A Wrestle between two worlds

Aside

Its a fight,

everytime I fall, I stand up and take the test again,

I am in it to win, to conquer the evil in me with the commands of Christ,

I have no power on my own, I only have what the Lord gave me ,

though too many times I fall and give up, thinking to myself that I can never make it,

CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS , lost in one and saved in another,

All this talk about a Savior and how he was born two thousand years ago and died for my sins has got me thinking if it ever matters to me when all I wanna do is sin,

Blind

there is nothing beyond the sky and the stars, beyond the reaches of the sky and the infinite limits of the universe, ,

There are no angels or pearly gates, isn’t it….? These are make believe aren’t they….?

But what have I in this world for me…?

Riches…? Fame…? Women….? Money….?

I can’t take them with me after I die,

What follows a man after death…?

What if what the Christians are saying is right….?

What if there is a heaven and a hell….?

I know that my present choices sure aint taking me to heaven…!

There are no justifications to sin, NONE, for we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord says the Bible,

There is none righteous among us not one, we were conceived in sin,

all these questions bind me to their momentous insanity,

they seem sincere and very real,

but life seems to have no meaning when I merely sin,

its seems to only be a cycle between guilt and confusion,

all the fanciful motions and exhibitions of the human drama seem not to satisfy nor fill the corners of my heart,

Human Love has left me to die, and the bonds of human familiarity have long since gone,

but it is not these that I truly seem to feel and regret,

its about wanting to learn and wanting to do something with this wonderful life that I have been blessed with ,

It’s about wanting to do something for the ones who perish without cause and without letting Christ into their hearts,

My own journey does go on, and it often weaves and seems to prolong often the stings and pains of my own agitated heart,

But I take Pride in my Lord, and walk with Faith, a lot was placed on my shoulders and a lot is expected of me, though I know not what to make of what people want of me, I know that I am accountable too to my savior and I walk on in the darkness guided by HIS light.

Advertisements

Lest I slip and fall

Standard

Lest I slip and fall into a temptation that would consume me for all,

lest I depart away from my savior and not rise up when I fall,

lest the evil in this world I not proclaim with my Savior’s triumph over it on the Cross,

Lest these demons plunder away at my weakness and pull me away…,

lest the saving arms that I embrace be taken away and I be cast into eternal damnation and torment,

Lord, have mercy on me when I fall, I seek only to serve you,

but at times I can’t since I am brand new on this battlefield of the eternal war between good and evil,

at times when the good in me departs since I assume it’s of my own accord that they were borne within me, have mercy on my soul dear lord and take not the words of a complete fool who weighs not what his thoughts come forth from,

thoughts are my enemies, my friends have long since deserted me, I can trust no one and love’s mad blindness grip and tighten the noose over my soul, Lord save me lest I descend into the eternal fire and damnation,

Sometimes I get angry and my anger makes me judge people and write them off, Lord teach me how to forgive and teach me how to transcend,

Lord, I have not love enough for another, sometimes I love myself more than any other, Lord remove vanity from my heart and open my heart to embrace souls that exist along my own time’s line,

I worry if my actions have been set in stone and time has stepped away and maybe my life would end today, Lord I know that I have sin in my heart and I know that I am worthless except for when you’re in my heart, without you I have no meaning and I long to serve you even when cruel blows are thrown to my side and make me weep in pain,

Lord lest I slip and fall and end up chained to unshakeable chains that can never be cast, and lest I end up burning for eternity in a lake of fire, Lord I am afraid and I know that I can never even begin to imagine the endless pain and suffering, Lord I cling to your feet, cast me not away dear Lord lest I slip and fall, lest I break your commandments and fall at your feet begging for forgiveness, cast me not away dear Lord, for I am a sinner and I don’t deserve anything

Something I wrote on November 29th

Aside

And here I am , trapped in my room and in my body when the night is on and the lights are few and men’s hearts sleep and dream, and I am tested and torn by the things that a believer in truth faces in this dark and dying world. I know of the reality of Hell, I know also of the reality of Salvation, I know the persecutions that a believer would undoubtedly face I know also of the calm and peace that would be provided unto us by HIS grace, I know that the will of man means nothing when faced up against the dark forces and dominions in the spiritual realms and that only through Christ can temptation be passed by fasting and praying with the utmost humility at the foot of his throne. I know all these things but my world still remains, my wounds though healed appear to reappear, my mere thoughts I realize cannot be trusted, my heart is my enemy, deception, cunning, deceit, tricks, manipulations, persuasions to depart from the Cross and rather consummate with the world and its sinful pleasures, my heart is divided, my flesh longs and thirsts even as I have willed it into submission, but my sight wanders, my lips they plot and my heart it designs elaborate schemes to sin and depart from the glory of the Father and enter deeper into bondage with the devil, there is an unseen world, there are forces that are the merchants of death and sin and they are rampant everywhere and in plain sight, from kids dumped in garbage dumps to rape and murder done with utmost hatred and malevolence, sin and destruction have made man depart far from the Love of God…..! I search my heart at all times and realize that without Christ I am no better than any other sinner in the history of this world, and given a chance I would rather lust and run as far away from the Savior as I possibly can, but the Cross is where I am continually drawn to, and as I draw nearer I learn by faith to let go of the evil that is in my human nature, I realize that in order for me to believe in Christ I must die spiritually and be reborn a being in union with Christ and seek to be cleansed everyday by feeding on the food of the scriptures and drink of the pools of faith and exercise my muscles in prayer, but as wonderful as this vision be my heart is constantly plunged into the shadowy depths in which I had been stuck in before, the self hatred, the impure desires still raged within me and it took all of my effort and strength in order to pay them much heed, but I learned that in the Bible it is written that I can only defeat the devil by obeying the commandments of our Father in Heaven, but did I have it in me….? Who was I going to be….? How would GOD use me….? Was I to be a martyr….? Tormented and abused for my faith or was I to be a silent angel finding the lost and guiding them to the cross where they may lay their doubts and fears and exchanged them instead for hope, faith, love and other fruits of the spirit that come when a man truly confesses and repents of the evil in his heart and asks the good Lord to be his personal Savior, The Heavenly Shepherd constantly aided and repaired my fragmented pieces, but my flesh seemed to fight with every ounce of strength that it had to protect its home court, but my spirit was not willing to let myself sink into the same abyss of failure and discontent, my soul and my heart thirsted for the living waters that refreshed and renewed, but the journey was long and too often I tended to lose sight of the goal and also wondered if I was serious about my life and its path, but as always I gave it up to the Lord in prayer and asked Him to lead and guide me wherever he wanted me to be…….. Was this a trick of my imagination or a sordid course, I know not well, but I care only that the road be close to that of my Savior in whose house I seek to dwell ….. ! Amen

