0

An exercise in Tragedy

Taken from my old blog, June 8, 2012

 

Let me tell you a story. There is this man I know, lets call him S. All his life, S has carried an unusual burden of misfortune on his back. Recently, something more was added to this heavy load, which has triggered this blog post. Let me start at the start, though.


S is the youngest of four siblings, an eldest brother, and two sisters. His dad was a big leader, a do-gooder in their village. Being a bit more privileged than their peers, all four enjoyed a happy childhood. Big brother is a large, caring man. Big sister is the rock of the family, the practical person. Little sister is the emotional one, the one who takes care of everyone. S is a combination of all three. He is by far the most naturally intelligent person I have met in my life. He is practical, caring and all that, but the most striking thing about him is his ready wit and intelligence. He was literally the apple of his parent’s eyes. “S will become the most famous doctor in this land” his dad would often say, with good reason. 


When he was young, S was a carefree youth. he had a big future in front of him, everything to look forward to. At this juncture, he did something inexplicable. He skipped his 12th exams. Just didn’t go. You ask why, but I do not know the answer to that question. He just did. His dad got him a job in the local sugar factory he had started. He was married off to a cousin. His dad soon died in a haze of alcoholism, leaving behind a shambles of an estate. The vultures soon moved in. 


The sisters married off to men outside the village, into big cities, soon lost touch with the family. The men were hot-headed, up and coming engineers who shunned their ‘callow’ in-laws as they moved up in the world. They had forgotten the all important push S’s dad had given them when they started. It was left to S and elder brother to take care of the mounting debts and old family home. Hoping to avoid conflict and acrimony, S left for a nearby city and elder brother took care of the family farms. 


In the city, S supported his wife and small kid by starting a small business of his own. Very precarious, but he managed to get a toe hold in by dint of hard work, ingenuity and his innate ability to talk his way into any situation and setting. This is the first time we meet his daughter. Looking at the precocious girl, you could shades of S in her. Very self aware, she had realised at a young age that her dad would have to slog all his life to keep his family and her just above the water and surviving. She vowed to lend a hand as soon as she could. She, with her single minded devotion, applied herself to her studies, building a dream to someday be an IAS officer. In time, S gave her a baby sister too. Big daughter looked at her and was spurred on. Things were looking good. 


One fine day, the business he had set-up went bust, and S’s partners ran away with a load of cash. He was broke, jobless with nowhere to go. During this time, S and elder quarrelled over the family estate and the farms were divided into two. So S did have something to do, go home and start farming. Mrs S didn’t want to go and live with her in-laws. She persuaded him to go and live at her folks place, them being old and alone and all. This is at a nearby village, so he could easily tend to the farms and such. Since education is such a costly business, he scrimped and saved every tiny penny and shored it up for the future. You’d be amazed at his resourcefulness and a rare capability of extracting the maximum use out of any object.


Farming in this area is hard. There is a severe shortage of water. S has a well near his farm, but its source has dried up. So his well is essentially a tank. What he and a couple of neighbours  do, is borrow water from the well in the vicinity that has water. Now since everyone wants more water, you have to be constantly aware of the levels of water, best times for use etc and make sure no one is cheating and that you get the best deal. 


In any case, he started to re-build his life, at his in-law’s place. Farming is a tough business, but he stuck to it. Daughters went to good schools in the area, progressing steadily. Mrs S found a job at a local school. Stability looked just around the corner. I use the word stability very loosely here. What kind of stability is this? The whole village laughs at the two brothers, for squandering the family fortune. They forget that most of it was spent in the betterment of the village and the villagers themselves. Their sisters try to find time and come and spend some time with them, as and when their husbands allow and help in their way. S lives with his in-laws, with taunts and jabs at every corner, not sparing even his small daughters. Everyday is full of hard work in the farms and come home to this. Each paisa he earns, he saves. Nothing for himself. His life is a patchwork of hand-me-downs and second hand things. S, though, is content. He knows, all this hard is going to pay off, when he see his daughters grow up to be strong, confident and independent human beings soon. 


As we enter the present, we see that elder daughter has passed 12th with flying colours. Trained at mofussil schools and a junior college at the local taluka place, it is a miracle that she secures a seat in a big engineering college. S is loath to send her away to big city centres like Pune or Mumbai, considering the cost of living. He decides to send her to a very good college in a middle sized town, keeping everyone happy. Without making a fuss, he somehow manages the gargantuan task of getting together enough funds to get her secured in this place. Here too, his in-laws mutter behind his back, saying why make such a big investment, who is paying etc. He ignores all, happy in the fact that his efforts have borne fruit. 


