On Chimeras and a constant need for validation in our postmodern age

You sometimes encounter people in life who want you to love them intimately. They’re literally obsessed with you and try forcing their perceptions of intimacy on you. They’re not exactly stalkers but aren’t a far cry from that breed. Now, I understand unrequited love and the need for someone to reciprocate your feelings, but if you truly love someone, you’ll let them go. You’ll never force your delusions on them because no two people think alike.

Yes, there may be a collective consciousness, but I don’t believe in the concept of soul mates or two people sharing one soul. A collective consciousness is something more genetic and has to do with traits acquired and personality, but ultimately you are your being.

People fail to recognize this aspect of liberating individuality and seem to constantly seek the approval of the ‘other’. They have ideas of the other which are often so different from who the other really is. They have dreams and misconceptions that often lead to such acts of foolishness. We live in a cyber, postmodern reality where a few messages sent, or a few Tinder dates make ‘together forever.’

Love requires commitment. Love isn’t judgment. Love isn’t falling for fancies. Love has a deep emotional aspect to it but that’s something that one acquires after years of actual togetherness and it’s not the puppy emotional, fake, cyber simulacrum.

I have found strange people entering and exiting my life. They come in like hurricanes of trust and promises and exit like whirlwinds of bitterness all because they expected something that I didn’t want to give them. I can offer friendship, loyalty, and trust if people give me the same, but I cannot offer love that satiates your chimeras. People don’t understand that I’m not hardwired to love them like their mind tells them. Your mind tells you many things and you feel myriad things but most of what you’re going through is self-indulgence. Pure selfish, hedonistic anti-altruism and when I don’t give you what you seek, your bitterness erupts like a pustule and those warm eyes turn into icy glares meant to pierce or wound.

People go to insane heights when their delusion meets the hard ground. You’ll find them unfriending people on Social Media, engaging in gossip and projecting their anger and insecurities onto the person they perceive insulted them. They dig into their pasts and scrape old wounds until they’re bleeding again and play the blame game. The person of adoration becomes an object that needs destruction.

Sometimes the madness descends to utter incoherence. ‘How could you have done that?’ You’ll find them screaming when you did nothing wrong. I don’t love you and neither did you. You worshipped me, and I’m not flattered. I need you to move on. So, please get over it. That’s the only response you can give people like that and if you don’t want a direct confrontation, just cut ties. Trust me, any vicious cycle, even if a person has faced similar circumstances in their life but deludes themselves into thinking that creates a special unity, needs a severing.

What is with this age and the need for constant reinforcement? I guess social media has played a destructive role in fueling our narcissistic egos. It’s all about the likes, comments, and shares and it doesn’t matter if you’re happy or depressed. If you’re happy, you’ll resort to posting picture perfect selfies and gloat as the likes and comments flow. And then there’s the sorrowed narcissist. The person who uses depression, prior abuse, and the ostracism or bullying they’ve faced to get the same likes. This person doesn’t usually use Facebook but uses blogging platforms to achieve the same goal – an ephemeral reinforcement.

I think we’ve forgotten how to have a good time. We don’t even read paperbacks anymore. We prefer shortening our attention spans by spending time reading blog after blog, hoping someone will find our blogs and like or comment. And a comment; something said by a stranger we know nothing about makes our day. And if it isn’t repeated the next day, we feel insecure and lost.

My friends, this is shallow living. But getting out of this needs suffering. You need to suffer pangs of loneliness to know solitude. You need to suffer failure to know that victory isn’t everything and this is a gradual change or an unraveling of sorts.

Having said this, I’m guilty of so many things I’ve pointed out and criticized, but I’m slowly realizing that this cyber existence isn’t worth it. Now I’m not advocating a Luddite puritanism but a balance or a middle road like the Buddha put it – neither giving in to too much or too little.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Binky the Clown

So, you’ve returned. Ha! I knew Binky the Clown will come back to us. You had such grandiose dreams! Pfft! Becoming a CEO, was it? A Michelin Star Chef? I remember when you walked out on us. You acted like you ran things here. ‘It’s my life, and I’m sick of the circus,’ you said. ‘Just you wait and see. I’ll be someone,’ you said. Look at you now. Begging for a job. Why should I offer you one? Give me one good reason Binky? Sure, you’re short on cash, but aren’t we all? The trapeze artist works at a male strip club when he’s not hanging midair. Hell, he puts both his life and his dignity at risk. And here you are looking all miserable, begging for another chance. The tightrope walker is a part-time hooker. So, why come here, thinking you’ll get enough? We can’t even buy good meat for the Lions and the mime’s smoking crack. The elephant is unwashed, and he’s temperamental as hell these days. Hell, the front tooth missing janitor no longer whistles with the spit coating his jaw. But maybe, just maybe I have a job for you Binky. So, there’s a market you see. There’s this bunch of sick freaks into clown fetish. It’s called Coulrophilia. They’re usually thick-moustached, lipstick wearing, bespectacled men who keep pictures of Ted Bundy with hearts drawn all over them in their wallets. Dinky won’t do it because he’s handling the Balloons and Jinky won’t do it because he’s covered in his puke most of the time. But I’ll pay you enough if you do it. They’ll want you dressed up, complete with makeup and wearing a pink thong. So what do you say? You up for it. It’ll probably be challenging at first, but you’ll get used to it. Some of them will snort cocaine off your party nose, while others will coat your red, blue or green hair (depending on their preferences) white. You know what I mean. See, you must realize that you brought this on yourself Binky. Now we were a family, and we were doing fine. But you and the knife thrower and the star gymnast just had to leave, didn’t you? You had potential Binky. I saw a tragic-comic sensation in the making. But you just had to go, didn’t you? Well, comedy and tragedy can still meet. And I know you’ll take the job. Your wife’s left you. You can’t stop shooting crap into your arm. Hell, you can’t even talk without a slur. So, sign here and there and remember to wear a pink thong. It’s something they’ve got going in their circle. You’ll find out why soon enough, I’m sure. I don’t want to know.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Old Souls

If you’re gone tomorrow, I’d find myself meandering cracked sidewalk after cracked sidewalk, trapped in a Kafkaesque reality; loneliness the bigger, brutal, menacing, monstrous pugilist and I, the grief-ridden journeyman wishfully hoping for a Buster Douglas knockout.

If you’re gone tomorrow, a scythe of angst will pierce right through the ribcage, tearing my heart out and tossing it to predatory mongrels, and I writhing, screaming, shrieking and wailing will scrape hard ground until my fingers bleed; never finding solace or comfort.

They say, ‘Never make a person your everything because even the most beautiful people in your life are finite and flawed,’ but what we’ve seen together, what we’ve fought together creates a bond that inches close to perfection like a boy on a stool almost touching that cookie jar.

They say, ‘Never venerate or worship a person because we’re inherently depraved; fundamentally twisted,’ but I don’t idolize you, or picture you as a goddess in white one moment and a false prophetess the next. No, I love you and I know that what I offer isn’t perfect but I’m giving it my all because you do the same for me.

In this age filled with cyber Bautas and click-bait emulation where people create unnecessary drama because they’re quick to imitate what they see on cheesy romcoms or ground themselves in the verses of the Book of Buzzfeed; where lust and love are synonyms in an urban dictionary that’s so tech-savvy and theater-oriented; complete with floodlights and background Indie music, we know true suffering and those hearts don’t go dry, darling.

In this age filled with picture perfect selfies of togetherness and bizarre notions like ‘breaking up when we’re still in love,’ we rise beyond a constant need for a cyber reinforcement of likes, re-blogs, and claps. We do this because love is a gentle commitment that’s long-standing and come wither or weather stands like the strong oak (if I were to use clichéd imagery). We do this because love is a profound emotion that’s a far cry from millennial infatuation. It comes from peeling layers and layers of the onion of each other’s personality, and though that stings and hurts sometimes, it creates a strong synergy, a symbiosis that endures despite parasitical tendencies. We do this because love isn’t playing make-believe with emoticons and hearts, a delusional carousel of romantic jargon that the internet’s filled with. We do this because love isn’t acting out a character or playing a part like life’s a movie and reality is something some unseen hand records while we flaunt our pseudo-eccentricities.

We do this because I love you and you I.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Where I stand

They called me a freak, a madman, an insipid David Bowie imitator, a theatrical showman of melancholia wailing, ‘Cry! Cry! Cry!’ And it tainted the very breath of life in me for years with the ash of rejection. I spent years in that debris-strewn, segregated section of this cruise ship we call society – which is heading straight to an iceberg anyway – third wheeling with Ostracism and Loneliness. Yeah, we were thick as thieves, but they held the daggers and stabbed me when they felt fit; the juice of life spilling on that sediment filled coffee stained floor while I clutched my wounds and cried, ‘Mercy!’ I would go to the ship’s deck now and then – after I’d healed – where people took selfies in their Titanic poses and I’d meet callous indifference or a stare emanating from spikes masquerading as pupils. I wanted in. I wanted that ‘something substantial’ that they had, only to realize that they had nothing but a simulacrum of truth, a frivolous façade like bad graffiti on a wall painted with gaudy shades so that it looks good from a distance. Then I crept back to my room with dog-eared books and shattered bottles of alcohol, the liquor flowing everywhere, embodying the stench of futile attempts to escape addiction, which was both nauseating and strangely welcoming. ‘Fuck this shit!’ I’d cry without tears. Apathy spitting black phlegm on an already darkened heart. Grunge playing. The Drop D tuning and brooding vocals haunting me but giving me a feeling that there were other rooms like the one I was in. Rooms with messy bedspreads, stinking of sweat and semen of yesterday’s flings. Rooms with tobacco on dirty, cluttered desks with Radiohead CDs, and chargers and laptops riddled with porn. Rooms with half-smoked cigarettes in makeshift ashtrays; cigarettes I’d pick up and smoke again because I didn’t have it in me to fight against the grain and walk up to the cigarette vendor for third class misfits. I watched the first class socially aristocratic listening to ‘Indie Rock’ because it was fashionable and jogging with aesthetically pleasing figures and great hairstyles. I watched the second class socially stable trying hard to rise above their station and join the elite. Riddled with doubt and sick of banality I puked and puked in my room, only adding to the grime and the filth and the odor. I listened for whispers of hope, but they weren’t forthcoming and seemed lost in esoteric circles that talked of new moons and gnosis. I ached for songs of joy but heard a metallic ringing like a newly diagnosed Schizophrenic patient does: an iambic drill, a soft grind followed by a loud thud. Ten excruciating syllables. Finally, nihilistic, and quite frankly absurd, I accepted my eccentricities and my idiosyncrasies. I embraced the room and sought enlightenment right there. Now, I gave up on love, life, and even breath but never gave up on myself. And that’s the path taken that still hacks its way towards the horizon.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Beyond the pain

The fields lie painted with soft Autumn’s shade
The sky is ashen, waving its escape
The leaves sigh – a soft portal simply made
For you and me, beyond the painful rake
Of Fate’s oracular rough, bad dice throw
So, let’s find in each other, simply make
Some beauty, comfort; draw it from below
This union of black pain – this dark lake
Of brokenness that only acts like it
Binds, forges and refines for moment’s sake.
Let us face Truth, and simply see it fit
To go past the sick, finally awake
To silver linings and lush leaves of song
And darling, there, then, we will not go wrong.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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An ode to the now

One day when this long fight is over and
I stand before the throne, asked if I ran
The good run, or pushed that aesthetic hand
Away and chose to be a reckless man –
So self-indulgent, will I say, ‘Oh Lord!
I tried and tried but some scars never heal.’
Or will I say, ‘Though I was this harsh chord
Your grace kept me through and you held, did seal
This sinner who forsook you and said, No!
How you reached out and pulled him from below
The filth and grime of his depravity
And gave him wealth beyond insanity!’
I don’t know what that golden day will bring
But now, despite my pain, I’ll simply sing
A song of thankfulness for the now, here
A song of joy that slowly brings me near
Redemption’s gold or the strength to rise, move
And paints my day with a soft, strong blue hue.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Elegantly done

Suddenly somewhere someone appeared
holding a glinting dagger under Autumn’s
shivering skies. Come Lace! Come Lingerie!
Come Fellatio! She cried, while the
golden lake glimmered under the seething sun.
Be my muses! Tonight, we’ll make him spill
white before gentle rivulets of red
slowly snake their way between porcelain tiles.

Cordova Apartments, No 4, the dull moaning
aroused someone. She was next.
He’d booked well in advance.

Platinum blonde, side-swept hair, a slender frame,
she placed her ear to the door and listened patiently.
He’d booked her for 5 in the evening, but she’d done
her research, knew he had another at 4. And so,
she arrived before her slot, just for the voyeuristic
thrill, an aphrodisiac of sorts.

Come blue eyes! Come sweet lips! She thought.
I don’t play the salacious whore but pleasure
and pain are mine to give.

She walked out into the garden with a smile,
plucked a hyacinth and slowly picked the petals:
one for a lover and another for a fling,
one for beauty and another for elegant gore,
one for tenderness and another for fear,
one for muted sighs and another for muffled cries,
one for the white and another for the red,
one for his gentle touch and another because he’s dead.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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