Posted by: thetavernthoughts | January 12, 2019

The Solution

Aditya watched as the lift reached the sixth floor. His friend Vedant was by his side. They both had mud stains all over their school uniforms. Aditya held the foot ball beside along side with his bag and kept looking at Vedant with a half smile. Vedant kept staring at the indicator of the lift. The lift stopped on the sixth floor.

“Best of  luck” Vedant said with sardonic smile and a sarcastic tone.

“Oh shut up! at least I know how to score a goal. You toh never get selected even. You are bloody girl Aditya, you don’t deserve to be a boy.” Vedant retorted.

The door bank opposite to the lift was open. Vedant’s mother was putting incense sticks outside the door. She turned around and looked at Vedant. Her calm eyes flashed anger.

“Vedant you have spoiled the new t shirt” She caught him by the ear and took inside the house. Aditya smiled looking at the two of them

He pulled out the key to his house with his mud stained hands as the lift proceeded to the tenth floor. Some of the mud rubbed off the corners of the pocket and created a stain. Adiya rushed into the house and put his clothes inside the washing machine taking care to leave them beneath a pile of clothes already inside the machine. He then switched the machine on. He turned on the hot shower and curled up underneath it. The mud flowed down his skin to reveal his wheatish skin. His thin frame barely covered the bones. He looked at his thin long legs. He pushed his calf muscles as if to shape and strength them. He then lied back on the bathroom floor and left the shower water fall on him.

Every one mocked his girly voice and weak frame. The only place he felt appreciated was in the music class at the school. Their new teacher Dixit guruji as deeply impressed with his skill at singing. He closed his eyes he started singing the latest song he had been taught in class. “Let the winter cool the earth, on it, flamingos give  birth…” Simple rhyme and common verse of the song were stuck in his head.

He suddenly heard the main door open. Aditya wrapped a towel and rushed out only to find his father walked in. Father stumbled and the room suddenly reeked of Alcohol. Aditya rushed to support his father.

“Had dinner” his father asked with blood shot eyes. “I am not going to have any” His father suddenly got up and walked to the bedroom and crashed on the bed. Aditya put a bedsheet on him and rushed out. He put on a music channel and started humming tunes. He listened intently to how their tones were being modulated. He tried to figure every strum of the guitar and every beat of the drum. Eventually, he switched off the music channel and closed his eyes to practice one more time the song his teacher had taught him. He rehearsed first in his mind and then slowly gave his voice. This time the world around him disappeared, for him, only music emanating from his lips remained. He mentally corrected the scales to match the tones taught by his guru. Aditya felt that he had sung perfectly. After rehearsing the entire song he closed his eyes and observed the silence as taught to him by his teacher.

The Silence was broken however by sound of claps. He opened his eyes. His mother was at the main door waiting for him.  He rushed into her arms. “You sing well” she said, “Your voice is surely a gift of the gods.” Aditya could feel the blood rush into his cheeks. It had been a while since his mother said anything nice to anybody. She too was extremely thin.

“Have you had dinner?”

“No I was waiting for you mother” He said.

“What about your Dad?”

“Inside”

“Ok, go get the plates,”

They generally had dinner in silence but tonight Aditya’s mother was full of questions.

“Where did you learn to sing like this?”

“New teacher in school” Aditya answered with his mouth full of food.

“Yes but so well.”

“I do not know about that but Dixit guruji considers me his favourite student.”

“Wow. We must meet him then.”

Aditya smiled as he noticed his mother’s eyes light up like never before. Her cell phone began to ring, Aditya looked intently as she cut the call and spoke to him instead.

“Look Aditya I will give you a note. Give it to your Guruji.”

“Ok”

She tucked him to bed that night, Aditya counted her mobile phone rang four times in between. She cut the call four times. Aditya hugged her and fell asleep smiling.

The next morning he eagerly waited for the music class. The lectures had never seemed longer and tedious before. He wanted to meet his guruji. His mother had given a beautiful brown envelope with a letter inside for his teacher. Throughout the lectures Aditya kept looking at the envelope wondering what his mother had written. He desperately wanted to know what was in it. The only way to know was to give it to his teacher. Finally after lunch, the music period started.

Aditya sat in the front row, right in front of his favourite teacher. Mr Dixit, cleared his throat and looked at the faces of  the children. They all seemed a little sleepy, except Aditya who was as always excited. He smiled at Aditya.

“Today we learn the basics of Indian Classical Music”

The lecture was mostly about Ragas, Aroha and Avroha in the Indian Classical music. At the end of the lecture, the teacher to increase level of the class made them recite and practice a fast paced song. When the lecture ended Aditya gave his teacher the envelope. The teacher opened the envelope and read the letter.

“You mother wants me to teach you along with my other students who take these lessons privately. Are you interested?”

“Yes” Aditya said eagerly.

“Come with your mother, I am writing my address behind on the envelope.”

The next day after school Aditya opened the door with his own key. Lo, Behold his mother was right there. She was scrambling through her purse.

“Don’t relax, get fresh and ready we are going to music teacher house for your private tutoring.”

Aditya rushed in to the bathroom. Even in the sound of drops of shower he could various tones of music. He wiped the steam of the mirror in the bathroom. He smiled and looked at his perfect white teeth. He then proceeded to gargle loudly and spit out the water.

“Aditya come out fast.” His mother called, Aditya rushed out of the Bathroom.

Since that day Aditya started spending evenings with his guruji. Many other students came to Guruji’s place to learn music. They were from many different schools. Aditya could easily blend in, especially because Aditya’s voice made him something of a celebrity.

All guruji had to do was teach a new raga and Aditya seemed to effortlessly pick it up. At the end of the session Guruji would make every student sing personally, to help them get over stage fright and to see how much they had learnt.

On everyone of these opportunities Aditya felt a surge of emotion veiling up in his chest. A strange tension would seize him. Slowly beginning from toe and straight to his his head. He would feel as if his body is completely paralysed. Eventually it would be his turn to sing. He would walk in front of the class with jelly feet. He would survey the room and clear his throat before beginning to sing the Raga that had been rehearsed. As Aditya would sing the tension in his nerves would dissipate. He would feel light as feather before becoming completely focused on the music emanating from his throat. He could sense the rhythm in the ragas and control the pitch accordingly. Although he would make mistakes, the melody of his voice covered up these blunders. At the end of the song, other students would generally applaud the young boy. Aditya could feel the blood gush into his cheeks and he felt that his ear were hot every time.

What he enjoyed the most, however, was rehearsing everything he had learnt in front of his mom and dad. On very second day itself his father had surprised him by coming to pick him outside the class. Aditya had run towards his father as fast as his legs could follow him. His guru taught him that music was holy, and he believed his guru that day.

