The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

The Leopard – Book Review

Posted by mathiezhil on June 17, 2008

Sweeping changes in the political landscape of a nation always leaves a minority which is disconcerted and ironically invisible. The Leopard a novel by Giuseppe di Lampedusa portrays the fag end of a minor Sicilian Prince – Don Fabrizio. The novel resonates with various images of aristocratic decline and social commentary on the conscience of Sicily at the time of Risorgimento – a movement under the leadership of Garibaldi unified Italy in the last two decades of the nineteenth century.

Don Fabrizio, prince of Salina, is caught in the throes of social deck reshuffle. He witnesses the rise of a tasteless bourgeois matching him in financial and social prowess. Pedigree is no more a matter of pride for his own family members but an abstract anachronism.  Lampedusa, to certain extent, brilliantly captures the death of this social phenomenon – aristocracy, nevertheless fails to recognize the elementary forces that might have left the nobility is shambles. Don Fabrizio cringes internally when he finds that his nephew – Tancredi Falconeri – falls in love with Angelica – a stunning beauty and daughter of Don Sedara, a new comer in the social hierarchy , but accepts it with reluctance and grace.

The novel doesn’t believe in the idea of a tight plot. It spins on its insights and the insights the characters develop over a period of time. The reunification or Risorgimento is a distant event, but still the tremors echo in Salina in different ways – a very observant characteristic of any historic event and its tremendous impact .Lampedusa’s captures the emotions of ‘The Leopard’ – Don Fabrizio brilliantly. The novel proffers a lyrical peek into a dying civilization. Perhaps, this arises from the very autobiographical nature of the novel – the character Don Fabrizio is based on the writer’s grandfather. Certain portions of the book, chapters like Love at Donnafugata, is beautifully written , metaphorically a young and new couple finding love and the unleashing of new life happens in the midst of decaying and lonesome rooms of the palace – a chapter whose creative forces can be matched only by the lyricism of Latin American writers.

Symbols, recurrent symbols of decadence and thankless death thrive in ‘The Leopard’. Starting from the finding of cadaver of a soldier in the gardens, the author has populated the novel with rich symbols. The title ‘Leopard’ itself is partly metaphorical. The readers are not exposed to a stifling image of decadence and death, hallmark of novels discerning angst of a lonely, hapless individual. It just possesses the characteristics of an evening breeze, soothing, light, and never too burdening, nevertheless effective.Lamepdusa displays a certain honest moral passion in looking into Sicily’s national conscience which is neither dismissive nor defeatist , but more fatalistic. A reviewer/reader, of liberal political stance might only just question Mr.Lampedusa’s forgetfulness in trying to identify the forces behind the death of aristocracy. The political correctness of the novel in this part of the 21’s century might be arguable from various stand points but the perennial portion of the novel is not that but the supreme aesthetics and the passion with which the author studies the history of Sicily through the eyes of a man who is nothing but a monument of a bygone era.


Posted in Literature | 2 Comments »

Why I dislike Photographs

Posted by mathiezhil on May 5, 2008

Photographs and Post cards is the yin and yang for me ,
of my father’s memory.
Postcards are photographic in a very unphotographic way
Photographs are postcardish in a faintly photographic way.
Since the day my father died i have disliked photographs –
Vignettes of vanished verisimilitude.
I prefer reading the postcards hoisting old lazy syllables.
He had sent them years back and
are now squatting in a chest of drawers like a
mannequin waiting to come alive.
Reading them is like
gaining a lifelong acquaintance with a fading echo.

Posted in Poetry | 10 Comments »

Traffic Signal

Posted by mathiezhil on January 7, 2008

She stands there , mute to monsoon rains
and the maddening megalopolis
Smiling in green, winking in amber and
Staring in red – a hackneyed almost half rainbow.
When we stare in red at one another
I secretly smile at her , for
we are so much similar – mute most of the times
And occasionally blind.

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

An Ode To Time

Posted by mathiezhil on January 7, 2008

With a Weak whimper , like a reluctantly toppling dominoes
moments nudge one another.
What would they exchange – the magic of touch?
or sweet secret whispers ?.
I listen to them – still a week whimper like a snail on mosaic.
They don’t seem to have time for exit lines
Let me dwell on the folly of language
to create metaphors as memorabilia.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Younger by a day

Posted by mathiezhil on May 4, 2007

Casts a shadow like a sweet smelling parenthesis.
Only, the unuttered syllables of the day
Would be put in postcards.
Silence alone would be recorded.
Syllables are simulacrums
sIl&n(t)s is uniquely silent.
Today, I will recollect the kites in April skies
And Hyacinth in dreams.
I will smile at unwound clocks (leave them unwound)
And talk to the stoic post box standing alone in the street corner. (Pat its head).
I will ascend the stairs two at a time
And descend three at a time.
When I walk beneath the bridge
I will take the parenthesis from my pocket and smell it for one last time.
When you get the post cards,
You would only know that it was me who consumed the day.

