Saturday, April 30, 2011

I am free

I am free…. in a way you can never be
and nothing can possess me;
I'm free.
I am free…. like sun is, and moon rather wished it was
along with the waves of eternity;
I'm free.
I am free…. from whatever you say or preach
of all the things you want me to see;
I'm free.
I am free…. of the very bonds you tie yourselves in
but draw a stupid smile or an ambiguous grin;
I'm free.
I am free…. for I can breathe as long as I want
as even death defies me;
I'm free.
I am free…. to commit mistakes as long as I live
to unlearn the lessons of cyclical mystery;
I'm free.
I am free…. by the power vested in my lines
a bit of stagnant lies and ample honest signs;
I'm free.
I am free…. neither nonsensical everything nor sensible nothing
accountable to none and no one to me;
I'm free.
I am free…. under the stress named society
as well as indignant expectations and future almighty;
I'm free.
I am free…. within me, within you, within we
free from freedom plus heavier words such as these;
I'm free.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

God, Me, You, Us, Everyone Else

You believe in rumours, don’t you? What a stupid question! Everyone does. Period. The very essence of conversation is based on doubts. God is a rumour too. I won’t be exaggerating if I stated that God is the longest-running rumour of all time. This is so because no other creature believes in scaremongering. For the record, I’m not against God. In fact, we are close chums the way Calvin and Hobbes are. He speaks to me in Sanskrit with a strong Arabic accent. At least in my imagination.
You see, being an atheist can be tiresome sometimes as there is no God to blame for your f-ed up life. And you don’t want to beg to a Superior Power up there lost deep in heaven. To be brutally honest, praying never worked for me and I'm certain it didn't work for God either. On the sly, I do request Him to kindly grant me the strength to overcome the urge to pray. He hasn’t responded to my ironic appeal YET. Amusingly, I keep telling Amma that God is not a Mangalorean but she insists on praying in Tulu.
Like I said, I’ve got no issue with God. I never make fun of Him. I have respect for those who are considerate enough not to exist. I may be sounding allergic to Him but it’s nothing compared to what I feel for religion. The fact remains: There's nothing religious about being God. It's always religion that keeps yapping about God. The Dude never uttered a word about religion. He acknowledges my indifference for religion and he's fine with it. Wait a minute, perhaps, what we truly need is a God-proof religion. That might as well solve our problems. Once and for all.
To me, God is everywhere. Being an Indian, Sachin is God, too. On a lighter side, whenever I try to picture God, Al Pacino pops up in my head. Maybe he is God. Or maybe I need less cinema and more sleep. Whatever. Even right now, as I’m typing what you’re trying to make sense, this sleeky lizard on the wall is acting as if it's God. Well, it might be. 

Who knows?
God is a crazy creature. And the most intriguing part is He is very polite and very suave. Like Marlon Brando in Godfather. Someone who knows how to get things done. In spite of such charm, He doesn’t like to be praised. Have you ever seen ANY other creature singing hymns or reciting odes? Don’t lie. It is simply a retarded way of wasting endangered time. In any case, how can our mortal applause affect someone as mighty as Him? Anyway, even if I were God, I wouldn't have easily succumbed to flattery in the name of religion.
God was created by theists. You know them. You could be one of ‘em. The ones who believe it was God, not alarm clock, that woke them up this morning. Majority of humans just can’t do without His omnipresence. Despite not being on social networking sites, God still remains the world's most famous imaginary friend. For the time being, let’s assume God created humankind and humankind returned the favour by creating God. Comforting, yeah.
We love stories. And stories are nothing less than an extended version of rumours which unfortunately stood the test of time. We read stuff where God doesn’t give a shit about science and goes on to create a wonderful world in 6 days flat. And on the 7th day, He sits down to figure out what drove him on the 1st day to such madness. I haven’t even visited the Garden of Eden but am damn sure no flower out there can match God's fart in terms of sweetness. No, seriously. This is somehow the vague logic behind religions created by diehard fans of God.
Coming back to atheism (read: ignorance with benefits), I often challenge my overtly religious friends to show me their God and I’ll show my faith in return. No one wins the debate. To be fair, God is a lot like Osama. No one sees or meets him but every once in a while, he lets out signs that he do exist. God forbid, I become a believer like the rest of us.
On a second thought, I shouldn’t have written this verbose garbage today. After all, it’s time we acknowledged the fact that God doesn't like to be invoked on weekends.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Prison Full of Tomatoes

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Boy who loved tomatoes. Fondness of food ain’t a human novelty but not everyone falls for a tomato. In fact, Boy took a shine at a very young age and grew up stealing them from kitchen, if urge demanded. However, he remained a fidel for a long time ahead. But fate believes in surprises. And how!

