Imperpetuity

You gave me life, you did not ask me if I wanted to live.
Having indoctrinated me with propaganda about
Why we exist, what we are supposed to accomplish,
How we are supposed to go about it, and a few other
Vague and half-baked theories, you set me loose into
The open world, far too unprepared, far too naïve.

You don’t send a child (for that is what I was, no matter
My age) you don’t send a child into the arms of a world
Chock full of predators, just lying in wait to exploit any
Sign of weakness, any form of ignorance. Moreover,
You certainly don’t do it by telling him wondrous and
Misguided lies, aimed at protecting his feeble mind,
But doing nothing whatsoever to prepare him for what
Awaits everyone unfortunate enough to live to adulthood.

What you did, is entrap my mind for 17 years, leave it weak,
Under-exposed, unaware. Is it any wonder, then, that having
Experienced reality and come to terms with it, the mind
Then turns back upon your teachings and gazes upon it
With the wrath of one betrayed? Does it shock you to know
That a child does not enjoy being lied to? You, who are to be
My moral center, my core structure around which I must base
My entire infrastructure of values, if I were to find YOU corrupt,
Do you really have the right to marvel at my immorality?

I did not yield, that is an argument that could be made for you.
Whatever you did wrong, you at least instilled in me an ego,
A pride, a self-assurance. Something that allowed me,
In the face of a mob, in the face of the entire world, even
In the face of truth itself, to stick out my chest and say,
“It is me that is right. If you disagree, you deserve contempt.”
That ego sustained me through the years of my real education,
The years I was bludgeoned by realities, striking down every
Belief and world-view that I held with the smugness of a half-wit.
That education still continues. But the ego allowed me to put forth
An un-cracked exterior, showing no signs of distress or incohesion,
Whilst inwardly, under the hood, I rectified what I could,
And justified the rest.

And so, despite being given no inkling of the battlefield, the war zone
That awaited me, despite being shown a picture of Eden, without
Ever being told that I was never to live in that Eden, that mythical Eden,
That minds as wondrously impious as yours must have thought up,
(Heaven and hell, I am sure, were dreamt up by a parent) I survived.
I found my own weapons, I saw others find theirs, and I realized
That everyone had their own war to fight, and no two weapons need be
The same. That taught me diversity, the fact that no person is good or bad,
No people are evil or benevolent, no government is competent
Or even trying to put up an appearance of being so.

Lie after lie was reduced to dust by my ongoing quest for knowledge.
If you must know what was the harbinger of the death knoll, let it be known,
It was books. The cream of 4 millennia of the best minds our species ever
Possessed combined to leave us what can only be described as manna,
A survival kit, an actual lens through which our view is not distorted,
But enhanced. That lens gave me perspective, it gave me knowledge,
It gave me power. Ego now had some real ground to stand upon,
And stand it did. It has never been as secure within me as it is now,
With years of reading behind it, allowing me to throw in the face
Of challengers impressive quotes and plagiarized weltanschauungs.

And so, I find myself surrounded by an arsenal of weapons, ones that
I may now consider myself highly proficient in handling, that allow
Me the comfort of instilling fear in people around me, a quality which,
No matter what anyone tells you, is something invaluable and to be coveted.
And so, looking back, I could bring myself to forgive you, perhaps, for the lies,
Seeing as they were what propelled me to become what I have become.
I could, and perhaps I already have. But the war had not yet been won.
Like the archers at Uhud, I celebrated too early, and I paid the price.

There was my fortress, impenetrable, unassailable, a perfect defense.
And then there was her. She came bearing no arms, no tactics,
No subterfuge. She came to me with a language that I did not understand.
She came with pure, unapologetic honesty. Like a breeze, or more so a gale,
Blowing in through the cracks, flailing about me, all grace and glory,
A storm of delight, and I reacted in the only way I could, in the only way
I had learnt, been forced to learn. I fought with my weapons and my Ego.

Have you ever taken a sword to the breeze? Have you ever experienced
That moment, that zenith of futility? Does it not make you feel a right fool?
What distinction can you make between Quixote and me? His enemy, if not
Animate, was at least corporeal. Mine was a wraith, a shade, a ghost.
I tried to injure it, I thought I had won, too. But it did not leave me.
It dared yet to cool my skin, to force me to feel the pleasure of contentment
That was not self-procured, that came from without, not within.

Do you see what I am getting at? Do you see why, having set out to write
An ode to a loved one, I nevertheless end up with a tirade against you?
It is because I am now faced with a choice, a choice so terrible, I would
Wish it upon no one. I am faced with a choice between that breeze
And my weapons. My arsenal, so dear to me, my sustenance, my pride,
Everything I have accomplished on my own for 25 years, I am to set
It aflame by my own hand. I cannot entrap the breeze within my walls,
No, even I am not that cruel. I must destroy the walls themselves.

And so, this is what I accuse you of. This failure to warn me, to prepare me.
This hesitancy or inability that led you to point me in the wrong direction.
That did not teach me that love and Ego cannot coexist, that did not tell me
That all the knowledge in the world would not help me understand how to
Make her smile, to stop her from crying. To tell me that my modus operandi,
Dominance through fear, which was my weapon of choice, would be the very
First weapon I had to surrender. You once made me raise a goat, befriend it,
And then forced me to take a knife to it. It would have been a better lesson
If you had told me what that goat signified. It would have prepared me
For today. It would have hardened me. Today, I am exposed, and oh, so weak.

But, weapon or no weapon, I will not yield. And I will not perpetuate the lies.
When it is my turn, I will try it the hard way, the way of truth. Let us see
If the minds of kids are as feeble as we make them out to be, and if they
Warrant the level of protection that you seem to think they do. I will test
Mine, I will not cushion them with lies, but slice into them with the scythe
Of reality. I do not know if mine is the right way. Somehow, my Ego does
Not reassure me here. But I know, as I watch the charred remains
Of my fortress, that my childrens’ fortresses will look very different from mine.

Displacement

There exists within my wretched soul
An absence, an emptiness, a hole,
A void, a lapse of existence, a blot,
Where Space exists, but Time does not;
Whence came this vacuum, what does it do?
It reminds me forevermore of you.

In the foreground, a blinding, searing pain,
The background, less vivid, but the same refrain;
The body, soon numbed, begins to cope,
The mind, unlearning, rears a new hope;
Hope withers, and with it, the soul does too,
And withering, thinks still only of you.

On the horizon I spot a flower in bloom,
No hope now, it is an omen of my doom;
I set off, head aloft, chest out, arms akimbo,
Despair in my heart, soul trapped in limbo;
No symbol of love ever holds true,
Unless, my love, it signifies you.

The flower sighs, bows to greet the breeze,
With characteristic, lilting ease;
Its fragrance intoxicates the air,
Its grace, like yours, beyond compare;
On its petal, a teasing droplet of dew,
And in that droplet, a glimpse of you.

Hope, long lost, now breathes again,
The stalk rejuvenated by the rain;
A bud peeks out, quivering, afraid
Of Fate’s willingness to use its spade
To kill any bud that dares to peek through
The soil, that it may live its life with you.

Refuge

With nary a warning signalling what you have in store
A sprinkled caress of a kiss, and then down you pour
I am with you now, and shall be forevermore
To laugh and cry amidst your storms, fair Bangalore!

Guide me to my strengths and hide my fatal flaws,
Be my perpetual shelter, deliver me from Misery’s claws,
Be my Muse eternal, Mother, humbly, this I implore,
Grief is a stranger to me when I am in Bangalore.

Chaos reigns around us, madness has seized mankind,
Amassed in a mighty mob to render the wisest of us blind,
Let me find my solace, Mother, turn me not from your door,
I will not find sanity elsewhere, let me live in Bangalore.

Fate lies a-waiting, Destiny has laid down her traps,
One mis-step and all I have built for myself will collapse,
Let me dock my weather-worn ship at your heavenly shore,
My thirst for life is sated, let me die in Bangalore.

Two Hearts

Silence is the soil that germinates your seeds
Solitude provides nutrition, Reading kills the weeds
Imagination sets the climate, Contemplation the mood
Nature provides the environment, Conversation the food

All put together, these things should suffice
To create a poem, simple and nice
A rhythmic, melodic strain
And also
A release from pain

Next comes form, eternally maligned
By those incompetent, ignorant or unrefined
But bow not to vain diktats, wallow not in complicity
Caress your words into art and see the wonder of poesy

And lo! From that initial, insignificant seed
You now have everything you need
To create a work of art
And
Two hearts