The light that was lost

Standard

I write this as only a few minutes remain to the strike of twelve before a new day is born, and the 28th of November, 2012 ceases to be nothing but a memory, I am writing from my room high up on the fourth floor, surrounded by a lot of books and Christian literature, and in these books have I been poring through for the better part of today, searching and seeking truths, searching missing links that would better connect and help me ascend further up the stairway of Faith that reaches to the farthest skies , winding across the stars and ending somewhere in the highest heavens. I wonder how the view looks like from there, but as of now I am on earth and very much caught between two lives, that of Joey the 25th something year old who has never planned or executed a single event in his life, who sought to do things as he wished and always sought to firmly rebel against authority if so only to find his own way that would mean more to him than merely following blindly the routes and roads that the masses appear to embark upon. The other life is that of Joey the one who preaches to mirrors, converts inanimate objects in the bathroom and in public parks into Born again Christians, who strives to write a book filled with experiences of the path that it takes to become a warrior of the highest order, in other words to become a christian and seeks to devour the gospel, the Bible and the Scriptures at large so that he may touch lost souls and evoke in their hearts a love of the Lord, and guide them with the assistance of the Holy Spirit into accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. While the old one was fast fading away into winds of the past that only blew when time stood still, the new man was slowly and steadily reaching out within his heart and learning in steps and bounds as a baby would. Fascinated by the new world that had always existed just beyond his own rigid views on life, it all seemed funny, He had always known Christ, he had always subtly hidden the teachings of Christ when he at times came upon souls that needed love and encouragement, the new man understood that he had a purpose to fill and though he felt inspired to embark on that journey as fast as he could, he had to wait, for as fiery as the flames that devour was his spirit on fire for the Love of Christ, but these fires were too susceptible to attacks and too often to the elements of doubt brought upon by the past. Was this all a dream….? I often wondered, was I merely escaping into my dream world and avoiding all responsibility or was I for real….? I did do a honest day’s work these days and though I admit to feeling disillusioned every now and then I did do my best to go on about it , but then why was I feeling like I was missing something….? I no longer felt lonely or lost, although at times when I see people holding hands or being with friends I get that feeling of loneliness that had haunted and held me captive for many long years, but even that passed away as I sought refuge in the promises of GOD, I had many friends now, most of them were unseen and had wings and fought mighty wars against the darker things of this world, and they renewed my strength and made me feel safe sometimes when the nights were long and pleasures few. Jesus was always there, He never let me go nor did He make me feel alone, it was a wondrous feeling, a feeling that never sunk in completely, and though the world appeared more grim and evil than it had before I felt happy knowing that I had a friend and someone to lean on when the storms came and when memories brought emotions that crippled and wounded my soul, but I did begin to wonder how it all appeared to people who had always known and subconsciously written me off as some loose nut and lost cause, I wondered what they thought and I wondered if our paths crossed if I would be able to touch them just as Christ touched me.

My speakers let off a consistent buzz, the night was filled with solitary noises that temporarily were heard in the great distance between my apartment and the roads that lay below and further away from the compound of the building which housed the apartments that I stayed at. Was this all pre written…? I thought, the great companionable silence, the dark shadows, the low dense night colors of the sky, were they all planned….? Or was this merely just another day….? Another compartment in a endless sequence of compartments…? Meaningless , soulless and lifeless existence upon one day that stretched into eternity and appeared such as months, days and years…. In that view all my fears were rightly founded, I was truly lost, I was going nowhere fast and anything I did and wanted could be justified, but the longer I thought this depressing way the more sure I was that I was wrong, terribly and utterly wrong….! I did not write the rules to this life, whatever thoughts I thought were too often empty and served not to calm my nervousness and my fears, but how was it that so many souls could not know about Christ….? The Bible provided me answers at every twist and turn that I found myself stranded in, every low point and every doubt of the soul had answers in the divinely inspired scriptures and my faith was opening doors that my knowledge and intelligence could not fathom, things that I never thought I could change changed, emotions and thoughts that I never thought would leave me alone parted ways when I brought up the authority of Christ, parts of me felt disillusioned wondering too often if GOD really saw me and appreciated my efforts, but I guess that for so long had I BEEN limited to my flesh that I hardly understood the workings of the spirit which seemed beyond the reach of my rationality and logic. I was supposed to be been broken hearted, bitter, hateful and spiteful by now, but in my heart despite fears I felt joy, encouragement and a wondrous love for people who knew not Christ, my Lord was changing me and I felt new energy surge through me, and I wanted to tell them, forget about telling them, I wanted to shout it off the rooftops, off the mountain tops that my GOD was greater and the one true living GOD and that so many of them were fast rushing into hell, but … as and always there is a but, I was afraid if this new found conviction would desert me when the opportunity presented itself, or if and when the opportunity presented itself I wondered if I would merely use my own knowledge and ability to witness about the Master that I served, and that would be disastrous, I knew that from experience, I knew that I could not transform and reach everybody in the same way, I knew that I could only ask GOD to work through me, and I knew that that was the only way that would make sense, but I just felt like I needed to capture the moment and I wanted to do that in a big way and not feel like this was all a dream and some chance coincidence, I had fallen for that kind of bogus before and I would again if my roots were not in the body of Christ.

But was this my destiny…? Sure my parents had dedicated me to the work of Christ when I had been born and all through my life despite my outward acts inwardly I knew where my heart lay, and sure I had dreams of being an evangelist and speaking in public, but was this my one true call…..? Or was I merely being starry eyed about it…..? Doubts and a job that was more than taxing on my well meant enthusiasm had me double guessing and drained off hope, but Hope came when I opened the pages of the Bible, I carried my Bible everywhere, I took it in my backpack, I sometimes kept it in the trunk of my coughing sputtering bike, I placed it on my chest as I watched Rev. Billy Graham preach on Youtube, I hugged it as I slept, I was becoming a child all over again, each night I prayed for Jesus to watch over me as I slept and for angels to surround my flat and keep it safe, I even prayed for people who I feared to call out by name, I was obsessed and close to being labelled a fanatic, but nobody knew my inner story, they did not know my joyous passion or the zeal that burned in my heart for Christ, or the wonderful adventure that I was having despite in many ways having the same problems as before, I was an eagle trapped in a man’s body, at work I was a tiger that roared and growled in its cage, royal and angry at being trapped in a mere job and a desk than out there in the world doing works of redemption through the power of the Cross, in life I was a wild mare rebellious and indignant, the thirst and hunger for the valleys beyond and valleys within, but trapped by other personalities, other characters who were louder and much more indignant about their talents and abilities, I watched in silence as I always did, my day would come, and my day did not mean proving other’s wrong or stacking up praise and fame, my day would be more personal and up close, finally equipped to serve my master and His needs on this planet, or it may be a blossoming of the qualities expected of a Christian, My day would come, the saints were watching….

But as I drew nearer and nearer to the Cross, people who had been there before chanced my way and spoke their old lost tale, they had lost their light, and I did my best to listen to them without feeling the familiar ‘ I would do it much better’ mantra in my head, I was to be humble when I listened to their sorrow, they had tales to preach, they had pearls of wisdom to tell and they too often saw in me what they once had and cherished. I was glad to listen to their agonies of their heart and I offered encouragement and goodwill to them , reminding them that the good Lord would never let go of them, some of them turned rude and held me in contempt, advising me with pride and arrogance that I was no different, that they had been in my shoes and walked my path, that they had been poorer than me, that they had borne the burdens of their family and had always had to be more conscious of the well being of their family members rather than meet their own needs, they spoke in a voice laden with doom and warning, a well meant piece of counsel for the young buck who strove to enter the race to the kingdom of heaven. Hard times will come they preached, gloomy days, intense moments of trial and suffering, tribulation, temptation, now that you’re a christian judging by your looks you’ll have more trouble with girls than any other temptation they preached, assuming in their hearts that I had vanity and lust, of course these did exist in measures, but that was not me anymore, I mean it in the humblest way possible, I was those things in a way, but I longed to be so much more, so much more than mere silly qualities and quantities, but I knew that the path was hard, the commandments required intense obedience and devotion, was I an indisciplined youth who had always rebelled against authority in any form ready for a lifetime of obedience and discipline….? I pondered, if it meant being close to my Savior, I needed no further pondering, but these lights that had fizzled away troubled me, not because I was fearful if I would end up becoming like them, I truly was not afraid if that ever occurred, I had co-existed with failure for a large portion of my life so there was nothing new there, but I wondered if I could be what GOD wanted me to be, I wondered if I had it in me to be what GOD expected me to be…..? And I wondered if I should call so much attention to myself and was I losing track and sight of the goal…?? Was I merely drawing attention or was I truly committed to my cause….? Only Time and tide would tell I concluded as I finish this sentence to retreat to my bed to rest my weary being, the Sinus has been having its way with me since yesterday, splitting headaches and blocked nasal passages had deprived me of full consciousness and awareness, but I strive on, as always I maintain that I write to no one but to myself, these exercises serving more to communicate to me what I need to be truly listening and paying attention to…. 🙂 But as always if some of you chance upon it and read I wish you to take it to heart and feel in your heart what I felt since GOD put those things within me , and I urge you to direct your hearts to Christ to open your eyes and your heart to who you truly are …. God bless

A few notes

Standard

You should come to Delhi, a lot of hot chicks over here , she said

Lol, I typed back grinning to myself, but also partly distracted and attentive in the same degree to the messages of my friend who had recently shifted to Delhi, I had been listening to her descriptions of Delhi of late and they had been painting a picture of that great city where the ancient remnants of a once fertile civilization ruled. I was working of course, part of me was engaged in the task of fitting cards into empty covers, the covers were a beautiful grey, the grey that the skies and clouds take on a rainy day, me and my coworker were busy at work fitting the cards, Christmas Season was near and the sponsors and the money that supported and touched the lives of so many underprivileged children were to receive simple gestures in the forms of greeting cards and written letters of thanks. It was all procedure, parts of it bored me, since the letters that were to be included along with the cards often followed a standard format, and too often gratitude and the unsaid words that too often remained unsaid were not written in those hastily prepared letters, but I thought it best to not question GOD about these things, certain things appeared to not communicate, but they might and they would, He does work in mysterious ways and I let my thoughts rise up to him, I took comfort in his gentle presence that washed away my worldly concerns. What was I doing here…? I wondered, here I was employed in an organization that specialized in humanitarian works, but the office functioned just like any other offices, and that thought depressed me, I felt lifeless and impatient within the sanctity of the old walls that embraced the lives of the confused but dedicated souls working within its confines. I was learning things about people, but these lessons often opened up after harsh and too often emotionally fluctuating ceremonies of the human drama that surrounds us all in its grandeur and expression. I knew now that I longed and even ached to do the Lord’s work, but a string of recent experiences were again pulling me back into a dismal pit where cruel attacks were made to my faith and to my confidence, the most recent of them was at the Church. I had attended service with a lot of enthusiasm and with a lot of expectations, but a former feeling that I had harbored deep in my heart slowly pulled me away from the sermon and from communing with  the fellow parishioners. I knew that I was different from everyone else, but did I have to stand out everywhere I went…? Could I not pretend to be normal and natural atleast for a day, and wish that I did not have these feelings and temperaments in my heart…. ? Satan used the oldest trick in his bag of tricks, the one where he made me feel like an outsider and as someone who struggled to fit into the mainstream rush of society. Everyone I saw had clearly defined standards and knew who they wanted to be, but I abhorred deeply the conformity that was expected and essential in a crowd, I stood alone too often, and I much preferred it that way for I felt calmness that way, but in my heart I loved people, I really loved them and though I often was discouraged and confused in that same matter since I felt that I did not have it in me to understand and love them truly with all of my heart, the good Lord had given in my heart an immense love for all kinds and sorts of people, and I knew my attitude and who I was before I had submitted to Christ so that I may function more like how he wanted me to be and less what my own human nature longed and thirsted for with all the viciousness and desperation that the flesh feels and longs for.

