Dream Diary – Beneath The Waking mind


If sleep is ‘little death’ are dreams then an afterlife?

Painting credit copyright Aditya Dogra.

I have not logged about the early morning dreams or premonitions in some time. Actually I wait till some voice within me tells it is time to write. Things keep happening between the realms of wakefulness and sleep and in between too. Yes, i think there is a state in between and perhaps it has a name too but I am not aware. Even when we are asleep there is this inner wakefulness that guides the dreams as we know them. Sometimes I feel I conjure up some situation or thing to work upon while sleeping and that becomes the dreamscape but on most nights the events are unexplained and not really connected with the day’s events. There is always something deeper and more authentic than the  waking reality.

I do not know what prompts me to write down my dreams and I do not know what they mean but it feels good to be intrigued by these riddling images of my mind. Here I will share three recent ones.

First the most recent and the shortest.

I am in a cave, exploring perhaps, when i find something glistening in one of the ledges cutting through the wall on my left. Something is breathing there. There is only natural light but enough to see what needs to be seen. As I focus my eyes I realize it is a creature , a mix of a serpent or a snake  and a huge lizard ( iguana/ monitor lizard are first thoughts). It’s body is glistening blue green. The color of peacocks neck. The colors shimmer as they would in sunlight. It’s head too is a strange mix of both the creatures I mentioned but more like a snake’s. As i stand there in awe it slowly rises as if waking from a sleep. Our eyes meet. There is a gentleness in those eyes. I do not remember what color they were. All I can remember is the feeling of warmth  they radiated. The creatures slides to the ground and as it does I notice its torso and legs. They are like human body. The lower part below waist is human like. It has the same flesh color. It stands there gazing as I gaze at it and in that moment we lose track of time and space and everything else. 

I didn’t wake up immediately as I mostly do nor did the dream continue. It just ended there.

At another time  the dream was more in conscious state of mind I believe as I was very much aware of the sounds around the house. I am anyway a very light sleeper though my children claim I sometimes sleep soundly when I say I  had been awake the whole night. Strange that it may seem.

 

Talking about children, my boys are often part of my dreams directly or indirectly.  Many time I get this sudden thought/ a flash of an image like a premonition and most of the time it comes rue in one form or the other with the person whose name/face flashes in my mind. It has happened too often in last few months though again it could be just a coincident. These thoughts don’t always come to me as dreams.

Usually it is connected to something uneventful, a mishap in most cases.

In a few cases the mishap occurred without me being aware  and when I shared my dream/ thought I came to know what had happened. It has happened with friends/family in close circle.

Before I go on to the longish dream to end this post let me give an example.

Few days ago my elder son had come to spend the weekend with me. Early Sunday morning  at about 3 AM I had a dream that my brother was waking me up telling me to come see how much blood was pooled up near my elder son’s hip area as he slept on his left side facing the wall. i rush and try to wake the boy asking him where is he bleeding from. The chap gets up and yells at us for spoiling his precious sleep as he isn’t bleeding at all. I stare at the blood pool wondering where it was coming from while the boy dozes off again. 

I woke up with a start and went straight to the room where he was sleeping peacefully. I sat there for a few minutes and then went to brush my teeth and make tea etc. In an hour or so my phone rang and it was the younger son. Worried and weeping he asked for his brother. My heart sank thinking of some mishap that may have happened with him. I quickly work Kid 1 again and gave the phone. I could make out something was very wrong as he consoled his younger brother, jumped out of bed, changed, booked the cab to rush back home. While doing that he explained that their little kitten fell from the second floor and was attacked by dogs. She was in critical state and bleeding from mouth and rectum.

I did not share my dream with anyone except one person. It isn’t the first time this has happened and it scares me. In recent months there have been many short dreams/ flashing related to blood / death/ mishaps and invariably a news has followed. In an already skewed up world in which I exist this isn’t a good sign IMO. A thing that last maybe 30 seconds while also never ending in my mind.

How the consciousness speaks in these ambiguous forms of  oneiric tales freak me out at times. Dreams can be bizarre. A surreal continuum of lostness like this next one.

it is dark and me and the boys are travelling on a bullock cart ( I think they are bullocks) through some slush. The ground is rough and uneven. It is also cold, at least for me, as I have a hooded cape wrapped around me. The boys are bare chested.

I do not know where we are and where we are headed. The horizon isn’t visible. It is just a journey into deeper dark. There a big iron truck with us though I keep thinking of it as suitcase and call it a suitcase.

“How long will it take?” I ask.
“No idea but we need to keep going. It may rain too. The entire area is flooded.” Says the elder son.

” Keep the suitcase covered.” says the younger one. ” we can’t take risks. I’m fed up of this unending journey.”

“Stay quiet.” I whisper.

I can see the tree line of some forested area far at the horizon.  it begins to drizzle.

“Who thought of taking this fabulous vehicle for such an important ride?” Kid2 tries to make the animals move faster. They groan.

“Be prepared for anything and look out for some repair shop. We need to get the suitcase repaired. We can also sell it and buy a stronger lighter one if possible.” Kid 1 says.

“I can see a lantern. Be ready.” I say gripping a baton while the boys grip on some weapon of defense they have.

Slowly, like a shadow we move closer to the lone yellow flickering light. It looks like one of those puncture repair shops one sees along the highways. There is an old shack too. I spot boxes there. We do not spot anyone. Cautiously we step down and look for the owner.

