Highway to Pandora

I was hitchhiking my way, when the samaritan came along,
I smiled at him, seeing no harm in walking as a throng,
Only on seeing lonely wayfarers dying, did the thought finally occur,
On how every fellow traveller was company enough to provide succour.

The samaritan taught me not, to invite everyone into my tent,
He showed me how lending a blanket, was kindness well spent,
I saw the samaritan give his own quilt to put a shivering soul at rest,
The warmth on his own shivering face, emanated from the joy of the quest.

While I held my bread close, praying it would last me to the destination,
He freely gave his around, hoping to save atleast one from starvation,
The more I carried for myself, the harder it was to move forward,
While he proved the more he shared, the lighter was his path onward.

While I paused every now and then, to reconfirm my footsteps with my map,
He used the time to talk a fallen brother out of their misguided mishap,
Every story I heard, of tragedies unravelled through his conversation,
Taught me how little I knew of others, perhaps, my greatest limitation.

Why he tried giving more than he had, I never could surmise,
Until the moment he revealed, the unseen rewards of sacrifice,
That when you go out of your way, because the needy need you to serve,
You’ll be surprised, at how many come forward, to give you what you deserve.

It was only when he showed me the true spirit of celebrating failure,
I came to realise, that success all the while, had this over-glorified allure,
I realised, that alone, every step I took, was too indistinguishable to remark,
But together, every stop we made, was our journey’s next landmark.

He knew that I could feel hurt, because of my inability to forgive,
So I came to believe, only mercy and compassion I could forever give,
The highway to Pandora taught me, that my only enemy was a fellow traveller’s fall,
And I would recognise and reach no heaven, without realising that love is all.

This one is a Gazebo piece about the journey called life and its purpose. Sometimes we are fortunate enough, to have transportation, and other times we have to walk along with everyone else. What matters, is that we help others reach the destination. That in itself is the true destination for those who know it.

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?”

Abracadabra

Encore! She cheers after another amazing trick is done,
And the magician is ever eager, to please the little one,
He turns his hat topsy, tossing and shaking it a while,
And slowly pulls out a wonder that makes the girl smile.

The hall begins to empty, “one last time” she pesters him,
And for the first time, in his eyes, tears begin to brim,
Down the years, many a child had come and gone,
But never such a one, like his heart had now won.

Such satisfaction in his craft, he had never before found,
Than by just watching this little one sitting spellbound,
Alas! The day came to an end, and she too got up, determined,
That one day, the secret of this enchanting magic, she would find.

She went around and asked everyone she could name,
But the answer they all gave, was invariably the same,
“Grow up little child, and you will know all there is, to know”,
Persistent though she was, she couldn’t bear an immediate ‘no’.

She counted not the days, for, like minutes they sped by,
She courted instead the knowledge, whenever it came by,
Helpless, the magician watched, as she slowly wrecked her dream,
Asking himself,why people were never satisfied living the dream.

The dream that she had so long come to lifelong cherish,
Was through her own will, own mind, beginning to perish,
For, the charm of magic, lies in the beauty of the unknown,
A fantasy, that disappears once its truth becomes known.

Because truth leaves on her such an indelible stain,
The very sight of it, can inflict on her a remorsive pain,
There will always be other kids, to charm and to entertain,
But, this one, will never be able to feel the magic again.

This one is another autobiographical one, with a little ‘gazebo’ kind of angle to it like most of the ones on ‘Mirror‘ have. It is the versified version of a story i cooked up to explain my concept of love during one of the long conversations with Nisha Ahuja. I was trying to explain to her the reason for the stand i have taken, as also the reason why the girl i love must never know it(not the stand, the point about the love).

To begin with, neither am i a magician, nor is she a little child. But the whole poem is a metaphor of the ‘need to know/right to know vs. the consequences of the knowledge’. The crux of the arguement was that if i loved a girl, she had the right to know, because it was upon her that the love was being showered upon, so obviously she deserved to know where the rain was falling from(maybe because she liked, maybe because she did not want to like it), right? Unfortunately, a little lunatic that i happen to be, i do not subscribe to that arguement, and so came up with the story of a magician, who’s charming a child with a trick.

