Unsung Fantasies

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The final entry.

I wake up in a strange place today, as on many other days. A clock ticks with a hollow sound, indicating the early hours of the morning. The room is in shambles, seeming more so because of morning’s denial. It feels as if someone decided to gather all the broken things in the world and call it home. That does explain why I am here. I hear dishes clattering somewhere near. I pick up the money, dress hastily and leave.

A cold draft hits me as soon as I step out, along with realization. I have no warm clothes on. In my profession, time and space are very mysterious concepts. You just float from one point to the other, and you have to find your peace in the chaos. When Shakespeare expressed how the pace of time differs for different people, he couldn’t have stated it better.

I am not going to my apparent home, not just yet. The sky is cloudy, densely so, ensconcing the city in a shadowy blanket. I love the grey streets, buildings, shacks. Grey is my favourite colour. Not because of the intrinsic darkness in my life, or my muses. It’s just the soft feel of it, almost like a touch. It reminds you that nothing in the world is purely good or evil, that it never is solely black or white. The idea is soothing, because you have come to terms with certain realities then. When that happens, you begin to see people for what they are and not what they seem.

I walk through the cobbled alleys, looking at the little huts and flats. People are already out, gathering water for their daily chores, shouting at their children. Stray dogs bark at me, a threat to their territory. People do not dare look at me directly, instead stealing looks out of the corner of their eyes, judging me silently, applying their twisted sense of morality to my fragile existence. It is so common now that I don’t even impart any attention to it, but it burns me within. I have greater prejudices to deal with, though.

My phone rings. Sometimes, I want to destroy this extension and fly off to somewhere unknown,

where I sleep in peace,

where I dream of stars,

where I walk on waves,

where I soak the sun,

where I feel the rain,

where I love.

There is no place for life here.

I have another job to fulfil today, the caller states.  It is the usual. I have to feed another misplaced male ego, so that he can boast of his charm and appeal before an audience which already knows of the superficiality of the business. Later, I will have to fuel his insecurities with falsified promises and sugar-coated compliments.

It appalls me how no one seems to blink an eye towards the fact that it is he who has the lowest sense of self-worth and I who do an honest day’s work. I h ave long understood how stupid people are with their interpretations of money, power and class. Be as it may, work has its flaws, and I have to deal with it.

Sometimes, you are not sure of certain things. I reach the bridge which suspends over the river. There have been several occasions when I have considered the final leap, ending it all, finding my calm. I feel I am not brave enough, or I just may have found a way, understood grey. Here, now, I just feel the wind, chilly and numbing, and breathe deeply. It’s just another day, another normal day.

I finally decide to go back to my home, a dinghy little room in a forgotten building on a side-street. Before someone finds this piece, I might have already ceased to exist. But that doesn’t bother me, because my existence, as that of so many others, has never been acknowledged.

We exist as filth and dirt in the minds of the keepers of society.

We exist as derogatory stains on this civilized system.

We exist as juicy meat for perverted white-clad servants.

We exist as the forgotten ghosts of the sub-conscious.

 

It’s another day, another strange place, another set of eyes.

A Curtain of Smoke

This is her tale of love, loss, deception, and desperation.

This is her journey through the depths of the nine circles.

This is her encounter with the devil of her life.

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An angel of dreams

Swinging in a flourish of stars

Swept me off my feet a fine day

One whisper at a time 

All little things and slow kisses

The meaning of life,

The homely wishes.

 

I see those little protrusions now

And what all the temptation was about

What those eyes lured me into

What they made me say and do.

 

He soars flapping those evil wings,

Clawing into my head,

Digging out little pieces of flesh,

Bathing in the leaking crimson.

He walks with a soft gait,

Baring his teeth, rotten, sick,

He pins me on the executioner’s block,

And stabs me dry with his diabolical spear.

Blood curdles and gurgles out of me,

Splashing on the sea of pain,

Mingling, swirling,

And I don’t feel it anymore.

 

I am reserved for hell

Temptation, perhaps.

I see him, I see him still

That smile, those teeth,

The bloody spear, the omen ill,

He’s here.

 

He walks with his patience,

And then loses it all at once

As one world collapses into another,

I lose my voice in this pyre of ash

Where infernal sins adorn vernal suns

Where words stagger into abysses of hurt

Where gazes rip my soul into weak, little pieces

Too fragile to be gathered, 

Too tough to be moulded,

Too dark to be coloured.

 

I can’t rise now

Neither can I drown

Just gasp for air 

Every day, every minute, every second

Wishing, wishing for the smoke

To melt my skin

To take me far away

In a wisp of mist

On a shooting star.

 

(I do not own any of the pictures used in this post.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can feel it
Deep down inside
It is all a blur.

A blur of imagination
Of flooded gates,
Of lost moments.