“What do you want?” A voice startles us. A man had appeared from behind the ragged curtains acting like curtains at the door. He looks a million years old.

“We need to exchange our old suitcase with a lighter box. You can keep ours. No money.” I say, eyeing the boys to remain alert.

“Select the one you want. Be quick. The rapids will rise any minute.”

The boys rush to the cart as the animals begin to whimper.sensing an impending danger.

In a minute I join them and we set off. After a while I look back to find the place drentched in dark.

“We were lucky to get away.” I mumble.

” Is everything safe.” Kid 2 asks.

I gasp realizing that the box is missing. The boys pull the reins and glare at me. ” You left the box there only. You idiot.” Kid 1 is fuming with anger.

“I just don’t know how that could have happened. I transferred the contents, locked and picked up the …” I stare at an empty worn out old suitcase thrown in a corner of the cart.

” You picked up the old one.. How could you? You lost all we had. Our everything. Our lives. ” We were rooted to the ground in the middle of a large dark flooded plain. My elder one’s angry figure looming large over me.

I  hear my younger one mumbling in fear. ” We are done. We won’t survive. I told you it was a bad idea to cross over like this. What will we do… mumble..mumble.. “

 The water ahead of us is gleaming in some invisible light and the animals pull the cart as quickly as they can through the slush pulling them in. 

The forest line is clearly visible but still far. There are stumps of burnt trees around us. The cart suddenly stops and we freeze. Something isn’t right. My elder son gets up and picks up a spear. 

“I have to leave. You need to travel on your own from here.Go north then west. Goodbye for now.” With that he soundlessly jumps out of the cart and in a flash vanishes into the dark. We just see a flash of the spear tip gleaming and then vanishing. 

We look at each other and then ahead. We have fallen through time. The tree line has disappeared. and instead far away the horizon is visible like a red thread encircling the landscape. We turn north. First the bullocks dissolve then the first half of the cart with Kid2 and then me. ll that remains is the darkness. 

 

I slowly opened my eyes and glanced around the room which seemed darker than usual. Usually one can hear the low snoring sounds of my brother in next room but that night was quieter than ever.

For a long time all I could think of was my elder boy. I did narrate the dream to him some time in the next few days and maybe there was some part that I may have forgotten to write here. A conversation perhaps when he leaves but I do not want to invent anything now. It’s been a few months.

2016 brought a lot of upheaval but then the chaos is necessary to give birth to something. When it comes to my life I do not know which plane I am on as I plunge into one to emerge on another, day in and day out.

Something is about to change in the coming months. I do not know if that is a good sign or bad but I am going with my gut feeling and going with it.

Something needs to be written about. Urgently and Soon.

Something needs to be brought to a closure.

Universe is showing some signs. Hope it guides me in the right direction.

PEACE – BE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In The Light Of Darkness – Radhika Maira Tabrez


 

After reading a book if something changes inside you for better then it is a good book. I found light from this one. Simple stories told from the heart are the best. Our lives, across the globe, are all connected with fragile threads. Sometimes these threads quiver just a little to make us aware of their existence and of the beauty of life that is unfolding despite everything. Threads that help us ‘cross over’, to move past regrets and sorrows and embrace life to the fullest.  These potent threads lead us to one another when the time is right and makes us whole again.

I went to the book launch of In The Light Of Darkness last Saturday and met Radhika for the first time. Though we had been in touch on Facebook since some time and I had read her blog occasionally I wasn’t too familiar with her writing. The book is published by  Readomania and their events are always heart warming. You must check out their other books and website too.

When I got the invite for the launch from her I had not seen the cover. The name itself was enough to convince me to look forward to the event. When she shared the cover, I was blown over. It just drew me in. A lot of emotions stirred inside and I thought what a beautiful poetry in picture it was. Later, after reading the novel, I realized how apt the cover was. It sums up the entire human saga of patient waiting of a woman, a mother, a son to being to closure all that needed to be closed. It sums up the very essence of the novel, how ‘the light of darkness’ eventually finds a crack, breaks through and brightens everything around it. It tells the importance of befriending,  understanding and embracing those ‘dark’ phases in our lives for these phases are an important gift for our overall growth and well being. I personally called them ‘rooting years’ .

The novel is exceptionally well written. One of the best I have read among emerging Indian writers. What a fantastic debut.

During the conversation Radhika told that it was Mary Oliver’s famous poem ‘Uses Of Sorrow’ from her book ‘Thirst’ that inspired her to write the story . Incidentally it is one of my favorite books and poem.

While reading, one can see how  beautifully she has captured the essence of that poem  and blended it in the narrative with such affecting simplicity. Throughout the book there is an underlying current of hope and faith. In the midst of all the struggles the character continuously find some thread to hold on to and renew their faith in life, in relationships, in themselves.

That brings me to another thing that has receded in the shadows of time. Letter writing. There is something very personal in writing a letter with hand. Words that came alive and pulsated as you run your fingers on them. Letters that evoked so many emotions in you even after years of receiving them. Letters that bridge the distance and sometimes bring things to closure, assuring a new beginning. I remembered such letters as I read Susan’s letter to her son. there is a certain clairvoyance in it. A light in the dark. I have known the power of such light and could see how beautifully it lead Matthew to the path he had known but never had strength to take.

This isn’t  book review or critique of her work. I am writing this to tell you how the book connected with me at many levels.Page after page I paused and lingered at places that took me back in time in my own life. So many things came up to the surface and eventually found closure. A feeling of Déjà vu made me so uncomfortable at times that I did not know whether to continue reading or to pause and then I realized I needed to go on, go on to find something that will provide the catharsis. If a story helps you look within it always heals.

Sometimes a line becomes so significant that it plays in the mind on a loop. This book had many such lines and I was tangled in them. I could have read the book in one go but as I said there are words that pulled at my sleeves like a kitten seeking attention. We all choose our karmic path and are responsible for our decisions especially the toughest ones. Decisions that drastically alter the whole flow of life, shaking the very bonds of love, of comradeship, of trust. We hope that those who are directly or indirectly affected by those decisions will eventually understand. This hope sustains us, gives us a reason to live.

A mother-child relationship is much more than just a natural bond. The author has dealt with the complexities of this bond so effortlessly. The book makes you wonder about the woman who is torn between being a mother and a woman. It makes you reach out to the son who is struggling to find the light of hope in the darkness that was gifted to him by life. For me, it brought back the memories of a similar decision I had to take for my son. As the story unfolded I was filled with the memories of those dark times and how that box of darkness became a gift to me and possibly for my son in a different way perhaps, but none the less a gift. Not many narratives shake your conscience  the way this one does.

When the story is too close to home it often messes with your mind. In those times I wrote to Radhika and poured my heart out and then I found why this book is so special. Radhika has this innate ability to comfort and love which instantly made me feel better. It also made me realize that time is insignificant to connect deeply with someone. Only a person with so much depth can touch lives with her words.  I know I will cherish this one for long.

The book conveys an important message. I don’t know where your reading of the book will lead you and I am not discussing anything about the plot or the characters here. I want you to find your light once you read it.

 

Go pick your copy of In The Light Of Darkness

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All For The Love Of Books


 

Since some years I had limited myself to specific genres and was missing out on a lot of good books especially the Hindi Literature.So, this year I decided to push myself and expand my reading horizons by taking up the Brunch Book Challenge by Hindustan Times Brunch or HT Brunch.

The deal is to read 24 book by the year end and tweet about them/ write reviews or just share your thoughts about the book with #BrunchBookChallenge and @HTBrunch so they can know your progress and after the completion of the challenge if they pick you up as a winner you get a goodies bag full of books. How cool is that. ) The hashtag also connects you with an ever-growing community of book lovers.

This year the challenge is focused on reading Indian Books. The book could be written by an Indian author or it could be about India.I decided to add some more spice to it by choosing to read regional literature in translation, Hindi Literature and non fiction / creative non fiction. Along with this I have taken the @100BookPact too. This too has a twitter hashtag #100BookPact where you can view what others are reading.

So far I have read 10 books and written their reviews on Goodreads except one which isn’t listed there. I did post my views about it on twitter. Here is the list of my first 10 books. I will update on my progress after every ten reads.

#BrunchBookChallenge

  1. Deja Karma
  2. Tughlaq by Girish Karnad
  3.  Water spirit and other stories by Imran Hussain
  4.  The best crime stories from the 19th century
  5. Of ghosts and other perils Troilokanath Mukhopadhyay (trastated by Arnab Bhattacharya
  6. City of Djins – William dalrymple
  7. Clifton Bridge –Irshad AbdulKader
  8. A life in words – memoir Ismat chugtai (traslated by M Asaduddin)
  9.  Onitsha – JMG Le Cleze
  10. Mr. Majestic- The Tout of Bengaluru – Zac O’Yeah

 

I am still reading the last one. Writing deadlines and a wonderful opportunity to be the guest editor of illustrious Cafe Dissensus Magazine kept me away from reading for some time. When Mosarrap. H. Khan, the editor of this wonderful magazine, asked me if I would like to be the guest editor for the March issue no.(23) with a theme ‘The Book That Left An Impact On Me In 2015’ I said Yes without a second thought. I hadn’t done anything like this before but the challenge was too tempting to let go. Nervousness took the better of excitement once I made the commitment and I seriously began to freak out when the subs didn’t arrive in the first few weeks. I always feel mentoring plays a great role in helping you overcome fears and doubts. Mosarrap guided and encouraged at every step to help me bring out a remarkable issue in a very short time. Producing a magazine is a collaborative effort and I think communication and followup between writers and editors makes the task easy. Magazine editing taught me a lot about reading submissions, editing and submitting my own writing. A big thank you to all those who sent us their submissions at such a short notice.

I am very proud of this achievement and grateful to the editor and team of CD for trusting me with such a huge responsibility.

Here is a link to my guest editorial and the content list of the issue. Do please read and leave your views.

I absolutely loved reading Along The Red River , which is a powerful autobiography of the acclaimed veteran journalist, Sabita Goswami, who was the first woman reporter in the North-East to have worked for organisations like AFP and BBC. The book is translated from the original Assamese, Mon Gongaar Teerot by her elder daughter, Dr. Triveni Goswami Mathur, who is also a journalist and an academician.

It left a lasting impression on me and that’s the reason I chose to write about it as my contribution to the Magazine that I guest edited. Those who haven’t read the book, please do. It is available with all online booksellers.

Here is an excerpt from the essay, you can read the rest by clicking on this link 

I believe that the lives of women across the globe are connected with each other and there is a river that runs through them, filling them with strength and calm. This is what Along the Red River did to me. Recounted with poise, honesty and a rare passion, this book is a compelling read. I often find solace and a voice of reason in its pages.

 

I will now resume by book challenge and writing. A few poetry submissions are awaiting decision and some more poems and stories are waiting patiently in the drafts to see the sunlight.

Do let me know if you are taking any of these challenges or if you read my work. Your comments/ suggestions will help me improve.

 

Déjà vu – Dream Diary


I often revisit a dream or sometimes there is a continuation. It may happen immediately in next few days or even after months, years. The place or people may seem familiar from a past dream, giving a feeling of dream  Déjà vu. Let me tell that it is the people or places that I revisit but the dream is not reoccurring. None of the places are familiar in real life.

Here is the first dream that I had sometime last year. I did not log it so some part are forgotten but most of it is still very vivid.

I am in an old building, probably a ruinous house, with some people who seem to part of an organisation or group I am part of. The bare brick walls are plastered with half torn or full posters. I could see something written but could not decipher the language Red and black  are the  prominent colours. The two rooms on top floor where we are have minimal furniture Basically a wooden table laden with papers, books, pens, water bottles, a few glasses and some other miscellaneous things. A few simple wooden chairs an a bed roll in a corner. There is a small stool in a corner with a few bags. The place is dusty and neglected.

The single window in the room, where we are gathered, is small and the dirty glass panes are cracked. The place is very dimly lit and we seem to be very well adjusted to work in such conditions

The faces are tense. They aren’t familiar people from real life but in dream they seem like old friends Apart from the five – six of us the building is empty. It is away from the habitation and there isn’t much vegetation around. To me it seems like an  outskirts of an abandoned desert village.

There is a part of of dream which I have forgotten. Some conversations and other details. They are there as images but very obscure now.

There is firing going on outside so this place is a hideout. We are probably thinking of a strategy to escape.  It is unclear now.

Next image is of the staircase full of wounded or dead people. The firing is intense and I can see men in military combat uniforms. There are civilians too with rifles etc. From the broken areas of walls I can see fires all around.

I am dressed in regular black jeans and a black long sleeve shirt. No other details about others.

I ask a young man to accompany me down the stairs. He seems familiar, maybe my son but not in the dream. Both of us are carrying some sort of a bamboo pole stick with a metal head

I give a thumbs up to the others and we maneuver down the staircase with people crying out in agony.  Dead faces, half open eyes with life ebbing out of them stare at us as we go down the bloody steps littered with severed limbs and dead bodies. A child is crying but there is no sound. Her eyes possessed with an unknown fear. She is lying in the lap of a woman thrown at the base of the stairs. Her head split open.

I pick up the child, cover her in a cloth mask till neck and run out from the hole in the back of the wall. There are men pursuing us but no one shoots

We run through the dark but somehow the path is clearly visible. There is light that we can see but others can’t. And then out of the blue we are attacked. These look like men but they aren’t. They appear and vanish at will. So do we. The young man gives me a signal and I drop the child in a push cart standing by a tree. The cart vanishes. We are surrounded by trees that look like men. They close in on us. There are other people too (humans)  but they are unconcerned of the happenings around them as if they are in some other reality. We use the poles to protect ourselves but the tree mob and the men who had pursued us close in from all sides On a cue the young man with me spins the pole over his head and in that frantic spinning whirl of light I watch him dissolve There is no movement except for the shimmering dust that slowly drizzles to the ground where he had stood. The attackers turn to me. In one quick motion I slip out of my clothes and take position pointing the pole in their direction. It isn’t a wand but it roots them to the ground. I step back one step at a time.

Their eyes fixed on me

The darkness increase and I dissolve into it.

At this point my eyes opened and for a few minutes I could feel the sand, the dust, the blood , the darkness which was unlike anything. I tried to get up but could not. I must have lay there in that half awakened state for some time. I can’t tell how long but when I finally woke up my body ached and the soles of my feet were dirty. I could feel the sweat and sand on my body which actually wasn’t there.

I never had any similar dream again till day before yesterday. The building seemed very similar to the one in precious dream but not the location. The area was lit with yellow lights. I was walking along the back lane in some old part of the city though the lane was not narrow or winding. All the buildings looked the same as the one in the previous dream. Made of bare red brick  A high wall separated them from the back lane. The wall was whitewashed I was again with my elder son and we were walking along in a hurry Hundreds of people were sleeping on the road Where ever one looked one could see people covered with quilts lying on the road  and the pavement adjoining the wall. I don’t recollect what was on the other side. We walked carefully in the midst of dirty white quilts. The impact of the dream was so real that I could actually feel the warm breath of those sleeping men ) yes, they were all men), the concrete of the  lane, the softness of the white quilt covers on which sometimes I stepped. Only a few half concealed faces were visible. I could sense the rise and fall of the sleeping bodies. It was night and maybe winter but I do not recollect the feeling of cold. All sensory impressions that I felt were of others. We hardly talk till we reach the end of the lane where there is a quiet group of few men.They stand surrounding a wooden stretcher, or bench something flat and elevated on which a man is lying down. My son is a few steps ahead of me As I reach the place I look at the man lying down. He seems familiar. No one I know from physical  life right now.  The man was wearing a plain white cotton shirt  and black trousers. No shoes. He had nicely trimmed beard and mustache. Must be in his mid forties. On his left upper cheek was a gaping wound. Most probably cleaned up as there was no sign of any blood. A man, whom I take for a doctor, was applying some native medicine on the wound. He seemed as if someone had dragged him out from his sleep. No one spoke.  “WTF is he doing?”, I whisper to Adi who urges me to walk on but I can’t. I stare at the injured man. His eyes hold me captive. We look into each others eyes as if our stares are locked. I feel he is trying to convey a message. Adi gets restless and nudges me to move but the eyes of the man do not let go of the hold. There was a surge of emotions I felt in that moment from empathy to rage to warmth to sadness and also love. Adi pulls at my arm and practically drags me from the spot. The eyes plead me to stay but I allow myself to be pulled. As I move away the images begin to blur and we continue to walk , now in the dark.

Though it was just a crossing of a lane and this eye contact with this man, the dream was immensely intense. I still remember those eyes, every fold of the quilts I saw, the air i was breathing, the atmosphere. Strangely there is no focus on the other men , the doctor (let us call him that), even what Adi was wearing etc.

Two things that gave me the feeling of Deja vu were the buildings and the injured man.  It is strange when you feel the warmth of human bodies. I have always felt them in a positive way. No coldness in their presence. Even when they aren’t friendly.

In both the dreams the buildings reminded me of some place I had been before. Like in many past dreams, the area had a desert like feel. Though it was not so evident in this particular one.

Both the time there was a feeling of premonition about someone in need of help. Someone reaching out. There was someone in the previous dream too whom I do not recollect now. Strangely there were no other females in both the dreams. Except that little infant girl.

This time the dream left me with a feeling  of incompleteness and helplessness. A sort of parting that should not have been. A slight feeling of remorse too but I can not say the reason.

This was the first time  I did not want the dream to continue. I wanted to run away from it. Shirking the responsibility I guess. Something alien to me.

What does it symbolize I do not know but those eyes I am not able to forget. Though I do not see them, the thought keeps coming back. Should I have stayed?

“Beneath our waking mind there is another mind that broods and plots the coordinates of symbolic escape toward other experiences.Dreams are those rare things that last a few seconds while also never ending inside our heads. A  space opens to become a volume of the inexplicable and within that space, something not exactly real weaves around itself a palpable web of the truer-real.” A friend wrote few years ago. I miss his presence but I know he is safe and healthy doing what is best for him.

 

 

 

 

Stepping Into The Unexplained – Dream Diary


I have not updated the dream diary since almost one year. Last year had been very disturbing at many levels and I am still coming to terms with various aspects. Though there was always a certain kind of fluidity in my dreams all through the year and the nights were always live with  dreams that were more real than reality there wasn’t anything that struck me very strongly. Mostly the family members feel I sleep soundly but the brain is active or maybe I should say wandering. It is usually not connected with the daily living. The people are unknown, so are the places but there is a feeling a feeling of Déjà vu.  The accompanying male figure in many of my dreams is my elder son. Maybe because he too is very receptive to the unknown or maybe because he is an emphatic match.

This constant fleeting between dreams and wakefulness has actually disrupted the usual sleep routine but now this seems normal. Some may find such dreams crazy or even macabre but that is what makes them so profound. I feel I am always at the threshold of consciousness. I thought my long term insomnia has become a gross feeder for such events but then I do seem fast sleep to others which is intriguing. I’ve had dreams that have left very vivid impressions on my memory. More vivid than the physical reality we experience. I believe that the depth of the experience and the alternative reality is limited to select few but most of us are never able to validate it as we would an event in physical reality. We are never able to bridge the gap.

I have a strong feeling that science, society, religion has boxed us in by limiting our thinking. There is a lot that is unexplained and unexplored with regards to human brain and what we term as “real”.  It is evident that the brain does have some functions beyond what science has already examined. Society builds our box for us, we sometimes feel confined to it because we don’t want to look odd, feel silly or out of place. Personally, I love exploring and seeing what’s out there, beyond the confines of my box which is truly not defined. It may seem odd to others but to me that is  the essence of life. I don’t know how to articulate it properly but in my thinking there is a connect between the universal energies and us. That is why some people are psychic.

Every living thing has consciousness has a connection to everything else in the universe. We are all sort of wired together and sometimes we go beyond the realms of physical world. There may be many reasons for the sensed presence, intuitions, out of body experience or such other things. I read about quantum mechanics of brain and it is fascinating. “When people have a near-death experience, all that quantum information leaves the brain, yet continues to exist, which is why some people report out-of-body experiences and lights at the end of tunnels. I think it says a lot about other such experiences too. One needs to explore. Having said that, it may be the confirmation of our perceptions too.”

We all carry a certain energy within and around us and many of us can sense that. It is an intuitive quality which is inborn but many of us lose it because of the conditioning of our minds by the environment. We are programmed to think and feel in a certain manner and anything that does not subscribe to it is frowned upon. Just as the women healers, psychic, clairvoyant were termed as witches and killed since ancient times.

Some places / people drain you out or make you happy, you feel comfortable in some homes or rooms and not in others  that is because you can feel the energy they emit, it is the same with things that we are unaware of or which are beyond the realms of our understanding. The law of attraction.

There is a fascinating world out there and within us and we know so little.

I remember someone telling me that I may be turning schizophrenic or may have a neurological dysfunction that I am not aware of. I don’t think so. Some people are psychic, intuitive, they have transcendental out of body experiences.

I have felt presence around me many times but they aren’t what the stories tell us. Not shadow beings, transparent apparitions with cold air around them, mostly there is a warmth. Some may say it is dues to the lack of it in the real world for me but I have felt the reverse too. It isn’t scary but it is definitely something I haven’t experienced before and yet there is always something which can relate to my physical life.

Some life energies take more than usual time to crossover and cling to this plane. They even feed off you at times. They prefer to stay earthbound. The reasons could be many. Sometimes they choose to stay  and at others they just hover because of some unfinished business. Energy can not be destroyed, it just changes forms and it is these forms we experience at times. We are like cosmic magnets and our viberational energies attract other energies from spaces around us. I think it is based on our thoughts and emotions and our receptiveness in finding our  matching energy. Our bodies are aligned with nature and the universe in the larger sense.  I am no expert so these are my personal beliefs. I think I never fitted in the norm and was always a little bit of an outsider. Maybe wit ha little bit of sixth sense.

This post may seem like a rambling and it is that. It is a portal for discussion for you. The dreams, the sightings, the intuitiveness,  precognition in a very limited or discreet way are some of the aspect of this being different.

We were having an interesting discussion about the two simultaneous photographs I took last year in the dinning area of my house and I just felt like sharing it here.

Here is the pic and it is open for interpretation. Play or light and shadow or something beyond that ?

 

These two pix were taken on a lovely sunny April afternoon around five o’clock. I was flirting with the mobile phone camera around the house and taking shots of light and shadows. When I focused on the wall in our dinning area I was rather surprised at what I saw. The chair was empty and yet there was a shadow image on the wall. No one was in the room except me. I opened the phone gallery to examine the pic again and could make out an old/middle aged man’s figure so I looked again at the wall. Nothing was visible to the naked eye. I positioned the camera and took a pic again. This time there was no figure. It could be a play of light but I was intrigued. A dream I had day before and a discussion about keeping the ashes of dead family members brought me back to this picture. So I leave you to ponder over this and one more question, is it proper to keep the ashes in the house? Is it proper to flow half of it in the river and keep the other half at home? Is it okay to divide cremation ashes? Are these beliefs tradition/ religion based? I know about keepsake urns etc.  

I must say again that I am not superstitious, just curious…

.  

Spring In Delhi, A Poem, A Story And Some Thoughts


The more a voice gets stifled, the louder it gets. So much has happened in past few days. There is too much anger and anguish inside me and I am just not getting into the rhythm of regular writing. Pages are still lying blank. Pen poised over them like a finger on the jugular.How can one remain composed when  voices of dissent are silenced. When Rohith Vermula is pushed to commit suicide. When peaceful dissenters (students) are painted as “anti nationals” charged for  sedition without any proof, for just having a different political ideology and guess which one got targeted as a terrorist and why? When news channels incite the public with doctored videos/audios. When evidence is manufactured. When goons are given protection and encouraged in their hooliganism. When students, teachers, journalists are beaten up for speaking up for what is just. When Perversity rules. When acid is thrown on the face of a  woman tribal right activist to muzzle yet another voice of dissent. When the country burns in the fire of communal hatred. When you are hounded and trolled for your stance on what is happening right now in the country When a twelve year old child is hit and her father killed for asking a second helping of meal. When the tragic suicides of the farmers is termed as “fashion”. When there is a complete breakdown of law & order. When anger kills the power of reason. When you are targeted because of your gender, caste, name, political stance or simply because you use your mind and speak out against the unjust.

It makes me uneasy. Makes me pause and reflect.

I fear for my life every single time I open my mouth in this country where I was born and raised. Who will stand up for me or any ordinary citizen? Who will listen to our pleas? I am not as articulate as many of my writer friends but I am a thinking and concerned citizen. A woman trying to stand for her rights and her dignity. A mother watching two young adult sons growing up in an environment that is getting vicious day by day. I taught my children dissent, I taught them to participate actively as citizens. I taught them to be discerning without being judgmental. That is what my parents taught me. I do the same. Does that make us Anti Nationals? Tell me how? Be very careful when you label anyone. Know its power. Labels box you in. I have been boxed in and I know how it feels. It dramatically changes your life in a matter of seconds. Most of the times scars you for life. Listen to that little voice of conscience and dissent that is knocking from within you to wake up. Listen and act.

In the midst of this unrest the spring came quietly to the capital bringing myriad hues of flowers. Every roundabout, every garden, every park is a riot of colours. The barbets, the flaming golden woodpeckers and the parakeets and many other birds are here. The roadsides and roundabouts are full of nasturtiums, yellow poppies, purple asters, yellow violas, red pitunias, Cinnenarias, dog flowers, marigolds, sweet peas, sweet williams, chrysanthemums, dahlias and bougainvilleas in varied hues have painted the city in every colour. Some of the Mango trees are blossoming too and then there is this distinct fragrance of the Saptparni tree across the city. The coral trees and the Silk Cotton trees are beginning to bloom too.

