"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

Ever since her husband had deserted her, right in the first few days of their marriage, probably for another woman, Vinodini had not trusted another man. She would roar in disgust anytime a man came anywhere in her vicinity. It was like she had an allergy for them - those hairy creatures that stank of lust.
She saw men as dragons breathing the fire of lust.
As a result of her hatred towards men, Vinodini ended up becoming a part apart. She could not venture out into the market where men would brush past her every moment, could not visit her relatives as there wasn't a house in her village without men, and could not even join those of the gossiping housewives - because they mostly talked about their men.
The village saw her hatred for men as overindulgence, dismissed her as a cantankerous outcast and banished her from their social circles. Thankfully they did not go so far as to brand her a witch.
Vinodini liked her peace and solitude. She lived, happily, in that shanty on the edge of town surviving on the berries she gathered in the forest and with a little income that she earned by selling handmade incense sticks to women in her area. She slept hungry most of the nights, but still did not complain as it was easier to tolerate the pangs of her own hunger than being forced to satisfy the hunger of  male flesh.
On some nights she would wake up with a scare when she heard swishing and rustling outside the door. "What if its one of those drunk men?" She knew that sane men avoided her vicinity due to fear of her loud temper and shame for her unkempt looks. But the drunks could never be trusted. There was a liquor shop on the hillock and drunk men hovered around in the evenings, ogling at the women of the village. They would ogle at Vinodini too. She always made it a point to get indoor by afternoon and locked herself up till midnight. And then an hour before dawn, she would venture out in the dark to relieve herself and wash up. That was the best she could do to stay out of the radar of male lust.
For the villagers, Vinodini never really existed. She was like a tree - or more appropriately some weed - that grew in the forest. She did not bother them, and they did not care about her.
Until one day, some villagers caught a strange smell emanating from a pit in the forest. When they investigated, they found Vinodini's body lying in a pool of blood. She had been killed, right in the spot where she daily went in the dark to relieve herself. The police came and asked if anybody wanted to investigate the cause of her death. None intervened. After a brief silence, they dumped some mud and leaves in the pit and left Vinodini to rot in her own shit...
Many centuries ago a great saint from India, called Shankara, had logically proved that human soul is in a cycle of birth and death. It is unjust, he had said, that humans are born unequal. So if there has to be justice, then all have to get the same birth at some point, thus there has to be rebirth. It had probably missed Shankara's eye that, just like in birth, there can be great injustice in death too.


In memory of Vinodini, who passed away few days back. They found her body nearly four days after she had been killed. The body was gagged, with its hands and legs tied, and had badly decomposed. In a society that gagged Vinodini's spirit and tied down its flight, it is possible that her soul had decomposed much earlier.

If you had chosen someone over me, I would never have come back to you for any help. Even if I was dying.
That is how much I respect myself.

If you had chosen someone over me, I would still be there to help you.
Even if I was dying.
That is how much my love respects itself...

They were all droplets, or so it seemed, that swam around in the primordial broth, the oceans of the netherworld, until, one day, the sun of knowledge shone upon them and evaporated their essences into thin air. It felt like liberation, as they emerged from their primitive milieu and rose, probably triumphantly, towards the heavens.
In the queer summers of the world, water drops rose from the firmament of the oceans to dance with the winds and silently whisper their way into the nimbus omnibus.
They rode the stratospheric highway until their flight hit turbulent mountainous terrain and the droplets crashed down to Earth. The drops descending into their earthly incarnations - the ponds, lakes and rivers of the world's society.
From then on, their life was guided by Natural forces. The rocks gave them direction, gravity gave them force, until they hit the dams. At the dams, they stopped and floated and waited in the womb of the dam's reservoir until their turn came to slip through the tubes into the world of men.
Once into the tube, they laboured towards a new life.
The drops flowed through various channels - big and small, straight and twisted - some warm and some cold, but always in pitch darkness. The darkness from a knowledge that had abandoned them. They could feel an invisible force pumping them as the pipes carried them far and wide into various corners of the world.
Drops that had emerged from meaninglessness, seeking meaning, and now flowing into dark endless conduits for having taken the leap of faith into the dark.
The leap of faith carried them, round and round, up and down, sometimes gushing sometimes placidly flowing. Yet they moved on, in the hope (not faith now) of light at the end of the tunnel.
Then, one day, after miles of journey in the darkness of ignorance, they saw light. The pipe opened into a tap, and Someone had left the tap open. They rushed through, giggling and gurgling, towards that light...
The droplets emerged into the open, falling gracefully and, each one of them, sparkling and gleaming as they tasted the free air. It was, though, only a momentary flash, like the call of death, as they careened into the open drain right below the tap of life. As they made their way into the drain, yet another arduous journey lay ahead, through bent pipes, twisted channels, all dark and dang.

