Thursday, February 26, 2009

Matter of Shells and Spines...

If one looks at the history of evolution of life on earth, there are some very interesting facts that emerge. I assure you that this is not an essay on life sciences full of biological jargon, yet there are some references drawn from the life sciences, after all to understand life per se there is no harm in looking at a science which claims to be about it. I have very many doubts about how much the practitioners of this discipline respect life, but that’s outside the scope of my article.

Life as it is originated in the waters (some claim it did so in marshy landscape), evolved from very simple organisms to complex ones. A lot of very interesting changes took place along the way, but we would pause at just extremely fascinating ones- the origin of shells, which happened in the deep waters- molluscs like shell fish, oysters etc. devised an ingenious way to protect themselves from the predators. A hard impenetrable shell within which they would retreat when in danger. There were many forms, attached to the body, not attached to the body; small, big, colourful, camouflaging, blending into the surrounding etc...For the lack of argument lets say “The Age of Shells” lasted for a million year spanning through the never-ending geological eras and then creatures like tortoises and rhinos went over board with it, they got for themselves designer brand shells, many weighing much more their soft tissue’s weight. This curtailed their movement and locomotion, yet they couldn’t care less, so obsessed with safety they were.

While several species could never give up on the good old shells, along they way came some truly rebellious organisms, who couldn’t bear the drudgery of the living and carrying shell. Evolving in this sprit of rebellion the organisms were forced to think out of the box, er… shell. ‘Why not’ they wondered ‘have the hardness, the strength of the shell within us, rather than outside’. These spirited brave lots grew a backbone, literally and metaphorically. Thus came into being the greater of animal kingdom... predators, birds fishes and human beings. Evolution is a bloody slow process, it is not a overnight change, while they did do away with shells considerably, the vestiges stuck along. They kept their young ones in them; eggshells protected the tender, vulnerable little ones. Mammals went a step further on and did away with the very concept of shells, even for their babies. The first clarion call for child rights I guess, “Whatever is unacceptable to us, shall be unacceptable for our children as well”. They developed the protection, safety mechanism within; they developed an excellent skeletal system with the spine at the centre of it.

The spine that helps all of us to stand upright, of course does various other functions as well, but that’s digression again. Well, the point I am trying to drive home is that from shells to spines is the journey that all of us have made, our ancestors have fought to give us this freedom, to develop thus far, so why are we regressing and getting so obsessed with shells?

Shells, however strong, nice and cozy can never let the little bird fly in an azure sky towards the golden the sun. To fly the little bird has to break that shell, step out into open, even though it might be wrought with dangers, the cruel paw of a predator, a fall from the trees, a sharp metal tipped arrow…. yet in the midst of such lurking dangers is the possibility of growing strong from within, finding freedom of the open expanse and of course all the lovely smells and delicious fruits.

A little seed, with the possibility of a massive tree within it, is buried in the soil. Caged or protected in the layers of cover, tree to reach its destiny it got to break its shell. It would send a tender shoot up to search for air and sun, a hesitant root moves down to seek nourishment. Within it’s shell the seed shall perish, rot within, if it doesn’t move out.

When all around us we see that for life to blossom, to thrive and to grow, the shell has to be broken why on earth are we so obsessed with shells? Tiny holes we hide in, walls between communities’ houses protected by massive gates, electric fencing, forces deployed to protect LoCs and worst of all people security in the confinement of their cars.

Spine of an individual organism, a community or a nation is the true strength within, shells are only external covering. In our preoccupation with the shell we forget to strengthen our spines. To strengthen spines the work has to be within, on ourselves, which is much more difficult than raising walls and barricading ourselves.
The future course of evolution, of us as an individuals, communities, people and inheritor of the world would vastly depend on the choice we make, do we want shells or spines?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burning Sensation

Sometimes we are given what we ask for and sometimes it is more than what we bargained for...

When the later happens consequences can be devastating... I could feel myself dying by degrees. Everything in my mind was rotting...decaying. My body was going this way too. Daily overdose of codeine mixed with blue smoke of marijuana acted like catalyst. My emotions were still running riot, vivid and colorful as ever... Yet they were becoming increasingly detached from reality. They were becoming no more than abstractions to be used like pawns in the ever raging war of my mind. And emotions have no awareness of themselves - they play, they fight, they die. They do not care about tomorrow. Emotions are like children. The mind is weaker than any one emotion, but it understands the necessity of living... It can plan. The mind is not a bad thing, not in itself. The mind is naturally just as bright and loving as those childish emotions, it's just tinged with a bit more seriousness, a bit more sobriety. Unless, of course, it's dying. It is then a fearful enemy, to anyone and anything, but most especially to its master.

