The deepest hue

I love you, and that’s all that matters, because despite life’s ups and downs, victories and disappointments, a lifetime spent loving you, with the deepest emotion, so different from all the other feelings that hit us from different directions. Yes, a lifetime spent knowing the source of all beautiful feeling and depth, while still retaining innocence, is worth it all in the end. How many people know this deep red hue, which is the color from which all the other smaller pieces like joy or peace emerge? A handful really, in this world of trillions, and why? I don’t know, because love is not something we can force into submission, or hack at the bark until we get to the core. It finds us and when two people love each other, which is different from lust or proclamations, though misfortune threatens the house or even ruins it, though there are times when feuds separate the two and they doubt each other’s sincerity, some deep red lantern of trust, brings them back: a slender thread at first, and then a tough string of steel, and I don’t care about years lived, or about a post-life nirvana, I care about you, and right now, at this moment I love you, and my core feels it, my hearts beats to its rhythm, and my soul sings it tune, and isn’t this closure my sweet? Isn’t this the most beautiful idyllic place to live: never without, but within?

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

Finding me

I’ll leave soon, and I’m not returning; at least never in entirety. Perhaps a part of me (a tiny sliver really) will live amidst the machinery, the dust, the grind and the cacophony. And I already exist here in some semi-soma induced half-euphoric sleep, letting the glint and glow of imagination live more than the body. So, don’t look for me, or ask for a wise word, a poem, or art to help you construct or deconstruct, because if that’s what you seek, you won’t get it. But is that what you seek? And certainly don’t look for me in person, because you won’t find me. But do you look for me? I guess, you can’t exist without me, but I can live in absolute solitude without you, and those are the two distinct spheres that envelope us: The first, like a hard paperweight, yet penetrable, with tendrils raking and reaching for a muse; the second a perfectly content, soft, yet impenetrable blue sphere, with closure, the only soft, cool breeze swirling within. But then again, I may be completely wrong. But right and wrong have nothing to do with this, do they? Haven’t I said enough that I don’t need you? And yet you trail like children after the piper or maybe you don’t. Haven’t I made it clear through word and action that I’ve jettisoned you from my system? And yet you follow clandestinely, pretending being inconspicuous or maybe you don’t. If you seek love, you’ll never get it from me, because you’re an iota to me, and try as you may, you’ll never possess me. But do you seek my love? My heart is mine alone, and I’m free to give it whoever I choose, and it isn’t any of you. But do you seek my heart? So you cannot make me love or hate you, but just acknowledge your presence, and walk to my own rhythm. If you trail, do so, for the rest of your life, even though you’ll soon lose sight of me. If you stealthily leap from rooftop to rooftop, do so, until you see me no more, and lose your footing, and fracture yourself. But if you’re elsewhere walking peacefully, do so. You’re present and so am I, and yet our minds will never be united, our souls never soaring together, and our hearts never beating in rhythm. But do you desire that? If you choose idealism and still believe, do so, until you meet the sordid ground. If you wish to move on, and find another, do so. I wish you well. If you wish to love someone else furiously, do so. I wish you well. If you’ve already found what you seek, and have no need of me, good, because it doesn’t matter to me. If you wish to think these lines are for you, it’s your prerogative, when they’re actually about me finding bliss in simplicity, and moving on to the next chapter of my life. So do as you please, because no one stops you, and here’s the secret that makes me do the same: I gave up even wanting to know what you do or say, some time ago.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

Violence

If you said that you were a man of peace, and didn’t have any violent tendencies at all, I’ll doubt both your core and authenticity. I will be forced to judge. Sure, you can speak eloquently and show impeccable manners, and flaunt a highbrow sense of elitist humor. You can disdain anarchy, political upheavals, and bloody revolutions; or murder and torture, but you know your pretensions, my friend. A man of high moral values indeed! A joke! Either naïvety masks your rage, or you sublimate, or you’re an absolute hypocrite. Examine yourself, and you’ll know where you lie. I listen to old men prattle about ‘double standards’, and scumbags, without any lucidity of who they are. It’s either that, or they’re wife beaters feigning ‘class’. The anger isn’t always active though; it’s often passive. It’s bottled up, and hence the rant about how some people are degenerates or drug addicts without a cause. Or it’s racist hate that the man secretly keeps, while he preaches to the choir. Or it’s so hidden, that the man comes across as the ideal ‘gentleman’, obedient to his wife’s demands, while he secretly loathes her, and that’s a disgusting cycle, hard to break from. It’s better to have an overtly debauched vulgarity, than an overtly passive one. Now, I’m not endorsing crime, but I’m saying that an angry man who knows his situation can change, while one who keeps it inside and denies it will never possess the necessary insight that’s the first step to rehabilitation. So, sublimate, write fictional violent pieces, but just don’t act it out. It’s not worth it. But does violence solve anything? In extreme cases, it does. How else to put down a dictatorial, authoritarian, totalitarian regime except through a violent revolution? Peace doesn’t always work, and even peaceful protests (which are only a collective form of passive aggression) unnerve the ruling party, because they sense the masses gathering, and think, “What’s to prevent them from arms and war next?” You don’t have to agree with this. And yes, I believe in just war. If your country is unnecessarily invaded for no fault of its own, then it’s the duty of the ruling party to defend it at all costs. I also believe in another kind of just war, which helps emancipate a completely subdued people under the rule of a lunatic who thinks he’s God. But this needs a subtle approach. Drone strikes, or innocent people butchered only defeats the cause itself. Finally, we come to self-defense. Yes in cases where a life or a life of a loved one is threatened, I believe you should defend yourself or them. But I definitely don’t believe in teachers carrying guns, or preachers with weapons.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

