Why do Religious places suffocate me? 

Obviously, I’m an agnostic. Unsure. Troubled. Yet hopeful.

The more I visit religious places, I realise that a tranquil walk of reverence is much better than being a part of an over-eager jostling congregation.

The abject ignorance to this thought baffles me. Like it’s a felony or something.

And that’s why such places suffocate me and make me feel like a bullied kid, all over again.

Millions of us flock to such places, with deals in mind, to haggle with our gods, to just touch that holy stone at any cost, (Fuck the other person in the crowd, I am gonna get blessed today.), reciting our sermons under our breath so swiftly and incomprehensibly so that we complete more recitations and feel good about ourselves.

Buying some offering is the unwritten law. One who goes to worship empty-handed is looked at like a convict.

Many of us see through such things, many of us are agitated by them. But fear makes us conform. Fear makes us turn a blind eye.

How easily we people deify the most trivial of things. Almost everything is worshipped, fear and promises are so expertly packaged and marketed here, and to visit the epicenters of such businesses is so disappointing and taxing.
We earmark our savings for such practices. Show our magnanimity in giving some extra bucks to the Brahmin or some devout beggar. And how seriously we think we are big-hearted and charitable sons and daughters of mother India.

Atheism looms in the distance, looking like a simple answer. But India is a country so culturally and religiously intricate and emotional, an immediate transition to atheism is both impossible and laughable.

And I, so eagerly want to believe, in some higher power. But it is so hard. 

The basis of every religion has been a moral code, a sense of spirituality. And so spirituality is so much more important than religion. 

Even if you’re not a religious person. If you have a moral code, if you’re spiritual, you’re fine. Flying much above the millions of religious scumbags out there.

Fin.

Advertisements

Death

The only thing more devastating than death itself is eternal life. Well, we haven’t seen examples of the latter lately.

Or have we?

Death is always surprising.

Any sort of death.

Even impending death.


But then again, that’s life after all, a promising euphemism for the phrase ‘impending death.’ 





Death is painful. Untimely death is unimaginably so. But then again, how’s death not untimely?

Death is untimely.

It is what defines death.





A voice inside us whispers, I will live long. It is a voice of hope, bordering delusion, and it smothers the voice of reason which bellows, Nothing’s permanent dude, life’s great, but death will be here, anytime now.

We so easily cling ourselves to the sheen of the possibility of life, to the wobbly promises of our heart, that we fail to accept that death does not differentiate, it comes for every one of us, any one of us.

All our lives in the back of our minds, we keep bartering with destiny (God), we pray to live long and then die peacefully, and even if we were to die unexpectedly, we plead to make it less painful for us and our loved ones.

So much for logic.

We don’t accept the fact that we are a sitting on top of our respective ticking bombs, with different timers. And we’re all going to die, sooner or later, in ways we can’t fiddle with.





And sometimes when we brood about it, it feels so depressing. Its not, but our fragility makes us see this fact from such a lowly perspective, and we’re so terrified, we compartmentalize it and any thought of it and tuck it away in some deep closet in our minds.
Our worst mistake.





All our lives we are scared of that yawning void, that endless abyss, that we might trip and fall into.

The unflinching constant.

The invisible fundamental.

The only truth if there ever was one.

And we take life for granted.

We learn to sail through the caprices and brace for the challenges. But we fail to live the moments. As we always have an objective, a will o’ the wisp, at every stage of our lives, which derails us from our reason of being here, to live, to imbibe these memories and moments.

Life becomes a tick-box regime. Desires, objectives rule here, mechanical dreams, delusionary safe havens of basic minimums. 




But the irony is that, we endear ourselves to this life (and our dear ones) so much, that we find it so difficult to accept the sheerness of death. The unbearability is astounding


The only thing that is more devastating is suicide. Probably the most devastating thing there is.





Its beyond my imagination how excruciating it is for the one who commits it. How shocking it is for the person’s kin and friends and acquaintances.
Suicide the utmost form of denial to a way out of the mire.

The mire of your sorrows, regrets, the vortex of your memories, the ashes of your failed dreams.



I honestly don’t know what goes inside the person’s head. That he actually deliberates upon this, actually plans this.

Of course, there are no brownie points for guessing that the person isn’t stable, he needs help, he has no will power, no thought of his family, he is a big big fool.
Right. Absolutely.

