Thursday, February 28, 2008

I have done nothing all my life

Who says nothing is impossible?
I have done nothing all my life.

A few months back, I celebrated my twentieth birthday. Being in my third of engineering, I will sit through the campus recruitment this July - August and next year, I will be a working professional with a salary my dad would be proud of( hopefully). When I think about it, I just have one thought in my head, "Isnt it too early?"

I fear my earlier days and the days that await me will be frightfully different. A year from now, I will be responsible for my decisions and I will be held acoountable for whatever the outcomes. Straight from the frivolous teens to the responsible twenties. Scary aint it? This morning in class, I was wondering where had those twenty years gone? Someone had said, "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." Seems so true for me.

The first thing that came to my mind was that I have slept through nearly 7 years( considering an average of 8 hours per day). Gawd! Wasted 7 years( How long it seems now) lying on my bed, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, doing nothing. But to be frank, to me those 7 years were the best years of my life. How else could you bash up the boy who always bullied you, or kiss the girl you have a crush on or even visit Heaven and return back. All this I have done while I was in deep slumber. I know I didnt have many bad dreams coz I dont remember many times when I woke up from bed screaming, "Ahhhhh" while my mother came running and soothed me, "Nothing son, It was just a bad dream."

The rest of the years, I have been happy,sad, and sometimes indifferent. There were moments when I was helped, encouraged and loved and also there were moments when I was ridiculed, humiliated and shunned away. All these have been done by those whom I have spent my life with all these days.Did I chose them? No! Did they choose me? No! We are just like strangers who met accidentally on a highway . But then these strangers have become so great a part in my life that I do everything to please them, to make them like me.They are the people who decide how good I am and how I feel everyday. Its they who make out whether you are beautiful or intelligent or just ordinary. When I look at it, my life seems more them than me.

In my twenty years, have I done something? Something at least that I can remember and say that I have done something.

Yes...there have been great moments in my life like when my brother got through his medical entrance exams or when we went to our new house or when she and me walked holding hand in hand through the beautful sunset or when I went home after my first stay in the hostel or whenever I see the beach or when I was the topper of my school and everybody congratulated me or when we did a play at school...But adding them up, they would be less than a month. A month of pure happiness in twenty years. Isnt it too less?

The rest of my life has been bland. Pretty ordinary! During my childhood, I have played games with kids to whom it would not have mattered if there was one guy less in their gang of a dozen. While at school, I read books, played pranks too, teased girls, fought with boys, had secret crushes on teachers, won, lost... Pretty much what everyone does at school...Nothing something about it. I have been good academically and have recieved a few prizes but were they good moments. I would say no cause I dont even remember even the chief guest's face who gave me the prize. At college, I had two girlfreinds, not at a time but one after the other. But then I have never kissed them. God! I have never kissed a girl in twenty years of my life? I am so ashamed of myself. Where did I go wrong? Didnt I make the move at the proper time or the girls werent willing, I dont remember. Here in hostel, I spend my time sleeping, watching movies, playing computer games and doing nothing. Is my life of any good to anybody? Or is it any good to even myself? Probably not. Has my life been a waste? Have I done nothing in life worth something?

While I was pondering over this ,I remembered a story I had heard as a child. It goes like this...Many many years ago, in a far away kingdom, there lived a king. He was the most benevolent king in all the world. He once gave his two young sons a hundred gold coins each and asked them to spend it the way they wanted to. Both the sons went to the market at the end of the city. The younger son was mesmerised by the different colors, the different people. He found a hidden beauty underneath the hustle and bustle of the market . He bought a beautiful rainbow bird that had all the colors in the universe, he bought a pebble that shone like a star when kept facing the sun, he bought a wonderful paper cap that he had always wanted to have, he bought all the things which caught his fancy in the turmoil of the market. The elder son thought to himself, "What chaos! What disorder!" He had always wanted a certain thing since he was a child. None except him knew what he wanted and why he wanted it. But he knew that he would have to save all his coins for it. So he didnt buy the paper boat he liked or the wonderful wooden flute or the clay soldier. He just waited and waited... When the younger son returned,he had just a few coins left but his pocket was filled with things of no importance like a gray stone and a folded paper cap that didnt fit him. The elder son had all his gold coins left with him but he returned empty handed cause he didnt get the thing he was searching for.

Who do you think was happier?OK...There was no such story. I invented it on my own. But does not that summarize life? God has gifted us lives to spend the way we want. We live in this world which is almost like a busy market with commotion and chaos everywhere but we have to see the splendor, the beauty, the magnificience hidden. I have been the younger son who has spent much on useless things but then they were the things I liked the most. Sure the kids might not remember me, but I had loved playing with them. Sure everyone might do the same stuff I did at school, but I had the most fun doing them. Sure the girls might not have kissed me, but I have kissed them many times in my dreams. In the market of life, I have bought everything I wanted and I wanted them because I liked them. Sure they not be important, they may not be something to others but they are everything to me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Gay Story

How long do I fake it? How long have I to live in this surreal world with my 'anomaly'? How long do I fear the acerbic bite of the tarantula if I let out who I am? How long have I to tremble fearing being the pariah? How long do I hide from the world that I am gay?

I still remember the day I had confessed to the priest what I was going through. He was shocked. He said it was a sin. He said I was going against the order of creation chalked out by Him. But I asked why was it a sin? It was God himself who had made me different and how could he punish me for the wrong he had done. Wasnt it God who had said that our greatest duty is to love all? Then how could I be a sinner when my heart was pure and love ran through my soul like blood. The all-knowing priest said that God had put me through a test and I shouldnt succumb to it. But his voice said that he understood that I had failed the test.

When i look at my childhood photographs, I wonder what brought this change in me? When did this convivial nonchalant kid turn into a morose creeper? I realised that as a small bud blooms into a flower, so has it been a slow transition for me, though without the fragnance.

I had a rosy childhood,having everything a kid dreams of. I was somewhat reticent but had many friends. I played in the open, singing songs in rhythm with the birds, catching butterflies and basking in the sun oblivious of the darkness that lay in front of me. When my friends learned that girls were to be looked upon differently and ogled at them and kissed the co-operative ones, I just shied away. They called me 'the saint' then.

Years seemed to fly by with happening in my barren life. I still remember that evening. I was returning from my class. It had been raining hard some hours before, the first rain of the season. I love it after the rains, the leaves a shiny green and everything looking bright and new as if washed out of all their evils. I saw him alight from the taxi and take out his belongings. The taxi whizzed past him splahing muddy water all over his trousers while he looked on helplessly. His tousled hair falling on his forehead,his wrongly buttoned shirt, the guitar strapped to his back all gave me a tangible pleasure.

I went upto him and said if I could help. He smiled. A cute smile! It was a small room, with a small window for ventilation. Little did I know then that it was in this room that I would be spending all my evenings henceforth and that small window would be my eyes to see the world. He was in college, had recently broken up with his girlfriend. That day, he played 'Feel' on his guitar, my favourite song.

I had a lovely dream that night. I had gone to his house. He gave me a hug. Not a tight embrace but a greeting hug. But I wanted to smell that sweet cologne from his neck for a longer time. We talked. We talked about music,pets,studies. We talked about things we were concerned about and things we were indifferent to. And then...he touched me...and touched me...and touched me.I cried when I woke up not because I regretted but because the dream was over.

We have been friends for over six months now.He often asks me why I look at him so lovingly? Will I be ever able to tell him why? Will he be ever able to understand that? No, he wouldnt. He would just wave his hand and say its a joke. What if I convince him that its not? And even if do it, what after that? He has got a life, he has got his own roads, he is not 'different'. Perhaps we would be friends even after that. I even now smile at the shock on my mother's face when I tell her this. She would send me to the local doctor as if it were a disease. How would my frigging homophobe friends react? They would laugh at me. They would paste 'Beware of Robbins' on the boys' restroom door. Some would say I am doing this for attention. Some would be sympathetic. I would be ousted from their groups.

Everyone would oust me. Would even God? I take a lot of sleeping pills from my mother's cupboard to have a nice sleep and wake up to a new tommorow where all this would be a lie, a nightmare.

They spun a web for me.
They spun a web for me.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fear is God

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."-FDR.

I think everyone here would agree with this. I also think that everyone here is a coward at heart. Some manage to hide their cowardice, some are defeated. And those who do not agree with me fear admitting this truth.

When did we start to fear and and who taught us to fear? Yes! Taught us! In my case, I believe it was mother, who always said," Look, the bogeyman's coming." whenever I used to do some mischief. And I see every parent using this technique. Perhaps, it is easier to manage a fearful child than a disturbing one. And look at the way a young boy and a young girl react to a lizard or a spider. The girl is terribly frightened at its sight while the boy laughs away. This is because the boy has been taught not to fear it while the girl has been taught to fear.

