the mth person. Of course if m doesn't know n or doesn't think that he/she is a chutiya then this set is empty. So if N is the world's population then objectively C can be defined as

C = U Cij
    i=1 to N
    j=1 to N

I gaze at the formula above for the next sixty seven minutes and instinctively I see the light. It's the light Newton saw when the apple fell on his head or made Archimedes run out of his bath tub. The problem is simplified. C is nothing but Q. If C is Q then it means we are all chutiyas with a Chutiya Index of 1.00. This is a very important result. I will repeat it again.

We are all chutiyas with a Chutiya Index of 1.00.

Once I understand this concept it becomes so much easier to understand the entropy of the world. To see the world move through this word. The 'C' word is not just a word, it is a phenomenon. The word stands for challenging a quality. You challenge something only if you stand for something. So I can derive that you define yourself through the 'C' word! Every time you use the 'C' word you demonstrate your ability to reason. Mankind's progress/regress is associated to it. All inventions. All wars. All love. All hatred. All reason. You. Me. This post itself. Try to think of a world without this phenomenon. Everybody will look the same, think the same, walk the same, talk the same and we will all be stalled.

I hail our great culture that carved out this grandeur word. I hope I have made you understand the power of this word and that next time when you challenge something you would use this word. Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and say the word.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The DreamWeaver

After a long and tiring day which included the usual thrashing from her boss it was time to pay a visit to the dreamland. She got into her favourite night dress and got the small device out from a cabinet and moved to her bedroom. The device appeared to be an old and non-functional apparatus from a 20th century laboratory. A glass tube and a cone shaped vessel located adjacent to each other on a wooden plank. The plank was about 1 foot wide and 8 inches thick. It was hollow with all the nuts and bolts hidden inside. A thin zinc wire came out from a small opening in it. She filled up the tube with half a litre of mountain water and carefully poured a measured quantity of coffee beans into the cone. She smelled the aroma of the beans as she plugged the device on power. The better the beans the clearer the dream. This lot of the beans was the best that she had got. Imported from Africa. It was the first time she was going to use them and that called for a very special dream. The small machine churned as soon as it was turned on. When the device was quiet she rubbed her index finger on the left wrist. This was the hardest part. She picked up the loose end of the zinc wire and closed her eyes hard. Then she rammed the zinc wire into one of her veins as if an intravenous therapy. A blood drop trickled down. She could see multiple marks on her wrist that have been formed by the various trips she had taken to the land of dreams. She rested the left arm on the bed breathing heavily and thought of the dream she wanted to have as dessert that night. It was time to fly on a plane called DreamWeaver.      

Location: Somewhere in or around New Delhi. He knew because that's all a forty minute drive from his office in South Delhi could do in the peak hour. Time: past midnight. He no longer had his watch but he knew. His instincts told him so. There is more, lot more to night-time than the dark. More so for him. He hadn't seen much light for some time now. He recognized midnight by a depression that engulfed him completely. A storm outside, a silence within. Or was it the other way round? Unsure he laid there tied to a bed. How long had it been? More than a month? Possibly two. He couldn't tell. He didn't know that she was watching him. That was her favourite past time. To watch his wretchedness. He tried to feel for his limbs. The knot around the left leg had troubled him since that afternoon. He arched his back an inch, which was the most he could do and twisted the leg in an attempt to get the blood circulation going. This movement made him feel the sweat on his back. Thin air passed between his sweaty t-shirt and back easing his misery momentarily. The leg though hurt him even more and after a couple of futile attempts he gave up. In any case it was about time that she appeared. Mithya. Mithya 'bitch' Sengupta.

The door opened with a creaking sound and rays of yellow light passed in along with her. That was the only time he saw light and heard a sound. Scarcity does wonders. Living in that room, lying in that bed for the last two months had made him love and look forward to the creak and two seconds of a light bulb. He saw her silhouette before the door closed. "Can you please loosen up the knot on my left leg? It's troubling me." She walked towards the leg and with one quick jerk tightened the noose. He squealed. "Why are you doing this to me Mithya? What have I done? Please for God sake let me go." She lit a cigarette and stood there watching him. Her face if he could see wore thousand expressions of angst. He started to cry. She let loose his left hand and served him food. She stood there and savoured every single second of his misery. "You have got what you deserved K. This is for ignoring me. This is for all the harsh words" she thought and lit another one.   