He needs to speak out.
Yes. Totally.

But in a very subtle manner, we shrug off our responsibility and obligation towards him.

Not every person actually speaks out, oh but he screams in other ways, we unfortunately fail to see sometimes. There are many such junctures. 

And suicide is an agglomeration of such junctures.





And oft times even before looking at his circumstances, we start branding him.
Mad! Stupid! Callous! No heed of family!
That’s understandable, in our rage we do this. But this rage is partly directed towards us, our inability to prevent a suicide.
We sympathise, we understand.

But we don’t empathise, we don’t feel.
The circumstances, the shame, the pressures, the conundrums.
No. We don’t delve that deep.
Human mind. Emotions. Our actions. Our fancies. It’s complex. It’s not something to be taken lightly. And certainly, no one or no action of this sort should be branded whimsically and prematurely.

Nothing is sadder than someone fiddling with the death timer he sits on top of.

Death comes for all of us. 

Lets not wrestle with that.

Neither the fact. Nor it’s manner.

 

Dormance…

Seconds, minutes, hours, days…

All pass in an unmindful haste…

Time plies it’s trade in mysterious ways…

Plans, schedules, dates…

All of it a fucking waste…
Bed beckons like a serenading lover…

Eyes dance on the ceiling like a drunk rover…

Seeing through the blades of the languid fan…

Lost in some thought…

Or some memory wrought…

On the horizon of your ever tempestuous mind…

And thus you unwind…

Obliviating everything behind…

Every chore, every job, even mom’s call…

Comatose, like a pall…

Over the sarcophagus of your will, your vitality…

And you’re lost in the surreal ethereality…
Aimless, listless, hapless…

Squirming alone in your own distress…

Loads of things to do, lots of dreams to realise…

All of them rotting under the scorch of your needless, maniacal surmise…
It’s not slumber, you wish it could be…

It’s a trance, stupor, where time stretches and loops and waves…
Dormance is crippling, enticing, mortifying, stupefying…

And it’s there, always, lurking…

Right behind your conjectures…

With your outlandish adventures…

Ready to ensnare…

I know it’s hard to get up and blare…
But like it or not, it’s the only way…

So get up, clench and bay…

Smile …

Smile and sway and don’t obey…

The foolish rules of the world…

The laughable decrees, the despicable commands… We bear so painfully…

So shun them… Its that easy…

But it isn’t… Is it ?

Snagging those cobwebs… Those rusty iron gates which you need to pulverise…

But which stand still like an undeserved, old king, unwise…

Refusing to give way… To your dismay…

So smile at your fate… smile at this hate, that is bred so easily…
Smile at the irony… Smile at your felony… That is smile.

Smile at the pain… Because smile is the only gain…
Until you decide to change all this… break all this…

brave all the struggle that will come your way… When you won’t obey…

And then smile… More broadly…

And sway… And have things your own way…

In love with the hills….

The nonpareil beauty smiles at me.         Like a knowing mother.
Because beauty never screams.                     It smiles, then whispers.

The star spangled sky, in all its sheerness  looks at me with those starry eyes.

The moon dazzles in the lapping waters like an angel revelling in her endless ethereal beauty.

Morning, like a gust of fresh air caresses me.

Evening, airy, jovial, but heavy, is like a friend saying goodbye, vowing to return soon.

Those immutable, immovable, timeless, ageless sentinels stand silent, unblemished, unperturbed- mountains.

Along with them stand their gnarled brothers under the foliage, a green curtain.- Trees.

The sweetness in the unaddled air is almost intoxicating, addictive.

The sun jives with me.

And shines. Then dazzles. Then glistens. Then goes back beneath the shoulders of his friends. To make someone else’s day.

Clouds are like fleeting halos around their gods. Those towering leviathans.

And we still don’t see it. And we still don’t get it.

The sound of silence is absolute, like still water, and a distant random sound, like a small pebble upsets the tandem.

Simple lessons of life.

The birds do what they do.                       Chirp and caw and coo.
The insects make their own sounds too.

And this cacophony is like a latent euphony, waiting for the willing ears.

What makes me happier is that all this is not a fantasy, but reality. But then what else would fantasy be? If not this.

