Thursday, October 16, 2008

Do you believe in god?

"Do you believe in god?", She asked.
He was taken aback. He never gave a thought on that. Ever.

He was made to believe in god. No "made to" is not correct. He was never forced. It was always around. He grew with it. He grew seeing his grandma doing all the fasting sincerely, even when she suffered from severe diabetes and missing a single meal meant a lot for her old used up body. He grew seeing his mother passing first drop of water or first bite of food down her throat only after she had her bath, did her prayers and paid her respect to sun god. He grew seeing his uncles remaining unshaven on "special days" of god. He chose to believe in god. He felt happy going to temple with mother, getting tilak on his head, eating prasad which the priest gave and drinking camphor water which he did even though he never liked doing (camphor taste gave strange feelings to his throat). He liked eating fruits and food specially cooked for fasting days. He loved doing pooja to his books, his bicycle, his toys on diwali and dusshera. Firing crackers on diwali, dancing during navaratri was so much fun.

But today, today though the answer he gave was yes, that yes was just to put an end to the matter. Just to answer her question. He was not in a position to say no and then being pressed to answer all the that would follow.

But once he was alone in his bed, in darkness, during night, he searched for the answer. He was sure that there was a counter question in his heart the time when he said "yes". A feeling which took birth in his heart and ran through his brain and body in a millisecond and died. That feeling made him shiver. That feeling told him he was lying, that he was wrong. He started arguing with himself.

He felt himself getting ripped into two parts.

"You don't believe in god. By now you should have understood there is no such entity. ", Said the first part.

"No, you are worng. Whatever you have is because of all strong god. There is god.", Screamed the second part. The part close to him.

"Ha, Ha, Ha, laughed the first part. What did you say? "Whatever you have." What do you have?" And that part became invisible. But his strong devilish laugh ringed in his ears for a long time.

Yes, he was right, what did he have? Once he had. He had everything. For others everything was same. For them, he was him, what he used to be. But for him, everything was different. His beliefs had died. His heart questioned for everything now.

Whether he has friends? For this moment, yes, so many! For next, no, he is not having any friend. Not even one. He is not having anyone with whom he can share everything. And everything meant everything. So, he is without any friends.

Whether he is healthy? For this moment, yes, he is. Never more healthier! For the next moment, no, he is not. How he spends those fierce nights with his eyes open, thinking nothing. How a small wound in his body, a small bulging in his neck (which he comes to know later was just a side effect of cold he had), a small change anywhere in his body - scares the hell out of him. No, he is not healthy. Not mentally, if not physically. Or the other way round. He has no answer.

Whether he is happy? This moment, yes he is. He keeps smiling, he keeps jumping, he keeps laughing. Sharing jokes, passing comments, enjoying. Yes, he is happy! No, he is not. Whether he is in the place he wanted to be? No, he is not. Is he with people he wanted to be with? No, he is not. Is he doing work he loved and and once dreamt of doing? No, he is not. Is he the reason for things, for people. No, he is not. And he looses badly if he tries. He has tried several times now trying to go near people. Trying to make friends. But nothing works. So, no, he is not happy. Is he alive? Ha, Ha, Ha. Again that devilish laugh ringing in the ears for a long time.

Ah! He is moving away from what he started with. He wanted to search answer for whether he believed in god or not. And what he ended thinking. This happens now. This happens several times at several places now. He wishes something, he tries something, he gets something else. And above all, now he takes what he gets, no questions asked, no battles fought. Yes! We hit the root. Here lies the answer. Whom to fight with? Whom to ask questions? There was a time when he prayed to god, he thanked to him for good times, he complained to him for bad times. And he felt then that his prayers are being noticed, are being anwered.

But then came a time when everything stopped. Nothing changed. He prayed, he complained, he fought, he cried, he shouted, he screamed, but no reply, no anwer, no change. Bad things kept coming, one after another, one after another, like those ants coming over a dying cockroach. Earlier he used to find it amusing. He used to think that that cockroach is alive but still he is not running away. Not reacting. How can he surrender to such small ants, particularly when he is not even dead yet? He used to laugh at the cockroach. But now, he himself was on sympathy of ants, of time, of destiny, of fate, of luck, of god. You choose the word you like. He will not speak. He will not react. He will just accept and move ahead. Nothing to do. Nothing to show. Nothing to bother about.

