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Once upon a nowhere...

A man lived alone beneath a mountain on a little island. All around him was a sea. The man didn’t know there was anywhere beyond the ocean. For him, the world was a little island with a mountain, ringed by the sea. Perhaps the seas ended somewhere and fell into the sky. That was his world, and he was happy. Although at times he felt a strange unwillingness to move, or hunt or do any of things that made his daily routine. At night, he would watch the stars for hours, making up stories about them. But they were the same stories and on some nights he would get tired of them. On those nights, he would pick up rocks and smash them against trees till his muscles ached and fingers blistered. He got quite good at throwing rocks. But on the whole, perhaps he was happy in his little world. Then one day a boat came to his island. The man had never seen a boat before, or another man, so he was astonished. “Do you live in the lands under the sea or did you come from the sky?” he asked the stran…

A Sky Full of Sun and Stars

Before the beginning was the night. And the night was without boundaries and the night was without end. In the beginning was time. The relentless beat in which things could happen, in which everything could become, dust could coalesce, matter could exist. In that coming together, the universe was possible, all versions of it. In it, people could dream and die. In it, stars burned and flared and went out. -      Neil Gaiman, Overture-04, A Madness of Stars
Where did we come from? I remember once watching a documentary about circles. It began somewhere in Venice, with children skipping with circles they use in the circus. Taking that circle as a starting point, film proceeded to increase the diameter of the circle tenfolds. And so with each increase, the circle held Venice, and Europe, and Earth. Within a few leaps, it had reached the boundaries of the known universe. Then there was a reverse trip as the circles got smaller and smaller till we went inside molescules and atoms and encountered…

A Walk Till the End

Imagine endless night, and a sleeping world, in which you are the only one awake. You decide to take a walk. It is an imaginary situation, so there are no killers or rapists or drunken drivers waiting out there for you, no kangaroo court to make an example thoroguh you of their twisted, perverted ideologies. Everyone is asleep, save you. you walk past quiet shadowy houses and tall, silent  trees that line the path like sentires. Each house is a microcosm of illusions, a multitude of stories we tell each other in order to breathe. Each tree is a whisper from the Yggdrasil.
Slumbering dogs raise their heads as you pass, sniff the air with eyes unseeing, and then return to their canine dreams. And then you note the slippery edges of the strange light of night that settles like a blanket upon the soul of the world and the only things that matter are you and the contours of the road that stretches endlessly, emptily before you. And so you keep walking through the years and eons of night, …

Words and Silences

“LET ME PUT FORWARD ANOTHER SUGGESTION: THAT YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A LUCKY SPECIES OF APE THAT IS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF CREATION VIA A LANGUAGE THAT EVOLVED IN ORDER TO TELL ONE ANOTHER WHERE THE RIPE FRUIT WAS?” -Terry PratchettDeath and What Comes NextSometimes I walk on edges, weighing my words, considering, rethinking, then not using them at all. There are rules we follow inside our heads- what to say, what not to say, who to speak to, what not to hear. When to smile and bury the anger. When to go off-stage so no one hears you. Relationships are built on silences, on things unsaid- for words are like that wisp of wind that tangles the curtain and breaks the glass menagerie into a billion thousand shards that you can no longer piece together, so sharp that they will cut you. Language is beauty. Language is art. Language is a lie, a tool that sometimes works by not working at all. So many words that we speak inside our heads that never meet the air waves! Th…

Anniversaries

16th July. Feast Day. Within thy hallowed portals Carmel dear…Colour dress, food, music and dancing. My first year, when I was still new, I turned up wearing my best frock, and found the fashion sense of the rest of the school far evolved than me. Honestly though, I liked frocks- still do. You pick one thing, and you’re done. No need to find the right blouse or where in the name of Narnian cupboards did the dupatta or salwar disappear to? Anyway, I think I wore salwar suits for the next two feast days. As absurd as it now sounds, not every girl wore jeans those days, and I didn’t have any till I got to Class 10. I owe my fellow Carmelites for my first exposure to fashion, and for being able to conceive the thought that I could wear jeans too. And so on Feast Day in Class 10, I wore my first pair of bare denims with a pale pink tee. One of my friends kept trying to get me to dance but I couldn’t dance back then and I can’t dance now. Sorry, Mr. Darcy, you’ll always be my first love, bu…

Fragments of Delirium

* Dedicated to the youngest of the Endless, who was once called Delight
A city is never one city but a haphazard collection of many cities, each with their own  This part, for instance- red brick buildings, imposing architecture, a page from a different decade. And a road full of yellow taxis- bulky and bright and defiantly old-fashioned. And for the tiniest slice of time, the city is a stranger. The clouds gather. ~ Say thank you. Be polite. Smile. Or type a colon and close a bracket on the secret. Make cheerful plans. It is easy to hide if you know the words, or the signs, to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet[i]… The windows are shut. What of the weather? ~ And cold iron chains my dreaming soul and bars the door to faerie… ~ Sometimes reading is like an inevitable goodbye, for you know the story must end somewhere. Or stop, at any rate. And you want to cling on to it, knowing that your life have changed irrevocably forever by these hosts of imaginary people and that you can ne…

To Stories that touch the heart, and Monsoon, My Old Love

Some stories are clever. They strike with their ingenuity and execution and they hold your attention. Some stories are well-plotted- all the pieces fitting together neatly in the end like a jigsaw puzzle. Some stories however hold your heart with their authenticity and the ones in Julie Orringer’s collection titled How To Breathe Under Water belong to this category. Orringer's writing is beautiful- raw, lyrical and honest. They break your heart and choke you and you, immersed in these other lives, don't even notice you're holding your breath. And you realize why it is so- it's because Orringer draws you out from your own time and space and immerses you in with her characters who are all submerged, in the process of drowning, and you drown with them. Perhaps if we reach the end of the book, we shall become adept by then to breathe underwater. I sincerely hope that the people in the books did- the pilgrim children, the sixth-grader dancer, the drug-addict aunt... I hope …

Of Winged Creatures and Exit Paths

Where do lost flies go? I mean, they obviously go somewhere, which is how they get lost in the first place, but how do they get back to starting point? On an average, the male Musca domestica has an average lifespan of 28 days. It’s top flight speed is 4/5 mph.
I wonder if it remembers where it started once it’s reached the end. Why am I talking about flies after talking about gods? Well you see it's a natural progression:

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods;[i]which makes me wonder- do flies go through existential crisis? Do they believe in fate? Last Saturday I booked an Ola Share from my college. The first cab never turned up, and when we called him, he said he was waiting at Quest Mall, which, according to the information on his app, was the pick-up location that we had selected. I checked my app- it clearly said ‘Work’, which was a saved location- with the address of my college. Incidentally the place is at least 20 minutes’ walk from Quest Mall. So naturally, we had to b…

What if the Universe Was Godless

This is going to be short.
One of my favourite Discworld quotes, out of many many favourite Discworld quotes, is this one:
"HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE." (HogfatherbyTerry Pratchett)

It isn't something new, but recently there has been an escalation in religion-fueled hatred and aggression, and I have been thinking if the world would be a better place  if there was no concept of religion, no concept of divinity, what would the world be like?
As a Bengalee girl growing up in Kolkata, no saree for Saraswati Puja, no meeting friends  and no special album releases and magazine releases for Durga Puja, no cakes for Christmas...
What if humanity had never thought of God? Or gods? Man saw the Unknown and called It God, and because of his nature, sought to know it. And therefore came religion, and afterwards, science. If we had never longed to find God, would we ever find science? Where would we be today? Would a …