Of Mirages and Monkeys

There are a lot of things that can distract a monkey on a branch, and not a lot that can keep him interested. While reading and writing a cascade of thoughts, images, and scrambled nonsense tingle for  attention – not because the topic is boring (Teddy by J.D Salinger is everything but that) – but because the mind finds solace in pandering to silly meditations.

Last night, there were two triggers that set the imp loose in that vast dimension. . .

Trigger: cigarette: Oh, what a great time for a smoke – that smell of fuming ash and paper in a breezy, odorless room; the warmish filter between fingers and a tight draw can just be perfect this moment. . .

Trigger: swimming pool: Remember the slap of waves in the beach? Wouldn’t it be great with a girl in our arms (a boy and his subcon) and a sunset that never really happened? Oh, wait, we can render a sunset – there, there – and in the shivering chill of the evening while walking out from the sea, turn back around to see an orange, no scarlet and purple with – who is this on the left – that girl? or the other one? or a celebrity? or a crush? or leave it all and stand here alone, la exquise douleur, and enjoy this moment. . .

And what moment? The monkey doesn’t care because the monkey forgot.

It’ll be a while until he and his homunculus get back to the bloody thing that set off this mirage of reflections. And it is a wonderful feeling: to lose yourself in a sea of visuals – seeing golden eagles swooping from electricity poles down to fetch rats in my garden, when all that article in National Geographic could do was to fade and flatten without warning.

But it paces time. As it is, there is very little to ration to all the fantasies and adventures in our lives, and when imagination starts invading into the sacred space of Responsibilities, and Priorities, it’s best to toss a coin and gamble on the ephemeral cigarette or the fictitious swimming pool. Half the time, one can continue with their business and be productive without am eagle on their shoulders.

For those of us who are too lazy to toss that coin: scribblers, screen fillers, colour splashers, and theoretical physicists and all those below sixteen and above sixty, these tugs from the page is an acceptable diversion. Brick by brick, someone is laying the foundation for some castle in the air that you are building in your line of work. We should cherish it. Subtle pleasures of one’s imagination can provoke enduring, dramatic motivations. All that time spent twiddling an imaginary cigarette could one day make it to page. The greatest epics were once fantasies, perhaps only a sentence or image of a lustful guy with ten heads riding a chariot across the open sea, under a scarlet-purple sky, with a chick on one side and a golden eagle on the other, all the while smoking a hookah. . .

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Back from a long vacation

There are times when you want to write and at the same time take some rest, you know, sit with a book and relax in the comfort of a cozy winter bed and coffee, when something inspires you to put down the book and write a few lines, which grows and grows, then by night there’s a few pages of that ‘stuff,’ making you wonder if holidays and rest days ever exist in the life of writer. That’s what happened in the past few days, the few days I wanted to ‘take of’ writing and invest into some quality reading, but each day beckoned a small story or a poem from me. The experience of writing is always fun, all pages are different, all ideas and themes of any story, even a retelling is different, yet, I wasn’t satisfied with myself or the days or anything else in the past week. It was similar to sleeping when you are not tired and there’s nothing better to do than lying down, when memories and random thoughts drift through the mind killing the sleep or the idea of sleep till wee hours in the morning. I did do some productive writing: stories that last, and one of them is what follows here. It was written on my phone on a late dreary midnight and it’s in the first draft, so there might be some elements out of place, typos; forgive me for that.

Toothpaste

  • Sparkling White Toothpaste, this is Sanjay Singh, how may I help you today?
  • This is Charlie. I have been using your toothpaste for a long time now. I wanted something.
  • I am glad to be speaking to a loyal customer of our toothpaste, Charlie. How do you want me to help you today?
  • It’s… It’s a very silly problem, Sonjay.
  • No problem is silly, Charlie. I am sure I would have heard about it in the past; there might have been other customers who have faced similar issues in the past. I assure you that the problem is not silly.
  • You don’t understand, Sonjay. It’s… it’s…
  • Is it pushing a portion of the toothpaste back into the tube?
  • Hahaha, do people call you for that?
  • Of course. We get about fifty calls a day of this complaint. So, Charlie, if it’s not that, is it about getting the last smidgen out of the tube? See, see, all you have to do is this…
  • That’s not the problem either, Sonjay.
  • Then what is it, Charlie sir?
  • My teeth…
  • Are they not getting sparkling white?
  • They are sparkling white, alright. But—
  • Now I understand your problem, Charlie. Will you please wait, while I get a dentist on-line to give you an expert advice on how to brush your teeth! Do not worry Charlie sir, we also get tons of calls like this every day.
  • The problem is not the toothpaste, Sonjay. It is my teeth.
  • What is the exact nature of the problem, Charlie?
  • There’s not enough toothpaste for one proper brushing.
  • Not even one, sir?
  • Not even.
  • Have you tried the top-of-the-line 300 gram Sparkling White Teeth Supertube that comes with 30% extra now, offer available as long as stocks last, there might be Sparkling White Teeth Supertubes without this offer as well.
  • I have tried that. Still I am not able to get a full brushing from the tube. I was wondering if you could release a bigger product, perhaps a Supermegatube?
  • I am sorry, Charlie. That is not a promise I can make to you by myself. I will definitely send this query to my manager, who will in-turn send it to the Products Management team and they will make the final call. I assure you this will be taken into the most serious consideration by Sparkling White Teeth Team.
  • Thank you, Sonjay.
  • If it’s not a problem, Charlie, Charlie sir, may I know why you are not able to get a full brushing with the whole toothpaste dabbed on the brush?
  • I am an elephant, Sonjay.
  • An elephant, sir?
  • Yes, an elephant.
  • How can you speak if you are an elephant, sir?
  • I am not actually an elephant, Sonjay. I am a person who thinks he’s an elephant.
  • So you don’t have tusks?
  • I do. And whenever I try to brush my teeth, the toothpaste falls off the paintbrush.
  • I see.
  • Yeah.
  • You are lucky to have called customer support for this, Charlie. I might just have the solution for your problem.
  • Yeah? What is it?
  • Stop thinking you are an elephant, sir.
  • But I am the customer, I am not?
  • You are indeed an elephant, Charlie.
  • Fix this, will you?
  • Of course sir. I will send an expert down to your address, and he will get it resolved in no time.
  • Thank you Sonjay.
  • I am glad to be of help, Charlie. Call back if you need support for any tube of toothpaste in Sparkling White Teeth range. You have a sparkling day sir.