A recent trend in my thoughts and in my prayer life was that of a mild disillusion that cloaked itself in the sincere garments of doubt and arose in the streams of my faith as boulders that severed the flow and joy of my rush into spiritual depths, how do I pray for people that I know not of….? Asked these tiny atoms that corroded and blew with great pangs of emotion, and I found myself bothered by these cold winds, as always I began to analyze my past, exploring the reasons I had backed away from praying in the past for the vast multitudes that knew not my savior, and as these reasons presented themselves to me I realized how big a fool I had been, that was the exact reason as to why I had never prostrated myself before the heights of heaven and asked the good Lord to help where help need be. Reasons, formulated opinions that appeared like cold hard facts that strangulated well meant intentions and often pushed away the redeeming power of prayer, I knew that in many ways that I had the heart of a child, that despite the many corruptions, despite the many misjudgments, the many offenses GOD had retained in my the wonder and faith of a child, and I did not need a reason, I did not need to understand the reasons as to why I had to reach out to an individual who needed prayer and pray with my own sense of conviction. I did not need to understand the elaborate details, the reasons, I just had to offer my heartfelt utterings and ask the Holy spirit to guide and assist my words and submit it to the Lord, and then learn to exercise trust and hope and confidence in knowing that GOD hears my prayers, I needed to learn to let my own human bound cynicism not control the works of the spiritual man within me. It was strange in a way that I had two lives, though I preferred the complete absorption of the latter, the very many spiritual experiences, adventures and glimpses into the infinite power of GOD, sadly I had to learn to fulfill the responsibilities of the human being as well, and that human being was complicated, had enormously corrupted thoughts,fears, had dealt with the effects of rejection, intimidation and inferiority all his life, but also had learnt to lean more on his will, on his own search for clarity and ultimately was quite a case study of self absorption. But I had to learn patience, especially in the christian walk, patience was key when enduring trials and tribulations and they would be more and varied now that I longed to walk with my savior, unseen forces belonging to the evil dominions desired to see me fail and longed to pull me back into the same hollow shell that I had once lived in, but I was having none of it, but time and time again, I was reminded of just how weak I was in battling against these mighty supernatural forces with their vast experience in battle, I had to often sink my head in discouragement at the wiles and deceptions of the enemy who had made me fall a few times after renewing my relationship with the Cross, the enemy was mighty and powerful but I took courage and solace in the fact that my Lord was mightier, was stronger, more powerful than any other being or force in this planet, HE had made the skies , the stars and the wild gorges that had rushing torrents of water gushing into the empty canyons, he had made the depths of the sea, HE had commanded them and set boundaries that they would never cross or exceed, and these things renewed my spirit and made me feel strong and less lonely.

I was reminded of former people who had also picked up a cross and attempted to follow Christ but had either failed or had become disillusioned and had either given up or no longer proclaimed it with the same joy and conviction that they had once felt, but I took hope that GOD had brought me in for a purpose, and I wanted desperately to do what He had written for me as a part of my destiny. I knew that I loved people but my greatest pain and suffering were also by people, when the silent hours of loneliness came my way, I was reminded time and time again of the many blows and the many misjudgments that I had been a part of in my life, and at this juncture of my life when I was growing nearer and nearer to the Lord, and working as a volunteer, exposed to social evils, unsaid human atrocities and the lowest strata of society that lived on pavements and street corners, I too often forgot myself and plunged into the very dismal depths that these people lived in, I saw up close and personal how hollow life could sink to when deprived of money, of human comfort and belonging. The slums were by large the saddest part of chennai that I had ever seen, and I too often sought ways to prevent myself from being overwhelmed by the sheer suffering that people living in them went through, and I was often visiting different slums, and each of them had different problems, some of them suffered from a lack of hygienic facilities, from proper drainage systems, most of them were filthy, dirty and nauseating, but people survived in these surroundings, and appeared to be no different from people elsewhere in the city or maybe they just covered that up, I knew the looks that I got when I walked in these places which were too often the breeding grounds for malice, crime, hatred, rebellion, anger and violence. I felt so lost and intimidated by these people, I had nothing to offer them, except my ears and my time, and that too were limited since my Job in this place was more geared towards Children and education, the most basic of tasks of filling up forms so that someday a kid from this place would get a chance at education and someday make the people from this low den of discontent proud. I attempted to educate myself so that I would understand these people better, though too often I felt a complete sense of being ignored in such settings, I also felt curiosity, animosity, mockery and an overall need to communicate, I was safe for the time being, for these things were reflected in varying degrees in any social circumstance. I wanted to understand them and not make them feel emotionally overwhelmed so that they would shut off and grow defensive, but I also didn’t want to merely communicate with embittered souls who had nothing to offer but hatred and malice. But how….? I wondered with all the genius of my stupidity, it was then that it struck me, I was not talking to GOD about it, I was doing it again. I was once again reverting back to the same Joey who simply wanted to understand something and once he did he forgot all about it. I wanted these lessons to impact my life deeper and more profoundly than the other lessons that I had learnt. I had to overcome my shyness first, that was a hilarious task in itself, badly timed jokes and just plain stupid attempts to appease the better natures of my compatriots and fellow beings often left me feeling disillusioned, I was trying too hard to fit, and that was not me, the thing about me was whether I liked it or not I always managed to stand out, or be an outsider who hardly bothered about things such as fitting and mending. I tried to pray but the surroundings were distracting me too much, my sensitivity was going haywire, I grew tired too often(physically speaking ie) and my companions seemed to hardly sport enthusiasm or show an expression that reflected a process of thought, they were just there, working, but working dutifully and then when it was done, it was over. I wondered if I should become that way so that I would not feel so much, but as usual I would never be a second rate version, I was an original and I took great pride in being just that. So life went on, details of my work were to approach homes and ask the parents or relatives if there were any kids from 2nd std to 6th …? If the answer was yes, I had to say, ‘ we are from worldvision and we’re offering sponsorship for kids in those standards….’ and then I would be greeted by the closed brow expression with weird facial impacts, ‘ Sponsorship….?’ What on earth is that….? They would ask, World Vision thrived on contacts in these areas, as a matter of fact that was how they operated in these impoverished areas, so these contacts could be local politicians, Pastors or community developers, this time it was the latter, the guy next to me said, that it was a ‘tuition of some sort’, I bit my tongue, I hardly knew how to explain it myself, even though it was as simple as saying bread and butter, I refrained and chose instead to inform them about which dates we would be coming in and what all requirements they needed to bring, mostly they were birth certificates and bonafide certificates. The people lived in houses that were not more than a few feet from the door, and in that space was crammed a bed, television sets, huge almirahs with clothes, old unused buckets filled with things that probably had not definition, there was such a dark emotional energy that seemed to circulate in those spaces, I chose not to read them, I had given all of that up when I had come to Christ, but I knew that there was abuse and alcoholism and drugs were rampant, so were dysfunctional family structures, prostitution, I could feel a sinister rage in those places, and I too often felt awkward and out of place, I felt that way everywhere, especially when a lot of attention was thrown my way or if I was ignored. But we went that way, my companion was a vague head who behaved at times like a robot and most times like someone who knew not how to respond to simple human questions. Assisting us of course was the community developer guy who I seemed to like, he was not bossy nor did he project any unnecessary attitudes and that was fine, we went through cracks between narrow houses crammed into each other, the sun littered well meant radiance every now and then, it felt more like being in an intestine than on a path between houses, but people lived there engaged in cooking, washing, cleaning, most of it were woman-folk who were so absorbed in their grueling work that they hardly cast a glance, I felt that they did a lot and too often than not were not appreciated for their efforts, I breathed a sigh, all these places and run down buildings reminded me more and more of Charles Dickens, the slums that Oliver Twist found himself in and of the unspeakable fear and suffering that too often ran deep in these settings, What am I doing here Lord …?  I wondered