Fear is within everyone. Starting from a small child to an ageing man, everyone suffers from fear, anxiety and worries. Fear of socializing, fear of being ridiculed, fear of being rejected, fear of failure, fear of taking a risk, fear of death, fear of the dark, the list is endless...

Fear kills. And it kills you slowly. I used to fear rejection so much that I just avoided girls. I had become an undeserving person for myself. I had become a perverse, a recluse. I used to sit inside a closed room for hours and whine about why wasnt I as attractive as the guy at the mall or why wasnt I as tall as that girl's brother. The simple fear had instilled in me jealousy, wickedness, hatred and diffidence. I was not who I was.

They say theres only a forty percent chance that you will hit the goal in your maiden kick. But you will never hit it if you dont try at all. Still, people dont try fearing failure. I had a wonderful friend, with unique ideas and his trademark out-of-the-box thinking. But everytime, he used to sit in a corner, thinking that no one would like to hear him, thinking that he would be ridiculed as a Quixote, thinking that he was no-one. Fear is universal. I believe all of you would have your own fears. I would appreciate if you would be brave enough to tell them.

But are fears un-necessary? What would happen if we eliminate fears altogether? Would it be Utopia?

I remember a small incident from my childhood. There was a difficult question in our class test, which none could answer except one who copied it. When the results were out, I was angry at getting less marks than him and gave him a piece of my mouth. He looked at me with a baleful glare and said that I was a coward and feared the invigilator otherwise I would have done the same. I shouted back that I was not as bad as him.

Later in the night, I thought, what would have happened if there had been no invigilator during the exam? Wouldnt everyone have copied? Even if it was bad. Were we really giving our fears a name called goodness. And I realised that I was right.

If a big guy hits me in the face, I never hit him back. I say that I am good and its not in my nature to fight. But in my deepest psyche, I know that I fear him. I fear that he might hit me again.

What if the house owner had no fear and slept with all his valuables in the open. What if the robber had no fear of the police and robbed freely? What if I had no fear and kept a tiger as my pet? Would it be nice?

In a small story from one of Coelho's books, a village is inhabitated with dacoits,smugllers and robbers. Their leader, a dreaded dacoit himself is converted by a priest. He constructs a wooden gallows in the middle of the village, stands on it and asks everyone to forget their evil ways and start a new life. He never said why that gallows was erected but everyone knew. Whenever someone wanted to protest, the fear of the gallows prevented him. And soon, the village became home to farmers, traders and businessmen. We all have our gallows inside us. Whenever we are on the wrong path, this fear of the gallows prevents us.

Those in favour of capital punishment say that the fear of death will deter criminals from doing crimes. Fear of the law nips many a crimes at their buds. Sometimes, fear of God forces people to do good. Fear of being second forces one to try hard and be the numero uno. Fear of failure inspires someone to win. Fear of death inspires doctors to cure fatal diseases.

Fear saves. During heavy monsoons, a man feared the worst and asked the villagers to leave the village in due time. And true to his fears, there was a terrible flood but he was saved. His fear saved him. And others too.

Ask a son why he fears his father. He would say its respect. Ask a lover why he fears the day of separation. He would say its love. Ask UNO why it fears the Third World War. They would say it is humanity. Fear is good, fear is bad. Fear is everything, fear is everyone, fear is evrywhere. Fear is God.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I was walking through the long white corridors of my hostel. They seemed like a maze to me through which there was no escape. Not a soul could anywhere be seen. Each door was closed and everyone was engulfed in the darkness pretending to be dead. White tubelights flickering were casting a sinister shadow on the wall. It was like the evil gloominess following me wherever I went.

I turned the shower on. Chilling cold water was numbing my soul piercing my dress, my skin and my self. A single hot tear forced itself through my eye but it was drowned in the flood.


I came out of the shower excitedly, dressed myself looking into the mirror. A beaming face, with excitement writ all over, looked at me. After all, it was my birthday today. From the stairs, I could see my father sitting at the dining table and having his breakfast. With a leaping heart and jumping feet, I ran towards him.

The lovely vase was down into a hundred pieces. Deafening silence!

"You good-for-nothing fellow, dont you have any work other than jumping and breking things dearer than you."

My eyes were fixed on a painting of a ship caught in the storm. I was remembering what had actuated me to paint that.

