Archive for August 2007

Grass, Weeds and Bush

August 31, 2007

There was nothing to watch. I surfed through channels, my old-is-gold TV crackling like old witch (if witches were meant to crackle). Same old. Some things never change. George W. Bush was making one of his faces, the smiley one, as he spoke again about his war on terrorism. ‘We have not failed…’ he says. Situation has improved in Iraq. People now begin to understand the value of freedom. As he speaks, a news bar scrolls across the bottom of screen, informing some thirty people have died of suicide bomb attacks. Hah! I thought, and loath the thought itself…not worth the thinking…

People make promises amidst test of pointless reconciliation, often bargaining their sanity.Why? We dare not ask. We would not ask. We have no answer. Not even the question.

We are full of lies. We humour ourselves by convincing ourselves. We are humans. We are wont to be corrupted. Weak beings that we are, we succumb meekly, poised as some daredevil, seething against unclaimed magnificence. This is a difficult time, our time. We talk of moving forward.

Yes, all things must move ahead. Death is the end. There is no anti-thesis for this. We only have our wish, a hope, shrouded in emotions, weak and dying.

George W. Bush or the Dalai Lama, we have our own reason to wage war or to spread peace. We have our own purpose. But we learn to live, all of us, despite the fact that we do not yet learn to die.

Grass, Weeds and Bush. What are they? I asked myself…Slowly, the answer began to dawn in me, quickly fading along with the question. It was not an important question. The answer was a good one though. But I have already forgotten it.

Was I Dreaming?

August 17, 2007

Silence. There was nothing here.

The noise of traffic filled the silence that we created. Trying to converse, we flung meaningless, unspoken words at each other till we grew sick of each other.

‘I’ll be back…’ she seemed to have said.

For what and for whom, I didn’t know. Neither did I care. I should not care. I must not.

I fall. I fail. I die.

He looked at me. I looked at him. He seemed to say many things with his eyes. So was I. She looked at us, smiled devilishly, rose up and left.

She was gone.

So must I…

Drinking the Cyber Cafe…

August 14, 2007

I don’t usually enjoy listening to other people’s conversation. It’s a bad habit, someone said, which is not important at this point. But when words are funneled through your ears, it’s difficult not to hear them.

Anyway, a Thai guy and a farang woman were talking rather too loudly as I tried to make my way in a crowded street somewhere in Pahurat, Bangkok. What I say may not be important. Neither was theirs.

‘Are you sure there’s cyber cafe around here?’ asked the tired woman, wiping the sweat off her neck.

‘Sure…very, very sure, madam. Many many cafe here,’ managed the Thai guy.

‘How much for a minute?’

‘Twenty Baht, Thirty Baht…’

‘Huh?’

‘Very cheap, Madam.’

‘Very Expensive’, roared the lady.

‘No, cheap, cheap…Seetabuck ka very expensive…’

‘You mean to say,’ said the lady slowly, ‘it’s twenty baht per minute?’

‘No, no, madam, one cup twenty Baht. OK. Vely Good. Cheap, cheap… Good cafe…’

They seemed to have halted as I continued to make way through the loud crowd, ogling at each other and seemed rather suspicious.

‘Ha ha ha…’ I heard the woman laugh…

I must have laughed too…

The Mind Thing

August 14, 2007

Words, at once beautiful, poignant, poised, priceless, rise up in my mind, like clouds into the sky. It’s all in the head. Into head it disappears. Like thin veil of clouds floating in the clear blue sky. There it is. Valuable. How must I cherish it? It’s gone…

Peace is a mind thing. So do you agree. Is violence not a mind thing too? Where do we wage wars if not in mind?

Idea is a mind thing too. So are you. You are just a figment of my imagination. So must I be a reflection of your own. My own.

Know Thyself. Socrates was reputed to have the words pitched on his door. Know yourself. Yet, all I have are words – useless and insignificant. Infertile. Wasted. Dumped.

Once in a while, ideas spring like mesmerised child, so full of meaning. So full of itself. Seemingly poignant and truthful only to roll out into oblivion.

Lost. Lost ideas. Lost mind. Lost self. We live in a lost world.

When We were Children

August 9, 2007

The two storied old and dingy boys’ dormitory stood tall, primed to tumble any time. Despite its dilapidation, it was the safest place in the whole world. Away from ‘big boys’, a lot of ‘little ones’ cuddled up in their thin beddings, glad to be free at last! But the seniors used to tell us of the ghosts that frequented the locality at night. It was alleged to exist in the rooms too. So, the nature calls would be stalled for most of the nights. However, some of us would ‘let it go’ in the bed itself.

We were made to live our lives in fears from the so-called ‘big boys’. Big boys! Even the Headmaster was afraid of them. Smile was a rare occupation. The laughter of little boys was seldom heard. We used to go below the football ground to play. That was the only place where the children could play, laugh and smile freely.

Oftentimes the little boys were made to wash hundreds of plates and mugs after every meal. Water was scarce. Sometimes, we ended up walking to the nearest stream with their plates and mugs.

Bongkharang (Wheat) at breakfast. Bongkharang at lunch. Bongkharang at dinner. What would you expect? You shit Bongkharang, whole and undamaged, but smelly nonetheless. Toilets? Everywhere. Whole school campus was our toilet.

In the summer, the rain poured hard. The rain fell on the Bongkharang that we defecated among the thickets of berry plants. The little boys were seen plucking and eating the berries. It was reputedly said that there were lots and lots of worms in the berries. We cared less. We were hungry and it tasted good.

Father visited me sometimes. I met my father with pounding heart and ever smiling face. Along with joys, father brought cheese fried in butter, chili pickle garnished in cheese and garlic, tengma…and packed lunch. I missed my mother. When father came on a Sunday, he took me to the market. Sometimes, he bought me a new shirt. But I always ate a bowl of noodles and a plate of ‘momo’ (dumplings) every time father came. I went back to school when it was time for evening study.

Father having gone, the joy was short-lived. The big boys thronged around me like ants swarming around a tiny lump of sugar.

‘Heard your father came…’

‘Yes, he did.’

‘So…?’

‘Here…’ and chili pickle along with fried cheese and tengma had gone. If your father had given you money, even it would be theirs. They undressed you besides frisking every part of the bedding. You never had a chance of retaining your wealth.

The mid-term breaks were always welcomed by the little boys. We dreamed and even talked of meeting our mothers and fathers and how we would spend our days running after the cattle and playing ‘shing gari’. We talked of eating eggs and cheese every day. Who knows, even meat too.

On the way to our home, we met our teachers, one after the other.

(Bring a cock and you will pass), said the math teacher.

(bring eggs and…) the English teacher said.

(bring some vegetable and …) did the class teacher say.

(bring some wine/alcohol…), our Dzongkha teacher used to say.

We ya ya’d all along, feeling the weight of our academic performance nestling on some cocks.

One day, some of the little boys were summoned by the big boys to their ‘Room’. I was one of them. It was at ‘Gyeltshen House’ that time. We were made to stand in two lines facing each other.

‘Now slap each other’ was the order of the day.

We slapped each other as softly as possible until one of the big boys flared up like a raging bull.

‘Let me show!’ and he slapped us as hard as he possibly could and we fell down, scattered all over the floor.

‘Now slap each other like that!’

Amidst suppressed sobs, we slapped each other till the command to stop was bestowed by the big boys. Then we went sobbing into our beds with swollen lips and bleeding nose. We thought of our fathers and mothers. We missed home. We cried until until we fell asleep.

When classes began, we always talked and shouted until Madam shouted…’SHUT UP!!!’

‘Silence…now listen everybody’ she said. ‘Your annual examination starts on…’

Annual Examination!

‘Home, at last!’ used to be our only thought.

Weight of Forgiveness…

August 2, 2007

‘So?’

‘So what?’

‘We still friends?’

Silence

‘I…I’m sorry…’

‘Go fuck yourself!’

Perfection

August 1, 2007

Perfection withers…and dies fast