Posted in Poetry | 11 Comments »

Writing-A collaborative art?

Posted by mathiezhil on April 18, 2007

Aaron and myself decided to share a portion of his blog,where we would be publishing short stories and sometimes if and when required we would borrow elements from the works of the other person.It it NOT a relay narrative thread -me handling the baton to Aaron and vice versa.It is more of “fragmented borrowing” if and when required.Watch out for this space,it might have interesting things coming up in the days to come,with characters somewhere in remote corners of India one day,flying in an domestic airplane in the US the very next day – the whims of the authors.There is post from my side today.Check it out

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Metaphysical Meditation

Posted by mathiezhil on April 10, 2007

Andrei Tarkovsky in his works creates a world consistently self-sustaining, the literature of life in his world-images, signs and symbols reflect the angst and despair of human life but only to show the unflinching purity of human spirit. The subject matter of his works offers an involuntary opportunity for any creator to slip into solipsism. Stalker-which I had watched last night-is set in an apocalyptic milieu and is an work of art, in my opinion, that is incommensurable as the imagery is ferociously unique. Motion in Stalker -perhaps in most of Tarkovsky’s works- at places trickles down to inactivity, and it takes sometime to realize that the director unlike other works of cinema is not using motion as the fulcrum for his work but he is using Mass. Every scene in Stalker operates with a critical mass attached to it, as it was said for Joyce’s style in Dubliners. Stalkers are men who guide people in the “Zone”- a region cordoned off as a result of observance of strange and fantastic incidents attributed to a meteorite hitting the region. The movie dwells on the odyssey of the protagonist-a stalker, guiding a writer and a physicist who are dysfunctional in their own ways,into The Zone.

Stalker is a work of infinite density, for it proffers multiple layers of meaning. The Zone, the leitmotif for the threesome odyssey is an allegory to the world created by every individual. Zone is a bizarre landscape whose trappings are continually changing and the cinematography beautifully captures the metaphysical labyrinthine. .The weird behavior is not internalized as it intrinsic characteristic, but is attributed to the conditions of human visiting it. In other words, The Zone lacks definitions not that it is abstract, but that it can possibly be any definable entity-how we mostly fail to unclasp ourselves from the world we create and how we at one point of time we are all what we have defined.

The Zone in numerous ways reminds me of Plato’s Cave, only much more graver than the Cave. The journey of the three people, lead by the Stalker is interspersed with numerous discussions. Tarkovsky tries to reaffirm, rather question the purpose of art. The writer , a failure in his profession, believes that a genius wouldn’t write. Art is his opinion is only a man’s quest for assertion of the existence of the parameters in the external world, but the creation of these parameters happens in our internal world. The writer believes that art is a self inflicted wound. There is a conversation at the start of the movie dwelling on the subjectivity of truth and truth per se as seen by the scientific community and by the artists. The Zone is littered with tanks, weapons and a multitude of paraphernalia-remnants of the past of men and woman who have failed to enter The Zone. The destination, or the odyssey is bound to terminate at a room in The Zone, which is rumored to manifest the wishes of humans who enter it.

The Stalker is the divine power in The Zone; no one can exist there in the absence of The Stalker. A logical extrapolation of the Stalker’s omniscience in , can beg the question if it is his own creation.

Tarkvosky’s imagery is breathtaking; it flows with Surrealistic undertones like Paz’s poetry. The lack of motion sometimes is riveting, as I said earlier it is the mass attached to each scene that accrues as viewer’s experience. Stalker has a remarkable imbalance of the two, the mass accumulating at a faster rate and motion taking a laid back stroll, the experience derived out of such an imbalance in unique and exhilarating.

The journey ends with the travelers making their own choices on seeing the Room in the Zone emphasizing the cardinality of the inner spirit in all of us and how we mostly fail to see through the veil.

I wouldn’t term this a review of The Stalker, this, in my opinion is an expression of the gratification we derive on reading or watching a work of art which could have meandered to be bawdy, shamelessly self-reflective, rambunctiously narcissistic but then chooses to be convincing, unafraid and celebrates the colors of human spirit and Tarkovsky does that with an unmatched profundity.

Posted in Movie Musings | 6 Comments »

If I could tell you,I would let you know

Posted by mathiezhil on April 3, 2007


This is a true story. This is as told to me by my friend K___________. I have borrowed some of the titles from the poems of W.H.Auden.This is for K___________, whom I could never meet, but when I asked him if we could meet he had said, “If I could Tell you, I would let you know”.

Victim to his heart’s invisible furies:

Nights are alkali. He turns sideways and tries to smell her breath. Smells less, rather Smellless .He looks at her breasts. He is reminded of the word palindrome.Stsaerb.Not one. He smiles inwardly. He questions, when was the last time he smiled. Night is a black hole, denies answers. He gets up from the bed. Moves to the window. The stars wink, unaware of his turbulence – chaotic as an unstable subatomic particle – and his urgency for dawn. He turns to the table; the letter lies there, creased cleanly at the center, the surface colored at patches, by the neon light leaking into his bedroom from the hoarding behind his house, -a Neonbow in stupor. Picking up the letter, he moves to the toilet, drops it in only to observe the letters in the letter dissolving as if this was the awaited absolution. Moves to the window again and stares at the mulatto colored sky.

Blow the cobwebs from the mirror see yourself at last:

He visits, when the nerves are poulticed with Nicotine and caffeine, the archive room of the newspapers – the acoustics of the past lies there like an echo which had decided to mute itself – a candid act possible when one is aware of the right to non-existence – which was earlier a garage, devoid of windows. Today, late in the evening, after completing a cover story on the partisan struggle of the GFTA (1), he walks into the archive rooms. Sitting on the table, he listens to the hiss of the dying day in the late evening “bye-byes” of his colleagues and the creaking lift, the creak muffled by the concrete of the garage. He sits there, with his head thrown back until the creaking kiosk of the lift squats somewhere in the vertical axis of the building. He hums the song written by him twenty-two years back and tuned by his friend OED (2)

“Mother, Mother whisper tonight in my ears, the beauty of the bygone years.
Who really cares, for our rotten sores?
The rivers that flow in our souls
Would overflow with dreams
Of freedom and liberation… * (3)

He keeps humming the first three lines. The last visitor to the room was himself and that was three days back, the newspapers lie on the table the way he had left them back then, the one with a photo of him along with OED, Short Circuit, Mr. Bitumen, CDHP (Cat Driven Horse Power)(4) in the foreground and other members of the FEBRA (5) in the background was twenty two years and seventy six days old. He thinks of their codenames, sighs and is bemused by the fact that the forests behind them had no name then. It was unexplored and nameless, and they never bothered to name it either during their struggle, since independence the forests in the region have had 4 names, two of them changed twice, and divided between four states (6). The region forming the backdrop of the photo is under GFTA’S control now. He thinks of the thick foliage, things haven’t changed much for it. Then it was FEBRA and now GFTA. Is the foliage an open-air metaphor for the archive rooms? He smiles, the poet in him isn’t dead, he thinks, just atrophied by eight years of editorship at the “The Daily Chronicle”. He reads the article associated with the photograph. Attempts the crossword puzzle in the opposite page of the article. He spends an hour more in the archive room ruminating and gets back to the deserted office. He walks into the bar he had built a few years back for himself, has a drink staring at the glass plantation hanging on the ceiling. On finishing his drink he gets back to his room, to find a letter deposited on the table, perhaps the deposition had taken place while he was in the foliage/archive room/garage. It’s from the country’s top historian Dr. HH .He reads it. Decides not to go home. Rereads it few more times until dawn and calls up OED when he deems the time is no more ungodly.

Excerpts of an interview with Zako the Lion –Spokesman for GFTA-at the GFTA HQ in Muthapadithyu (7):

(The interviewer’s identity has been suppressed as ZTL (8) was in hiding at the time of the interview)

Q: The Island has proscribed the GFTA a terrorist organization. What would be your reaction to this?

ZTL: This was very much anticipated and we knew that it was very much on the cards. They seem to have forgotten the fact that the Mainland had declared more than half of the members of the current cabinet’s member’s terrorists two decades back. We don’t deem this a setback and we would fight with all our blood and might until they accept our demands of unconditional freedom.

Q: So, you are not talking about autonomy here, but unconditional independence and recognition as a free state?

Yes, that is right. Am not talking about autonomy or state of domicile here. Am talking about unconditional freedom. We differ from them in lot more ways than they differed from the Mainland. We are linguistically different-they write from left to right and our script is bilingual and boustrophedonic .For generations, our men, women and language has been mindlessly suppressed by the Islanders. They have been doing to us what the Mainland did to them.

Q. They say their claims are historically right. (ZTL interrupts before the Q is completed)

Well, I intend to elaborate more on this. It has proved to be a matter of convenience for them to lay such historical claims. The tablets discovered at The Nasquduna Caverns (8) and later deciphered by a team led by Dr .HH (9) was destroyed fifteen years back in a fire accident in the museum

The deciphered interpretation – I would say, and not necessarily the truth-states that we are racially no different but born to native people and the Islanders. Our question have been doesn’t that make us racially different. I would rather say they have wriggled history’s arms and making it state what they need.

Q. These claims are based on the Nasquduna cavern tablets. Do you suspect that the team led by Dr. HH had a hand in the conspiracy?

Well, we hold Dr. HH and his team members at very respectable postions. We do not suspect their interpretation; we just suspect that their interpretation has been suppressed.



They are still alive but in a world H(H)e Changed:

“Dynamo,” says OED “, this letter makes it even more ambiguous. Though he gives all the necessary proof in terms of the signs and symbols for the misinterpretation, he doesn’t really account in unambiguous terms for the rationale behind the misinterpretation, though he wants to take full responsibility of all this. This is as murky as it was earlier. What do you say?”

He nods eagerly and adds, “I tried”, clears his throat, “I tried to reach him over the phone, and for all not so apparent reasons but as stated in the letter, he is missing since yesterday morning”.

“And am not sure of the repercussions of publishing this. If I do it, I don’t think we would have any other option but to let those bastards go free, but the Dr states that publishing this can redeem his gnawing conscience.”

“Then, why did he send this to you? He could have called for the press, a man of his stature commands considerable respect to attract attention of the media”.

“You can’t be missing and call for a press conference”, says Dynamo wryly.

They converse for the next hour or so and Dynamo leaves home undecided.

Appendix and Notes:

  1. GFTA (Transliteration: Gerang’s Federation of Terrestrial Army {GFTA considers Gerang –meaning “first blood” in the language of the islanders-to be their first martyr, who was killed in their first operation against the islanders. It is believed that Gerang is a Nom de Guerre of a twenty one year old (when he died) law college student*(Citation needed: -K____ was skeptical of this and believed that this was a cult of personality build around Gerang to make the world believe that GFTA had very strong intellectual roots. (School leaving certificates of Gerang were never found)}.). They have been termed secessionist and proscribed a Terrorist organization by The Island. Men like ZTL and Col.S_______(K____ wanted me to have even the Nom de Guerre a secret) have been sentenced to death for “terrorism” and other crimes.
  2. OED-Men both in GFTA and FEBRA were and are obsessed with such pseudonyms. (K______ jokingly attributes to AMCS-“Always Make choices Syndrome”. (The author has a copy of an unfinished poem by K____ titled “Pseudonyms and Acronyms” – poignant depiction of how these two linguistic structures is the fulcrum of their freedom struggle)). OED, an acclaimed moviemaker quit his collegiate education midway to join FEBRA. Men and boys always carried some form of memorabilia from their homes. They then thought the foliage was a one-way ticket to a trip called life. OED’s obsession with the English language drove him to carry a tattered copy of OED from his father’s bookshelf.
  3. Few members of FEBRA intended to adapt “Song to my mother” as their national anthem. The moderate section of FEBRA who deemed this to be too violent for a national anthem thwarted the attempt.
  4. CDHP later became the first prime minister of The Island.
  5. FEBRA (Federation of Brotherhood and Republican Army) can be termed the forefather’s of GFTA.FEBRA was an organization led by men of the educated class for whom circumstances had forced them to resort to arms and conspiracy. Independence of The Island marked the dissolution of FEBRA. Freedom transubstantiated to body of blood of the administrative labyrinth of The Island.
  6. The Island has had issues in separating themselves into states. Cartographers have been redrawing the map of the country every two years in average, sometimes drastically with the previous maps possessing very minimal resemblance to the latest.
  7. Muthapadithyu- a city in the southwestern region of The Island, which by itself forms a province-The Island, when the author spoke with K______ last time, had around 14 provinces divided into 29 districts- has been under the control of GFTA.
  8. The Nasquduna Caverns, 10 KM to the south of Muthapadithyu were discovered two years after The Island gained independence from the Mainland. It is believed that the Tablets were written for years together inside the caverns. (An entire village close to the Maurapause Mountains -on, which the Caverns are located – claims that the authors of the tablets were their ancestors and there is a hypothesis that the authors of this tablet had a huge settlement in and around these Mountains).
  9. Dr. HH- A member of the FEBRA and he had acquired this pseudonym in his FEBRA days- lead the team of Historians, archaeologists and ethnographers who tried deciphering the Nasquduna tablets. Initially it was believed that the tablets were written in an Anatolian language and that they were all homogeneous linguistically. Later it was identified that the tablets were written in subtlety different languages. Decipherment had numerous impediments and has not been fully realized, as some of the languages used in the tablet inscriptions are not bilinguals.


