Water has Another Name, It’s Utter

Been wondering. Been wondering really hard and been tortured by such wondering. Should I say it? Is it not unremittingly sad that I should even have to wonder. And ponder? This question of whether I should say it or say it not? Where have we come? What have we made of ourselves? Who are the NewWe? We are not ourselves. What has brought us to this pass that we are having to raise these questions? To ourselves? And wonder? And ponder? Darn it, to the barnacles with it. Here it is. I am saying it, for this is how it was said and this is how it has best been said.

Allah megh de, Allah paani de!

There. Spoken. Said. Allah, give us cloud; Allah, give us water.
Will it not be cloud if Allah gave it to us? Will it not be water if Allah gave it to us? Forget the megh. Forget the water. Forget Allah. Will we stop to sing a song we have sung to ourselves? Will we rob ourselves the utter sweetness and pathos of it? Will we die thirsty and not sing that song which is ringing in our heads and hearts anyhow? It has rung, that song, each season since it was sung. It will ring even when you have chosen to forsake it. Remember. It will ring, it will sing, and it will be sung and heard no matter what. Believe me. When you don’t wish to hear it, you shall hear it most.

Allah megh de; Allah paani de.

Water is our community; water is not communal. Sought of Allah, it doesn’t merely fall on his sworn disciples. Sought of Ram, it does not merely fall on his sworn disciples. It falls even on those that are disciples not. Not of anything. Water is a democracy before the word was coined by, who were they, the Greeks? Water gives in equal measure; water takes away with equally ruthless measure.

It is what We drink and it is what They drink. It is what We die for the want of. It is what They die for the want of. Water is such a thing. It does not select and feed. Water is such a thing. It does not select and kill. Water is such a thing. Ever seen the shape of water? It is the shape of what you will make of it. You can make a killer cannon of it. You can make it the shape of a drip that sustains life. You wash in it in the uzookhaanas. You wash in it on chosen riverbanks. You never ask of it wherefrom it came. It never asks of you wherefrom you came. From your God or the rival God. Off your prayer or the rival’s prayer. Waters have poured. Waters have parted. Waters have cradled. Waters have consumed. Waters are who we mostly are. Look around you, you marooned fools, all around you are waters. And fortunate you are, for if you weren’t marooned, and if there weren’t any waters, you’d have by now been cinders. Cinders twisting about. Imagine water. Then imagine yourself. Most of it is water. You are water. The utter unmitigated gift of it. There isn’t much of it around for much longer. Which means there isn’t much of you around for much longer. Pray for water. Pray to who you can or wish to. But do not forbid another’s prayer for it, for when that prayer is answered it shall be answered for all. Rain and rivers, lakes and oceans, they don’t ask who you are when they give. Or when they take.

And so it comes to drop
With a sameness on all
And when it comes it says plop
Come one, come all, let it fall.


A divided house: The Opposition is mimicking what Narendra Modi called it out to be

The good news for Narendra Modi just refuses to ebb, it oozes like the viscous sweetness of summer fruit. May 23 was breathtaking beyond expectation, a second-term endorsement that rendered the parliamentary polls almost presidential. What has followed that spectacular turn at the ballot is a high-calorie spectacle of sheer and unbelievable delight for the prime minister. It has come to be revealed that Modi had not merely won an election, he had also acquired a loyal and obliging Opposition, an Opposition keen to give the truth to his every prognosis and prophecy.

Mahamilavat, Modi called the effort to build collective electoral fronts against him. And so it has turned out. A bunch of opportunists with no objective or narrative other than to pull him out of office, he called them. And so it has turned out. Outmoded dynasts deluded on priority and entitlement to power, he repeatedly railed. And so it has turned out. The Opposition is daily mimicking what Modi called it out to be.

The boldest bid this summer to stymie Modi’s run on a second term — the unlikely tie-up of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, the Mahagathbandhan, so called — has swiftly collapsed under the burdens of defeat, and become quite what Modi christened it:

‘Thugbandhan’. Bua (Mayawati) and bhanja (Akhilesh Yadav) have terminated what they briefly attempted to pitch as a heart-warming kinship and returned to default practices — blame-gaming, vituperation, renewed oaths of separation. If power isn’t the prize, what are we on stage for together? It’s curtains. Mayawati has solemnly declared, yet again, she’ll go it alone. Akhilesh, never the one to display open disregard for Buaji’s wishes, has gone off to London. It’s a summer destination he usually makes it to; the dates happen to coincide with his birthday.

In neighbouring Bihar, the turn has been slightly more bizarre. It just happens that Tejashwi Yadav, anointed scion of Lalu Prasad and lead act of the challenge to the National Democratic Alliance, was so disinterested in helming the show that he did not stay back in Patna even to cast his ballot. He saw through the campaign, but felt so weary of chopper-stopping at the end of it, so requiring of things that B-towns like Patna cannot provide, that he begged off. He returned briefly to survey the size of wounds he must now lick — it was all wound for his Rashtriya Janata Dal scored a first-time duck — and vanished again. Last heard, he was still promising a return via social media missives fired from undisclosed locales. One party elder issued a stupefying response to questions on where Tejashwi had vanished. ‘You voted Modi and you want to seek out Tejashwi?’ There. No review of what went wrong where or how, no assurance to the ranks that this coma could be temporary and critical care is on the way. Bihar goes to the polls next year; on the basis of what happened in the Lok Sabha polls, Tejashwi’s party tallied a little more than a dozen seats in the 243-member House. His legislators cannot be blamed for wondering if their future is secure under the Tejashwi umbrella, wherever it is that it currently lies pitched.

There’s a third son, the biggest, the eldest of them; he can be no stranger to the other two, they’ve all played power-power together at different times, though it can be doubted that they are able to look back on their tandems with any cheer. Rahul Gandhi, Congress president-in-resignation, is most certainly not in the mood. Not even the mandatory summertime jaunt to England, or thereabouts, has helped. He’s been playing Quits and not doing terribly well even at this from the looks of it. It has been a month since he put in his papers, but it would appear that his letter did not have a receiver’s stamp and signature. Might actually be worth a ponder, while the shenanigan drags on, who Congress presidents resign to. And who do Congresspeople resign to when the Congress president is in extended resignation mode? That too is a question worth a ponder because over the past couple of weeks a fair few resignations, or offers of resignation, lie piled at the door of the would-be former Congress president. This at a time when positions to resign from in the Congress are getting fewer and fewer.

Has any sense emanated from the Congress on what it thinks went so terribly wrong? On why nothing of what the leadership did seemed to resonate with the electorate? Any diagnosis of this debacle which, in real terms, is far worse than how the Congress fared in 2014? No. At least not yet.

What has emanated in dribs and drabs are such things: Priyanka Gandhi, party general- secretary in charge of east UP, made one trip to the truncated family borough in the vicinity of Rae Bareli-Amethi and unleashed an accusatory finger at party workers. Inspired leaks set the blame for bloated pre-poll Congress ambitions on Praveen Chakravarty, head of the party’s data cell. The shadow boxing between old courtiers and the new set is still playing out. The one-upmanship between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot has been resumed in Rajasthan. Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu press on with their theatre. There are uneasy murmurs rising from the party in Maharashtra. The coalition government in Karnataka is tottering on the brink. Another set of elections looms. Nobody seems to be able to arrange a Rajya Sabha renewal for Manmohan Singh. Who’s minding the floor? Sonia Gandhi took on the job of chairing the Congress parliamentary party, but for some reason, Rahul Gandhi did not want to move up the benches and shoulder the responsibility of party leader in the Lok Sabha. Suddenly, he wants to be party MP from Wayanad, no more. And the party is lapsed into its all-too-familiar posture, prostrated at his retreating feet. Whereas it should have been at the barricades, fighting the battles it must fight. But then, a house in deep disorder must first fight to set itself right.

Meanwhile, in the five weeks that have gone since May 23, Modi has put in place a new government, appointed a new working president for his party, announced a new, expanded membership drive, re-jigged his Twitter handle and profile picture, reordered and upscaled the office around him, cleared necessary appointments at the top of the bureaucracy, addressed Parliament twice (if not more times), hosted an array of foreign dignitaries, made multiple visits abroad, posed in a Kyrgyz choga and hat, inaugurated a bromance with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, guffawed with Donald Trump, been cold to Pakistan’s Imran Khan, convened meetings of the cabinet and chief ministers, confabulated with current and potential allies, extended governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir, relentlessly assaulted his political adversaries, as if he were facing an election and not just triumphed in one. Last Sunday, he also resumed ‘Mann ki Baat’, his version of the fireside address to the nation. It was about water. The Opposition, if indeed there is one out there, needs it dearly.