Her studies are going swimmingly well. He manages to talk her every day, go and meet her as often as possible. He has started a parents group of people who have sent their kids to that college and live nearby. She is also happy at her college. She works hard on her weak points and manages to get through the first year. 


This week are her year end examinations. On the eve of her 2nd paper, her room-mates call up S, reporting her missing. A frantic night is spent canvassing relatives and locals to see if any trace can be found. They wait till the exam time, to see if she turns up and immediately inform the authorities. 


It is 5 pm. We come into the police station where he is waiting for any news. There is no place to sit, he is standing in the courtyard. He cuts a forlorn figure, waiting for any news of his little girl. No sleep, no food. His sister has come to see if she could help. There are about 4-6 people around him, sounding out suggestions and strategies. After the discussions, everyone turns to him. What do we do now? My heart breaks into tiny pieces as he says “I cannot think of anything right now, please do whatever you think is best. “. A “Help me” goes unsaid. 


Around 6 15, about 24 hours since he last talked to his daughter, news filters in through the police station, that a body has been found in a local well. No one tells S. He immediately figures something is up. By the time they reach the site, he knows something is wrong and makes up his mind. You wouldn’t believe me, but he doesn’t shed a single tear. He has made his mind up. As we move towards the hospital to retrieve his daughter, he is the one who handles everything. His sister, a few friends and relatives who have come with him are all lost for words. Crying. He calmly identifies her. He is told there will be a few procedural delays. He relays the information home, where they prepare for the funeral and the word spreads. 


Here was a daughter who was the most rooted girl you will ever meet. She had a meticulous diary, written from the first day of college to the birthday in February. She outlines her hopes and dreams and daily expenses in simple and straight-forward details. No one among her friends suspect an affair gone wrong. The pressure of success was there, as is omnipresent in all engg. kids, but it wasn’t blown out of proportion. She would talk about everything to S, or at least to her cousin sister, who was especially close. There are close to a thousand people at the funeral. Each and everyone is saying the same thing. There has to be foul play, this cannot be something she would do. The post-mortem and police action remove all traces of doubt or foul play. It was truly one of those random events. 


A note here, on the funeral. As soon as word spreads, that S is arriving by afternoon with his daughter, people start coming to the house. Not his in-law’s place, this is the family place. As soon as you enter, you see S’s brother sitting on the floor. He is weeping copiously, a husk of his former self. Inside, a bevy of ladies surround Mrs S, trying to console her. S’s sisters sit in a corner, their faces twisted in agony as they denounce the cruel God who doles out this fate to their kid brother, silently, as tears roll down unhindered. A group of S’s nephews stand outside, faces blank, wondering how did this happen. Slowly, the place fills up. People turn from all around the village and nearby places. Large carpets are soon laid out on the road outside, to accommodate everyone. Some people stand along the roads. As we stand outside, you can feel the grief mounting to a peak, as the news of the hearse filters through. Half an hour away. Now 15 min. 5 mins. Just around the corner. 
As he disembarks, S heads straight for the house. He embraces elder brother, who bursts into tears, piteously crying out aloud. The calmest man in the whole mêlée, S consoles his brother. As the daughter is brought out, the women rush out. There is a lot of shouting and crying. One of S’s sisters faints and her kid and husband revive her. A couple of kids keep a glass of glucose water handy. The bier is quickly whisked away to the funeral home, to be cremated. The ladies all array themselves around the grieving mother. She cries out, her sharp comments tearing at every heart in the vicinity. As we move over to the cremation, a group of enthusiastic organisers quickly get it over with. Some politically minded person addresses the large group of people assembled there. The family quickly disperses, sickened by the whole process. 
Some semblance of sanity returns as everyone goes home. Only the close relatives are left in the house. To dispel all doubts and rumours, S tells the whole story in detail twice. To see him speak with an even voice, emphasizing each important point, you wouldn’t know what a titanic struggle must be raging in his breast. 


He married according to his dad’s wishes. He was duped out of his business just as he was starting to break even. He has to live in a place infested with taunts and jibes. He has two pillars of strength, his daughters, but one has been taken away from him in her prime. 


Fiction has a sense of balance to it. Even tragedies, they end. But real life doles out its emotions without regard for aesthetic equity, a novelist’s sense of equilibrium, of justice. It just goes on. We are left with a tragedy of colossal proportions, apparently without rhyme or reason.  


We stumble through life, thinking we have seen sad and joy and everything. It is precisely when you least expect it when life slaps you hard on your face, and says look! Someone else has it worse. 