The day passes by sooner these days, but you  nevertheless feel the  pain that life gives you and you let it work on you, and out of that suffering is born a deeper resolve , and as the long hours tick away reminding you of your pain and things that were taken away, you learn to develop a relentless drive and pursuit within you towards the things that matter the most, discarding things that made you feel confused and weary and focus on the good things of life and learning how to offer yourself when servicing people who are in dire need and pain…..

The man who wanted to write

Standard

He sighed, yet another incomplete story, another one that would bite the dust he thought, the thought strangely not touching him or making him feel anything. He was used to this pattern by now, this mood of complacency that made sure that he could reach any further within and light the stream that would open his heart and narrate another unlikely tale. He was short circuiting himself too much, backing off too often and giving up too easily. He was looking at words, repetitions, feels and mannerisms too much and he knew it, but there was nothing that he could do about it, he knew that he was getting stuck to a formula and letting that conceptuality trap him, he relied no longer on spontaneity and thought too much about how other people would receive and take his style. He worried not much about what they thought, but with all the self promotion that he did he felt the need to back it up, and that led him more and more to create blunt portraits, that had all the right twists and turns, but no character, or maybe he was judging himself too harshly. The external life mirrors the inside he thought or was it otherwise, he felt stuck too often. And the worst part of it all was that he had no one else to blame, he knew that the fault was all entirely his, he knew he should have made a practice of seeking that inner calm and spark and letting the words guide him instead of otherwise, too often he let the words that he desired to speak be cast in a form that would draw attention to his personal skill, but they hardly mattered to him, they never did, he had always worked in secret, he wrote because sometimes he could not stay silent and things longed to be spoken or narrated, thoughts came to him, tales opened their unspoken voices to him beseeching him to be their narrator, but this rich inner world he ignored, rather seeking solace in how everyone else seemed to go about this same craft of writing. He worried too much about standards, quality, about what other people assumed a writer should be. He feared labeling himself a writer, since from an early age, things had always seemed that whatever he assumed with pride and self assertion turned out to be major fails and failures, all those years he had longed to call himself something, to merely draw away the unwarranted attention that often surrounded him because of his eccentric ideas and unlikely appeal. He tried to shy away, but the grip grew stronger, and as he yielded he lost his voice, voices that once praised and held him high became the masters of what was to be said and done, he started to lose his way, he began doubting his own abilities and his pride often was too severe on him and made sure to provoke him over and over, within time, these self attacks had learned to express themselves as his attempts at self depreciation and nurse his wounded pride, he never wanted to draw the spotlight to himself, he only wished that if the spotlight did shine on his corner that he should be man enought to not shy away from the challenge and rise up to meet it with honor and confidence. But he scarcely understood how his voice worked, sure he could write, he compiled loads of average stuff merely from a particular feel that an emotion, a song or a scene gave out, he could flesh it out with considerable skill, but they often felt like stealing, he had always been proud enough of his own unique method and style. But as he started learning and drawing inspiration, which he felt was an essential component to his craft, too often their dominance showed in what he attempted to personify or bring about, since he had an acute fear of truly expressing his meek voice in fear of being judged as meagre or weak, he hid it behind flamboyant styles, and a sparkling sense of energy. He had always possessed energy, vigor and a vitality, but being a sensitive soul, he was often subjected to energies that were beyond his understanding that if one seriously investigates could in time master, but it was only too late that he realized these abilities, he had always been a late bloomer, the last person to react, the first person to be misunderstood and the one who always surprised people since too often people thought not much of him. He was very silent, and he tended to shy away from attention, not that he did not like people or company, on the contrary he loved them all, but he knew not how to stand and be silent, since he felt too much in their midst’s  he felt their pain, he felt their characters, he felt their vain displays of attitude that too often confused and threw him off base, but he felt people, too many negative experiences had convinced him enough of his total lack of skill in socializing and hence he withdrew, deeper and deeper into a shell where he communed with a sense of rebelliousness. Nourished by popular notions of being the odd man out, which he had been all his life, he learnt to concentrate more on his inner life, and he did so, he constantly tried to be absorbed in the ‘motion and process of being’. But he wanted more, he had always wanted to be able to say something,and he longed to say it in a way that would get people’s attention , not to glorify his apparent talent but to bring to focus aspects that are too often lost in the way people perceive and receive outward and inward processes. Even in his writings he often made the most unassuming aspect the chief of all detail, it was his style, no doubt it emanated from his own life experiences of being an outsider, but he knew that he was talking something real, people were lost in their commonly held notions, once in a while it did good to have someone come along and make them go ‘hmm’. But the magnitude of the task troubled him immensely, could he do it, he felt that he was showcasing these skills in order to bring glory to his maker for whom he had the utmost respect. But unconsciously he invited demons that were more than happy to ridicule his temperament and his leanings, these demons fed on his own apparent modesty and tended to make him look more at what people were much better at, were they not the real thing…? they mocked him , and he being the meek moon child that he was, gulped it all down, for all his skills of self analysis and his total lack of any pretenses, he fell time and time again because he judged himself the harshest, he always brought more attention to his own mistakes, and this in time had brought unwitting companions of the writer’s nest of discontent to the forefront as they savaged his mind and tried time and time again to take his mind away from the treasures that his soul had to offer. But in the process they had obliterated to an extreme the paths through which these silent messengers traveled in order to speak a particular message. But as much as he relied on his mind, he was to an extreme paranoid of his own mind, of his own thoughts, of his own sense of reality, constantly suspicious if he was sane enough to sound like he understood whatever came out of him or whatever happened when another person was touched or felt something due to him.