So did he believe in god? If someone is ready to hold responsibility of whatever happened in his life and whatever is happening, then yes, there is god. And if only he is supposed to account for, even without his being the reason for anything that happened, then no, there was no god. Why should he believe in something if not believing is not making any difference? Right?

Generally, no, not generally, always now, he will come to such conclusions and his brain will go numb, will go blank . Again a long fierce night with eyes open and nothing to think............

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Jonathan Mann - 1

Jonathan Mann is my close friend. And we came even closer after that day at Fishire annual fish games. Jonathan Mann was digesting his lunch over a pot of coffee overlooking a group of young fishes all looking bumps-a-daisies. The group consisted of a hogfish, a fusilier, a perch, a trevally and a cod, all surrounding an archerfish discussing some hot topic. He seated himself more comfortably. Suddenly something in white appeared up in the air coming towards him at the speed of light.

Fishes, new to the place, would have taken the thing on the head and would have lost their conciousness before seeing that the thing was just a sugar lump thrown by a friendly fin in the neighborhood. But Jonathan, now well acquainted to the place, successfully dodged the lump and beamed like a purring pussy cat on the catfish who threw it.

"Kya Umar Thi, Kya Sama Tha, Kya Jamaana Tha,
Ek Haseena Thi, Ek Deewaaaaaaaaana Thaaaa "

Himesh Fishemiya was singing in the background. The view around Jonathan made him conclude that joy reigned supreme, that Fishemiya was singing at his best, that everything in world was alright, that god was in heaven, that devil in his hell and nothing could be more smooth. He was feeling so fit today, bright eyes, rosy cheeks, sap flowing and rising in his veins and arteries as well. For a moment he forgot that since he was "the Jonathan Mann", what he felt at the moment was wrong and quite temporary. Once the serene moment passed, he remembered the day at the Fishire annual fish games and all his joyous feelings swooshed in the air.

"Ishq ki woh gali, Baat jiski chali,
Us gali me, mera aanaa, aana jaana tha,
Ek hasina thi, Ek diwaaaana thaaaaaaaaaaa"

Since he was a Himesh fan, he made a mental note that he is supposed to watch the new karz. So, we have Jonathan Mann (no more joyous) sitting at a corner looking at group of young fishes, all surrounding an archerfish and peeping out of the window. Jonathan did not first understand what they were up to. But once he overheard the conversation in the neighborhood, he knew exactly what they were up to. THEY WERE SHOOTING CHESTNUTS. As simple as that.

First, on hearing this, he felt strange. I mean there can be hundreds of things worthier of shooting - you can shoot tigers, you can shoot bears, you can shoot ducks, you can shoot faunas, you can shoot a gangster if you are in the force, you can shoot an aunt if you don't like her telling you not to scream and you can shoot anyone if you are a gangster yourself. But shooting chestnuts. That was quite out of the usual way. He was thinking in the same lines, when he realised that his train of thoughts were logically faulty. By shooting chestnuts they meant, shooting things with chestnuts as in by using a catapult.

Jonathan felt proud of his brain to discover the outcome in such a short span. It is many years since he himself owned a catapult in his village Fishire and was considered answer to Robin Grass, the famous Longtom from the neighboring village of Prawnshire. It was kindergarten stuff for fishes from Fishire, this catapult thing, a sort of stuff every fish from Fishire learns at it's mother's knee and Jonathan was best among all.

"Bewafa yaar ne, Apne mehboob se,
Aisa dhoka kiya, Aisha dhoka kiya
Zaher usko diya, Zaher usko diya"

"Fish Dudes", (the place were Jonathan was sitting), was considered blot on the metropolis of Fish York. The club was looked upon as low and was considered rest place for fishes for whom doing nothing was the most important work and having fun was life's motto. You name a bad fish and he will be member of "Fish Dudes". Fishes gathering here touched all the topics in the world. Topics such as weather, human aliens, dogs, cars (their treatment in sickness and in health), bomshells from Fishliwood, foreign policy of government, chances of local team in Folympics and what to do when you find a dead fish in your bath one fine morning with nothing on but a black spectacle.

Every now and then gentle fishes outside will hear cries and crashes coming from Fish Dudes. The scene of fishes flying (thrown !!!) in strange clothes out of Fish Dudes and running inside with double the enthusiasm as soon as they hit the ground outside was as ordinary as breathing. Because of this reasons, during all the time of day and night as well, you can see atleast two (or even more sometimes) copper fishers outside the club. And because these cops used force to maintain law and peace, every entry inside Fish Dudes (my friend Jonathan in particular) loathed them. No fish missed the chance of getting equal with these son of laws. They felt lucky, they felt proud, they felt strong, they felt invincible while carrying out the task of dealing with these cops. Details on it some other time.

For the time being coming back to Jonathan Mann. From his corner he decides something and starts walking towards the group with some air of a lionfish swimming towards its prey.

'Ah', said Jonathan taking the catapult from the fish in the centre. 'So this is the instrument. I would have preferred one with a whippier shaft, but we must not grumble. Yes', he said, moving to the window. 'I think I shall be able to make do. It is not the catapult, it is the fish behind that matters.' The first lesson a big game hunter learns, when on a safari for a tiger, is to watch and wait and Jonathan showed no impatience as the minutes went by and the only fish souls that came in sight were a couple of Goat Fish and a Big eye Barracuda. But he was confident that before long some worthy cop of his chestnut will emerge across the street. While waiting he had tense expectancy, a breathless feeling.

In about a minute, the moment arrived and there had come on the street across a tall, stout, florid fish who wore his high silk hat of the force like plumed helmet of a knight. He stood on the pavement with an air of authority looking satisfied that everything was in his control. In few minutes he was going to know how wrong he was.

'Tiger on skyline.' said the fusilier.
'Complete with topper', added the trevally, ' Draw the bead without delay, is my advice.'
'Just waiting till I can see the whites of his eyes', said Jonathan.

For a fish, who was new to the group, the air suddenly became like that of a fish who has had it drawn to his attention that there is a ticking bomb attatched to his coat tails, and knowing so whose each particular hair stands on end like quills upon a porpentine. He shouts, 'For heaven's sake Jonathan, you can't pot a cop's hat.'

Jonathan just gave a cold look to the fish and he was pulled behind by the hog and the cod for a proper explanation which he will remember till his death. Jonathan refocuses on his prey quickly for he thought if he do not give quick service, his quarry will be gone with the wind. From the way gills of the cop quivered as he sniffed the breeze, Jonathan was not sure that he was not already being scented.

Narrowing his gaze, he released the guided missile, little knowing, as it sped straight and true to its mark, that he will have to run from the spot immediately as the cop he hit was a tough one and was running towards Fish Dudes sole entrance shouting words we will not be able to account for here.

As soon as the chestnut hit the cop, there was a joyous shouting which resulted in a chain reaction with every fish inside the club screaming at the top of its voice. Claps, flying sugar lumps, even flying fishes were seen at that moment. Jonathan, happy but equally tensed, thought for a moment and ran towards the stairs behind the bar which was used to reach the first floor which was being used as a warehouse. The club was old and wooden. Earlier there was no first floor in the club. But to make space, bar owner Mr. Sore (a bennett's puffer), built a thin wooden partition over, so that the space between that partition and original roof, could be used as a warehouse. It was heavily stuffed, was very old and was on the verge of breaking.

The reason for explaining the roof is, Jonathan went for the same warehouse, and added weight of his heavily built body along with other stuffs. He was quiet and silent. He knew that till the cops themselves did not climb and check, he was safe. That no fish in Fish Dudes will give out his name. He could hear the shouting of the cops inquiring about which son of the blot dared to hit the hat of the force. Jonathan heard a low cracking voice somewhere around. He took it for rat fishes in the warehouse. But the sound gradually increased. And before he realized that it was the sound of breaking wood, the temporary roof gave up, and Jonathan fell down with a thud, with all the stuff of warehouse raining on him.

Every fish below was shocked with this sudden shower of things. Before anyone can understand anything, Jonathan stood up, removing debris from over his body. First thing he saw before him was the Copper with the blasmy hat whom he hit. The cop was looking at him with a cold eye and a question mark. All Jonathan could utter were the exact words "THE NAME IS BOND, JAMES BOND." And he leaped towards the door of Fish Dudes. All he could hear behind was shouts and cheers of fellow Fish Dude Fishes.

"Saamna jab hua, phir wahi sab hua,
Saamna jab hua, phir wahi sab hua,
Uspe yeh karz tha, uska yeh karz tha,
Karz to Farz Apna Chukanaaaaa tha,
Hoo, Hoo Hoo Hoooooo,
La La La Laaaaaaaaaa,
Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey,
Ek hasina thi, Ek deewanaaaaaa tha.. "