As we depart the village, leaving this grieving family to their lot, you can see a house near the end of the village all decked up in finery as the sounds of dhol waft through the air. There is a wedding here. Life, it seems, goes on. 




p.s.: I havent spent much time on the reactions and implications of S’s younger daughter. This isn’t because it isn’t important or that I haven’t given much thought to it. It is simply because I cannot string more than 2 sentences together without choking up. It is simply too much for me to handle. Probably, S could do a better job. 


p.p.s: Some details have been embellished or downplayed for privacy. This voyeuristic portrayal of S seems to be a selfish thing to do. He doesn’t know I wrote this, and I don’t think many will agree. We all have our ways of grieving. Some cry. Others are S. I hope to think that the memory of this sad turn of events will live through this post, and that at some level, in some unexplained way, it will help. 

Advertisements
0

Lego Yellow Submarine

So I got this Lego Yellow Submarine for my birthday [thanks guise!]

Assembled it. Here is the result:

The full set:

IMG_20161224_220423.jpg

Fab Four:

IMG_20161224_220725.jpg

The Sub:

IMG_20161224_220750.jpg

The Rudder thingy moves:

IMG_20161224_220809.jpg

So do these two:

IMG_20161224_220817.jpg

Lots of detail around the periscope area:

IMG_20161224_220828.jpg

Lets open it up and peek inside!

IMG_20161224_220900.jpg

A little space in the back for luggage

IMG_20161224_220908.jpg

Four seats

IMG_20161224_221052.jpg

detail shot

IMG_20161224_221108.jpg

detail shot

IMG_20161224_221138.jpg

All Aboard!

IMG_20161224_221307.jpg

Tight Fit

IMG_20161224_221319.jpg

All the luggage is in

IMG_20161224_221419.jpg

closing up

IMG_20161224_221435.jpg

Everyone is in!

IMG_20161224_221449.jpg

Bonus Bobby

IMG_20161224_221527.jpg

Watch out for his gun

IMG_20161224_221603.jpg

IMGUR style cat tax

IMG_20161224_105547.jpg

 

0

Volleyball

Just came back from the second GT home game of the season. Heart still thumping, ears ringing. Emotions running high. Must write this before I sleep today.

 

Any sport is exciting if you get into it I guess. I have learnt that doing that is very easy for me. I have been going with friends and since we win a lot it is great to follow.

Today’s game was an emotional roller coaster. Our first clue was the HUGE players on the other side, boston college. Then we saw our star player’s thigh was bandaged. Oh, by the way, get used to these names:

 

Teegan Van Gunst

Annika Van Gunst

London Ackermann

Ashley Askin

Rebecca Martin

Lauren Pitz

Anna Kavalchuk

Gabriela Stavnetchei

Wimberley Wilson

Gabbi Benda

Some indication of the fanaticism here that I wrote out that list without referring to notes and this is just my second game.

 

So anyway. All you have to know is that Teegan VanGunst is a most impressive player, the rock of the team. Usually has 3 times the points of the next person in the team.

Turns out Boston college did not rely on their height. They were astute judges of gap balls and did not let a single one away in their own half. Meanwhile Teegan with her bandaged leg seemed a shadow of herself and soon enough, GT was 2-0 down.

Something must have happened in the half time break that followed. While the first two sets had gone to 20+ points for both teams [they play up to 25] we lost them easily. This set we kept in the hunt. 25-25. then the teams traded points. At one point we thought we had it but the ball had landed in not out. Our celebrations cut short, a roar of Boos rose up. Somehow we clung to the lead and won 29-27

 

The third set you could see Teegan’s form return. We found another unlikely saviour in Anna Kavalchuk who kept bagging crucial points. Ashley with her usual rocket serves and smashes, London with some superb digs [she reached 1000 career digs this season] alongside Teegan and Lauren / Sydney combo up front delivered smashes perfectly set up by Rebecca and Gabbi. It was inevitable, this set was ours. No questions. As always, Annika Van Gunst, overshadowed by Teegan, played a solid hand.\

 

Fourth set is played to 15. We had regained our mojo. The two lost sets seemed like a distant memory. We rolled over the Eagles with characteristic dominance.

 

You might have noticed this to be particularly unexcitedly written piece for something I am saying was so cool. Well, you just had to be there. It was an intense experience beyond words. My words atleast.

Also, I got in line and met the players, then got this poster signed by the players! 🙂

 

Capture

 

2

Office rejig

Did a small office reassembly, now that im the only one here… To begin with, here is a view out my window

image

Here is my new work corner (laptop sits on the empty stand on the left)

image

Here is the old work corner, looking empty and lonely

image

Making way for a long and uninterrupted occasional sleep space!

image

Make it look as if I’m creative and plan a lot…

image

Here is the main reason i come to work

image

🙂

0

Looking Back

I get this question a lot, from friends and colleagues and students alike. What made you choose to do what you do? What makes you tick? Why am I training to be an evolutionary biologist? The answer, as you might imagine, is complicated, but let me attempt to look at the source.

As far as I go back through college years or junior college or school, one common thread remains. I have always been encouraged to do things other than those that are required of me. In college we took part in and organized ourselves inter-college plays, sports, quizzes and international research competitions alike. If I look at my day now, in post-graduate school, typically my duties range from reading scientific journals, preparing teaching materials, conducting experiments, maintaining our live fish facilities [a glorified way of saying ‘plumbing and electrical work’], showing people around the fish facilities, helping build new aquaria, using computer programming to manage large amounts of data, attending various seminars and talks all around campus.  Very few of these things are in our biology syllabus. These things are definitely related to work, but I can see that not everyone regularly indulges in a wide array of activities. I have gone from being told to do outside things to making myself do them regularly.

The question is, where did this become a habit? I think the first instances of me doing something outside of the norm, outside a textbook was at Ujjwal. I remember being encouraged to take part in countless competitions all over the city. To be frank, at some point, I felt this is fun, but not that useful to me later in life. After all, what impact could a speech on ‘My Flag’ given in 8th standard have on me, almost a decade later? Turns out, a lot! I have to give presentations on my work and that of others almost weekly. None of the classes in school or college taught me how to be a good public speaker, but the memories of trying to give speeches to a packed crowd of parents were a good primer. Nobody explicitly taught me to read a range of books but being given the chance to talk to the teachers in school like peers about things like reading made me feel I was doing something cool and now I can boast of being able to hold me own in almost any conversation.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the peripheral life skills that weren’t evident in any textbook we had all seem to have germinated in my time at Ujjwal. That’s where my curiosity and drive to lot as many new things as possible stems from, a drive to keep finding out answers to unknown questions while at the same time enriching life with as many different new activities as possible. I wonder if that would have been possible had it not been encouraged and almost made into a habit in my seemingly short, but life changing three years at Ujjwal. For this gift that has made me what I am today and will be tomorrow, I am very grateful indeed. Also, that is my answer to myself to the question I began with, why do I do what I do today. Simply because I was introduced to a way of life that balances work and fun, learning and enjoyment in equal measure at the right age in school.

0

Murder in Penny Lane

Years ago, when I was a wee little thing, obsessed with The Beatles, I wrote this play along a bunch of other friends who shared this obsession. Here I reproduce it in full. We first did it in Marathi, then made this English translation to perform in front of the science liason from the British Embassy who was visiting our school… This, of course, is the english version.

 

 

G l a s s   O n i o n   p r o d u c t i o n s   p r e s e n t s :
Murder on Penny Lane
Cast and crew
Music: The Beatles
Vocals and Sound: Mandar Phatak
Lights: Yatin Diwakar
Director: Mandar Phatak
Choreography: Shefali Ramteke
Story: Chinar Patil
Mr. Walrus: Mandar Phatak
Max: Chinar Patil
Dr Robert: Ajinkya Yele
Joan: Sharvari Sathe
Chief: Mihir Metkar
Lucy and Mrs. Rigby: Shefali Ramteke
Jude: Swapnil Ghanawat

 

Scene 1:

Song: penny lane. (Mr. Walrus singing)
In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello
On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a Mack
In the pouring rain, very strange
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway
In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strangePenny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane

Scene 2:
Swapnil: Why does the barber show photos?
Mihir: Why doesn’t the banker wear a mack, even in the rain!
Chinar: Why does the fireman carry a portrait of the Queen in his pocket?
Shefali: Was that nurse a little crazy?
(Everyone speaks at the same time)
Walrus: Shhh Shhh….
Sh.
Why is the water wet?
Why does the Sun set?
Huh?
Tell me,
Why is 1+1, 2?
Why is the sky blue?
Some questions have no answers.
They are just, umm, very strange.
[Every one shrug shoulders.]
Walrus: Like Max.
All: MAX?
Walrus: You don’t know Max?All: no
Walrus: You don’t know the story about Max from penny lane?
All: NO!
Walrus: meh. It’s not that famous anyway…
[ everyone WTF! And TCHACH!!]
Walrus: it’s not famous, but you know what, it is very strange…
All: strange?
Walrus: would you like to hear the strange story of Maxwell from penny lane?
All: well, ok.
Walrus: well, once upon a time in a land far faar away…
No. not far away, right here on penny lane…
[blackout]

Scene 3:

Song: Maxwell’s silver hammer

Joan was quizzical; studied metaphysical
Science in the home.
Late nights all alone with a test tube.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine,
Calls her on the phone.
“Can I take you out to the pictures,
Joa, oa, oa, oan?”But as she’s getting ready to go,
A knock comes on the door.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead.
Back in school again Maxwell plays the fool again.
Teacher gets annoyed.
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant
Sce, e, e, ene,
She tells Max to stay when the class has gone away,
So he waits behind
Writing fifty times “I must not be
So, o, o, o..”
But when she turns her back on the boy,
He creeps up from behind.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that She was dead.
P. C. Thirty-one said, “We’ve caught a dirty one.”
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Rose and Valerie, screaming from the gallery
Say he must go free
(Maxwell must go free)
The judge does not agree and he tells them
So, o, o, o.But as the words are leaving his lips,
A noise comes from behind.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon his head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that he was dead.
Silver Hammer Max.

Scene 4:
Max: I am innocent! Dr. Robert, please help me, I haven’t killed any of those
people. They are going to hang me for something I haven’t done. You have solved
many complex cases. Please, please only you can help me now.
Dr Robert: Hmm. Let us have a look at your case. 3 people dead.
ONE. A student, Joan Smith.
TWO. A teacher, Mrs. Eleanor Rigby, A teacher in the mental institution you
were admitted to.
THREE. A judge, the same one who was trying you in the court.
All killed with a blow to the head with silver hammers, found beside their
bodies. A photo of you and your friends next to the body of the teacher. Your
fingerprints on all the hammers.
The entire sequence of events similar to the Beatles song “Maxwell’s silver
hammer”. You, Maxwell, a singer in a band that performs Beatles songs. Hmm…
The common link here seems to be THE BEATLES.
Max: Yes. The Beatles. Ever since I first heard them, I was their biggest fan.
Later, the four of us, Jude, Lucy, Chief and me, we formed our own band,
The Aficionados. We used to perform only Beatles songs. We got quite famous
too…Dr Robert: and then drugs, madness1. You have a long history of mental illness
Max. You killed the very teacher who cured you.
Who will believe you?
Max: Dr Robert, please, you have to believe me. I did not kill Mrs. Rigby, or the
Judge. And Joan? How could I have killed Joan? Joan… I love her.
Dr Robert: what? Joan? Wait. Let’s start from the very beginning. Tell me
everything.
[blackout]

Scene 5:

Song ensemble: Love Me!
What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love
Would you believe in a love at first sight?
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time
What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Oh I’m going to try with a little help from my friendsDo you need anybody?
I just need somebody to love
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends
I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place
Where we just meet
She’s just the girl for me
And I want all the world to see
We’ve met, mmm-mmm-mmm-m’mmm-mmm
Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
And I’d have never been aware
But as it is I’ll dream of her
Tonight, di-di-di-di’n’di
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place
Where we just meet
She’s just the girl for me
And want all the world to seeWe’ve met, mmm-mmm-mmm-da-da-da
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
Oh, falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
oh yeah i’ll , tell you something i think you will understand
when i’ll say that something, i wanna hold your hand
i wanna hold your hand, i wanna hold your hand.
oh please, say to me, you’ll let me be your man
and please, say to me, you’ll let me hold your hand
now let me hold your hand, i wanna hold your hand
she loves you yeah yeah yeah!
she loves you yeah yeah yeah!
she loves you yeah yeah yeah! yeah
i wanna hold your hand
and when i touch you, i feel happy inside!
its such a feeling that my love,
i cant hide!
i cant hide!
i cant hide!
If you let me take your heart I will prove to you
We will never be apart if I’m part of you
Open up your eyes now, tell me what you see
It is no surprise now, what you see is metell me what you see….
Listen to me one more time, how can I get through?
Can’t you try to see that I’m trying to get to you?
Open up your eyes now, tell me what you see
It is no surprise now, what you see is me
tell me what you see…
To lead a better life I need my love to be here…
Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with the wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there’s something there
There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn’t know he’s there
I want her everywhere and if she’s beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share
Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there
I will be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

Voice over (Max): me and Joan, Joan and me. We were living in a dream land.
Our own dream world where we spent every second of our lives together. But,
real life intervened. I had to go on a tour with the band. It was the first time
we were to be apart. It was a three week cross country tour.

Song: Something

Something in the way she moves,

Attracts me like no other lover.
Something in the way she woos me.
I don’t want to leave her now,
You know I believe and how.

Voice over (max): Finally! I was on my way back home! Back to her, back to
Joan! Soon, I would be back with her in my own dream world. But, when I
returned,

Song: yer blues
Yes I’m lonely wanna die
Yes I’m lonely wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why
Here I stand head in hand
Turn my face to the wall
If she’s gone I can’t go on
Feeling two-foot small
Everywhere people stare
Each and every day
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say
Hey you’ve got to hide your love away
I need a fix cos I’m going down
Down to the bits that I left uptown
I need a fix cos I’m going down
Happiness is a warm gun (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
When I hold you in my arms (Oo-oo oh yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (Oo-oo oh yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (Oo-oo oh yeah)
Because happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun If the sun don’t come
You get a tan from standing in the English rain
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob goo goo goo goo joob
Expert textpert choking smokers
Don’t you think the joker laughs at you? (Ha ha ha! He he he! Ha ha ha!)
See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snied
I’m crying
Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Alan Poe
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob goo goo goo joob
Jooba jooba
Jooba jooba [fadeout…]

Voice over (max): After Joan, my life went from bad to worse. I started taking
drugs, and then the drugs took over. My life would have vanished in a
psychedelic haze of hash and cocaine, but for her. The guiding light that was
Dr. Eleanor Rigby.

Song: Here Comes The Sun.
Little darling, the smile returning to their faces.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here.
Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
And I say “It’s all right”
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear.Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
And I say “It’s all right,
It’s all right,
It’s all right”
[Song fades into…]

Scene 6:

Dr Robert: oh. So that was your story. [Picks out the photo]. Hmm. so these are
Jude Lucy and chief. Wait a minute. What is this? There is something doodled on
the back. I can about make out a number, 3 8 9 5 6.
Anyway. Max, do you have any idea where can I find your friends?
Max: Sorry dr., i have no idea. After Joan, the band broke up. But yes, Jude
lives on penny lane. He might be able to help you out.
Dr Robert: Yes. I will find it out. You should meet your friends before they hang
you. I am convinced now, you are the culprit.
Max: Dr. Robert, please, Dr.! DOCTOR!

Scene 7:
Max: Thank you guys, for coming, I just want to say sorry, for everything,
before they hang me.
Lucy: I knew that girl was trouble. Why did you go after her max? And how
could you kill someone? They are going to hang you next week.
Max: Lucy, Lucy. Please. I have not killed anyone! Somebody is trying to frame
me…
Jude: But max, weren’t you going to ask Dr Robert for help?
Max: I did. But even he is convinced that I am the murderer
Lucy: Can’t anyone do anything? Can we do something?Max: Yes you can. Yes you can. Get me out of here. Get me out of here. Just
get me out of here, I am innocent. I haven’t killed anyone. I am innocent.
Jude: How can we max? Even our hands are tied. All the evidence points at
you. The fingerprints…
Max: Yes. The evidence! How did my bloody fingerprints get on those blasted
hammers? And our photo! Why was our photo lying next to Mrs. Rigby’s body?
Chief: Calm down max. It’s simple. Without the photo, how would the police have
caught you and only when tried would you get a chance to kill the judge…?
Max: w…what do you mean…?
Chief: see, it is a simple story… [Goes to pieces narrating the story]
Dr Robert: (Clap Clap Clap) Thank you Chief. You have implicated yourself and
saved me the trouble. Chief you are under arrest. Max, you can go free.
Max: Dr?
Dr Robert: Yes max. Chief is the real culprit.
Chief: But Dr! It is obvious that max is the killer. Lennon himself says so!
Dr Robert: He has Beatlemania.
All: What?
Dr Robert: yes. Beatlemania. He lives in an alternate world, where, for him,
every Beatles song is reality.
When I read the details of the case, I saw that they found max’s fingerprints
only on the hammers and nowhere else. A bit suspicious, I decided that there
might be some merit in max’s claims and they were worth investigating.
You see, that is why I came to visit all of you. If I assume max is innocent, the
three of you are the only remaining suspects.When I visited all of you, in search of additional clues, on the pretense of
inviting you to see max, chief’s house struck a wrong note from the very
beginning. His house was full of Beatles relics; every single thing there was
related in some way or other to the Beatles.
But the biggest clue of all was a framed wax imprint bearing the hand
impressions of all the members of the aficionados, all of you. A number scrawled
at the bottom in place of a signature reminded me of the number at the back
of the photo. 38956. The significance of which dawned on me later.
Every serial killer has a subconscious urge to place his signature on the scene of
the crime. 38956, using a simple substitution code, where a=1, b=2 and so on,
actually stands for C-H-I-E-F
All: Chief?
Dr Robert: yes. A story in which a Maxwell doesn’t commit his share of murders
did not sit well with Chief. So, he hired Joan to do what she did to Max. But
this, instead of leading to the cascade of murders he planned, lead to max
going mad.
So, chief took the matter in his own hands. Good planning and planted
evidence meant that he was almost successful. Max’s bloodied silver hammer
would have made a fitting addition to chief’s collection.
So there you have it, chief is the murderer.
[blackout]