The Cineplex – A story that I wrote before I met Jesus :) written on the 20th of October 2011

Standard

The Cineplex

I wandered enrobed in my black kurta, Levis and black strapped sandals, my destination was of course Sathyam Cinemas on Peter Street; I still had a mile or so left. It was a hot day to walk, mid October as a matter of fact, the monsoons had done nothing to reprieve the fury of the indignant sun that burned with a vengeance.  I passed busy streets with speeding bikers and warring car drivers, it was around 3 pm, I wanted to catch the midday movie with a friend who would be joining me over there. Now the Cineplex was my home for I often spent my days and nights over there, I lodged in the Zen ashram down the street from the Cineplex. I spent my days walking across the city, sometimes my scooter served as a guest on my travels, but I preferred my feet more. I often walked the Mahapalipuram highway, often staying for days sheltered in the thick pines that grew on the sides of the highway. Staring at the stars in the night and meditating for hours on end in the distant night listening to the waves of the ocean, and dreaming strange dreams with strange beings. I entered the compound of Sathyam Cinemas, young men and women thronged the counters speaking hurriedly with pressed tones, huge posters of currently playing movies hung on the outside walls, I scratched my beard as I surveyed them. There was James Bradley cooper with golden sunglasses in one of them, Jeff Goldblum stared with his strange brown eyes out of a nearby poster behind him stood a bald Eddie Murphy clad in a long flowing robe sporting a serene grin’ Holy Man’ read the title. I asked a nearby gentleman for the time, 3:05 he said with a frown. I thanked him and walked to the side, ‘she should be here any moment now’, I thought to myself.  Might as well say hello to Jacque I thought, Jacque was the head chef at the bakery attached to the Cineplex. He was no ordinary man. He had arrived in Chennai fresh off of winning the Regional Culinary challenge at Marseilles, France where he had grown up. Jacque had visited the ashram a while ago curious, a novice myself I showed him around. The ashram roughly housed about thirty monks who had all taken up all the in house vows of utmost sincerity, of constant seeking and transcendence and lastly of undying dedication and devotion to humanity. Needless to say we bonded on a realm of the abstract, for he displayed a genuine interest in the art of living, and often had since then confided in me his doubts, existential concerns and of life in general. Gentle and warm, Jacque often talked to me about the realm of the supernatural in which we both held a keen interest and concern.

I walked into the cozy bakery with its thin painted glass doors; the cold air of the air conditioning reprieved me from the heat of the streets. A few customers stood around in the sophisticated space, despite its small size, there were some cushioned sofas on the side with an elegant wooden table with some magazines and brightly colored bottles of exotic sauce. A delicious aroma wafted through the air, I know that I had taken a vow of simplicity, but food especially fine food was something I would write my soul for. The Walls had a combination of paintings and pictures, Van Gogh’s Famed Starry Starry Night hung on the east end of the wall, while towards the counter were various framed pictures of children, the Eiffel Tower, Chefs in kitchens etc. Near the west wing of the Hall, stood a mysterious painting, one that had on many occasions had cast a spell on me, it is hard to describe it, but it had a dark and shadowy space, in which a stream of light briefly entered into and a few spaces up there was a window and a full moon with brilliant specks all around. I walked upto it and began my inspection of it, art, especially fine art serves as a comfort, a drug of sorts, pulling one away for several intoxicated moments from the carefully constructed realm of consciousness with its flailing desires and unresolved grief. Casting him/her instead into a space and enclosure with infinite boundaries and possibilities, with every stroke of paint, I felt myself loosing myself deeper and deeper into the psyche of the piece before me. I embraced the darkness of the shadows, creeping slowly in its solace approaching slowly the mystery of the window, when all of a sudden a hand on my shoulder casts out the reverie. I smiled and turned to face Jacque,

‘Is it me or is the placing of this particular painting in direct relationship to its very message…?’

‘I have never thought of it in that manner before..!’ he said with a surprised look with perfectly accented English.

‘ This painting alone is placed aesthetically as far as possible from the other themes rampant in this disco space, van Gogh sought to capture his most pleasurable memories of the night with starry night, he was partially blind when he set to work on it..! But this…!! Its …

‘I know, words fail me too Jim’

‘There is someone I want you to meet’ I said with a smile

‘Wow, so you do have what is called in our world – a Normal friendship, eh…?’

‘Well she is certainly in no ordinary words- ‘ordinary’ I can tell you that..!’

‘ I should inform you that I am well aware of your extended social preferences –  wanderers, tea shop walas, drunkards passed out on pavements, mad men who scribble on walls, lonely middle class wives, some or most of them scare the heck outta me Jim..! So you can wonder how this moment makes me feel’ he said with a long suffering look.

‘Relax hotshot; she is certainly in the avant garde department herself .I think that the two of  you will get along famously!’

‘Oh..’ he said with surprise

‘Well she should be here at any moment now!’

At that exact moment, the door opened bringing along with it a parcel of sunlight that appeared out of place in the bakery’s sterile and fashionable lights, before resuming the stoic pace of the inner space.

