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.

Advertisements

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 🙂

Frontier

frontier.jpg

It is already late, but the night is still young,
But my mind can’t go on, already high-strung,
When the words begin to find the dawn, the day,
I know that tonight, sleep has found its way.

The morning brings me a paper I nearly seem to know,
And so I begin writing, furiously from the word go,
I try to remember the order, down to the last thought,
I can only do so much, the fate of the result, I know not.

Day after day, every morning, I religiously ran the run,
All for this one day, when I had to even faster run,
Short of breath, I pushed myself with one final burst of speed,
Useless, maybe next year, another attempt to try and lead.

Standing near the podium, I begin to uncontrollably cry,
The winner steps down to console, saying, atleast I did try,
I hold my medal hard, feeling its heart, already stone cold,
Wondering how long I had to stare, to turn it into gold.

Every attempt I made, there was already somebody better,
And his record, tomorrow somebody else is going to better,
Is that what life is all about, always being ahead of the rest?
If so, I must admit, life is a very very badly designed test.

Is that all that matters, setting goals and achieving?
Running against yourself, against the world, competing,
To put every moment of life on a scale, upon a benchmark,
To compare and consider, before you can again embark.

Why can’t life be about enjoying the second, the moment?
About learning and sharing and improving your talent,
About the surprise of letting each moment lead the way,
And giving our satisfaction, the chance to forever play.

This one is also dedicated to Aamir Khan and Amol Gupte, already among the Beacons. Had earlier written one that not only was too much abstract for my own good, but it also failed to cover another important aspect of the drama, the human angle. The unquenchable thirst for betterment, for rising above the mundane, and conquering the stars.

It often used to make me wonder, why we need to compete. To prove to others what we have got. Why can’t we just do what we do, at the best we can do, and let the results speak for our efforts, rather than have a benchmark appreciate our efforts. Why must the yardstick of one’s effort always be the measure of another’s effort? Why cannot people find the satisfaction of having done the best we could do, as a good enough yardstick? Why must the reward for our efforts be always contingent upon the comparision with somebody else’s efforts? Why cannot the joy of watching our efforts fructify itself be the reward?

The poem was titled after that invisible barrier we set for ourselves, and spend an entire lifetime trying to cross it. In the end we will never know even if we have, because it is invisible. It is the end beyond which we can never go, and yet we refuse to believe it, and expend every valuable second we can trying to accomplish just that. There is nothing wrong, with such an effort, infact it is a very complementary part of human nature called endeavour. The problem begins when in the process of endeavour, we forget the simplest of joys, the smallest of joys that life holds. When we forget the satisfaction that effort itself is supposed to generate, and find solace only in the accomplishment, rather than the journey, that is when, competition becomes death itself. For without finding true joy, there is no greater purpose for life. That is the moment when the very accomplishment itself is the death knell.

I still remember the 100M running race in school, when one guy(I somehow managed to forget his name, like always) was competing for the all-rounder medal and had to win this race compulsorily(it was the last of the track events) to get the medal. While practising the previous day of the race, he happened to sprain his ankle, which put paid to his hopes of the medal, something he had worked for every single day of the year. Race day. The whistle was blown. I saw something I will never forget for the rest of my life. All the runners held hands and walked the entire distance, step by step, and slowly, lest that guy’s ankle get more strained, and at the very end, lifted their right foot, and at the count of three, set it down. It is another matter that in a highly controversial decision, Praveena Sir adjudged that since Ravi Kanth’s foot had come down a fraction of a millisecond before the others, he was the winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Well, nobody said life was fair. But it is moments and gestures like these that aim to set right that imbalance that matter more than winning or losing.

How many times have we seen Donovan Bailey stop running to attend to a fellow-runner who twisted his ankle? How many times have we seen Lance Armstrong get off his cycle to help someone who had fallen off theirs? That day, in school, I learnt what sports was about, what sportsmanship was about. It definitely was more than today, now and gold. It was about life, about living, caring and sharing. About humanity.

It is this same feeling I get when I remember my Board Exams. How many people can you mention, who were studying to be rankers, and how many people can you mention, who could-have-been rankers, and yet set that aside to help others who could barely pass to do so. I can mention a minimum of two, off-hand, Harshavardhan Dawar and Sainath Choudary. These were two guys who could have aced any exam centum, every time they wrote it, and yet chose to spend the days before the exams helping clarify other guys’ doubts. Anytime was never an interruption, the night before the exam, the day of the exam, the hour before the exam, no time was an interruption, and no doubt was too silly. It was this humanity, that anyway we can pass, atleast let us help others also do so, that touched my heart, and even today, I never send back anybody who comes to me for help in a subject. If I don’t know what that means, I will take it upon myself to first perfect it, and then teach the person, but never send them away saying, I am competing myself, sorry can’t afford to spend time on you.

But sometimes, many things just remain dreams. All shouted and done, absolutely nothing will change about this scenario. Only new actors, new backdrops, the story will always be the same, self-improvement over community-improvement.

P.S. Thought this would do it, unfortunately, there are still some more angles to cover, so you can expect the Part-3 some time soon.

%d bloggers like this: