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RUNNING DOWN TILL SUNDOWN

MY PRECIOUS ARTEMIS

The night is quiet today,

Save the rain that pours relentless.

There are no storms brewing,

The night is but spent in quiet contemplation.

 

I can see the mountains from here,

My windows, a vision I never sought.

A vision of serenity, one of ecstasy,

The sights I see are magnificent,

So humbling is my being.

 

There are no shadows creeping,

The denizens rest with no qualms.

I do not await the morning tonight,

I suppose more so today than before.

 

The calm lies and spreads across,

The fields of daisies gleefully dance in the breeze.

The gurgling waters I hear,

The sounds of the harmonising rainforest abound.

 

Slipping into sleep had never been easy,

I look for no lover, neither cure nor peace.

I find them all here in this,

In this moment of tranquility.

 

Peace I find in the patters of rain upon the roof,

A Cure to my troubled mind I find in the harmony of the night.

A Lover I find in the air that abound, Artemis my beloved.

 

My bags I see thus, packed and stowed away;

Reminding me of a life of routine that I must return.

I stand fast momentarily, the idea of returning seemed pointless,

To a life so monotonous, so pathetically broken.

 

Standing there by the bonfire,

I unpack and watch, as my clothes light on fire.

Slowly shedding the weight of a former life,

The places, the stories, the past slowly burning away.

I feel peaceful.

 

As I lay beside that pyre,

I watch as my memories turn to ash.

There is a reticent glow, set upon my face;

For having left all of you, all of them burning together.

Far, far behind.

 

There is peace in forgetting,

A dubious pleasure in this forceful amnesia.

I watch the smoke, the engulfed flame;

I am now cleansed, I am free.

I am fearless. Reborn.

 

EIRENE

I was sitting by the sea one evening,

Watching the sea kiss the shore.

The waves were singing to the rocks,

The sands were dancing to the lilt of the breeze.

 

I could  see the sky turn red,

As the sun waved goodbye at the horizon.

The owls awakened from their slumber,

Slowly realising of their nightly chores.

 

I have been here for long now,

Unmindful of an ever passing Time.

Yet so enamoured I am of this vast sea,

That no care in the world affects me.

 

Just as I began to make my way,

To the dreary world I reside.

I saw a canoe float by,

In quiet and solitary harmony.

 

There was a dame at its helm,

Sailing towards the horizon.

Sitting at the foot of the drifter,

She steered her way towards infinity.

 

She passed me by this lonesome sailor,

Looking for a new port, a new life.

We looked at each other in silent anticipation,

I tipped my hat. Godspeed; Goodbye!

 

I wished to know more about her,

This beauty that rode upon Poseidon’s realm.

I wondered wherefore will she go,

I wondered of the world that lie beyond.

 

Fantastical musings, lost in thought;

I thought of the poise and grace she bespoke.

A sailor of no name, no charter nor claim;

She set forth on a journey, this dainty dame

 

Her arms were slender but strong,

Her eyes spewed unflinching resolve.

Her gait had grace, she steadied the pace,

She’d left, home, her life and set forth to start anew.

 

I wondered what must have drove her,

To leave behind all that she’d held close.

Maybe an unforgiving mother, an ungrateful husband;

An unreasonable father or a world full of burden.

 

Such was her resolve,

The lonesome sailor who took to the sea.

Where men shuddered and reconsidered,

She set forth, her eyes looking to the Neptunian reverie.

 

As the boat slipped through the mellow waves,

I sat in awe of her magical grace.

Her beauty lay in the strength of her resolve,

No man her master, no world her prison.

 

She broke her shackles,

She set forth upon the expanses of the sea.

Seeking asylum among the bounding main,

Absolved, asunder she dreams in aquamarine.

 

I smile as she floats away,

Never looking back to what she left behind.

I sigh; as I realise we are but prisoners of our pasts,

Where she rebelled, I conformed to the throes of human spite.

 

TEARS IN THE DARK

I can hear our child crying,

Crying alone in her cradle.

She is on her own, afraid and shaking,

She looks for comfort, she looks for you.

 

I am helpless dear Marcia,

I know not where I must go.

You should’ve stayed longer, my love;

Maybe then we’d see our baby grow.

 

I knew you were ailing,

I’ve watched you sink slowly into darkness.

But little did I know, oh so little did I see;

I’d be here in this room all alone.

 

I remember the first time we met,

At college, across a crowded corridor.

I never knew of a love that’d persevere,

I never met someone as amorous as you.

 

I remember the two of us in our loft,

Light music playing while we danced along.

I remember your plants on the window sill,

I remember you working under the lamp at night.

 

I remember the walks we took,

Those long strolls hand in hand on a cold December night.

The coffee shop near the avenue,

Extra marshmallows on a crisp afternoon.

 

I remember the nights we stayed in bed,

We refused to get up, forgetting our daily chores.

