May 29, 2010
Not many are unaware of the legend of Mahabharata. But individuals like Arjun, Krishna and Duryodhan have taken much of the prehistoric limelight. A character that played a pivotal role in shaping the end of Mahabharata was Ashwathama. Ashwathama was the Son of Krupi (Mother) and Dronacharya(Father), the great teacher who taught archery and weaponry to all Pandavas (remember the forgotten Hero Eklavya?) and Kaurvas. Ashwathama fought in the epic battle of Mahabharata as the commander of the forces from the camp of Kauravas (the antagonists) against the Pandavas (the protagonists), as did his father, Dronacharya. Quite an intriguing fact about Ashwathama is that since his birth, Ashwathama had a jewel (mani) embedded in his forehead which saved him from demons, Gods, snakes and from worldly botheration of hunger and thirst. So here goes the legend of Ashwathama
Towards the end of the battle when Duryodhan was killed by Bheema, the left over Kaurav warriors (including Ashwathama) made a treacherous attempt to kill Pandava brothers. They hideously attacked Pandava’s cantonment at night and beheaded the five warriors sleeping in one of the kiosks. Hours later on Sunrise, they realised they have instead of 5 Pandava brothers they killed the 5 sons of Pandavas. Naturally, Pandavas also discovered 5 headless bodies and strode in agony and anger towards the rival camp (accompanied by ‘mortal-Lord’ Krishna, the Friend-Philosopher-Guide and charioteer of Arjuna).
Seeing the extent of approaching Pandava’s fury, Ashwatthama realised the extent of his mistake and feared his life (though he was immortal!). In his dread, Ashwathama used a blade of grass and using his knowledge of Vedas, made the deadly weapon called Brahmastra (erstwhile version of Nuclear Weapon conferred to supreme warriors by Lord Brahma). He threw this weapon at Pandavas articulating the curse “May all the Pandavas be Destroyed”. To counter this weapon and its curse, Arjun withdrew his bow and released another deadly weapon called Pashupatiastra (another version of Nuclear Weapon, named after and conferred by Lord Shiva).
Now both these weapons had apocalyptic capacities. So seeing the potential danger to Mankind, Lord Vishnu (The most supreme God) descended from heavens and commanded both the warriors to withdraw or take back their weapons. While Arjun took the Pashupatiastra back, Ashwatthama din’t know how to do so. Vishnu then asked Ashwathama to decide a single target of this weapon. Still under wrath and binded by His promise to deceased Duryodhana, Ashwathama chose the womb of the pregnant ‘Uttara’ (wife of martyr Abhimanyu- the great archer and son of Arjuna) in sense that on her delivery she will have a dead child and Pandavas will be destroyed.
As a penitence for Ashwatthama, Lord Krishna pulled out his forehead’s jewel and commanded that he will not lose his immortality and will roam around till the end of the world. And worst of all, the hollow made on his forehead by digging the jewel out will never heal and will always seep blood and Puss, thus arousing a foul smell.
So months later Uttara did begot a male child who was dead. This brought a wave of Sadness to Pandav Kingdom as they were left without an heir to their prodigal dynasty. Seeing the sentiment, Lord Krishna took the child in his lap and said something close to this “If I have never favoured the evil, If I have never lied and have never did a deed, but towards just and truth, MAY THE CHILD COME TO LIFE” and as expected, the hitherto dead boy started crying. The buy was nomenclatured on this incident. His name was ‘Parikshit’ (The Tested: through a test of God) and he ruled the Pandav Dynasty after the 5 brothers left for heaven.
So coming back to Ashwatthama, his blessing of immortality turned into a curse and he joined the league of Chiranjeevis (The timeless or extremely long live, but not necessarily immortals-other examples are Hanumana, Narada and Parshurama). Since then Ashwatthama is roaming around on earth with a bleeding forehead.
Now comes the most incredible part, Ashwatthama is claimed to be seen by some people. Here are the two instances:
a) A renowned Vaidhya (Ayurvedic Doctor) in Madhya Pradesh had a tough patient with a septic forehead. After several applications of a fail-proof potion, the wound was still afresh and bleeding. Amazed at his potions inability, the doctor wittingly said: “Your forehead’s wound seems ageless and cureless. I wonder, are you Ashwatthama.. hahaha”. At the third ha, he turned around to apply the next doze and found that the seat was empty. The patient just disappeared into thin air, sealing Vaidya’s wit with reality”
b) Legend says that in an Indian village near Burhanpur, there is an old dilapidated fort called Asirgarh,, ancient tomb in India where Ashwathama supposedly offers flowers to a Shiva-ling (pneumonic of Lord Shiva) each day.