Scene 8:
[Walrus and the guys]
Chinar: Yes indeed, some questions are…
All: VERY STRANGE!
Shefali: Mr. Walrus, where is max now?
Walrus: Right in front of you…[Everyone looks at walrus]
No no, there… [Points to the audience…]
[blackout]

Credits and song:
Let’s all get up and dance to a song
That was a hit before your mother was born
Though she was born a long, long time ago
Your mother should know (Your mother should…)
Your mother should know (…know)
Though she was born a long, long time ago
Your mother should know (Your mother should…)
Your mother should know (…know)

0

Waiting

This is one the most boring and irritating things I have to do in life. Waiting. Usually waiting for someone to turn up. I have gotten into the habit of always carrying a book around, just in case. It happens quite often too…

Everything focuses on that one instant. Time slows down. Things around are moving so fast and you are stuck in this place at the mercy of someone or something else. It reflects in your fidgety posture, the downcast eyes. The arrhythmic glances towards the watch and your phone for messages almost seem like a nervous tic.

After a while of scanning the horizon for the person to arrive, you give up. Whichever square of space you are looking at suddenly becomes very interesting. You try to find meaning in the cracks of the pavement, some pattern. This punctuated by surreptitious glances upwards, when will the wait end.

Then they arrive. Life moves on, it is like nothing happened. No one else was in that moment with you, you lost that part of your life by yourself. All you gain from that moment was a temporary intimacy with the pavement.

IMG_20140522_191834

Aside
1

Accepting Genie’s limits on time travel and falling in love, what are my 3 wishes within the realm of reality?

Since I’m daydreaming anyway,let me ask for :

2 passes that will guarantee a seat in any people transport in the world.

2 passes that will guarantee food in any eating place the world

2 wallets/cards that generate 5 $ a day for ever

 

For solitude is well and good, but sometimes you just need the company of the fellow traveller…

0

Flight

The sun went down, long rivulets of shadow running along the tired, worn out cobbles foretelling the coming of the thing. The thing was amorphous, an inky nothingness, that roiling, stygian vapour which leaves an unpleasant metallic aftertaste of despair in the back of your throat. He could feel it behind him, the tendrils of the fetid mist reaching for his ankles. He had never run so fast, fear pumping through his veins, panic rushing through his ears. He had stopped thinking long ago, just legs working to push him away from it, trying to. Senses sharpened to a point he was looking for somewhere to make a stand, fight back. He dare not look behind again, into the vast empty blackness that was inexorably closing in on him. The cold void, he could still feel the icy chill that wrapped around his heart when he first saw it. In that one moment, forever frozen in his head, he knew there was no escape, only an uneasy delay, if he was lucky. Desperate, he scanned the featureless doors along the dimly lit alley for succor. Deep down he knew that anything he did now would only delay the impending. Was it even worth it? Something brushed his arms, something bleak, wet, . All thoughts of hopelessness fled from his mind as the fear took over, hijacking his mind. Somehow, somewhere he found some extra pace. That one door on his right looked ajar, maybe there is a weapon in there…

This was not the first time. It came often, breaking through his walls. He was a drifter, of sorts. He would run from it every time, find that one defensible location and fight back. Each time he would make more elaborate defenses in his new hiding place. Make it home. He tried to eliminate the unsavory by throwing it out beyond his fence. Out the window. Choosing to ignore the fact that these things have a way of accumulating made it easier to live in his new home. He would tune out the inexorable pounding on the door, focusing on smaller issues, decorating his house with things. Inevitable, it would break through and then he would run, again.

He tries to fight it with mixed success. Determinedly hacking away at the darkness. It falls away, slowed by the attack. Like always, it retreats a bit, to recuperate, just far enough that it disappears from view. This time he would build better defenses, a better home. Each time, he uses his masterful ability of self delusion to convince himself that it is never coming back again. Despite all the screaming evidence to the contrary. The stain on the rug only covered by the furniture, its presence denied, not wholly forgotten. Only in his darkest hours will he admit to its presence, his impotence in the face of that horrible incarnation. He knows it, but prefers to deny that his feeble attempts here would only delay it. The memories of that sick smell would fade, forgotten in some tiny box in the depths of his memories, among other bits of repressed detritus. It was however, just that, a delay. Nothing could ever stop it, it would come back, resurface with a vengeance. Stronger than ever feeding on the scraps he was throwing out over his fence.

