I Do

The eyes are moist, but I know they do not for anything weep,
Just that, imprinted images are the hardest memories to keep,
You let them flow away believing there will be something new,
But there isn’t anything new, you know, as well as I do.

There were other times, when the tears and their sorrow were true,
And you thought the black clouds had forever changed the sky’s blue,
You thought these feelings were premonitions of what you knew,
But there isn’t any thought, you feel, as well as I do.

You speak not of the times, when you compulsively broke into a cheer,
And you said you acted so impulsively only because of someone dear,
You agreed that the happiness wasn’t worth getting used to,
But there isn’t any joy, you show, as well as I do.

Your lips turned dry, hearing no words at all from the throat,
And you understood the difficulty of keeping emotions afloat,
You realized that words weren’t worth any looking into,
But there isn’t any emotion, you speak, as well as I do.

Your mind turned blank, unsure if your being was ignored,
And you discovered, there is so much to life still unexplored,
You felt the world did have many obligations overdue,
But there isn’t any debt, you bear, as well as I do.

Your heart was torn, sliced slowly by pangs of separation,
And you wince, because there’s no more chance for reparation,
You find that people stick close when pain is the glue,
But there isn’t any hurt, you share, as well as I do.

There isn’t anything, you do as well, because I do it all for you,
I take whatever you do, add my soul, and give it back to you,
So every time you feel your life has no purpose, no clue,
And yet no one cares a damn , just remember, I do.

This one is for the Mirror, and is inspired by you-know-who. It started off as a study on rationality and branched out into an abstract expression of irrationality. What is rational? Acting in the greatest self-interest of ourselves, that is how logic would define rationality. So by that definition, civilization itself is an exercise in irrationality. Let’s see why.

By logic, survival is the most basic and only native instinct of any being. So when man began farming, he was using food that he would have eaten back into the soil, to get more of it. In other words, he was giving up what was essential for his survival, to ensure his future survival was insured. That first act of irrationality sowed the seeds for all related future acts. Now that he did not need to spend every day worrying if he would last the day, his focus turned onto what he could do while he waited for his future food to grow, leisure. Leisure, isn’t something unique to humans, squirrels hoard, ants store, bees colonize, bears hibernate off their fat. Leisure allowed to explore his finer side a.k.a the arts. The arts is what allowed civilization to really develop, since builders tried to build more better buildings, farmers tried to develop better crops, writers/composers tried to design better entertainment. But everything he did, he did to enhance his own standing in the scheme of things. That distinguishable portion of the individual came to be called identity.

So when it comes to things irrational, there is none more irrational than love. Given that self-preservation is a given, it would be audacious and atrocious to suggest that someone would want to give up part/whole of themselves for the sake of someone else. A further extension of this, is the concept of courage, which throws off the yoke of self-preservation often for strangers, quite unlike love. When someone is in love, they are willing to kill a part of their own existence and even identity to please someone else. This act of irrationality is what makes us human, because animals don’t behave so irrationally as we do (there is love aplenty among them, but almost never courage).

So what could be more irrational than love and courage? The courage to love, of course. Since we humans call any excessive irrationality as madness, here’s to all those crazies among us (since love is merely extreme irrationality).

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.

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?”

Paper Planes

“Aswath”, he said, when I asked his name, hesitant,
Soon some of his friends join, equally reluctant,
The closer they got, the more I could sense a distance,
But I was sure I would soon overcome the resistance.

The bag of goodies is what converts them all into eager,
With everyone wanting to grab the toy that is bigger,
There are smiles on most faces, and frowns on the rest,
Who expect a little more from this infrequent guest.

For someone whose survival depended on others giving,
He showed me the pride I should have, for just living,
The simple, small things creating so much joy was so compelling,
That its showed me the shallowness present in my complaining.

Among so many kids, I don’t know why he caught my attention,
There was nothing remarkable that I can really mention,
But he taught me a lesson I shall not easily forget,
There is a great joy in giving more than you get.

I could forget the building and the caretaker after a while,
But my mind could never let go of his disarming smile,
One that showed me how much hope I offered,
When he really felt, that to someone, he mattered.

Forsaken by the world, forsaken by his own,
He had nobody he could and would disown,
And yet I have always wondered why,
The sparkle never left his tiny eye.

Born with nothing, growing with nothing, I often wonder,
How often, about the future, he would wonder,
Tears well up in my eyes, as I hear him explain,
That, driven by dreams, fuelled by nothing, his life was like a paper plane.

This one is for a new Beacon, Ruby Ilyasuddin. This is for doing something that I never had the time, patience, humanity to do, but only had a heart to do. She’s been a beacon because she was able to translate those ideals into action, while others like still languish in their ideals. Everybody wants to do some good, but very few act upon such wishes.

Petunias

Flowering by the roadside, beside the softest footfall,
Towering before you, along the lengths of many a wall,
Violets, pinks, whites, blues, more colours than you can call,
And yet, seen and unknown, like the spring in every fall.

The tulips, the magnolias, and dahlias, all begin as a bud,
Blossoming forth from the seemingly nothingness of the mud,
For that single day the live, knowing when their sun is done,
Hoping they have somehow made a mark on someone.

It takes courage to look into somebody’s empty heart,
And search for the remnants of the hate that made love depart,
To walk along with that person down their memory lane,
And understand how love could be replaced by such disdain.

It takes courage to face hate, face to face,
And call it what it really is, a double face,
The mask that detests, and love, the actual face,
One that is always being forced out of its place.

It takes courage to confront the other person’s spite,
And soldier on, the challenges of rejection despite,
To convince the spite, that even dislike has a respite,
And that even defeat knows, when its has lost the fight.

It takes courage to drag love back, into the game,
And show it, that to return home, is never a shame,
To help it find its pride back, and repeat its own name,
And continue creating moments, that are worthy of a frame.

It takes even more courage, to do all of this,
And know that the doctors and healers, nobody will miss,
Ones who ignore their heart’s pain, so that others can heal,
All the while maintaining a smile, that changes the way we all feel.

This one marks the return of my infrequent muse/Beacon, Aparna. As usual this one is about those smile through their own suffering, so that others who suffer more can find something to stand upon. So that others can get out of their misery seeing the happiness that even a genuinely pained smile can bestow on them.

And oh, i forgot to mention, i wrote this during the AHM. It was loads of fun, with Anne Jacques sitting beside me, trying to decipher the heiroglyphics that my handwriting is, and wondering what kind of notes i was busy taking with a heading that shouted Petunias. For me, it was a pleaasant escape from all the humdrum.

Sunflower

Very few acknowledge that the day really begins at night,
At the stroke of midnight, the wings of morning take flight,
Leaving darkness behind, for the resplendence of the sun,
And dejection too finally gives way, to the possibilities of fun.

The sun has risen, but is more darker than the night,
Battered and bruised, blackened from the long standing fight,
It now needs more light, than it gives,
And takes more lives, every moment it lives.

Everyone has resigned to the confines of the brighter night,
Even in the battle for darkness, the sun has more might,
Blind by the day, and more blinded by the night,
The denizens of darkness make such a pretty sight.

They go about their activities, regardless of time,
And only for the dead, do the bells any longer chime,
They have lost their light, only to earn that extra dime,
And in doing so, crowned their reason over rhyme.

They see and they don’t, their own wretched existence,
And ignore it all, upon each others cold insistence,
They hear and they feel, sorrow’s yearning pang,
And yet are too busy, to help it solitarily hang.

Weaving away their remaining time, bonded to the loom,
Unconsciously, they create, the fabric of their own doom,
They survive on the coast, of that seashore of gloom,
Where the sand forgives not, sunflowers that dare bloom.

Behold, the first golden bloom, on this arid land,
It grows beyond the reach of man’s rugged hand,
So that the world can now see, that happiness is light,
It is the bliss that bestows every life, with true sight.

Today it is the Beacons turn to gloat. This one is for my frequently infrequent muse, Aparna. Set in a world that is too busy to laugh, too occupied to smile, and too ignorant of happiness, it tries to extrapolate what happens when Aparna walks into such a world. A world that had lost its sunshine, the light of their lives, called joy, and how one sunflower defied man’s own nature to save mankind.

Tranquility

Soft and inquiring, like the chirping of the first bird,
Slowly joined by others, yet soft, as if almost never heard,
That is all I can remember about your first word,
There were more important things that then occurred.

At first there was the silence, ethereal and all pervasive,
During that time, sound seemed untraceable, evasive,
There was an uneasy calm, hanging in the air, all around,
As we waited to see, what would come of the first sound.

Sure enough, there came the sound, that broke the silence,
And it filled the world now sore by its absence,
It was universal, not constrained by language,
For, nobody yet claims laughter as their language.

If ever there were more words to express happiness,
Then silence would have to remain a mute witness,
For, among the many feelings that are beyond expression,
None quite matches happiness’s infectious passion.

And the happiness aroused by the tinkling of your laughter,
Showed us a fleeting glimpse of the world called ever-after,
Transporting us to the place, where words are never enough,
To explain, why remembering contentment there, is tough.

We found we lost some of it, trying to speak the joy,
And learnt that words are the cheapest way to enjoy,
It is most often the nuances, that get lost in translation,
That gives us all, that extra reason for jubilation.

From eternal silence, the big bang was the first sound,
And now there are billions more that this wold abound,
But for us, it shall always be your laughter, that broke new ground,
One that proved to us, there was an earth with happiness all around.

The Beacons beckon me again with that healing smile called Aparna. This one is dedicated not only to her, but to all those who happiness made a difference to our lives. To all those whose laughter made the sky look bluer and the roses look redder. This one is dedicated to happiness personified.

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