Delhi also hosts flower shows during Feb-March. I went to he 29th Delhi Garden Tourism Festival Yesterday to get soaked in the colours of basant (Spring)

And when we talk of flowers and blossoming how can we forget poetry. A poem got published in prestigious Open Road Review Magazine recently. You can read it HERE.

A Short Fiction also found a platform in Read Fingers, a portal for those who enjoy reading and writing. This story is very close to my heart. Do read it HERE.

Heartfelt gratitude to the editors who appreciated my work and included it in their magazines.

Talking of magazines, if you have not submitted your piece for Cafe Dissensus March issue (23) then please do it fast as the last date is not very far. Here is the submission link. I am guest editing the issue this time. 

I will leave you with this brilliant piece by my friend Nabina Das. – ‘After Every War’: Reading poetry in the dark times 

And One more by Saif Mehmood – Repression and Resistance, Delhi 2016: Through The Prism Of Urdu Poetry  

 

 

 

 

You And Me – How Can You Forget


What We Were To Each Other?

never mind. it is a rhetorical question anyway.

Rant alert. Rambling thoughts.

We had different needs, our lives were too separate. Too far away. And you kept stretching the distance like cheese from the pizza.

We were pretty much on the opposite side of everything but we met, love happened, or so I thought. So many things feel like love and we are so often and so easily fooled. I just wanted a shelter, a sustenance, while you were looking for haute cuisine and a pleasant home. ASnd then one day you fell out of whatever it was you felt, dusted off, got up and walked away. we meant different things to each other. our needs were different.

I lost myself in words and images I conjured in my mind, forever torn between the lover as you were and the lover I had created in my head and in that process somewhere I lost you. I noticed the slow decline from being everything to being no one. Saw every single act of dismissal but I stayed. I wanted to. Just as i wanted to believe everything you said.

It is what it is. You, my dear, are too much to forget.

I will turn fifty in a few years. More than half my life is over. I want to  travel before my stressed out body gives away. I want to go back to places I imagined us going to. I want your memory. I want to take you there with me. Carry you in my heart. I also want to stop being a sad, sorry fuck that I am and be what I would have been if we were together.

A time to shed what’s not me. Time to move on, move away from people who pretend to care and understand but actually wish me dead. Tough luck. I wasn’t born to be ruled by others. If some people did, it is because I allowed or because I was caught in the web of circumstances beyond my control.

While I am ranting, let me also say that natal homes are most often not the safe sanctuary one thinks they are. This thought is pressing hard on my jugular.

Gratitude too is a form of love. I am grateful for your presence , imaginary or otherwise. Grateful for love, for being the wind beneath my wings. Somewhere you changed direction and I plunged into nothingness, picked myself again and now I am drifting aimlessly. My wings are tired and I can not even fold them and rest for a while.

I rant too much. Blame it on the Hormones. Times are a changing and your memory, it comes at most impossible times. Peri-menopause does that. It screws up your mind and body. I was sure I was going crazy, unable to decipher what was causing the hot flushes, night sweats, sleeplessness, mood swings, anxiety attacks, meltdowns, palpitations and not to forget the intense desire to strip off all my clothes at any given time… Was it the aftermath of losing you or were the hormones going wacko. Jeez, it is hard to go through a heartbreak when you are dealing with midlife crisis. Cold showers, by the way, came handy in both cases but it is still too much to deal.

I would reach for anything within reach that would comfort me. Alcohol, comfort food esp sweets, books, cigarettes.. anything that would cocoon me and keep me safe from the world that had suddenly become so unbearable. But now, I am going to get my sexy mojo back by turning menopause into menopower and I will make the memories of love to make me strong. Love that I felt for you. I am going to fill that You-shaped hole in me with something good and I will wait.

My love for you was wild and reckless, strong and rebellious, painful and desperate, untamed and hungry, It was needy. I was needy. I was hungry. and for me even the less was more. You were needy too but our needs were different as i said earlier. You fed me love with your fingers and then one day you left, and now I know what it is to starve. But you know what, love stays longer, endures more. Lust doesn’t. It doesn’t give anything except a momentary high.

“Loving you was like going to war. I never came back the same.” ~ warsan shire

but I will take those wounds any day.

Seeing you in the flesh, touching you, kissing your mouth, letting you kiss my mouth, surrendering to love, to lust, to the moment that brought us together was the bravest thing I ever attempted and the weakest I ever felt and now my body is like a haunted house that is never owned. A house that is sometimes lived in but mostly abandoned. It is an archive of fingerprints and scars that throb. It is filled with a lingering odour of love, sex and spices.

I am walking through a fog but I trust my instincts and I will make it through the frenzy of emotional whirlpools I am facing now.

If you think this post is not going anywhere, it is true. It is a floe, forever drifting like me.

My boy thinks I need to “chill”, that old age crept on me long ago and I am living in denial. My foot. what does he know.

So I will put a frozen teabag in my vagina (before you get ideas, it is for medical purposes. Sorry to disappoint.), have a hot mug of coffee or  go indulge in the finest wine or anything I fancy from a brain hemorrhage shot to a manga, get a short spunky hair cut that doesn’t need too much looking after.. (going bald is still a recurring thought), eat healthy while keeping my cravings satisfied, change the wardrobe (bring in some colour), and most importantly NOT GIVE A FUCK. Till now I was only writing and not believing but I guess it is time to change that.