The Dead Go Where They Go

Most things die, but many do not. The mountains are still young, and they were young on the ancient. They were there, youthful props in the playground of the Gods, and they sprung springs and lakes about them, and rivers roaring down, and sprung valleys and dales eddied with flowers. Such valleys and dales that no human hand works, such valleys and dales that are magically kindled by unseen elves. Elves that live on heights no human can approach. Elves that service the schemes of the Gods. Those elves are young too.

And they are floating about, the air’s thick with them, little elves, dead elves but young elves, rising from that hot and poisoned abyss, taken by sweat and aches and fevers, their flesh sucked of vigour, their bones smashed and ground, the light of their eyes squeezed out, the life snuffed out of them to a lightness. Such lightness that it can only begin to float and go far away from grasp. Gone. Forever. Into the floating world. Young things, but no longer man’s things. Young things turned into things of God. Young things dead before their time. Most things die. Some things die before their time. Some things remain forever young — only a million years old, just growing.

Like the mountains, which are there, still young, when the Gods have become myth and lore, or perhaps they are still there, no longer visible. Or no longer wishing to be visible to the menagerie. No longer wanting to be part of this daily drag through the streets, the sound of a barked out cry or a hoot, no longer wanting to be invoked for politics and prejudice. But the Gods should have got used to this. To being used as material for politics and for prejudice. It is one of the ways Gods serve men. As material, and as medium. God, inspire me to fight that other God. God, let me build a house for you. God, let me be savage and slay in the name of that house for you. It may seem we are serving the Gods, but in truth the Gods are serving us. Or our purposes. But purposes too die, and we give birth to new purposes so that we may have cause to live. Such vanity and hope! We will die, all of us; who doesn’t? Of one this or another. And then we go. Some go down, six feet under; some go up, in flames, some lie flat as offering to be consumed. Is there more to it? Who knows? Do we remain after we have died? Who knows? Are we the sum of our body parts and no more? Who knows? The dead go where they go, we shall find out when we are dead.

Often we do not even know why the dead died. Most things die, but for this reason or that. Sometimes things die and we can’t tell the reason. We turn to guessing. We turn to Forbidden Fruit. It can kill. Always remember. That is why they say learn from history. Or myth. Same thing, in our time they are synonymous, history and myth — history can be turned into myth at the snap of a finger, myth can be turned into history. But the point is that those that do not learn from history or from myth are condemned to die by it. Or some such thing, don’t expect everything that’s writ here is right. Most things that are writ here aren’t. But be careful of Forbidden Fruit. Never good for health, and often fatal.

The one that the Apple did eat
The original Poisoned Fruit
That sin nothing did beat
And we repeat it to boot.

Bihar, Telegraph Calcutta

Lalu Prasad: Autumn of the Patriarch

The mercurial Lalu Prasad has finally been pushed off stage and an epoch is whimpering to demise

Zero. It has never been this bad; it cannot get any worse.

Or it probably still can.

It is one thing for Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to have drawn a blank in the Lok Sabha this summer; it is quite another for him to have nobody around to take that blank and build on it. The party, as it used to be under Lalu’s helmsmanship, is over. Bihar’s once fabled and formidable House of Yadu has become the shape of a pack of cards tumbled upon itself.

Here’s what fragments of a clan in collapse can look like up close. The confetti of serial abuse of power and public office floating about the defeated air; there are bills to be paid yet, and someone will come knocking. The unseemly rites of a turbulent son’s ruptured marriage playing out on the doorstep. Spewing from within, grim tales of competing grouses and internecine family feuding — son versus son, daughter versus mother, sister versus brother; in the absence of the arraigned father, there’s nothing to quell the quarrelling over what may remain. The man he left behind in charge having also skipped station. There’s nobody around to pick up the pieces.

