Reality creates phantoms that are stronger than illusions itself. Illusions when carefully dissected and studied upon loses much of its horror and wonder. Reality can seem like a river, and may make illusions look like the great rumbling sea. But the precise fact is that, just like us, the reality is a hypocrite. Illusions at least soothes us. Reality, never looks back.
And now I look at the bleak darkness in front of me. It isn't much clear. When is it clear? When does darkness becomes less murky than a puddle mucked by catfishes? My questions is whether, this darkness holds any hope? Is it the stark reality or the dark illusion?
I just let it envelope upon me. Who can't when it's the only thing surrounding you. [[Who won't?]]I stared at the house lamp. It was sending that iridescent yellow-that yellow which just pierces your eye. The yellow. What all else do that signify? I just thought for a while. Just some silly colours now infect an author's mind. I believe that's a good sign.
Whatever it's, thinking of colours a bit too much, won't help me to have a kopi luwak. And in these days I act just like I have all fancy luxuries. I just consider my instant coffee to be kopi luwak. If we have the mind and imagination right, everything's possible. That's what the common men of my land make use of. They know of the heavens they can't scale. They know the chains they can't break. Or that's what they believe.And they just tolerate. They fantasise. They make illusions, their reality.
Well at least for now hunger's a reality for me. I should better not get a writer's block by staying empty stomached. [[I'd better have a cup of coffee.]]I went to the window. I saw the street lamps arching to the narrow and wet streets. The streets were wet by sweat and water. And at night times by the trickiling red fluid also. The streets here never get dry. People were still busy. For any careless observer it'd seem like the mundane realities of a common man's life. But a close observation grants us the soul of this land.
I saw a young boy sitting in the footpath. I know that boy. I see him in every city. In every street. A boy who can't even dream about school. All he knows about it is that those uniform clad boys cackles at him, mockingly. Even his so called should be saviours, breed more mistakes. I saw a man walking towaeds him. He seemed like some officer working in some office nearby here. He wore a good looking shirt with blue and red stripes. He went near to the kid. I don't know what they talked. The boy took some tools hurrily and started to polish his boots. After some time the boot was clean. Will it be? The man took some money from his pockets and didn't mind cowering. The boy greedily took the money from the dust clad floor. And the man was just walking away. Towards the reality. Being the reality.
Writing is a pain. I feel that I told that before. Something was burning in me after seeing this. I suddenly took a newsprint sheet and sat on the table.[[I took my swords and decided to move on with the battle gallantly]] Thorns
The mud road stretched afar
The sun at his apex.
The thorns rose from
the hard mud, hardening
the strides of the boy.
On the pavement lay a shoe
And he picked it up and
Polished it with his despair,
Blackened it with his sorrows
The well clad man wore it and
Gave him a penny.
And walked through the way,
Through the molten mud.
The thorns struggled ,
Trampled under the shoe,
Begging it for mercy.
The heat of the mud,
Felt tired under the
Cruel soles of the shoes.
Meanwhile the boy,
Cried, after a thorn
Pricking him hard.
Watching it nearby,
The jester said:
"Neither that thorn,
Nor the molten mud hurts him,
The man tramples him
Not the thorns."
The joy of creation. Creation out of pain and responsiblity. That sense overwhelms me now. A writer should respond like this. [[Shouldn't he?]]Well he should. But is that enough? Writer encounters heart melting scene- He feels a moral urge to write-He writes an astonishing piece of work, filled with sincerity and creativity-He publishes it in his new anthology-Critics rave for it, maybe pummel it to the dust-Some readers like the poem-writer gets royalty-Publisher gets money-Everyone happy-End of the story.Well this kinda cycle repeats always. Sort of the same in my case too. Writing may be a pain. But the paining urge to mellow in fame and money, obscures the morality. World obscures heaven, huh? But not forever.
I remembered that night. Some silly night was it. Just like all the other nights. But the wind was different. It had that fragrance of the night blooming alstonia. That unusual yet pleasing aroma thickened in my nose. When I looked out through the window, the alstonia near my room was not in bloom. Where should that smell come from then?
Oh, why do I remember that damn night always. I was in a heated debate on a writer's morality and it ends up in alstonia. I remember when I heard and saw alstonias for the first time. [[The village was in full bloom that day.]]I was lying in my bed that dark night. The bed was a small single cot. The cloth covering the bed had some good artwork on it. Some exquisite floral designs ambling in splendour. That curves like a corinthian pillar artwork, were full of energy and beauty. They seemed to create a wave around me. I was lost in that labyrinth. So was my sleep. That was the first day I inhaled in that fragrance. Alstonia.
And in that night, my mother told me about the tree that brings the frankiscence around me. The tree, as my mother said was known as Ezhilampala. 'The devil tree'. Why should a tree of this fragrance be called the devil tree? I asked my mother about this. She replied that it's because it's the abode of the devil. The yakshi lives there. She is a sultry vampiress, wronged by the lustful men of the old ages, and were the living dead who had lost their faith in mankind. They were really rotting corpses, zombified. But the yakshi created illusions that even Houdini can't create. She changes the tree to a heavenly manor and waits for her unsuspecting prey to come. She dressed as a curvaceous temptress, ensnares the lust filled men to her trap. The lights always calls in the man. The day wakes up with the nails and hair of the man scattered down the tree. My mother told that if we don't go near the tree at the nights, we'd be free from danger.