While incidence a) was reported in Kalyan Magazine, incident b) was briefly on News channels too. Some yogis like Pilot Baba have gone as far in mentioning their encounter and conversation with Ashwathama, who was living among tribes of Bheels at Himalayan Foothills. In all such incidences, the narrators mentioned the height of Ashwathama around 12 feet.
Even if you don’t believe in mythology and religion, the idea of a 12 feet tall, 6000 year old man, witnessing history’s biggest bloodshed and living with God, is still intriguing. I really wonder, if there is a real Ashwathama or any other Chiranjeevi, can’t he come to public eye and narrate us the magnanimous battle-story of our past or is Ashwathama purely legendary?
Apr 19, 2010
So Vyas, the eclipsed sun of our story and son of a late Army official and a typically illiterate sweaterknitting, two-saree-owner mother works at a bank to only earn his bread as there’s hardly anything left for butter.
A 5’7” shabby 26 year old boy or man, he knows best, Vyas is elbow-complexioned with red lips and facial skin like a tanned buffalo’s! His hair puff was the only visible feature of his façade that whispered of his youth. His textured hair kept him seeing a mirror each morning, being shamelessly oblivious to his premature ageing!
All these miraculous features with a life of struggles at pinnacles and the not-to-miss banker’s job barred his masculinity to mid-bathing masturbation sessions and occasional cleavage peeps in the bus.
Today was supposed to be like any other sans-energy, sans-smile day when for the first half he opens his mouth for customering and Gold-flaking and second half for customering, Gold-flaking and burping, adding foul-odour yawns in the siesta hours.
But the evening had unexpected waiting for Vyas. Enough to kill the yawning and stir him!
Vyas while dealing with the customers usually kept his head low for two reasons. 1) He doesn’t want futile socialization as he calls it atrophy and 2) he doesn’t want people to see his face and make unwanted gestures with their.
But today there was a head lifting voice after the lunch that made him alter the angle of his neck. This was Vyas’ friend- a college pal- Surojit. His sight made Vyas’ lips flicker in a welcoming gesture for it was after 6 years of college that he saw a known face. After opening his new account, vyas opened the conversation as he replaced a hesitant colleague at his desk.
The conversation, ought to be loud and hearty was low and short. Both talked of college, life after college and job. On Vyas’ question about livelihood, Surojit’s answer was-“I am still wandering”. Vyas, not to embarrass him, carpeted the topic. After some Gold-flaking, both bid farewell to each other with the promise to meet monthly in the bank.
With this promise they parted and Vyas replaced the replacement. As Vyas enveloped himself in monotonous, single-syllable routine, he was still brooding college times which used to be umpteen times better (he even used to be fairer than this in the college). He started smoking on 3rd day of college. He loved Bindra, who loved Krishnan, who loved Padmaja and Padmaja ran with her domestic help Mutur, a bihari. Bindra consoled Krishnan and today they are happily married with two kids, darker than their parents, perhaps a shade darker than Vyas even. Had Padmaja not ran with her domestic help, Vyas would have a Social and biological outlets to enjoy. But college was not that bad after all. He watched his first porn film in college, a Srilankan porn movie with 1 hour of foreplay and 10 minutes of action.
Vyas attributes his virginity to such a gory exposure first then to his social circle and finally to his facade. The only women he knows other than his mother is Mrs Lakshmi a co-worker. Vyas thinks Mrs Lakhsmi met her menopause at least a decade ago and her husband could gather the courage to fornicate with her only twice, for they have two children.
His Virginity was a celibacy which always left Vyas in the purgatory of pride and prejudice.
All these and more thoughts, as fast they travel, steered him to Surojit, for this flashback was an upshot of his arrival. Surojit never attended mathematics class, the professor was his father. His Bengali sister was far better than any other girl in the college. He and Vyas became friends at the end of first year. Vyas took his Bajaj Vespa when he went to Bindra’s house (in his best shirt-RED) to say her happy birthday.
And suddenly, Vyas froze in his chair. The floor slipped from under. With wide eyes and sweat drops forming on his forehead Vyas recalled a haunting memory… Surojit died in the final year of college. It was an accident. A bus ran over him while he was driving his Vespa.
Thick sputum formed in his throat. And like the sputum, Vyas could not digest he met with a dead person or-what froze his spine-a ghost.
It took him three minutes and a customer’s meddling to regain mundane consciousness. As he finished the work till evening, he decided to check his records for he address Surojit gave him. It seemed that the spree of surprises was not over.
The form bore the address of their college.