Posted in Short Stories | Leave a Comment »

Bastardy of a Poem

Posted by mathiezhil on February 14, 2007

The dust storm blowing beneath my iris is only getting stronger but it cannot outlive my death.
It wants me to live a few more minutes for me and my death to witness another one dead.
Men lay around me like atoms frozen voluntarily on the declaration of their bastardy origin.
I see the traces of recursive avathars that i would be forced to incarnate in the centuries to come:
A post-modern automaton contrived in shopping mall alleyways,a soldier who loses arms in lost and not the last battles,
A fakir faking Maitreya for seven days,The smell napalm in mothers womb,
A Tuila playing Adivasi Bhagwan in the forests of Orissa, Bhojpuri speaking proselyte exploring
the missing river in the confluence in Prayag.
A list of disjunct incarnations in an existenstial poem unabashedly aware of itself
Maya,Bless me with forgetfulness,
Forgetfulness to forget the fate of ancient dharma strangulated by it own umbilical cord,
Forgetfulness to forget the poem that lucidly stares at me from my eyes – a poem that would be written by a man who would be my metaphor-
who would only know how to enter the dreaded chakravyuha of life.
Why did you sleep that day?
Did banality cipher with dreams?
Incomplete conversations are blessed with certain permanence in memory,but not when you are behind a fluid veil
Did you carry the veil or were you the veil?
Am tired of reading this from my own eyes like an incantation , let me wait unit the storm recedes,
let me wait until silence suppresses the shadows of syllables
And then Die to be born again..

II.A Posthumous Post Script to a So-Called Poem :
Abhimanyu  read a  poem preserved in the untouched dusts of future , is that moment about birth or death?
Is a poem dead when read?
or Is a poem born when written?
Was this poem dead before born?
Is this an ouroboros, is future just the past baptizing time
Is creation a paradox of death having birth pangs?
If Abhimanyu is a metaphor for angst in life
Let this poem be a stated and naked metaphor for incompleteness…

Posted in Poetry | Leave a Comment »

Optical Burdens of an Insomniac

Posted by mathiezhil on December 18, 2006

It was a mistake .It was indeed a mistake .He had underestimated the burden of absence. There was always a placid, not so perennial, pulsing often muted by the sweetness of circumstances and sometimes conscientiously muffled- an element of internal clairvoyance which he did not heed to. Had he heeded he wouldn’t be haunted by this nocturnal, metaphysical universe-a vestigial residue of the years of bizarre optical phenomena, banal inventions, and amorous meetings. The origin can very well be termed ‘Big Bang’, it never existed three days back, and never had he imagined that the darkness of his external world could illuminate another miniature universe, possibly something as nascent as three days doesn’t require much light. It was distinctly burdensome, left him almost sleepless for the last three days; he suspected if his eyes had a functional mutation overnight, they were now the receptacles for his new universe.

Now, let’s reserve our omniscience to his present, past and future and faithfully not breach the privacy of his dreams in the night until they get decimated as part of a ‘ yesterday’. But then, we would certainly take some liberty in performing the trapeze act between his present, past and future-a trisected trapeze act breaching the rectilinear, vectorial characteristics of his time. So, three days is certainly good enough time for autopsy of a dream, preserved and frozen in the neuronal caverns, but only vaguely remembered.

It was when slowly and steadily Monday’s promises were trickling down to Tuesday. She was there, caught between the concavity and convexity of his eyes as he had seen her the last time .She is standing naked in front of a refrigerator-a red one, the entire setting is illuminated by an invisible source of light, her shadow is filling the room diagonally, if the setting sounds quite static for a dream, lets carefully watch this: The door of the red refrigerator is being opened and closed continually and her shadow across the room sharpens then blunts; blunts and then sharpens; grows and then dies; dies and then grows .The speed at which the door is closed and opened is steadily increasing ,quite steadily and then builds to a crescendo – a crescendo whose possible existence can hinge only on a dream ,the source now operates so fast that the shadow is no more static to the perception of his vision ,it has acquired an animated characteristic and moves across the room but she is unmoving and standing in front of the red refrigerator her back facing him .Adding to the dynamism of the setting is the appearance of floating one-dimensional objects .Let’s have a closer look at them: They look like alphabets ,but written in a certain undecipherable but distinctly familiar yet unfamiliar ,vaguely unfamiliar and not so distinctly familiar pattern .There are forty one of them .On closer examination we would also find that are eighteen distinct ones and the rest a repetition of one among the eighteen. Any attempt to decipher them would be in vain, now they are slowly drifting to one end of his eye, waiting there for some time, move to the other eye and the movement characterized by an osmotic fluidity. Left to right and then right to left, then left to right and right to left simultaneously.

