the long search

When you have nowhere to go, go back to yourself.

The Rain

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

Hone Tuwhare

The Flip Side

Life is amazingly paradoxical. One side of it is dark and intriguing. The other, sparklingly bright and inspiring.

The Naxal ambush on a mine-protected vehicle (MPV) carrying 17 security personnel in Eastern Indian state Orissa's southern district Malkangiri on July 16 was distressful. The Left Wing ultras found a ghastly way of telling the world that Rifle is the only way to bring revolution or change. Everytime, you want to sympathise with them, they surprise you with blood and gore. As if they are the Merchants of Death. Coming to think of it, even a 15 tonne heavily armoured vehicle could not save the policemen from a ghastly end. Howsoever hard one may try, if death has to take you, it will (sounds like Murphy's Law, doesn't it?).

Well, no. Look at 23-year-old Supratim Dutta of Delhi. The HCL executive sat in his car, his body pierced with an angle iron measuring about 5 ft in length and weighing close to 6 kg, waiting for help to arrive. The angle had to be cut - even as he sat for an hour and half inside his car which had rammed into Metro barricade along MG Road - with gas-cutters so that Supratim could be rushed to AIIMS Trauma care. It took the stunned doctors six hours to remove the angle that impaled the youth through the upper part of the body as his heart and spine escaped unhurt. It was probably for the first time that I remained glued to India TV (sic) as the channel kept beaming the videos of the surgery.

Supratim has to live. Some say, it's a second life for him. I believe this is his life. Sometimes, it can dumbfound you with something called hope. I believe you can kill someone but can't possibly take away that flickering hope to live till he finally dies. Why did it not happen with the 17 securitymen is something I can't understand though. May be, it did.

I remember the impeccable Tom Hanks saying in his Oscar winning Forrest Gump: Mama always said dying was a part of life. It probably is.

A 'Killing' Time

Sometimes, it is easy being in the seat of judgement. Easier when we have to do a post mortem. I am still wondering how would most of us (read media professionals) react after receiving the body of a dear one killed in a blood-chilling incident. A body bloated beyond recognition after being trapped inside the cabin of a motorboat lodged under water for more than four days. You are right, death always shook me up. But I am not sure if many of us have even visualised what would it feel like to be in the shoes of the kin of the Greyhound commandos.

I don't want to get into the philosophy part of it. Call me an escapist if you may but I am not going to buy that theory of ideologies either. Thirty-six security personnel went missing in Chitrakonda reservoir in Orissa's bordering district of Malkangiri on June 29, 2008 (Sunday) morning after their motor-launch was sunk by Left Wing Extremists. A day later, one jawan was found with his hands tied behind his back and shot from a close range. The rest - slowly but surely - are being retrieved from inside the vessel entangled in dead tree branches near the reservoir bed. Decomposed beyond recognition, their bodies had little to give away their identities. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that these were the men who hunted down the Naxals. The elite Greyhound force of Andhra Pradesh. And what gory end! They surely did not deserve this. The Red Radicals would not agree, of course. Then again, it is back to the theory of ideologies.

Still engaged in a debate of strategic blunders and tactical errors - that's a favourite pastime of the media - on part of the security personnel, I am currently battling a strange feeling. Would I prefer - if asked to - a death so ghastly and so nondescript? Given an option, would any of us swap positions with the Greyhound men? Or even the Naxals? I know what the answers would be - I am doing my job and doing it fine. They were doing theirs.

I am still wondering what would have crossed the minds of these securitymen when faced with imminet death. Does a high level of dedication and supreme motivation for what one believes in - his/her duty and mission in life - put out the fear of such an end? Or does it merely become a personal and lonely fight to remain alive? Is the dividing line very blurred? I have no answers yet.

Reminds me of a few words of Jimmy Santiago Baca:
No matter how serene things may be in my life, how well things are going, my body and soul are two cliff peaks from which a dream of who I can befalls, and I must learn to fly again each day, or die. Death draws respect and fear from the living. Death offers no false starts. It is not a referee with a pop-gun at the starting of a hundred yard dash. I do not live to retrieve or multiply what my father lost or gained. I continually find myself in the ruins of new beginnings, uncoiling the rope of my life to descend ever deeper into unknown abysses, tying my heart into a knot round a tree or boulder, to insure I have something that will hold me, that will not let me fall. My heart has many thorn-studded slits of flame springing from the red candle jars. My dreams flicker and twist on the altar of this earth, light wrestling with darkness, light radiating into darkness, to widen my day blue, and all that is wax melts in the flame - I can see treetops !

A Killing Time

Leave it to God. That's what she told me....

It might have taken me quite a bit of time to own up but yes, it's a difficult phase in life. Everything I touch vanishes these days. Things I looked forward to have simply turned away from me. I thought I knew where I am headed. Now sometimes, I am forced to feel I have no clue. None whatsoever. It's frustrating, to say the least. You can always put up a brave face. Deep inside though you know it's merely a facade.

Why is it happening, I can't tell you. Sometimes, I even ask myself have I done enough to deserve what I am seeking in life. To be honest, I have no idea at all.

Then suddenly, it becomes all the more difficult if you set yourself parameters of success and failure. When you look at yourself as another one in the race, the path suddenly becomes tedious. The joy of the journey fades away. Getting drawn into comparison is something I always despised. But that's exactly what I am doing. Looking at myself through others' parameters of success and failure.

I always called myself a drifter. Took life as it came. So why am I bothered now? It probably is the right time to drift awhile without losing hope. Didn't someone say hope is the thing with feathers?

As nothing goes my way, I am back to things I have always cherished; things which are close to my heart; memories of great times with someone special; thoughts of people who have inspired me. I know it's time to hang on. May be a little more. The road will appear. Sooner than later.

The sensational Ayn Rand said:

It is easy to stumble. It's easy to lose way. Easier when you think you have not got what you want in life.

In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours.

About this blog

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed