Day #16

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Grainy. White noise. The radio cackled and spat in sequence as they tried to get any reception. It was a lonely day at sea, not much to write home about. Of course, that phrase had become a mere fossil, its meaning lost with the first trigger pulled.

Life for the men in the boat had never been the same, but it seldom ever is. But what holds true for an individual, gets lost in the aggregate. As history ruled supreme, the victims struck back with whatever they had. And it fell just short of what was required. The scraps that got left over were just enough to be gorged upon by those few humans who should have died, if humanity were to live.

And so it was that in a remote corner of the globe, after what felt like centuries after The End, the men in question gathered around a radio, listening intently. Nothing, but static.

To be continued.

Day #15

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

With worry in her eyes,

‘I haven’t given you permission to leave..’

With duty in his voice,

‘With respect, Your Grace, I don’t need your permission. I am a king (silence). And I came here, knowing that you could have your men behead me or your dragons burn me alive. I put my trust in you – a stranger. Because I knew it was the best chance for my people; for all our people. Now I’m asking you, to trust in a stranger. Because it’s our best chance’

Is this one of the finest love letters of medieval times, or what? (*.*)

Day #13

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

The dusk is visible in the leaping splashes of what used to be still water, but which I am now involved with in a dog-eat-dog race, as I put forth one arm after the other pushing back my enemy. Talk about savoring my first foray into a swimming pool in Hong Kong! I am going to squeeze a few paragraphs out of this –
yes, I am that happy about the whole deal.

Let me start with the pre-swim prep. After doing (unnecessary/obsessive) online research mining reviews on Hong Kong pools, I was a bit skeptical. Most forums would go on about public pools being crowded and so on. I feared a scenario like this:

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But hey, I am really geared up for the whole deal and how bad can the crowd really be? I am a veteran of the Dadar battlefield and have the scars to prove it. Plus, I mean its been almost 2 weeks since I last tasted chlorine; I rather miss it. All I really wanna do now is suit up and jump in. YOLO. (Well technically, not jump in. Since the pool is just 1.4 metres deep…)

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Anywho, desperation and good sense win over, but as I swipe my Octopus and enter the fairly large Kennedy Town Swimming Pool facility, my steps falter, unsure, as if testing the waters. I become conscious of the fact that I am probably the only Indian guy in the whole place at the moment. I begin consciously trying to be as invisible as possible, hoping to blend in, for some reason, with my predominantly Chinese brothers and sisters.

At the gates of the changing rooms, there is an odd sign which says, roughly, “Anyone above the height of 1.35 metres or older than 8 years old won’t be allowed in the changing room of the opposite sex”. It is one of those things which you know, deep down, that there is some backstory to it. One of the two conditions was surely an addendum and my bet is on the latter. There is absolutely no way, after all, that some tiny dude did _not_ misuse it at some point in the past, and prompted the law-makers to rethink things! ๐Ÿ˜€

Well, as I enter the men’s locker room, my efforts to “blend in” are rendered futile as I come across my first culture-shock. For the sake of civility, I shall not venture into details, but samajhdaar ko ishaara kaafi hai (A gesture is more than enough to the wise). Takes some time for my eyes to adjust to this new darkness. No one on any forum cared to mention this phenomenon, of course. Thanks, internet!

The first couple of laps are nice and slow, as I stop to smell the roses; not really counting the laps anymore, free/frog-styling, soaking in the warm water and the cool breeze, sighing with content after every lap. Boy, have I missed this. The pool is mildly warm and a little crowded, but reality is way better than expectation. After a few relaxing rounds, I get a little competitive with random strangers, setting arbitrary goals for beating them to the finish (always fun!).

I notice something peculiar after some time in the pool. There is a general lack of body hair on everyone! They have as much hair as would a skinned potato (Nothing wrong with it, of course) I feel like Anil Kapoor from the 90’s swimming among the people.

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Yeah, I know – Disturbing. Now you feel my exact mental state for the next few seconds after becoming conscious of the fact!

As my swimming session draws to an end, I have the pleasure to view the sunset from the quiet, open-air pool deck. As the Sun takes in a deep breath for its long dip in the far off depths of the ocean, it brings down the shutters on an almost perfect day…

Day #10

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Shun the privilege
Unearned; Not mine
Passed through my blood
Not through my sweat

Shun the heritage
Not my creation
Nor the prize
From my journey

Burn it all down
Let the the smoke rise
Suffocate and choke
As the fossils fuel the fire

Nothing shall rise
The weight is too much
At first all will be bleak
The ashes, tombstones

Stripped down, Naked and bare
The legacy feeding on itself
Soon all is quiet
Light as a feather…

Silent winds carry away
These ashes
All in the noisy head
Of a silent islander

Lonely and stranded
No cry for help
Safer to watch
Than to be

Day #1

This is a part of a mini-series of independent posts, starting here

Positivity.