I remember the day when you told me you were pregnant,

The glow in your face, the cheerful magnificent day.

 

I remember the pain in your eyes,

I remember the day our baby arrived.

Tears of joy, laughter and cheer abound,

Happy I was and forever we’d be.

 

If only I’d known it’ll be so short-lived,

If only I could’ve stayed longer in those moments.

Stop time and rest in those memories,

Never move forward to this grim and gloomy reality.

 

Dear Marcia, where are you now?

The plants on the window sill now turned brown.

I do not dance to our songs anymore,

Tears have taken its place, everything ever so morose.

 

 

I wish I could say that I miss you,

Those words are but futile to what I feel.

The nights seem darker, the mornings darker still,

No respite from this sadness that I feel.

 

I amuse myself as our babe prances about,

She has your eyes, I wish you could meet her soon.

My bedside lays vacant, my heart bleeds cold,

I look for you in the shadows that lurk by the shore.

 

I think of you constantly still,

As I walk in circles in this dark and cold room.

I must bid thee adieu my love,

I must let thee be.

Our babe in the manger wails, I must stop;

I must forbear and let our love become nothing but a fond memory.

BLUES

 

Words have fallen into deaf ears,

Screams are left unheard.

My arms are weak and my eyes are tired,

I have been searching far and wide for you.

 

I can’t remember much of last night,

Save the lights that flickered about and the dancing shadows.

I hear but loud music and cheering crowds,

I know not wherefore I am, I know not what has become of me.

 

The night is too young for me to head home,

In mindless wandering, I find pleasures thus.

Beneath the star spangled night sky I lie,

Reminiscing of the nights I danced and flitted carelessly by.

 

I hear no melodies as such,

No harmony could reach within my soul.

I am but mesmerised by the silences that float,

In a clear blue sky I lie, there is no one around.

 

In crowds I do find, an uneasiness and panic so distraught,

In conversations I find myself, drifting far away.

The woman that lay by my side does not excite me,

Save those momentary pleasures of an ecstatic orgasm.

 

I see beauty in this loneliness,

Of being recklessly your own.

In quiet musings I find myself talking,

To no soul but my own and the darkness that thus surround.

 

I hate to be this man, my dear,

So distant and broken from all of life.

I seek to feel the pleasures of this reality,

But seldom have I found them in people and its myriad banalities.

 

I loathe the sadness that lie within me,

The critical mind that scares me daily.

I look for happiness in life and times,

But words seem futile and endeavours carelessly morose.

 

I silence myself, I scream no more,

I am but one with the quiet musings.

I know wherefore to go, I have no goals to reach,

I am but a lost wave crashing against an alien shore.

 

Let me sore my dear, let me flutter and fly away,

Not to some island of my own but to another twisted reality.

Where people love more than they pretend to in this world,

A place where life is whole and not subliminally blue.

CLAUSTROPHOBIC AMUSEMENTS

I remember a certain sun-soaked night,

Where I was happy.

I knew of a world of joy,

A world of harmony.

 

That was but a fantasy I suppose,

A sight from above the walls I’d built around me.

I craved for those joys sometimes,

An urge to climb these walls, just to feel the breeze.

 

To feel the air of companionship,

The bounties of making acquaintances.

But all I found was gloom,

All I could smell was but a stench of vindication and doom.

 

I am scared of what lies beyond these walls,

The people, their cold eyes, their gazes.

I built these walls for a reason,

The reason, the very people beyond the climb.

 

I’d like to meet them sometime,

When I am well enough for disappointments again.

Until then I fear the light that I thus see,

For having been pushed too far, I made a home;

Here amidst the sullen darkness.

 

For they seldom knew or cared to know,

And the ones that did, momentarily walked away.

Too hard to explain, too hard to understand,

Is this pain I am in, I lie here on this cold floor;

Distraught.

 

I bled my heart and soul in their pages,

I poured myself into their memoirs, filled those empty lines.

When my walls tore down, and I lay bare;

They simply turned those pages around,

Carelessly.

 

My eyes burn, here in this halo of agony,

I wish to be alone now, away from company.

Forgive me for my sadness, apologies for being so morose,

I gave up on society long ago, now I am;

Void. Vacant. Alone.

 

FEEDING FEARS

“Are you an atheist? Man, so you guys don’t believe in anything?”

If you are an atheist, it is highly unlikely that you haven’t come across this ‘profound’ question at least once a day. Such is the appalling disbelief among people that they find  it hard to digest the idea of this presumed ‘nothing’. Just because I don’t find the need to look up to the skies and chant hymns in the hope of a miracle doesn’t necessarily suggest that I have nothing to look forward to. It is quite the opposite, I do have certain beliefs and ideas; it is just that I don’t find them in fabrications of yore. I am aware of the blasphemy I am spewing at the Lord and his wrath might befall me; I’ll take my chances.

