VOID

He lay back on the bed, his big belly protruding rather vulgarly into the space around him, looking outside the window at the garbage dump nearby. He wished the window had shades so he could avoid looking at the scene outside but rains had covered the glass with fog and it was getting thicker and denser by the minute. He let out another cloud of chemical smoke from his mouth and let his large body stretch and relax. A lot had happened in the life of the towns’ richest businessman in the last few months and he had managed to remain in the news quite frequently.

On the floor sat Rosy (what a cliché name, he always thought), the Eunuch hooker to whom the room belonged, she sat there reading a children’s book about alphabets though she was about 25 herself (Rosy preferred the female pronoun. Being a male meant less business). He was one of the few who actually knew where she lived, he was a frequent customer after all ,and one who did not want to be seen anywhere around the Red Light District.

‘You shouldn’t be sitting with a children’s book, it’s a turn off.’ He said with evident displeasure in his voice.

‘I am all but trying to learn how to read.’

He chuckled. ‘And what do you plan to read?’

‘Rene Descartes to begin with, maybe some Baruch Spinoza and some Voltaire as well. But they are the first ones to come to mind, I have a lot of other works on my wish list as well.’

He was dumbfounded. ‘What does any of that mean anything to you?’

‘It means a lot to all of us.’

‘Why should their thoughts mean anything to a lowly street whore?’

‘Ah, it is simply a matter of interest.’

He chuckled again. ‘And what interested you in them?’

‘A man. He would come here very often, the only other person who knew where I live.’

‘He came here to talk about that?’

‘He came here to talk about a lot of things. You see he was a man full of doubts, and this was his safe space.’

‘Quite a place he chose.’

‘I went to him first, to meet him when I first came to this area.’ She continued, ignoring him, ’I was going through hell and the brothel business was a nightmare. I felt disgraceful, dirty, and imprisoned. But I remember what he said to me after listening calmly to my grievances, words nobody had ever uttered before ‘you live and work in an island where you’re not bound by the chains of morality or expectations, you have the privilege to see the true side of humans on a daily basis, the side nobody reveals in public. You might be confined by your physical environment but you are truly free in thought and in word. Nothing you ever say or think will be blasphemous or judged. You are the symbol of depravity and that in itself means liberation. In thought and in word you are the freest soul.’’

‘That’s an interesting way to look at things’ he remarked.

‘Yes.’ Rosy said. ‘He asked me for my address and I at once gave it to him. He would come here very often and talk to me about the doubts that his life brought to his mind. Grave existential thoughts, the kind of doubts that might have had him removed from society and incurred the wrath of people.’

‘What? Why would that happen?’

‘He was a priest.’

He stared back with widened eyes.

‘Stuck in the wrong profession’ Rosy continued. ‘He had read Nietzsche and Voltaire and Spinoza and knew at once what he should have realized a long time ago. ‘A brothel might be a moral graveyard’ he would say, ‘but religion is an intellectual one.’ He lamented over the fact that people came to him to solve the riddles that troubled them, but his was a troubled soul that never could decide if it could continue living the way it did.’

‘That’s horrible.’

‘Indeed. He would talk to me about a lot of things, about society and its people. He was an intelligent man. He would come to share his feelings, never once did he even touch me. He spoke of you once, too.’

‘What did he say?’ He asked, sitting upright in a matter of seconds.

‘He told me about your recent marriage, that you had married the woman you had been cheating on your first wife with. He predicted the new marriage would fail as well, and as luck would have it, that’s when you started coming here.’ She smiled.

‘Ho…how did know that?’ He asked with a frown.

‘’What do you think makes the mistress so appealing?’ he asked me once and upon my admittance of ignorance he said ‘it’s the fact that she is the forbidden fruit. It is only desirable when it is sinful, the moment the wife is gone and the mistress is yours legally and morally, the pleasure disappears as well.’ When I told him you had started visiting me he had said ‘let’s hope he isn’t foolish enough to marry you as well’’

‘Does he still come here?’ He asked after a few moments of silence.

