Is There

Not to throw, whatever we can against the wall,
Not to mouth, every profanity we can quickly recall,
Not to vent out, pent up frustration into the community,
Anger is there, to test our affinity for serenity.

Not to cover up, some thing as serious as infidelity,
Not to make up, for some thing as silly as timidity,
Not to utter, because it’s the only thing that can soothe,
Lie is there, to test our dedication to the truth.

Not to give company, to some forlorn tears,
Not to take the blame, for many unfortunate years,
Not to fill the void, left by a heart’s emptiness,
Sorrow is there, to test our longing for happiness.

Not to use as an excuse, to justify every war,
Not to feign, as a stranger closing every door that’s ajar,
Not to malign, as the reason behind this whole mess,
Hate is there, to test our commitment to forgiveness.

Not to pity, as a nuisance while crossing the road,
Not to ridicule, for wiping the car we rode,
Not to throw, as a catchword at seminars on humanity,
Poverty is there, to test our capacity for generosity.

Not to ignore, any word or to play with every word,
Not to merely sing aloud, a tune never heard,
Not to shout, to everyone about every squabble or difference,
Speech is there, to test our love for silence.

Not to spend, every second running behind a goal,
Not to manage, a vacant minute to salvage your soul,
Not to prove, there really is someone above,
Life is there, to test our willingness to love.

A simple and self-explanatory one for the Mirror, this one is also about my religion, Godism. It merely states that misfortune is there for us to make something positive out of, not to sit and cry about, or curse God about. It takes off from what Godforsaken and Unbelong conveyed.

Rocky Nest

We knew there was no other place, but the mountain top,
Because this was where everybody we knew, had set up shop,
I still remember, the location was merely the first of many a grouse,
But that still meant, that this was where we would build our house.

It was a place where our feathers were constantly singed by the sun,
The place that first taught us the value of sheltering someone,
From the piercing white embers, of which the hottest summers are made,
We learnt the importance of providing each other with shade.

A place so open, the chilly winters made us literally shiver,
With only the fish below comfortable, in a long-frozen river,
When we had no choice, but to closely huddle to survive,
We learnt why staying together, was the real reason to be alive.

To the days when we were greeted, with a howling wind,
And all plans of searching for prey, we had to rescind,
It was from those times, when life had us forcibly grounded,
We learnt to take the time, to express a love that abounded.

In those months of monsoon, when the merciless rain lashed,
And it seemed, the very water would push us off the cliff, unabashed,
When it seemed we would have to build a new nest for spring,
We learnt to truly become a family, by each spreading a wing.

While you struggled all day, to drag home the food,
I foraged for tender twigs, in the adjoining wood,
When hundreds of different twigs, can together make a nest,
What more do we need, to tell our individual differences to rest.

But what the woven twigs constitute, is merely an abode,
A place to rest tired limbs, before morning can again goad,
It is only when each of us lets go, of our ego and its nome,
That we come to recognise what we together built, as home.

I have often been asked, what is it that differentiates a married couple from a family? Well, here’s my answer. It is also my answer to the other question, of what differentiates a house from a home. A couple live in a house, while a family lives in a home. As simple as that. So take out your checklists and see if you are simply married, or are a family. see if you have a house, or a home.

This is a continuation of where Foundry left off, and hence slides nicely into Gazebo. Will add more explanation upon receiving comments. 🙂

This one is dedicated to Tuffy (released 08/12/2010) who was a lovable, huggable part of our family.

P.S.

Nome: Any melody determined by inviolable rules.
Being the music freak that i am, couldn’t keep music out of this one 🙂

Lake Infinity

Just when I was almost pleased at seeing the first rays of dawn,
I was dejected, that they weren’t looking for my lawn,
It seemed everyone took pleasure in provoking me into delight,
And then reminding me, there was no morning to my night.

My legs are still sore, from constantly falling on my knees,
The handcuffs cut against my wrists, repeatedly begging release,
My mind only pleads, that you wipe it for a fresh start,
And my heart is crying louder, requesting to be torn apart.

I was naive to think, suffering was a cup, with a measure,
And every day, how full or empty, I could measure,
Atleast now I have realised, that suffering is the sea,
And how deep I have been dipped, I cannot see.