It’s a theme showing up frequently nowadays in my day-to-day. Mostly, it shows up because I locate and drag this elusive ***** back into its enclosure after each escape! Unfortunately, my processing power is quite slow, so it often takes anywhere from a week to many months, before I realize this bird has left its cage.

This time though, I’m going all out with my efforts, and I intend to keep this Houdini safe in a fortress surrounded by moats and crocs and sharks and whatever else it takes. I recall having read this method in multiple places online, with regards to manipulating positivity, or for that matter most feelings – the answer is to simply pretend. Wanna be confident? Look in the mirror, convince yourself that you are already there, and boom! Another theory is that positivity is like ringworm – contagious. Starting with a 1 instead of a 0 helps. All you need is a push at the precipice of a spiral.

With this latter view, I decided to stock up on my ammo for this missions. My armory is still expanding rapidly, and as of this moment includes a diet of healthy foods, my phone’s health app, lots of pop instead of all that rock and metal (Damn, Bruno Mars is good), and writing.

Let’s see how this tiny push works then eh?

The Autumn Leaves

‘All say, “How hard it is that we have to die” โ€” a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live’

~Mark Twain

 

As we stepped out of the airport at night, tiny rain drops hit upon us; a gloomy backdrop to go with a dreary mood. A relative came along to pick us up. Not a word was spoken for a few minutes, everyone a little uneasy, some sad, some teary, some awkwardly unaware of the etiquette that the situation warranted. Something hung in the air, something spread the sadness around. Finally, the topic was broached…

On arriving at the home of my deceased uncle, we were met with a small gathering of men, related and distant, sitting quietly, discussing in hushed tones the funeral arrangements and guest lists. Their manner elicited a tense calm that betrayed the pain emanating from my aunt’s intermittent wails in the background. In another room, the women waited, crying and sitting around the makeshift casket that… held….

They invited me in, sitting me down next to his younger son, my elder cousin. I dared not to look anyone in their teary eyes, even though none of those pairs were strangers to me. My elder sisters, aunts, sisters-in-law were quietly discussing in between the infrequent bouts of cries, the why’s, the how’s, the he-was-in-pain’s. The atmosphere was one that I had had the fortune of avoiding till date. What seemed, quite contrastingly, calm, was the body next to me, lying in a peaceful slumber not to be awakened from, voluntarily or otherwise. Covered in a white sheet, it held what used to be my uncle, my mother’s senior-most living brother; a man with a once-lively demeanor reduced to mere skin and bones devoid of life, health, energy, personality, voice, hearing, and all the little things that make us who we are. I looked and I looked at the calm dead in the room, trying as hard to avoid the looks and the sounds from the living…

I stepped out for a few moments, to catch my breath. Something suffocated me inside, if not the death, then the way the living reacted to it. Death seemed fine; what it left in its wake, quite the opposite. The sights and the sounds and the vibes left me grappling; mildly aware of the happenings around me, unsure how to react, uneasy about how I felt.

The night outside provided a quiet refuge from the goings-on inside. On my way out, I noticed a change. I realized how nothing inside the home spelled anything other than the gloominess it was rightly supposed to – the quiet tones, the wailing, the awkward, nonchalant ignoring of the cries to discuss the funeral arrangements, the photos of the deceased plus family, the low-hanging faces, the dim lighting, the slow revolutions of the fan and its quiet, mournful, repetitive symphony. Nothing spoke of any light or ray of hope. The night on the other hand, woefully unaware of the happenstances within, quietly went on. The moon shone, the cool winds blew, the silence reigned. Passers-by smoked to dispel the cold, people shut shop to go home and take a well-deserved rest for the day. Cars went about lazily, no one stopping (why would they?) to pay their respects to the man who lay dead inside; just another house on just another street; on just another night…

Yet, as if reading a thought, to pay its homage to the dead, on this silent and otherwise normal night, it began again, to silently pour…

Friendship

Friends are your horcruxes. They are your vessels which carry memories and experiences that you have shared and lived with them, things that you have told them, secrets that you have fessed up to them; they are the ones peering into the canisters of your dreams and aspirations that you have eagerly opened up for them, the ones staring into the dark with you to find the rays of hope that you desperately seek, the ones who will lift your spirits from crests and troughs alike; they will be the ear lent in your agony, they will be the lip that comes forth in your solitude, they will be your partners in anxiety and your associates in joviality. They are your vessels, your time capsules, your diaries, your journals, your recorders, your audience; they are the pages that tell about you in a history book, they are the ones with the illustrations and the trivia at your wedding, they are the ones who will show you off to your grandkids, they are ones who will be there by your bed.ย They are the little embodiments of moral support, of help, of love that you pray to have by your side, each night before you close your eyes.

And you, in turn, are theirs…

Dedicated to a friend more special than a fancy groupon-ed Sunday breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