Imagined long, at length and slow, made it rain, made it snow you know those bandaged locks and pierced punk souls that hurts you like wisdom tooth, innocence lost in between the lines in the flick of a switch gone yesterday in retrospect was transparent grey
3 square foot in fashion steel and on either side in between concealed by the doors on brute magnetic force as well the reflection running its course which to the passenger multitude was much comforting in its delude
for the mirror image and the retinue this journey continued while from above and through the walls a silent zephyr of might too small for no human sense could it touch yet the nascent wind aphostrophized as such
that only a petal on some cascade fall was the solitary listener to the breeze’s call for every vein on that surface red chirped in joyance in good stead and contained the joy in an anxious hurray lest this moment quick fade away.
of estimates, ambitions, assessments, foregone identities,
All that was about to be yet materialised otherwise, everything that could have been, but rather was not.
You are a vision realized in its unfulfillment
You are abundant in your incompleteness, convinced in your quandaries, absolute in your relativisim.
You are a vision nurtured by a longing that in its own humble self is a stable quantum of possibilities, made relevant by their ability to remain a possibility, an isolated continuum of potential in preservation.
You are a vision conceived in the abyss of your latent intellect, spiralled into the realms of existence, like whispers of sweet promises whilst you are tickled by the routine passage of chance, or perhaps you are leaden with delirium. (for that is what possibility feeds on, your indifference or your preoccupation and everything in between)
We going way back to 2009, Febuary when this track hits the box office. Composed of Regular resounding chords, more overlapping, like the ringing of echoes, crosfeeding the silence, which otherwise would have all been the verses, an honest bargain, verses resplendent as the spring itself. Warm sun and beer, somehow managed to avoid the grease stains, camouflaged under self assumed glamour, like life is a monkey chasing business, for the ace at shooting the sling.
There is perhaps even an uptempo, bass heavy version to the song, gratefully justifying the depth that is contained in the lyrics, which by all means, in no small measure manifest the title. False flags. The way perhaps even nature demonstrates itself. The calm before the storm. The harvest after the drought, like an enduring autumn, like the grease stains in spring. The way it was always, strike, spark and you know when a wish comes true. The way how mankind adapts and evolves,contradicting and misinforming itself.
The complete piece perhaps better understood whilst given a quick glance over, rather than listened to as a piece of audio with musical accompaniments. Yet there is no harm that a bit of looping could do to the song, or the listener.
The video to the original, slower version to the song, with great elaborations demonstrates from the lighting of a flame with an aristocratic cigarette lighter, to the passing of the flame onto the wick of a molotov cocktail. A good part of the entire composition constitutes of the conclusion where the chords and the notes play out their predestined, fading, simmering symphony. While the video plays out the hurling motion of that piece of creation of chemistry and patience. Botteled fuel,soaked, lit, momentary motives fulfilled. An emblematic vision the whole arrangements A sight of the human expression of violent rage, plated with soothing ambient sounds. The video to the uptempo version to the song at its best artfully depicts the exploits of the band through the ages.Of which it dates back to the year 1988. Hailing from Bristol, England is Massive Attack and what they got for you is trip hop.
It has been long I know. Ever since I boarded that fateful flight on July 6, I haven’t had a second to reminisce. The earlier plan was to stop, see, go but Delhi enamoured me, most unexpectedly. As soon as I landed in all my hippiedom, the leviathan on my back, the daunting red stroller at my heel, I was gathered and buried deep in the arms of lush green & earthy brown.
The city after seven years looked like it had been manicured into a model for lavish living. Each red brick and cream coloured dome was breathing new history, writing a new future. If kindness could be measured, I’d be drowning. From renewing old sinews to weaving new wreaths, from the newly renovated “non-smoking” India Coffee House in Connaught Place to the mushrooming liberal East side.
I witnessed the urban underbelly in the graffiti adorned subway selling Tribal handicraft, I tasted Korea in their cuisine, soju (Korean vodka) & graphic novels in the seedy by lanes of garish “Punjabi” Pahadganj. I found an isolated English cabin called Sakleys in the midst of concrete buildings. As my friends kindly awarded me with the title of “cloud carrier”, we revelled on roads mirroring generous dark clouds.
There were pleasant incidents & experiences, then there were events that wringed my heart with regret for ever doubting the Dil (heart) in Dilli (Delhi).
My friend and I fixed an appointed hour to meet at The Monkey Bar in South Delhi. With my obsession for arriving on time, I was there early waiting for her.
A pleasantly smiling young man in the restaurant uniform walked up to me,”Do you play the guitar?”
I glanced at the tall black cover standing erect behind my chair, “I’m still training on my own”.
“I used to perform in a band in Manipur. I had to migrate to Delhi for money,” wistful glint of a smile.
“Would you like to play?” I offered. He jumped at the opportunity and played a local love song. His colleagues thronged to our table, lavishing attention & conversation as I waited for my friend to arrive. Next thing I know, word had spread far & wide till it reached the owner, coincidentally a friend’s acquaintance and I was on my way to getting pampered fancifully at their premium eatery!
After a brief stay with this friend in Gurgaon, I set out to brave the potholed, monsoon frothing streets. An eager cab driver pulled close, it was an Easy Cab with an aged, smiling face behind the wheel. I propped in with no knowledge of a cheaper means of commute.
“How much would it cost me from here to East Delhi?”
“Roughly Rs.1100”, he said calculating quickly.
Sensing my disappointment, he offered, “I could drop you till the next metro station, it would be cheaper & quicker.”
He looked genuinely willing, but the skeptic in me wanted to smell a motive.
I smiled instead, “thank you”, the wheels set in motion.
“Are you not from Delhi?”
I decided to be honest, pushing my boundaries, “No I’m from Bombay.”
As though a switch flicked, “You’re from outside? Let me show you around Gurgaon”. Before I could protest he’d wheeled us into a less crowded lane which looked safe but desolate. There he began waxing eloquent of the skeletal structures which would soon turn into architectural marvels. He insisted I stop at a popular eatery for their unmatched Biryani. Had I not been attending to anxious friends I would’ve indulged.
“I’ll drop you to the nearest Delhi metro station. The station in Gurgaon is always crowded.”
I mutely agreed mentally calculating the money in my wallet.
After myriad stories of Assamese tradition (Did you know Assamese people add Tsri before their name to signify that the person is alive and Tsargiya for the dead?), his hometown in Assam & his 25 years of driving on Delhi streets, we finally arrived at Chhatarpur station.
“How much is it?” I enquired, partly pleading in my head to not exceed the currency in my wallet.
He chuckled, “I turned the meter off long back madamji. You are a guest here, you need not pay.”
How would you react if you were in my shoes? I was simply dumbfounded, even partly relieved. I still insisted to pay something for I had run out of words to acknowledge the goodness of his heart. He accepted a hundred rupee note and began to hand me back lose change.
I guiltily resisted but he politely insisted,”Keep it. You’ll need it at the metro counter.”
I thanked him profusely and walked up to the counter. He was right! The change was more than sufficient, he had returned a lot more than the metro fare.
Over that one hour metro ride, I couldn’t stop smiling. Each time I felt there was a hint of a wayward glance or a wanton comment, I battled it inwardly with the strength of his kindness. It was like my Petronus charm.
I fall back upon your wisdom Qi. The world is a mirror, a reflection of your fiercest fears and brightest beliefs. I hadn’t just survived the city, I had conquered it. I allowed Delhi to cradle me to its bosom and in return, I’d found a new home.
My friend says kindness is like a boomerang, you put it out in the world and it finds you, no matter where you are. I promise to put it out without inhibition, I promise to harness the wisdom of affection, silently, unendingly. I promise to spread your legacy.
Amidst shrieks and wailings, Raghav opened his eyes to look up at weird plasticky tentacles.
He could not understand what it was because he was all of 4 months old again. This intervention was supposedly a device by his worried mother to pacify him.
It was a dingy room with orange walls which peeled at multiple places. Accentuated by the bleak bulb, was the orange jarred young Anita’s head.
Odds and ends lined open shelves engraved in the walls like morse code. “Why doesn’t he stop crying!” she spat.
It really was a mistake.
Tut-tut-tut. Raghav knocked at his son’s door.
A dull yet sturdy thud had interrupted the early morning musings. There was no answer. The blue walls of the swanky drawing room somewhat resonated with his mood.
It had been a while since his son had spoken to him in more than two syllables. While he had given up on any reprieve, he knew he was failing in his responsibilities as a father. He knew nothing about his 25 year old son’s friends, work or habits. When had they steered so apart? The mad rush to earn money had managed to do what he had feared all along.
Raghav hadn’t yet opened the door.
Shades of Grey
Anny held Raghav tightly while their bodies throbbed in embrace. She hadn’t been touched so, ever in her life before. The pain was blinding but blissful — the euphoria only punctuated by the greyness of the ceiling she saw above her. They trailed to the edge of climax; almost animalistic in the throes of passion. “We should have used protection,” said she panting between heavy breaths. Raghav wasn’t worried. She was not his first in this bed.
He detested condoms.
Loud music filled the boneyard. Dirt on the floor reverberated in rhythm. Tiny
specks of cocaine, as white as the walls around, slid from a packet on to the table.
It had been a few years since his last time during college. According to his friend, this lot was the most face numbing, he had ever tried.
Raghav was eager and jittery more from the lack of layers in the cold room, than apprehensions. He made 4 lines with a practiced hand and cleaned off every last grain on the glass top.
It hit his head like electricity. It felt different. Numbness overpowered him and he fell to his death unceremoniously.