Vyas held his scalp into hands to grab all that happened to him. Did that mean Surojit was still living in college? Is surojit, the now metaphysical, still attached to college memoirs? How long will he be like this? Will he come again? Then Surojit’s righteous words echoed deafeningly in his head
“I am still wandering”
His spirit was wandering in the college compound and it came to see an old friend six years after they parted.
Mar 15, 2010
I kept 'Zero Percentile' down after reading 40 pages to enjoy the trance and nostalgia that it gave me, trance of my own first novel. Starting 3 years ago on this unplanned voyage of writing a novel, I (immature and unexposed) played safe and romantic by picking up a Delhi based love story as my plot. With my limited knowledge of vocabulary, art of expression and usage of words to their true potential, I wrote about 150 pages in MS Word(I still remember that old Sahara laptop). Those standards of yesteryear are but a source of mockery now. Those plane expressions, underutilized idioms, pointless sarcasms, careless satires, disparaging euphemisms and short vocabulary were anything but tamed and timid. But today, when I have made a career out of writing and I'm by my standards a decently read man with viable knowledge of language and its usage as a tool... today, when my pen is, if not sword, at least a sickle of verbiage, I am too messed up in my grooming to pen out my aspirations. The madness has died and the magic could never grow. All dreams of boundless creativity are broken each morning by the alarm clock. The trance of imagination is broken by the assaults of deadlines. The ship has met it's fate even before its first journey. It will soon be sunk in the white-collar-whirlwind. The death has already happened in me much longer, but I realized it today after reading another budding author, who at least wrote. Zero Percentile will continue to be my most-haunting and disparaging novel for long. But I never-the-less-never-the-more need to start from page 41 tomorrow...
Mar 3, 2010
How so ever occupied I be or pretend to be, some fragments of past do visit me each day. Remembering my first year in that obscenely built lavish triangular dwelling, I recall the emotional voyage of absurdity, aloofness, confusion, numbness, friendship, politics, bacchanalianism, mockery, bigotry, accidents, nudity, extremity, incapability and atrophy. While yet, another side of me contemporarily recalls freshness, rejuvenation, attachment, charm, belongingness and insecurity. Till the speciality of pursuing higher education became a necessity: a socio-emotional dose, we were through with the confused half of our MBA.
Following the 3 month break in our redeeming Sabbath I, with some chosen and imposed friends moved to another accommodation. Now this one reminds me of laughter, potpourri, happy high, sad high, only high, high-high, neighbour nagging, pre dawn whacking, perverseness, madness, fear, frolic, frenzy, fame, sense, logic, untangling and relief. Correspondingly, the not so egoist alter ego remembers mirth, bliss, strife, derelicts, homecoming, extrapolation, vision, pacification, belief, humour, commitment and oneness.
Having said all this, I must mention that it is not merely the spasms of nostalgia or fits of chagrin that haunt us, it is the crowded and rowdy outside world that upsets us by not being as we shaped it inside. You might not like to pardon my frankness, but the vainness of MBA is more intense than its best reminiscence. Even if you see that the road to future is bright and sunny, prepare for a rain or sunburn, and for some of us, even for an eclipse.
Dec 18, 2009
What do you want to be? What do you want to see? How do you want to be heard? A confusing mix of prejudice, olfactory, aural and visual parodies and social kinaesthetic are the (seemingly) end products of our sensory and social protocols. The masses- despised and prioritised alike in the books of history- always lost their voice for the wake of a revolution. The elite- feigning and heathened by the masses got their larynx and word heard across ages, catalysing revolutions and catastrophes equally. Then there is a third voice, unheard and unseen, the voice of ventriloquists. In the want of maintaining the fulcrum of real balance, these voices left unnamed, mute. Paradoxically, it is these aural altars of sacrifices, commitments that deserve –from neo-natal to posthumous-ovations of human and inhuman. Fortunately for them and unfortunately for us, they could never get their undemanded, unasked and unexpected share of tribute. It is these voices that I vow and bow to. It is these voices that I want to get noticed. The silence that you live in, is the most intense and deafening enlightenment, in chasing which, you make most of the most atrophic resonances from your vocal chords. For the uncomprehending nobodies, it is the silence of an umbilical cord that balances the fulcrum of most divine creation. It is the serene silence of night, that holds the fulcrum between nocturnal sagas and sunlight humdrums. It is the silence of God, that balances the fulcrum of religion and survival. The silence of creation, used as ventriloquist’s tool, balances the quintessential apparatus till destruction.