The Bihar Assembly came into session this Friday. Tejashwi, who leads the Opposition benches, wasn’t there. There were rumours he’d turn up, but they turned out to be rumours. Tejashwi Yadav has been gone from the scene a long and inexplicable while. So long and so inexplicable that his own ranks have begun to wonder if he’s interested in his bequeathed job. So long and so inexplicable that Lalu no longer bothers with worrying, what would be the point? He is 71 and ill. He is incarcerated on a medley of corruption convictions and charges in Jharkhand. The circumstances of his coiled labyrinth allow him to do so much and no more. Tejashwi has stopped to heed his command. Where is Tejashwi? In Delhi. Probably. But he will come. Oh look, he has already tweeted a long distance hello to “My dear Bihar!” on the plea of orthopaedic treatment that nobody hitherto knew of. Bihar should rest assured.

Lalu wanted Tejashwi to stay on the deck and take the storm, like he himself had often done in the past. Tejashwi was in such a rush to get away, he did not wait to cast his vote this election. Tejashwi was not drawn to the hollering tragedy of 130-odd children snuffed out by encephalitis in Muzaffarpur. Tejashwi did not arrive to lead his flock in an Assembly that faces re-election just next year. Tejashwi has been gone from Patna a whole month. Tejashwi is Lalu’s chosen mantle-bearer. Such as that mantle is; it has zero freshly inscribed on it.

Political obituaries can turn treacherous on their authors. When they are about someone like Lalu, feisty and defiant through his roller-coaster life, they can turn and sting too.

This is not a political obituary. This is a Doctrine of Lapse notification. Lalu has a legacy, but those he entrusted it to have bungled it. The entity central to Bihar’s politics for three decades is tearing out like a meteor in tailspin.

This is the first election of his political career that Lalu stood barred from turning up to campaign; this is not the first time he has lost, but this is the first time the RJD can hear what death-rattle sounds like.

Consider this: Based on the Lok Sabha results — a stunning 39 out of 40 for the NDA — the RJD managed to win a little more than a dozen seats in the 243-member Bihar Assembly. Tej Pratap, Lalu’s elder and maverick son, lost the Mahua seat by more than 10,000 votes.

Tejashwi held on to Raghopur by its membranes, barely 200-odd votes. Misa, the eldest of Lalu’s children, lost the Yadav borough of Patliputra a second time running, bested once again by Ram Kripal Yadav, once Lalu’s trusted protégé.

Everything suggests a daylight heist on the Yadav vote which once kept Lalu securely banked in power. 2014 was probably the first sign Narendra Modi had disrupted traditional voter behaviour and snatched away a section of Yadav loyalty from Lalu. 2019 is resounding confirmation of not merely a drift away from Lalu but of a new polarisation behind the BJP and its Bihar allies. Nearly 40 per cent of the Yadav vote has shifted base; there is little to suggest on the ground that number will not mount. The RJD has been turfed out across its traditional Yadav strongholds — from Madhepura and Saharsa, from Saran and Siwan and Sonepur, from Maharajganj and Gopalgunj, from Danapur and Maner which, for decades was quite literally the family’s personal backyard. “Laluji ke bina ab kya raha?” asks Jitender Singh, an avowed Lalu loyalist and apologist, “Kuchh bhi kahiye, Laluji neta thhe, ab kaun raha?” (What’s left after Lalu? Say what you will, Lalu was a leader, who’s left?) We are at a tea shack in Maner, about 30 kilometres west of Patna. Jitender can’t stop ruing what’s happened and what’s to come. “I feel for Laluji, I am committed, but look at his children. Why did Misa have to contest the Lok Sabha when she is already in the Rajya Sabha. She is laalchi, greedy. Tej Pratap is a vagrant, nobody knows what he is up to. Tejashwi makes no effort at communicating, spending time with people. They control the party, but nobody has a clue what they are doing or what they have in mind. Kya future hoga?” The anger and the unease is palpable. It can no longer be called a crack in the RJD voter base, it is more akin to a sundering. “Lalu’s party minus Lalu looks like a wipeout,” a senior RJD leader and Lalu’s contemporary says, “Tejashwi and his ranks have failed to deliver, the party is nervous, its faith lies shattered, we are in a mess.”