Until they would merge back into the primordial ocean from where they had started with the faith that they were actually drops with individual identity. They merged back into that restless ignorance where if the faith could give them enough buoyancy, they would probably set out on the entire journey all over again...
.. But Guruji, I can't get my head around this live-in-the-present-moment thing.

What is so tough about it son?

I mean, can we just relinquish the anxieties of the future and focus on the present? Then what use is all those sustainability discussions happening all over the world?

You are mixing up the concepts son. Sustainability is the preoccupation of the material people focused on economic stability, while living in the moment is for the spiritual people who seek everlasting bliss.

But Guruji, aren't the two... ?

Calm down son. Look! you get one chance to live. Do you want to make it worthwhile or just waste it away running around anxieties?

Are you sure, Guruji, that we get just one chance at life?

Why the doubt son?

Because I feel like I have lived so many lives already. For example, I cannot identify with my stupid childhood or that useless phase of youth I had been through. And I cannot imagine getting old some day. I feel like those are different lives I lead, not connected with how I am living now.

Son, that is exactly why I say leave the past and the future, and live the present.

But, Guruji, even in the present I feel I am living two lives.

What two lives son?

One material life which focuses on economic stability, and one spiritual life that longs for everlasting bliss.

The Hide and Seek of Life

They showed the visuals on every news channel of the nation. Throes of her supporters wailing and lining up to pay their last respects, as their beloved leader's body lay in the casket. Some had even fainted on the streets, while some just squatted with blank faces. One of the women... <Switch>
The kid had walked into the room, silently picked up the remote and, as was his habit, switched on the cartoon channel. He did not care what others were watching. When he walked in, the TV belonged to him and everyone had to watch whatever he liked.
So Oggy and the cockroaches filled the TV screen. Oggy ran, and the cockroaches chased him all over. They never seem to get enough of Oggy or get bored of him. It was like they did not know a life outside of him.
I managed to grab the remote from the kid and... <Switch>
They were now showing visuals of the leader's past - her hey days. How she climbed the ladder of power in a male-dominated society and swayed the masses. How the people ran after her, prostrated in her presence. She was larger than life for them. And they just never seemed to get enough of her.
Kid grabbed the remote back from me and.. <Switch>
Oggy and his brother Jack were holed up in the room, discussing intensely, while the cockroaches huddled outside the door making their own devious plans.
The remote war continued.. <Switch>
They showed videos of the leader and her trusted confidante together on stage. The two kept whispering to each other while the masses huddled below the pedestal eager to hear her words...
Oggy was laying out a dinner table full of delicacies and sweetmeats intended to lure the cockroaches into a trap he had set for them
They were playing a soulful music while showing pictures of the leader's magnanimity where she was seen donating several items free to the grateful public that came in droves and queued up to receive her grace
Cockroaches were chasing Oggy all over the house, teasing him and beckoning him to face them.
Masses ran behind their leader, cheering for her as she embarked the helicopter after a public rally
The remote war intensified and the kid began to throw a fit. I could not fight anymore, so gave up the remote and let the kid enjoy his show. Anyway, there did not appear too much of a difference between what was playing on the two channels...

How do you not see it man? God is an inevitable factor and cause in the creation of this world...

Sorry! Science does not accept any of your baseless theories. Can you prove the existence of God? The world was created through Big Bang. Not by some God that you are trying to force on me.

God was that big bang, my man.

Can you prove it?

How can I go back into the past to show it to you? You have never met Gandhi and Tagore, but don't you still believe they existed?

That's different my friend. History books are replete with their stories. Everyone around believes Gandhi and Tagore existed.

Everyone believes God too, my friend. And there are more books on God than on Gandhi and Tagore, isn't it?

But Gandhi and Tagore's stories are fact. God's stories are fiction.. or rather, faith, at best.

Is there any fact without faith? Geocentric theory was a fact as long as people had faith in it.

Don't you confuse me buddy. You show me the proof and I will believe in God. I can probably find some museum which will hold some part of Gandhi's body and I can get its DNA fingerprint to prove that Gandhi existed. Can you get the DNA of God?

How does DNA prove anything at all?

Don't question the established methods of science now. I am fed up of this discussion already. I guess we should stop now. I am getting a bad headache.

You have a headache, is it?


Prove it!