She woke up with a smile. It was a dream vivid than any dream she had had since she lay her hands on DreamWeaver. She pulled the wire out of her vein carefully and tucked the device in the cabinet. She looked at all the blue and black marks on her left wrist once again but that didn't impede the smile. The smile was placed on her face even when she showered and hurried through the early morning traffic to work. She rushed to her office and was immediately summoned by her boss. It was that then that the smile evaporated. She expected the lashings from the last day to continue. K the boss. K the bastard. K the dog. He was immersed in his laptop when Mithya entered her room. He looked up. "Good morning! Mithya, that's a very nice dress. You are looking good." he said as if that was the most natural thing to say. Mithya was taken aback by surprise with what was unmistakeably a huge grin on his face. "Thanks K" she replied blushing. What had happened? It was as if he had completely forgotten where they finished last evening. All these years he had never paid any heed to her existence. His sheer presence was enough to make her feel weak in the knees and this sudden praise swooped her into a trance. She had always known that he was aware of the soft corner she had for him. She also knew that he completely ignored it intentionally. 

That day however was different. K the dog had nice words to say about her. What is his sinister mind up to? "Have a seat please. How about some coffee?" he asked. "Yes". "How many sugar cubes?" She didn't need sugar that day, so sweet was K. "What games is he up to?" she thought. He handed her the coffee cup and started with the project report that had lead to her thrashing the last evening. The politeness was evident. She watched him with affection, her eyes glued on him, her mind completely enchanted, and the dream from last night forgotten. "Very good. Keep up the good work. I will talk to you soon" he ended the meeting. He stood up to open the door for her. She came out literally jumping out of his room. As soon as she settled on her seat however she saw the wretched him crying profusely. That dream had taken her to higher scales of ecstasy. She was reminded of years and years of humiliation she had suffered at his hands. Five minutes of smile was too small a price. How could she forget it all? The storm within was back and she immediately wanted to drive back home and take a DreamWeaver ride.

She loved him. Just how she fell for her tyrant boss she couldn't explain. The only daughter of her parents who passed away in her infancy she was brought up by her autocrat grandmother. She was a single parent who had raised Mithya's father singlehandedly after her husband fled chasing other pleasures in life. Mithya was put in a girl’s only school and as a young kid always longed for male company. Even in her professional college there were strict rules set by her grandmother that she needed to abide to. She was to maintain distance from boys. Men are evil. She had to curb all her basic instincts or face the wrath of her grandmother. She did well. A feeling for someone here and there was natural but she nipped the evil in the bud. Despite the autocracy she loved her grandmother. She was the only one Mithya could cling onto. Mithya started working still living her life by the norms set by her grandmother. Then one day she passed away. The void she created broke her apart before she was moved to a different department and K was appointed as her boss. 

K the dog. A dictator who would define all the rules and listen to no one. He would not let a chance go by to humiliate or curse her every time she crossed a line that he had drawn. It was all so similar to what she had seen all her life. He was so much like her grandmother. The male form of her. Love was the most natural thing to happen. She worked with him for three years, the years spent in wait, in wait of an iota of attention that he would bestow upon her. Justice wasn't delivered and when K ignored her completely after they accidently bumped into each other outside office hours she was left livid and gave up the pursuit. A gold medallist in his university and basketball team captain, K was always popular amongst the females and had had many girls falling for him throughout his life. Mithya was just one of them. He couldn't care less. She was just another one of those girls whom he could have at leisure. He detested the category that didn't offer any resistance. Years of success had turned him into what the world knows as an arrogant bastard. He enjoyed thrashing and abusing the "no resistance" category. They were all spineless in his opinion. You have to put a price on yourself was his firm belief. It was during the phase that Mithya was going through a sea change in her feelings that she got the gift of her life. A gift that had the ability to turn her daydreams into dreams. Dreams that were dearer to her than reality. Dreams that she could cling onto and take her to a world where she could for once make the rules. A gift that the old man had called DreamWeaver.     

