Saturday, 29 November 2014

Smoking Kills

A strange thing happened last night. I don’t know how to describe, rather how to explain. Yet I am inclined to tell it, for you are someone who would listen to my story. Sorry, it is not a story but a real one, a real feeling, indeed. I know you are feeling I am going to scare you. No, no absolutely not. I am not a damn creator who is capable of weaving such a story that would haunt you, day and night. I won’t do so. I won’t exaggerate. You remember how I loved smoking. Yes, loved smoking. I used to enjoy my puffs. Despite the fact how insidiously smoking kills, I would cherish it. Plain and simple, I couldn't help it. You may call me weak. I won’t mind. But that is not going to happen this time. Certain events change the course of life. Certain facts push you to a state where you can’t make a distinction between reality and fantasy even how hard you try.

But my case was not a product of fantasy, I can bet. Like other nights I went to my balcony to have some puffs at the wee hour of night. It was 2.30 P.M, I guess – an hour when the negative vibe is better felt. I lighted up a cigarette. Calm and composed, I was inhaling and exhaling, while randomized thoughts kept crossing my mind. The world went into a nocturnal hibernation. There was no moon. It was dense dark outside. The stray dogs as usual kept howling in such a way that their collective vocal efforts at times seemed to reach a crescendo. There was a street light erected just beside my house with serpentine electric wires creeping around it. The faint dim lights created a scary crisscross around that only intensified the darkness. The swift movement of unknown creatures alarmed my senses. I kept puffing, ceaselessly.

Now a strange thing happened. To my amazement, I noticed how the wreaths of smoke swirled up into the cold air in the month of December and assumed a strange shape of an eye. Mere coincidence, but interesting! Gradually it grew larger. Now more conspicuous! A face of a fiery woman with baleful eyes! My eyes quivered a little, fingers stiffened, my throat choked. She was staring at me with a kind of predatory malignancy. I felt like being numb. It was not sort of fear that gripped me but a cold numb warning. Yes, a warning. Panting, sweating, I somehow stuffed my cigarette and threw it. Gradually the smoky eyes faded into the darkness giving me a statutory warning ‘smoking kills’. It all happened for a few seconds.

Dazed, exasperated, I woke up. Was it a dream? Was it a hallucination? Did I go to bed last night at all? Of course I did, otherwise why I was on bed. Did I smoke at all? Confused! But the baleful eyes! Yes, the sight was so horrible. The numbness I could still feel to my spine even in the freshness of sunshine. Now I would have to go office. I got ready. ‘Everything all right? Yes, my purse, I took it. My monthly, yes inside my purse. My cell, yeah I took it. My lighter, yes.... My cigarette packet, ..., ’ I muttered. The uncomfortable memory of that diabolic stare gripped me once again. ‘Never again, Smoking kills,’ someone whispered into my ears.

Friday, 22 August 2014

What Is Dharma?

Dharma is nothing but the intrinsic behavioral quality of any object or living organism that inevitably goes through infinite number of changes as the need be. Unlike tradition and custom, Dharma is a dynamic process that paves the way for true scientific evolution. Dharma is the only tool that holds us and thereby leads us through the path of righteousness. The doctrine of Dharma teaches us how to live a happy, peaceful life while enjoying the spree of Leela – the blissful state of mind. The sense of Dharma is what can purify our mind and body, hence, truly the supporter of our life system.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Death of My Grandfather

What is death? Whenever I brood over it, I fail to come into any kind of concrete conclusion. The very thought of death does not haunt me but makes my mindscape simply blank. Death and its concept are then certainly empty. Nothing crosses my mind. The more I think, the more I get blank. The simple chain of cause and effect cannot be thus applied to death when it comes to explaining the event. The very concept of death, I suppose, is beyond the epistemological paradigm or anything of that sort.  

I have seen many deaths, much like births. A common phenomenon! An inevitable truth! However, hardly had there been occasions when I thought about it. I have simply found nothing speculative. Even if I force myself to speculate upon death, I give it up in the mid way. May be I am looking upon it from a very personal standpoint.

I remember the death of my grandfather was followed by a huge procession. Carrying him upon our shoulders, we all moved to Aashram where he had spent the last phase of his life - a long 20 years and from there we headed towards the crematorium to conduct the obsequies rites. He was a very renowned person. He set up the Aashram which became his obsession later on. He devoted himself to the lotus feet of God. He denied the luxury of life and chose to live with other hermits under the same roof.

I heard from my mother that he was a nice person and he loved me the most when I was barely 1 or 2 years old. However, why he chose to stay at Ashram was not quite clear to me till a certain point of time. As far as I know, there was no obligation. Whatsoever the reason, it was his decision and I respect it. He never ever had been the part of our life, but his presence was very much there. Deep down I knew I had a grandfather. Even in his absence, our parents never felt like orphan.

To be very honest, the death of grandfather did not sadden me. I did not feel like crying while others did so. I felt absolutely nothing. Perhaps the years of separation did not have any impact upon my mind. It's an event that, I suppose, silently took place. At times I feel myself very guilty. Am I selfish? Don’t I love grandfather? Why did not his death have an impact upon me? Why couldn't I cry while other cried a lot? Several questions crossed my mind and they still have remained unanswered. And I stopped finding those answers, for whenever I do so, I feel restless. I feel struck and I feel myself in a void – a void that can never be replenished by any means, by any explanation. 

Years rolled on since his death. Life has changed a lot. So has changed the Aashram – the most favourite place of my grandfather. It has to change for it is the rule of life itself. Nothing remains static or as usual as it used to be. So many contemporaries of my grandfather have already passed away. A few are left though and they will also die someday quite naturally and inevitably crossing the mundane boundary of time and place.

