Epiphany

Hamare man ke andheron me kuch khwahishen thi,
Hamare man ke andheron me kuch tamannaein thi,
Man hi man sochte rahe gaye, bina sukarm kiye inhe haasil karne ki guzarish thi,
Bhul gaye ki roshni dene ki aas me khud suraj ko jalna padta hai,
Ichhaon ko pura karne ke liye man se nikal kar chunoti se do do haath karna padta hai

Vengence will be hers …

The leaves preened in the morning light,

“It is us who put the food on the table, without us you would shrivel and die”

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The branches looked down on them in disdain,

“You are barely hanging there at our mercy, a slight twitch, and you will be flying adrift in pain”
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The trunk’s baritone silenced them for long,
“You two are nothing but quibbling children, for it is I who protects you by braving the swelling storm”
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“But I am not done yet ” wheezed in the ancient roots, “for I am the father of you all, to the boot”
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And so continued an eons old argument, through trees of every size and breed, Until… there came an unknown storm – a biped out to destroy every trunk root and seed.
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“So who’s the master off ye all?” scoffed the man, brandishing his bloodied Axe…
The nature’s spirit rumbled in the bowels of the nether world, “the tree is mine and so is every storm, “I suffer neither fools nor braggarts, so be warned”
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For every downed tree, the spirit groans in pain, until there would be a day when it’s dam of forbearance will wash away …
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Beware, beware, beware the coming of that day…

Choice!! It’s an illusion, but wait…

When the 18 day war of Mahabharata is about to commence, Arjuna is struck with an uncharacteristic despondency. His mighty Gandiva discarded, Arjuna questions his Sarathi i.e. his ‘Guide’ Krishna about the merits and demerits of this great carnage and his role in it. A discourse begins which is known around the world as ‘The Gita’. Amongst many other pearls of wisdom, Krishna implores Arjuna to give up this self defeating attitude, concentrate his focus on his karma and surrender himself to the supreme being (i.e. Krishna in this case). Krishna convincingly argues that it is to him that all beings return and it is from him that all beings come forth. Krishna is the Adi and the Ananta i.e. the beginning of all and the end of all: the supreme Brahman. It is therefore Arjuna’s hubris if he believes that he is striking the enemy down, cause they all are already dead for Krishna. Arjuna is just a means of accomplishing the lord’s vision.

As is known, Arjuna follows Krishna’s advice and fights in the 18 day war. He is crucial to the eventual victory and Yudhisthira ascends the Kuru throne.

Now here is the interesting part. 36 years after the war, due to certain strange circumstances Krishna and Balaram are forced to destroy the entire Yadava clan (this is a separate story). Balaram tired by this endless bloodshed, gives up his earthly existence. Krishna on the contrary is killed like a wild animal by a hunter who shoot him with an arrow through his heel.

Yudhisthira sends Arjuna, to securely escort the 16000 wives of Krishna and the scores of women of Dwarka who were vulnerable, now that the men were dead. Arjuna reaches Dwarka. He takes the responsibility of ensuring safe passage to the women and begins the return journey with them traveling under his protection.

En route to Hastinapur, bandits attack the Kuru camp. They kidnap the women. Ironically, the mighty Arjuna who could vanquish entire armies on his own, could not string his Gandiva, let alone draw an arrow. It is said that when Krishna died, the pandavas lost their near mythical martial prowess and spiritual strength.

For some this thought process, may raise a question about whether there is any meaning to all the actions that we take in our day to day lives, if everything is preordained from the start. Why should I reskill myself;why should I work hard; why should I put in effort for anything, if in the end the outcome is never in my control.

For someone like me who has always enjoyed reading our mighty epics as stories, analysing and trying to join dots between disparate events was always a subconscious process; The Mahabharata is a fertile ground of multitude of stories masterfully tied to each other to form the longest poem in the world.

To everyone the epics speak differently and that is the epic’s beauty. For some the Mahabharata will signify how the lord steered his child towards the right path and may instill in them a faith for a supreme being who will guide them too. For some it could be a study in political science, as they keenly observe the cunning manoeuvres between Krishna and Shakuni.

For me this story is a call to action. It signifies through out to me that it is ALWAYS our choices and responses to the events around us in the present that define our future; Not a supreme being or a metaphysical being who has pre ordained my destiny. The answer for this too lies in the Mahabharata and it is shown beautifully.

Even before the war begins, both Arjuna and Duryodhan visit Dwarka to beseech Krishna to join their camp and fight against the enemy. Readers would know, it was Arjuna who CHOSE Krishna and not vice versa. It was a conscious decision of Arjun to choose the unarmed Krishna and not his invincible Narayani Sena, and for the good or the bad of it he was more than happy to face the consequences of his choice. That is what I CHOOSE to take away from this immortal story.

The longing gaze

He admired it from a distance,
A pauper of the streets gazing longingly at the splendour far from his reach.

It was bedecked in strings of pearls and jewels seen only in his vision,
Rubies, emeralds, sapphiers of different kinds and myriad versions.

Today is an important day, had declared the lords of this ivory tower,
Celebrate we will by lighting up all the pantheons of power.

Enthralled by this marvellous show, sank the pauper back to his station,
Why go back to that unlit home when stars themselves have graced this occasion…

Will he , won’t he!

Aniruddh continued musing even as he stepped out of the restaurant onto one of the cobbled by lanes of Jaipur. He was besotted with her. He felt that he had finally found someone who actually understood him, at a time when he had given up all hope.

She had a rich laugh that still rang in his ears. He still remembered how she loved his latest podcast on the forts of Rajasthan. For someone who did not understand Indian history much, she had surprisingly remembered key details of the podcast. She was eagerly waiting for the next one, wherein he was going to expound on the secrets of the Jantar Mantar. She had in the passing asked him not to give up on his passion. After all you had food bloggers, fashion bloggers and then there was this niche stream of history aficionados who were trying to make it to the mainstream of blogging for Indian history. He was one of them.

He trailed along, slowly reflecting on his own twisted past. His had been a failed life of a brilliant engineer who had accomplished all expected professional milestones with distinction. He had worked tirelessly for nearly 6 years in some of the most prestigious firms, in pursuit of money (as money for him equated to happiness) then. Money had helped him afford fast cars and luxury stays in fancy resorts. His wardrobe then was bursting at seams with Rohit Bal rubbing shoulders with Armani. There was an entire wall with an enviable collection of perfumes, right from the exotic fragrances of middle east to the classy Issey Miyake and Perry Ellis. After all he believed that women liked men who lived the high flying life. At least that’s what Dan Bilzerian had taught him.

But still he had been unlucky in love. Women were attracted to him, but later he realized that it was not him but his pseudo rich alter ego to which they were attracted to. He was unable to have meaningful conversations with them, and always the relationships would fizzle out even before he could feel his heart flutter.

He realized that he did not love himself, so how would any woman come to love him. They were far more intelligent then men ever could be, as far as matters of heart were concerned. So two years ago he sold all that he had, and dived into his passion which was history, and so began his journey as a history blogger.

He began crossing the busy main street while still reminiscing over the last two months. They had been magical. He had finally found Anna in his life. She liked him for who he was. He really felt that this time the relationship was for keeps. It would be a very special woman who would actually compliment someone who called history blogging as a caree——

WHAM…the bus hit him at his pelvis throwing him some 20 yards away and he crashed into a brick wall, shattering his spine and cracking his skull. His gut had spilled out on to the road even as he lost complete consciousness. His last thoughts had been of him and Anna…

The sirens blared, as Aniruddh was taken to the nearest hospital that could treat trauma cases. Doctors wheeled him in and checked his vital stats. He was declared brought dead.

Annirudh himself hovered inches above his body, in his metaphysical state. He was mildly piqued by the entire sequence of things. Death had always fascinated him, especially what would happen to a person after death. But to actually go through the process, and to realize that he still retained a sense of his past memories, in a way disappointed him. Death was not the final frontier after all.

The doctors came in again. They could feel a very faint pulse, and began to revive him in earnest. He had half the mind to ask them to stop. What was he to do with a broken body in a world where anything less than an Adonis body was body shamed and a specially-able person was still treated with pity.

The pain solwly returned to his consciousness, as the doctor’s labor bore fruit. He struggled hard. There was no point to this exercise. He did not wish to live the life of an invalid, especially when he had finally found true happiness, just before it was so cruelly taken away from him.

But the pain would not go away, and Aniruddh could not keep his eyes closed any longer. He took a long gasp and opened his eyes. A dream. No a nightmare. He could not decide which. It was 6 in the morning and his entire bed was in a disarray, as if he had really lived each and every moment of his dream.

His mobile pinged. His manager was asking him to send an update on yesterday’s site visits before he resumed office.

He ignored it. In the drafts, he saw the email wherein he had half typed his resignation. He only needed to click on send and that would be it. In the back of his mind he wondered if he was a bigger invalid than the broken Aniruddh of his dreams.

His thumb hovered on the send button, even as the sun rays streamed through the windows of his penthouse.

Mid-night musings in the times of likes and thumbs ups

Why do people look forward to companionship? What is the purpose of trying to find someone with whom you would want to spend precious moments of your life? What is the purpose of romantic love between two people? This is a universal conundrum which afflicts most of us, and here is my take on it.

What draws two people to each other romantically?Maybe it’s the physical attraction. Maybe it’s the ultimate slaking of a thirst for a form of attention only accomplished when you are the apple of someone’s eyes. Maybe it’s simply the chance of having a companion with whom one can grow old with. All romanticized notions in some form, true in parts pointing towards a whole.

However I believe that at a fundamental level, our species have a very strong desire to share ourselves. Be it our bodies, our vision, our emotions, thoughts etc. You name it and we want to share it with others. However what we desire even more than sharing is the acceptance, nay a positive affirmation from the opposite party without any judgement of things we wish to share with them.

We are in turn drawn to those who react favorably in a manner that pleases our sensibilities. Especially when other conditions such as physical aspects of the person, etc are thrown into the mix, the formula is complete for a strong sense of attraction.

Unfortunately while one sided attraction is a mathematical expression, what we humans desire is a mathematical equation. That is, the opposite person should also want to share themselves with us in a manner similar to what we desire.

Here unfortunately, events, people and emotions are out of our control. The concept of unrequited love, is a classic case of a mathematical expression. There is no equating emotion of similar intensity on the other side balancing this desire.

How often we have reminisced of things that could have been but never were/are. The disappointment due to the lack of reciprocation from the opposite side, often assists in cutting short budding lives, burdened by a societal and peer pressure of constant Facebook and Instagram updates. A by-product of in- your-face lovey-dovey selfies and portraits of perfect relationships through rose tinted glasses (my bad the right word would be ‘filters’) of online stories.

The fact remains that no one ever shares on these platforms those moments of feeling broken and unwanted when they were rejected, a zillion times before finally finding that balancing force of the aforementioned hallowed equation.

I guess the only option is to look forward. That is, constantly tape that pierced heart, fill it up again with patience and hope that the next person will not again dash it to pieces or worse ignore you as if you never existed. The alternative scarily, is only a long and a painful road to through a quagmire of hurt and suffering.

Unfortunately when has knowing something to be true and accepting it as being true ever been the same.