If suffering was a true measure of how long one had lived,
I was sure everyone on earth, I had already outlived,
And when there’s nobody else left, what’s the point of living,
If not to leisurely walk hand-in-hand, with suffering.

But slowly I began to see other people, ones a lot older than me,
A dozen, hundreds, thousands of them, centuries older than me,
What most of them had in common, I only noticed after a while,
Despite their age, life had repeatedly failed, to wipe off their smile.

And that was the first time I felt completely ashamed,
That I had always thought of who could be blamed,
Ashamed, that instead of trying to swim bravely to the shore,
I was willing to sink, so that someone else could be punished some more.

I wish to thank those who taught me to let the tears dry,
And that the only way to kill tears, was to ignore them till they die,
I wish to thank those who taught me, that we are all very rich in suffering,
But very few of us, use it to make something worth remembering.

Although this has a lot of my personal experiences, this one really belongs in Gazebo. The concept is very simple, suffering is like wealth/money. The more you hoard/save it, the more it remains the same. You keep $10 in your locker and after a hundred years, they still remain $10. You share that $10 with somebody who needs it, and you may get $100 or $0 in return. That’s the same way suffering works, you hoard it, it eats you from inside, but doesn’t diminish one single bit. You share it with others, you can immediately feel the burden lightening. You channel it into something positive and constructive, the rewards will far outlive you or your suffering.

The title is inspired from the pre-climax scene of ”Truman Show‘ where Jim Carrey decides to brave the rough seas to make good an escape, and finally finds it is actually a set. Sorrow is similar in nature. You resent/fear it, it will appear as infinite as the sea. You brave it, face it head on, it will show its true form, which is a backyard lake.

Perfection

Around the edges, the eyebrows taper a little too sharp,
And the face is imbalanced, neither round nor oval, they harp,
Perhaps just a little more effort, could have salvaged Mona Lisa’s fate,
It could have been a lot better, is all that the critics know to state.

When your lifetime of art, is ripped apart, not by a rival worth admiring,
But by a person, who has never managed to sell a two-bit crayon drawing,
And this person has a following, that knows not pencil from charcoal,
Perhaps, that is when perfection ceases to any longer be a goal.

I can never understand, why nothing is ever good enough,
Or why the roundest pebble is still slightly rough,
Or why there isn’t a melody, that didn’t need some tweaking of the tune,
Or how somebody always feels, you could have better drawn that cartoon.

Maybe I will never understand because I refuse to even try,
Often I found it better to understand the sorrow, rather than simply cry,
And when people point out, that my humour has turned a tad too wry,
I ask them to watch the experts fight it out on why deserts are never too dry.

Whenever I hear of a masterpiece having a concealed flaw,
I wonder if it is their own reflection that they saw,
While a hundred thousand knew only to appreciate its beauty,
One guy feels. that parading the flaw is his beholden duty.

You never hear an artist tearing apart the intricacies of another’s work,
A true artist knows, the time is better spent improving his own work,
So the next time somebody tries to put your effort down,
You can be sure the person has lesser achievements than a clown.

So, while the world is waiting to prove that my product has a defect,
I spend every minute, ensuring that my effort is perfect,
The only thing that matters, is my satisfaction, in my dedication,
Because I have already learnt, that acceptance is the key to perfection.

This one is for one of the inspiring Beacons, Paayal. i have since long wanted to write something in the contentment genre and kept putting it off. Kept putting it off until i came across her posts on self-respect and perfection. It forced me to write what i was putting off for months. So Paayal, this one is for you.

Spaces

The day when you thought we were seeing too much of each other,
And had thus gotten too familiar and bored with one another,
You suggested that we maintain some distance and create space,
And try to see if we could appreciate something other than each other’s face.

So we walked away, afar, each to our own way,
Not sure what we would feel,  on waking up the next day,
It was a chance, you said, a test to see how far the mind would stray,
But try as much as we did, our minds simply refused to obey.

I walk into the restaurant, and see you empty chair,
You pick up the comb, and remember my ruffled hair,
I close my eyes, and see you returning the stare,
You open the door, to believe I am not there.

I walk away, only to notice, the footprints are a pair less,
You evade a reply, and recall what I would never confess,
Writing a letter, I recollect, that you had all the words,
Awaiting the train, you observe, the tree has no lonely birds.