And all throughout this slow death of mine, I prayed for some kind of deliverance or reprieve. I wanted my mind to be healthy again, in fact healthier than it had ever been - as healthy as it was meant to be. I wanted to be alive, fully breathing, fully blooded, fully thinking. The fuzzy existence of a pathetic individual, fluttering vainly against his own apathy was (and is) a horror to me.

Life has not been terribly hard on me, compared to some. Some might look at my life and think it'd been soft and easy. Still, there are serious losses, serious wounds that I will carry to my dying day - and hopefully not beyond... These are things that I've honestly tried my best to compensate for, by keeping a good demeanor, being kind and learning to have a sense of humour. The sense of good non sarcastic humour is still pending.

All I wanted is to feel the hope of a boy, to know the determination of a man and be a fresh and aware human being. It was not too much to ask from oneself, though sometimes it felt like too much to expect from a non-obedient self.


By degrees I can feel all this coming to pass. I am coming alive. My whole body spasms with life sometimes, as the blood and electricity return to muscle tissue long abandoned.

My mind is returning to life too, the decaying thoughts are being shed, and it has stopped manipulating my emotions. Now given liberty, my emotions are leading me onto a new path - one I would have missed not too long ago. My body is also regaining its health. Everything in me seems poised to take a dramatic leap into a wildly beautiful future. Beautiful future crafted with help of much beautiful human being who never fails to see goodness everywhere and believes in dreams coming to reality.

Yet sometimes, as the sun goes down, my heart fails me. I can feel my body grow grey as it trembles with every quaking heartbeat. The old fear, unused to this newer self, resurfaces, pure jealousy surfaces riddling me with doubts. I am on the verge of tears, thinking: "What have I done?". Dark mood super imposes my being. I retract to my shell vowing never to leave its secured walls till the deafening silence is unbearable.

I go on long walks and try to tame my troubled mind, with its dark and bottomless fears, using introspecting talks or music. These things invariably work. There will come a time when I won't need to trouble myself over these fears, a time where my heart won't skip and my blood won't treble in my ears at night. Until that time, I will have to bear the pains of the awakening I have begun. It was, after all, the very thing I desired. It is just surprising how painful it can be, at times. Why do my hands shake, sometimes for no reason at all? What is this sleeping dragon I am awakening?

What is it for? What's its destiny?

What have I done?

(Why am I speaking so cryptically?!)

It's alright though. I'm too curious to see what happens next to stop what I have begun. I guess this is what it means to be in love.
Volim Te Puno Cuppi

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In the name of GOD

She silently begged him to stop but he was so full of the wrath of his God that he did not hear her timid cries. So intent was he in putting his mark on her that he could not see the scars forming on her soul, wounds that would never heal. He sucked her tender mouth with a driven ferocity, almost trying to inhale all of her at once. His clammy hands slid down her young body, trying to grab as much of it as he could. He grasped her flat, unformed chest where even the first signs of womanhood had not yet begun to appear. The unformed breasts inside her body began to hurt painfully, a hurt that would last a lifetime. His arms had her body trapped even though she never stood a chance in the first place. Her tiny frame was no match for his bulky hulk. She clenched her eyes tightly shut throughout the ordeal so as not to see the lust-driven, monstrous face in front of her that was almost succeeding in devouring her whole like the mythical dragons in her book of bedtime stories. “I hope you don’t mind the manner in which I love you” he said between his lust shortened breaths; “it’s just that I miss my grand-daughter so much and you look just like her”. And with the picture of his grand-daughter in his mind and the little girl’s tender face between his ruthless palms, he would suck her mouth with renewed vigor, pinching her body wherever his hands rested.