And before Boy could realize his penchant for slipping tomatoes, he had become an infamous klepto. And before he could fathom the extent of his kleptomania, he found himself in a crowded prison on charges of theft. And before he could do anything about anything, the jewels he burgled from a local store proved costly.

No one likes crowded place, and least of all, prisons. Not only are convicts struggling for oxygen and privacy, they are also stuck with each other’s incivility. Hygiene is a far-stretched idea in such banal existence. You are no more you. Personal identity is reduced to numbers and the days spent enclosed. Individuality suffers the loudest. Conclusion: Life in a prison sucks big time.

Boy often reminisced his school days and how promising he could have been had he made better decisions. He realized how everything has transformed right in front of his nose except for one thing – his appetite for tomatoes. He still craved that plump red piece of nature like anything. He thought life is not THAT bad. At least he thought so.

It seemed the prison authorities loved tomato more than Boy ever did. The reason being they employed the vegetable in almost all the meals they cooked and served. One might have called it a culinary potpourri of La Tomatina minus the funfare. Needless to say, Boy wasn’t complaining. He relished whatever the prison was dumping on his plate. He never displayed a smug face unlike his fellow prisoners. He never sulked at the excesses of tomatoes or at the apparent lack of choice. He was content with tomatoes and vice versa. Just like he thought, life is not THAT bad.

Well, that was about to change.

As time passed on, he was growing tired of loneliness. The ironical element couldn’t escape the presence of loneliness in a place full of people confined against their wish. He started missing his folks back home who hardly paid him a visit. Sleep was the toughest part. Nightmares were longer than the minutes he kept his eyes shut. Memories of carefree days kept replaying in his insomniac mind. Ergo, prison was growing on him.

Out of sudden, he found tomatoes repellent. Maybe it didn’t happen overnight but he surely got a hang of his co-prisoners’ opinions about prison food. His intense liking for it was now replaced by deep abhorrence. At least, others, despite their daily cussing against slammer order, ate what was laid in front of them on the table. Boy couldn’t. He blamed tomatoes all his misery. At last, he found a scapegoat who was responsible in making him what he was today. And it was rather impossible for him to consume his enemy.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Lately, there has been a huge hue and cry over corruption. No wait. I mean, a huge hue and cry AGAINST corruption. As if someone shook us from an age old slumber. The point is people have started talking about it instead of just being privy. We’ve got to start somewhere, right? Of course, we are not entirely against it. After all, it’s a way of life here. Not a place in this country is untouched by this menace. Everyone is equally responsible as it’s a walk-in party. In such scenario, having a voice matters. And that’s where Anna Hazare chips in. He has a clean-cut image and is a staunch Gandhian. His call to the nation to rise up and fight against corruption is centered on the introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill. As of now, he’s on a hunger strike and won’t budge until the govt meets his (read: our) demands.

It sounds like a bit unusual for India, doesn’t it? Straight out of an inspirational movie! Well, it’s a sign of things to come. Whatever unfolds in the coming days is going to be an interesting episode of our post-independence history. On the funnier side, people are getting caught up in the brouhaha. They are frantically forwarding mails and SMSes supporting Hazare, liking Facebook pages dedicated to the *cause* and tweeting incessantly. Now, there is nothing wrong with feeling revolutionary once in a while. As one can sense, the Middle-Eastern rebellion is in the air and masses are bound to be lured by its call. Better stand up for something than not do nothing at all. Fair enough. Can’t debate with such pragmatism. But the trouble doesn’t lie in the passing of that hopeful Bill. It lies somewhere else.

If you think about it, corruption is just a stupid idea. Like most other things, it begins and ends with you. The ferocity with which it is practiced depends on the scale of power one holds. It’s like a business, not barter. All the parties involved are fully aware of the reach of their action as well as the consequences of their inaction. The purported Bill will certainly help in bringing the more powerful party to question. It’s more like obstructing the bigger cog wheel of an engine. You stop it and the smaller cogs don’t exist anymore. For the time being, that’s the logic. And that’s precisely also the reason why it’s garnering such lethargy from the corrupt idiots we elected all the way to the Parliament.

