You

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You. The most abstract of all senses in my solipsistic existence. The entire English vocabulary will fall short to describe just your face, let alone the rest of you. Perhaps I have to invent new words. Or borrow heavily from French and other romantic languages for words like “sillage” and “soigné”. But humans are unreasonable, irrational creatures. So, just like the physicist who aims to detangle the “antimatter retrocausality phenomenon” or the meta-physicist who attempts to raise the “immaterial souls of vegetables from the obsolescence”, I will rummage through my paltry intelligence to try and elucidate the magical illusion of your face as I know it.

Your face. Framed in the lush locks of tsunami waves of glitter. Radiant, vivacious. Your face is like a thousand years in waiting. Like the dance of rain on the parched sands of Atacama desert. The persistence of memory. The utterance of sleep. The silence of pebbles. The triumph of the wind. You face is the carnival of all my senses.

It can be costly to look at your face. I have learned this lately. Do you know that famous painting called “Dutch Proverbs” by Bruegel? It seems simple, peasant-worthy. But it slowly drags you in. And it starts to reveal its secrets, layer by layer. Soon enough it begins to whisper in your ears. You never know when it hits you. But when it does it hits you like a sledgehammer. And you are trapped forever in the painting. Or the painting is trapped forever in you. That, in simple words, is your face. Forgive me for being cheesy but darling your face is the ‘Hotel California’ that one can never leave.

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It’s been a while since I have been trying to analyse your beauty. Why are you so irresistible? Well, it seems I am losing the plot. The subject of my analysis is so overwhelmingly, breathtakingly beautiful that sanity had to be sacrificed to accommodate expression and any semblance of reasoning must be abandoned. When it comes to you, I’m in the twilight zone.

The universe is expanding since the Big Bang. It’s been expanding like a giant balloon. The wise men of Physics say that the universe may stop expanding at some point before it collapse back into the Singularity where it all started. What they do not know is, why?

Well, I have that answer. It is YOU!

That’s right. The entire universe, the 91 billion light-years of diameter full of constellations and intergalactic space and beyond exists just because of YOU! Can you imagine that? Since 14 billion years the universe is constantly changing, evolving, creating and destroying supernovas, black holes, planetary systems and more importantly the Earth and its Earthlings, only so that you could be born one day. The journey of life from the first primordial prokaryotic cell in a pre-historical abysmal ocean through the amphibians, the dinosaurs and the mammals to the final chapter of humankind was to percolate this perfection. A seemingly never-ending filtration process to yield the essence of universe that is you. And the universe will seize to be the way we know it when you seize to exist. It will start to collapse back in time creating antimatter and reverse time till it implodes into the singularity, only to start all over again through another Big Bang to recreate you. You are the equilibrium point of this eternal pendulum called time and space. You are the climax of our universe!

Dostoyevsky wrote that beauty is mysterious and terrible. Because God and Devil are fighting in the realm of beauty, and the battlefield is the heart of a man. How did he know this? He never met you. Maybe he was prophesying my state of being! Yes, I know how it feels to look at the beauty of your face. It is at once calming as a soft rain and unbearable as a shot of toothache; a feeling that leaves me no choice but to howl through the hollows of heartache. It leaves me in bloody ruins, then scoops up my tattered remains in tenderness. It’s impossible to resist a glance at your face even though I know I’ll die a little, every time I do so. Even at my most sleep deprived state, a glimpse of you makes my mind run faster than light. You are the melodrama in Othello, the minimalism in Godot, the pain of Neruda, the joy of Jane Austen. You are the prelude in a Baroque opera, the ‘Ever-after’ in a Bavarian fairy tale.

But amidst all this effervescence do I sense a colossal sadness? Behind those blue-grey doe eyes do I see a palace of pain? The flower-bud lips, do they hold back tales of tragedies? The carefree smile, does it hide an army of shadows?

We are ruins within ruins, like fractured reflections on a shattered mirror. You are the stardust in the afterglow of heaven’s destruction and I am the last gladiator in the middle of a crumbling Colosseum risking another century. Do you often wonder if anybody would notice the wailing of your Mandrake flowers before they die out in the abyss of the moon? Well I lock myself down in the cellar, shut my eyes and ears and scream. And yet your echoes still shadow my trail like a ghost in a barren island.

I don’t know where we are heading or what we are destined to. Life is a gamble and all we got is a roll of the dice. But of all the possibilities that lie ahead in the life hereafter, escaping you isn’t one.

NOTE: The scientific inaccuracies of Physics in this piece (especially about the fate of the universe) is employed for the sake of an artistic expression.