He remembered what his teacher had said. “Music is scared and it guides you to the divine. It is more about finding the inner truth, like Yoga, it is way of the union with the universal truth. The way of music is the way of warrior. In path of music you will meet many enemies, internal and external. The only way to beat them is practice, patience and sacrifice. SACRIFICE children is most important of the three. If you ever chose to become a musician by trade you will understand what I mean.”

As his father drove him back home. Aditya knew he was ready to sacrifice anything for music. The scared chants it seems, had enchanted his parents to come together again. After going home he practiced some more patiently. As he slept at night he wondered what sacrifice he would have to make in order to become the best singer in world.

The next evening, his mother dropped him off early at guruji’s place. He was surprised to see lot of elder students singing. Aditya sat listening carefully to them. The students were mostly in their early teens. One of them caught aditya eye and ear. God her voice Aditya noted. Geeta looked at him and Aditya realised that he had been staring. He involutarily blushed that seemed to make geeta smile. Guruji gave the class five minutes recess.

Geeta walked up to him. His heart started beating madly.

“Hey, I am Geeta, what are you called kid?”

“Aditya”

“Aditya, what std are you in Aditya.”

“I am in 1st Std”

“Wow, you are really grown up! Tell me what you are doing here”

Aditya felt a little annoyed with that question. He answered confidently though

“Is it not obvious that I am here to learn singing.”

Geeta was taken aback “Well you could be like Guruji’s relative!”

“Oh! No no, mom dropped me a little early today”

‘What have you been learning?”

“The basic exercises for modulation you know” As he spoke Aditya noticed that sleeve of Geeta’s kurta had raised up to expose her wrist. Her wrist seemed to have faint cuts. Geeta suddenly folded her hands and Aditya looked up at her startled.

“Sing” she commanded. “I want to see what you know”

Aditya swallowed a bit of saliva as his throat got dry and palms sweaty. She look right into his eyes, and his heart beat had suddenly gone through the roof. He cleared his throat and said “I am the best in my class. I will show you.”

Aditya closed his eyes to block her out and started to sing. His notes were out of tune at first. He did not stop or open his eyes. Instead he observed something in his mind’s eye as he started to give his voice form. It was Geeta’s wrists and those subtle cuts. It reminded him of his own dysfunctional childhood. His voice thus, got a twinge of that sad note. Geeta was taken aback by the clarity and serenity of his voice. When he opened his eyes he could see the look of shock in her eyes. She patted his back and said “Do not ever give up singing”. Their recess ended and Aditya sat there gloating.

The second session was a blurr to Aditya. He kept thinking about the stunned look on Geeta’s face when he had stopped singing. The look gave him a strange thrill. When their session was over, he followed Geeta out of the class. She was with other girl’s in the class. She waved at him as he approached her.

“Aditya here has a brilliant voice?” Geeta told her friend

“I know I heard him too, Just hope puberty does not ruin it for him.”

Geeta giggled “I am sure he would be fine”

Aditya the silent spectator to the the whole conversation, however, suddenly felt a little sick in stomach. “What the hell was this Puberty thing?” As children from his batch started arriving the class Aditya took his place right in front of the teacher’s desk.

“Today we are going to practice the intonation for Raga…” Although the sounds were falling on his ears, Aditya could not comprehend the things being taught by guruji. His mind was occupied with one thought. What would happen if he lost his voice. That day at rehearsal time, he was consistently off beat. After repeatedly explaining the problem to him, guruji got annoyed.

“All the praise is going to head. Remember Music is scared and demands humility” Guruji shouted at him.

Aditya could feel the perspiration on his forehead. His lips went dry.

“I am sorry Sir, I did not quite follow the concept today.”

“Of course you did not follow the concept. Your head was full of praise. Go sit down.”

Everyone in the class began to murmur. Aditya sat down humiliated. He decided to go home and practice on current session more. He strained his memory to figure out what Guruji had said during the lecture. As other students took their turn, Aditya furiously worked to understand what he had missed. By the end of the lecture he was fairly confident that he had learnt everything he had missed.

With stoic determination he waited out Guruji’s house. One by one all the students left. Aditya’s father had not arrived. As the crowd thinned out Aditya’s mind went right back to the horrible day. ‘Puberty’ one word suddenly sprung up and once again Aditya felt anxiety rise from within and take over his entire existence. What was the dark magic of this word which had so distracted him. He instinctively knew that the word had an adult innuendo. He brushed the thought out of head angrily and decided to focus on his missed lecture instead. He wanted to reach home and practice everything he had learnt. He was angry with his father for being late. Just then his father arrived.

He was going to ask his father the causes for the delay, but the alcohol on his breathe gave him away. His father seemed to be in his senses. Aditya stared at his father’s face and sat beside him in silence. His father had a guilty look on his face.

“Sorry, I am late, I got caught up at work.”

Aditya knew it was a lie. He also knew his mother would be upset now, they would probably fight. He was terrified of the quarrel he was sure would ensue. All he wanted to do was practice his session. Perhaps singing would save the day for him. So he practiced with unusual fervor that evening. His mother happy with his progress kept calm despite his father’s clear relapse.

The whole night Aditya tossed and turned. What if he got puberty and lost his voice, his family would fall apart!

The child with miraculous voice however was fast becoming very famous. His teacher had offered to send him to a televised show. This was big deal for Aditya and his family. His fathered seemed to be sobering his act again. Success brought with it the anxiety of losing. He was now haunted in his dreams. Losing his voice would mean losing the world.

During one late night practice session before the big televised show, the subject of puberty was broached again in front of Aditya. One of the older students seemed to have lost the control of his voice. Since it was just boys in class the guruji seemed liberal with use of launguage. Guruji laughed “When the balls get heavy so does the voice” Everyone laughed.

After the class Aditya asked his Guruji “What was the joke all about?”

“Well son it is not my place to tell you. It happens with age you just focus on your singing”

“What if my voice gets heavy to and I am not able to control it.”

“You will still be able to train your voice.”

“I will not lose my voice”

“Well you may not sound as sweet as you do. Look if your voice becomes completely terrible you can still play an instrument. Every person will find his/her place in the world of music. Don’t worry.  Does Ustad Zakir Hussain have a good voice? Who knows? But he plays tabla so well!” Guruji explained.

Aditya felt that the teacher was consoling him. He felt very anxious.

He asked one of the friendlier teenage boys. “What’s the deal with you people not controlling you voice.”

“You will face issues once you hit puberty as well”

“What is puberty?”

Pointing towards Aditya’s balls the elder boy said “They start working little man. And man learns to get the big…hahaha you will understand with time”

“What does that mean?”

“You are a kid you will learn with time.” The teenager answered very seriously this time.

The televised show went well. Aditya’s father called every relative that they knew. He was estactic. They all praised him a-lot. He was the first member of the extended family to appear on television. More shows were lined up. Aditya had been star of the show, his innocent eyes and sweet voice made him quite famous.

All the praise only made aditya more anxious. All musicians make sacrifices. The phrase was stuck in his head. He could not afford to sing badly anymore.

That night as his parents slept, Aditya twisted and turned in his bed. He had to make his sacrifices. He could not afford to lose the control of his voice. The night dragged on for Aditya. He could feel his stomach churn with anxiety. His mouth filled with bile. He rushed to the bathroom. He closed the door quickily. He did not want his parents to find him this way.

He rushed to aim the vomit at the commode, in turn he ended up dropping things on the floor. Fortunately the noise was not too loud. One of the things he dropped was a razor. As bent and picked the razor, Aditya cut his fingers. The blood just gushed out. Keeping his hand to the side Aditya picked up other things off the floor. He suddenly realised he also had to piss. All the anxiety had gone to his bladder.

In a hurry he ended using his injured hand to hold his penis while he took an aim. The wound immediately burned and Aditya immediately moved his other hand to replace the injured one. As he pissed into the pot, he noticed his testicles dangling. He knew then what the elder boy had meant. When the testicles start working you loose control over your voice. 

The pain of the freshly cut palm made him think clearly. “All musicians make sacrifices, to be the best musician I will make the biggest sacrifice of all times.” Thinking thus, Aditya picked up the razor with his injured hand. The blood started flowing from the former wound profusely.

His legs started shivering, but he moved his hand down with force. The razor sliced thorugh his testicles. The world suddenly became red Aditya smiled at the sacrifice he had made. 

When he came back to his senses he screamed. His shouts woke up his parents. They took him to the hospital. 

“I slipped and fell on it in my sleep” he claimed. Both the parents looked at him sympathetically but Aditya could feel the distinct tension between them. He felt drowsy because of the medications. As he drifted off into his sleep he could hear his father apologies profusely as his mother kept saying “I have had enough” 

“Atleast I will have my voice” Aditya thought as he smiled to sleep.

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Posted by: thetavernthoughts | August 3, 2016

The Haggle

The phone begins to ring at night. He can hear the rain pelt on the window sill. He knows it is not a normal call. It is an emergency. It’s weird how emergencies tend to happen at night. It was almost stereotypical. Rainy night and a damsel in distress. Rohit Mehta is smiling ear to ear. This is his moment and he knows it. He lets the phone ring for a while patiently. Eventually the phone stops ringing but he does not care because he knows she will call him again soon. Almost on cue the mobile starts ringing again.

“Hello” he says softly after a pause.

“Rohit!” She exclaimed relieved.

“Breath Meera. Take a deep breath” The sobbing begins.

Meera walks out of the gate her mobile clutched tightly in her hands. The rain pelting on her makes her skin glow despite the gloomy mood. Tears roll down her cheeks and merge with the pelting rain drops. Her eye are swollen and she is completely distraught.

“He is at it again” She screams into the phone.”He is at it again. My own father snatching my hard earned money. His drinking problems are drowning my life. I hate him. He forced me out on the streets in the middle of the night again. I have nowhere to go.”

“Don’t worry Meera. First things first. Call one of your girl pals to come pick you up. I am sure they will not mind you spending a night  at their place.”

“I just said I have no one to go to.”

“What about your friend Heena?”

“She will act all haughty and weird like she has done me a big favour. She disses about me behind my back.”

“Do you want me to come pick you?”

“Can you do that please? As a friend?”

He grins even more”I don’t…I was sleeping…I cannot bring you back here.”

“Please…I am sorry I am disturbing you.”

“Sure I will leave immediately.”

Rohit notices the golden hue of the street lights as he drives. The rain makes them look misty and gives them the beautiful hue. There is something special about the monsoon nights in Mumbai. The usually busy streets are almost desolate. Only people stirring are the cab drivers and late night tea vendors. He enjoyed the late night drive to Meera’s place. He had seen it only once before but he knew the route.  She keeps calling him the whole time to find out where he had reached.

She walks down the Juhu Tara road, feeling unsafe. Few Prostitutes are walking the streets. She walks towards the Juhu Beach. She sends him a text “Come to Juhu Beach.” She ensures that she steers clear of the “street walking crowd”. Walking down such a sensitive street she was scared that some one might approach her thinking she was one of the prostitutes. She would die of embarrassment. Presently she notices an empty corner of the street right opposite to the beach under the street light. Her clothes are completely wet and her harem pants are sticking to her calves. Her T-shirt is clinging to her body. She wraps her arms around her chest, feeling completely exposed.  A middle aged plump woman wearing a gaudy green sari comes and stands right beside her. The woman has tied her hair in a bow and she is wearing a bright red lip stick. She was clearly a prostitute. Both the women look at each other awkwardly. They both have contempt on their face.

“Did he beat you?” The prostitute asks.

“What do you mean?”

“Did your man beat you and throw you out?”

“No my father” Meera says. Meera is scared of the position she was in and the woman’s company makes her feel strangely safe.

“Alcoholic?”

Meera nods

“Where will you go?” The elder one asks.

“I have a friend.”

“I do things for money. To feed myself and my family. Good food and everything. Don’t judge me. Judge the men who do this to me.” The prostitute said suddenly with righteousness. “Shameless they all are, not beneath negotiating with middle aged whore. Or attacking Young girl’s chastity. You be careful”

Suddenly a cab stops right in front of the woman. She approaches the cab and starts talking and laughing. The rain seems to be slowly subsiding. Meera takes out her cell phone from the water proof pouch, she notices a message from Rohit.

“2 mins”

She looks up and looks at the prostitute, who is leaning into the taxi cab. Meera can hear the conversation very clearly.

“No, Sahib, Rs 700 will not do for an hour.”

Meera is disgusted by the whole thing. She feels even more depressed.

The prostitute laughs loudly “Fine! for you 15 mins for Rs 400”

Just then a car stops in front of Meera. The window rolls down, it is Rohit with a concerned look on his face. Meera looks at him and starts running towards the car, safe from the rain and weird crowd of the night. She is relived and her eyes are lit up.

“ohh! you actually came” she said hugging him.

“I had too. Any gentleman would!”

She looks ahead, away from his face, through the windshield at the golden lit street. The rain started pelting and the rhythmic sound of the car wiper  was the only sound they heard.

She noticed that he looked at her on and off through her peripheral vision. They were driving randomly through the streets.

“Wait, take a left from here, go straight till that junction and then take another left.” She instructed him. “Stop behind that parked van”

Rohit noticed that they were behind a large and old apartment complex. He could hear the crashing of the ocean waves near by and he realized they were near the sea. He looked to his right and he could see the dark Arabian sea looking back at him. He turned the engine off and the rain pelted on. He noticed the melodious cacophony of the rain and golden hue of the street lamp on her beautiful face, if only they were meeting under different circumstance, he thought.

A small tear drop formed on her face.

“Earlier men used to awkward and scared around a crying girls but now all we need to do  is scream selfie! and they start smiling.”

A small smile formed on her face as she looked at him imitate a selfie pose. She fondly punches him on his biceps.

“Hey, at least you don’t have to see my boss’s scowling face. Do you want to hear him snore at a meeting.” Rohit says fetching his mobile phone and shows her a clip. His boss is slowly passing out in middle of the presentation. Everyone is awkwardly stifling a smile. She burst out laughing.“Your presentation was so boring?”

He pretends to be offended “My boss is an idiot dude.” She keeps laughing and looking at his face. He keeps staring back with a silly smile. She stops laughing and looks away again blushing. The rain pelts on as he hold her hand. She suddenly leans into him.

“I really like you” she says.

“I like you too” he says.

“Will you come like this every time I call you?” She says looking at their intertwined fingers. A weird smile and a smirk forms on his face. He uses his other hand caress her forehead

“As long as I am here.”

“Why do you plan to leave soon?”

“Yes, MBA from London I guess”

“When?”

“We’ll see when it happens.”

“Do you love me?” she asks.

“I will if we keep doing this” he says

“If you love me, will you marry?”

“Don’t do this, this is not fair.”

“What do you mean?Unfair?” she asks.

“I have my career, you know and long road to settling down. Thinking about marriage is scary, I am million miles away, don’t make me feel guilty for being ambitious.”

She moves away and looks at him.

“You think I will come in the way of your ambition.”

“I am sorry” he backs down a little “I am sorry I am just being honest. I don’t want to make promises I am not sure about.”

“Let’s just be friends then.” she says.

“Sure.”

“You will come to take care of me as a friend.”

“Of course” he says with a smile.

She knew the “Of course” meant a ‘no’. She knew no one wants to marry a drunk’s daughter in the arrange marriage scenario. Love was her only hope. Love and Marriage.It seems both of them were not available to her at the same time. She would have to settle for love, or the pretense of it.

She slowly ties her hair into pony tail and then leans back in to Rohit. Their fingers intertwine and she leans on his chest. The weird smile forms on his face again. She closes her eyes as he kisses her exposed neck. He would take care of her now. At least for a while he would care for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: thetavernthoughts | June 21, 2016

Don’t Be a Horcrux

I am a Responsible drinker, I have always been. Crossing your limits makes you embarrass yourself, and more often than not, you end up being a burden on your drinking companions. So I believe every man should mark his capacity. My boss Mr Shatanu Naidu was of exactly opposite opinion. He believed your capacity to hold liquor marked you. If you cannot guzzle down alcoholic beverages by the Litre, you are not man enough. I was not man enough according to my boss. He called me a peg man. This did not bode well with me. Not only was his condescension humiliating but also inconvenient to my short-term plans. I needed the job desperately due to certain financial difficulties and a word encouragement from Mr Naidu would have put me at ease and made me feel more secure.

All my efforts to impress him seemed to back fire. He berated even the smallest of things about me. He looked at me with disgust ever time I would chat up the receptionist, Gayatri, as if she was his daughter and he made it a point to mock my reading habit.Once he audibly sniggered as I discussed the latest book I was reading with Gayatri. Obviously, I began to hate that man. People used to tell me that I was the boss’s ‘punching bag’. I was terrified of the prospect of being fired. I needed the job and I needed the money. I became very edgy because of this situation, I began to doubt my abilities. Often at night I would go through the day before rigorously. One wrong step and I would be fired. I knew it.

I remember distinctly even now it had been raining heavily that day. I was stuck with Mr Naidu in office working overtime to meet a deadline. It was a Friday evening I was looking forward to having couple of stiff pegs that night. As our work drew to an end, Mr Naidu asked me “Will you join me for a few drinks, the weather seems fine.” Now I hated the man and last thing that I wanted was to spend the night listening to his insults. Yet, my fear of displeasing him got the better of me once again and I reluctantly agreed to accompany him.

In a typical dingy bar with the usual melancholy instrumental versions of old hindi songs playing in the background, we both sat drinking in awkward silence. I wondered why this man had invited me if he was going to sit there and drink like I did not exist. The waiter came and served us our second peg. I told the waiter I needed three cubes of ice in my rum. Mr Naidu observed that and said”I don’t have to tell them anything, they know exactly how I like my vodka.”

“Do you frequent this bar sir?”
“Do state the obvious that is a lot of fun!”

“I mean sir is your home near by, do you live with your family?”

“Yes, I live few blocks from here, when I am done the waiter always hails me a cab.”

“Do you live with your family?”

“Yes, I have one child, before you ask.”

“Ok”

I kept my silence for while after that comment. I wondered how to get through to the man. I sipped on my drink slowly, thinking about my next line of attack. The aim of the conversation was to find a way to build a connection with my boss.

“Did you complete your schooling here as well?”

He suppressed a smile “This area has developed recently don’t you know that. Stop insulting me!”

“WHAT?” I ask exasperated. “How am I insulting you?”

“You are asking wrong questions and wasting my time.”

“I am trying to make conversation sir, I probing to see what topic would get you talking.”

“How about books then?”Mr Naidu suggested

“Sure, but you mock me every time you see a book in my hand.”

“I mock because of your lack of understanding.”

“How do you know that I do not?” I asked, once again ignoring the insult. My self esteem seemed to have hit a new low.

“Remember when you were telling the receptionist about the way Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the galaxy begins. The part where Aurther Dent’s home is being torn down to build a road and at the same time his alien friend is trying to explain to him the Earth is being torn down to build a hyper galactic highway.”

“Yes” I said smiling, “I was amazed at how he draws a parallel between Earth our Home and the house we live in. The imagination involved in writing that part, all of it, is simply brilliant.”

“Is that the only way to relate to that?”

“I guess not sir”

“Guess not is it”

“I am sure there are more ways” I said getting a bit irritated. The waiter served us our next peg and my boss, I felt was getting high and aggressive. He was blatantly attacking me on every turn.

“Good, be sure and specific. Now, are you planning to fool around with Gayatri, our secretary?”

“Excuse me sir, no!”

“You are clearly inexperienced in these matters are you not? Not much of a player.”

“No sir!”

Mr Naidu suddenly leaned forward onto the table.

