For a long time I’ve been intrigued by these ideas: our present is a consequence of our past and the effect foreknowledge has on our future. And this other concept that what we do or what happens to us is entirely independent of our past actions or our knowledge of things prior to their occurrence is also something that I have been lately thinking about.
I was at Sirifort Auditorium (Delhi) last night, watching ‘What is Done is Done!’ an adaptation of Macbeth, which has a great deal of premonition thing going on in it. However, that didn’t get me thinking about these concepts. What did or at least what started the train of thoughts was the conclusion one of the clowns in the play arrived at – that God is a chicken (so bye-bye KFC was an immediate reality for millions, god-fearing or not). How does it matter if it was said in a play, you say. Well, to that I’d say, do not underestimate the power of fiction, not when you know some of these have divided humanity along really absurd lines – such as one man’s food is another man’s god. O but I digress!
So today, on Easter, I woke up with a deep craving for egg. And as if on cue, last night’s observation rushed up my throat and I burped, ‘I know who lays Easter eggs!’ What an epiphany! Now let’s go back to the matter at hand. Past. Present. Future. What have eggs and chickens got to do with philosophical ramblings about time? Well, they certainly exist in time for one and one of the oldest riddles about evolution involves an egg and a chicken.
All that aside, I have just this bit of confusion: if someone at a table is enjoying his/her tandoori chicken and another person (out of spite or just with a weird sense of humour, like mine) travels back in time and makes an omelette of the egg whence came the aforementioned chicken, would the piece of mouth-watering tandoori vanish from the plate or would both the omelette and the tandoori chicken make both the individuals happy in different timelines? Someone build me a time machine, please!
PS. While am at it, I might also go ahead and destroy Skynet and thereby Genisys. You can thank me later humankind and James Cameron.
‘First rains of the year!’
shared someone on a
Later in the evening, a fruit seller
alighted a bonfire of wispy
strands of hay from his carton.
The evening was chilly indeed.
But the little calf,
who had just begun munching on
it, failed to understand the need.
whistles and howls, predatory prowls;
what beasts roam the night (for it is a metaphor
that extends quite aptly to any time of the day,
in the light of the incidents)? What evil
bares its claws groping, tugging, raping?
Mocking the law, the state and its people, or is it
a barely-hidden wink of appreciation at
our complicity? A complicity sealed in silence;
bonded over nods at the patriarch’s parable
on the importance of modest attire;
justified by assigning gender roles;
brandished as our right to be the allocator,
the defender (to incite whom were devised,
if you’d just give it a thought, curses relating
his female kin, and others that somehow
threatens emasculation, even if verbally); shared
in sexist circles of guffawing colleagues, friends,
random strangers; bargained over rape videos
at the bloody groceries!
Are we not to blame? Are we not that beast, that evil?
So often we meet
– fingers on half-erased letters
on stoic keyboards, or
like rush hour and a metro –
unaware of the bliss
of an encounter by chance.
[Presently on a train to Sealdah from New Delhi]
Like countless compartments
of a train
Time drags on,
as if bogged down
by the cumulative two-minute
desires of the souls it carries.
Time, however, on this train
I am travelling in
is governed by completely different
principles. One of those principles,
had been licking
the glass-sealed windows unabashedly,
since I opened my eyes this morning;
its menace in swathes of white
gobbling the black dots of hope.
waves – words distilled – lap
at a silent shore. a breath
of sea in my ears
Kohra shehar par –
bekhabar angdaiyan khaat
pe razaai jaise.
on the bed; quilts wrinkle like
fog on the city.]
I don’t know what it feels like
To sneak so far up and surprise
The sun like an old buddy.
I don’t know if the air up there
Hums a welcome in your ears
Any different from here; however, I’d like
To think it doesn’t smell of disappointment.
I don’t expect that my heaving heart –
A compliment from the kind of diet
I am disciplined with – could ever
Live up to the thrill and satisfaction
That all of these offer.
I would perhaps never know…
But I am very happy
To see you do
What you love the most.
Un lafzon ka shukriya kya karoon
jinhonne kabhi siyahi mein bheeg kar
to kabhi zubaani hadon mein simat kar
daastan-e-dil bayaan ki hain.
[Could I ever be grateful enough
to words which, at times manifested in ink
and at others curled up into limitations of speech,
have expressed the whims of my heart in truth?]