Elements

Focus on the elements, and you’ll meet emotion. The placid lake will give you quietude, but if coated with humidity, a mixed feeling that brings no repose. Fire blazing will bring fear and disorientation, but if you looked at the still blue within the scalding orange, you’ll find that even torture holds calm. The air isn’t felt or seen, unless you let it touch you, and that requires an absolute disconnection from the chime, or books read or in our postmodern world, technology. And when you let it faintly graze you, you’ll know solitude, but you’ll still never see it, and that’s the enigma, which evades even the mind’s eye. And finally the earth: Organic and tangible. When imbued with petrichor, its flavor changes, but it’s still what it is. And this is poetry: A serene piece like a soft prayer of thankfulness, or a psalm of David giving you those mixed, hostile feelings before the final note of catharsis. The fiery rage against disease or injustice, yet possessing endurance, and something ethereal that isn’t seen, but felt only if you immerse yourself in it. And finally metaphors like a slab of bloody meat, butchered but full of protein. And even if it’s cooked like a well-done steak, with a pleasing aroma, it’s still without a golden halo. It’s food for the body: great in taste and vitality. But art and the elements don’t make us. They influence us in ways we allow them too, but the soul exists outside them, even though they affect the body or mind, and this is the separation that keeps us at a healthy distance, and getting too close only leads to delusion, reducing a person to mere abstractions while they think it’s elevating them to transcendence. Art and the elements are mediums. So we don’t worship or embody them. We use them and are thankful to providence for giving us these gifts or curses – depending on our perceptions, which change if we allow them too.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

Ruminating on the Curtain Call

I’m more prone to a final exit in blaze; fire
although I’m not discounting the chill, the slow ice
but here’s a paradox – I love the cold and freeze:
my vapor breath, and solitude’s charm and quick pierce
more than the humid beach, and sweaty, prattling mass –
a house on the bone-rattling alabaster peak
I seek, more than a villa leading to the sea,
but fate to man is hardly a soft, sweet exchange –
I’m more prone to a final exit in blaze; fire.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

Innocence within the femme fatale

There’s something about her writing that brings me back. It isn’t a Fitzgerladean crescendo, slowly building up in the tender night, tugging at your heartstrings eloquently and ethereally. No, it’s sprinkled with sawdust, and rusty nails, but once you dig deeper – at the risk of getting injured – you’ll find a hidden gem with so much depth and candor: multifaceted and transparent. But I’m sure a lot of people don’t dig enough: either from the fear of reciprocation, or because their superficiality and walking canes make them tragically stereotype themselves. We’re quick to label writing as coarse, or cantankerous, when we have our own periods of vulgarity during the day, which the Sauvignon never solves. An artificial faux-elitist conservativeness is what I call it. And I’m guilty too, but I’ve moved beyond it. An indelible keloid or a permanent tattoo both cut through skin, and just because the latter seems attractive, it doesn’t mean the former doesn’t bring with it the pain of experience. But I go back to her, and I like the diamond in the dust – if you’ll permit me to use a cliché – or the eccentric frequency like Miles Davis’ Paraphernalia submerged beneath layers of Grindcore, and who’s to say I don’t like both? I can listen to Meshuggah bringing individual units together to form a polyrhythmic machine, before finding another swirl of life in Chet Baker and Paul Desmond playing a standard like Autumn leaves: The latter’s unique alto tone evoking more than feelings; almost literally placing me in another space and time. There’s so much beauty in art, but it lies in perception, and never in battles for superiority, or petty feud – counter feud poetry. We’re just individuals, and from a bird’s eye view, we’re one with the earth we walk on, shaped and molded by it, and what we create should facilitate growth, and nurture a collective artistic consciousness. Irrespective of the approach: confessional, descriptive, satirical, or a separation between the writer and his work, or pure stream of thought, this journey is beautiful.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