We thought, letting go of the thought, was simply wishing it off the mind,
Unfortunately, just by closing their eyes, people do not turn blind,
And so we stand, separated, by thousands of miles in distance,
Yet, united, beyond choice, by our mind’s dogged resistance.

There’s still something between us, the farther each one departs,
Because love is the only distance between any two hearts,
So, that which separates is merely the glue upon our heart,
Holding us together, just as much close, as apart.

Space is not a measure of how far, it’s a measure of how close we are,
Look up at the sky, there’s only a centimetre gap, between star and star,
And if you still can’t believe, just walk away, and follow your own heart,
Because then I can be sure, you will unknowingly be following my heart.

This one is for the Gazebo. It was inspired from multiple sources, but mostly from a dear friend horribly crooning Atif Aslam’s Doorie.

Godse

It might only take a man to kill another man,
But sometimes, it takes a nation to kill the beliefs of a man,
For, no man is truly dead, until his every belief is,
Because, that is when nothing can exist to be called his.

So, you would think, what of a belief, that lit a billion lives,
How many generations, before such a belief no longer lives,
You would be surprised, that it is easier than killing a dream,
After all, most beliefs often age into a forgotten dream.

To kill a dream, you have to let go, the effort of remembering it,
To kill a belief, you only have to act, like you ignore it,
Once enough people ignore it, beliefs transform into dreams,
And even memorable dreams trickle down our memory streams.

So it was, the man came to be killed, a trillion times over,
And the man rolls in his grave, knowing this is far from over,
Every day, every minute, somebody is busy killing him,
So busy, they don’t even notice the death, or him.

Every time we slap a person, we sweetly butcher him,
Every time we abuse a person, we silently murder him,
Every time we hate someone, we lovingly stab him,
Every thought that hurts someone, we gleefully behead him.

it takes more than one man and bullet, to kill a legend,
And destiny has very creative ideas, about heralding the end,
It makes you believe, that no man can outlive his message,
And that the message died a long time before your age.

Although someone else physically pulled the trigger,
All said and done, each one of us is equally the killer,
We kill every day, through thought, through word, and action,
Let it be known and understood, this man was killed by a nation.

This one is for the Gazebo. It is mostly self-explanatory and deals with how people can kill a dead man a million times over. It has two inspirations, both of which can be traced to one person, Ram Gopal Varma. The first is from Jeeva’s dialogues in Sarkar that go something like “Sarkar ek aadmi nahi, ek soch hai. Aur aadmi ko maarne ke pehle, soch ko maarna hai.” This perfectly summarises what Gandhi is to this nation, he wasn’t just a man, he was a set of beliefs. Ones on which this country was supposedly founded. i say supposedly, because i hate to believe that the foundations of a nation could have gotten so easily eroded.

The second is from a title of his article for Eenadu on fascism titled “The ideas that killed a million people.” A very catchy headline you would agree, which is why it got me thinking of the reverse. The result is this poem, about “the million people that killed an idea.”

P.S.

I personally do not subscribe to Gandhian philosophies and am not a pacifist. Although i am not war-hungry, there are circumstances when war is necessary. Specially when somebody takes first offence against you. By the way, to play around with one of his famous quotes, an eye for an eye, does not make the whole world blind, it only makes the whole world half-blind. This poem is merely an effort to document the erosion of a philosophy that a nation was built on, one that is concretized on currency notes, shit-ridden statues in every city and town, and on the walls of every non-functional public office. It does not mean i believe in the philosophy. (so that doesn’t make me a murderer!!!!!!!!!!)

Fred Claus

The little boy was more confused than ever before,
Surely a festival must mean something more,
What his grandpa said, seemed to make little sense,
It seemed like something badly conjured up in defence.

So he went back to nagging the exasperated old man,
On this eccentricity that was celebrated only by man,
But this time, he decided he would do all the talk,
He only hoped, the old man wouldn’t fall back in shock.

“Why is it, that people spend the year, yelling at each other”,
“And finally choose a day to treat one other like a brother?”,
“Why is it, that people put up with a year full of abuse”,
“And take comfort in having a day, to praise each other profuse?”.

“Why do they live every moment for themselves, without relent”,
“Thinking one day is enough, to chant a prayer and repent?”,
“Why do they spend a year, closing the door on their neighbour”,
“Knowing they can invite them in, just in time for any dinner?”.