‘Hey there… ‘ I called in her direction

She turned her head in my direction, she appeared flustered,

‘Traffic…? ‘

‘Oh you have no idea..!’ she began

‘Monsieur Jacque Herrignon meet Jess, and Jess meet Jacque’

Oh, hello, she said with a big smile

‘I have heard so much about you, and I also have a lot of respect for your work’ she said with a smile

‘And I know nothing about you thanks to our amazing friend’ he said with a raised eyebrow in my direction.

A gesture that I completely missed out on, it was only when he elbowed me gently did I realize that something was amiss.

‘Huh..?’

Why have you never told me about her Mr. Mount Road Mystic…..?

‘Pffftt…’ I waved him off

‘Anyway it happens so that Jess has similar culinary aspirations if you know what I mean …!

Oh… Wow, so I take it that you’re a cook…? Asked Jacque good naturedly

‘I am not that good’ she said in a self conscious manner

But yes you could say that cooking is my passion’ she said

‘Don’t let her modesty fool you Jacque, she makes a mean pasta, and her chapattis and dried fish are to die for, not to forget various other succulent and aromatic dishes… ‘

‘We even clashed over restaurant ideas a long while ago’ I added with glee

Whose fault is it that someone misunderstood what I said..?

Yours, I added with a triumphant snicker

Don’t they teach you modesty in that ashram of yours…?

Tra la la la… I sang

Jacque watched in utter fascination

‘Where are my manners, I apologize for the behavior of our insane friend, I have tried your special mousse’ and I should tell you they are out of this world’

‘I never knew that he could be like that’ he said with surprise

‘I know, Mr. Kilometers for words can barely register a normal sentence every once in a while’ she quipped

‘And if we ask him ‘why’ he would mumble some metaphysical and astrophysical nonsense that looks like it makes sense in some twisted manner! ’

‘These Pisceans’ she added with the stark cynicism that only a Gemini could muster.

Jacque laughed well naturedly

‘Please Pisces makes up for all of the glaring deficiencies of its compatriots, it certainly does make up for the ‘inability of comprehension’ in regard to all general sufferings quite rampant in the adventurous Sagittarians, the lack of resolve of the watery Aquarians, the sincerity absent among Cancerians in matters regarding feelings pertaining to the heart, does remove the conservative streak most Gemini’s go through and even preach about at some stage of their dynamic lives and….. ‘

‘Ayyo… Not me’

‘Please don’t even broach the topic of the zodiac because our mystic here thinks of himself as the official spokesperson of the zodiac..! And he can go at it for hours… even days… She grumbled

Hey..! How many times have I told you guys that I am not a mystic, though I do have my mystic moments, I am a seeker, I seek and I choose never to be satisfied with any given moment, it is eternal happiness that I seek, not passing tides of good will and illusory contentment, mystics are people who are more aloof from the general concerns of human vanity. I am not’ I said with a smile

Jess smiled and gently nudged me, ‘Did I tell you that you were my favorite enemy…?’

‘Yup….. Everyday..!’ I feigned indignation

Hey man, we gotta rush, ‘Holy man’ starts in ten mins, are you sure you don’t wanna join our merry ranks…?

I wish I could Jim, but you know that I have a bakery to run. Some other time he said with impeccable charm

It was a real pleasure meeting you Jess, hope I see you again sometime soon

Ditto, we should meet up and swap recipes or who knows , maybe have a cookout or two..Hmm make that three…!

As a matter of fact why don’t you join us this weekend Jacque, we are planning on experimental trials in pizzas and in the general Italian menu direction…?

Oh, you don’t mind…?

It would be my pleasure, she said with warmth

I’ll take you there don’t worry Monsieur , I mock bowed

Ha ha, count on it pal, he said with affection

Hey Jim, I have been meaning to talk about this dream over with you….

Oooohh… Why didn’t you say it a little earlier Jackie boy…?

I’ll come back after the movie jack; we can talk it over buddy

Jess rolled her eyes in my direction, I waved a quick bye to Jacque as we both exited the small bakery and walked towards the entrance.

We passed across various people with stains of urbania all over their hip clothes, a dirty looking woman extended a bowl in my direction, she had an infant nestled against her right arm, I stared at her with a smile and searched my pockets, I fished a ten rupee note and placed it in the centre of the dirty bowl, she moved quickly past me and on to the next person, I smiled at suneyna who regarded me with a cool look of haught.

Do you ever wonder why we come here arriving at a decision that seems to be the simultaneous decision of people just like us…? And how we sit next to each other in a casual aloofness, with nothing more than our shoulder rests separating each other as we sit side by side next to complete strangers…? How we fail to even realize that inter connected web of meaning and shrouded purpose…? Don’t you find it strange..? I asked her

I came here for Eddie Murphy and buttered pop corn, she said with a flick of her eye brows

And of course strangers freak me out Jim, I am semi claustrophobic in case you don’t remember

I smiled at her as we got our tickets checked and were let through, we entered into the inner sanctum of theatre 7.

What is it..? I asked

‘Nothing’

Come on, do share J

You blow me off for days and then you ask me to come join you for a movie like nothing has happened, I can’t let you off the hook so easily Jim..!

‘Did you know that there are 7 different types of cloves…? And that 7 in indicative of the Sabbath, and is in general representative of peace, rest and tranquility…? In some cultures they bury their dead on a Sunday, and make a wooden structure with 7 different sides, and that July in general is famous for its evening skies, now you can ask me why, but it seems that the properties of light in the month of July(which happens to be the seventh month by the way) undergo a sort of inner process, and due to the distance of space and the light continuum and all that baloney, the seven colors of the rainbow present themselves in the sky on alternative days and in an individual fashion?’

Did you just make that up…? She said with a sinister frown

‘Nature presents itself in all its glory, raw and unhidden, feast oh noble seeker in its infinite storey’s

Answer me Jim, you disappear every now and then, can’t you just announce it in an off handed manner at the very least..?

Half of the times I don’t even know if you are alive or dead..!

I blew off a breath, ‘I am sorry,

‘You know that I don’t do it on purpose, and most often it’s you that I connect to when I re-enter civilization and life in general’

She had turned her eyes back on to the screen. Peace was not an option at the moment

‘ In all likelihood you will live for seventy five years, make that seventy five summers, seventy five winters, seventy five autumns and seventy five springs. Abandon all pretenses, live everyday like it is your last. Now I am not asking you to make the world come to a halt, I am asking you to become a seeker, to seek and explore life, like a noir, like a nuance, like a strange dream, like a strange mystery. I am beckoning each and every one of you to grab onto life like it is a life hold, embrace yourself for who you are, embrace your anxieties, your fears, your desires, your hopes and dreams and live, live, live like a prairie, like a prancing antelope in deep interior Uganda, live like you have nothing to lose. Begin now’ spoke G (Eddie Murphy) on the screen

I felt my eyes swell up, I chanced a glance at her, and she had a similar look on her eyes as well.

That was deep huh..? I asked her with a silent smile,

Yeah it was, she said

The movie stopped for intermission, I looked at her and bumped my shoulders with her.

‘Sorry, I kinda get carried away sometimes, you know how I get’

Fine..!

Really….?

‘So do you wanna hear about my latest adventure on the highway…? ‘

‘God, you live like a bum Jim’

Hey I am a bum, I said with pride

So Suresh decided that he wanted to tag along with me on one of my highway treks, so I usually sleep in this one spot on the highway, it’s kind of like a personal shrine, it is well shielded by the trees of course and the beach is just above this mini hump in the shore stretch. I usually mark my spots, now this spot is not that hard to find, but you should however make sure you reach there before six thirty because it gets dark after that. I usually carry my backpack along with me; and in it I have a first edition of Complete Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Bible and a torn copy of Man’s search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.

Wait… Who is Suresh…?

Oh, he happens to be this guy I met on the train. The blind guy who quotes old Tamil poets and often regales me with stories of old madras cinema and all the heroines of that day, I think I’ve told you about him. I hang out with him sometimes. He visited me at my ashram and thus the idea was born.

Oh, yeah, yeah..! That Suresh eh..? So what happened…?

Well we reached around 11ish, and we had trouble finding my spot, because the shore stretch has 3 similar looking tree clusters, and you know how me and detail perform together. So anyway, we had stopped in the nearby village sanghi, a rough 20 kms from the Guindy-Ecr stretch, where a mechanic who once repaired my bike treated us with dinner; it was because his son had gotten an engineering seat or something I think, we hung around there for a bit. We left his place around 7, and after that I met Govindan, a communist friend of mine, who lives in a compound owned by some big shot movie type, he takes care of that compound, don’t ask how we met it’s a long story. We exchanged grand conversation, slandered a couple of local politicians, it was jolly good, we talked until ten thirty or so I guess, I bought him some chapatti and kurma from the nearby village, because you know he is rather old and often skips dinner.

Man you should check out the compound though, it’s sick, wicked and nasty. It’s on Pebble Avenue, and quite close to Sanghi village. It has mango trees, neem trees, guava trees and trees whose names I don’t even understand; I could not enjoy them because it was dark.

So Me and Govind discussed my new fascination with Zen Buddhism, the Buddha, dream symbols, personality traits of corrupt politicians and yada yada … Now you should know that Govind was one of the first people to create the communist party in Chennai, and he has quite a colorful past, if you throw in face-offs with gundas, passionate public speeches, some spicy romances in his hey days, and his subsequent lifelong passion towards humility and philosophy. He would occasionally throw in a quote by Nietzsche, Sadhguru and his personal favorite Periyar. He is that Versatile; he is a pleasure to hear by the way, had I not promised Suresh a night out at my shrine beneath my trees and my ocean’s infinite sheets, I would’ve stayed along. But promises were promises, and ol’ jim never breaks a promise. So I bid adieu to Govind with promises of return in the following weeks, it was just a half hour walk from pebble ave anyway. The streets were serene and glowed with the rays of the moon above, the stars are another story swooh.  Man, it was perfect in that one moment, it’s a pity that Suresh could not see what I saw.

I lead him through the trees, my shrine lay beyond a 3 treed thicket, and it was perfectly sheltered and to a casual observer would blind him to the occupants beyond the wood and the green. I asked Suresh if he needed anything, some water, or some wine, or bread perhaps..? He politely refused my offers and instead lay his head back on an inflatable pillow that he had had in his bag and remained silent for a while. I in the meantime gathered some twigs and made a small fire. I studiously took out my copy of Man’s search for meaning and read as the flame flickered on. I read for a good fifteen minutes before being cast into a spell by the dancing flames of the fire, I sat completely absorbed in its delicious play. Did you know that in certain African cultures they converse with flames in matters regarding the future and the past..? They have been known to awaken certain slumbering spirits.

Suresh slept through the night without so much as a word, now you should know that certain activities take place just after midnight, certain restless spirits awaken from their gloom, certain wayward youths confide in the bottle and can cause quite a stir with their drunken antics, strange women appear and disappear. A lot of them can be said to be a figment of the mind, but the lines connecting reality and beyond reduce their rigidity in those brief and poignant moments, and as the world slumbers another seems to awake. A world whose secrets that I am very attentive to. I always tend to talk at length to certain elements of the inner world; I think that I have told you that. And they are usually intense; I search for my dreams, explore terrains shrouded by shadows and create characters to feel close to. I search sometimes for God as well. Sometimes I forget who and what I am in those burning moments of incomprehensibility. I meditated for about 3 hours, and surrendered my soul to the world within me. In my meditative state, I wandered amongst strange beings, came across varied vibrations, plunged into the depths of forbidden abysses and searched for historical beings. I often came face to face with art in those precious moments, and I would weep at my inefficiency and inability to express its message in the cold and brutal external realm. But anyway I slept for about 4 hours after that, in the morning I woke up, I woke up Suresh, we tidied up a little and we walked back. That’s about it. J

She took her time to process it all in, never commenting about any particulars.

‘Oh, Look the movie is back’ I said with joy

‘Jim… ‘

‘Jim…’ she said it a little louder this time

Huh..? I stared back with a dumb founded expression

‘Don’t disappear like that again without telling me, you understand…? ‘

Of course, I beamed

Hey you know the second part is really beautiful in the way it expresses the struggle Jeff’s character has to face when being confronted with a choice to either further his career or let G(eddie Murphy’s character) follow his journey. Real good stuff.

‘You’ve watched this already you dumb shit…? ‘

Of course my lady, I just wanted to watch it along with you !

This seemed to satisfy her for some reason, for she smiled at me for the first time since we’d met…..

Ende’