Crossroads

He grew up in a semi-urban, hot and humid neighborhood in India, and prided himself more in his caste than his ethnicity. He believed that the term, ‘Brahmin’, brought with it a plethora of intelligence that fate denied men of other castes. He feasted on his social status, and the wisdom that the gods bestowed on the ‘chosen few’ or to use an Anglicized term, the ‘elect’ because his parents taught him exactly that: His father, an archetypal ruler of the household, erect and stiff-necked, and his mother, immersed in making sure prayers with bells ringing, and honey and milk were attended to with intricate detail. Both his parents believed in omens and the right alignment of the stars, and said that it’s ‘science’. As he grew, he lived his dream of making money, and making his parents proud, and giving them something to boast about, which in essence was his father’s dream, and which in turn will be his son’s dream. He got the grades necessary, applying his acute intelligence, and won a scholarship abroad. He landed in the Bible belt, and lived there with a Southern Baptist family for the duration of his MBA. He found them odd at first, and could never reconcile with their religious beliefs, but their conservatism appealed to him, and like most Indian men who study abroad and then return, he came home with an accent that’s put on, and a façade of Americanism, while fundamentally clinging to his tradition. He got a high paying job as a management consultant, and soon traveled, sticking to his vegetarian roots, burps after each meal, and the loud, boisterous fart in public, while wearing an Armani suit, a Christian Dior watch, and fashionable leather shoes. He gave his talks in his fake accent, while CEOs nodded in approval, secretaries gave him the look, although he wasn’t great looking, and women bosses found him alluring, despite the idiosyncratic fart. He returned to India later; spoke to the crème de la crème only, and soon owned a pristine white Contessa, because he preferred it to the Ambassador, and those were the only two elite vehicles then, owned by politicians in white and powerful men. Sure, there were the Fiats, and the small Marutis, but he jettisoned the very thought of them, like the thought of chicken curry that the ‘uncultured’ cooked. His parents soon decided on finding him a cousin he’d marry, and she was a squint-eyed Brahmin girl, who’d be her mother-in-law’s devout assistant, and the bearer of his son. But, he was a man of untamed lust, and couldn’t picture himself settling down with his cousin. He’d after all seen the most beautiful women, and struggled to keep chastity. He’d furiously masturbate, in posh hotel rooms for hours. Now it was too much to handle, and he needed a beauty. And so, he befriended a middle class Christian family, and set his sights on their daughter who was fourteen years younger than him. He was nearing forty, while she had just graduated from college. And her beauty captivated him; despite him holding the thought that Indian Christian women were ‘immoral’. He went against his parent’s wishes, seduced her, pulling the strings of her naïvety, and married her. He didn’t want a Church wedding and so it was a secular affair of sorts that his parents refused to attend. Until he got home after the ceremony – the urge to bed her, pulsating within him – he spoke to her kindly. His voice possessed a deceitful charm, a soft tenor that made her blush. But he then couldn’t find the keys to the Bungalow he’d built, and suddenly yelled at her. “Where did you keep the bloody keys?” he bellowed. She stood flabbergasted, and shaken to the core, until he realized that it was in his pocket. “Now, don’t tell me it’s my fault!” He raged, and she stood mute, not knowing what to say. Years of this transcended to physical violence, and since she couldn’t give him a child, he disregarded her as a barren woman. Adopting a child was beneath his dignity. He’d take her to parties though, where she’d smile though she wept inside, and he talked boisterously and farted. He imposed vegetarianism and Brahmin beliefs on her. Soon decades passed, and porn had arrived in its resplendent glory. His CEO friends gave him the CDs, and he got away with pretty much anything by gifting policemen bottles of champagne, or bribing them when the neighbors complained of a wife mistreated. One day, after one too many blows, finding catharsis in a group sex video, he strolled in his expensive, rich neighborhood, greeting influential men walking their dogs with their own trophy wives, and stood at a crossroads, when a thought occurred. “If I went back, I’ll continue abusing her, and somewhere it gives me no peace, but the roads to the right and the left eventually go back home too. So change is futile. And if I let her go, I’ll give her freedom and be frowned upon by society.” And so, making his choice, he went back to his bungalow with its red roof, white luxurious bathtubs, a new Mercedes parked in the garage, and a puppy that was her only consolation.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape