Life of a dog

It crushes my soul and bleeds my heart,
Like I can’t breath and survive another minute,
Seeing you here, stuck and lost,
Waiting for the door to open,
For someone to let you out,
To the world outside, to your natural self,
Embracing life as you know it.

I feel your pain choking my throat,
My eyes welling up from an unfamiliar sorrow,
Unknown and strange are my thoughts,
With the tears I shed for you, no matter the hate.

Scared and hopeless, you and me,
I open the door through the fear,
Knowing its only for you and for you to never return,
And for me to be here without respite.
Sans your sorrow, does mine diminish ever?
How would you know, after all you are a dog!

Katha kettutha…

Katha kettutha.. – the words echoing in my ears for a month now. Did you hear the story? That’s the literal meaning of it. But the depth and profoundness of those words are unfathomable to me. Every time he asks if I ‘heard the story’ , there is a great deal of wisdom, love and thrill in his words. The undying spirit of a man eager to live life to its fullest. The man who’s only a memory now. But his words and his stories are etched forever in my thoughts.

So he died. Big deal. People die. Hundreds of thousands of people do. A hundred lives passed as I typed this sentence, all over the world. But when it’s close home, that’s when it halts the world. It was unexpected now. He was doing good, going by his life and taking care of ammammai, and watching over all of us. But I wouldn’t say it’s out of nowhere. He was old. And I thought he was dying a decade ago when he was hospitalised. Somehow with a certain age, you think people are ‘die-able’. And he was in that category. More than anyone else, he was the one who made peace with it the most. He wrote down his obituary, funeral arrangements, last wishes, and namesake will of all his and his wife’s belongings to the last detail. Neatly folded the document and entrusted with my dad for safekeeping, only to be presented when the ‘time’ comes. Without exaggeration, I literally wrote down his exact words with some fillers for his own obituary in the newspapers. I couldn’t believe I was doing so but did that without a thought anyway. Thatha never stops to awe you, never ever. He was a meticulous man, even in death.

It’s been exactly a month now. Am I seeking closure? A week ago when I started writing this, closure is what I sought. From the time of hearing the news, until this moment, I can’t stop hearing he asking me ‘katha kettutha’. Through the rites, I hardly cried. I was in a trance, shocked by this voice in my head. It felt like there are more stories he wanted to say, more memories he had to share and more about him that we all had to know. With time, of course the voice is fading. And that’s when I realized what I seek is not closure. What I seek is for his memory to stay with me. Not once a year during thavasham. Not when I taste a food he liked, or when I hear his name, or see ammammai. I want to bear him in my thoughts as a constant. A random story he once said, his mannerisms, his appearance, the ring he never let me have but always let me try steal..

I thought seeing ammammai without pottu would be the most heartbreaking thing after. It is the empty arm chair and the missing ring to steal that kill me though. It’s not what he was to others, it is who he was. S. Narayanan.

A conversation

Person:
Why can’t all people be equally happy or equally sad?

Why are some more happy and some more sad?

Another person:
I guess that’s an eternal question that doesn’t have a solution.

It’s also similar to asking why are some people rich and some poor.

Disparity is rooted in humanity.

In material and immaterial attributes.

Wealth, happiness and what not!

Person:
Beauty is in disparity is such a cringing statement that I can’t stop uttering.

Another person:
Isnt it not?

What drives us to live?

Desire?

Where does desire come from?

Disparity.

If all of us live unhappily, or equally happily, what do we look upto? What makes us live for the next day?

Person:
Yeah, that’s what I meant. But we can say that philosophically because we are on the other side of the equal.

Another person:
Yes.

Person:
It’s simple. When problem hits us, it stops being beautiful in disparity.

Another person:
Disparity is not really beautiful or ugly.

It is merely something that exists. And could be a root cause of all human existence.

Exactly like ego.

Without ego, there is no humanity.

These are some abstract constructs that keeps us alive.

Desire is driven by despair. Despair is driven by ego. God knows what ego is driven by. Our human nature?

Person:
😊

Person:
Some equals are more equal than some other.