He wouldn’t go on the record yet with his fears and misgivings, but he believes that time is near. “People in the party will speak out, they will have to. If for nothing else, for sheer survival; Assembly elections stare us in the face and we have just taken our severest blow. What do these results tell the aspiring RJD contestants? That they should be very nervous. What does the response of the party leadership tell them? That they should seek answers and correction.”

Failed Four: Tej Pratap, Misa, Rabri and Tejashwi. Photograph by Sankarshan Thakur

Some of the murmur is already bubbling up in anger. RJD elder and spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari turned blunt at a recent party meeting. “We should take a hard look at how the party is being run,” he is reported to have said, “Laluji’s absence has been a big jolt to us, but we have to figure ways of dealing with that, and if we don’t do that it is over… yeh hamare astitva ka sawal hai… this is a question of our survival.”

Tejashwi has made himself deserving of an in-house chargesheet; it cannot be that the clamour hasn’t reached him, even in his removed camp addresses.

— He ignores his father’s counsel

— He doesn’t consult or respect party elders; he did not allow them to campaign when they were eager to

— He is opaque and often unapproachable; he is also tight-fisted with resources

— He did not take allies on board during the campaign for fear that he would have to share the accolades

— He has made little effort to build a connect with his constituency

— He took whimsical off-days during the heat of the campaign

— He has neither energy nor gut for a fight

— He has no blueprint hereon, none that anybody knows of

— He appears not accountable for the debacle he has presided over

— He is swiftly scattering his inheritance away, at the cost of the party.

“Does Tejashwi know how to win elections, even his own?” That’s a close confidant of Lalu for decades asking. It is probably the most damning question the leader of a political party can be asked. But that question is being asked of Tejashwi by those in the boat who still reckon it can be saved from sinking. “Through the campaign, Tejashwi and his camp kept telling us we were doing well. It turns out we never did as badly. He was either bluffing or was deluded, in both circumstances, his leadership needs to be questioned.”

The worry and scurry in the RJD ranks is not merely on account of the Assembly polls next year. It is not merely because MLAs have begun to individually and collectively wonder if the RJD is a good ticket to ride on, or should the opportunity to jump be taken. It is equally because of the overt manoeuvres they see the adversary making.

From the time of his first foray into Bihar as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2013, Narendra Modi revealed a focused intent to woo Yadavs away from their chief and loved patron. “Yaduvanshi bhaiyon!” he called out to them; he flagged the mythology of Krishna and Dwarka to kindle a kinship. He kept at it, as a work in progress. It wouldn’t be easy to wean Yadavs away from their anointed benefactor, but he has worked with time and with ways. “Don’t forget Yadavs are the most privileged among the backwards castes and they have become used to the stakes and fruits of power,” says a Lalu-era bureaucrat who likes sailing close along the power corridors, “But for a brief spell, Lalu has been out of power nearly 15 years now and his successors hold out no hope they might deliver it any time soon. Lalu may yet enjoy their unshaken sympathy, but that is translating less and less into votes. That’s one key takeaway from this election. The Yadavs will want to stay close to power.”

Narendra Modi may only be too keen to demonstrate to them how. One clue might be the elevation of Nityanand Rai, a Yadav MP from Ujiarpur in north Bihar, as central minister of state for home affairs. Another could well be Bihar’s verdict on the RJD itself: Zero.


That Thing We Often Hold

You know what that is. Of course you do. It can be many things to many folks but what most folks mostly do with it is hold it. And holding it can mean many things to many folks and many different times. Holding it can be a thing of pride. Holding it can be a thing of habit. Holding it can be a thing of warmth. Holding it can be a thing of utility. Or necessity. Holding it can be a thing of endearment. If you cannot hold it you can lose it. Some folks can get very possessive about them; some are happy to have them taken around, you hold it, you hold it, you hold it, you hold it, you hold it, and then I can hold it back again. But often they hold it so another cannot.

Understood? What it is? This thing we often hold? Look again. Look at what you see below. Hint: looking is about perspective, looking is about angles. Look again. Think dimensions. Think the missing dimension. If we are agreed that there are only three dimensions and not a fourth. Now look. You have often seen what you have seen and never even wondered what you are looking at. It is such a commonplace thing. You have held it. You have looked down into it as you are doing now.

A cup is such a thing.