“Why do they shout at their crying parents, every single day”,
“Hoping, that decorating a tree together, will make those words go away?”,
“Why do they teach their children, to run the entire year in a hurry”,
“Wishing, that opening some gift, would wipe away every worry?”.

“Why do they think, a single sorry can soothe a year full of hurt”,
“Believing, that lighting a candle, is enough recognition of effort?”,
The old man was too puzzled, to notice the boy short of breath,
And only let out a sigh, because the boy regained his breath.

“Why can’t they just be nice, every day of the year”,
“And try to prevent, instead of wiping each tear?”,
“Why can’t they cherish every moment along the way”,
“Instead of dying the whole year, to live for just one day?”.

This one is obviously for the Mirror, since it is a continuation of Rudolf. This one reflects my actual views on festivals/celebration. So lets move on to the usual questions.

a) What’s with the title?
The title is from a movie of the same name, about Santa’s brother, who goes to the North Pole and saves the day for Santa and the entire world.

b) Why two poems?
The concept is too strong to finish within one poem without diminishing all of its essence into shortened sentences. The poem could have been double my usual length, but that would deny supporters of the festival with a poem. So splitting keeps both parties happy. Those who like festivals can read the first, and those who don’t can read only the second one. Besides, while the first one seems in support of celebration, it is actually a sly representation of the views that are debated in the second one. It helps to glorify the adversary in order to magnify the victory.

c) What is it about festivals/celebration that pisses me off?
The very words and what they signify. Take for example some thing like birthdays, which celebrate nothing significant. You being born is merely a statistical event that is by itself insignificant. But Happy Birthday is a festival of depression-era origins, when people needed some thing to make them feel alive atleast for one day, and bakers cashed in on the opportunity. Also read my favourite article on the topic.

It pains me to see that we fail to realise that most festivals are effectively celebrations of life and our thanks to our maker (whoever he/she is) for blessing us with whatever we have on that day. Knowing this fact about festivals, we fail to realise that celebrating them on that one day, makes us relive the Depression-days, by indirectly stating that there is only one day a year when we forcibly choose to be happy, even if we aren’t. Reminds me of one of my favourite sayings:
Perhaps this is why it is man alone who laughs: he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Why is it that we can’t simply celebrate each day of our lives, for its ups and downs. Why do we feel that only a cake completes celebration? Or that only decorating the house, completes a festival? Why do we have to shout at our parent/children every day and then make up with them for the sake of a festival? Why do we have to abuse our friends every day and then wish them a Happy Birthday? Is it not possible to be nice to everyone everyday?

Of course, some people are downright nasty and deserve a dose of their own medicine, right? If you feel like retorting to someone because they aren’t nice, then you’re allowing their worthlessness dictate to your politeness, which makes you no different from them. if you really want to see the difference, be polite and nice to everybody no matter what, and see the difference after maybe a year or a decade. Most often people aren’t nice to you on that day or that year, because nobody has been nice to them that day/year. Waiting for the other person to change is only going to ensure everyone does the same, and we are left with status quo.

If you really want to see a change in the world, be the one to lead it, rather than follow, since nobody else is going to lead. Try it today, throw a party to the person who has just slapped you, and see his/her reaction. Shake the hand of a person who has just abused you, and see their reaction. If not today, their reaction will change over time. Of course, initially everyone will look at you like a lunatic, but atleast its better to be a happy lunatic, than a depressed conformist. People treat those who stand out as lunatics because they are insecure about their own conformity. Once the tide slowly switches and you become the mainstream, they will look at their previous beliefs as lunacy, that’s people for you.

So, i hope you understand, why i care not even a damn for any festival, and why i am not reachable on my birthday. its time to end the practice of living for one day in a year, and start living every moment of life.

P.S.

The whole Rudolf carol is anti-celebration. Because the problem Rudolf is facing is being an outcast. So taking him away from the reindeer and making him a celebrity among humans, is like taking a cat rejected by other cats, and making him an exalted exhibit among dogs, and expecting the cat to be happy because of the miracle of the festive spirit. A true miracle would have been if the other reindeer had welcomed him into their fold because of the Christmas spirit, and not humans cheering him on.

I would like to end with a relevant line from ‘Sirivennela Sahityam’:
“Padhuguru soukhyam pondhe diname panduga kadha?”
“Is not the day, when a dozen people find solace and relief, a festival?”

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