What began with big bang, came to us with a protozoon and is taking us to apocalypse is but a mere puppetry of ventriloquists, sound and un-succumbing to their share-takers. The point at the core-heating and waiting to unleash- is the irony of these voices. Playing the roles that nobody told them to play, these voices have been pried upon since they began to speak. But as the world is approaching its cataclysm, its intelligence is burgeoning and its emotiveness is ballparking. So while we await our individual, societal, civilisation and conscientious end, it will be conducive to identify what kept us going so far: the ventriloquists. Heeding us, feeding us, nurturing us, creating us and destroying us; these voices have become strained. Therefore the usual silence they created with their sounds is getting eerier. Balancing the fulcrum, their throats- the working mnemonics for origin of universe, mankind, society, communication and culture- are getting drenched and parched. They are getting HOLLOWER. But poor forms of life that we are, instead of feeding and heeding them, we stuffed them with our inefficacies and lethargy. Instead of the healers that they wanted us to be, we became their fatal taxidermists. But as these throats are getting more and more stuffing, the silent eloquent balance they maintained is fading. The fulcrum is penchanting towards destruction: from morals to man to masses to mankind. While nothing can be done, (or worst: undone) it is agreeable to rationally and shamefully acknowledge the deceptive imagery-cum-motion-picture ... the ‘Maaya and Mithya’ that we created to masquerade us to doom. Let us analyse our individual apparatus and the balances and accept the brutal assaults that we made to sodomise the ventriloquist throats. Let us- till we are pulled from predicament of penultimate to the wholesomeness of the ultimate- be thankful, obliged and equally remorseful to the balancing chords of unspoken throats. Let us be remembered –with our genocides and thoughtlessness- for our boldness and confessions.
I ask again: What do you want to be? What do you want to see? How do you want to be heard?
Aug 9, 2009
While very few rising in love, ‘falling’ in love has rightly been phrased by either a visionary or a victim. What however is more depressing is the inability or blindness of those falling into a deep trough of emotional engagement that they start believing the opposite. It’s like running a pillar to post marathon with the belief of reaching the other side of the earth. Many forms of today’s love are harsh incompatibilities masqueraded by a vast cocoon of ignorance, embroidered with brittle threading of happiness, hope and optimism to hide the reality. But when the reality outgrows this cocoon, everything -brittle or vast- breaks into pieces which hurt.
These are the pieces of solitude, of desperation, of contempt, of memoirs, of aimlessness, of hatred and many other confused multifaceted emotional outbursts that have been best captured by poets and psychologists alike.
But there are some positivisms also included in the packaging of love. While some are directly beneficial to concerned parties, others bring benefits to the external world. Love means business to so many professions and services. Flowers, gifts, cards, travel and tourism, internet, telephony, telegrams and telegraphs, cameras, apparels, accessories, entertainment industry, food industry, ‘pharmaceuticals’ and much more. Even in its dismal state of being, love is a source of business to trades of counselling, psychometrics, medicos, druggists, Telephony, chocolates, electricity, television, breweries, spirits, tobacco and drugs.
So…. love is a necessary evil with huge demand in markets.
Mar 17, 2009
Mar 12, 2009
No its not pleasure I am moaning with, its pain. The humdrum obligations that led me to this temporary yet drenching catastrophe are not as important as the connotation attached to the word and concept that this word, pain, endures us. "A strongly unpleasant bodily sensation such as caused by illness of injury" is what
Pain is not just a carnal unpleasantness. It can not be always depicted or conveyed with flesh, blood, cries, agonies, tears, or death. There is more to pain than a body can endure; the mental pain. Than explaining the mental pain, I would exemplify it. It is when you can see someone crying with hunger or despair thousands of miles away but you know you can not do much to his comfort. It is when few mavericks carry out a spree of destruction and jeopardy to innocent and naïve people. It is when you see that rulers of a civilisation are too overwhelmed with avarice and selfishness to help those, who made them what they are, from suffering. The biggest pain however comes when you realise that the unaffected world is too selfish or occupied to see the pain of the affected half, when all persuasions to philanthropy succumb to the hardened hearts. When the biggest pain of unknown is inexistent while the slightest trouble to the beloveds can agitate what even revolutions failed to.
Ask yourself, are you able to see, let alone inflict this pain? Do such ophthalmic sights and cacophonic sounds nerve you? Do those umpteen epitaphs the citizens of this world face each day serve as a reminder to you? Or for you citizens only belong to countries, regions or worse, religions? The purpose of my words is not to stir you to action, as even epics can not dragoon you that far, but it is to stir your conscience and let you witness the pain and atrocities at a global plethora and realise how infinitesimally miniscule and inconsequential are those fears and pains that we bear. So next time you bruise your knee or strain your wrist, or are down with fever or loose a friend, or even love of your life… remember there are far bigger unheard stories that speak of elegies of pain a human mind can seldom imagine and a human body can never endure. That’s why my pain, courtesy an accident on a road connecting