Let me premise by stating that I have no qualms towards people of belief. Most of whom I have met have been interesting and profound in every way. My parents, my friends and many such chance acquaintances have not only engaged in passionate debates but also helped me in having an alternate viewpoint. I don’t have any such issues with the millions that do believe. It has not appealed to me and that is that. My problem lies with the people who cannot stand the alternate viewpoint, the people who simply cannot understand the atheist voice. Solely based on the fact that it contradicts, with valid proofs, the existence of an overlord in the heavens. The atheist movements since the dawn of reason have been met with an iron fist. In that, such thoughts and ideas have been bound and curtailed to even consider interaction with the world. In  principle, the thought of having faith or believing in some fantastic delusion is nothing but preposterous to the wonder that is nature. The fact that it is okay to believe in the teachings of a saint, prophet or ‘teacher’ who may or may not have existed long ago is nothing but amazing. The fall of reason and the acceptance of ignorance purely on the fact that ‘we have been told so’ is not the ideal we must imbibe in the generations to come.

The reasoning here is simple. If a child were to be born into a family where the idea of religion, God and supernatural beings (angels, demons, spirits and the like) were absent; it is highly unlikely that such an epidemic would spread. Most of our religious ideals and pseudo-morality arises from the fact that ‘we have been told so’. If one were to remove the factor of God, there would be an absence of such intellectual turmoil. The absence of a religion in its essence is nothing but a pursuit of reason and truth. In the core readings of most religious texts, keeping aside the ones that promulgate religious authoritarianism, is open to interpretations. Just because we have been taught and urged to think of these texts in a particular manner  we fear and love God in all his glory.

Being an atheist in India is close to dangerous. Though there are many rationalists who are out there fighting a losing fight, there are many who remain closeted. For reasons ranging from fear of retribution by the religious groups, family and society at large, we prefer to keep our principles hidden for this illusion of ‘peace’. Is it really peaceful when a part of the society feels stifled to start a conversation against a mammoth like religion? Though there have been million attempts, they are all but futile considering the fact that religion is an epidemic that has gripped the jugular of the Indian societal fabric. Doubt, skepticism or curiosity of any sort, is essentially claimed to be detrimental to the ‘Indian lifestyle’. Are we that feeble a culture? Are we so pathetically weak that the whole existence of such a vibrant civilisation such as ours would crumble? These are but rhetoric and we (atheists) as a community have been living in rhetoric collecting dust.

These are troubling times in India. Though we are surging ahead globally in recognition and significance as an economic force, we are stuck in the rut of conservatism and dogma. Like most parts of the world we are under the throes of god-men and wannabe god-women alike. We are surely a victim of ignorance and we seem to have no shame in emphatically embracing it at times. The common grievance being that atheists as a community have no regard for the good work that these various missionaries promote and carry out. Well though I am certain of these goodwill hunts that they chance upon, these missionaries have surely been vital at times. But that does not erase the pandemonium and ruckus that is created in the name of religion and its leaders. One does not find relief over a piece of cloth when one’s house burns down in its place. These ignorant misgivings has been and will continue to be the failings of a gullible mind. Humans love to play the victim and the love for an all-conquering being is nothing but our attempt as mortals to look for an anchor in crisis.

There is hope in the fact that there are still many like me. There are many who doubt and question the nature of religion and its teachings. People who ask too much and that is what we must strive for. There is always a tangible reasons in the ‘miracles’ of this universe and our capacity as a species should not be credited to some fantasy or propaganda.

May God help you in your path towards godlessness.

 

CRAVING THE PAIN

I remember walking down an old country road, not too long ago. I know that ‘country road’ is a fashionable word but well none seemed fancier to use here. I remember walking and constantly having flashes of you. Like a mirage on a heated desert or some form of an apparition. I wondered why this was happening and checked myself before moving ahead. I am not the kind to believe in ghosts and such but I remember being sad on that night. I maybe had a little too much to drink and I must admit I was rather stumbling down that country road. As I walked ahead I saw you again, this time the vision lasted longer. You simply stood there at the end of that road and smiled. I have always loved your smile and that was most definitely you. In that drunken stupor I rushed towards the vision, it was still there waiting for me. Just as I hoped to hold you and fall into your arms, you vanished into the shadow of the night. I remember being slouched on that street, I began to choke up. I guess a drink too many does make you emotional. I remember sitting in silence and feeling the breeze hit my skin, yet I felt so empty. The dark winding street, the barred windows and closed curtains just sunk me deeper and deeper into sadness.

It was then that I began to wonder.