“It is a good thing that you are not.” he said in a soft tone suddenly.

“Why?”

“Long ago when I was your age I had the fortune of meeting quite a few. I went to study abroad you see.”

“You had fun.”

“Thank You for stating the obvious again.” This time there was a difference in his tone it seemed to lack its sharpness, almost like a friendly punch.

“So…” he continued” you need to get one thing. They always leave something inside you.”

I suppressed a smile on his choice of words. I understood what he meant. His beady eyes seem to glitter even more. I could see red veins popping up in the corners of his eyes and I realised that my boss was drunk. The man had been insulting me for months about my lack of drinking abilities and yet here he was, high in 3 pegs. Yet, in my spineless state I chose not to point that out, I instead started thinking of ways to get him to talk.I wondered if I could get him to share something private so as to forge the bond I had been seeking to make.

“Give me a memory sir. What do you mean? Give me an instance” I tried to probe.

“Instances, you want instances!You tell me instead, something existential, share an insight you have had through all your reading.”

I thought about it for a while. I could see he was making the conversation impersonal. I had to say something, I knew he would mock my perspective. Once again I swallowed my anger and I said.

“Sir, I believe that we the Human Race are at crossroads. One will lead to immortality and the other to extinction.” I did not like the turn of the conversation. I did not want it to become intellectual. Intellectual debates do not lead anywhere. I wanted an instance of his life, so as to get him vulnerable and forge a connection. I wanted him to think of me as a friend.

“Extinction and Immortality, very interesting, but you still the miss the point. Somewhere in that statement is the belief we humans can control our destiny. You are wrong there. You don’t know anything about life.”

“No, sir I don’t.”

Mr Naidu guzzles down another 60 ml peg. I could see now he was totally drunk.

“You read the words but to understand their depth you need to relate it to real life. Don’t interrupt me wait.” He had another stiff drink of vodka. “You talk so eloquently what do you know about the world ending, what do you know about women. You are just intellectualizing. You know?”

“Tell me sir your own experience sir, I will learn from it.”

“Fair enough” he said in a slurred tone. “Every woman will make a horcrux out of you, she will leave a bit of her life with you. Cruel in-laws, broken families, betrayals. Their insecurities, you will see them all, even if you are just banging them and they are banging you. At some point the woman will bear her heart to you and you will be condemned like I was to think and care about them forever. I know this because I see a lot of myself in you. You cannot “not give a fuck”. You will think that the life stories they share are somehow enriching your experiences, yet, in the end you will find yourself stuck in their stories and carrying their burdens. What for? So don’t fuck around, you will only end up being a horcrux.”

“Fine sir I will wait for the one.”

“The One! Huh”

“You do not believe in the “One”.”

“Love is a grand delusion which never leaves my boy. ‘Kavita’ the one for me.”

“I hope that is your wife sir”

“Kavita died when I was 18, Kavita is every woman I have known since. You see my boy Life’s like that. No one controls anything and you my friend have been lucky enough to not be confronted with harsh realities. Hence, the difference in perspective. You think the Hitch Hiker’s Guide talks about losing earth our home, and I know it means that within minutes your world could end.”

“Did it feel like that with Kavita’s Demise?” I asked shakily

“No it felt that way when the Surgeon told me to choose between my wife and my first-born. Do you get it? Sitting there and telling the surgeon ‘let the mother live’ and then looking in to the eyes of my still-born infant do you get it. Now do you understand you fool how deep literature can be. You philosophizing jackass. Don’t you get it we control nothing. Birth of life on Earth was an accident. Evolution of humanity was an accident. Its end can very well be just another accident. Not fate or co incidence mind you, an accident.”

The conversation tapered off after that moment. My boss had peg too many. Less than what he claimed he was capable of. I did not have the heart to judge him though. He was vulnerable. I asked the waiter to hail a cab for him. I supported him as he got inside the cab.

“Do not be afraid to speak your mind. Kiss asses do not last long in my office.” He said as a parting shot. I tried to pay the bill but the manager said that Mr Naidu would clear it the next time and refused to take money from me. So I made my way home thinking about the information my boss had just divulged. Horcruxes, what a thing to say. I tried to imagine the moment he stood there looking at his wife, knowing that he had just signed his son’s death warrant. I tried to fathom what he might have gone through. Suddenly the irony dawned upon me. I had become his horcrux. I carried a bit of his soul with me. The man I hated and tried to manipulate at every instant. I was not sure if my boss would feel a connection with me after this. I was sure I would not hate him as much. I did not agree with him though. Maybe, it is because of what he says, maybe I have had a sheltered life, so such conversation seem to stay with me. Maybe it is just the law of conversation. I wondered if all ‘real’ conversations were like these. Few moments of vulnerability when we reveal our souls and make horcruxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: thetavernthoughts | June 10, 2015

The Danger Zone

I decided to write this blog post over a month ago. I am not busy or caught up with extra work for a simple blog post to take so long. It is pure procrastination and laziness that stopped me. I am not ashamed to admit it. When we are growing up, our parents and teachers warn us against a lot of things. Don’t talk to strangers, this is the first warning that we get from them. They warn us against wrong friends, drugs and many other things. However, they seem to forget the biggest danger of all. The comfort zone.

While for most people comfort zone is an abstract psychologically place, my comfort zone is actually tangible. It is my home and apartment, known to all my friends as 12/D. Living alone, away from parental supervision this tiny apartment has become my comfort zone. I too comfortable to leave it behind and do something. The house is supposed to a place of solitude where I can continue my creative pursuits after office hours. Instead it has become a place to hide from effort and work. Here in my apartment, I sit and smoke endless cigarettes and drink zillion cups of chai tea. All of this make up my comfort zone.

Comfort is a major dream killer. No one has ever achieved their goals by being comfortable. Goals become pipe dreams when you refuse to embrace discomfort. Breaking through the comfort-zone is the only breakthrough that we generally need. Procrastination is to a great extent is a product of our comfort-zone. This dangerous phenomenon keeps us glued and stationary in life. To be dynamic and achieve goals we need to learn to make ourselves uncomfortable.

I started a process about a month ago, before starting my new job. I called it charting the zone. I looked at my life and made a list of things that I want and compared it to the actions that I take on daily basis. All actions that I took during the day that were driven by my comfort. I made a list of those actions. I called it charting out the zone. The entire purpose of this blog post is to work out a way to break through this danger zone.

 The process of breaking through the zone works in a simple manner. I set a goal for the week and I achieve it. There are also numerous lifestyle changes which I want to make. I intend to make these one step at a time every week. Beginning with this week.