Now I accept my indifference towards my grandfather’s death. I believe it is less of an indifference and more of an acceptance, not passive certainly but brooding of sort. The old adage as goes “Time and tide waits for none” will apply to my life too. And I will grow old someday and will die quite silently being unnoticed, I guess, like my grandfather. I hope so.


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Green Goggle – an Iguana

There used to live a big supple green iguana in our house that Grandmother had brought from Mussoorie. In fact there were a few other lizards, I guess, but none of them was as much large and supple as the one that I used to call Goggle.

Grandmother had a strange fascination for reptiles. The way she would feed Goggle and touch him without any hesitation simply suggests her love and care for animals. Last time when she went to Mussoorie, she snapped many pictures of different types of reptiles. And most of them belong to lizard category. Be it Chameleon or Chuckwallas, Agamid or Geckos, venomous or non-venomous, she would never get scared. 

Goggle was big enough to have a big heart. He would never scare any of the children at home. Unlike other lizards, he would never run across the floor in a swift motion from one corner to another only to disappear somewhere. Everyone was aware of his presence but none ever complained anything serious about him except for Sima Pisi, one and only sister of my father.

My grandmother used to call Goggle by the name Gopal. To our amazement, Goggle would respond to both the names. One of his interesting qualities was that he would never attack any insect without giving it a warning no matter it was a beautiful butterfly or a deep brown cockroach. Every day at 12 noon he would appear in the Thakurghar where my grandmother used to offer worship to Gods and Goddesses. Goggle would lie at one corner and wait for the Aarati to be over. After grandmother was done with her puja, she would give prasadam to her green Gopal and ask us to take ours.

It was indeed nice to notice how beautifully Goggle would cherish the sweet and feel contented. He would simply run his tongue over the piece of Nakuldana and enjoy the taste. His limbs were well developed, his tongue was short – barely protrusible and his crest as much rigid as my father’s helmet. Goggle became quite foodie upon the indulgence of Grandmother. It was because of her indulgence and care Goggle had the opportunity to savour jam, jelly, biscuits, milk and soup.

It was summer vacation.  One day grandmother bought some raw, green mangoes from the market. We were all very happy as she announced that she would prepare mango pickle for us. Gulguli, my dear cousin as I lovingly call her, came up with her composition book where she had recently read a paragraph about how to prepare mango pickle. Grandmother encouraged Gulguli to assist her in the preparation. Having heard it, Gulguli’s joy knew no bound. She started dancing like a colt. Goggle perhaps eavesdropped our conversation. He appeared from his hideouts and expressed his glee by wagging his long tail a bit and running his tongue around his rigid jaw.

“Gopal! Gopal it is Gopal Grandma” - Gablu, my brother, shouted

“Now, I have had all my family together, I will prepare a special bowl of pickles for my Gopal” – Grandmother announced. 

Having heard it, Goggle moved his crest a little while sitting perfectly on his perch.

In the mean time Sima Pisi landed on our place with her luggage. We never liked Sima Pisi. She was too much strict about discipline. During her stint at our house, every kid had to wake up early in the morning. No one was allowed to watch television. At dusk when we would start our lesson, she would be there to teach us with a stick. Her arrival would spoil our sport during the vacation as we had to follow all her instructions. Even Grandmother would not say anything to her. Sima Pisi knew nothing about Goggle. Both Gulguli and Gopal assured me that they would be with me in this mission as we decided to use Goggle as a tool to teach her a lesson.    

One fine morning, we caught Goggle from his hideouts on the attic and let him slip into Sima Pisi’s big leather bag. Goggle perhaps found the place very comfortable so he did not move anywhere. We kept waiting for Sima Pisi to take her betel case while preparing our lesson. Suddenly Sima Pisi gave a blast by screaming.

“What happened, Sima? Why are you screaming?” – asked Grandmother coming from the kitchen.

“Look! Something went inside my bag. How it is moving and jumping!” – Said Sima Pisi looking frightened.  

“It might be my Gopal” – said Grandmother with a smiling face.

We all gathered to the place and started looking at each other. We were feeling partially happy having taught a lesson to Sima Pisi and partially frightened as we could be punished if we were caught.

“Gablu, open the purse and let Gopal get out” – instructed Grandmother.

Gablu followed her instruction and as soon as he opened the bag, out popped Goggle. He squinted up at Sima Pisi. His lung was filled with air, he was looking even more enormous than his actual size. Without delay he fled away. However, grandmother was grand enough to understand that it was our plan. She rebuked us and punished us. However, since the incident Sima Pisi never tried to be strict with us. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

My Reflection

I often wake up in the middle of the night. Certain thoughts cross my mind at the wee hours. It normally takes a few seconds to register my senses. The dark world hibernates around. The moonbeams sneak through the fleecy layers of clouds. An uncomfortable sense of stillness disturbs me and thus makes it difficult to kill the time. It feels as if time comes to the standstill. Sometimes I go back to my desk and pen down my reflections. It feels as if I can’t simply express what I am; who I am; where I belong to. It does not mean I am gripped by any sort of existential crisis. It is rather a battle between my willingness and the stark reality. I go on writing in haste. It is not the hour for indolence. It is the hour to ensure my entity. Life is so uncertain. Time is such an arch enemy to my aspiration. At such an hour of night I sincerely realize such aspects. A kind of dogged willingness overpowers me and I take on the challenge to accomplish my desire before my world comes to end. I feel I can move on like the intrepid pioneers. I can turn it around. The turbulent amalgamation of thoughts lulls me into sleep and I wake up again in the morning. Unfortunately, my contemplation fades into the oblivion as the day progresses and everything remains the same......