2020, Column, LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Oh, but did you know this about him?

About me, rather. When they say about him, they are actually speaking for me and on my behalf, but they don’t want to embarrass me totally, you see, so they use the third person. That’s all right. That is only right. I am saying, rather asking, did you know this about me, and they are kind enough to put it another way so I don’t directly come in the way.

They are devoted people, they don’t want me to be seen as a publicist of myself, that is why they do it. They are well paid and looked after, do not worry, that much I do for services rendered to me, I have commerce in my blood, as I once famously or infamously said, you know, so I pay. Dhandho chhe, it’s business, and there is honour to keep in business. The honour of business is, you know, money. Money, money, money. Maal Baalendra. Oh sorry, I got that wrong, when everyone’s shouting your name aloud as if it were some magic mantra, the echoes can sometimes confuse you. It’s Baal Maalendra.

Continue reading “Oh, but did you know this about him?”
LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

How About An Act Of Dog?

Depends on which. Local dog? Or vocal dog? Biting dog? Or barking dog? Or dogs that are capable of both? Local dogs that are also vocal dogs? You’d know these. If you grace the nights long enough, you’d know. They do not allow the nights to be nights any more. If you live where most of us live, you’d know. Continue reading “How About An Act Of Dog?”

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Oh My Burdens! Laden, Laden

Not Laden. Not that Laden. Not the one with a capital L. Loaded. Not Laden. The Laden that first came to your mind or wherever is bin Laden. But no. But yes. Something did tell me you’d read it as that: Laden. Such is the air we breathe. Everywhere, all across the length and breadth and depth of things: Laden. And what springs from it. Suffused by Laden and related lads and dens. In a manner of speaking. This language, English, I mean.But English is not my mother tongue, much less my mother’s tongue. Continue reading “Oh My Burdens! Laden, Laden”

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Oh My Dil Is Garden Garden

And would it not be? The more I ravage about, the more they rave about me. The more I destroy, the more they deify me. The more I crush them, the more they crave. For Me. For Me. For Me. I am the Emperor of Ruins, I survey all that I have destroyed, I live in a garden redolent with the fragrance of flowers gone to rust. I cannot make it worse, and yet nobody can so much as touch me. It’s just the way it is, I have become the UntouchableOne, the UnputdownableOne. What would you put me down for, anyhow? There’s nothing to be gained. All is now lost. I saw to it, that’s the job you gave me and I grabbed it with both hands and a dagger. I plunged it everywhere. Everything bleeds, and the blood feeds everything.

Just look around me, around this splendour of my conjuring, this splendoured desolation where nothing needs no more to be done because all of it is done. To dust. There is no more to be done. This place is to be the end of all places. This place is where I had set out to reach. This is the place from where there is no going on, nowhere to go. Such is the place I command. Like a King with a kingdom of the dead and the done.

It’s where I flourish and nobody else, for it is all for me and not for you. I step out and I see everything wilted but me. That’s how it should be. If you do not wilt, you shall rise. And if you rise, you shall become to me what I do not wish you to become to me: a challenge.
What part did you have in it? It is the part you shall one day regret. You chose. What part do you still have in it? Hmm. But you have a part. Your part is to wilt, and wither away so I may have sway. Your part is to hail or be hastened to your end. For there is no provision left for any other part. This garden, you see, is the garden of graves; I told you everything has been done.

To dust. Or done in. Seek out your part, the part of you that remains. I didn’t bother putting names down, I am sorry, but there were so many of you. Too much work. There is too much else I need to attend to. More of you. That’s what. That’s who. I say all is done, and then there is more to be done. I contradict myself, but if I do not contradict myself how am I doing to you what I am doing to you when I had vowed only to do for you? But you won’t understand, you dunces. I never trusted you would. That’s the trust I rode all the way here, the trust of dunces, or the trust that dunces will be dunces.