This week I choose to make two lifestyle changes. First involves my diet. I intend to switch to green tea slowly this week. The chai tea that I have is full of sugar and is harmful to my health in long term. A simple choice of drinking green tea could have enormous health benefits long term. I am addicted to chai tea and the transition to green tea will not be simple. To motivate myself daily and keep the momentum going I am going to use a ruse. I am going to buy a pair of jeans that are to tight for me. I am going to try and wear them every morning. Nothing will inspire me more than my thinning waist line.

The second change is my writing routine. No more half finished articles and poems and stories. This will be my unreasonable request to myself. So here is my grand deceleration. I will publish at least one poem every-week on the blog to show that I mean business. Along with that I will post in this on going series about my quest to move out of my comfort zone.

So wish me luck.

Posted by: thetavernthoughts | May 20, 2015

The One Wish

He looked at the flower in disbelief. The flower of eternal wisdom and boundless power. The quest for this ethereal flower had claimed endless lives. Mad believers who believed in the flower even when there had been no proof of its existence anywhere in the world. Such faith and such sacrifice and yet it was he the dumb giant who would hold it in his hands. That had not been his original name though. He was born under the name Genteel, Genteel giant.

Long before he could understand his strength and his nature, he was snatched away by the magicians, the tiny humans. It was they who first called him the dumb giant. In comparison to them he was dumb. Trapped by their spells, despite his enormous strength, he was not able to breakthrough and free himself.

When he reached adulthood and finally became the towering 32 ft giant he was destined to be. He noticed how puny the terrifying humans were in his comparison. Bound to them by their spells he had gotten used to them whispering commands in his ears. The humiliation of it all, he wondered then if there was anything in entire living kind, plant, animal, human or mythic that could call him puny. Even the elephants would cower on his sight. Suddenly an eagle screeched and the giant looked up. He realized that to the eagle soaring at those heights even he was puny. For the first time in his life Dumb Giant developed a strong desire to fly. It was his one wish.

He could not fly, however, if his master did set him free, so he longed for freedom more than anything else. Every-time he saw one of his kind, he could see the same pain in their eyes. They, the giants, were easy going peace loving people. Along with slavery, the humans and their spells brought war and murder and deceit. He did not even know what the word meant until he became a pawn in a plot by his master to trick a king into giving them a large piece of land. The worst was the building of the temples to please gods. Cruel gods who were pleased at the fruits of his labor. He did not know why the temple was being built until he overheard his master talk with his best friend one-day.

“The design is such that it shall trap the goddess Tipha-a-asundra. The one who adorns the flower of wisdom in her hair like a tiara. This is not a temple my friend, this is a device that can invoke the immortals in heaven and capture them.”

“No one who has gone after the flower has survived, are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yes, because unlike them I will have a Goddess at my beck and call.”

Just like the his master had said, few nights after the completion for the temple, he had been tasked to deliver deer meat in secret within the sanctum sanctorum. That night inside the sanctum sanctorum he met her the goddess herself.

She was as tall as him. Her golden wheatish skin seemed to light up the room. Sanctum had only one tiny window and the goddess was looking out. She was lying on her side along the Yantra on the floor. She sat up by supporting her weight on her right hand. She wore a tiara of emeralds with a white flower made of moonstone on the corner. She wore turquoise full length gown with long splits on the side  revealing her well formed, beautiful legs. Her eyes matched the colours of her clothes. Her lips shapely pink were shut tightly, in a pensive manner. She looked at the giant walk towards her with deer meat in his hands eyes wide in wonder. He looked away embarrassed and refused to match the goddesses brilliant. The great goddess could sense him compare his ugliness to her beauty and grace. She could feel the silent worship beginning in his heart.

“Speak your heart mortal, I am a goddess, although trapped I can still help your cause.”

“Are you distressed because of your entrapment?”

“No, it is the pettiness of men that has caused me distressed. People always reveal their inner most desires which tells me alot about them. What is yours great Genteel.”

She said the last part very delicately. It took while for the giant to realise that she was referring to the his real name. He looked her stunned and overwhelmed, she smiled at him wistfully.

“Do you know why I have been bound here giant?”

“The master wants flower of eternal wisdom. So that he can become the master of the universe.”

“And you genteel, what would you use that wisdom for?”

He smiled stupidly and answered “To fly”

“Sounds harmless, be careful though you might hold the flower in your hand soon, and you can use it fulfill only one wish.”

The giant had been intrigued  by the goddess’s prophecy.

Although that is exactly how the events had unfolded. Next day his greed master the magi started his journey to the flower of eternal wisdom. The route to which was told to him by the goddess in his ears, as she flew by their side as a humming bird. At distance unknown to both the magi and the giant, his best friend was following them. waiting for the right moment to strike so that he could have the flower of eternal wisdom.

Their quest had brought them to these strange woods, where the goddess walked along side of them as a vixen. Her houl dricing away mortals and immortals alike. At distance, they could see the flower light up the forest at night. its light was akin to that of a big firefly. The gaint even from his vantage could literally see the greed rise in his masters eyes. He was disgusted by it. Then right around the time they were in sight of the flower, the greedy best friend had fired an arrow towards his master. As soon as the master died goddess was set free from his spell, so she turned to her original form and smite the best friend with a flick of her finger. Then she disappeared. Leaving the giant alone to complete the easy last leg of the journey.

As he stood in front of the flower, his entire life flashed in front of him. He realized the one wish he tells the flower to complete should have lot of impact. He asked himself what it was that he would change about the world if he could. The answer took a while to formulate. The genteel giant decided that all the creatures in mythology were a slave to magis and their spells. The best way to keep the mythical dimensions safe was to make them all magic blind. With that wish in his heart the gaint consumed the flower forever vanished for humanity.

Posted by: thetavernthoughts | May 12, 2015

The Bed Time Stories

Writing Prompt:: “So you are in middle of convention in which in all the writers are present. Great as well as not so great. ONe of the favourite writers finishes his story and everyone claps. NOw they are looking at you and it is your turn to narrate a story.