Whatever was the subtext of that story, it scared the shit out of a ten year old boy. A yakshi righting the wrongs done to her on the whole mankind. The thought of her gaze tempted me as well as made me to slither under the blanket for all nights.
Do the dead rise up for vengeance? I don't know. Is revenge justice? I don't know. Do we still lag under our frailities and sins, drenched by carnality? That too, I don't know. Only the alstonia can answer it.
[[And now I wanted the answer.]]The street was wet. Now my footsteps were also. I was dissolving in the noise of the street. Trams moving. Vendors shouting. Officers running with haste. The galli was in its rush hour. I slowly stepped near to the boy. He was polishing another customer's shoe now. I waited for him to finish his work. Now also the wet floor gave him his money. I went near him.
"Sabjee, you are wearing sandals. How do I polish them?" He asked me.
"I didn't come here to make you work." I replied.
"Then go away. You are blocking the view of customers from me." He hastily gave his reply.
"Boy, don't you have a home."
"Yes, I do."
"Go three streets staight and turn left. The first house in the row of houses you see, would be mine."
"Do you mean the colony."
"Oh, yes. Sabjee, please move. Customers are coming."
"What does your mother do?"
"Why does that matter to you?"
"I want to know why you work?"
"Give me a day's bread and I'd stop polishing. Do you know what we are facing?"
"I don't know. But I want to know. Just take this money. I'd better want you and your friends go to a school and study."
"Will that give my family food for a day? Will that prevent my mother from starving?"
"I don't know. You may not get money at present if you go to schools, but you can be more well off."
He grabbed the money from my hand and said.
"What I want is food and money for my mother and little brothers. And you are giving me money for no work. Are you canvasing for the schools?"
"No, I just wanted to break the cycle."
"Cycle! What cycle? Are you some gangster? Gangsters are the ones who break things."
I didnt hear those words. I was walking away from despair. Light comes from the corner. But just too obscured and hidden.The light always gets under the table. And the cycle goes on. My land has its discriminations and cycles intact. Shouldn't it change? The smell of that alstonia thickened in my nostrils.Then the question arose in me? [[Do alstonia have thorns?]]No. Whatever ugliness people profess about my land, it's still a lot more beautiful than it seems. The forests teem with life. I mean the forests that are not cut. The villages lead a hard yet content life. If not the poor hadn't ached their lives by only working for nothing. The slums have dreams. But they have filth in both sides, inhibiting those dreams. There are metroes, lively middle class men. So the truth of my land is not its slums, but its diversity. The only downside is that the diversity is paid and wrought out by the lastest estate.
I was returning to my room after talking to the boy. I heard a lot of noise, not the kind of noise you hear at the market, from the market. Harsh, cruel, cold, ear pirecing noises. The truth. I went there to observe and saw the truth. Divisons over diversity. And I reacted.[[Louder than ever.]] The truth
A journalist didn't have to search for truth.
We found it at her doorstep.
An old man didn't have to taste the truth.
His family saw it before them.
A young teen didn't have to learn the holy book to find the truth
He found it inside a train.
Young men don't have to stand in queues to learn truth.
They find it the streets.
We do not have to look out,
or define, the truth.
We are the truth.
Loudly did I shout. So did they. Papers had to be sent to the police station. For the sake of safety. Safety? Am I also a hypocrite? Didn't I wish this upon the shooting star? Man still lags under his primal frailities, for his life's just a futile exercise to immortality. If so, why should I be afraid? I reacted. Didn't I anticipate this? Didn't I anticipate the growing truth? Did I forgot the facts that I preach? No. Preach one, do one. That doesn't suits a man of vision. Do I have a vision? Yes. But this truthful land is a victim to truth. The truth of human existence. The truth of ambition. The truth of power. The truth of hypocrisy. The truth of the bundle of sticks. The truth of a thousand lies.
I just see a bundle of sticks showing my land its way to hekla. Where are we heading?
Why the bundle of sticks?
United we stick. Divided we fall.
And now I again feel that smell. And I know what it is. I stand up. I hear the doorbell. I inhale that smell more happily, making it a part of me. I am the victim. Or am I the alstonia? I just let the reality trickle into me. And I went into the land where light bends.
**************It never ends**************I walked calmly to the stove. I opened the cupboard and took the coffee tin. A photograph on the tin captured my imagination. Pure Coffea arabica grown in Baba Budan hills. You should see that beans on the photograph. So round. Bilobed. Just like my country. But it's now being single lobed and ugly.
I took some milk and boiled it. I emptied the contents of the coffee can into the milk. I enjoyed watching the diffusion of that fine coffee powder in the milk. Now I have to stir it. It will make a fine drink. This coffee just reminds of something. It reminds me what I should do.
I turned the stove off and poured the coffe into a cup. I slowly sipped it up. I felt the hot steam hitting up my nose. It was very warm. The warmth of the coffee was now dissolving with myself. That relaxation could remove any writer's block. At least that's in my case. I was thinking of a theme for days. The coffee seems to energise my urge to write. Do you know that writing is a pain? Untill we write, the subject just hurts our mind. Just like some spirit wanting a medium. After we write, the anticipation of response from readers, hurts us. It's just weird. After reading that piece of literature again you feel damned for not bringing perfection to the work. And to much ado, the writer's still hurt.
I calmly sat on my chair after completing the coffee. [[I thought, I should have a view of the reality outside]]