Realism screams at me, that it’s all so obvious, trifling, trivial, not a miracle.
Reality pulls a face, and asks me, “is it so?”

“We always fall for the wrong ones.”

“Do we?” The boy asked.
“Yeah. We fall for the wrong ones. Always.” The old man said.
“Is it in our hands?”
“No.” The old man smiled. “Love doesn’t happen like that. ”
“I don’t understand. ” The boy said.
“Oh you will. Son. ” The old man chuckled.
“You will like some. You will lust for some. You will love that ONE.”

“Really? That’s … That’s sad.” 
The boy pulled a face.

“Life’s nothing but those pockets of happiness in the seemingly endless expanse of sorrow and hardships. ”
” Damn… That’s deep.”
“We meet many people. You will meet many people. While we make many bonds with many different people. Some of them come close. Very close.”
“Why are they the wrong ones then?”

“Because they were never destined to be with us. Because the ones we love were never made for us. Because the ethereal is always ephemeral. Because they just go away. Far away. Giving us just memories. And their bittersweet taste STILL lingers, after years.” 
He answered, without blinking.
“Just like that?” 
“Just… like that.” 
The old man sighed.

“We always give our stupid little hearts to the ones who were never ours. Who could NEVER be ours.” 
Lost in his little reverie, a wry smile adorned his craggy, crooked profile. And he wondered at the atrocity called love and marvelled at the irony called life.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Leave it be.

It won’t be easy, no.

It won’t be breezy, no.

It would wrench your heart.

It would rack your gut.

To let go of these moments.

These precious little pockets of time.

Now nothing will rhyme.

As beauty rhymed with a smile.

As happiness rhymed with laughter.

And time careened, faster.

And faster will the memories fade away.

Like how water evaporates in the summer.

Yeah. That’s a bummer.

That the only constant in this world is change.

Rest are all fickle, fibbing fiddles.

Variables, mere syllables.

But some of these people, emotions, moments delve so deep.

You have to carve your heart out to make them leave.

And it’s dejecting, to play villain.

But time makes you do so.

But life commands you so.

And so you spend your days, loving, accepting, shunning.

Everything and everyone, like a treacherous snake.

And then out of the blue.

Those vestiges come back to haunt you.

And you cry, and you smile.

And you squirm in agony, and you leap with joy.

They lift us, but they rankle so deep.

As we imagine what might have been.

Because as they say, we can have what we want,  but we can’t keep.

Why do we have to squint to find beauty in an Indian marriage??

Marriage.

Ideally- A communion of two souls.
Happy? Very.

Colorful? Exuberantly.
Sacred? Depends.
Though it understandably warrants some  serious reverence and veneration.
Now.

An Indian marriage has everything. Period.

It’s like a small-scaled simulacrum of India. Of us. So many dimensions.

You can see everything. You could see nothing at all. Depends on what you want to look for. And when. And where. Or do you want to look at all?? Just letting everything carry you. Nudge you. Push you. Yank you. Caress you.

You could see a multitude (that’s a small word) of people you have to be polite to. And cringe in revulsion. Or you could see a lot of new faces, new friendships in the offing, you could observe, overhear, it’s… entertaining surely, if not anything else.

Though, I prefer the second set of glasses, but I’m stuck with the first. (Introvert issues.)

By the way. A grand party, a grand scheme of things, a grand days-spanning preparation, where people move erratically, talk profusely, trample over each other to have a photo taken, gyrate in mass hysteria to utterly obnoxious (or so fucking amazing) drum rolls and dholaks and even crackers can be hell for an introvert. Or all this could be his or her initiation. The blooming moment.

You could see the incredible amount of money wasted (spent) on ridiculous (fun) rituals, ceremonies and cringe (revel). You could see the plethora of food items which taste the same (or uniquely amazing).
You could see gaudy, kitschy costumes, blinding (vibrant) sarees, sherwanis, glistening coats and choke (or smile).
In all this, you judge, you feel people judging you. Those eyes, you can so easily sense it. Relatives, uncles, aunties, kids, opposite sex, which is your age. That’s a lot of pressure ( or a lot of fun.)

You could see the amount of work that needs to be done, it’s always huge, and you can lend a hand (or you’re told to.)