When she did open her eyes in between, she could see the dead, indifferent Gods figure hanging on the wall in front of her. How she silently, desperately begged the same God to weave a miracle and make the monster stop hurting her... but sweet God was dead, he did not care. The preacher, to whom she went everyday after school for an hour, was a friend of her parents and had volunteered to teach her all about God. She could not remember how long this had been going on; a long time she guessed since she had been coming to this little room in the back for quite some now; to learn about God you see. She didn’t remember each episode but she was certain her memory was failing her; or perhaps saving her. She sensed that this was not the first time. She never told anyone, not a single soul. God told her not to. And when God tells you not to do something, you simply do not do it or else you could get into serious trouble, trouble that would mean very bad things would happen to you; your best friend could die or your parents might stop loving you or God would make sure that the heavens never opened their door for you and then you would be stuck here on earth long after everyone you loved or ever would love was long gone and when your time finally comes its only hell for you... So she kept quiet... She didn’t say anything.

Today was the last day she came to learn about God; the monster just wouldn’t let her go no matter how hard she tried to escape his grip. He bit her; mouth, chest, whatever he could lay his hands on until he had bitten the last of his lust out... He then patted her on the head in a paternal fashion and said: “You are truly such a wonderful girl. God is very, very happy with you. You don’t even need to come here anymore my darling. I am getting a new little girl tomorrow and I will have to spend all my spare time teaching her what I taught you. Besides, you have already learnt all there is to learn about God Almighty. Just keep remembering and do not forget anything I taught you.” Oh she wouldn’t forget she knew; that she couldn’t forget she didn’t know then. She ran past the monster, past the unopened, dust laden Holy Book, past the dead, mute, uncaring Gods grasp, out of the cold, stone structure where no prayers were heard, no timid cries answered. She ran out into the open and standing there under the endless blue sky, she spat with all her might. Spat the monster out of her mouth. She spat, spat, spat. She spat at the holy man and at God; the God trapped within her and the one, supposedly everywhere, all around us, the one who can see everything, who stood by silently and watched her soul lose the sense of direction to any road that might ever lead her back to Him. It was her birthday. She had turned eight that day; the day she stopped believing in God; the God who lost her in His all-seeing silence.

At home, when her mother asked her why her lip bled and why there were bruises on her arms, she said she stumbled on a stone on her way back home.
Her Mother sighed “God help me with this child.”

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Death of the Blue Dove

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
-- Bertrand Russell

My grandmother used to tell me a story and like all her other stories this was a weird one for a bed-time story but unlike rest of her story I always knew this one had a message... I never thought it will take me so many years to realize it and today out of blue it just came in my mind.

It goes like:-

Once upon a time, there was this white dove and it goes out to hunt for food. A little boy captures it, the boy was very mischievous and decides that it would be fun if he paints it allblue. Thus, the boy paints the dove all blue and then sets it free.

That blue dove goes back to the woods. It goes back to its tree not realizing that it was all blue now. All the other white doves look at that blue dove and get frightened. They couldn’t recognize that it was one of them and considered that blue dove an enemy.

They all gather around it and try to make that blue dove leave. They start pecking at it, biting it, pushing it, shoving it. That blue dove gets confused; it doesn’t understand why everyone is treating it differently. All the white doves finally push it off the tree.

That blue dove gets really hurt but it had nowhere else to go. Those trees were its home. It gets up and flies back to the tree. That makes all the white doves even more frightened which leads to anger. This time they attack that blue dove quite viciously. They peck at it over and over and over and over until they kill that blue dove. Then they push that blue dove off the tree. They were all now much more at peace because their enemy was gone.

Then it starts to rain. The heavens cry for that blue dove. All the blue paint comes off of the dead body of that blue dove. That blue dove was now white again.

The next morning all the white doves see the dead body of that once blue dove. Now that blue dove was one of them. They all gather together and bury it with love and honor.

Why did that blue dove have to die? Because it became “the other” for all the white doves.
The doves couldn’t see the similarity that was skin deep between that blue dove and themselves.

We are not animals, we are rational thinkers and have a conscious. We as humans should be able to see what lies skin deep is all the same. The differences are superficial. Regardless of what religion, language, color of the skin, ethnicity, and sexual orientation we have, we all laugh the same, cry the same, hurt the same, and love the same.

The blue doves don’t have to die. Just because things have been done differently in the past doesn’t mean that they have to be done the same way in the future. We have the choice to either become part of the crusade that perpetuates hatred and insanity or become part of the crusade that reduces suffering, seeking peace and ensuing it.