Featured Art: 1. Lady With A Rose, 1901 by Franz Dvorak
2. Netherlandish Proverbs, 1559 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Happy Solidarity

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“20 years? Maybe more. I cant recall…its been so many years”, mom said. That’s how long ‘Mashi’ (aunt, in Bengali) has cooked for us. Akima, that’s her name. But me and my sister never knew any other name to call her, it was always Mashi. My mom (a practising Hindu) would introduce her (a practising Muslim) to everyone as ‘my sister’. One of my fondest memories was to open the lunchbox that Mashi used to send on Eid. It would always be full of finger-licking chicken and home made sweets. I still remember how Aamir, Mashi’s little son would deck up in new clothes and bring that can of food in his little hands and say ‘Namaskar’ (a Hindu greeting). So much dignity in such a young boy, we would crack up in admiring smiles. When Ghoton, my dog joined our family as a puppy, Aamir had a new best friend. Me and my sister would boast around saying we didn’t buy Biriyani (an Indian delicacy made of long grain rice, meat and saffron) from restaurants, because Mashi cooked the best one at home.

Years have passed by. I left Kolkata and moved through different cities and countries. Mashi had stopped working for bad health. Eid fun is a distant memory. This year I just happen to be in Kolkata after many years. Morning 11 am. The doorbell rings. Its a young man about to cross his adolescent years, decked up in fresh white Pathani suit. And then I saw the lunchbox! It took me a fraction of second to recognise Aamir. He smiled and said ‘Namaskar’. Nothing has changed. Even in her hardship Mashi hasn’t stopped sending her yearly love.

As mom was asking Aamir about Mashi my eyes welled up in tears; even as the world is trying to crack a religious divide between us, people on basic human level are still the same. We do not want to create distance. We do not want to see each other differently. We do not want to hate.

This is not a celebratory wish of Eid. I’m an atheist and I believe religion has only divided people. There are facebook posts showing how Muslims rescue a Hindu dead body and cremate him in Hindu rituals or how Hindus/Sikhs help Muslims break their fast. It was never their religion folks. It never is. It is always individuals who can look beyond religious differences. In spite of religion. It is always the people. The humanity of human being.

So no glorification of religion for me. No happy Eid. No happy Rathayatra. Happy humanity maybe. Happy common sense. Happy solidarity.

Despair

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It’s a beautiful morning. The sun is bright and the sky is blue. But all you could see are shades of grey. Your world is nothing but dark and gloomy. As if life has been sucked out of this experience called living. You feel helpless like an unhatched egg. You know there is life inside but there is no evidence of it.

It seems that the world has collapsed on you and the bed is your only shelter. There are days when you spend twenty hours on the bed, unable to tear yourself out of the cocoon of sleepless empty fatigue. On other days, you manage to drag yourself up into some semblance of normalcy. Brush. Bathe. Drink a cup of coffee. But there is a constant, inescapable, dull ache at the bottom of your throat.

You wanted to be somebody – a painter, a poet, a revolutionary. Today you are left with no desire of that sort. No motivation. No will. You just wish to cease to be. You feel grateful if tears roll down your cheeks. Those are the brief moments when you feel something…anything…at all. Most of the time you are just a vacuum, a dead space watching life pass-by in slow-motion.

Meeting people is the hardest part. You put up your social mask of plastic smile and fake interest. You speak in a low monotone devoid of any emotion. ‘Hello’, ‘I love you’ and ’Fuck off’ – all start to sound the same.

You see happiness all around you, but you can’t embrace it. Your loved ones –they suffer too. You can see the concern in their eyes. But when they tell you to snap out of it, you know they will never understand what you are going through. You wish it was that simple, but it’s not. You feel worthless. On worse days you feel like taking your life.

But deep inside, you wish you could feel happiness. You have felt it before. And you want to feel it again.

Featured Artwork: Jan Saudek

Al

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Adam looked out of the window. It’s a beautiful day. Sun was shining, birds were chirping. He knew he should feel upbeat and happy. And yet he felt totally depressed. He still could not digest the fact that Al had stolen Eva from him. He never believed in God, and now he knew he was always right.

Adam had not been lucky when it came to girls. For an absolute average Joe like him it had never been easy. He was considered a nerd in the school, and pretty girls avoided him like plague, even though he always excelled in school. Back then he thought he would be able to find someone really nice when he was older, as he would be successful and rich. However things didn’t go as Adam would have liked.

After graduating with a degree in Software Engineering Adam landed up with a lucrative job as a programmer. But six years in the company he knew he was stuck in this dead-end job with no joy at all. However something really nice happened. He met a girl at work. Her name was Eva.