"Say something, you lousy thing. How long we have to tolerate your idiosyncrasies? Its enough! You are going to the hostel tomorrow."

My mother looked sympathetically at my father. Didnt she have any sympathy for me?

I ran back into my room thinking what my worth was. Even the inanimate vase was dearer than me. I had everything, still I had nothing. When I wanted my mother to feed me, all I got was, "The food is in the freezer. Have it when you are hungry." When I had fever and wanted someone to muss my hair, all I got were expensive medicines. When I wanted someone to share my laughs and cries, all I got were toys showered upon me. I was never a son for my parents. I was just a medium through which they could show how affluent they were. I was no-one.


The dull thud of my wet slippers pierced the silent night like a dagger. Water dripping from my clothes was leaving a trail on the concrete floor. The stairs to the roof were too steep for my tired legs. Pale moonlight covered the roof like a white carpet. The stars were twinkling as laughing among themselves at my plight.

At a distance, I could see smoke from the fire the guard had lit up to brave the cold.


I coughed as the smoke blew into my face.

"So you dont smoke cigarettes, huh?", barked a senior.
I didnt say anything
"Take this."
I took a puff. It left a hot burning sensation in my throat. Tears had welled up in my eyes.
"Kneel down, you bastard!"
I knelt down. The sound of my breathing was so heavy for me that it drowned out the outside noise.

"Lick my shoes!"
I looked at him pleadingly.
"Do as I say, you frigging idiot!"

The fear and torment in my eyes made him laugh. That hyena laugh taught me something. That he too was a victim. That he too had once looked with such pleading eyes at a ruthless senior. That he was here to share what he had learnt from this world.

The leather tasted of stale, sweaty skin.


My breath now made me aware of that stale odour emanating from my mouth.

The trees on the other side of the roof were swaying their branches as if inviting me to come to them. The breeze whistled past my ears, "Come to us, come to us". The pale moonlight was saying, "This world is not yours. Come to our world, your world!"

I as walking in a trance towards the end of the roof. I thought of my mother. Would she remember me when I'm gone? Would she cry for me? Would anybody cry? Was I no-one? Didnt I belong to this world?

The trees, the breeze, the moon all had got a new friend in their world, my world...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Loner

Loner n A person who is often alone or who prefers to be alone , rather than with other people.

Thats what I am. Since childhood,since I remember. During family weddings,when the cousins would dance and sing and play and cry, I preferred sitting by the lake, looking at my undulating reflection in the water.Some people liked me for that; some didnt. I didnt care. Relatives would come and smile at me and worry about how thin I'm becoming while my mother would ask me to do Namaste. I preffered to keep myself away from all these bullshits. The same people who praised you fawningly in front of you would be bitching your ass out when you turn your back.

At school,boys hated me.The girls loved me. They would place bets among themselves to talk with me.All my joys,sorrows,laughs and tears were locked inside a small muscle called the heart.I never told my problems to anybody. I believed that "80% people did not care while the other 20% were glad you had them".

Even in my college,I stay in my room blowing the shit out of my ears listening to the loudest of music.I read a lot and hate the characters in them. I hate the self-confessed know-it-alls in my college.I hate the virgin girls trying every desperate effort to lose 'it'. And I hate myself for being in an shithole of a place.

* * *
I see a girl sitting on a corner bench in the classroom drawing figures in her notebook. A loner perhaps! I dont why(and till now I have no idea why) I go and talk to her.She gives me a cold glance and I step back. I forget her after that.Then after some days, I see the same girl in a restaurant crying alone.I go and join her.I ask about her and realise that I have found a she-myself. She says she hates her mother. I say I too. She says she hates her room-mates. I say I too. We talk about our simmilarities. We talk about ourselves. We are laughing. We have tears in our eyes.We are in love.

I go out with her everyday. My friends say-'See our loner friend has got himself a girlfriend'. Man! The day my lips touched hers, I realise I was wrong all this time. There's love everywhere. The day her soft skin grazes mine, I realise the pain my mother took in handling me.The day I make love to her, I realise I have stopped hating. And so has she. We love people.We love the couples making out in the garden. We love the chai-wallah,give him a smile and he adds more sugar to our tea. Our world becomes sweeter.

Then one day, in the same restaurant, in that same seat, we find a girl crying.Perhaps waiting for her loner friend to teach her love. We smile at each other.