‘He died two weeks ago…’

‘What happened?’

‘…I was present at his funeral, but I left as soon as people started pouring in.’ she continued.

‘I don’t think anyone would have known you.’

‘I still remember the last time he came here’ again, ignoring him completely, ‘I had told him about all the pondering I had done over his words, about my life and my state of liberation. ‘Good’ he had said ‘contemplation is the beginning of any intellectual journey and also what keeps it alive’. I had remarked how glad I was that God made me this way because I wasn’t confined by gender roles either. He gave me a weak smile, but then his face turned grave and serious and for the first time I noticed how old he had become. ‘I don’t think God cares.’ He had said. And then he left, forever.’

 

 

An Orphanage Named Damnation

He looked out from the smoky window
At a city that was overflowing like its sewers
The cacophony of tormented souls ringing in his ears
He could see the true face of the people
The city reverberated with their oppressed cry
It was a cry for attention. A prayer for a Messiah.
He saw a thousand blackened and blank faces everyday
Staring blandly at the painted rich bastards
Who spoke of things they never would understand
Never.
The rich man would always turn his head away from their face
Their face
They all had a face, but no identity
Might as well call them the scum of the Earth
He thought how their existence mattered as much as a heap of shit on the road
Or a rotting carcass in a garbage dump
Perhaps as much as the maggots feeding on that carcass
He had seen children picking off food from restaurant trash cans
To feed mothers who were now too old to be whores
He realized how this city is like an orphanage for them
They didn’t know how they came here, they don’t know who their creators are
They don’t know what future holds for them
They don’t understand what makes them any different from ‘normal’ people

The bus stopped. He got off. His orphanage only a couple of blocks away. His shirt was soaked in sweat as he held tightly to his Jute handbag. He entered the roadside Motel and gave the man in charge a nod of acknowledgement. He walked through the dingy corridor that had rooms on either side; the filth on the floor was hardly any dirt compared to the sickness of the activities inside the rooms. The people inside and the people who ran the place or washed its rooms evoked no interest in him, he had learned to ignore them as he had learned to remain indifferent to the negligence that had been bestowed upon him since birth. He had often thought about the slum families and the junkies and the hookers and the thieves and somehow he had always felt like he was one of them, one with the filth that contaminated Earth. He felt omnipotent. He felt powerful.

He entered the toilet and stood at its ventilator. His grip around his handbag tightened. He took out a tattered picture from his pocket that a volunteer had once given him when they had realized he was too old to be adopted. It said ‘Your Savior will arrive’.

He was now looking at the busiest and poshest streets from the ventilator. He knew his moment had come.This was his chance to stand out.To be known. To be a somebody. He took out the rifle from his handbag and held it against the open frame. He saw a young lady standing with her mother near a parking lot and aimed carefully at the girls head. He squeezed the trigger.

There was a splash of red and slobs of flesh flew from her head and splattered on a car behind her. A smile erupted on his face. ‘The Messiah is here’ he thought to himself as he blew the mothers head off with a swift shot. Soon people started running around in all directions. They looked all alike in that chaos, a cesspool, like scum with no identity. He squeezed the trigger again and watched an old mans face disappear with the bullet. He heard cries from within the Motel corridors and loud banging on the washroom door.

‘Can’t ignore me now can you?’ He thought as he shot another one in their chest and watched them collapse into a pool of their own blood.

 

An Ode To The Almighty 

I speak on behalf of all celestial beings

This is a prayer to thee,

The Master of all

Beyond whom nothing exists

You’re like a Buddhist monk

One who walks with utter peace and serenity 

Unperturbed by the happenings of his surroundings 

His consciousness on a higher spiritual plane

And his movements so subtle 

Even his shadow cannot mimic the grace

But even he, my Lord, knows

That you’re above him 

No being born in this cosmos

Goes one day without thinking of you once

You’re in the minds of all

Striking fear in some, an utter awe in others

Our only absolute certainty in a life of chaos 

But you remain silent

Undisturbed.

You judge no one 

You respond never,

But you’re there.

Ever present.

The cries or the prayers never affect you 

No man has been born 

No matter how rich, or talented ,

To be able to escape your awareness

You’re ultimate

No war or bloodshed could shake you 

No tears could leave you disturbed

You walk your path and pick us up in your eternal cusp

The predator or prey, man or woman , a child with a terminal disease 

They are all the same in your mystic eyes

I acknowledge your presence

I bow down before you, my almighty

Lead us one by one out of misery and lust,

This is my prayer to you, Death.

A Toast To The Dead

This is a toast to the dead

To those who were killed

Because they spoke their minds

Those who were killed

Because they spoke against irrationally 

Against division, against superstition 

Rationalists and humanitarians

Who wished to see peace

Who spoke against blind faith

But were slaughtered for honour and righteousness 

I wish to ask the killers and their justifiers 

‘Did you kill on God’s command?’

‘Is your faith greater than another’s life?’

‘Is your faith so fragile, that mere words and cartoons can shake it?’

You can kill the atheists and kill the freethinkers 

But you will alienate your own followers

Don’t look at the Middle East

The land of extremism could soon be ours

This a toast to the fearless revolutionaries

Their sacrifice will never be forgotten 

Men die, women die but ideas don’t 

They died for our sins

Now their blood is our ink

The Point Of View

He ran with all his might 

The sun was almost up 

And he hadn’t reached his well yet

All around he saw people

Jumping into their wells

A huge queue near the Christian well

A very big one near the Islamic well

Some people were jumping into the Democratic well

Some others were jumping into the Communist well

But he had to find his 

In this chaotic mess

Finally he did

Filled with delight

And a sense of achievement 

He jumped into his well just at about sunrise

He sunk deeper

And opened his eyes
This was his life now

Sinking deeper into the well with every breath

Never to meet people of other wells

Knowing only his waters

Oblivious to the vastness of the sky

Refusing to explore the Garden of Life

And staring only at the segment of sky

That his well opening permitted him to see

He sunk deeper

‘Incredible’ India

The French lady was excited

She had heard a lot about this exotic nation!

She looked around with a child’s curiosity at the temple

However she was stopped

They asked her to step aside

‘You can’t go in wearing clothes like those!’

‘It’s against the culture, cover yourself up!’

She reluctantly wrapped a towel around her skirt

Walked into the temple with watered down excitement

She looked around 

The place was filled with sculptures of explicit nudity

Sculptures of obscene polygamy and voyeurism on full display

Confused, she kept walking…

Of Religion And Society

The sheep gathered in the feild
Grazing the grass as always
When a goat walked by
The lamb was curious
He had heard about the Goat
But never seen him
Where are you going Mr. Goat?
Asked the lamb
I’m off to the Garden of Eden
The Goat replied
The Garden is only a legend Mr. Goat
Said the Lamb desperately
The Goat cackled with laughter
The animals sing the praises of the place
It is a place of infinite pleasures
I shall find it and make it my home
But Mr. Goat what if you don’t find it?
I will, as I’m determined to
I have faith in my senses
And loads of experience
Unlike the others I have read a lot about Eden
Would you like to join me?
The Goat asked with a smile
Just when the Lamb was about to reply,
His parents came hurriedly
And whisked him away
They asked Mr. Goat to leave
Never again should you speak to him
Mama sheep said
But momma he’s going to the Garden of Eden
There is no such place
Momma snapped back
The Goat will be eaten by the Tiger in the woods
Eden can be reached by following the shepherd
He knows what is best for us
The Goat is evil
He thinks he can reach Eden without the shepherd
He is a fool
Assured his poppa
The lamb watched the Goat slowly walk away
He did not want to defy his parents
But he wanted to go to Eden as well…