A Call of Longing

Far I stood , away from the waves,

Close to the shore, teasing the sea.

Was it the fear for the ocean,

Or was it the test of the waves.

Away I walked, without a wait,

Without a thought, without a turn.

Was it the longing to be stopped,

Was it an attempt to stop the lone tear.

The waves caressed my feet,

And the wait for your call never ceased.

Depression

Depression is a very loosely used term. People don’t mostly understand the full meaning and scope of the word and throw it around so randomly. As an onlooker, it hurts to see that happening. The more cliched it becomes, lesser is its impact on the listener and the gravity of the situation gets lost. Depression is not merely a mental state. It is a disease that cripples life itself. You losing a loved one, not landing the dream job or being heartbroken in love doesn’t necessarily make you depressed. What you experience then is sorrow, sadness and despair. Some days, weeks or months pass by and you pull yourself together and move on. But if you try your best to get past it but cannot even bring yourself to rise from the bed, that is when you suffer from depression. When no amount of positivity can help you, when you break down in the middle of the night for reasons you can’t understand, when you lose the drive to just be – that’s when you are depressed. You sneeze one random time or catch a common cold – you wouldn’t proclaim you are suffering from COVID right? Every passing sorrow or a phase of grief shouldn’t be associated to depression for the very same reasons. The last thing you’d want to do to a loved one is to make it more difficult for them to open up, just by trivializing the term ‘depression’.

P. S. Above are my thoughts from experiences in person, through others’ experiences and some random reading. By no means do I intent to define the term ‘depression’ or limit its depth. You never know the full story unless you are a part of it.

Tears make you…

Strong, or weak? It’s a debated topic. Boys shouldn’t cry, men shouldn’t show their weakness and so on. Sometimes it’s beyond gender. Crying is somehow always associated with weakness and fragility. It’s weird though, that the other extreme of emotions aren’t associated with weakness or vulnerability. If you ask me, I think a person is the most vulnerable when they are angry. Of course, crying is perhaps the saddest phase, but anger is when you have no control on your words, your body language, your psyche as such. Anger is when you say things you wouldn’t have said otherwise, anger is when you lose your mind – anger is your vulnerability. When you cry, you expose your vulnerability, of course. So do you, when you are angry. The difference is, one vulnerability is exploited in favour of others but not necessarily against you, and the other vulnerability is almost always exploited against your own interests. When in tears, you might agree to give away half your wealth to someone empathizing with you. But in anger, you might just end up breaking the most expensive vase you bought last week. Without having to explain, wealth and the vase are all just metaphors and not literally about their physical worth. I always fear being exploited in a way that I lose something cherished, than someone else gaining something from me. But again, I cry as often as I lose my temper and throw stuff around (atleast inside my head!). It’s a balance most people struggle to establish. I would totally like to say crying makes you stronger, but that could be very one-sided since I don’t know how strong you get without crying. One thing I can, however, is that anger makes you equally fragile and weak in the knees. Should we not start a saying that ‘Boys shouldn’t be angry’? Perhaps, take out the gender and rephrase – ‘People who make it are people who start with inner balance!’

Lessons in Forgetting

Kavitha kurikkuvan kaminiyayi, omanikkan ente makalayi,

Valsalyamekuvan ammayayi, nervazhikattunna thozhiyayi,

Pinneyen jeevante spandanam polum nin

Swararaga layabhava thalamayi. Arinjathalle nee arinjathalle…

Ninakkai… Aadyamai… Ormakkai.. . iniyoru sneha geetham!

I was probably 10-12 years old when East Coast Vijayan released his music album series – Ninakkai, Aadyamai, Ormakkai, Swantham (For you, For the first time, For remembrance, Yours truly). Music albums had only started being a ‘thing’ then, atleast in Malayalam. Despite how long it has been, I find myself humming these lines quite randomly even today. The image of the hero and heroine of the album and their poetic love have made a very deep memory in my mind. Though I’ve relished many other romantic poems and versatile lyricists, East Coast Vijayan and his trio series pop out of nowhere every time. Being the first has such lasting impressions. It is just not about music for me. I seem to remember an unnecessary load of things from the past that I just can’t get rid of. I remember my first (and only) dentist, first hospitalisation, first time of hearing about someone’s death, first burn, first conversation with my longest standing friend (it has been 24 years), first news of heartbreak (I very clearly remember how my mom broke the news to me – that I won’t be the only apple of their eyes – that’s 20 years again). Just too many of first time memories – all well before I was 10 or 12. There’s nothing really wrong about remembering things. I remember the good and the bad equally – from random conversations to life altering moments. But I wish a part of it just fades away. I don’t want to feel the pang of nostalgia every time I hear a music, see a person, be at a place or notice the date. Ah dates – don’t even get me started! You remember your birthday. Family’s. Friends’. Significant other’s. Some anniversaries. Some deaths. Maybe some more. Do you remember the birthday of a colleague you worked with barely for a year? Do you remember the anniversary of your distant cousin? Death anniversary of a relative you never really knew? Naming ceremony of your neice? Birthdays of classmates whose faces you’ve forgotten? Well, I do. And that is such a painful experience. You remember it’s special for someone today, but you don’t even care about it sometimes. It is an ugly reminder of some memories from the past and some people you’ve lost on the way. It’s just a memory of your memories.

By no means does this mean that I’ve a stellar memory. I forget routine stuff like a normal person. I can’t find a book I read and cherished just a year ago. I misplaced the title ‘Lessons in Forgetting’ by Anita Nair and it’s frustrating!

The irrelevant void

Voids. Those tiny little empty spaces between life and its monotony. There are way too many voids in each person’s life. Some get filled. Some may not. And some others, may even go unnoticed as they get filled without our knowledge or appreciation. I have been thinking of such ‘irrelevant’ voids in my life, say, for past two weeks. Now, two weeks is fairly a fair amount of time to spare on ‘irrelevant’ things!

I walk a decent distance of half a kilometer every morning, towards my bus stop. And one my way, I have quite a lot of ‘irrelevant’ details to look at and often smile at. The ‘petti-kada’ auntie, the ‘chechi’ by the corporation water supply, the repeated questions about my college and morning greetings from a acquaintance, and the occasional black dog and the dark faced man. And there are (scary) dogs and cats and scary hussle of bikes and cars. And there’s the occasional glimpse of the black dog and the dark faced man. Nothing specifically that I look forward to, but all the more a part of my mornings.

And then one fine day, I walk along and see a black flag by the black dog’s and dark faced man’s house. There’s death in the air, but no matter what, I get my daily bus. So I walk past the house, not looking out for anybody in specific. And so passed a week, and I wonder where the dark faced guy disappered, along with the dog! A death at his home and all I see are stangers around, and kids performing the final rituals. Funnily now, the obvious still hadn’t struck me. And on the seventh day ritual, ‘sanjayanam’, I walk by the place again. Dramatically, through the gathered crowd, I see the dark face photographed and framed, with a garland around it. The obvious finally occured to me. And for the first time, I gazed at the board that bore the dark face’s name and occupation. He was an LIC agent. The irony didnt stop me, but something else did. I was tansfixed for a breif moment, for an awkward amount of seconds.

It is irrelevant, isnt it? Someone I haven’t talked to, have had no association with, whose name I didn’t even know while he was alive! It was just a ‘someone’ who died. But suddenly, it gave in for a large void and deep flow of thoughts. Thoughts that took me in for two weeks or more, and I have been thinking of the dark face and the black dog that suddenly vanished. I wanted to ask around. Did he have cancer? Did he die of a tragic accident? Did he commit suicide? I wanted to ask a lot of things. Almost a month, and I have been still thinking on it. And finally today, I got the answer. He just fell in the bathroom, hit somewhere and just simply died! A plain simple death!

It’s not the death. But the absence. The sudden void that shook me. I am not even sad for him. Come on! I didnt know him at all! But I miss some presence in that road, in my mornings. A haunting feel that makes me realise how many such irrelevant voids make up our lives! Or my life atleast. I missed my acquaintance’s queries and greetings. He too passed away, but the absence wasnt felt this intense.

It’s often not how much you talk or how much you know, but simply if the absence is noticed. I choose to believe my presence may go unnoticed but not my absence. For me, I have always mourned upon absences even when I missed to relish the presence! To go back and look at someone else’s life, and see if your absence is felt, may be a crazy thought. Dare not to do it, anyway. It hurts like hell when the realisation strikes hard! Most presences in life are unacknowledged. Even more, most absences are unnoticed. Voids are, after all, irrelevant by nature!

Dated!

Living thru dates, with dates, by dates, is a difficult task. And by dates, I am not talking about the fruit, dates. Nor am I talking about the dates people ‘go out’ on. Oh good lord! How many definitions do dates hold already! As if it is not enough, we have this-day, that-day, not-this-day and on and on, celebrating all kinda dates. And ofcourse those fancy dates. 01-01-01, 02-02-02…..12-12-12. Thank god its over by 2012! And as if none of these are enough, I have my fancy associations to dates! The day I first I joined this school. The day I met that person. The day I left this place. The day I last met some person. The day I first had some experience. The day with this and that and too many such stupid associations. Its funny how I remember so many birthdays that I don’t even want to make a wish on, too many anniversaries I don’t even care to be bothered about, too many days with no relevance to me as a person, still etched in my memory. Like, not even a brain damage could actually wipe them away. Every morning, getting up and actually waking into my senses, the first involuntary thing is to register the date in my memory, and then search for a matching item that corresponds to the date. And each day, has associations. Pleasant, unpleasant, moderate, and I-dont-give-a-fuck kinda dates. And as I pass by each such date, the one thing I so wish, atleast by next year this day, let me forget its stupid cooked relevance in my brain. I don’t want to remember so many pointless stuff. And today is one such day. A date I am trying to forget. Not coz its unpleasant. But coz its irrelevant in the life I currently live. An anniversary I choose to forget, but still reminded all the more, as I am the only one even thinking about it, even at this hour, as the day closes down.Ridiculous dates! Etched down the memory lane!

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Killing the unborn!

I don’t know if she even existed. Like, I don’t even know if she were born. But I’d just love to see her dead. Rather, with my own hands, strangle her to death. She who personifies all that I am not. She who desires all that I dont. She who destroys all that I would never. She who creates all that I couldn’t ever. She who wants to stop me from writing this. She who puts a leash on me being me. She who claims to be a twin of my soul. She who disrupts my life. She who destabilizes my hold on life. She who kicks in when no one’s around, and makes me unreasonable. She who wouldn’t just let go of me until I sneeze her away. She who hunts me down, day in and day out. She who scares me. She who I despise to be with. She who I hates to have known. She who wrecks my inner peace.

“Hey, its high time we broke up. I am so tired of you hanging on to my neck. You want a parasite? Go find someone else. I am so done with you. Just so you know, you’ve done enough. To wreck me and my life.” “I am sorry but I didn’t know. Like , I always thought you liked things this way. Weren’t we perfect this way? Life was getting much..” “Duh! Look at who’s talking about life. What do you know about life? When have you gotten outta your little fantasy world, to even acknowledge there’s a real world and life going on out here!” I tell you I am breaking up with you. But you know what’s it I am gonna really do? I am gonna kill you. Finish you off and wipe you off the surface this world. I wanna wash my sins away in your blood. May be you’re a total piece of crap. But your intangible blood has such marvelous charm. You won’t see another sun rise. Go to a calm and peaceful sleep tonight, and you’ll never wake up from that eternal peace.

P.S. Lately, I have been contemplating metamorphosis. And this is how I see it in me. Went through some past autographs from school. And the one constant line, in every page, even the ones written by people who don’t know eachother, matched so perfect and identical. They all said just one thing. ‘Never change from what you’re. Your attitude stands unique.’ However fancy may that sound, do people really do this copy-cat thing in autographs as they do in tests? Or is it that they all planned on making a fool outta me, by writing out the same thing to freak me out? Or is it actually that, they all thought the exact same about me? Oh mother of god! Where the fuck is that attitude of mine then! (The one that I too loved! Where am I!)

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