For every rusted rose in this garden I possess a less rusted one whose task it is to tell upon the more rusted one. And learning from the less rusted ones, I turn upon the more rusted ones. And then the less rusted ones turn more rusted and there are more less rusted ones and so, on and on. So on and on this goes on, this flourished garden of mine that I keep famished. Because when you bleed, it feeds my greed. And shall I tell you what that greed makes me want to do? Something has to be done with it because there are masses of it, the greed, and it cannot just be washed down the sink or that other thing with a gurgling orifice at the bottom of it. The greed needs attention and action. It needs to be exhausted for it to be done. And so would you be interested to know what I do with it? I shall cut you and hang you out to dry. And when that drying has happened, years and all, I shall come to shed the final drops on your cortège. Live. Televised. Tears of Blood. Thereupon I shall command the gardeners to commence their jobs — planting and plucking and pruning and cutting and casting away. So this place may prosper anew in the silence of its debacles and turn an even more uproarious celebration of unspeakable tragedy. Upon which I shall chisel an epitaph:  

And the cry rose
But I am the real rose
And that may make me curious
Rose, might you just be spurious.

LazyEye, Telegraph Calcutta

Is All Well In Lalla Land?

All of this is happening in His absence. He is not here, but who or what is to stop this happening? They go on happening, yeh zindagi ke melay. We do not know where He is, or what He might be up to. We do not know whether he intends returning. At all. Ever. Such a toxic mess we have made of this place, who in their right senses would want to return? And He is the possessor of right senses, that is what we want to believe and have faith in. That is why He is He.

We do not know a lot of things. Including whether this is where He wants to be. Where He once belonged.

You are. Everywhere. Where are you not. Tell me. To locate you is to commit the sin of denying your omnipresence. What’s happening?

This blasphemy of playing Him to Him, to be aspiring to provide Him what we are, or should be, grateful that He provided us. That is what we understand. He provided. We are the beneficiaries of His provisions.

But we want to return the favour, is that it? We want to turn imposters, become Him. Let’s give Him. This, that and the other. Let’s fight to give Him his due, He has deserved it. Aham Brahmaasmi, I am the Lord.

Not yet. Don’t get carried away. Khuda ban baithe? And now you will do for Khuda what you think Khuda has deserved and been deprived of? You will build Him a house and instal Him there? And then tell Him you have made Him this and that, stay here and I shall come once every while to pay you a visit? Like they do with old folks when they go drop them at old people’s homes? And then stride out in society and collect brownie points, or points of whatever is your chosen colour because colour carries such depth of meaning, for what a lovely abode you appointed?

I am looking for Him. I have been looking a long while. And now I have arrived here, having escaped all of that. All of that noise. All of that quarrelling. All of that sound and the fury, and the curses and the name-calling, and all the babble over this Book and not that Book, and the bloodletting and bombing, all that battling that is being done out there in His name, all those unholy rites being conducted in the services of Him, the Holy One, the one and only, who, I am told is not one but many, and many contrary ones. There is my Him. There is his Him. There is their Him. All those Hims may only be one Him but they have been turned into many Hims and each Him has been pulled into battle with this Him and that Him by those that believe in this Him and not that Him. (Would it have been better if we had a Her for a Him? #JustSaying. But probably no. No, positively no. Think why I say that, ponder on it. Her? Several Hers? Imagine the battles multiplied manifold.) Besides, building a home for Her. It would be complicated. It always is, it is one of the things that defines the human condition, the degree of difficulty of building a home for Her. Any Her.

But I am here, in my escape, amid fresh air and freshly sprung roots, looking around. Maybe this is the right place.

Maybe He has escaped here too and sought refuge from all that is being gnashed and pillaged and won and lost and being cast anew in

His name over the piles of what gnashing and pillaging leaves behind? I am looking for Him. Lying in wait, in a moment of respite. Are you here? Please find me. Because I lost you.  

My heart’s your home, no other
So why would they seek another
I made you not, you made me me
Conceit it is, to build for you, Praise be.