Raconteurs #3

Daughter: You know what happened in school today?

Dad: What happened?

Daughter: I heard a new story about how the world came into existence and now I’m confused.

Dad: Really? So what story did you hear today?

Daughter: A long, long time ago lived a curious little boy. The boy always asked questions to his parents and they had no answers whatsoever. The parents were simple farmers and wanted the boy to stop bothering them but the boy was persistent and would not stop until he had the answers to his questions.

The boy wanted to know why it rained from the skies, why the grass was green, why pigs could not speak their language, why the sun was visible only during the day, why he had two eyes and two ears but only one nose and one mouth, etc. The boy just wanted to know but his parents had no answers.

So his parents came up with a simple solution. They told him that a mighty being lived up in the clouds and that it created the world as it stands. This, they thought, would satisfy the boy and keep him quiet but they were wrong. The boy began to ask more and more questions. Now he wanted to learn about this mighty being who resided up in the clouds.

To solve this problem the boy’s parents began to tell him elaborate stories and this time the plan worked. The boy loved to hear about the mighty being and was very impressed. Soon he stopped asking questions and instead started narrating those stories to all his friends. Soon enough every child in the village had heard and shared the stories about the mighty being who resided up in the clouds.

When the kids grew up and had babies of their own they passed on the stories to them as well and the cycle continued. The stories got more and more elaborate with time and nobody dared question it lest they incur the wrath of the mighty being who resided up in the clouds.

Soon enough the village had temples and festivals to honour the mighty being. They prayed to him in times of trouble and thanked him whenever they had a bountiful crop.

Dad: That sounds so bogus and far-fetched.

Daughter: Wait there is more. Every region had its own curious child and its own stories trying to explain and make sense of the world around them. So the world was created in one particular way and every region had their own version of it.

Dad: So how exactly was the world created?

Daughter: Nobody knows, Dad. Nobody knows. All we know is that we are all raconteurs.

(To be continued)

Raconteurs #2

Dad: Are you ready?

Daughter: Yes, I am.

Dad: There was once a giant octopus living all alone in the deep waters. As there was no other creature in the waters he often came to the shore to speak with a tall mango tree. They were the best of friends and they always helped each other.

One day, the octopus felt a severe pain in his body. He swam up to the tree and asked for his help. The tree said that he was helpless and there was nothing that he could do. The octopus lay himself down under the shade of the tree and kept crying in immense pain.

The octopus asked the tree for a mango in the hope that it may make him feel better but the tree refused. The tree explained that his mangoes were cursed and that nobody was supposed to eat it.

Daughter: Why were the mangoes cursed?

Dad: Um… because the tree had done something really bad I guess.

Daughter: What had the tree done?

Dad: Or maybe um… he had got it in exchange for the ability to speak.

Daughter: But that doesn’t make sense. If the tree could not originally speak…

Dad: Shush, my little girl. Let me complete the story. So where was I? Right! I was telling you how the tree refused to give the octopus his mangoes. The octopus kept crying in pain. Soon his skin began to pale and he felt extremely weak and vulnerable.

Seeing his state, the tree dropped a mango from one of his branches and warned the octopus that he must hold it in one of his tentacles till sunset before eating it to counter the curse. After sunset it will heal his pain and there will be no repercussions. If he failed to follow the rules then they both must prepare for the worst.

The octopus held the mango for a while but the pain was too much to bear for him. Despite the tree’s protests the octopus said that he could not resist any longer. He apologised to the tree and prayed that the pain will go away on eating it.

As soon as the octopus’ mouth touched the mango he felt relieved. A tiny dot of light came out of his mouth and swallowed the two friends and trapped them inside itself.

Daughter: So that tiny dot was the cause of the pain?

Dad: Yes indeed. But it was no ordinary dot. When the two friends tried to force their way out the dot exploded.

Daughter: Exploded?

Dad: And that’s how the universe came into existence

Daughter: No way! I have so many questions.