But what it leaves
Is a feeling, a tingle?
A burnished inkling in my heart, waiting to be sparked
By the tortured wand of time.

Gaining ground in the dark alleys
An unknown laughter
Creeping along the shadowy cells
Murmuring through the silence.

It holds me prisoner.
I am but just that,
A prisoner of my own mind
A shackled slave of my own thoughts
And I don’t want to break free.

A Misty Muse

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Roaming around the place was a daily ritual for him. The sunshine, the greenery, the sparkling river, held a romance of sorts. He could see the people there, lost in their own thoughts, lost in their lives, lost, and trying to find themselves. The one thing that intrigued him was that they were almost always alone. That was the irony. A place full of cliches from the world, and yet, lost souls knew no way out.

It was a particularly chilly day. He had worn his withered brown jacket, as always. He could see a couple today, young and gentle. They stood staring at the dazzling water, talking to each other. The only curse was the intrinsic nature of this place. They were talking to each other, but a silence captivated their minds and hearts. A silence too deep to be ignored. It is sad how we explore masks as a means to protect the ones we love or the ones we think we do.

A cool breeze touched his cheeks. The mild fragrance of roses hung in the air. Sometimes, he could smell things others couldn’t. He could clearly feel the hot breath of freshly mown grass at times, of a steaming coffee brew, of an old parchment at others. He had a strange sensation then. His vision reflected a clear stream, but he was transported to another place, a figment of his fertile imagination, a phantom. It was a place he felt close to. He could almost feel the tender touch of the elements, reaching his nerves, entrancing them.

He always carried a book with him to this open haven of his. It made him feel safe, not of the physical, but of things unknown. It gave him a power nothing else could. It was a higher form of interaction, mingled with the beauty of invisibility. It was like a warm hug in times of despair, and he could not remember the last time he was happy. He could not live without it.

He contemplated going back, but where would he go?

Right then, a little girl passed by with her mother.

“Momma, look! There’s the man with the brown jacket Granny was telling us about!”

There was apprehension in her mother’s eyes. “There’s no one, dear! You need to give your mind some rest. Sleep early.”

“No, momma, I’m not making it up! Please, Momma, believe me.”

For once, she did. Composing herself, though, “Granny’s ghost stories are for entertainment, my love. They are not real. Ghosts do not exist,” her mother smiled.

The girl kept staring at the man in the withered brown jacket. That day, lore took on a deeper meaning for that tender mind, as the apparition of despair turned into mist.

 

The Final Breath

(I don’t own the pictures used in this post.)

I wrote these lines a while back. This may not be a great piece, but I felt I should share it. I am sorry if this is not hopeful and optimistic and empowering, but the ground reality does not change. Some fight back, one way or the other. From realms beyond human comprehension, at times.

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The cries, the screams

It’s silent now

Peaceful

The scars suddenly seem like badges

From a war won gloriously.

 

Colours

Flowing through the grooves

It’s beautiful how

The blood looks the same

Crimson, then black

But that smell, that stench

Of hypocrisy, of a charred ego

That. That gives it away.

 

A fitting climax to the years of loss

Stabbed through the heart

A million times

As she was.

A Natural Touch

(All clicks in this post are personal, unless stated otherwise.)

Part 1
A peek into the soul of nature is the most enchanting experience there is. A moment is all one needs. A moment is all that matters.

We took one such trip, on a cool October weekend, to Chikmagalur, into the hearts of coffee estates and misty mountains and dewy forests, a little close to the green and the azure and a little away from the ash and the copper.

We started off in a cab a little after midnight, from Bangalore. A slight nip in the air greeted us at the start of the journey itself. As our cab sped away into the night, the chill was positively palpable. Jackets were out. The sky turned a beautiful saffron as we approached the little town in the early hours of the morning, and the smell of brewing coffee floated in the air. We reached the town and began enquiring about places where we could stay.

A most delightful journey through the long winding roads, amidst the glittering green forests flanking both sides, speaking of the present and the forgotten, led us to our homestay. After driving through difficult loops, we reached a quaint little house. With a traditional slanting roof, a little garden, and two frolicking dogs, it was an abode of dreams. The backdrop was composed of dense forests and a tilt of the head gave rise to a looming mountain, covered with a snowy, wispy fog. A serene silence enveloped the entire place as if nature had granted it a transparent bubble, fragile and grand at the same time.

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We rested and refreshed ourselves. Thereby, we ventured out into the town again looking for something to fill our empty bellies. Per a pamphlet, the Butter Masala Dosa from the Town’s Kitchen was one of the specialties. We tried that out. Thereafter, we set out on a course for a waterfall which we had heard of. As the car rolled amidst the old coffee plantations and ancient forests, one could feel a surreal sense of pleasure, of a deep-seated freshness calling out.

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You know when they say the journey matters as much as the destination? Well, this trip was about the journey. Life has entangled us in its tempting enormity, only to make us realize it wasn’t that but magnificence we crave.