Somehow, whenever he ran away from it, he would always come up to this one bridge. It was an ugly affair with no apparent purpose, no one used it. He always slowed down when he ran over this bridge, drawn by a mystical voice. It lured him in with a promise of an end to this. If he did what the Voice said, it could all be over, no more running. Sorely tempted, he could never really get the voice out of his head. Even in happier times, he could feel its presence, deep down. Whenever he woke up from a refreshing sleep, it would chime in: see how wonderful it was to sleep and forget everything? Just come to me and you could have that forever. Alluring!

It was always other memories that would pull him back over, onto the other side of the bridge. He resented that, he wanted it all to end. What life was this? To feed your worst fears, nurture it and then run from it? Better to sleep. Oh how sweet it would be to just sleep. Each time, it was harder for the memories of laughter to pull him back from the brink. Every night, after a few blissful hours of slumber, he would wake up and he would groan as reality would shatter his peace. He desired the embrace of this voice, this promise of no more running. The lust for the somnolent oblivion permeated his whole being, the pull of the bridge was just too much. too easy, too near. His resistance grew weaker each subsequent time. In all his new homes, he would stock-pile this laughter during the day. It came in handy every morning and on the bridge. This constant war raged deep down in his mind, in places he spoke of only flippantly, lest someone take him seriously.

He never gave in to the siren of the bridge. Striving to make a life out of the happier memories, he struggled on. In his weaker moments, though, he would always throw scraps out the window, and watch with a horrid fascination as the beast of the darkness fed on it, became bigger and stronger. He could not take his eyes off the thing, the dense billowing stench pulsating with a dark energy. It was beyond death, full of the wretched misery of unfinished business. Of failure and disappointment. One day, he would grow strong enough to fight it, dispel it forever. That day is always tomorrow, never today. Now, the weak moments have accumulated. His throat burns with a sharp aftertaste. Time to run again.

0

Word Power

I hit that sweet spot, just late enough, the soothing calm of late evening as I walked along campus today. The light was diffuse, ambient brightness just soothing enough. Harsh reds and yellows of the afternoon replaced by mellow oranges and magnolia. I could feel the the light wind ruffle through my beard, a gentle caress. It brushed against my skin slowly taking away all the tiredness of the entire day. The perfect combination of cool and warm, spring. Birds were returning home, I presume, all of them talking at once. Not a cacophony, a melody. The ambience did not let anything harsh intrude upon itself, everything was filtered through a peaceful calm. It altered my mood, I could feel the trees around me gently waving in the breeze, a days job done, time to sleep. The road was almost empty, the few people who were on their way home not making a sound, probably reveling in this paradise of a moment.

I went into a building, came out about fifteen minutes later. The drastic transformation outside immediately invoked that word. The word that has been coming up in my mind for a while now, exerting undue influence.

CREPUSCULAR

Twilight had fallen. Birds silent, breeze absent. A dark, heavy stillness hung in the very air, you could feel it in pressing down on you. The failing light showed everything unfavorable. Long shadows, menacing. The city lights started coming on, but looked really ugly without the utter darkness of the night that usually frames them to make them look pretty. The other people walking around looked like pale ghosts, motives unknown, faces unseen. A moment ago, DAY had let out one final beautiful breath, and NIGHT hadn’t arrived yet, and we hung in this putrid purgatory, an uneasy state of transition. I quickened my pace, to escape this brooding, heavy miasma into the relatively safe confines of my office. Once inside the building, I deliberately slowed down, taking the longer route to go up, hoping that the spectre of this unseemly twilight had passed. It had. Night has fallen as I think about the events of the last few minutes and look out my window at the pinpricks of light that sit tight within the surround blackness, the interplay of white and black and neon painting minimalist painting of a city gearing up for some night time jiving.

Just that one word, crepuscular, transformed the soothing balm of the evening into a festering mass of dark thoughts. If you have noticed, the word has wormed its way into all my recent writings, usually in inappropriate places. It crops up in my head, exerting its power at unexpected times. It is not alone and the other words are not so dark either. There are many such words that become fixed in your imagination, due to some incident or other. Such is the effect of this evening on me today, the other words elude me at this moment. Sometimes, like in this case, there is no story, the word crepuscular just fascinates me. It invokes so many things within the confines of about four syllables transforming everything, from a gentle breeze to a vile miasma just like that. Creepy, pustular, are the other subliminal words that are whispered in the background. The word invokes a sudden darkness, not complete, but just enough to invoke the despair of the description above. Such power. I wont even venture to dissect the profound effect of this word, or others on the mind in the right context because it is so self evident. It is a matter of experiencing it, feeling it. The word is not beyond words, but all its influence is explained away by eleven letters in sequence: Crepuscular.

Do we give power to the words we use, or do they come equipped with their own force?