Hormones can rage, your ever-present missingness can run havoc, financial trickling can continue, and people can snoop and stalk my blog for whatever they are looking for(you know who you are and I know it too) because I am going to live my life as I want. I am done with naysayers and f*tards that drained me of belief in myself. Go find your entertainment elsewhere.

Of course i miss you and I love you. Trust me, you do not want to feel what I feel. It is not easy task to go from halo to a broomstick in a jiffy. Don’t even try. Just understand.

this will keep me on a roller coaster

But

I will rock the change. I will flow.

And

I hope one day

you will find yourself and in turn find me.

If only
one fingertip
of a touch
could make
you real.
If Only ….

till then….

I will just come here and vent.

Better out than in.

Good things are happening in my writing world . Will share soon. 🙂

Ten On Tuesday – Gaming With The Boys


When we got tired of playing the mind games these are the ten games me and boys played and mastered. We were always good at being escapists, prefered the imaginary to the real and often yanked ourselves from one world to plunge into another. We all had our “me time” but still we spent a lot of time together bonding over board games, singing, telling stories, doing some sort of art/craft, playing some real-time games which would leave the house looking like as if it has been hit by a tsunami. It was tough but it was fun.

Computer games were a new rage and the boys were fanatic supporters of  this new religion. All my efforts to keep them away from this growing menace failed and then I thought,’ if you can’t beat them join them’. WTH.. but I still laid down some rules.

And what did we play ? Here are the top ten.

1.Claw – Because I love wild cats 😀
2.Soldier of fortune – The first gory game I played where it was all guts over fear. Imagine that after yelling at the boys for behaving like bloody psychopaths.
3. Need for Speed/ Roadrage – I could never learn to drive but always dreamed of the mean machines I could control. The need for speed was satiated here and it was so engrossing that sometimes the line between virtual and real just disappeared. It was fun all right.
4. James Bond Nightfire –  The only time I could be more than just a bond girl 😀
5. Delta Force Land Warrior – My initiation into first person shooters. It was cathartic in some ways.
6. XMen Arcade Game – For the love of classic X-Men characters. Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Nimrod, Mystique and many more. At times it was ridiculously funny but a lot of fun with the boys. A comic book come to life perhaps. 🙂
7. Batman Arcade Game – Chaos in Gotham – My love for the dark knight began much before Nolan. When you have two superheros in the house you need to learn the survival techniques for anything could happen anytime.
8. Solitaire and Freecell – These were the games to zone out when the house was not a war zone with aliens  spaceships landing on your head and cars flying from between your legs.

9. Don’t think we just engaged in virtual games. There were a lot of indoor and outdoor games that were invented at the spur of the moment. Missions planned and executed, Rooms turned into makeshift WWF arenas (I was always the referee trying to save my head) 😀 , paper planes flew out of the balconies and windows with their tails in a blaze of fire, The entire house turned into an obstacle racing fast track where all sorts of cars, jeeps raced like lunatics. (my participation was limited to providing unlimited power boosters ( especially made in my kitchen) and occasionally tripping over some invisible flying object. ).. Oh yes, and picking up the debris later on while chasing the boys around to clean up.

10. Yes, I had my collection of WWE and Pokemon cards, tazzos and what not. These were guarded like prized possessions and traded occasionally with great deal of negotiations. We did play all the games with these interesting loot.

Raising boys is not for wimps and they kept me on my toes 24/7 but then it was also an adventure and great fun to grow up with them.

You And Me – Hush


I lost you over time.

We had so much to say

but nothing was said.

Mail stopped coming,

online chats gradually ceased.

Phone conversations

became impersonal words,

filling in between silences

that we struggled to break.

Your laughter became forced,

you were always elsewhere,

even when with me.

Memories of our meeting

began to fade, until you

were like a vanishing mirage.

You tossed what we shared

into the waves as you crossed

the ocean between us.

It was simple.

A brief encounter became

an imaginary sojourn.

I didn’t know any better,

I was in love with a lover

I had imagined.

Now, you’re only a faded painting

on solitary afternoons,

a monochrome photograph

during my solitary nights.

—————————–

 

Three poems – A tale of love


You brought me dreams,
You brought me nightmares,
Thank you for being my muse,
it helped me bleed out
all that wasn’t me. But now,
“I am my own muse
I am the subject I know
best, the subject I want to better.”

(#FridaLove)

*~*

Days that are as uncertain
as you, and nights, that
don’t set me free, each
haunted by the other, my
life, nothing but a
monochrome shadow, caught
in between, such is the summer
of your absence.

 *~~*

Every tale of love,
imaginary or otherwise
is a continuous parting of ways,
a floe, forever drifting between
what was and what could have been.

Things simply are a matter of ‘is’, ‘is not’ and ‘won’t be.

*~~~*

Sometimes you need to draw blood to keep yourself whole. Unlike many who wait in the wings, you won’t have a next stage appearance. I made it sure by giving you a funeral and not a burial.The situation was getting harder to deny.I did not want you to get larger than life and stomp off leaving me to pick up the trash. I set fire to love today. I needed to balance the “kill to care ratio”. The story needed to move to a closure.

#YouAndMe