Tunnel

There are those that trust light, because it has a beginning,
And others still who fear it not, because it has an ending,
But darkness is another matter, for, it begins nowhere,
And even in the midst of light, is always forever there.

It is difficult to understand something, that’s made up of nothing,
And yet, is pervasive enough, to be within everything,
Darkness is the envelope, that helps define every beam of light,
And still can be seen by everyone, specially those without sight.

It is the womb from which all light is born,
And is the grave for all visions that are stillborn,
It is the medium that connects one light to another,
And is the canvas on which one colour differs from the other.

Darkness is not a journey, since it cannot ever begin,
It is the path on which all light created travels within,
It is the black imprint that every footstep of light leaves,
It is the web that captures every illusion that light weaves.

It appears to expand and contract with every change in a shadow,
But what really changes, is the light, from broad to narrow,
Darkness has no size, no speed, because it doesn’t need to move,
It is the encompassive stage, on which light has a point to prove.

In many ways, the only truth there is, is the darkness,
Because it stays the same in both shade and brightness,
It has no colours, no shades, for, those are the offspring of light,
The only progeny of darkness, is the transient permanence of night.

While everyone views a tunnel as the conduit for darkness,
Few realise, that it is the last harbour for nothingness,
Black does not flow, like light through a funnel,
Because there is always darkness, at either end of a tunnel.

This one is for the Beacons, dedicated as it is, to Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry. It is based on his line from one of the greatest Telugu film songs of all time. http://manoharamu.blogspot.in/2007/09/sindooram-ardha-satabdapu.html The line goes like this: 

అన్యాయాన్ని సహించని శౌర్యం దౌర్జన్యాన్ని దహించే ధైర్యం

కారడవుల్లో క్రూరమృగంలా దాక్కుని ఉండాలా వెలుగుని తప్పుకు తిరగాలా

This one is about an all-pervasive omnipresent phenomenon called darkness. It carries on from what began as a dialogue with brother Satyajit (in Into Your Life and Shadows). The beautiful thing about darkness, is that people refuse to give it the credit it deserves. It is perfectly human, that people who wage battles since the beginning of civilization over land, while water covers over 75% of the planet, would try to portray their God as being limited to the light.

I have no problems with the light, except that it is a minority in the grand scheme of things. In the universe, as well as in galaxies, stars (sources of light), are tiny specks of white against an infinite black. So to call their God as the light (“I am the light”, “Dispeller of darkness”, etc.) is absurd because it excludes the fact that God is also darkness. In effect, they end up calling their God as ‘Dispeller of God’. All I am saying is that Darkness is God. So to associate darkness as being the freehold property/playground of some Satan, is to say that God is the property of Satan. Fundamentally, if God is everything, then God is Satan. That brings us to this zero-sum game of “God is the light” and “God is the darkness”. So white=black.

But that is merely, the premise upon which the poem is built. Being an abstraction, the core idea, is more around minorities, and how they are glorified at the expense of the majority (think land vs sea, light vs darkness). So in a society, that globally and locally portends to have a constitution that says all citizens are equal, except that the minorities are more equal, there is something seriously flawed with the checks and balances by which we govern ourselves. I fail to understand how punishing the son for the sins of the father qualifies as social justice, unless an eye-for-a sons-eye-by-my-son is the accepted norm of social justice. The constitution allows discrimination on the basis of caste/creed/religion/gender as long as it is for-the-benefit of some minority. Now unless I have my understanding all soaked in hogwash, nothing can be of benefit to one party without being unbeneficial/harmful to another. You cannot discriminate for-the-benefit of a minority without it being to-the-detriment of a majority in a mixed population organization, be it an educational institution, or a workplace. You cannot be pro-women without being anti-men. You cannot be pro-SC/ST without being anti-FC/OC in an organization that caters to both sections. The only for-the-benefit discrimination that is partially  neutral, is a minority-exclusive organization. In any other context, it is tantamount to punishing the descendant of one community, for-benefit-of the descendants of another community, whose ancestors bore the exploitation of the ancestors of the other community. We live in weird times, when a document that allows this is our constitution.

As long as charters of such inequality are the founding papers of a country, there is a bleak future for social justice. The cycle never ends and has been proven to be a law of nature that is self-correcting. A few lions terrorize a few hundred deer. So to restore order, man decides to shoot the lions. Now the over-shot lions, become an endangered species, while the population of deer grows out of control. So man launches a “Save the lion campaign”, and shoots off the excess deer, to restore balance. By which time, the lions grow too many, and the deer becomes an endangered species, due to too many lions, and too few deer. The same is the case with the minority/majority equation with the constitution/law playing the role of the gamekeeper, shooting each side as it grows out of control.

Sad Cypress

A few years ago, they took me away, cuffed and chained,
Only doing their duty, they knew not how much it pained,
Days, weeks, months I have sat, staring at the bars,
Awaiting the day to fly and converse with the stars.

Alas the bulb above my head tell me neither day or night,
And the minutes seem like an eternity to ponder my plight,
Of ever leaving this room, my hope has lost all sight,
Atleast they offered me a few hours of this artificial light.

None would listen, they wouldn’t believe that I was innocent,
I should be ashamed they thought, I should be repentant,
They were shocked at the lack of remorse on my face,
Knowing not, that this ignominy is more than I can face.

They parade me around, an apprehended dangerous criminal,
And my chances of walking away are sealed, almost minimal,
Standing in the dock, of the portals of law, supposedly called justice,
This was my last chance, and I really hoped I could do it justice.

Sadly all they believed was evidence, one given by circumstance,
It confounded me about why they denied truth a chance,,
It finally came down to my word against the evidence,
That was their value of my life, a gamble with providence.

They questioned my testimony, my character, my credibility,
And separated from it, every shred of believability,
There I stood, spoken, unheard, untouched, ravaged,
Following their orders, hoping my soul would be salvaged.

Alive, alone, death seemed the only one who was proud,
The only one unafraid, to call me its friend, aloud,
But God knew, and I knew, the difference between justice and reality,
And that knowledge was my compass, in the journey into infinity.

This one is for the Beacons, dedicated to Agatha Christie. The title is from one of the episodes of her detective Poirot’s serials. Somehow the moment I read the title, it reminded me of a lot many things that I used to dream about. And surprisingly, although it might seem odd, one of my childhood influences that left a lasting impression on me, namely, Tolstoy’s “God sees the truth but waits”, had nothing whatsoever to do with this one. The relation to that struck me when I was typing this post. But come to think of it, it does seem more and more like a versified form of that.

I always used to have this idea, probably from reading too much of Robin Hood, and such other stuff, about what I would do, how I would behave if I was imprisoned wrongly. Somehow all my life(even today) I keep getting this fantasy idea of myself as a vigilante after getting released for some crime I didn’t commit etc.  But thinking practically of a scenario where I couldn’t get out to do all that superman, batman stuff, this was what I could come up with. Maybe this is the way it will be.

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