"I was told you are a great cook. What have you got for lunch today?" her chain of thought was broken by K who stopped by her desk. "I didn't get lunch today. Just some fruits". "I understand that. Someone as good looking as you must go through these hardships" he remarked and left her smiling. She couldn't get him out of her mind with fluctuating feelings of love, anger, and bitterness. Every change in the emotion would want to make her cry. Late that night she decided to not dream about his misery. He had been good to her that day and deserved a break she thought. She decided to dream of Istanbul, the same dream she had had many a times. She had always been fascinated by the town seeing thousands of its pictures clicked by her colleagues who had paid a visit to the megacity because the company's headquarters were located there. She had longed to get a chance to make a trip to the city and even expressed it but K the dog had never pushed for her case. She set the DreamWeaver up and with the zinc wire in her vein once again was ready for the adventure ride. A trip to Istanbul without a visa, in fact without a passport.

She found herself on top of a skyscraper and took a 360 degree view of the city. It was night time and the city was blazed with colours. Lights so bright that a dead man couldn't keep his eyes closed. She got onto the edge of the building and jumped. The feeling of a freefall can never be explained. It can only be felt and she felt it that night once again looking at the streets below, the whooshing sound, the reducing gap between her and the people walking on the street, and the cars that with every split second became larger in size. She was falling down but in her head the freefall only took her higher. A hundred feet above the ground she touched her back with both her hands. As soon as she did that two large wings protruded from her back. She flapped them and in that frame everything went still. She stayed there flapping her feathers enough to keep still and observed the night traffic. People, cars, trams moving in all possible directions. She enjoyed the madness. She flapped her wings and up she went. She flew over the buildings, some modern some old. She paid a visit to Hagia Sophia and sat on top of a waterfront house. Finally she went over the Galata Bridge and then rested on the Galata tower sipping martini and gazing at the Golden Horn. She rested on the top till she woke up.

What was his mood going to be today? That question drove her early to work that day. "Mithya, Can you come to my office please?" K called her up before lunch. "I have good news for you. I know how dearly you have been waiting to hear this. I recommended your name to accompany me for the next board meeting in Istanbul. I have got all the approvals today. It's a two week trip and I am sure apart from work we will have some good time in Istanbul. This is for all your hard work and dedication. Congrats. I am looking forward to the trip" She couldn't believe what she heard. "Thanks K" she said excitedly. "This I believe is your first international trip so let me know if you need any help" K said. As she walked out of his room he stopped her and said "Sorry for being rude all these years. I am trying to make amends". Mithya was for a second day at crossroads. One trip to Istanbul was not enough to wash away all the pain she had suffered. K however had mentioned himself that he was making mends. Better late than never she thought but then wasn't he too late? Perplexed she spent all day waiting for the sun to set and a chance to sail to the far oceans.

He was still there tied to the bed, asleep. The creak woke him up. The light wasn't there when he opened his eyes. He cursed himself having missed his only chance to wash his eyes with the light. Mithya moved to his left leg and put her hand on it. "Does it still hurt"? He groaned. Then he realized the enormity of those words. They were the first words she had spoken. She let loose the knot around it. "Feel any better now?" She lit the cigarette and observed him. "Do you want one?" He nodded. She let loose his left hand and handed him a fresh cigarette that she had lit. Smoke and silence are a heavenly combination. No one spoke. "So why this sudden change today?" K spoke handing her the cigarette butt. "Just the after effect of a good day spent with you at work and the Istanbul trip that you promised" she said serving him food. "What? Please tell me why have you put me here? What do you want from me?" Laughter was what he got in response. "Please let me go". The laughter continued. Then there was silence again and she tied his left hand again after he finished his meal. "I am sick of eating the same food again and again. Can you get me something else? Please" he remarked. She didn't say anything and stood there watching.

"Can I have some of those fruits?" K asked smiling. Mithya turned around from her desk and stood up. "Please sit down. I was just kidding. In fact I was thinking maybe we could go for a lunch today. I know a great kebab place around the corner". "Sure" she said trying hard to hide her happiness. That was the best lunch she had had in a long time. K was all jolly and spoke about all his plans for Istanbul. He had the entire agenda jotted down. He had of course been there before. He even asked her if there were any places where she would like him to take her. "You know better" she said completely mesmerized. He mentioned once again how sorry he was for her insensitive and boorish behaviour. "How about I take you out for a movie this weekend?" he asked. "I'd love to. Thanks K". The weekend was still four days away and K took her out for lunch every day. From K the dog to K the saint. What was he up to she did not understand. Every moment spent with him would make her forget years and years of loutishness but as soon as he went away she was reminded of the pain. "I have to observe him closely. He is definitely up to something" she thought frozen on her seat in the movie hall where for the first time he held her hand. The Istanbul trip was two months away.

"Thanks" K said munching the goat leg. "This mutton tastes heavenly". He gulped the beer and kept on thanking her. He could only use his left hand which made him switch between the food and the beer can but at that point in time those were the details he didn't care about. "I'll leave some more of the meat and few cans of beer. I will leave your left hand untied and tie your elbow so that you can move your arm. You deserve some fun". "Why are you doing this to me? I don't understand. Please let me go Mithya. Do you want to go to Istanbul? I will take you there. I promise. Please let me go". Once again all he got was laughter as his answer. She went silent and stood there once again watching him.

The next morning she got up to realise that she was soon going to run out of coffee beans and a new supply was needed. She decided to buy some from the local store and also let her friend know so that she could get some imported ones for her. Like any other coffee lover, coffee for her was a catalyst. A chemical that could trigger a change in her mood. A few sips that had the power to open up the neurons that have been dead for years. A cup of coffee can wash the clouds away and present the mighty shining sun, even in the night. She however never knew that the same coffee could motor an engine. An engine that could fly faster than light and visit the entire space in a matter of seconds. She realized this power few months ago. 

It was a day that started like and chugged along like any other day. It would have ended like any other day had she not found an old man dying on the road side. The wretched old man who no one came forward to help was bleeding profusely. She parked and with the help of a couple of gentlemen she got him inside her car. She drove him to the hospital where he was declared dead. Before he died however he gave her the power that she would live by. "My child, I can see it in your face that you are made of tears and sorrows. You have waited endlessly for love, passion and companionship. A wait that is your only friend and will accompany you even after you are dead. Your life is a daydream" he stuttered lying in her car's backseat. She looked at him from the car's rear view mirror. How did he know that all her life she had chased smoke and every time she folded her fists to get hold of the smoke she caught nothing. He handed her a note that contained a safe deposit box details. "I will not live. You are a kind soul who despite of her pains and sorrows came to rescue me. Go and get the package form this security box. It contains hopefully the lotion that can heal your life. Please park the car and listen to me carefully" he said gasping for breath. "No, you can be saved". "Trust me, please stop". She obliged and turned around after parking the car on the roadside.

"The package contains DreamWeaver, a device that will let you dream the way you want to be". "They are not that far apart. Only a miniscule line of slumber separates them but for reasons better known to the wise men a daydream is rated much higher than a dream. One aspires a different world in a daydream but a dream is a world in itself. Sturm und Drang and exhilaration that explores sub consciousness that’s deeper than the Pacific and jaunts beyond the Milky Way". "Sir.." she started to speak. "Please let me speak. Time is of the essence" he interrupted her and continued his monologue. "After you get hold of DreamWeaver all you need is water, coffee beans and electricity. Water that is crystal clear and the rich coffee beans will result into a clearer dream. Clearer than reality. Any impurities will lead to hazy dreams. Also, please ensure that you have a quiet place to sleep for if there is anything that disturbs your sleep during the dream it will disturb the dream pattern and present to you fuzzy scenes you didn’t imagine". Before he died he explained how the device was to be used. The water, the coffee beans and the zinc wire. One needed to imagine scenes that they wished to be their dream with the wire stuck in before going to bed. The required ratio between water and the beans. More the water, longer the dream. 

It all seemed a dream to her. She got to the security box and sure enough found DreamWeaver. She used tap water and filter coffee. She imagined her grandmother baking her cookies, and taking her out to buy her a dress. The next morning she knew she has had that dream. It was not clear enough and seemed to have happened in a land far away from earth but she was certain she saw the old lady. Thus started her pursuit to happiness. Her pursuit to inflict pain into the ones who had all but given sorrow to her. "Its time to abandon these castles" she said. It felt like twenty tequila shots in one shot. There couldn't have been a better time. She had struck gold in her darkest hour.       