Or you could find nothing that interests you, so you lie in corner (whatever space you get) and wallow, and pull faces and curse yourself, as people pay no heed to you (not that you wanted it anyway.). And you keep on scrolling that phonescreen, or just write something you have excessively thought so many times. I was talking about myself.

But as the focus, gravitas on actual wedding, those mantras and havans, I do’s and kubool hai’s are subsiding. An excessive and exaggerated attention is being guided and tethered to the secondaries and somewhat needless and flamboyant and ostentatious revelries, (That’s the ever continuing trend.)
You …. You find it hard to find some actual priceless moment of innate happiness and those moments of unaddled beauty.
Yeah. Beauty could be someone who looks actually beautiful. (Away from the rat race.) Beauty could be a smile. A gaze. A tapestry. An anecdote of an old lady. A  joke from an unlikely source. A differently beautiful song in the background (Not what they play now-a-days.). The look of actual happiness when you see your relatives, and meet long lost friends and forget those drab formalities and cordialities for a moment.                           And dance. And eat. And laugh. And cry. And what not. That beauty.

Marriage… huh! It could be the synonym for happiness. Only, it isn’t.

 

It’s so intimate. Yet so inclusively social. It’s emotional. Very emotional. It’s aesthetic. NOT materialistic. It’s about two people. Two hopeful, smiling, beautiful souls.

 

Why don’t we just focus on that, and that only?
Because marriage is about people. About our inner beauty.
Nothing else.

Opinion. Belief. Adherence. Dissent.

Every one of us has an opinion. And there are so many factors, so many variables that shape it.

That opinion can be objective, or visceral. And its yours, and only yours, so is the reason that shapes your opinion. 

In this world where we are so fundamentally identical and so uncannily unique, our opinions and our reasons are the brightest and the biggest beacons of our individuality.




The best thing about opinions is that they change. With time, with experience, with a greater perspective, sometimes with a sudden change, a sudden revelation.
And it’s never wrong to voice our opinions. Never.
  What’s wrong is denigrating others and their opinions. What’s wrong is the intent to influence others and robbing them of their opinions. 



And we have to draw that line ourselves.
Conviction is a stronger proclivity. It is much more visceral. Changing an opinion is much easier than letting go of a belief. Because, though intuitive sometimes, an opinion is a more factual outlook and a more balanced conduit to express oneself.


You are not always associated to your opinion. You are not always identified by it. You are not your opinion. You are how you teeter on that edge of changing and sticking to your opinion.

And a belief brews when you stick to your opinion, despite its flaws, you view it unilaterally, you believe.

A belief is very hard to let go. There has to be some sort of epiphany. Or a serious trigger which topples the palace of your inclinations, thoughts and value systems.

Adherence to a belief is not harmful, unless it bypasses and overlooks the unchallangeable entities and constants. And that happens more often than not.


And with social media joining the fray, the whole world has transformed into one big sea of opinions and beliefs to find our answers, and maybe ourselves.



Conflict arises when your opinion is not in congruence with the opinion of someone else. And it gets ugly when when your opinion is pitted against a belief.
 Its not a conflict anymore, as

Dissent is viewed as an insult. Question, as an insinuation and even blasphemy!

And if a belief goes against a belief? Hallelujah!

Death…

She stares. She dares,                                     to come closer.

She gets bolder, she inches closer, as you get older, by the day. To your dismay.

She lurks around the bend.                             As you spend, yourself, in moments, in memories, in the pleasant reveries.

She lurks, and she snails your way, she hides, she likes to play.

And then she appears, out of nowhere.      When you’re on your way to somewhere.  A behemoth truck teeters astray. A stray dog comes in your way.

You never know, she is a sudden blow.      Smacks you when you are high, racks you when you’re low.

The pain it causes, the dread it breeds, there’s a finality in it. Like it’s the only reality, innit?

It ensnares some of us early, very early. And gorges on some so dearly.

To some of us it comes late.                           The vicissitudes of fate.

And we wait, alone, stooped in our mansions, slouched on a chair.                     Still cursing, “Life’s so unfair!”

It’s all just a game for her, a silent play.   And we are but puppets, ‘pray and obey’.

Life, in all its entirety seems a delusion.   Collusion of the creator, right from the beginning. Right from the very first breath.

The only permanence is the blackness, of the truth, which was always death.