Dad: Not now, my girl. I want you to sleep right now. Tomorrow you will go to school and narrate this story to your friend, wouldn’t you?

Daughter: Yes I will. But what was the name of the octopus?

Dad: He was Okto.

(To be continued)

Raconteurs #1

Dad: So what story would you like to hear tonight?

Daughter: Tonight, I am going to tell you a story. I heard it at school today.

Dad: Really? That is amazing. Go ahead.

Daughter: There was once an old lady who lived in a bizarre world where everything was black and white. Humans, animals, trees, flowers, butterflies and even the rainbows were simply colourless. The old lady loved painting and I am sure you can tell that even her paintings were black and white. It was just the way their world worked.

The old lady first started painting when she was a cute, little girl like me. And she was the best painter in the whole wide world. Everyone admired her works and she made her paintings look full of life.

In her dreams, one night, she saw some strange and mysterious things — it was something she could not describe or understand. What she had seen was a world full of colour — just like ours. She saw how everything appeared more beautiful when blessed with colours. When she woke up she wanted to recreate her dream on a canvas. She wanted to create a painting which wasn’t devoid of colours.

Alas, she had only her plain paintbrushes and colours and she felt disappointed. Nevertheless, she convinced herself that she will recreate the scene to the best of her ability. So she dipped her brush into the palette and began working on it. As soon as she put the final stroke on her canvas something magical happened.

Her painting started to grow colours on its own and the old lady simply stared in amazement. She had to pinch herself twice to make sure that she was not still dreaming. A few moments later the painting had become an exact replica of the world she had seen in her dreams. She was more than thrilled.

Dad: How did the painting get colourful?

Daughter: Aren’t you listening? I told you it was magic.

Dad: Oh yes! Forgive me! And please continue.

Daughter: So where was I? Oh yes, she got very excited with her painting and she showed it to everyone in her world and they all shared her amazement in equal measures.

Dad: I know what happens next. Someone tried to steal the painting, right?

Daughter: No, not at all, Dad. That would be so mean. That is not what happened at all. What happened is that she returned home that night still buzzing but tired and she fell asleep immediately. Again, in her dreams, she saw something similar. She began to see more of the world every night and she would wake up and paint it, and her work would magically fill up with colours.

Dad: That is a wonderful story, my girl.

Daughter: You know what the best part is? You know that the universe is constantly expanding, right? It is because the old lady is still painting.

Dad: What? No, not at all. That is a good story but not a true one.

Daughter: Yes, it is. And that’s how our world came into existence.

Dad: Who told you this story?

Daughter: My friend Kim.

Dad: And who told Kim?

Daughter: Her parents told her. Her household believes in the old lady and they worship her as God.

Dad: I’ll tell you how the world actually came into existence. It was not an old woman. It was an octopus.

(To be continued)

Too Late Now

I want to see you
As you were when I was born
As you raised me
As beautiful as you always were
But it’s too late now

I want to tell you
How much you mean to me
How much I miss talking to you
How lonely it is without you
How incomplete life feels
But it’s too late now

I want to listen
To your stories
About your struggles
About your wishes and dreams
To everything that you have to say
But it’s too late now

Spirit Of Madness

When the truths all come out
To wipe the tear of doubt
It brings with itself a new tear of sorrow
And a tear is a tear
Some swiftly disappear
But some stay till the light of the morrow

With a picture in hand
Of the time we could spend
In the future which soon will pass by
We realise how small
Life and we are all
Perhaps this is our first and last try

So gather your thoughts
And dreams tied in knots
Free them from the chains of sadness
Lick the wounds on your skin
Burn the stories within
To light the mercurial spirit of madness

Yesterday I Ordered Love

Yesterday I ordered love
From an amazing online store
And as they duly promised
Today it is at my door

I open the box — to my surprise
I see a bonus gift inside
‘Whole lotta expectations’
Reads its label on the side

I toss it off in the trash can
What good is it for me?
I’ve got all that I have paid for
Quite a sum I’ll say honestly