(Dialtone)

Published!

After so many years of studying and working with literature, it was only last month that I got the courage to self-publish on Amazon. So many things went wrong during this phase: formatting, editing, rewriting, restructuring, and perfecting the look for the book. Each trial and error inched closer to the finished product, and I am proud of the final result.

Thank you, all my followers on WordPress and my readers who gave me valuable feedback and encouraged me to go forward in this adventure. Those likes, those random comments, the following, they mean so much to me. Once again, thank you all.

The Book: Rehearsal Banquet

My friends and some of my beta readers have asked these questions frequently, so I’ll address it here.

Why is the title of the book Rehearsal Banquet?

A banquet is a feast for a party of guests. Banquet here symbolizes two things: the ideas in the poem and me, the author. The form and semantics of the entire book is a short serving of ideas. Every one of them gets just enough attention to make themselves felt, before the next big concept in the book. Nothing is ever punched concrete in any of the poems, since it needs more from the reader and the poems supporting it.

And for me, this is the beginning of a chapter as a writer. Rehearsal Banquet is a short introduction to my world, a welcome party for all my readers and supporters.

How is this book different from other books of poetry?

Almost all poems in Rehearsal Banquet have a story to tell in their own unique way of telling it. As I have written more short stories and flash fiction in the past few years, storytelling has made itself a big part of who I am and what I write. There are so many styles, perspectives, structures in Rehearsal Banquet that each poem is completely different from the next one. There are recurring themes in the book, but they are seen in a new way each time either in narration or form of the poem. I tried my best to not give a conclusive final answer in almost all poems, leaving it open to the reader.

How long did it take to complete the book?

From start to finish, about seven months. I remember writing A Snow Leopard’s Epitaph in April, followed it with Weeping Walrus and The Serpent and the Sea and soon I was writing one or two poems every week, which became five in my most productive weeks, and at the end, I had forty-four poems for Rehearsal Banquet.

What’s next?

I taking some time off writing anything till the first week of November. There’s a book of short stories that I am planning and have written five stories, so I’ll be probably working on that. There’s a novelette that’s finished, but I don’t know if I’ll be publishing it soon, as it looks capable of being a novella or a small novel. I always wanted to write horror, surrealism, and sci-fi, and I think that pull from the genres will eventually decide what I do in the future.

Well guys, that’s the update about the book and the latest in my life. Here on, I’ll be posting short stories and flash fiction and small excerpts from my novel alongside poetry, my random banter on philosophy and personal posts. Thank you all once again for having me in this family and the love you have given me. You guys know to keep a writer writing 🙂

You can check the book here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0176XGIWW (I dunno when Amazon will update the “Look Inside” feature, will update as soon as it becomes available.)

Amalgam

Infinities become impossibilities
Impossibilities become complexities
Complexities become hardships
Hardships become intricacies
Intricacies become simplicities
Simplicities become trivialities
Trivialities becomes solutions
Solutions become instincts
Instincts become People
People become societies
Societies become states
States become nations
Nations become Ideas
Ideas become times
Times become eras
Eras become worlds
Worlds become infinities

Trajectory

13 years on a cannon
Chapped skin, sore back, frail --
Perfect round pellets
Sculpted titanium shaft
Yet, fires low, to foot of the hill

Sweat stains washed away
Anxious obsessions flinch
Surrendered dreams like glass

Weary mind skips wonder
Greedy heart beats faster
Red passion breathes sequel

13 years on a cannon
Dusty papers, pallid eyes, tired --
Steep acute angle
Ceaseless northern gust
Yet, fires high, to peak of the mountain

This is a poem; That is not.

Love This,
That is the right thing for This
How It needed This from all of That?
But with This, That is a joke;
This is me.

Cherish This,
That is a wrong image of This
After That broke It, This saved the day
When Nothing could.
This is me.

If This and That united,
If That and This reignited,
That is, forever - the eternal ever - changed
This, at the moment fakes for That
This is me.

That can’t keep This in a cage,
This is not wrong, neither right.
This needs air and fire in It.
That will be the end of This
That is you.