A cup is what we are talking about most these days, now that everything else that was to be won this summer has been won. The winners behaved like winners, even if they had to muck maraud it all the way, and the losers behaved like they had nothing to lose. They had more than a cup to lose, it was a whole country. The winners cupped the country. But all that’s over now; what remains are the consequences of that cupping. We shall see. What happens. We live and learn. Or do not. And are merely happy not to learn. To each his own. Oh my! My apologies. To each her own. That’s NewSpeak. Reverse. Reverse. Upturn Upturn. Right is Wrong. And Wrong is Right. And Right is Right, of course. But that no longer requires stating. The Right is cupping, the rest are being cupped.

But why a cup? Ever wondered? Why is the prize a cup? And not anything else? Not a shield anymore. Not a medal. Not a wreath. Not a certificate. Not a sceptre. But a cup. Why that shape? Why that contour? Why? World Cup. Of cricket. World Cup. Of football. World Cup. Of baseball. Although that is only ever competed for by red socks and white socks and cubs and padres and brewers and astros and cowboys and redskins and broncos and such lot. All of which belong to the midriff of one half of the continent we call Amrika. That midriff believes it is the world; and very often it rides out and lets us know it is. Maney, they turn into cops of the world and go around cupping what it is that they want to cup, regardless of consequences or collaterals. They just cup at will what they want to cup.

Like oil.

Which takes us back to cups.

Why cups? When there’s a prize to be given, why give a cup? But it turns out the original prize was not the cup but oil. The cup merely contained it. In Ancient Greece and in Ancient Rome, when they won the day, for butchery or for bravery, they gave you oil. Olive Oil. And to give you olive oil, they gave you a container. And that container was a cup. And so a cup it became. And now a cup is what we want, olive oil or not.

More things come in a cup than we often imagine. More things can be snatched when a cup is snatched, than we can imagine. A storm can come in a cup.

Two storms can come in two cups. Imagine that. Two cups. Two storms. Did someone make an offer recently? Why one cup? Take two. Why one storm? Take two. It’s possible. It can happen. Imagine. Go on.

The lesson, it’s been often told

That grab at it with glee

That thing we want to hold

And which never comes for free.

Telegraph Calcutta

Lost, then found, forever lost

We lose things. Like a game. We find things. Like fame at a game. We lose things. Like temper. We find things. Like temper. We lose them, and we find them. It is a rite of recovering, what is gone returns. But often what is gone does not. Often what we lose cannot be found again. Or, if it is found it is found in a state that it has been lost. Lost far beyond recovery. Lost forever. It is like memory. Maybe.

We lose memory, and we recover it. But sometimes we lose memory and never find it again. And at other times yet, we want to lose memory because it is not a memory we want to keep. We lose it and we do not wish to have it back. It helps to do that. It helps to not have some memories regained, or recovered. Memories can be precious. Memories can be poor. Sometimes they can be both, and on such occasions it is possible to wonder whether those memories should be fondled or forsaken. What do you do with the memory of the dead? Or the memory of the dead who may not be yet? Who knows? Would you lose it? Would you want to find it? Would you even know if it is only a memory and nothing but? What we lose and do not find may not be forever lost; what we lose and find may not be what we lost to begin with. We have to wonder about what we have lost, and what we have found. We have to wonder about what we have lost and not found. We have to wonder about what we have lost and what of it we have found, how much of it.

There is the debris. The torn feathers of that big bird. Torn and scattered. Where but? Oh there, right there, between Mt Perhaps and Mt WeDon’tKnow, between those two. Perhaps. We don’t know. But there is the debris. Found. From what was lost. And lost, from what was once not even to be found, it was just there. Not lost. But there. The big bird. That flew. And flew. And eventually fell because it could no longer fly. But why? But where? Who knows? Mt Perhaps. Mt WeDon’tKnow. Betwixt? We do not know.

It flew from warm climes, but it flew with a well-clad cargo. Cold bird that, made of aluminium and glass and powered by cold fuels. An untrammelled bird, not pressurised; they knew she would climb and her belly would get cold at those heights. They were prepared, the cargo. Let’s just say cargo. It’s easier. Now that all’s been lost. And found only to reveal that all is lost. Torn to smithereens and scattered like confetti from a demon’s feast. Or icing on a cake for a wake.