So I sit down on the couch
With my order in my hand
What was missing in my life
I am about to understand

As soon as I turn it on
That gift comes flying like a bee
Out of the can and in my lap
Refusing to part with me

I wonder and I ponder
It is beyond what I can think
Between love and expectations
There must be a fishy link

Yes indeed I am right
As I turn off this little love-thing
The free gift of expectations
Leaves me without bothering

So I’m stuck now with my order
Love is not good to me at all
It brings with it these expectations
So I had to make a call

Hello I’d like to return my order
— I ferociously claim
It’s not what I was looking for
Will you please note down my name?

I’m sorry Sir to have to tell you
It’s our common policy worldwide
We don’t entertain no returns
They’re forever yours now — she replied

The Law Of Non-Conservation Of Hatred

Hatred, unlike energy, can be destroyed

When you hurt someone you are trying to get rid of the hatred within you by passing it on to the victim
Hatred need not be transformed from one form to another

When you bully a junior because you were bullied as a junior
When you kick your wife because you are biologically stronger
When you post a racist comment against a footballer because he missed a penalty
When you hit your child because you were beaten as a child
When you humble your maid because she can’t humble you back
You are revealing the hatred within you
Hatred need not be transferred from one human to another

That hatred or sadness or despair or negativity or anger or frustration is within you and is looking for a way out
Every time you mock, insult, humiliate, demean, disrespect, offend, abuse, wound, spite, harm, damage, ridicule or mistreat someone you are simply shifting your hatred

Respect your junior, love your spouse and child, appreciate the footballer, be kind to your maid
Destroy the hatred, don’t pass it on
The total hatred of an isolated system need not be constant

Ramblings Of A Broken Heart

I read that every second 1.8 humans die
Turning to the plain clock hanging on a plain wall
I watched the seconds tick
With every tick I imagined a person dying
Somewhere, anywhere, someone, anyone
Tick 1 – someone dies in Asia
Tick 2 – someone dies in Africa
Tick 3 – someone dies in America
Tick 4 – someone dies in Europe
Tick 5 – someone dies close to me
5 seconds down, 5 humans down (at the very least)

And we are only talking about humans
Let us not get started on other life-forms
With every passing second we lose a human
A unique being like the one that never was and never will be
I always knew that death is commonplace
Yet this thought never bothered me before
60 seconds down, 100 humans down

Yet I am not affected by it
I look around and nobody seems to be mourning either
We are aware and yet oblivious
I am only affected by the death of those who are close to me
The ones I love and the ones I care about
Others seem to be following the same rule
They are only affected by the loss of their dear ones

That’s a weird rule
If people only mourn the death of their loved ones then the fewer people you love the less you will grieve
The corollary should be: People are hurt only by their loved ones
But that is not true
Those who we not love can wound our hearts too
So the logical corollary seems to be: We are hurt more by those who we love than by those we don’t
That sounds true to me
Does it hold good for you too?
I am more hurt by a lie I hear from a loved one than a lie I hear from someone else

So what’s the lesson in this? What’s the point of this? What do we learn from this?
It’s simple
Love is going to hurt
Love is going to make you cry
Through the actions of a loved one or because of their loss
Love will shatter you
Love is addictive and all addictions are harmful
It’s the drug that offers momentary pleasure
For a lasting scathe
Avoid it
Cut it out
Love nobody

I Said To My Heart

Well I said to my heart —
Is this what you do?
When you suffer and ache
I too suffer with you

No excuses this time
Be as cold as a stone
When you light up that fire
You’re never burning alone

Keep your doors all closed
And your windows too
When you breathe in that air
I too suffer with you

Go find a distraction
How hard could it be?
The repercussions
You always share with me

Why don’t you understand
What isn’t good for you?
For a passing feeling
I too suffer with you

See the other side someday
It isn’t that bad
It isn’t that hideous
It isn’t that sad

So I said to my heart —
Is this what you do?
When you suffer and pain
I too suffer with you