No one would call Eva beautiful. She was this mousy, little, plain Jane. But she liked Adam. And that was enough for him. They used to have this little chats in their coffee breaks. Once in a while Adam would take Eva to a movie or a quiet dinner. Things were nice. Adam thought of settling down with Eva. But he could not pop the question in front of Eva. Every time he tried his legs would feel like jelly and he would start to stutter. For the first time in ages Adam prayed to God for help.

But nothing happened. Well, except this: Al appeared, out of nowhere.

It was a nice day like today, when Adam and Eva were called at the Vice President’s office. There was a fourth person in the room. He was a dashing, handsome, young man and a total stranger. The VP introduced him as ‘Al’, the new Project Manager who would oversee the project that Adam and Eva were assigned to. Adam wasn’t happy. He had a bad feeling about all this.

And he was right. Eva and Al grew closer and closer each day. She spent almost all her time with Al. Adam tried to speak to Eva about it but Eva had no time for him. So he started to ignore her. He could not believe how Eva had changed within a couple of weeks. Rage boiled in him. He wanted to confront God and ask for an explanation, but then he never believed in God in the first place. So he decided to confront Al.

That was last night before he went to bed. This morning, when he woke up Adam realised he will be late for office.

As Adam walked out of the elevator he came face to face with Al. Al was trying to get in the elevator. Adam blocked his way and asked Al why he stole Eva from him, when Al could have all the women in the world. Eva was the only one that Adam had. Why did he have to be such a dick? Al smiled, ‘My work is done here. I’m leaving. Go, speak to Eva. She is waiting. Good bye.’ Adam did not expect this. His mind was buzzing with questions but he didn’t show any of that. Instead he left Al and headed toward the office.

Eva was waiting for Adam in his cubicle. What Adam didn’t know was this: Al spent all his time with Eva to convince her about Adam – that Adam really loved her, and that he was a real nice guy and was perfect for Eva, but he was too shy to tell her all that.

Adam felt like a bundle of nerves right now. He didn’t know what to say or how to respond. Eva smiled at him with a certain knowing in her eyes. And then with a sudden dismissive nod she inched near Adam’s ears and whispered, ‘Silly, don’t you know I love you too.’

Time froze and things went floating in mid air, while a cannon ball of repressed emotions exploded inside Adam’s heart. Before he could digest all this, Adam found himself in the arms of Eva. His eyes welled up in tears of joy.

Through the haze of his tear-clouded vision, on the window pane, out of thin air, an image of a face appeared. To Adam’s surprise, it was Al with a halo around his head. Al spoke with a baritone voice, ‘I am the Almighty, Adam. I came here because you prayed for my help. You lost faith in me. But I still have faith in you.’

The Maze

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First meetings are always measured and defensive. They are like a silent game of chess, or treacherous fields of landmines, where a single wrong move can spell doom. So, forgive me if it comes out too blunt. Or too early. But I have to admit: you have an insanely beautiful pair of eyes. Some eyes are silent. Some speak volumes. Your eyes, they look like a promise of a mysterious tale: an adventure…the smells of marshland…a comfort of honey-breads…a sudden danger lurking out of the woods. Soft, mellow, dark, unknown. Your eyes are an interior monologue of a dying star, unheard and beyond hearing, nested inside an infinity of cosmic clouds and dark matter. Fortunate are those who had the chance to look inside that maze.

Consider The Blunt

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The negative space between hyperbolic redundancy and an inadequate understanding of a ubiquitous-mind-inside-a-moving-mass-of-molecules is an absurdity of a post-modern disquiet in the bass-drop of a Trap song. The arbitrary eclecticism smells like a concocted ideology made of freeze-dried greed, a slow-burn heartache and a momentary fluctuation in the quantum soup. This lexical projectile-vomit of a taciturn brain on sudden Dopamine surplus, bordering on temporary lunacy, is unleashed with a desperate hope to collect unearned dividends of vacuous pretence and banal psychobabble. Fuck it, light a blunt man!

Inspired by a Reggie Watts and a mean, fat blunt! 😀

The Fruits Of Agony

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An artist with a chronic unstable mind casts an unsettling shadow over all his creation. His body of work is shrouded in a nebulous haze which understandably unnerves the ‘stable-minded’ majority. Most will run away from this perplexing abstraction. But the handful that have the courage to look into that mess will become engulfed by it. So much so that they won’t be able to look away anymore! The symbiotic relationship between unstable mind and creativity is evident and undeniable. Isn’t it amazing that one of the most powerful tale of human triumph, ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ was written by a clinically depressed man who eventually shot a bullet through his own head?

Note: 7 of these 12 artists committed or believed to have committed suicide or died of complications from failed attempts.