But who knows? If they are lost? Or cannot be found? Who knows what happens? In this twilight between being and not being, between being what requires no finding and being lost. They flew. They were to land. They were lost, they were to be found. Between take off and landing there lay no mystery. What goes up must come down; it’s only a flight. Happens all the time. Flights take off. Flights land. Go to the FlightRadar. You’ll know just how many are flying all the time all across the face of the earth. You’ll know just how many are landing. On any day everything that flies eventually comes to land. On some days, some don’t; or one doesn’t. It comes to be lost. Not found. And very often, when that lost thing comes to be found it is only a debris of lost things. No longer its shape, no longer the sum of its parts and what those parts contained. Lost. Found. But lost.

But who’s to tell? Who’s to tell what happened between Mt Perhaps and Mt WeDon’tKnow. What perished, what survived. Who’s to tell? Perhaps something’s survived. Perhaps nothing did. We don’t know. A life? A limb? A living, flailing limb? Or a living something or the other. Calling out. Calling out to say they are not lost. Calling out to say they need to be found. Calling out against being forever lost. And being found when being only and utterly lost.

We see things here and there

And then we see them not

We think: what happened, where?

And that is what’s our lot.

Telegraph Calcutta

We beat them, but now for some more


Oh we did. And how we did. Yeaaaaaah! Come on then, BullWorkerMan, come on, show us what used to be 56 and might now be… What is it now… measure, measure, stretch the measuring tape. And you, the rest of you, get a measure of things. Get ready. More ready than you have been. More ready than you thought you ought to be. Get ready for what is to come.

We beat you. But we want to beat you more. We want to beat you like there was no beating. We are on top. We do not want to leave this position of vantage, the vantage of heights. If you have the heights you have the advantage. We have the heights. We want the advantage. We will make the most of it.

In all combat there is this thing called being on top. It is not a frivolous thing. Being on top. We know who is on top of Kailash. We know what He can do from the top of Kailash. We have drawn our lessons on the advantage of heights from the one who is on top of Kailash. Period.

Let us not take any names here. There are names and there are names. And there are sacred names and there are names that are unmentionable names. They can also be names that are at once sacred and unmentionable. So we are not mentioning names. We know. We know who is on top of Mount Kailash. We know what advantages he enjoys. They are, in most part, the advantage of heights. So if we are on top it is inevitable that we will beat you. I have been close. Or as close. You would recall my effort, of course. At getting close. All attired and and almost as if I were retired. But not retired, of course, have no worries. I have responsibilities. I can be spiritual, but I am mostly temporal.

So I did go. As close to the heights as the cameras could get. Because there is no point in going where the cameras cannot. What is the point if I cannot show you where I am? What is the point if you cannot see where I am? What is the point going where the cameras cannot? I have to show you. You have to see. I am not God. I am one of you. I am human. I am not God. I am only pretending to be Him. Or Her? They do say these things these days, don’t they? Every Him has become Her. Every He, She. Wonder why? Upturned times. Kalyug. Such things happen. Hoy. We had been warned. Kalyug aayega! Aa gaya hai kya? Is Kalyug already here? Her. When Him would have done just well enough. What more evidence should we require of this being Kalyug, of Kalyug having arrived? What nature produces, man perverts. Or woman does. Let it not be man taking the knock for this one too, let it be woman. Everything has become what it used not to be. Caves have become air conditioned and en suite; cavemen have got civilisations to lord upon.

They have beaten the rest. Bored into them with their horns. And they are not stopping there. They are saying we need to beat you more. We have the advantage of heights. And we have to now beat you into the depths. Such depths that you shall never be able to emerge from, such depths that you shall have to raise your arms to wear your shoes or tie your laces.

Presuming you still have shoes to wear. Presuming you still wear lace-ups. Presuming, most of all, that by then you still have feet to put footwear on. We have knocked you down to your knees, but now we shall knock you down legless. Footless. Restful. Completely so. Or restless in ways that you cannot imagine it is possible to be restless.

We have won. Yes, but that may not mean we have beaten you. Not in the way that we want to beat you.

Look where I have come

Oh Mai, Oh Mai, Oh my

I may almost be done

Really, I am now feeling so high.