We are all looking for someone who understands us, someone who knows us in ways that we could never fathom ourselves. The kind of people who would know what your next train of thought would be without even uttering a word. Someone who would just know how overrated you thought maple syrup was and never quiet understood what all the fuss was about. The truth of the matter is such cravings can be so dangerously superficial. The fact that there exists such a messiah in this world and they would someday clasp your arm and take you to Neverland. But there is something poetic about that hope. The fact that we as a people tend to constantly and unequivocally fall back into the trend of blindly believing that there is such a person out there for us. Maybe there is, maybe it is all an illusion and what it all means is that our search is truly eternal. Maybe at the end of that expedition, all you realise is that what you were looking for was nothing but a manifestation of yourself. Maybe it was all you, all this while; cooking up stories of some fallacy that you spent your youth searching. There you are, senile and sullen; wishing you’d known better.

But just as I fall into that awful nihilist attitude of perennial pointlessness, there are moments where I believe that maybe it is isn’t really about finding anyone. Maybe we got it wrong all this while. Maybe what is really left is the pain, the hollowness and the gut-wrenching agony of spite. Maybe it is the tears that you shed at the sight of that special someone, maybe it is the knowledge that they have moved on. Maybe it is the fact that we as a species crave and attract pain; just like love it is one of the purest form of emotion that anyone can experience. Just as we hustle our way through life, swiping right and left at that god-awful technology of impersonal camaraderie through our phones; we mustn’t forget that maybe we crave the love and the agony just as much. What is life is left without passion? When your time comes, that senile and sullen old face should have been broken a million times. Maybe that is the true testament of a life lived.

THE RAVEN AND THE NIGHTINGALE

 

I was once under a yew tree,

Minding my own business, lost in thought.

It was quiet cold, I remember;

My cloak would not keep me warm.

 

As I sat there, in that comfortable silence,

I was thus interrupted by the chirp not far away.

She would not stop, she would not wait;

Incessantly she chirped my time away.

 

“Why must you chirp so gleefully?” I exclaimed;

“Can’t you see I wish to peacefully stay?”

“Let me be, leave me in peace,

Find another suitor for your joyous symphony.”

 

“I sought you out my dear”, said the Nightingale;

“I see you repose wistfully here.”

“Why must you be so gloomy and tired?” asked the Nightingale;

“Why must you come here and shed a tear?”

 

I opened my heart to the Nightingale,

I know not why but I did.

I spoke to her of my travails,

I spoke of the insanity when amidst the people I’d stray.

 

“Men are worrisome as worry goes”, said the Nightingale;

“They know not how to live in peace.”

“Constant pain, constant agony;

Or constant cheer and shameful blasphemy”.

 

“The world hath thus been made bountiful,

But you doth lie waste in disdainful reverie.

Why must you be so gloomy? Why must you wail?

If I were but human, I’d be ecstatic in your company.”

 

As I began my rebuttal, I was momentarily interrupted;

A scoff I heard from among the branches near.

A raven dark and gloomy stood,

In the silence, he misspoke a rebuke.

 

“You play the trumpets of joy, my friend”, said the Raven,

“I am but a messenger of doom.

I see no point in such joyous reverie,

Each life thus bludgeoned by memories.

 

“Aren’t memories but beautiful my friend?”

I asked the Raven atop the tree.

“My dear, memories poison the heart,

Aches our soul as you remember the loved ones of yore.”

 

“The solace that memories doth give is lost in such penury,

The illusions of love and lust, such fleeting misery.

All of life lay waste, barren and desolate,

Why must we thus celebrate such a pointless journey?”

 

The Nightingale cackled in disapproval,

“My dear, you are so morose, a victim of circumstances.

The world is but innately beautiful, yet you are so unfathomably sad.

You are but afraid of life, for having been served some bad apples,

If life must be so pointless, all of life must’ve faded years before.”

 

An argument thus ensued, I could not speak;

I wanted some silence, my thoughts wished for peace.

I begged them to stop, I pleaded them to forbear,

They went on to speak of life, in words I could not stand.

 

That night I shot a raven,

That night I skinned the ‘gale.

Since then I am but numb,

No reason I see, no joy I feel;

An emptiness better left untouched and unexplained.

COME AWAY

Will you come away with me?

Leave the world and its sorrows behind.

We can maybe stay awhile,

In blissful silences and quiet ruminations such.

 

Let us forget our past, our present and the harrowing future,

Let us for once be nothing, be sublime.

Truth be told, I have lost touch with myself,

I am without much musings as such.

 

Let’s walk along the stormy beaches,

Our love waging wars like the ones of yesteryear Normandy.

Let’s drift away here by the sea,

Like the sand upon these withering breeze.

 

I have been calling out since,

Since the last time I visited our home.

My soul, wherefore have you gone?

My heart calls out, she bleeds for you.

 

I look upon the stars in search,

I look far and wide, beyond realms I suppose.

I could not find you my dear, wherefore have you gone?

Come back my soul, I am tired now and my eyes are waning;

The dusk is close, sleep awaits, come home and keep me warm.

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