If you ask me where I am from, you must love long stories – I do not have one answer; I do not know how I can begin finding that answer. I am cursed, I feel sometimes. Just as soon as I call a place home, circumstances force me to leave it behind. I should feel nothing after my umpteenth relocation; but I do.
I am just as bewildered every time. I recreate my sense of belonging – like a chameleon, I change my colors to escape something and become something else. Each time I am left with an emptiness in place of my answer to the ‘where am I from’ question – nowhere, everywhere, somewhere, anywhere.
I am a selfish being – I want. My desires have no end – it flows incessantly, one thing after another.
I say I want nothing, but I lie – in fact, I want to rule this world; not govern, not serve – I want to rule.
I am a hypocrite but I hate that word – I am, by nature, illogical; but I thrive on misplaced logic.
No matter how much I try a selfless life, I gather material things; I have this ravenous appetite.
What am I?
I live in a land beyond my dreams
In a strangely familiar and unknown place
From here to where I can no longer see
Where angelic beings like dragonflies graze.
Let the people of this world rise – against injustice, selfish pride.
For a peace far gone and lost, pierce the veil of violence, accost.
Let rivers of blood be washed – with tears of suffering, be crossed.
For humanity’s one last hope is innocence repaired, invoked.
Rise, Rise, Rise – your own hatred, despise. Forget vengeance – forgive; remind yourself of peace.
Rain drops splattered on red dirt this morning as the abode of peace paid homage to its most beloved teacher, father and friend. I grew up playing in his courtyard as he gazed with a smile that I will never forget. My heart wrenched intermittently at the absence of his laughter. But I was reminded of his omnipresence. He was everywhere – in the leaves and buildings; deep-seethed into fond memories.
He is not gone; he has just become one with the majesty of that which he most adored – Shantiniketan.
A naked child played in the rain, by the storm drain.
He pranced along, dancing alone to the tune of raindrops.
I watched from behind a glass door; restricted, I adored.
His blissful simplicity displayed a humanity.
I had never seen it before.
A naked child played in the rain – his free heart splashed again and again.
I am the animal – driven by selfish instinct, I am human. Unaware of my surroundings – I only want more for myself. I am ruthless in my incessant warlike living – even a flower in my way, I crush. I cannot control myself – that quality I utilize most for others, to get my way; I am man.
It is, after all, all about me – me, me, only me.
A blight of madness has afflicted humanity. Everywhere I look innocents lie dead – and the world trots along, enamored by shiny things and an unprecedented thirst for power. I wish there was a way I could detach myself from the human race – say I do not belong to this heinous, selfish species of monkeys.
Over and over again we have learned, an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind – over and over again, we ignore this basic message. We are consumed with control and the size of our collective ego rivals the breadth of this universe. We have become selfish, self-serving and self-involved.
We choose this detrimental existence – even when we do not, we remain complacent to atrocities that should never go unpunished. We have no regard for the feelings of others, nor a general wellbeing. We only love ourselves – so much that we turn our heads in the face of another’s suffering; we walk away.
How can we become all that we hope to be if we cut down the fodder that feeds our existence? How can we imagine a future without our children? To what end will this world come when all that is left is one man with one eye and a gun? Why do we allow this to happen over and over again?
I do not understand.
Memory is a strange thing – testing temperance with a kaleidoscope of kindness and cruelty. It creates universes within our heads, custom sculpted by the good, bad and ugliest of words and actions. What to make of it, I do not know – whether my actions will be contingent upon memory or will I start anew, a blank slate, has become my central conflict. It is distracting and distressful, the cacophony of the past.
I am back in Kolkata, flooded with memory and emotion. It is overwhelming; I only find comfort in the handful of Tagore songs I carry in my heart. I stop myself from crying just as soon as I have to pick a reason for my tears. No one feeling fully describes it – I am overjoyed and heartbroken, exuberant of change and petrified of it at the same time. But the damp Kolkata air hugs me, its monsoon comforts me. Still, my heart yearns for the rampant shores of Lake Michigan – I am a vagabond with attachments.