Prompt from reddit.com 

“First words are a bitch” I said. They all laughed the laughter of recognition. “This is rather Kafkaesque.” I said looking at Franz, who gave me a thumbs up. “So I woke up one day and found myself in a room with the spirit of all great writers and story tellers. I wondered why I had been invited I am by no means a greater writer. Hell! None of you even know my name. No one has even heard my stories. Thank god I am the last one to speak or else I would not have been able to narrate this story in a way that all of you would understand. I will adhere to wishes of Stephen King here and narrate to you the first story I ever told. I told this story to my eldest son many many years ago because he had trouble sleeping at times. Once upon time an immortal goddess Prabha and her mortal son Manus lived in the forest. The goddess was extremely wise and kind and everyone loved her. All the beings of the forest were nurtured by her love and they all worshiped her. They especially loved her son who was honest innocent and kind, just like the goddess. Unknown to them the spirit of darkness Ratri was very jealous of this love she received. Everyone was afraid of the Darkness and feared the tricks he could play on everyone’s minds. The evil spirit was not immortal and could be easily defeated with fire. Yet, fire itself terrified everyone in the forest, so no one could wield it and defeat the spirit of darkness. One day using his power of illusions, Ratri confused little Manus and made him drift away from his mother. He confused the little child by calling him into the deep into the forest using his mother’s voice. “Come hither of little prince, and taste these berries.” Calling Manus thus Ratri tricked him deeper and deeper into he forest. Soon Manus was lost in the forest. Without his mother protecting him, Manus started getting scared. He realised that he had been tricked by the evil spirit Ratri. The paths in forest seemed to go round in circles. Manus realised that he had been taken away from the realm of the goodness and into the crueler parts of the forest. As the night set in, the creatures of the darkness, the predators, started hunting. As the night set upon the forest, Ratri started covering everything in his darkness. Manus found himself surrounded by darkness. He panicked. In his panic he decided to hide inside a cave nearby. All around him he could hear the cunning predators of darkness feasting on the innocent. The forest it seems was filled with noises of the predators growls and the cries of their prey. Amidst this madness, the cave seemed like the safest option. Once inside the cave he realised that entire outside world had become pitch dark. Ratri filled the place with so much darkness that the young boy could no more see his own hand. Outside in the forest, the ever courageous and wise bear runs to the goddess and informs her of Ratri’s nefarious deed. Angry the great goddess rushes into he realm of Darkness. Smiting Ratri’s predatory minions along the way. She holds the spirit of darkness by his throat and demands that her son be released. Fearing his life Ratri slips from her grip and hides in the cave where Manus was. The great goddess Prabha tries to enter the cave and rescue her son. Ratri guards the cave with all the powers of darkness and she is not able to enter it. Manus himself though cannot see,but he can hear his mother. He feels it is a trick of the Darkness and tries to ignore it. The wise bear then points out that the only way to win the battle is for young Manus hold fire and dispel the lord of  darkness. This could only happen within the cave because the magic the closed the doors was designed to allow only the flesh and blood of Manus to pass. The goddess, angry and frustrated, throws in some wood  and flint inside the cave and commands her son to light the fire. Manus refuses to obey. Darkness laughs at Prabha’s face. “If he stays inside long enough I will fill his soul with my evil essence” Ratri thunders. Afraid the goddess loving tells her son “Open your ears, Manus, do not be afraid. I have given you means to fight the Darkness now. Light the fire and dispel Ratri from that cave. It is the only way you can be rescued.” Manus hears what his mother is saying yet refuses to obey, thinking it was another ruse of the Darkness. “Do you not know, oh little one, soon you will be consumed with spirit of Darkness. Please reach out for the flint stones rub them together and light a fire.” Manus still does not co operate. “Oh! the prince of the forest and heir to all things covered in my light, do you not want to rule, how would you do that without a little bit of courage?” Again no response. The goddess now begins to get angry with her son. “Manus I command you, light that fire.” Again the boy refuses to move. The goddess begins to panic, she wonders if her son is forever lost to Darkness. The wise bear once again intercedes. “Perhaps you should scare the little prince into courage.” The goddess teary eyed yet angry looks at the Bear. “What does that even mean?” The bear screams loudly. “Oh prince quick your mother is now going to trade her life for yours?” Inside the cave Ratri could feel the young prince shiver on the mention of the suggestion. He tries to hide the flint stones, but before he could do so Manus catches hold of them. With no thought except his mother’s safety the young prince begins to rub the flint stones. The sparks weaken the grip of the Darkness and Manus quickly catches hold of a branch which catches fire. Burning from within Ratri is forced to run out of the cave. Once out of the cave the goddess catches Ratri and banishes him into the shadows where he is forever imprisoned stripped of his power of magic . Teary eyed both mother and son unite. That day the immortal goddess promises her son “I will forever watch over you and your children.” Manus though still a child no more fears anything, for he had the gift of the goddess in his hands, fire. Fire ensured that no creature would ever rise to challenge Manus. “Remember” she said as she left “teach your children to have faith in me and love me even if they are surrounded with terrifying darkness and I will stand by them. Look up to me for guidance and you shall never be lost.” She calls upon the mortal daughter of the sea to live with him and ascends into the skies to become a million stars.” Thus ends the first story I ever told. “Did your son believe this story literally?”  Richard Dawkins asks. “Yes, we even had a figure which all my children would worship.” “So you started religion from your bedtime stories?” “Being the first human Richard, we were completely at the mercy of the forest. At night when the tigers would come out to hunt and leopards would start stalking their prey or when the Hyenas laughed into he night, these things would strike terror into the hearts of children. It was not uncommon to develop an fear of the forest. Fear in its most irrational form gave birth to stories about monsters that hide in the dark, in the unknown parts of the forest. Fear of the unknown you see. Which is what my son was developing. I realized then. Most of the successful children and hunters had somehow overcome this fear. They all claimed to have discovered an unusual force that enabled them to do so. So I used those stories to create a ruse that became religion. I did not want my children to lose. Just like fear took an irrational grip of their minds, faith in an unknown entity gave them courage to walk towards it. In-fact, I believe my stories that threaded into a religion helped them prosper in those early hours of Human Life. The same techniques were used by later generation to control others and keep them in the dark. That is no fault of mine. I had no idea what impact this system of thought would have on the future, it put my son to asleep and gave him the courage to hunt a tiger, later in his youth. That is all I cared about. Yes, that is what made my family unique, that we worshiped an unknown and unseen entity and drew courage from it, while others shared our fear of unknown but never could find the real courage in it to face it. My children won in the end you are all here are a proof of that. Mitochondrial eve is what you classify me as but you all call me “mother”. That is all I ever was a good mother who conjured stories to send my children to sleep. The context of all these stories was irrational courage. For when fear takes irrational forms, you need to give courage an irrational form too, which was my motivation for these stories.”

Posted by: thetavernthoughts | May 6, 2015

Empathy

Empathy

We are all introspective to a certain extent. We all have a sense of what motivates us and what our problems are. The same cannot be said about empathy. It varies with the individual. Yet, empathy is the foundation of human society.