The focal point between them both being the ‘magic’. The child, although wonderstruck by all the mumbo-jumbo of the trick wishes to know the secret of the trick, where the ‘power’ for the magic comes from, and maybe whether she too can perform it one day. And so she sets about obsessed with one day uncovering that little secret the magician carries, the power of charm that he wields over her. The magician of course wishes such a day never comes to pass, when this kid no longer is in awe of his magic. And so wishes day and night, that the child never grows up.

It was put to me, that such a thought on the behalf of the magician, was nothing but selfishness., pure and unadulterated SELFISHNESS. To show the kid the trick again and again, and tempt her with its stupefying disbelief and yet never want her get to the secret of the same. To create a desire in someone and nurture it personally, and wish for that desire to never be fulfilled, only because the magician can again and again further that undesirable desire, was what else if not selfishness.

I had only a few simple lines of arguement. A few lines that will initially sound so insanely impossible and so impractical that it will be immediately rejected, out of hand. But just allow it to simmer for a while in your mind, and also add to the simmering a fact that you are dealing with a wierd kind of relation, and maybe someday you too will be convinced of it. My point of view was that the magician was being selfish, all right. But he wasn’t being selfish for his sake, he was being selfish on behalf of the girl, a manifestation of the girl’s own selfishness without her will or thought for her own benefit!(i know it can seem kind of supreme idiocracy to call a person ‘selfish’ on behalf of someone else, but just hang on, and read the rest of it).

Lets assume the girl has now grown big, and has learnt that magic is nothing but a load of trash, and it involves mere ‘sleight of hand’ and is an insult to the rational intelligence of a mature human being. Being a twenty or thirty year old, have you ever gone to a magic-show and never felt that it was al one big fraud and only because you couldn’t stand up and shout what the fraud was, you were sitting down, and thinking to yourself what the angle to this trick was. Atleast i have never seen a single adult drool unashamedly with mouth agape at every simple little the magicina performs like the little children do.

So if this girl now no longer feels the magic(she may still ‘see’ it as magic, cause she cannot perform the trick herself, but she will no longer ‘believe’ it to be magic), who stands to lose? Let us put that question to both the parties involved, the magician and the girl. The magician first. There always were, there always are and there always will be little children for the magician, to show off his tricks, and take them to a world they never will again be a part of. There is no dearth of children, and there is no dearth of magic. The girl now. She will never again be able to see a magic show/trick without suspending her disbelief, and even if she did, she would never be able to do it, without regaining her disbelief. Such a suspension even when rare would only for the most astonishing of tricks, and never for simple ones(such a pity, that now in her life, magic is no longer just magic, it is now categorised into amazing tricks, bearable tricks[the ‘been there, seen that’ kind] and boring tricks).

To conclude in a line, for the magician there will always be others, for the girl there will be no more magic. It was that selfishness i was talking about. Borrowing somebody else’s selfishness and using it on them because they never know at the time that such lack of selfishness on their part(wishing to never grow so they can live in magic all their lives) would ultimately take away all the ‘magic’ that their life now has. Because, in order to understand magic, you have to first lose it. And it is such a loss you can never get it back in your life again. Innocence only stays until willed away, knowledge haunts till death.

So, anyway whatever you choose to make of it, woudl only like to say that, the whole story above was only one part of the actual reason for this poem. Only one half ofthe poem deals with that aspect, the other part of it, through various randomly arranged lines, deals with my schizophrenic nature of living in a “Neverland” and having these “Peter Pan”ish ideas of a life that is never short of surprises and magical ones at that, where angels are no longer fictional sketches of a hallucinating mind but are characters i wish i could talk to and maybe even fly with, and when i can simply chase butterfiles down lush green fields that span upto eternity and so on and on and on.

Guess its time i stopped here. Its becoming more and more like prose blog, specially with WordPress giving such a small textbox that i can’t see how long i have rambled on. So that’s it for now. Wish i could tell the whole story about that side of me, but maybe more pieces of it with another poem(another Mirror one to be precise).

 

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