Doesn’t it sound more like an anatomical eccentricity? The eyes beholding image of her standing naked, shadows and alphabets moving like cartoon figures and then she moving along with the alphabets and moving between the eyes – left and right. Time has injected a sense of undeniable movement to all objects in this setting now. But the refrigerator-the red one is the only object not moving and that denies a symmetry to the setting. The red refrigerator always lies in the place of origin, might be left, might be right but three days back it was left. Consequently, this setting which could have acquired a possible fleeting symmetry when everything with the exception of the refrigerator moved from left to right or right to left and the possibility of a precise geometrical bisection thus was denied. This turns out to be a monotonous operation once things are in motion, happens all through the night: Left to right; right to left; left and right; right and left – like a meaningless rhyme that was never written and passed across generations in the form of a folklore.

Tuesday morning was filled with a sense of optical exhaustion .He called up ‘The Historian’ and asked them if they would still offer him the post in one of their teams, the one that he had rejected a couple of months back. This was an anthropological journalistic assignment, which worked on finding the ‘Efforts put in by King Ashoka to spread Buddhism in Africa’. He did not want to take this up then, as he knew his knowledge on King Ashoka was remarkably limited and he was called only by the virtue of his master’s degree in History. Besides this his depth in Buddhism was almost non-existent; and on Africa was absolutely non-existent. The one thing that really deterred him from taking up this position was, his certainty that Africa was impervious to both Ashoka and Buddhism. But now, if dreams can be osmotic, if alphabets can acquire chromosome like characteristics and float, if a red refrigerator can become immortal by becoming the immutable cyclorama then Ashoka could have very well made efforts to spread Buddhism in Africa.’ The Historian’ readily accepted him and he was to join them in another three weeks from today. He resigned from ‘The Neo-Historian’ and was filled with a sense of relief, a mechanism to exorcize the ghosts of dreams, burden and burden of dreams. He readied himself for the night by quitting his job with ‘Neo-Historian’.

He spent the entire driving in the newly bought car. The reflections of women on the road, each noticed in a different posture, bringing up the predicament, the predilections over the last two years – numerous snapshots and he struggled to chronicle them. He looked at the rearview mirror again, with no one to reflect at the rear the mirror mirrored its own undisclosed role in this series of episodes.

Three years back, in the second month of the year, on the first day of the second month, on the third working hour of the first day of the second month three years back he was standing on the portico of his office building for reasons which he never recollected all through is life and he could spot her at a distance. He was aware of the fact that she would be joining their team. He had chanced to meet her during one of the several rounds of interview. Today, as she was driving on her bike to the parking lot there was something distinctly odd about her attire. She was wearing a pink T-shirt, and she was trying to make a statement with something written over the frontal portion of her T-shirt. She was quite close now and still driving and still the oddity persisted .He couldn’t read a single word of what was written on her T-shirt. It possessed the semantics of a long learnt language but the script, the individual letters looked maligned and oblique and obtuse in a way. But then you see, all this had happened in few seconds .The totality of the writing was vaguely familiar but it consisted of undecipherable but distinctly familiar yet unfamiliar, vaguely unfamiliar and not so distinctly familiar letters. While he stood there waging a linguistic battle with his entire faculty of syllables and consonants she moved past him in the portico. Now he noticed that her attire had nothing. Just nothing, it was a simple T-shirt with nothing written on it. Syllables, consonants and now confusion was playing its role in the linguistic battle. He slowly moved towards her bike in the parking lot as though it had the answers to his few minutes old optical riddle.

The bike stood there dead as a stone, unaware of the fact that someone was attempting to collaborate with it to solve a linguistic cum optical puzzle. The bike stood there motionless and as useless as any beautiful object of creation. He looked at the rearview mirror grinned and had closer look at the twenty five year old enamel with a sense of aging concern and moved towards the office . Huh, then it struck chord, the aging enamel helped him in finding the answer for his puzzle, the whiteness of his enamel had the answers hidden. As he was examining his enamel he looked at the label stuck on the rearview mirror “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Some kind of optical phenomenon, might be just reflection; might be refraction combined with reflection; might be even diffraction, well might be a possible combination of all of this had mirrored these letters on her T-shirt, faithfully reflecting the semantics and the white spaces as in the label. Now the elation of solving the most complex structural and optical puzzle filled his senses.

Let’s all comprehend and confess: Read out “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” – A combination of forty-one alphabets constituting a dozen syllables. Do you think it takes more time to fall in love with a woman than reading out a dozen syllables? Well, it doesn’t. But let’s all confess: it never works out that way. After all, what does it take, in simplistic terms time lesser than to pronounce twelve syllables, for any precise expression of the emotion shall be shorter than a dozen syllables. If it takes more than twelve syllables for any of you to express your love then reconsider it and if it had taken more than twelve syllables in the past for you to express your love, then, this moment, declare it null and void and attempt doing it in less than twelve syllables .It ought to polysyllabic but never exceed a dozen, for women, let’s be considerate and take the baker’s dozen into consideration it’s thirteen for women, but then you might attribute any form of failure to the ominous ness of a dozen plus one , so let’s make it fourteen. But, as said earlier it isn’t as simple as this.

He took precisely a year, precisely is precisely here, nothing more; nothing less; three hundred and sixty fifth day since the day he solved his optical cum structural cum linguistic puzzle. During this one year, he spent around a thousand and twenty hours with her in the office; Approximately, around two hundred hours in the restaurant’s, another thousand and odd hours in the form of phone conversations, which was punctuated with the banal inventions of secret onomatopoeic words, the usage of which was certainly limited to the conversation’s of invention alone and was never reused, So in totality that would round to a year, if you identify deficit in numerical fill them with interludes of poetry writing ,but he would never realize that universal fate had sealed his fate when he stood there in the parking lot reading his enamel and the twelve syllables.

The next one year he persecuted a quarter century of loneliness on the altars of time with her companionship. Life started possessing a musical undercurrent – preludes of poems and solitude, interludes of secrets, flowers and fairies and no coda visible in the musical realm .It took some time but then had to happen, their meeting in loneliness was more physically desirous and punctuated with amorous touches evoking the twenty five plus twenty four year old sensuality. He always wrapped his arms around her hip and fumbled with the thin layer of lipid around it and beneath it .She played with his hair that covered the nape of his neck. A love story of Lipid and scalp and melanin and no anatomical discovery besides the layers of lipid and the female psyche contained itself to the hair at the nape of the neck and an attempt in vain, to rub off the pigments from the hair. Half a century of sensuality was contained by the sociological mores invented by their forefather’s who would have ever known that it takes anything less than the time taken to pronounce twelve syllables to breach their meaninglessness.

We had decided not to breach the privacy of dreams, shouldn’t we place love in a far higher pedestal than dream? And we shall. We shall not perform a clinical postmortem of their love .Let us limit our liberties to lipid and pigments.

Apparently, nuptial bonding should have been the next consequential arrangement, which, by this time, you the reader, should have discerned that it never materialized.

The arrangement had to have the stamp of recognition from the elders on both the sides. He visited her house and spoke to her father, her overture on her polysyllabic love affair to her father the day before, saved him from the embarrassment of a stranger in her typical Indian domestic middle class setting. Her mother looked like an aged and plaintive midwife carrying too many obstetric secrets at her heart. Her father had the habit of wetting his spectacle by blowing air on to the lenses, and then talks as though it was all written on the lenses and every time he had to read it before talking it out. The bearer of the obstetrician secrets and the decoder of secret scripts on the spectacle lenses politely disagreed with his moments of reading of enamel and the label on the mirror, attributing their negative stand to the two families belonging to different castes, they being relatively less polluted and ritually more purer than him.

Purity, pollution, polysyllabic (strictly less than or equal to a dozen) , pigments – a love story dominated by too many P ’s. . Are all love affairs this way; someway are the other unknowingly predominated by a single alphabet?

That was the first and last time he visited the bearer of secrets and the anonymous decoder. For the next one year she waged a battle, fighting the dual P’s of the decoder, fighting for the memories of L and P – Lipid and Pigment and fighting with an armory, that looked well equipped but proved insufficient. They only had O, b, j, e, c, t, s, h,, m, r, a, p, l, t, h, a, y All this was powerless against the decoder and the bearer of secret’s dual P’s.

He could never discern her strong disposition towards filial inclinations. She was not ready to make a choice of living against the mores and filial fancies. So, he let fight her battle, he watching and she fighting, he trying to convince and she denying. During the process of exhaustion of her armory she had rejected a dozen and a half of men whom her father her chosen for her to live with, and who were on par with her in terms of pollution and purity. He could see that she was losing, which meant he was losing and which also meant they would be losing.

It was on one of such days, a Friday, marked with the travesties of P’s she came down to his desk and asked him to wrap up things, reserving their evening for quite a serious discussion. They went down to the park where they had discovered the sensuality off pigments and lipids for the first time .She handed over to him the photograph of a man, a photograph shot specially for matrimonial purposes, which tries to show a spruced up version of the person but brutally betrays, merely venting in an air of artificiality. She said that she has decided to get married to the person in the photograph, he tried to convince her of he talking to the bearer of secrets and the decoder again, but then this time still his dual P’s of purity and pollution hadn’t had an elevation, so certainly would be in vain, she said. Losing is contagious she had lost and now it was catching up with him. His understanding of her for the last two years showed that her decision making mechanism was controlled by a internalization which was impervious to anyone, he inclusive and sometimes she inclusive, an independent mechanism the dynamics of which was more mysterious than anything he had ever known. This time he knew that he could get nowhere even closer to the penumbra of the internal monster. She asked him to spend the next week with her and bade him good night and left the park, the smell of disturbed lipid and pigment still hanging around him.

All through the weekend, day in and day out, he tried to reproduce, with various permutation and combination of scenic settings, the moment when she should have conclusively reached this decision. All attempts of rationalization failed but then all attempts of irrationality failed as well for, it can be applied to truth and not for facts. . Monday morning was nothing new: mundane and disturbed. The evening was reserved for their amorous encounters. When it was time for her to go, she revealed her plan, smiled, winked and tousled his hair.

They went to her friend’s place, who was incidentally sent to Sudan on an assignment last Thursday and this time they left their coefficient of amorousness at the park. The house was poorly lit with lights of remarkably low wattage and everything and everyone cast a sense of shadow inside the house .She stood there in front of the mirror and traced her reflection on the mirror with her right index finger. On closer examination he noticed that her trailing of the reflection was quite odd. She was not touching the mirror, placed her finger a few centimeters from the mirror as though her reflection had acquired a solidity of sorts and she was attempting to give, the empty space between the finger and the reflection, her shape.

She turned back towards him leaving her structuring of the empty space midway and moved towards him and embraced him. The amorous wave running through there nerves momentarily transposed to trembles of her lower lip. From now it was tacit. She all set to shed her sociological mores, devoid of her burden of pollution and purity. She undressed and so did he and he made love to her; she to him and they to them.

Monday was followed by ‘no words spoken’ Tuesday night where the pattern never changed- he to her; her to him and they to them and so were the next four days. Sunday had a light prelude of reminiscence and then they moved to the bed. The bed stood opposite to the mirror and their reflections had a ghostly effect. As you see , this time it was all tacit and it was not written on it but that’s what the mirror meant: “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. The next morning she was gone.

Even a maximalistic retrospection of the life of two individuals doesn’t take more than a evening. He parked his car in the garage and started the groundwork preparation on his new assignment- King Ashoka.’The Historian’ and with the aid of King Ashoka, Africa and Buddhism he could redress the wounds of the lost battle. She never got back to him and had intentionally closed all forms of proportions that existed to reach her. Ashoka, Africa and Buddhism could save his day but not his nights. He rarely garnered sleep during the nights even if he did he was filled with a sense of optical exhaustion the next day. She was there, every night, acquired the fluidity of a unicellular organism and floating in him, floating for him, floating with him.

Let’s not let our omniscience roll along with time. Let’s stop here and trapeze to the future before it gets morphed to ‘the present’ or ‘the past’. In the course of time, King Ashoka’s project fails miserably and he would possess an invaluable experience of knowing Africa, Ashoka and Buddhism would still be a darker side, and Africa wouldn’t be. He would move to the UN and work for them in Africa.

On one of his visits to Europe he would meet him in the Airport. Now the UN representative being our ‘HE’, you can certainly discern who the ‘Other’ he could possibly be. Our’ he’ had seen the other ‘HE’ only once, that too in a photograph, but then some people unknowingly leave trail marks in the minds and the other ‘he’ is one such mark for our ’ he’.’ Our’ he would get introduced to the ‘other’ he and they would seat themselves next to one another for the entire course of the trip.’ Our’ he would ask the ‘other’ he about his family and would find that his wife had given birth to twins three years back.’ Our’ he would explain his concerns for the progressive degeneration of humaneness in this world and would attribute that as his reason for chalking out a career in the UN. They both would go to sleep some point of time during the travel, one of them successful and the other failing in his attempts.

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