"If only you had been good to me the way you have been these days there would have been no need for me to put you in this condition" she said handing him a cigarette. The room was lit. For the first time in the last few months she had turned on the light. K looked miserable. His beard looked filthy and he stunk. Dark circles loomed beneath his eyes. He must have lost a lot of weight. He started to cry again. "Shut up" she screamed. "You have humiliated me for years. You knew I loved you and you didn't pay heed to my affection. You cry today and ask me to let you go. Why should I let you go? For a trip to Istanbul? You think that's enough? No Mr. K your sins can't be washed away with a simple act of kindness. Besides I am not really sure what you are up to? What games are you playing with me I have to find out".        

"Can I take you out for shopping this evening?" K asked with an air of confidence knowing that she would agree. Later that evening he bought her an expensive bag. They walked hand in hand and she wanted time to stand still. Even if K was playing a game she was ready to fall for it. It was the best evening she had spent. They decided to catch a movie that night before K dropped her home. She adored the bag. She could hardly sleep that night getting up from her bed like a small child and looking at the bag as if it was toy. K asked her out every day. Lunch if office schedule permitted, dinner dates, movies and shopping sprees. K the gentleman. It was a couple of weeks later that Mithya got the gift of her life. A gift that surpassed even the DreamWeaver. Her door bell rang ten minutes after he had dropped her. There he was on his knees with a wedding ring in his hand. "Will you marry me"? She could hardly believe it and started to cry. He got up and held her in his arms. "I love you Mithya". "I love you too" she said sobbingly. They kissed that night for the first time. For Mithya it was the first kiss of her life. "Let's get married before our Istanbul trip. We will extend our trip by two weeks and stay there after the work is done".

The next day Mithya was introduced to K's parents who immediately had a liking for her. She loved them too. She was going to be part of a loving family. The marriage date was fixed to be three days before their planned Istanbul trip. K picked up Taj Palace hotel for the wedding ceremony. Mithya's to be in-laws kept her busy with frantic shopping. They showered her with love, bought her clothes, diamonds and gold jewellery. She had aspired to be loved all her life and it was in abundance. She didn't have any one that she could invite but K had a huge set of family and friends who were going to attend the wedding. An estimated five hundred people were supposed to attend the grand event. The air of doubts around K were clear and she anxiously waited for the day. K was definitely in love with her and the love was no game. K had redeemed himself. K the love of her life. She didn't need to visit the dark room anymore. 

The next month went in wait of the big event. Like any other bride she wanted to look the best and spent four hours getting ready for the wedding ceremony. She wore a beautiful red saree that her to be mother in law had gifted her. A diamond necklace around her slender neck and laden with gold jewellery she looked stunning. Time stopped when she entered the wedding hall. Everyone turned their heads and was visibly mesmerized by her charms. She blushed watching their reaction. K got on his knees and asked for her hand. He looked enchanted himself and couldn't stop gushing. "You look beautiful" he whispered. It was going to be a perfect wedding. The marriage ceremonies went underway. The pandit started chanting mantras as per Hindu rituals. He asked Mithya to put her hand on K's as part of a ritual. She raised her hand but it was at that point that the pandit screamed, "Stop!!!".

"What's that smell?" he exclaimed. She smelled it too. It was a strong odour of a dead animal. Everyone got their handkerchiefs out. Suddenly there was a hush hush in the crowd. The next moment the gathering started to disperse. The big crowd disappeared and only a few near and dear ones remained with their nostrils covered. "What is going on?" K's dad shouted lividly. He got up in search of the source of the bad smell. One of K's friends who still stood there vomited. The vomit spewed all over her saree. At that moment everyone started to laugh. She looked to her left and found that K was no longer seated there. "Where are you K? What is going on?" she screamed. She could hardly hear her own voice amongst the laughter. She looked up at set of people laughing like mad. She saw K's mother bursting with laughter. "Whore" she screamed. Then she saw K who unzipped his fly and started peeing into the holy fire. He laughed frantically as the fire extinguished. "I trusted you. You set me up, didn't you?" tears started falling on her cheeks. K had betrayed her. Once a dog always a dog. The ear bursting laughter was too much for her to handle. She fainted.

She found herself in her bed. She could smell the foul dead animal odour. She drew her left hand to cover her nose. A metal wire winged from the battered arm and fell on the bed.