Eventually, we reached the Bhadra Tiger Reserve gates, with no sign of a waterfall. We were guided to a river, though. A little walk and there it was. An elegant stream of swirling waters. The rocks guided it gently, towing the water into a ripple. We waded into the water. It was blissfully cold and a splash of the manna served an unknown, magical purpose. The stones jutted out here and there, and the bed was sandy and loose. Trees covered both banks, and the river seemed to stretch on endlessly.

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As we were about to leave it all behind, the sun peeped out of the undergrowth, a fiery yellow, and the evening transformed. We never found the waterfall, but that objective took us through another extensive estate, another mass of timeless beauty. None of us regretted the absence of the waterfall at the end of the day.

The night was suffused with the sounds of the forest when we were back at the homestay. A single light shone like a beacon at the tip of the mountain. The stars held the sky in a dazzling embrace, showering us with sparkling diamonds. I held my book and read. I slept peacefully that night, all cold and warm.

Part 2
We had decided to scale the Mullayanagiri peak that day. It stands tall at 6332 ft., the highest peak in Karnataka. Another journey amidst the rising mountains. As the car gained altitude, several peaks focused into view. A humongous layer of rich, dense fog covered the mountainsides. We decided to trek a part of the distance. The winds blew with a considerable force. As we climbed, we could see the peak. The clouds, thin and light, traveled with great velocities towards the peak, covering it in its envelope once, and leaving it be the next moment. It was a dynamic flow of nature.

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“Everything has a rhythm, everything dances,” as someone once said.

The peak. The clouds which mesmerized us from a distance passed through us now, leaving a shiver in my spine in its wake. This place had a strange sense of a story about it, of memories no one has etched about in stone, but sprinkled forth into the air. A stone structure surrounded a temple built on the top. This wall added to the crude elegance of the place. One could look down at thousands of years of history, and at the reminders of the modern marks we had managed to tarnish it with. The contrast was profound. The mountains and valleys and lakes stood majestically in the distance.

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A quiet cave hid under the structure. The scent of moisture and earth tingled the senses. Water caressed the walls, forming a narrow stream. The shadows of civilization lurked about.

It was hard to bring our hearts to leave the place. All good things are transient, we knew.

Our next destination was again in pursuit of a waterfall. Waterfalls, or rather, non-existing ones, had been our lucky charms then. We reached the spot through the same forests and mountains that graced the region and our minds and hearts. As it turned out, there was a steep climb to reach the waterfall. We had almost decided to rent a jeep when that silly mind-trick called second thoughts deprived us of it. It was almost a natural conspiracy. After much thinking, we set about on a course for the place, trekking. The first few minutes were steep, as we took the shorter way instead of the road.

Didn’t I say that this trip was about the journey? That trek brought to light the most beautiful sights of Chikmagalur. The slopes were covered with plants, swaying gently in the wind, reminding me of Wordsworth’s dandelions, mustard-like in form, all gay and soft. A little into the walk, the landscape was covered with gentle hills, all consistently green, a satisfying sight. The beauty lay in the sobriety of it.

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Then came another gem. The mountains were layered with different shades of blue, the colors mingling with each other and with the cottony smoke, which formed another stratum. It was an amalgam of the sea, turquoise, navy and wonderment. The layers kissed each other, parting another layer to awe upon. We went through bushy regions and finally reached the top.

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The view was as great here, if not better. A single rock jutted out of the mountain, its surface seeming like a death mask. The plains lay beneath us, green and white and watery and lost. The waterfall turned out to be a disappointing little stream of water flowing down a rock. We absorbed the view and made our way back.

On the way, back down, we found an old, abandoned, broken structure. It was made of heavy stones. Lovesick couples had etched their undying affection on this tangible surface of time. I love such places, personally. They make you think of a story and history, of what it could have been and what it has become, of people, lives, and romance, a window into the past.

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It was time to go back.

We started driving back towards Bangalore. We stopped on the road for a break. I stepped out. I could feel the cold, ethereal moisture on my skin, not enough to wet me, just enough to settle on the tip of my skin, tender. There was a dense undergrowth on both sides and the leaves were glazed with the humidity. A solitary bird drifted aimlessly, singing its rueful song. I walked on until it was time to go back. A sense of loss surrounded me. But it was time.

 

Contusions

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My charred soul

Burning and burning

All black, all ash

I feel the glorious galaxies

I feel the bottom of the inky sea

The people have lost their faces

My eyes melting their masks

They laugh at my scar

I laugh at their truth

They laugh at my fate

I laugh at their cause

It’s a people’s fantasy, really

It burns through the wall

Straight through my smoldering heart

Stabbed with a blackened knife

Exploding into the grey

I can still hear the ignorant laughs

Spiraling through the abyss

And I weep

For the love, and the hate.