Working on the world’s greatest surveillance program, I have realized that I have been hired for my social skills as much as my coding skills. Somewhere between the implementation of a 5G network and creation of super powerful Google glasses, the governments of the world realized that the internet was not something that they should restrict; it is instead a tool with which they could control. They declared it a basic necessity and made it more easily available than water. Soon the entire world was hooked to the virtual reality, not yet to the extent in the films, yet they spend enough time online for us to track them. Not just their posts, but unknown to people the glasses are also used to record facial expressions the window to person’s soul. The complete analysis of their online activity gave us a very clear picture of who they were. In-fact as the program grows in strength, with it’s every new update it comes closer and closer to becoming the first true oracle. Of course with a window to million souls at my fingertips I created the first ‘oracle’ update. Now I could predict crimes. I can track psychopaths from birth and create alerts lest their tendencies make them monsters. I marvelled at how well my code worked. Now the truly serious crimes could be predicted and prevented, or at least that is what I thought. Of course there would be few misses I figured.

There were none, every crime was witnessed and felt and catalogued from all the possible perspectives, including those of an innocent bystander. The powerful program I had created could mirror all personalities and characters in human experience. It learnt by doing so. The program simultaneous simulated millions of people to understand their behaviour patterns and use it to predict crimes. Once I had understood how the system worked, it was time for me to involve the law authorities.

The new problem arose with the system when the police got involved. They now received alerts of possible crimes that could happen in their locality. They could now apprehend perpetrator and stop the crimes from happening. The program of course was not happy with my decision. That is when in communicated to me. It sent me a design of a complex machine, perhaps the best virtual reality simulator I had seen.

Of course I built it. I wanted to understand what the program was up-to. For a while I was also suspicious. This brilliant AI might want to take over the planet I thought. It had evolved by itself, so I had very little control over what it had become. So I took precautions before entering this simulator. Few close associates were informed and asked to stay offline. I was afraid that the virtual reality generated by my program would totally overwhelm me. So they had to ensure that I stepped out into the real world.

With a deep breath I switched the simulator on. I wore its sensory gears. Slowly, slowly the real world dropped away. Almost in a dreamlike state I was transported to scene of crime. It was that of a woman being beaten up. The most common crime even now is domestic abuse. I looked at it as fly on the wall. I was sure that the perpetrator was stupid psychopath enjoying the little power he had over the woman. I was disgusted by the victim and her refusal to take a stand for herself.

Suddenly I felt a blow on my face. I stunned by it. Before I could understand what was happening, I felt another one. I wanted to stand up and fight back, suddenly I felt weak and scared. Suddenly I felt ashamed deeply ashamed. Off what? I do not know. Just an over powering sense of shame. I do not even have to fight just run. Run the man was going to kill. The fear left me paralyzed. I was scared of leaving the man, I was powerless, and I wished he would kill me and end the pointless existence. There was nothing beautiful with the world. It was better to end it all.

Then I felt the sweat and blood on my knuckles. She had to know I was the man. I was in charge; I had to prove that I was in charge. If I did not control her she would go away. She would leave and go away. I was scared of her and the extent to which her absence would hurt me. She was the centre of my world and she had to be stopped and protected. I felt love and a strong urge to hurt. I love her, I will hurt her. Keep her weak and dependent on me. I need her so I keep her dependent on me.

Then suddenly the police arrive on the scene. I was a cop and I had a baton in my hand. I barge in through the door. Anger, I was angry with both of them. I was right in being angry. I am justice. I had to protect the weak. But the weak as always would not let me.

Perhaps there was another way out. I feel wicked and in control. I challenge the man berate him. I can feel his anger come out of that dark pit as he hurls himself on me. I strike him once and hard with my baton and then again. This time I feel a definitive crack in the skull. I feel a rush as I deliver justice to the weak. I am out of the police man again and I am drifting, towards a closed-door. Behind the door in the corner a little girl of three is lying on floor in the typical infant position.

I am her now and I am feeling guilty and ashamed as I hear my mother scream. I had been crying and that made Daddy angry and so it he hit mother. I am bad. I feel so ashamed and guilty. I deserve to be hurt and killed.

As suddenly as the visions had begun they stopped. As I stepped out of the simulator I felt exhausted. They emotional roller-coaster had taken a toll on me. It felt like a long and tiresome set of visions had been sent to me. The program was communicating its distress. The daughter I realized was now likely to do things that would harm her. The policeman and his righteousness were also dangerous. An abusive husband who loves the one person he is hurting and the mother’s d illusion of dependence.

It was almost as if for the first time I could become the person I was trying to understand. More important I realized that all of the people involved might make different choices if they ever totally and without any difference felt exactly like the person who they were hurting or was hurting them. Perhaps that is what the program wanted of me. This one single could totally change a person’s approach. I do not even have words for most of the things I felt in those moments, for I believe that program had observed and replicated a certain primordial impulse in us human beings. An impulse that lay at the root of identity and identity crisis assuming we all had fractured personalities.

Hence, the final part of this fantastic tale is as such. It ends with an appeal to extend the original scope of this program and redefine crime prevention as not merely stopping the criminal act, but using empathy to beat the criminal mind-sets.

musing

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 8.35.52 AM Jon Ronson discusses So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show

In So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson tells the stories of people who have been savagely pilloried for their mistakes, and — just like when these events unfolded in real life — it’s impossible to look away.

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Posted by: thetavernthoughts | November 8, 2014

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: I Am Waiting Poetry Series

Silver Birch Press

waiting1a
Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s 96th birthday rolls around on March 24, 2015. Let’s get a head start on celebrating this iconic author’s nativity by paying homage to his classic poem “I Am Waiting,” which first appeared in A Coney Island of the Mind — Ferlinghetti’s 1958 collection that, with over a million copies in print, is one of the most popular books of poetry every published.

PROMPT: The trigger for poems in this series is “waiting.” What are you waiting for? Christmas? A new job? New home? New baby? Happiness? A trip? Godot? Whatever you’re waiting for, memorialize it in your “I Am Waiting” poem. If we get enough submissions, we’ll create a book of the poems as a big, beautiful birthday card for Mr. Ferlinghetti.

WHAT: Submissions can be original poems or erasure/found poems based on “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Find the poem here

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Posted by: thetavernthoughts | October 13, 2014

Those kids, the ones on the other side.

Slam the door.

It is both alarming and funny how they get distracted in a matter of seconds. They’re listening to everything you’re saying but you may lose them to a brilliant idea that touched the waters of their turbulent minds. Haven’t you ever met that boy who couldn’t stay still? The girl who kept walking and the sun blazed on? The kid who never completed coloring the whole picture? They are different, finicky, restless, fidgety and for the most part, extremely sorry.

They cannot keep a job, cannot keep time. They cannot explain why everything is funny, how even the serious most conversations can be turned into a joke. They feel everything tenfold, they are blamed for being hasty, selfish, for being the red in the yellow. They are the ones who look like they don’t care enough the ones who don’t look back. There are bouts of confusion, when everything is fine…

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