Now, the question arises: Will this Bill bring a round about change in our daily functioning and eradicate corruption once and for all? The answer is simple: No. Remember the Right to Information Act? Does every Indian make the best possible use of it? Or, is every Indian even aware of the kind of reach it vests in them? Or the number of RTI activists who were murdered thanks to their altruistic whistleblowing? Exactly. That’s what I’m trying to put forward here. These are basic doubts that have to be part of the anti-corruption Bill curriculum, too. The fact remains that Bills, legislation and eventual laws do very little to change an ugly picture like ours.

The onus falls squarely on the society. The kind of principle an offspring is imparted with is what makes a difference in the long run. Virtues like honesty, punctuality and humanity should be the cornerstone of change. Yes, we should be glad that citizenry is at top gear with people gathering and emulating Hazare’s fasting methods. That’s a good omen for a society which has nurtured selfish individuals for years now. Perhaps we’ll have our own version of Egypt or Tunisia soon. But then, corrupt babus are pretty keen on carrying forward the tradition of failure, without fail. So we’ve got to create a barricade against them. If you don’t indulge in the payment or reception of bribe, you’ve done your part. That’s that.

Speaking for myself, I'm trying to connect the dots between my hesitancy in standing up against corruption and a noble old man's insistence on fighting with hunger. Hopefully, I shall get somewhere someday.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Champion's Night

I had a terrible dream in which I was a die-hard cricket fan and rather enjoying it. No, just kidding. Anyway, isn’t it funny when a self-confessed non-cricket-fan keeps on harping about cricket? Touché. But trust me, it isn’t my fault. Indian cricket team has to be blamed. They have been AMAZING and surprised me and millions of my fellow countrymen (who are all bona-fide-cricket-fans) with their recent performance. Last night, they did something exceptional by defeating Sri Lanka in Mumbai to win the Cricket World Cup final. After exactly 28 long years.
Cricket is synonymous with Indian subcontinent but when it comes to CWC, even India never had a decent fill. We won it way back in ’83 so it’s almost as if it never happened. I mean, of course, the legacy is always there but we suffer from collective amnesia. Victory has to be repeated again and again to register into our blank memory. And frankly, we had to win this time to generate a new cycle of history, a new history instead of the old one. And history it was that was created last night.
I’m sure not many adhered to their usual bedtime after the match ended. It was time to celebrate and prolong it. Firecrackers were reminiscent of Diwali. Or should I add, a national Diwali instead of the religious one. People were out on the street high-fiving strangers and hugging as if they were waiting for each other since ‘83. It is like the sports version of Fall of Berlin Wall or something. This victory is overwhelming. Euphoria is not the word. You can’t explain such emotions where you want to cry because you can’t deny the significance of being alive and to witness it right in front of your own eyes.
To top it all, Dhoni ended the match in style with a spectacular six that is fated to be part of cricket folklores. Before the climax, Sachin got out without getting his much prophesized 100th century and Gambir missed his by mere 3 runs. Yuvi and Kohli convinced us that Indian team is not a one-man-army anymore. It’s a team now. Good for us. The bowlers did a good job, too.
On the Sri Lankan side, Sangakkara proved why he, along with Dhoni, is the coolest captain-wicketkeeper-batsman in the world. Muralitharan’s noteworthy comeback from retirement fell a little short of ultimate glory. As usual, Jayawardane displayed his eminence with bat. And Malinga, well, we better not talk about him. I’ve got no issues with his hairdo as he doesn’t sledge nor pretend to be haughty. He was the best bowler in the Lankan squad and made Sehwag limp on a duck and Sachin walk with just 18 runs. On a side note, as a kid, my bowling style was similar to his. My peers thought it wasn't appropriate. And thus a promising career ended prematurely.
Gary Kirsten has to be mentioned. He was cool, composed and methodical. He doesn’t harbor any desire to be the cynosure and last night was his final assignment as India’s coach. The lap of honour said it all. He will be sorely missed.
For the moment, it doesn't matter whether you're a cricket fan or not. Being an Indian will suffice. At least it’s working for me. My dour dad who has fond memories of ’83 win was speechless and letting triumph sink in. Besides, this is what cricket is all about in India. Whatever we witnessed on the TV as well as outside will stay etched in our minds.
Folks I met today on the streets are jubilant and you don’t even need common sense to sense their sense of achievement. Everyone seems too happy to be true. The upside is they are not sad. The downside is this too shall pass. But before it does, this weekend is going to last forever.