Thursday, June 26, 2008


For a few fleeting moments, the colors of shame mellowed, fading to merge with the color of his skin. And he pondered.

Shame is not debilitating
The feeling it induces inside is.
Each buffet endured, pushing life closer to tipping point.
Shame, an entirely personal possession on a distinctly public occasion
Armfat hanging slack in a row of taut arms,
And the accompanying sidelong glances
Bits of an entirely personal belonging distributed among a thousand minds
Opinions collected as a token of involvement
Challans dispensed for remembrance, and a precautionary measure too
The overt character of shame
Shame is ignominy, embedding a public construct

Free verse buoyed by his thoughts, flew unmindful of gravity. It was his mind that was the most stubborn leech. It was what went on in his head that made him squirm and want to rip it out. It made him want to sleep; be a cat, a dog; be blind and deaf; to inflict physical pain that could mock at what was immeasurable mental anguish. Deep in moments of shame, it dawned on him that nightmares are known for their tenacity. That they accompany you to doors of despair; leave you to suffer; then escort you on more miserable journeys.

On these journeys, his fixation was pulled away from all the beauty in this world and he couldn’t but be preoccupied with a single crippling feeling and he felt worth his most embarrassing deficiency and his mindspace was littered with humiliations—it was after he had been through all this that he had begun to view his destination: nakedness.

Snapping out of his deconstruction, he managed to smile and resolved to enjoy the sedateness while it lasted. Until the next wave hit him and the thin fabric that was his skin turned see-through.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


If I can get the fact that I haven’t posted anything on this page for a long time out of the way, maybe I can ignore the difficulty I’m facing right now, in writing after a protracted hiatus.

During this hibernation, gushing emotions have been checked, their course altered, their energy redirected, distributed among everyday doings. The huge village fire around which the entire community gathered has given way to small earthen lamps that light selfish households. Now, evenings aren’t spent together anymore; shared drives and a common fate have been supplanted by favourite sitcoms and cheap promos—lures accompanying newly acquired wealth.

There is a certain unmistakable despair in the dispersal of a platoon. Especially when that platoon is you and the soldiers pushing for victory thus far, who have now ceased to fight for a cause worth living for, are aspects of your self: conviction, confidence, esteem, faith. And particularly so when it is a war of choice. The exhortations have lost their capacity, replaced with mutterings of “I do not want to fight anymore.” The commander is at a loss for words that can turn rising tides. Before he conjures a summons though, gathering their forces around his diminishing authority, are swarms of self-doubt—buzzing and alive.

Self-doubt is seldom given due importance, partly because a commander isn’t supposed to entertain it or he doesn’t believe strongly enough to perceive a diminution in his creed. Self-doubt is indubitable, inevitable, and, if not limited by a strong embankment, inexorable.

I’m the wobbly commander. Sometimes, he, who has been tongue-tied, finds a loudspeaker to shout into. After the initial amplitude demanding attention, my platoon hears the anguish. Stabs, stings, aches, throbs.

I feel it in moments I revel in professional success or among social friends, A set of eyes, a pair of ears, a nose for banter, hands to drive home points, and a body draped in acceptable clothing—all seemingly indicating participation. With mind in knots, gallivanting, galloping to distant lands, sketching, tending to imagination.

Yet, I have to make a living as much as I have to live. Finding meaning in existence is a digression from an understanding of the cost of living and the means required to pay for it. Decades and years are apt spans to judge lives; for the meaning of existence, every hour is a yardstick long enough.