On writing

This is a picture of glowing embers. To me, it represents perseverance which is a prominent theme in my post.

He’s like a hawk, waiting for me to impulsively write a bad blog post, or a trite love poem, lacking depth. And the moment I do, he’ll come swooping down with those fierce talons and say, “Well done! This is one of your best posts!” while he chuckles behind my back. He doesn’t realize that I see through all his deceptive schemes, and that I have no time for games.

There was a time when my writing was obscure and shaded what I really wanted to convey like the smog hides the locomotive. There was a time when I imitated the poets I admired, and my uttering probably made them writhe in their graves. There was a time when I forced writing out like a bulimic induces vomiting. I did it because I walked on some dreamy shore then, basking in the sunrise as waves of romanticism washed my feet. But I’m both my biggest admirer and biggest critic. And so, I deleted my work myriad times, and came back after having suffered and having gained more experience. And experience produces perspective that replaces a bird’s-eye-view of reality with unique vantage points that reflect a writer’s idiosyncrasies, pain and love. It helps a writer imbue his work with a wealth of emotion that was previously missing. It helps a writer express his deepest longings and his wildest angst.

Some call me a ‘misfit,’ but if I didn’t walk lonely, weather-worn streets, I’d never know a harrowing reality where the church-bells don’t chime, and the hearse is the only vehicle seen. Others call me a ‘madman,’ but without madness, I’d never understand the minds of those who conform, and those other hypocrites who pretend to. Madness helps me understand the terrifying false light that illuminates so many paths; eventually leading people to a pit with worms and snakes. Madness helps me see through facades of optimism with their garish colors and helps me understand just how petty we all are. It helps me strive to be more honest.

At least I’m open about my faults and misgivings. I am often proud and malicious, and I elevate my grief and self-loathing to astronomical proportions by doing foolish things. But all said and done, I’m not some 45-year-old, married, cyber-stalking chickenshit posting under a false name and trying to seduce women half his age with stories about dead lovers. An initiator of online feuds who uses self-pity and an imagined penis size to try and start relationships with people he’s never met, before blackmailing them when they reject him. Have some self-respect!

Today, I’m far from a perfect writer, and I’m not a perfect person, but I try and try some more, and I don’t give up. Call me a tragic optimist, or a foolish idealist but if I didn’t try, my life would be deprived of even ephemeral meaning.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Wanting more

I woke up this morning and I looked outside my window. I watched the Flame of the Forest in all her effervescence, dancing to the rhythm of the breeze, giving herself up to the wind’s cadence.

I felt peace. I felt serenity. I felt a rush of tranquility, but it was short-lived.

Soon the voices in my head, and the hurt of the past screamed, shouted and shrieked. A scythe of disquiet hacked my solace in two, and I, distraught and disturbed wandered corridor after corridor, groping in the darkness, looking for answers in a society of charlatans wearing Bauta’s and just hating each other.

Passive aggressive hate.
Aggressive passionate hate.
Passionate passive hate.

Hate, hate, greed, greed, bitterness, bitterness, anger, anger – a theatre of mockery and psychosis, and here I am standing on the stage through the seasons, seething and broken, wanting to do something about it.

Dear Society,
Why do you have to be like that?
Why do you have to screw me over?
Why do you have to fuck me up?

I wish someone would find me amidst the puke covered streets, and the stench of ditchwater. I wish someone would breathe life into me. I wish someone would love me furiously, ferociously and pull me down from the cross, nurse my nail pierced body, remove this crown of thorns and I wish she’ll show me more to belief and faith, and draw my anger out of me.

I wish she’d understand me. I wish she’d transform this barren room with half-smoked cigarettes, spilled coffee and broken bottles of wine into something worth living in.

I wish she weren’t like the others – the women who came and went, waltzed in and foxtrotted out. I don’t wish for just physical intimacy. I wish for commitment, sacrifice and this beautiful, amazing thing that exists in the chaos, burning incandescently despite the wintry chill, this crazy thing we call love.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Pink Paper Lanterns

This is an image of pink lanterns. I've chosen it because my post is an allegory that revolves around pink paper lanterns. These lanterns have a sinister appearance and that augments my prose.

When I was younger, I passed by your house, faint beige with its pink paper lanterns and the aura drew me, made me want to know. You were rarely home, but you gave me the keys to that large gate, and trained your hounds to never bark at me. And so, after weary days, and idea and ideal driven romances with women, I sought refuge and sat on the plush couch and allowed myself to some wine. Sometimes you visited, being my friend, but our conversations were one-sided: Me lamenting, and reeking of self-pity like sour whiskey breath, and you listening. But I soon realized that you were only pretending to listen and had a sinister purpose: an ulterior motive to destroy me, but those paper lanterns, the rustic charm, the hearth and the smell of doors made of solid wood, made me return. I guess friendships are very rarely a mutual give and take, and I wished I learned that then. You set me up with a girl who was already in love with someone else, and then took delight as I wept, heartbroken and dejected. I finally tried freeing myself from our fake friendship, but the struggle was intense: those paper lanterns grew red, the walls a darker brown and the allure of comfort for a nomad more enticing, and then suddenly you seemed kind, even loving like a brother. And so, I listened to you though a voice within said you didn’t want the best for me. You said you knew enlightenment and I followed you, and for a while it seemed like you knew what you were talking about. The house seemed perfect, the paper lanterns dreamy and mystical, but then, just like that, you snatched the keys from my hand, the hounds barked, the paper lanterns became gargoyles with grotesque faces, and the house threatening. You wanted me trapped, howling and suffering, and foolishly, because of my naïvety I made myself beg you to let me in though you were more a monster than a friend. You didn’t agree because you delighted in my misery. You made sure all the women in my life turned against me, fractured the most beautiful relationships forged after years of suffering and sacrifice. But one day, I broke free of you and the house immediately turned beige again, the paper lanterns pink, and the rustic charm returned, inviting me. The dogs seemed like mute puppies, and the keys reappeared in my hands, and yes, I opened the gate, but the moment I did, I saw the ugliness, and threw them down while the dogs raged and hunted me down as I fled. I escaped and when I came back, the charm grew, but I kept saying no. The urges stayed until I said a flat no. And this evening, I finally saw a demolished house. I guess you’ve gone someplace else. So farewell my friend, because I’m done listening to you, and I know now that the deepest red lies within a heart you imprisoned, and it’s breaking free, slowly unleashing with a love unfathomable and I’m walking into a new age.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Men of Perdition

This is a picture of the beautiful woods with an ominous face in the background. I've used it because it represents the depravity of some men who destroy everything humanity stands for.

The clip found its way to YouTube, and my friends in college showed it to others on their phones as if it was a video of a back-heel nutmeg by Ronaldinho. I was guilty too, simply because I shared in the excitement. Many years later, it haunted me. He knelt, reading out something they’d forced him to. You could see the pain in his eyes, the horror in that look that begged for mercy. He knew that death was nearby like a rabid dog, uncontrollable, and rushing towards him, but he still grappled with fate; wrestled with all his might against an indomitable force, and even though the contest looked like a scrawny one-armed man trying to take down a Herculean Undefeated Olympic champion, he didn’t give up. He wanted to survive. I’m sure he’d wrapped himself with a blanket of delusion, and refused to let actuality pry it free. Perhaps, he sincerely prayed, and asked for both justice and grace; his petition so different from his mechanical chant at the Thanksgiving table. He was, at that moment, in the dusk of his life; reading from that penultimate chapter of his novel, unable to digest the words because what once read like a metaphorical delight with a debonair protagonist, was turning into an unambiguous note, filled with grammatical errors, and written by an unwashed, tired, bedraggled slave robbed of even the right to think. I’m sure he envisioned returning home to her; thought of when he met her, and how that moment became the apogee of his personal life. He’d found true love at last, but it was now enveloped by a miasma of despair, and her laughter which always summoned an ebullience that poets like Neruda have immortalized was now a faint stutter that tried to give him hope but failed; and the world they’d sewn out of Rayon Challis, was now spinning in the laundry machine, looking like a coarse mop cloth. He waited, and then felt the sword, and you could see the agony in his eyes as it slowly tore through the Levator scapulae. They were sawing away as if his neck was the bark of a tree. Soon his neck was partly separated from his body, and the sight resembled a normal distribution curve with the hanging head rising to meet the laceration, and the rest of the neck descending from it. It had an odd symmetry to it, and maybe my description is callous, but what’s really ruthless is men with black scarves around their faces, robbing a child’s innocence, and creating fissures in his heart by brutally murdering his father; men with twisted notions of faith, killing in the name of religion; declaring war on an already fallen race that is struggling to get by, and hoping to find elusive peace. Men butchering men like animals to announce their credo, to create a cause founded on askew notions of truth, thereby constructing an anathema with no real backbone; an abomination that has flayed reason and emotion, with an unmitigated penchant for destruction like an unpredictable tempest. Men who’ve rapidly descended that ladder of depravity, lost all inhibition, and are now like animals, grunting and howling; carnal beasts, who rape, plunder and then castigate immorality; men driven by frightening, twisted scruples, and are willing to die for them. Men who’ve abandoned love, and are already in perdition, hoping to devour many as they walk their journey of corrupt instinct; jog their marathon of hatred, and run their race of devilry.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)