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The Museum of Vestigial Desire

The Fragility of Experience

Our experience is fragile. It can easily be shattered. We know that that the fragile is close to being the fictional. Its vulnerability makes it hide itself. It encodes itself within the format of fiction. The purpose of this encoding is not to hide itself in order to escape detection. The purpose is to reveal meanings which can’t be stated. The unstated traditionally lives within the felt and is articulated through poetry, analogy and fiction. Fiction observes that the conditions we live in cannot be taken at face-value and need to be interpreted and analysed. There is a differential and a variable possibility of interpretation. This allows us to assume a role of our choice given that our circumstances remain more or less unchanged.

This makes it more possible for us to be dynamic in terms of our worldview. It gives us the freedom to believe in a version of reality that suits us irrespective of our current situation. Fiction allows us to read the reality which we are facing in a more fluid manner. This fluidity in turn protects our ability to navigate ourselves in a direction that appeals to us. Writing fiction reveals not just the values with which we publicly identify but through the models of the world that we share we end up being more transparent even about aspects of our world-view that we did not set out to reveal in the first place.

The Nemesis of Clay tags: fracture


She was sitting still, unaware of the war outside. All by herself and nothing to take. "After the havoc that the storm had created last week, the unexpected outbreak of war was a shock for everyone. But the media responded in a pathetic way, they went into denial. For a few days we have been receiving news only about the beautiful art installed in the galleries across the city and the new ground that our philosophers are discovering."

"The media is owned by those who are waging war. But as producing experience and consuming experience are two different things. You might be torturing your dog but you remember it only as training. Those who are waging war didn't want to know of the devastation caused. That is when they decided to turn inwards..."

She got up from the chair next to the window and went into the kitchen. The kitchen was done In marble-green tiles. One side of the kitchen was a glass window and at four in the afternoon, this side was facing the sun. The smallness of the kitchen and those tiles meant that the light that filled her eyes was soft, gently coloured and with a radiant glow.

She was hungry. This was an exceptional event, for the past several weeks hunger had not crossed her way. She had lived on left-overs and crumbs, unable to accept hunger at all. She put the pan on the stove, and peeled an onion to chop it. Sometimes she became ambiguous and unreachable to herself. "When they, the shiny happy people, turned inwards they realised that their consciousness is consistent. It is a block. There is no inside and no outside. With this realisation they searched for some other distraction."

With the onions chopped, she put a spoonful of butter onto the pan. "Distractions are available at a cost. The shiny happy people looked around and all that they could find was art and madness. They deployed all their television channels, newspaper and fringe media to the pursuance of art in all its shades. They didn't mess with madness as they didn't know what they can hope for."

She ate the omelette, took measured sips of cold milk and she let it pass. She went back to the television that talked unceasingly about the unwavering quality of artistic vision and the absolutely untarnished surface of beauty that it offered. The television presenter was naked, like aways. "The shiny happy people also realised that sex is the only drug that can be consumed purely sensorially. There are no side-effects. Addictions climax with releases and there is no left-over. Television programmes on art, aesthetics and other features of high culture presented by naked and flirtatious people have become the norm."

There was a knock on the door. More precisely it was a sound of something hitting the door. Something that was soft and round. Hero, her dog, had come back from his walk. The war-torn city was an exciting landscape for the dog. Dodging the bullets, eating the nuts from the pockets of the dead soldier's pockets and jumping over the ditches was the most enjoyable game ever. Hero got exercise as well as playful stimulation. "The war should never end."

Hero had started living in her house around a year back. It was after he started seeing nightmares of living life on the streets. He left the fat, bearded man he used to live with and followed E home. The nightmares stopped after he moved to her place and E gave him the name Hero. "Hero walked into my life rather heroically, as if he knew what he was doing and why."

E used to work in a mall, she referred people to bright vacation hotspots and earned a commission on ever successful pitch. She had to wear a business suit for the job. Even in the summer. "The office was air conditioned. And they expected us to spend our lives in the office."


The shiny happy people are fighting this war with shadow players. The enemy never reveals itself but the war continues for some reason. They claim that there are signs and these signs need to be read. "We are supposedly being led out of this act of aggression by the by the war that they are waging on our behalf."

But who is the enemy? Who kills the dead soldiers on the streets? "One day they realised that though they stand in front of the microphone, somebody else is mouthing words into it. On investigating the source of the ghost voice, they found their way back to themselves. They had to accept themselves as a bundle of contradictions, as a cohort of unpalatable tendencies. This acceptance never happened. They ended up confronting this source. A conflict was born."

"This war could be imagined like shooting a gun into a mirror. But don't. That will be too simple," E was sitting on the terrace, her feet dangling down. The war was largely terrestrial and the only place outside that was safe was the terrace. No one could go down to the street.

Her mother was planning to come for dinner and E had heated the leftovers from the lunch. It was not a social visit, but more an arrangement of convenience. "When we sit across and eat, my mother and I, we have nothing to say to each other. The television is always on and the naked actors and actresses keep gesticulating, masturbating and posing on screen. What is left to answer back is only numbness, a quiet admission of having nothing to say." This nothing is not the the absence of material, but rather an encounter with the shadow again. "To distract us away from the war on the streets, the shiny happy people have unknowingly produced a picture of the enemy inside our hearts."

Hero does not like E's mother. When she comes he goes and sulks in a corner. E does not try and understand the problem, she just eats emptily in the glare of the television and her mother does the same.

E used to have a lot of friends. But now she just has voices in her head. One such voice is M. M speaks up the most often and E actually waits for the moments. "M talks like a lost friend as well as a potential adversary. I do not understand how he manages that."

E and her mother did not speak a single word. E secretly did study her mother in ways that her gaze would remain hidden. She studied her mother's practiced finger movements as she put morsel after morsel of the khichdi into her mouth. She had moved away from her mother in a rather forceful manner. On a day three years back E had asked her mother to let her stray from the path. In those days, well before the war broke out, the television was innocent, entertaining and full of advertisements. It provided a lively backdrop to all dull homely conversations. "Reaching out to mother was always over and above the din of television. There was no notion of silence, media provided the enduring hiss of noise." Mother switched the television off and asked me to repeat my question.

"She never answered my question. She just looked away. For me it was important to ask her. For our bond with our parents is like a clot of blood: it has to be dissolved away, to clear the flow. Else it can become cancerous"

After wandering around here and there E moved back near her mother's home. They had meals together once in a while.

E's mother left after eating and E locked the door. M sprung up and took her by surprise.

"The days are longer now," M said. E did not respond. M sensed that E was maybe not in the mood. "I am back. I told you, that I'd come back, and here I am." E's face did not betray any emotion. "You are just a voice inside my head." "Just?" M asked. "How do you consider me any less real than you?"

E walked away and opened a window. The sound of explosions and gunshots going off filled the room. "Why do you want to hide?" M asked. E looked back at M but did not reply. She turned the television on and dropped down onto the couch. The television switched on to a programme which was elaborate and explicit in its content. Everything imaginable was happening on screen. Pornography would be the wrong word, because it seemed to be just reporting the weather.

When the shiny happy people mandated the television to be just about art and sex, what did they intend? They wanted to setup a leak in the system. A leak which allowed it to release the mania it held within. And what would be the format that mania releases through? Art and sex. Mania floated free in the air. Everyone was immersed in the infection.


With the mania of the shiny happy people reaching far and wide, there was no way to hold on to anything. Everyone and everything flowed away. It was like a flood, a deluge. E was holding on too. Holding on for dear life.

When she woke up she saw M standing at the window and gargling. His back was towards her so she could not look at his face. But he was very loud and that made E think that she had maybe been harsh with him the previous night. M gargled for a long time. E waited for him to turn around.

"The war is never going to be over. People on television will never wear clothes again," M said. E wanted to respond, she wanted to say that she really did not care and she did not desire to discuss world politics with M but she said nothing.

"One thing about being immersed in mania is that we can see everything for what it truly is," M said and started pacing the narrow strip of real estate near the window. "And what exactly is truth?" asked E.

E and M had been at odds for a very long time. Although for all practical purposes M was a voice inside E's head, E's experience of the voice was so potent that her mind compensated for the lack of a body to look at. She knew she was looking at a mental projection.

"Truth is the one thing that we cannot resist. It is a magnetic view of the world." M responded. "If it is so magnetic, why is it so difficult to access?" E asked.

The war had never scaled up and grown out of proportion, it did look like the shiny happy people were in no rush to win and end the war. They were not hurling any grenades, the tanks were nowhere to be seen. Only men on the street scramming for cover, bullets fired into the air and a few men engaged in a fist fight in all earnestness.

"We do not have all the answers but we do what we have to do," M said and turned away again. This was the key to understanding M's whole life, "We do what we have to do."

M threw some cushions up in the air, in a vain attempt to juggle them. They all fell flat on the ground and he glared at me, as I was supposed to fly and catch them just in time.

"Nothing was at play. There was nothing going on, nothing building up. Those days were idle and uneventful, you could open the window and hear all hell breaking loose but when you closed the window again you were left with the silence again. In this silence M spoke things which were up to me to make sense of."

Time had gone still, the shiny happy people had successfully hijacked the moment. "Before, we were waiting for something to happen and now we have made peace with the realisation that nothing will ever happen ever again. Narrative has collapsed and disappeared totally."

Children play in the corridors, every now and then when the front door is left open, the cricket balls drift into the homes. There is a clear separation of the inside and the outside and nature and even sunlight stood for some toxic pollutant.

Tiny blue flowers sometimes bloomed in the window-sills in the lobby, as a mutated offshoot of the two disparate worlds. When these blue flowers bloomed, the season changed for some time. The horizon was pulled in and the war was forgotten. The claustrophobia induced by the television became irrelevant.

E had seen the flowers once and she first thought that somebody is playing a trick. She thought that the shiny happy people want to capture even the possibility of hope, that they want to control even the possibility of escape.

When air cannot circulate anymore, pockets and bubbles develop. These pockets give shelter to the friction that gets captured in episodes of listening. This friction gives birth to new voices. "This is how M came into my life."


When M first spoke, E was making tea. She wasn't taken aback on hearing his voice. Even though she was hearing it for the first time, it seemed familiar to her. Like a known stranger.

"How many things that I have said in the past has M whispered into my ears from the inside?" E felt like she was living a stranger's life. Driving a bus in an alien landscape. When M spoke first, he said something very plain and ordinary. E didn't even remember the words now. It was some observation, about the patch of sun on her hand. The light fell on her hand filtered through a small hole in the curtain, the frayed edges of the hole resembled the keys of a piano. They also resembled many other things and E remembered thinking that the connection with the piano was rather arbitrary.

That day was at some ambiguous time in the past, the markers of date and time had slipped away in memory. In relation to everything else that was going on then, it was a few days after some soldiers had come knocking at her door to search her premises for rebel leaders. It was much before the shiny happy people realised that the other that they were confronting was hidden somewhere within themselves. "I was afraid that the soldiers will find M."

"M has a casual disregard for me, he comes and goes as he pleases. He speaks and holds his silence as he pleases. Sometimes he is very loud, sometimes I can barely feel his presence."

He sides with the enemy. The ongoing war pits the human against the voices, and he has very strong allegiances with his own kind. "He looks at me as an obstruction. Because I exist, he cannot inhabit the world fully. If I become weak, he will take over my mind."

The television is on again and they are doing a story about an artist who made a maze that has no escape. The maze has windows, it has light from a source that is constantly changing. The only way to escape the maze is to die. The artist has left some dogs in the maze and cameras are studying their movements. Will the dogs commit suicide?

This programme is presented by a person who seems to be having sex with a dog. At times she seems to be more interesting than the artist who is talking and showing video clips of her maze. The television has a note scrolling at the bottom that they offered the artist a lot of money to strip on television but she agreed only to take off her scarf.

How can you attack a voice? How can you harm it? Only by refusing to listen.

Every bullet the soldiers fire on the street is a refusal to listen.

M finds the TV distracting. I guess watching television is a very physical thing. Maybe parallel processing is only possible for people with bodies.

M sits with his back towards the TV. "He sits and glares at me and often interrupts my experience of the mania."

The shiny happy people were not always paranoid and manic, in the beginning they were accepting of the voices that unknowingly spoke into the microphone. But over time they could not deal with the lack of control and they turned inwards on the spree of self-destruction. "Bullets fired into the air can never quieten the din within."

The building that E lives in is ten stories high. Fifty families live in the building. Around thirty children. Some children play cricket in the lobby and some skate. To and fro, to and fro.

E's mother lives on the ground floor. E lives on the seventh floor.

M, "i am not a subset of you. You are my shelter, my refuge. Any relationship that we have has to be built."


"M might deny that we have any relationship at all, and he might say that he uses my body only as a shelter but for me he is someone significant. What would my empty days consist of if I just lived here by myself without projecting M into every corner of my dark mind?"

Painting visuals is an affliction for E, she does not know how to do that. She fumbles, forgets details and is generally not eager to do it. You might call her lazy and deprived, but that is what she was. Her projections of M were low-resolution.

The air smelled of impatience and anxiety in the day sometimes as the sentiment of the delusory war being performed on the street was infectious. It traveled up like the smell of the wasted gunpowder. Standing in the window, E & M felt a very strong urge to escape as they breathed in. But escape had been rendered impossible and difficult by the shiny happy people. Where would anyone go? There was no horizon. Instead of the horizon there was a cloud of smoke and impenetrable noise. Even to look so far away as the point where the earth met the sky, any potential escapee would need to emerge from the shroud of heaviness that they lived within.

The internal dialog of E and the internal-external dialog that E had with M, were signs that her world was stretched to its limits. In a life lived in isolation, what was the need to talk? Long after stories are exchanged, long after episodes are retold and perspectives are exchanged, are there still things left to talk about? Is philosophy dependent on narrative? If someone is returning home from a funeral and you go and and ask them why they are not happy, it is just not fair. People live in the aftermath of things that happens to them. "There is nothing to be done."

Because there is nothing to be done, there is no way for conversations to end. Conversations which have begun once, go on forever. After a point, when too many conversations are operating in parallel, some start fading away. Time and talk both accumulate in layers. As people grow older, they grow quieter. But they never stop talking. If nothing else, they just talk about things that they have talked before.

E lives with the constant fear that she will run out of rope in her pursuit of knowing herself. "If I stare at any surface for long enough, at a certain point I will know it in entirety. When I have stared at the surface of my mind forever, will I be able to break in?"

Because of this fear, E maintains a distance from M. "So, M thinks I am dry and disinterested. He thinks I am unavailable, dark and brooding."

M is driven by raw emotions and timeless wisdom. How are voices related to their hosts? "M seems uninvolved. He will not die with me. If he was dependent on me, he would not be able to think on his own."

And that is the reason for the war. If the shiny happy people thought that they could kill the voices by killing themselves, they might really have committed suicide.


When E dropped the glass on the floor, the sound of glass shattering announced the coming of X. X said,"Can I stay?"

She was relieved at the same time as she was taken aback. Relieved at the fragility of X's voice. And by the fact that X was a woman. And taken aback at her free fall into become a whole consisting of patched together fragments.

"Yes. I guess. But where are you?" E meant to ask if M was in the same place and if she had already met M. The day was hot, E was wearing only a light gown over herself. She didn't have any underwear on and she felt a bit shy being that unwrapped in front to X. She was meeting her for the first time. "Why have you spoken up only today?"

"I couldn't hold silence any more," said X softly.

The ambiguity of experience has to be experIenced. Things happen and after that we figure out what has happened. There is no way of knowing what will happen.

E seemed sedated on the surface, but her mind was concocting images for her consumption. At any given time, she saw two parallel visual tracks. One track showed her what was in front of her and the other track showed her what she wanted to see. The fictional track was solely composed of symbolic references. The fictional track lent itself to analysis.

And analysis yields everything. "When I think, I think about the material I receive for analysis," E shares. "The more the better." E trips on analysis. She enjoys the process of tearing apart what she holds in her vision to reveal another layer.

And then she starts projecting X.

The TV was reporting some big art opening. X stood and watched it. She was in awe. M refused to engage as usual and E slouched on the couch. The opening was a solo exhibition. The artist was showcasing characters. These were characters perceived by the artist. The artist had randomly waited at bus-stops around the world. There were other people there of course and these people were recognised by the artist as a specific kind of characters. Every subject is a perceived subject.

X looked fragile. She looked like she could collapse at any moment. She stood there without touching anything because she didn't want the random tremors that vitiate everything in the world to impact her in a peripheral way. If she could, she would stand in a way that she was actually suspended in the air. A few inches above the ground. She would be insulated from all the stray tremors then.

X's fragility was directly proportional to her fear. Her fear made her an easy target for M. M ignored her and X felt bruised. M glared at her and X felt bruised. They were so incompatible that there was almost nothing that M could do that did not hurt X. X started living like a victim of M's presence.

On the TV they were doing an interview with the artist who had modelled all the characters.

TV: "Who are all these people?"

Artist: "These are imprints on my retina. When I wander around in the world, I see people who are like bubbles floating free. These bubbles are like refusals to sync. These bubbles are like monuments to personal truth."

TV: "So, all the people we see in the exhibition are these monuments?"

Artist: "Yes."

TV: "We don't find them so monumental." The journalist asking questions was naked as usual. She was seated across the artist. With this statement she lifted one foot and put it on the artist's lap.

Artist: "Ah now I see your pussy. Your pussy is not monumental. I will not paint it." And he threw off her foot from his lap.

This interview was abruptly cut off and a new news item started looping on the screen. "Five thousand soldiers on the street committed suicide!"

The voices had apparently figured out a simple way of winning the war. They could float about freely without needing to follow any limits. Being a ghost with no body to bind them to any location, mind or history, the voices figured that they could enter the soldiers' minds and create mayhem. They entered the soldiers' heads and made them feel that they were ready to die. The soldiers' killed themselves.

The streets of the world were lying littered with the bodies of dead soldiers.

E was numb. M was happy. X was nervous.

The day ended with E switching the TV off and plonking down on the couch itself. Apparently asleep.

M stood tapping his feet.

E woke up in the middle of the night with a shriek. "I dreamed of a huge figure of M standing on the top of our building. and peeing down on the street. Peeing down on the corpses of the soldiers was a magical act. The act purified the corpses and set the voices free again. The free voices flew off into the sky, like strokes of fire."

On waking up, E wasn't feeling very good. She puked most of her dinner out. She felt light-headed and confused. She was feeling suffocated too. She opened the front door of her house to let some more air in. As soon as she did that, a couple of thousand cricket balls rolled into the room. These were balls of all the colours imaginable - red, yellow and blue. Each ball was spinning in its place at a slow pace.


The shiny happy people were soon under siege. They had no way of dealing with the massive number of suicides in the army. They knew that this was an infestation. They knew that the voices were spreading their wings across the lines, but there was nothing that they could do about it.

They couldn't control the voices, because they didn't even accept them. The programming on the TV intensified. Three programmes could be seen simultaneously. One layer over another, over another.

And this abstraction, this complex layered image told the people that the structures that were holding their world up were coming apart. Abstraction is called abstract because of the end experience. Endings are always abstract.

E was drugged with the abstract experience that she held in her head. The television had become a drug. It didn't effect the voices like it effected the bodies. X and M were pretty straight. E was drugged. This produced a scene at home which could no longer be seen in the fixed format of E's perspective and her projections. What her perspective was witnessing at this point was a landscape of colour, a field of ambiguity and a sensory multiplex. We gain nothing from accessing that. So leave E alone. But what about X? Can we attempt to access the perspective of X to understand what is happening inside E's flat?

"The air is too thick. If I slip, I am lost. But I can flip. I can protect my own, but I can also let the episodes stray from the course," were the words floating through X's head. That was the feed of the radio, the sound of the echo. There was no recording or delayed relay of recorded production.

"I am a stone, I am a puddle, I am a slightly shaded sparrow. I am afraid E has been captured by the expanded canvas of the multi-track television. She will never again be able to come alive and accrue fresh experience. She has stretched her capacity forever."

When the diameter of the tube that channels perceptual information from the sensorium to the brain broadens, it does not retract again. "I am a chair, there is a haze of doubt floating in the air and all the doubt settles down on me like dust." The radio of X continues transmission.

There is no avenue of hope for the mass of humanity attempting to retain its control on the world. The control has lapsed, now the broadened pipe of sensory impulses will keep the world on a precarious balance.

The shiny happy people have lost the war. The voices have taken over. The voices are attacking the fabric of life from the inside now. Every form of life is fragmented. Nothing is continuous and unbroken. And every facet of being that had a tyranny of control, every facet of being that pretended to be unipolar and flat has gone awry.

The balance has tipped, the hosts have been evicted and employed as zombies.

Back in E's house, M is standing tall. E has lost efficacy and X is meek.

The history of the world, written through the lumps of bio-matter has been shallow and soft. Now that the actors have changed, a new narrative will give shape to lives on this planet. A rudderless boat, a driverless car, a voiceless dialogue have set the world on a wavering course.

Temperatures of Pop tags: horse


The temperature of the gaze is not always constant. Sometime it is searching and impatient. Sometimes it is calm and meandering.

When the temperature of pop is lukewarm, the gaze lingers but not for long. In its lingering, the gaze infects and often this is the gaze that sows seeds of new relationships. Cinema directs this kind of gaze. So do dreams. What happens when you run in a dream? Does your sleeping body sweat and pant? This is not so difficult a question. Dreams are like any other delusion. Delusion only confuses the body, it doesn't disconnect it. Sometimes you feel sick when you are sad. Sometimes you pant because you are running in your dream.

Lukewarm was born on a rainy day.

In the middle of all the rain, a fire was raging in a house. The fire killed everyone. One baby survived because she was on the porch.

The firefighter who came to the house to put the fire out took the baby home. Lukewarm grew up in Lensman's home.

If you hold a lens to a ray of sun, you can heat up the focal area of the sun light so much that it can cause a fire. This fire can grow. And grow. Engulf the whole frame. And then a firefighter will have to come and put the fire out.

If Lensman was too still, a fire erupted somewhere. So Lensman kept moving. Lukewarm grew up on the move. Growing up on the move meant that he did not have stable friendships. Early on he got into the habit of making up his own friends in his mind. These imaginary friends each had distinctive voices of their own. The material for the conversations that these voices had with him was unique. They would share news of things happening in corners of the world that he had not ever visited. These voices demanded things in exchange for all the information they fed him.

The demanded shelter, they demanded being taken seriously. But this was just a ruse. The voices who had squatted Lukewarm were viruses. They were only interested in infecting the world in an unkind fashion. The urge to infect came to them very naturally. They had grown in the periphery of the world, looking at the people inhabiting their lives with so much casual abandon. They said things and the words were actually heard aloud. Not as ambient noise in somebody's head. They wanted to go out into the world and become real people. Becoming a person for them involved finding a weak enough person to infect and then take over. Lukewarm had unknowingly become a conduit. And possessing this conduit made sense to the voices, because this conduit kept moving and they got newer and newer territory to inspect for weakness. Being possessed didn't mean anything to Lukewarm. Of what he knew of life, he had always known a diffused face of life. He had always worn a spent energy. Being possessed didn't make the experience more faint for him.

He had always been so spent that people (including Lensman) actually feared that he was a zombie. But he showed subtle signs of life. For instance, if you looked at him in his eyes and asked him a question, he answered back. But if you asked him to tell you what all he enjoyed in the world. He kept mum.

Lukewarm only responded to conversation prompts that sought his opinion.

Lukewarm was called lukewarm because once Lensman focussed the brightest light on him. For a long time. Ordinary surfaces would have caught fire by then. But Lukewarm only became warm. So, with enough of a provocation also, Lukewarm did not get flared up. He was a chilled man. All he could offer were lukewarm reactions.

When identifiers gain semantic value, a short-circuiting happens. This short-circuiting attempts to analyse everything and find meaning in everything. On failing it comes to a halt.

Because of Lukewarm's naturally sedated state, he was not taken seriously by those around him. Lensman never expected him to go out of the way and do anything. He feared that he will just waste his life away talking to the voices in his head. But what no one was able to appreciate was the fact that due to his unexcitable disposition, Lukewarm was ideally suited for doing surgical procedures.

These surgical procedures were painless for the subject and dramatically changed their lives. Lukewarm performed these procedures on people's minds. If they were not able to do what they very much wanted to do, he was able to help them. He found that in the metaphorical ocean if there wasn't any flow, the fish couldn't swim. If he moderated the flow, the fish could swim again. Because Lukewarm couldn't bear the great passions in his bosom, he could become a healer of the maladies of flow.

With his touch the obstruction went out of the way. In the face of silent passion, a mind with equanimity was a good disrupting force. In the face of fever, a stony temperament is like medicine.

People came from far and wide to Lukewarm to get fixed. They said to him, "Deliver us to the passions."

At the altar of passion, there's no bliss. Still there is craving and mindless aspiration to feel the quivers of passion. This did not make sense at all to Lukewarm and he healed those who came to him much like a trickster who knows that he is only a trickster.

For joy, warmth and finding something to feel good about, Lukewarm went and stood in the crowded market and hummed a tune. Nobody heard his humming and he got locked into a self-reflective frame. The only reason he could like the melody that he hummed was that he liked it. He looked himself in the eyes and felt balanced again.

He went back to healing people. He went back to feeling like a trickster. He went back to humming in a crowded market every now and then. This circle of events was continuous.

Lukewarm the healer and Lukewarm the hummer never met each other.

Being devoid of passions, he had a difficult time performing courtship and politics. In courting a partner in love, he was expected to make a choice and then chase the choice through whichever means possible. A love not chased restlessly is seen to be casual. Casual loves are seen as signs of a weak heart. If the one freedom that humans have had for ages is also not enjoyed, then what is the point? In making a political choice again, Lukewarm had a tough time. Political choice even if it was not exercised, was a validator of perspective and will. Lukewarm was lost in the mundanity of his own life and he couldn't think of abstract notions of community and state and nation.

Lukewarm never went out to vote and he was seen as a disinterested member of society.

Lensman had lived his life very carefully. He had gradually honed his vision and by the time he was in his old age, he was almost as clear as a piece of glass. A piece of glass is also a lens. A lens with very little refraction.

Lensman understood why Lukewarm was so spent. He was born in the midst of a raging fire. So somewhere fire and the fiery nature of truth were blocked in his mind. What he did not understand is that a lack of passion is similar to blurring of a certain kind. And if he applied himself to Lukewarm's perspective, it would get clarified.

For Lensman and Lukewarm to come together was difficult. Not only were they differently charged as bodies, but also they were each holding the world in balance. This balance would definitely give away if they made any movement and change in the enactment of their perspective.

So, not only did both of them differ, holding each in their position was important for each of them. For, even if the other caused some imbalance, its repercussions would set off their own balance. They were on a see-saw.

Life is a see-saw in an inter-dependent way but it also operates on a one up-one-down principle. This one-up-one-down nature, unnecessarily sets forces in opposition to each other. Actually all the antagonism between Lensman and Lukewarm was fictional. None existed. They might even have been good friends actually.

But this did not happen. And they kept trying to prove themselves to the other. When they tried to prove to the other, their focus from the narrative - of trying to balance the world faded. This loss added fuel to the fire. Or rather fuel to the disarray.

When Lensman tried to lend himself to Lukewarm to sharpen himself, Lukewarm took affront. Lukewarm did not appreciate Lensman's suggestion and thought of it as an insult. But Lensman was only offering a function and not a gesture, there was no sentiment attached to it.

As Lukewarm took offence, Lensman felt that he had been falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. So he set about defending himself. And this defence upset the balance on the see-saw.

If only Lensman and Lukewarm could live in harmony together.

But this was not possible because of the loop described above.

Through the thick of the antagonism flying through the air, Lukewarm reached out and tried to start cooperating with Lensman. With this sudden interest in collaboration, even-though he suspected a controversy, Lensman relented.

He changed his perspective that Lukewarm was out to harm him and was opposed to him and started seeing him as family. Family is naturally aligned to your interests because of all the contractual inter-dependancies. There are numerous restrictions on family-members because they can kill you very easily.

To prevent death at home, within the space supposed to nurture the family toward the performance of its functions, the familial system of control was created.

One day after they had joined forces, there was an attack on their house. Lensman built a ring of fire around the house and Lukewarm stood outside the ring of fire to ward off and fight away any enemy agent.

Lukewarm was a very good fighter and he offered a very strong line of defence. Because he was devoid of passions, he did not unnecessarily waste his anger. His blows were precisely timed and of the precise amount of force needed. But in spite of the controlled rage, he exhausted himself in a little while. That day, a whole army had come!

When Lukewarm went on fighting the army single-handedly, in spite of being tired and worn out, Lensman was filled with a sense of gratitude. His belief that his son was on his side became firm.

With this firm belief, the see-saw collapsed to a common platform. Lukewarm receded into his shell and Lensman no longer thought of him as insufficient. Lukewarm allowed Lensman to sharpen him. After becoming sharp, Lukewarm became cold. All the warmth exuded from his body got lost into the atmosphere.

Lukewarm's entire perspective was modelled on the understanding that he was not hot and not cold but something in the middle.

Now that he had become cold, he was lost. He faced an identity crisis.

He again got trapped in the arms of vagueness, because it is so comforting. He started thinking that because he did not have a temperature, he did have any role to play in the dynamics of the world. But although Lensman also did not have a temperature, he could amplify the temperature of any body that he focussed light on. So he just got a little bit of heat refilled from Lensman.

Lensman gladly refilled him.

Lukewarm was lukewarm again. There was no more anything to worry about.

Lensman and Lukewarm were on the same platform and Lukewarm was still lukewarm.

Everything was good in the world.

In this time of peace, a gentle breeze blew and kept everyone simmering with the fire that they had to offer to the world.


Glow, is an expression of intensity. When the sun shines brightly onto a white surface, the reflection is a kind of glare that is blinding to look at. This blinding glare is the glow.

Glow is produced because of the presence of a source of light and a reflective surface. Reflection is only a kind of refraction that the surface produces.

Gloss creates ambient illumination.

One evening, a monk was out walking. The landscape was beautiful. There was even a small waterfall that the path crossed over. This was the path that he followed everyday and the monk felt safe and relaxed at the same time. He was not afraid of anything, he even knew the patterns of the wind. He knew when the breeze would blow and when it would take a pause.

A dog obstructed his path. It barked and whined, but the monk did not stray away. He kept walking straight. He passed the dog and still the dog kept barking. Then the dog started following him. The dog followed the monk close. Very close. The dog's nose touched the monk's legs. But the monk did not pay it any attention.

The monk was worried.

His monastery was on fire. He could see the smoke rise up into the sky.

And his legs were getting drawn towards the smoke automatically. In the heat of that moment, even if the earth had given away, it wouldn't have mattered.

But the earth did not give away and the dog kept following him and in a few hours, they reached his monastery. The monastery had caught fire because a random asteroid crashed into it from the sky. The crash could not have been predicted and the monastery could not have been saved. There was no loss of life. And there was nothing else.

The monastery had been established by the monk's teacher. His teacher had taught him everything that there was to learn and he felt incomplete without him. He had died a few years back but he had kept his room in the monastery intact. The room was still full of his old things, his notebooks, his toys. The toys could maybe be called his only possessions. He not only collected toys, he played with them everyday and his teachings were demonstrated through the toys.

These toys were objects of wonder to his students. Once upon a time, the monk and his teacher spent time in the mornings talking about the toys more than anything else. Because he helped his teacher make new toys. He had good wood-working and mechanical skills and he could craft anything out of wood. There were a whole series of failed experiments that he he helped his teacher perform. For some reason his teacher never threw those failed experiments away. In fact those are the only objects he kept around. His toys were in a box. But all his broken, would-be toys were hung on the walls all over his room.

In this fire, all those crude prototypes had gotten burnt. Now, standing there in front of the burnt monastery, he could not even form a mental image of those toys. His mind was empty. There was nothing in it. If he was not a monk who was well-progressed on his path, he would have experienced grief and shed tears. So instead, he just felt empty.

After feeling empty for some time, the monk had had enough and then he wanted to feel something else. He started thinking about the asteroid that had come crashing down and burnt the monastery. When he thought about the asteroid, he thought about what it looked like, whether it was sentient and if it was like a suicide attack. Thinking of the episode as a suicide attack made him sad as now somebody was now dead. Even the death in question was the death of an asteroid, that meant that meant that the asteroid was sentient. And this he could not accept easily. For he was raised to believe that humans worship God and only need to fear God. But if only God is to be feared, then how did the asteroid come out of nowhere and destroyed the monastery.

What did the asteroid crash mean?

Because the monk was after meaning he didn't get anywhere.

There was no meaning in the crashing of the asteroid. There was no meaning to be found. The monk was trained to find meaning in life and so he searched for meaning in the act of nature that destroyed all his links with the past.

But when he found none, he was dejected. He left the order of the monks. He resigned from the burnt monastery and went back to his village.

He asked his parents if he could stay with them. He explained that he was searching for meaning so he could not afford his own house. They let him stay there but for a few days only they asked them a lot of questions. "Didn't the monastery provide any meanings? Why did he come back if his search had not ended?"

He replied that the monastery was destroyed by an asteroid crash and if it had any meaning it couldn't have just gone. He said that he was starting his search all over again because he was shaken up, he couldn't believe in any order anymore and had to search for meaning on his own.

His aged parents did not ask him anymore questions and left him alone. His mother cooked three times a day and he gratefully ate whatever she gave him.

Everyday, the monk set out on foot and hoped to run into someone who would tell him something that helped him in his struggle. But he met no one and his quest remained unfulfilled.

One day, he was sitting in the muddy verandah of his house and looking out into the dry day. A dog came up to the house and started barking. The monk recognised the dog to be the same whom he had seen on the day the monastery caught fire. He went up to the dog. He thought that maybe the dog is trying to give him some message. He thought that maybe the dog was a messenger. He thought these things and he looked into the eyes of the dog trying to search for a clue, trying to search for an answer.

But the dog's eyes revealed nothing and the monk did not understand why it was barking. The monk also tried to read into the pattern of the barking, thinking that its barking might be a code of some kind. But nothing yielded an answer.

The dog became an obsession for the monk. Like an unopened letter, the dog became a symbol for all possible messages.

What you don't know, can be anything. What you know is nothing.

The monk started feeding the dog and taking care of it. He even gave it a bath. He gave it a name: Chitti. Chitti means a letter in Hindi. And that is what the dog was for him. Else why would it have come back?

When it started raining, the monk allowed Chitti to come into the house. The monk's parents were not very happy with this but then they had given up on their son and they couldn't talk to him anymore.

Chitti slept under the monk's bed for the three days and three nights that it rained.

When they came back outside everything was devastated. Only the monk's parents' house stood upright in the landscape. Rest everything was gone.

Now, because the monk was into pattern analysis, he got thinking. He thought that if everything is gone, why is his parent's house still there? That could mean two things. One, that Chitti was a bad omen for the village. Two, that Chitti was a good omen for his parents' house. Both choices meant that Chitti was charmed. That it had something about it.

Realising this, made the monk fear Chitti. He was afraid. And knowing that, we can rationalise what he did next. He murdered Chitti. He stabbed the dog's heart many, many times.

Only after killing the dog, he remembered that the dog was also a messenger and now the message had disappeared forever.

After the dog had died, the monk didn't cremate him, instead he buried him. Now that he was thinking of the undelivered message that the dog was carrying, he went to its grave. The grave was not in a graveyard but in a farm. The untilled farm of the monk's parents. After he decided to become a monk, his parents stopped farming. They lived on fallen fruit and stolen vegetables from nearby fields.

At the grave, the monk chanted prayers that he had learned in the monastery. He also chanted spells that were supposed to invoke spirits and messiahs. But nothing happened.

His life was now torn between searching for a meaning that didn't exist and waiting for a message that was lost. These were both equally potent passions. And the monk was lost.

Being lost was traumatic for the monk. He had never been lost before. He had always had a guide and now there was none.

Being lost was like being three years old and being without parents. So, the monk could no longer live with his parents.

He wandered around, searching for a place to sleep and asking for alms. Strangers were unnecessarily kind to him and he survived these wandering days easily.

After a month of living like this, one day he decided to rest. He slept off under a tree. A herd of elephants was passing by the tree and one of the baby elephants knocked the tree down. The tree fell on the monk and he died immediately. The monk died with an open question in his mind. Open questions define entire lifetimes but on encountering death, these questions just fly out through the ears. On flying out these questions become birds that fly high in the sky and scoop down swiftly for a prey. On finding a prey, the birds do not kill them or eat them, they only seek answers which let them die again.

The monk died without knowing why the asteroid crashed onto the monastery that day. His question that became a bird, kept flying in circles in the sky. The question was never answered. There was no prey to be found. This bird was like a flying skeleton.

But the dying skeleton kept flying.

When it started raining, the bird had to take shelter. The bird took shelter on a tall tree. At that height it stops mattering what tree it is and it just matters if it offers space enough to hide. Looking at the whole world being submerged in rain from that height was a vision that offered freedom. And the bird took it.

It left the question, and the seeking slipped away. It floated away freely into the high skies. If at time the monk would have come alive and reminded the bird of its birthing ritual, the bird might have felt embarrassed. Much like a teenager, partly relieved and partly guilty for escaping, the bird wouldn't have soared anymore.

But the monk didn't come alive and the bird soared away.

It started off on its journey, not knowing and not desiring to know any flight-path or destination.

It was thawing out of living the driven life. With drive comes guilt. With guilt comes weariness.

After flying many expanses, it came upon this valley of flowers. Each flower had an asteroid in its bosom. This valley was where the asteroids came from.

He found the origin of the asteroids. Asteroids were ejected from the valley when a bud blossomed into a flower. The number of flowers in the valley were constant. If one came, one went. That is how the monk's monastery burnt down. If an ejection happens, the velocity and the momentum of the ejected projectile decides its path and destination.

Because it stopped searching, it found the answer.


After the trauma passes, the moment of impact is the dull memory. This dull memory is the afterglow. In the afterglow there is no glitter or glare. There is a history and the history happens to be of luminescence. Memory of light is not very accurate. Light is rendered in memory only as a colour. This rendered colour does not have any of the properties of light. Light cannot be remembered.

The phantom body of the musician is always practising. Because of this, the musician will always be in mid practise. Any given time is a bad time. Even if a musician is chilling or tossing pebbles on pebbles, there is a measurement of rhythm going on. Rhythm is the pattern of gap between two sounds. And rhythms are of many many different types. They have to be measured and compared. If they are similar they are grouped. If dissimilar, they are acknowledged.

When the window broke, there was no sound. So initially no one was worried. When the children saw it, they started wondering about how the window broke. Later, when they went out, they found a dead bird under the window. Then they thought that the bird died by crashing into the window.

The bird had been flying at a high speed. In the middle of its flight, it went blind. This happened because water entered its eye. The bird had no way to wipe its eye dry.

When water enters the eye of a bird, all hell breaks loose. Initially only refraction happens. The drop of alien water is like a lens that the bird is wearing. So the bird just sees differently but vision is still present. But then when the second drop of water enters the bird's eye, the refraction over abounds and leads to blindness.

The bird went blind in mid-air. It did not get time to learn to perform way-finding without visual cues. It was in shock and it was going too fast to do anything. It descended in a downward slope. It hit the window and died.

The children found the dead bird under the window and they understood why the breakage had happened. They took the bird in their arms and buried it by the side of the road.

Once it was done, the bird's grave started emitting sounds. The children did not know what was happening. They were afraid of ghosts. They did not want to exhume the buried body of the bird.

The did not do anything. They just sat there and listened. The sounds had a pattern but they were not musical. At best, they constituted a beat. And they listened to the beat intently.

But how was the sound being produced? Where was it coming from?

When birds die, their song does not die with them. Bird song lives. It is not immortal. But it lives longer. Especially when the bird dies mid-flight, its song becomes out of sync with its body. The song continues for a long time.

The children did not know anything at all. They sat there and listened to the pattern of sounds as if the sounds held some secret.

But the sounds were just sounds. Sound holds just an immediate pleasure in its bosom and there is nothing beyond that. Patterns constructed out of sound may yield some meaning, but this meaning is not of the sound alone.

The children listened to the patterns of sound and understood something very bizarre from it. What they understood, suggested that the world was haunted by demons and their agents. These demonic forces were vying for absolute control of the world. They wanted to ensure that they could script everything. Scripting everything meant what the actors felt and when could be predicted.

Such control was of course good for the economy. Because the businessman always wants to know. Being able to know means being able to make bigger bets and recouping bigger investments.

After the children understood this, they felt a bout of fear. This bout of fear made them anxious. They wanted to run and tell everyone that they have to do something. They wanted to stand on the terrace of their house and shout into the air. They did not know how to pray. They went and asked their grandmother to pray that the demonic control would cede.

They did not know that they were already living in the world that they were afraid of.

They did no know that the clouds that were in the sky were also a symptom of the same malady.

At best, everything visible is a prop that is a part of the fiction.

Nature was not natural anymore. Because it needed a special word to describe it. Natural? What does nature mean? What else would it be if not natural.

Everything is natural all the time. There is no threshold.

And nature is a part of the control system. This control is not something synthetic. It is not something after the fact.

It is the only fact.

The forces which they looked as demonic in the beginning were not so demonic after all. And these forces were not seeing anything.

Like a cloud moves in the wind.

These clouds were covering the sun in a state of transition.

The forces were taking over. But not in a specifically demonic way. Control was just another way for order to exist.

Public life demands an order. A system that works.

The children saw a bird dying. And they heard some sounds and then they got trapped in fear. After the episode of paranoia had passed, they went on to do other things. In the morning, when they had left home, they had a clear plan. But seeing the bid die just set them off course.

After snapping out of the whole episode, they remembered their lives. And everything that they wanted to do.

They went to a circus and clapped hard for all the performances. The trapeze artists, the clown, the lion. Everything.

After the circus they went to an office and clapped. The people who were doing mundane tasks felt good. They thought. That their efforts were being appreciated. They stopped working because they no longer felt guilty. They no longer felt that they were fighting against time. They felt relaxed and they started singing.

But this time, the children did not not get trapped in the mood of the song. They left the office as soon as the office-people started singing.

They stood outside the bread shop. They looked into the window and realised that they were hungry. They went in, bought what they wanted, ate it and started clapping. The baker went on doing whatever he was doing. He understood that the children liked the bread. But he already knew that he was a good baker. People came from very far away sometimes to eat his bread. But the children kept clapping and the baker had to stop and acknowledge. He went up to the children and asked them what they were doing.

The children said that when they clap, the staleness in the air gets exhausted. The afterglow of the sound of flesh colliding with flesh refreshed the environment. They did this act in different places across the city.

The baker invited them to clap in his kitchen. While they were clapping, he baked a batch of bread. The bread was more tasty than anything he had ever baked. He gifted a loaf to the children. The children then went to the garden.

They knew what they were doing. They knew the affect of their act. But what was the staleness in the air? The staleness is the ambience that refuses to move on.

Every locality, every actor has a field of ambience around them.

As time is a dynamic factor, the layers of ambience at any given locality keep piling up. Each subsequent layer displaces the previous layer.

But sometimes this movement gets held up. This movement freezes. And staleness sets in.

These children had found a fix for this by accident. They had started these clapping sessions all over the place to share their discovery.

The afterglow is the warmth that radiates after the oven is switched off. Not all ovens run on gas. Some ovens are inside the body and run on emotion.

So clapping offers sedation to people as well as things in the environment.

If anything they had to try and clap everywhere and all the time. The whole world needed sedation. But being everywhere was impossible. Time is a scarce resource. And location can only by defined by a unique attribute.

The children started thinking of other ways of refreshing the world. Without going and clapping everywhere. They sat and pondered on new ways of doing this. But no ideas were obvious and nothing occurred to them.

The children were getting ready to make peace with living in a stale world. A world with delay and lag and a low refresh rate.

Just then the wind started blowing like crazy. It started raining and soon there was thunder. The thunder was following the rhythmic pattern of their clapping and the was whole world was getting refreshed at the same time.

The cosmos was acting for them. Or so it seemed.

The atmosphere was clapping for many days and then it stopped. Again the children were afraid of the world wilting away. They stood staring at the sky for picking up any signs of the storm continuing.

But there were no more storms. The world withered away around them and everything became a desert.

They saw a fortress-like spacecraft descend from the sky. The storm was nothing but an announcement of its coming.

Thunder always preceded the lightning.

This descending fortress had flashes of lightning coming out of its windows. There were some people staring out of the windows were higher up in the fortress. These people had glaring eyes and they stared down at the children. They had thought that the whole planet would be cleansed of the fragile life forms that inhabited it. They thought that the planet would be ready for them. So, seeing the children confused them.

The children had grown up amongst wolves. They had a sharp instinct to survive. They also had a nurturing tendency. They wanted everything and everyone else to survive too. It is this desire that kept them alive.

The warriors and the fortress had come from the future. In the future emotion was already rendered useless. It did not serve a purpose. And so it was discarded.

These emotions were found to not serve a purpose only because they were not enacted passionately enough. But these children were sincere and they felt fully.

The warriors who descended from the sky did not know how to deal with raw emotion anymore. They succumbed to their wide-eyed stares. They became trees and mountains and blades of grass. They became what they were afraid of. Plants and trees are essentially naked strands of emotion. The warriors had forgotten how to deal with the sting of emotion. They succumbed easily.

The fortress became an ocean.

Both the children were tired now and wanted to rest. They had saved the world and now it was the turn of the world. To let them dream and sleep undisturbed and be well-rested again.

While they slept, the wind held itself back. There was no more whistling through hollow barks. There was no more swaying forests into sounds of motion.

The whole world kept a watch on the twitching of their eyes. There was nothing more to be done. The children could sleep for as long as they wanted.

The dreams which kept them engrossed in their sleep were long. They were epic stories, running without a pause. Not changing rhythm or track or the tone of voice. The kind of stories that only dreams can tell. Fluid like footage, edited to perfection.

Years and decades passed and the children slept there. Engrossed in their dreams. Their bodies did not age, their mouths did not dry, they slept like they were dead.


Temper is a liquid. When the situation is offensive enough, this liquid boils over. At any given time, there is no singular circumstance. There are always multiple actualities within each moment. Navigating these is not a choice but a matter of knowledge. And knowledge is an expression of the past narrative. Narratives are spun by complexity. There is never any simple story. Only true ones and false ones.

Temper is a frightening emotion. It offers you nothing back in return. And uses you for its own ends. Because it is liquid, the pursuance of its ends is being gaseous. In a gaseous form anger is not personal anymore. It floats away into the crevices of this world and resides there. With empty eyes, when you glance at the world, you see craftiness in the world. This craftiness is the angst. It is what the anger becomes. Angst is just impersonal anger.

Because of the anger in our hearts, the world is a bitter place.

The bitterness got to Ha in a critical way. He was sleeping. It entered him through his open mouth. Ha slept with his mouth open. His nose was no longer functional. He had evolved, moved away from his animal self. He could not smell anything anymore.

Ha's smell impairment prevented him from being sensitive. Sensitive to spaces, sensitive to people, sensitive to the nip in the air, to emotion. This insensitivity made him dull. He pretty much did anything that he thought could be done. His girlfriend, Sa, was aware of his compulsion to think. And she was aware of his drift away from his animal instincts. She was worried. But she hid her anxiety. She had seen many who had tendencies like Ha. Her own father and brother had been slaves to thought. They died thinking of life. And when they perished, the air remained overhung with desperation.

Sa did not want this to happen to Ha. Pining for life in the moment of death just ruins everything. The flavour of the last conscious moment is desperate. This flavour is not really significant in the sense that it determines anything. But it is significant in the sense that it is that the last memory that other people have of you before you die. And this memory makes them think of you as weak. As someone lacking courage. It takes courage to stare death in the face. Because all that you have been disappears in a moment.

They were both soldiers in the rebel army. They were practiced killers. They had each killed many with their own hands. In the act of killing they stared at the face of the dying opponent. They tried to catch a glimpse of death itself. But they never did. It came and snatched the last breath away. They did not notice its coming. They did not even notice its shadow. They did not even feel the temperature of air changing.

This had become the biggest problem of their lives. They killed. But they did not do anything. So, what happened? What was death?

"Maybe death does not exist," Ha said.

"So the people we kill are just lying in limbo?" Sa asked.

"Yes, life is a function. When we strike with our sword, we disrupt this functioning. Their bodies are not alive anymore. They are dysfunctional."

"So by using this word, we treat this word as if it was another state. As if it was another kind of life."

"Because, we cannot imagine a void."

Ha and Sa agreed on this. Ha and Sa were two people. But they were so connected that they thought as one. Their personalities were inter-twined. How they got to be so connected was another story in itself. Ha had gotten drafted in the army a few years before Sa did. There was a famine in the district where they lived and joining the army was the simplest way to survive. Either you survived or you didn't. But if you died, it was without awareness. It was bang in the middle of action. You popped like a bubble.

It was not the national army. It was a rebel army. The earlier ruler of the country decided to sulk and raised a army of his own. He had a lot of money that he had stolen from the state's treasury before leaving. The rebel army waged a few wars every now and then. But not to win control of the state. This ex-ruler, Ga, was a misfit. As a ruler, he could not get any work done. So,when he had to cede power and walk on the street like a commoner, he found that he was angry. Very angry.

He formed the army and waged small battles every now and then.

Ha and Sa were assigned kitchen duty at the same time. Ha had to peel potatoes and Sa had to make soup. They worked through their tasks through the evening. After serving dinner to the officers they were spent. They sat together in the darkness behind the tent that housed the kitchen. They got talking and their voices got mixed. The mixed voice had a character of its own. This mixed voice filled both their heads. Their conversations were like a soliloquy.

So, when Sa expressed worry about Ha's compulsion to think, it was time to introspect for Ha.

From this introspection emerged a realisation. That the narrative of life, the personal story that individuals anchor themselves so deeply in, is fiction.

When they talked about death being difficult because voids are difficult to think about, everything started making sense. If life is fiction, and death is a void, death is the void after the story is over. And nobody likes the end the story. Least of all the actors who are part of the story.

"If we want the story to go on for ever. We should all die in our dreams."

"That is asking for too much."

Ha and Sa constantly talked about death. They felt that if they can figure a way for their story to end smoothly, then they are done. But all the thoughts that they thought only entangled them further in the puzzle. They only got lost further. Their romance was morbid. The closeness they experienced with each other came to symbolise death itself. The death of the individual is to involuntarily participate in a conversation. And they had crossed that bridge long back.

All the moments they were together were silent and numb. Even if they talked, their minds were quiet. No thought ran in a recursive loop. When they were apart, again the carnival in their minds kicked in. Loop after restless loop. They decided to leave the army and live together. The oscillation between the time spent together and apart exhausted them. In their exhaustion, they fell back on each other.

Life after the routine and regimentation of the army was empty. They had to pay all the money they had to be free of the bond that they signed when they joined. So even though they had a place to stay. It was literally empty. No bed to sleep on. No utensils, no food in the kitchen. Just plenty of sun in the balcony. Ha and Sa filled this emptiness by sitting together in the sun all day. They went for a short walk in the evening. But there was nothing else to do. They were sitting around waiting for death.

But death did not come. Years passed. The sun magically fed them and kept them alive. They became vegetative in their condition. They lost the ability of using their arms and legs. Nothing needed to be said, thought was already absent. Staring at the empty sky constantly had blinded their eyes. Their open eyes were as good as closed.

At this point, their bodies stopped functioning and they were technically dead.

Their dead bodies had no stench. Their dead bodies lay in the sun for a few days and then they just evaporated. Their house was locked from the inside. They had no friends. No one missed them. There were no remains to remember them by (if at all there was anyone to remember them). By evaporating, the personal became the impersonal. They merged into the air and air cannot be contained. It flows everywhere. People breathe naturally and Ha and Sa get rooted into everybody's psyche. Everyone starts speculating on death. The common experience of life changes.

With people at large contemplating on death, the life and death flux was not casual anymore. Death moved from the predestined indefinite to a necessary and definitive thing to understand. Life was not innocent and rosy up until the onset of old age, illness and death. The taste of death was never forgotten. The shadow always loomed large. In the shade, the schizoid was not an outcast but a deity. The schizoid taught people how to float away from superfluous emotion. The everyday took on a dry flavour. Feelings were understood to be a cognitive load. A waste. The shadow of death is not cool. It is fiery. It has a distilling effect on the entities that it is cast. It distills the truth from history. Historians in these times had a unique access to all of the past times and the stories that operated behind the scenes. For some time history became a narrative of things as they actually happened. In the shadow of death, history became a authoritative record of the past times. And this changed how people and societies looked at themselves. The idea of human culture changed. From an idea that represented grand gestures, ideologies and mythologies an understanding dawned that looked at human culture just as a sequence of mis-steps. Emotion disappeared like a vacuous entity. The shadow of death transformed ordinary fetish objects into objects of art. The philosophers into Gods. Transcendence was not seen anymore as a viable option. Death was certain. Some went to far as to pine for death, as it was the only irrefutable event.

The world changed completely.

Very few things remained the same. But some that did are worth narrating. Earlier, death was considered inauspicious and was thought to be a disease. Even now death was thought to be an affliction. But now, this affliction was considered holy. A force that could be worshipped and tamed. The devotee could ask the force for protection. The devotee could ask the force for healing. Because darkness can only be offset by the dark, such a format of prayer was even effective.

In a quixotic way, the guardian angel of this time was death itself. And nobody could mess with death. So, before succumbing to death, all the living were healthy and fulfilled in every way. Emotion had already been discarded. Happiness was not even a familiar concept anymore.

When people slept, they had nightmares. In these nightmares they saw people who guarded malice with emotion. They woke up fearing that they had traveled back in time and people were employing emotion again as a device for encoded social communication. Still others had nightmares that showed them that instead of accepting death as a standard and regular event, people are using religion and intellect to deny it.

Nightmares reveal fears. Fears which are otherwise too potent to be acknowledged casually in waking life. The fear that the change which had come about was not permanent haunted the society for a generation or two. But then it disappeared.

When the nightmares stopped, there was no longer any link with the past. For people at large, the world had been the way it was forever. They did not feel the need to celebrate or keep alive the memory of any transition point. For them history was more or less just a story. Culture again passed into decay and slack. Symbols got lost again. Sharpness got blunted.

And then we will be back to where we are now. But that does not mean we will regress or that we will spring back. It just means that time moves forward in a spiral. In this movement, there are many points of similarity in at least one dimension. At these points, it feels (to an external observer) that there has been a regression. But, actually, there is none.


Fear is fire. It burns down all the other thoughts that are sharing the same time. It consumes the one who is experiencing the fear. It paralyses the ability of this fearful figure to defend itself. When no defence is possible, the only thing for the figure to do is wait. The waiting is for two things. One, the source of the fear (the object) is pre-programmed to offer a certain drama to the figure. The figure remembers the object of fear clearly. This object, at first glance, seems to inspire fear in everyone who catches a glimpse of it. This is not because of its visual quality. Even if the object is not a monster and has a fairly pleasant visual experience, it is feared. The object inspires fear because it refuses to negotiate. The object refuses to recast the rules of the game. In this rigid position, it inspires fear. All questions, all suggestions are brushed aside. The object of fear offers its story cast in stone and refuses to take anything back in exchange. Fear knows no reason. Because the reasonable is not feared.

Being a monster, Gar knew that he inspired fear in every figure he encountered. Gar was a Gurk. Gurks were descendants of the dragon and the dolphin. A few hundred years back, a flying dragon was struck by the arrows of a viking warrior. The dragon fell from the sky. Its wings helped it only to break its fall by reducing the speed of its fall. It fell into an ocean. Because of the momentum of the fall, it went deep into the water, before it came back to the surface. When it went deep into the water, a dolphin saw it and fell in love with it. When it bounced back up to the surface of the water, the dolphin also swam up to meet it. When they first saw each other, they didn't even know what they were looking at. Of course the dolphin had never seen a dragon and the dragon had never seen a dolphin either. Inter-species communication is an unknown science. The dolphin and the dragon could not figure how to communicate much to each other. The dragon was dying, this message got across easily because of blood in the water. The arrow had hit the dragon's foot. Blood was leaking into the water from the injured foot. The dolphin went and pulled out the arrow from the dragon's foot with its mouth and covered the foot with its saliva. Dolphin's saliva is magically healing. It fixed the dragon's foot instantly. The dragon was so relieved that it hugged the dolphin. The dolphin was already in awe of the fantastic out-of-the-world look of the dragon. After the dragon hugged it, it felt that the dragon was expressing love towards it. The dolphin responded back. The dragon was just expressing gratitude and it got confused with the signals from the dolphin. Amongst the dragons, when a female dragon liked the male dragon's responses, it blew fire into the air. Anyway, across the mixed signals, the dragon and the dolphin had sex. Gar was born out of that act of copulation. Gar was a Gurk which was the name of a category of freak animals and monsters born out of inter-special horseplay. Gurks did not fit any organisational taxonomy of species. Nobody knew what they were. Science was not interested in them. They were not even expected to survive.

But Gurks were scary. They inspired fear in everyone who encountered them. Some Gurks were themselves afraid of everyone (yes, even tiny insects and worms). But these were just ignored by the community of Gurks as freaks. To be a freak amongst freaks, was almost an honour. Some humans kept the omniphobic monsters as pets. Otherwise most of these fearful Gurks just did not survive.

Gurks survived on fear. Much like a gang lord, their social prestige depended on the fear they inspired in the society around them. And mostly everyone was afraid of them. Why were they so successful in the business of fear-mongering? Was it just the looks or did the Gurks have a scary growl or were they aggressive and sociopaths? Everyone was afraid of them because they were plain ugly. Not just in a anthesis-of-beauty kind of way but also they had no tenable qualities in their personality. Also their bodies exuded a very bad smell. They literally stank. The stink did not allow other animals to even wander close by in a casual way.

This territorialization of the world that ensued was a direct result of this. Gurks were a cross between a creature of the ocean and a creature of fantasy. For anyone to be able to accept them, they had to imagine a part of their body. So Gurks inspired fear because they were frightful looking and because people always imagine the worst possible. Imagining is not a voluntary act. People can be conditioned to think that what they see is not complete. People can be trained to augment what they see with what they imagine. Gurks had somehow trained people to do this. Every self-representation that they saw, they recognised as false. Reflection in mirror. Reflection in water. Reflection in someone's eyes. They rejected the reflections and held on to their mental images.

This clinging on to a concept, when it was easier to believe the factual description of their physical being made Gurks monstrous. Gar used his monstrosity in ways that didn't require to be justified by logic of any kind. He scared the little ducklings away. They were so little that they could not even fly yet. When Gar frightened them, they had to run fast and attempt to fly. They couldn't fly, so all that they could do was walk very fast. Walk with forced and rushed movements. Sometimes this helped, sometimes this did not. And Gar ate the ducklings.

Eating the ducklings was not really an exotic affair. Because these ducks had a bad dream stuck in their heads. Everyday they woke up in the middle of their nightmare and then the nightmare got stuck in their heads. All their waking life was spent with the overhanging mood of the nightmare. The nightmare was broadcasting the repressed part of their life anyway. The repressed underbelly of their life was full of things that they could not accept easily. The lingering nightmare gave the ducklings a bitter taste. Gar actually had to go off food for a few days before he could eat anything again. The bitterness just wouldn't wash off from his mouth. Forgetting was the only way of getting rid of the bitter taste. And forgetting is possible only when you do not make any new memories in the mould of the memory of bitterness. A near-death state has to be reached and enacted in a dramatised form. Else the reset does not happen. The taste does not wear off at all.

After resetting Gar was wary of being a monster. All the sentiment that had to be mustered to frighten the ducklings, run after them, didn't yield any good. Eventually he had to bear the brunt of his monstrosity.

For a half actual, half imagined being there aren't many options. For a dolphin-dragon hybrid, the mould is already made. The pose is already given a name. To effect a transition, a transition point has to be defined. So Gar did what was the easiest. Gar snapped back to his base state, he gave up on his imagined persona. He became a dolphin. He agreed that there were really no dragons in the world. This agreement led to the disappearance of the imagined appendages of his body. He became normal animal. No one was afraid of him anymore.

In the absence of the context of fear, Gar did not know how to conduct the business of survival. When he approached, ducklings did not run here and there. He was lost. When he jumped high above the water, to look at his own reflection, he saw that he was just a dolphin. He had no fangs, he could not blow fire. He had no wings and he did not have a mythology attached to him.

He was just a fish and he could live only in water and no one was afraid of him. Gar was troubled. Gar realised that he had to do something about his inability to inspire fear, else he would not be able to survive.

So Gar went to a witch doctor. Witch doctors were still popular amongst dolphins. Dolphins do not have critical parts of their brain. One of these is the part that conducts a study of science. No scientific knowledge is archived in the minds of dolphins. For them the experience of everyday life is like a wild array of things that they cannot possibly understand. So they go to witch doctors and ask them what to do. The witch-doctor-dolphin asks Gar to go eat some small fish and that act of aggression will teach him how to inspire fear again.

So Gar went to eat small fish. Eating the small fish was very easy. There was no challenge. It was like biting berries in a field. Soon Gar got bored of eating the small fish, which did not put up any struggle and did not even try to escape. They did not exhibit signs of fear, they seemed resigned. They did not exhibit signs of hope anymore. Hope being a fraudulent emotion, only offers choices which are as fictional as the content of hope. Any projection into the future is a sign of a speculative malady. This cannot be dealt with in any other way than a dream, an attractive story. Hope being a trigger and an emotion for action is a pathogenic sentiment. How can one act on tendencies which are at best only symbols of a lost cause.

Reading before the word is written on the page is a lost cause and can never be performed.

The witch doctor's advice did not help. Eating the small fish did not help Gar to learn now to inspire fear again. Without knowing how to inspire fear, Gar couldn't survive. He perished soon.

After he perished, the sea was calm. There was no one around to commit random acts of micro-terror. There was no one aspiring to be a monster anymore. Without this aspirational monstrosity, the world became too sweet a place. This sweetness became a culture for many small life forms to germinate and nurture. These cultured life-forms were salty. They began to counter the sweetness of the ocean. There began a struggle between the sweetness of the ocean and the saltiness of the life forms. The sweetness was produced as a result of homogeneity and an absence of a flux. The saltiness was produced by the sweat of the micro life-forms. The sweat glands of the organisms were massive. The pores that let the sweat leak out of the body were in fact bigger than the body-frame of the micro-organisms itself. So the micro-organisms looked like gaping voids. The voids were such that often they often fell into each other. When they fell, they thought they were falling into a portal. But these openings were only like windows. They did not affect their position in the narrative at all. Everything remained the way it was. This was a problem because the narrative was dependent on interventions that provided periodic shifts. So there was no dynamism to fuel the flux.

In this unstable world there was no clear movement. Things jiggled and juggled but there was no clear vectors emerging.

Time might as well have stopped for things remained the way they were. The past, present and the future were all identical.

When this happened, the world found it very easy to end. In this ending, in this event of death, no one mourned and no one reminisced. It was a clean break. The world could end in this absolute absence of memory.


Sweetness is alien to the world. The world originated in hostile circumstances. Sweetness was then cultivated to dull the memory of the moment of birth. Of course there was no one to remember and so no one also to cultivate this sweetness. These phenomenon can be related only in narrative. And not in motive.

But we will leave the technicalities aside.

Sweetness was cultivated as an antidote. Now, who did this cultivation is not relevant here. The fact is that the harshness of the world coming into being had to be dulled to be made tolerable. Tolerance is an emotion. And that's right - emotions have existed before humans came into being.

When the world was empty of bodies, emotions flew around and settled like dust on any surface that was available.

This availability of surface was a matter of chance. Emotions few around because in those days a ferocious wind blew and this wind was blowing because there was nothing to contain it. There was no landscape, there were no structures, there was nothing to contain the wind.

The empty world was in fact a forest of ghosts. Ghosts do not have a tongue. Because they do not have a tongue, a mind or a body - now that the world is filled, we do not understand them anymore. For us God is the only boundless being. And there are no sub-sets. There is no idea that even approximates the idea of the holy ghost. Because of this singular idea of God, a lot of things which don't belong to this idea are projected on it anyway.

When Pinha and Kinha woke up, they knew that this was the day they had been waiting for. They were both identical twins. Their whole life, they had struggled with the idea of God. They wondered how the ghosts who spoke to them in the darkness could be their imagination. They knew the ghosts were real. But the whole domain of things which existed but could not be seen belonged to the idea of God. So if ghosts existed at all, they had to be a part of the idea of God. And ghosts definitely existed. Their conversations in the dark were not imagined. And they were not crazy. That much they knew.

On this day, a union of the church, the asylum and the school of black magic was destined to happen. This had been announced by the king of their time. This king was a compromise solution to the failure of democracy that stared the world in the face. The king was not very rich and did not live in unfettered opulence. From the days of the old monarchy, the people had learnt something. They designed a system in which the world was a giant machine. To make this machine run, actual physical effort was needed. The machine was mechanical and not digital. The king needed to sweat it out everyday. The king earned as much as he worked. This machine ran the world and its macro and micro systems as the people wanted them to run. The king was not exposed to the systems directly. There was no aura of wealth and power around him. He was a labourer hired to operate the machine that ran the world.

And in this labour was no glory.

What the world knew as the king's actions and decisions were just actions and decisions of the machine was fuelled by the labour of the king. The union of the church, asylum and the school of black magic was another such decision. The citizens of the world felt good that their king was so radical. But their king was just a labourer. The calendar didn't even get marked with the event of his passing away and the coming of a replacement. This was a comfortable political situation for most people concerned.

Those who probed deeper into who the king was, faced the machine.

The machine was said to be built by aliens so no one knew how it operated. It was a mystery. There was no secret tribe of people who knew the intricacies of the machine and who could change the pattern of decisions that it threw up.

That was the story. And there all probing ended. The probing did not yield anything further and so probing remained an obscure task performed by obscure people. People on the large believed.

Actually there were people who knew how this machine worked. They had just not been transparent about the fact. These people did not want to come across as puppet-masters. They didn't want to be seen as people - mortal, fallible and fragile. They wanted the focus and the attention to remain only on the machine. The machine as this mysterious construct that ruled the world only inspired awe and fear and made it more powerful than it was. The more powerful the machine was thought to be the less resistance people offered.

Soon the world was bereft of individuality and bereft of dissent. The world was only a playground of rhythms - subtle and coarse. These rhythms could be easily tapped by the machine. Because rhythms are maths and machines are maths too.

The machine wanted a union of the church, the asylum and the school of black magic because it wanted the uncertainty to be manageable. All these people figured that the equation was open-ended and that it only got balanced by some flux which was not even physical. That which was not physical was not there for the machine. The machine could put all these people into one category. It could assign noise as the symbolical reference for this category.

Noise could be factored in and then ignored off as a rounding error.

Nobody cares for the pixel-level loss. If someone did, they could deal with the machine.

Pinha and Kinha were happy that this union was happening. They were happy because they knew that only when the machine found some way to bundle off psychosis as a rounding error would let it be. Once psychosis is let be, it creeps into the world and infects experience in a way that it cannot be sanitised anymore. Experience that cannot be sanitised becomes a protective veneer for psychosis.

Pinha and Kinha were identical twins. Kinha was psychotic. He lived in a different reality, which was sometimes dry and featureless and sometimes flowing with the passion of anger. His anger gushed like a water cannon. Soft and valuable but forceful. His anger was like water and like fire at the same time. It burned him and at the same time it burned the world.

Pinha was affected very intensely by this anger. He was in sync with Kinha's mind. He felt a shadow of what Kinha felt. So, in this case he was in the shadow of psychosis. So he felt relieved when the union freed it up and allowed boundless propagation.

He saw this decision of the machine as a sign of further ambition. Because in the unity, the psychosis was sorted and accounted for. Once the sorting was done, the machine felt that it could control all the sorted content.

After the unity was produced, Pinha and the machine came into conflict. Pinha wanted to infect the world. And the machine did not allow the infection to happen easily. It put up a strong resistance. In the conflict that ensued, the situation developed into a crises. Such that the motley crew of people who were behind the machine and who were behind the construction and the operation had to come into the foreground.

Once they came out into the open, everyone understood the deception. They understood that the machine was not divine and was just a product of ordinary mortals. More and more people gathered courage to fight the battle. Now it was human against human. People were also full of angst because they felt cheated. In fact they went back to holding cynicism as a main perspective because they felt jilted.

The conflict didn't become an all out war. There was no singular battlefield. There were many battlefields and many armies. Sometime the militias switched sides and started shooting everyone and everywhere in general. It was obvious that although they were fighting about it, one side has already won. Psychosis had already crossed the line. Because there is an aspect of experience that if genuinely outside the realm of sanity, then it cannot be controlled. The machine and the crew behind it were wrong in thinking that they were in absolute control, in thinking that nothing was beyond them.

Pinha was calmer now. He could feel that Kinha was feeling more unencumbered now. He could feel that what was earlier the shadow of anger was now only only a shadow. Anger had disappeared. Because the attempt to keep culture sorted and clean had finally failed. Now there was nothing holding the potential of experience back. The potential was open. Prediction was not possible anymore.

In the middle of a battle that raged between the citizens and the machine - everyone lost interest in fighting. This happened spontaneously and after this moment everyone suddenly laid down their arms.

People were fighting with their hands and their minds. And now that they had stopped fighting - their hands were tired and their minds were exhausted. Their blood pressure was high when they were fighting and now it was normal again.

What happened? How did psychosis change the common experience?

A snake had crept into people's minds. Nobody could see this snake. But this snake crept from mind to mind - twisting through matter if it was not present. And matter is never present. Matter is just a shadow of that which is present. And this shadow and the dream playing in our heads shows us a dream in which we imagine three dimensional forms. Dreams can be many.

One of them is of this snake crawling from mind to mind. This snake is harmless but when it crawls through a particular mind, it leaves the cerebrum in a condition that makes it feel like warm sludge. Imagine walking around with warm sludge in your head. This is what they felt like, when the snake passed through their head. The common belief has been that the mind lives in the brain. And the brain lives in the head. But actually the mind lives in the body. Our idea of ourself is modelled through the body we think we have. If this body gets hurt or damaged, it hurts the balance of the mind. It is difficult to get over hurt because it doesn't just involve physical experiences of pain. It also involves the memory, the imagination and the afterthought of pain.

And these linger on for as long as they lose their potency and fade away. The actual physical experience of pain is sometimes absent or at best very fleeting.

Although science has known this for a long time, they forgot to say it. Mind and body is one. There is no line of separation.

Once the shadow of psychosis became thinner and gradually disappeared, Pinha opened up in a new way. His life had been spent under the shadow of doubt. And then doubt vanished and he became whole.

After he became whole, he could see butterflies flying in the air. Butterflies are symbols of transition. After he saw a butterfly, he understood that his new life had begun. In his new life, he did not feel that he was in the shadow of anything. He did not feel any burden, any weight. He felt free. He could do anything.

And when faced with the freedom that he could do anything, what did he do? He did nothing. When you do nothing, no weakness, no vulnerability, no hesitation remains. Every loop get completed. You get enlightened.

An enlightened mind has an altered experience. In this altered experience, there are no threads binding you. Nothing is compulsory. We only do what we have to. If nothing is compulsory, we do nothing. And he felt that nothing is compulsory. So for him, doing nothing was natural.


Fear is a key as well as a lock. You succumb to fear and you get a unique experience. But also the dream that you have been dreaming snaps and breaks. Which dream were you watching so intently? Why was that dream so important. Merely because it took you away from the spot that you were in. Who are you? Why am I addressing you? Are you the reader? While reading also a fear grips you. This fear threatens you that you will read something that will destroy everything. You fear that you will read something and you will never be able to read anything again. That something will be a pocket of puss. It will host in itself such a pungent smell that it will infect your senses in a permanent way. You, the reader, are sometimes my adversary. You read what I write but only if someone has pre-packaged for you the essence of what I mean. You ask me to force-fit my craft into the pattern of the format that you are familiar to and do not let me make my craft into my art.

The patterns of the formats of text that you are habituated to reading are not even punctuated with grief. You have never been broken. You have never waited breathlessly for someone or something to fix you. You will never know what lies beyond the crack.

Don't worry there is no trauma there, there is no hell with a burning fire, there is no unpleasantness. What lies beyond the crack is just a prolonged pause. Nothing happens, not even the tick of time. And in that bland featureless blankness everything loses meaning. The nice things, the syrupy emotions all become too much to deal with. There is no patience to let something take root. In the desert of your mind, before anything happens, it will dry away. That landscape will not let you dream and escape. You will be left with no choice but to be afraid. You will be afraid of being stuck in that frame of time forever - irrespective of the fact that you have never come across anything permanent, you will be afraid of that. The fear will drive you to read whatever you read very carefully. Fearing land-mines, fearing traps, fearing the worst.

And that is where you are. I couldn't tell you that I am not describing a hypothetical situation but rather describing your current situation. If I had told you earlier, you would not have agreed to see the model I built for you. You would have also denied me the privilege of describing your situation. You would not have let me build up the story because this story reaches a conclusion that you cannot accept.

You fear that stories finish. You fear that stories change. You fear that stories let you down. And you are afraid that the author does not care for you. You are right but you are not right all the time. Sometime all these things flip and they turn around. But the thing with a flip is that there are equal chances either way and you cannot feel sure of anything. Being unsure, being unable to trust anything is a symptom of fear. It is an expressed symbol.

You are in this state.

And I can understand how you want to be free of this persistent fear. I can understand how fear is only an obstacle for you.

But it is not an obstacle.

It is you.

The fear is you. And it is not fear. It is a kind of emotion that you are not familiar to. You just call it fear.

There was a small squirrel which was nibbling on a nut in the shadow of a tree. The squirrel could fly but even then it found its food by running here and there on its tiny feet. It did not have any existential advantage over any other animal in the jungle. It could perish if it did not find food for a week at a stretch. But this was not a risk. Food was always available. Nuts were good at hiding. They even employed camouflage.

This squirrel was called Pintin. The name was a sound only and it did not have any meaning. Pintin was perfectly ordinary. She did not even daydream about anything. There was no going away. There was no escape. Even with the ability to fly, Pintin got to experience no break from the frame. But she started understanding the frame really well. She looked at everything from all the possible directions. She seemed to even have eyes inside her mouth. She could see the food as she chewed on it. Form became a paste and paste gets ingested and disappears. This skill of being able to look inside into the corridors of the pipes and channels of the body was unique.

Those who claim that looking inside is an abstract act forget that at the minutest level, the abstract is physical. How do you think of an abstract thought? After a point air becomes earth. Air comes into contact with the elements. On coming into contact with the earth, the flow of the air breaks. The earth responds to the air by allowing the air to shape it. On getting shaped, the earth has to give up on all the possible shapes that it could have had and has to settle-in with only one shape. This shape reflects the presence of the air. So air becomes earth.

Air, fire, water, earth are said to the elements from which the whole world is created.

These elements are all in a constant flux. One becomes the other and the other becomes one. There is a constant churning within the loop. States are not fixed, rounds of transition are fixed.

Behind the fever is the unnecessary excitement of the flesh. The clamour of wanting more. The hunger embedded in hunger, the vanity of hope that lives in the impossibility of time. How does fever stay alive? What keeps the temperature simmering? Why do fevers not fizzle out? Where does the stubbornness of the fever come from?

The fever is a sign of the pressure building up because of the stress. When the environment is acting on the pipeline, the pipeline gets squeezed and the flow gets compromised. When the pressure increases, the force and the velocity of the fluid gets multiplied. This multiplication cannot be contained. it is wild and dispersed. Its wild nature creates a network effect which breaks out the interface as an enhanced intensity and an a raised temperature. Fever breaks out.

After the fever breaks out, the immediate response is to suffer, collapse and let the fever reign. Once the surrender happens then the fever takes over. The fever consumes the whole body. On being consumed, the body moves from its hard state to its fluid state. When the body melts, the drama has begun. In this dramatic sequence, the body and its pores mix into one magma and the then all hell breaks loose.

In this hell, surface and medium cannot be distinguished. Solvent and plane cannot be told apart. Everything is level, all the privilege, all the karma is lost. History is rendered meaningless because it lacks any expression. Some call this chaos. Some call this hell. Nobody is happy with the state of affairs. Cluster formation became very difficult. No particle, no actor, no agent could bond with the other. There was no scope of any alliance.

In this world, everything remained in a collapsed condition. No layers formed. No complexity emerged. No secondary and tertiary states registered themselves. In this flat world, there was no way of navigation. No way of overcoming scale. Being lost was the only possibility. But getting lost was not easy. I was not as simple as just forgetting to seek a direction. There was more. In the guise of a common actor's mode of conduct on the field, was hidden a desperate hinder to know its own location. Locating their own bodies on the field forced the actors to look at themselves in a distant way. When you bring in distance in your own self-perception, the distortion and the noise breaks the mould. The shell cracks. All the reluctance and resistance that comes in the way of the actor's acceptance of its own role of a puppet disappears. There is no semblance of a will left anymore. The actor's shell fully collapses and the actor happily gets lost in the environment.

After the actor gets lost, the game begins.

The game cannot deal with entities spreading their tentacles outside the game world. If the first rule if that no other rule must stand, then no other rule can stand.

The fever is only a death wish expressed as a melting of the flesh. Forms and volumes disappear and only the shadows and the traces remain. These shadows and traces intermingle and create planes of varying densities and opacities. These planes are the only evidence we have of the actor's existence. If only these planes were responsible for leading the onlooker astray, their purpose would have been served.

Who is the onlooker? The onlooker is only the inhibited actor who refuses to act. This refusal comes from an assumption that was made at birth. This assumption is that all invitations are entrapments. This assumptions works very well with the fever. The onlooker is only looking at a reflection of the inside in the glossy envelope. Because there is nowhere else available. There is nothing outside the envelope. The envelope is not kept anywhere, it is only floating in a void. There is no base surface. After a point the status quo cannot crash and cannot gal because there is no ledge, there is no boundary, no limit.

An actor whom refuses to act also ends up acting. This specific acting has an inhibited quality.

The shadows, traces and the lanes that they make up are like sounds of footsteps in a chase sequence unraveling in a dark forest. They are fleeting and indecipherable. Flashes of light shine and then they don't. "The cloths that you wear, rustle. When they rustle, they spark. The rustling happens when you move. When you will move next, nobody knows."

The actors are like vacuous forms generating these shadow and traces which they throw are like double encrypted signals.

This only goes to show how trying to make sense of the narrative is futile.

The narrative is not pointing to itself. It is pointing to nothing. It is hiding its tracks. The fever cannot be reverse engineered.

So this onslaught has to be suffered. There is no medicine. There is no escape. Lose hope or lose yourself.

The fever as a symptom is an empty symbol. It cannot be analysed. I does not mean anything. But as a condition it cannot be escaped from. It is a condition that needs preparation. For some it can feel like a fall. Running to stand still is not an acceptable flow in narrative. There needs to be an escalation, not a fall. But the fever is not a fall. It is a rise. It is not a frailty of the flesh, although it its moment of perishing. When water evaporates into steam, it does not recognise any cessation of being. Transformation is a moment of revelation. The potential becomes known. Even if there were no clues revealed earlier, the moment of transformation does not become a upsetting moment. It remains a moment of celebration, an event that attracts a thunderous applause.

After the fever has passed, a kind of wipe is performed. The fever is not remembered. The moment of transformation is not remembered. In being lost, the only thing remembered is the previous instance of being lost. All the tension involved in the moment of transformation is in vain. The base state of being still falls way below what the buildup promises.

Tamasha & Batasha tags: nets models sshop


Tamasha is a member of the secret service. He knows things which never get out. This secret service is not a part of the apparatus of the state. It is a private secret-service. This private secret-service was commissioned by the society of rag-pickers and motion picture cameras. This society really exists. The reason the society exists is that rags and motion picture cameras have a lot in common with each other. Rags are fragments of content. Motion picture cameras deal with fragments of visual experience.

Rag pickings are assemblages. Motion picture archives are assemblages.

Tamasha likes to talk to himself. In self-talk the distinction between communicating, hearing and perception gets blurred. You are talking to yourself, you know both sides of the story and still you immerse yourself in the performance of not-knowing.

"The neon lights are catching my eye."

"You installed them there yesterday."

"Yesterday I was desperate."

"You cannot expect me to track your maladies."

Tamasha imagined himself talking to himself in a confrontational, high-tension pose - eyeballs to eyeballs, nose to nose. In this pose, he experiences a clarity of the distinct voices that reside in him and the things they want to say. In a more relaxed pose, he does not remember any dialog and he does not know anything worth saying. Confrontation produces content. The clamour of one side putting pressure on the other produces material.

Tamasha was born in a family of farmers. He was accustomed to the idea of life tending to life. He disagreed with the prospect of sociality and did not like to engage with figures to interact with. If distance is needed, enough distance from the self is possible to achieve. It is just a matter of not giving in to the urge when it arises. Instead of feeding yourself affection, feed yourself a few parts affection and a few parts disaffection.

So Tamasha existed with this model of himself as a self-pivot. He could leverage his own self for reaching out further in his swim in the pool of consciousness.

This self-pivoting was the unique trick of that Tamasha could play.

He could lean on himself as well as step away.

This condition affects the condition of pop symmetry that we live in. Pop symmetry describes a condition where the mean condition of experience remains the same. The sameness in construed at a different scale than the scale of our vision so we never figure that this is the nature of our envelope. We live in a cave taking it to be a world.

Now, who am I? And how do I know all this?

I am a confidante of both Tamasha and Batasha. I am the only person in whose narrative the duality is known and in that knowing, a balance is struck.

The concept of pop symmetry also describes the way that these two narratives that I balance in my perception as a singular narrative, unravel at the same time as they are narrated.

This simultaneity of narration and experience are often misunderstood. It is understood as a detail that reveals something about who I am and where I am situated. But the truth is, it doesn't. I am a part of the same narrative that I narrate.

Tamasha is sleeping on the road. Sometimes he talks in his sleep.

Tamasha's talk is like duct tape to the world. No, it is like the oxygen. It is the media packet within which all content is modelled.

Tamasha means a spectacle. I cannot say in which language. The languages are too many to list here.

The spectacle exists because it talks to itself.

I have been describing a person who has become a condition.

"Can you modulate your frequencies? Can you shape the broadcast?"

"I have nothing to do with the content. I only deal with the surface"

"So, you are not really following the story. You do not really taste the syrup."

"I am a part of the story that you mention. I am a part of the taste of the syrup."

The adventures that Tamasha experienced are a special feature of this story. The adventures are like a special nugget that you can swallow down without hesitation and only expect a joyride on doing so.

One day Tamasha was standing under a mango tree. He was standing there waiting for a mango to fall. But none of the mangoes on the tree were ripe and so neither of them had a reason to fall. An unnatural event had to occur. At that time a small kid threw a stone. The stone hit a mango and it fell. But it fell into Tamasha's hands and not the boy's hands. But the boy laid a claim on the fruit because he had thrown the stone. Tamasha laid a claim to the fruit because he had anticipated and waited for long enough at the right spot. Tamasha and the boy started arguing. There seemed to be no quick resolution and they decided to flip a coin. Tamasha won the coin toss and got to keep the mango. Being the actor has its rewards but getting the fruit is not one of them. Being the actor is rewarded by being acted upon. Sometimes you give, sometimes you receive.

Another day Tamasha was traveling on an escalator and the escalator got jammed. It stopped with a jolt. The jolt was so sudden and so massive that most people fell. Exactly at that time a gunman entered the airport and started firing. The gunman fired crazily everywhere. And because Tamasha was standing, he took multiple bullets in his chest. But inspite of taking multiple hits, he did not go down. The gunman thought that his bullets were fake and that they had no sting. This thought depressed him so much that he shot at himself. But when he shot at himself, he died immediately. The bullets were not fake. The only reason Tamasha remained standing was that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. And also it was not the right time to die for him. A terrorist committed suicide unnecessarily but the Tamasha of the times remained intact.


When Tamasha stared into his own eyes, he saw his own reflection. This reflection like all reflections had a white arc within it somewhere. The gloss was not at the centre, it was towards the outer rim of the eye-ball. This gloss was a hole that allowed Tamasha to connect to the sky. The sky was behind the body he stared at. Because of the hole, he was not perfectly blocked. As his super-powers depended on his connection to the sky, Tamasha was not able to deal with himself. With the connection established, his superpower manifested. He thought of all the words that could be acted on in that moment, and then thought of FREEZE.

The odds for the word trail in Tamasha's head to stop at FREEZE were very huge. So huge that nobody thought it possible. Tamasha was trained to follow the word and when he heard the word FREEZE and he froze. There was nothing else that he'd rather do, but FREEZING meant a total suspension of action. Are involuntary functions of the body actions? Do they need to be controlled?

The wizards secret is only known to the wizards.

Tamasha FROZE. But nothing happened. The world did not crumble because of Tamasha's state. His reflection also reflected the frozen self back. In this moment, when nothing seemed to be in play, when all contrivance had seemingly paused, out of Tamasha's navel rose a stink that had the power to freeze everyone else in their tracks. So when Tamasha froze, the whole world also froze.

When Tamasha is active, filtered through the constructions of the reflections, the whole world is active. When Tamasha is frozen, the whole world is frozen.

The world follows Tamasha because Tamasha maintains his connection with the sky.

Because Tamasha sees the gloss of reflection as a hole and uses it to see through.

Reflection is a kind of copy.

The hole hides in the gloss because no copy can be perfect. The imperfections fail to register their content. They do not want to be seen as artefacts of low-resolution copying, they would rather be seen as natural occurrences, as freak distortions. When a copy realises that it is the manifestation of stray data, it immediately becomes suspect. Before and after, both times are tragic. After your eyes detune from the gloss, they become opaque. They do not have empathy anymore. They become merciless, hardened and unavailable.

Tamasha looks into your cold eyes, carefully avoids looking at the arc of gloss (to avoid triggering a loop) and infuses humour into the blacks of your eyes.

Without this humour, you cannot survive.

Reflections occur in the wild. The gloss that is produced as a by-product is an intoxicant. When pragmatic functions are more important, gloss has to be avoided. This avoidance produces the neurosis that everyday experience is.

Tamasha is a conductor. What should happen and what should not are both fodder for the emergence of the gameplay.

"Reflect back only time, remove the message."

"Reflecting time also includes our reflections on time."

"The music can gather the tremors in its flow."

"Listen and you will learn to avoid."

After Tamasha threw away his hearing aids, he relied solely on his eyes to listen. He observes faces very closely. His hearing can register only very high-decibel sounds. For registering subtle variations in the environment around him, he relies on his eyes and on his ability to scan.

Deflection is a defence mechanism for him. If he needs to deflect the flow of some conversation or the tangent of some thought even, he holds a glossy surface to it and disrupts it. This ability of gloss to deflect has nothing to do with the opacity of the surface. If the surface is opaque, deflection occurs. If the surface is transparent, deflection occurs. The surface performs on incidence. There is no after the fact because there is no fact. Permeation does not occur.

So for his devious manipulations, Tamasha relies on gloss.

After Tamasha has dealt with a situation, he hides away all the gloss in the archives of history. Some pasts look enticing, others don't.

Legions of criminals have attempted to find Tamasha's gloss. But no one has succeeded. Gloss is not pop, it is not the same for everyone. For Tamasha it registers as gloss. For others with a different scale in their eyes, they only see dense muddiness.

A glossy surface is a surface with friction less than a certain threshold.

Gloss has nothing to do with content. It is a bullet, it will kill whomever it is shot at, no enquiry into the character of the victim is needed. Absolute function, absolute results. Light does not ever enter a glossy surface, it gets reflected on incidence.

Celebration, uninhibited joy, the idea of happiness, are all glossy. Rough surfaces that retain their friction play the part of the anti-hero. These anti-heroes are like shy, silent people. They hear everything but they say nothing. These surfaces are totally inert and black. The word for black holes existed before they were actually discovered. It is a very appropriate name. The name suggests something flat and something deep at the same time.

Not all glossy surfaces are equal.

The history of reflection that each one of them holds, defines their character.

Much like two equally sharp knives, one of which has been used for murdering someone and the other only to chop vegetables, are not equal.

People who agree to everything are only blobs of gloss. they have nothing to hold on to. They blend into the landscape. Into the dullest part of the background. Once they blend in, their situation cannot be determined anymore. They are declared deluded.

If the weather is not good, only the trauma of the moment has the answer. And in this answer resides the reflection of the trauma too, as a tiny space of gloss. Gloss in a tear, for instance, has the capacity to be seen in a context of empathy and withdrawal. It is important to cry once in a while to experience this state.


Pop is not just a shorthand for popular. Pop is also an onomatopoeia for emergence. Popularity can be constructed, emergence can't be. Emergence is a phenomenon that has a special kind of registration. It is the beacon call of an arrival, an urge to update vocabulary and syntax.

Tamasha was once roaming rather pointlessly in the wasteland behind his house. During his walk, he was taken aback by what he saw. He saw some figures with glassy eyes and a dome shaped head rise up from the ground. The surface of the ground was not even broken, but these figures were rising up along some invisible elevator shaft. The rise was smooth as if rehearsed and orchestrated. The figures rose up to the ground and addressed Tamasha directly.

"Take us to your reader."

In reading, Tamasha's leader had given shape to the world. No, Tamasha's leader was Tamasha himself. As light has no hierarchy. But inspite of this fact, Tamasha did not break the sequence of conversation. He did not sabotage the process and he guided the figures to a palace. Went Inside, changed clothes and came out again wearing a manner suggesting leadership.

The figures could not recognise Tamasha and immediately started attending to business.

"Sir, why did you read?"

"I did not."

"Sir, we have proof."

"Oh. Ok, I did read. I read because I was forced to. I did not have a choice."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"This paragraph of text that appeared before me, was not brought to me, it popped up for me."

"Sir, pop will destroy the lens."

We never stigmatised pop. We always respected things which popped into our lives the same as things which gently transitioned in. How was this antipathy towards pop dealt with?

Because our biases were clearly stated, we did not feel inclined to think about what the figures told us. We dismissed the concerns and we did not do anything. But the figures who had emerged in the middle of the wasteland that day were from the future. What they shared with us is what they had clearly witnessed in the future. Because of our bias, they came to warn us.

In some time, pop became so simple, so flat that the lenses of people's minds, that had been designed to perceive trickier content, cracked. The mother lens, which nurtured and guided all the lenses worldwide, had cracked.

When this episode happened, we were left without a choice. We quickly had to put together another mother lens to replace the broken one. We did not understand anything about optics. We did not understand anything about refraction. We did not understand anything about light or glass.

At that point the only thing we could do is arrest a figure from the opposite species, dismantle its eye and replicate that. This was not simple. We were shocked to learn that for instance that the human body has no empty space. The human body is densely packed with tissues. We may represent bodies as very neatly planted gardens but the truth is that they are chaotic packages which an overwhelming complexity of layout and design. The kind of design our bodies display, could only have emerged from a process of an attempt to tame unregulated growth. One variable wants to ceaselessly progress and another variable wants to make sure the content fills the package. There are constraints. Of size, of layers, of density. Eventually bodies are eaten by bodies and can only be as dense as other bodies can tear apart. The abdomen can only be as thick as one that the mouth can chew into.

After we had managed to reverse engineer the eye, we started working with the fabrication and the assembly. Only after we made the whole eye, could we isolate the lens, make it again and replace it.

After this whole process was over, we realised that the lens we had made had too much noise. There was so much artefact noise that people had to deal with that we were having to struggle. There was no fidelity of vision anymore. If we published something there was no guarantee that it would be seen in the same fashion by anyone else. The framework that governed vision was interpretive. There was a lot of potential for variation.

The leadership in Tamasha's head was appalled. This condition meant that all of visual culture had been rendered as a code. The eventual visual experience could neither be imagined nor approximated. There was no way of knowing what distortion existed in the onlooker's eye.

A way for correcting this situation had to be found.

Tamasha went into deep silence and mounted an enquiry onto the problem.

"How can vision be rendered into a flat surface that is entirely self-contained?"

"Can noise in the lens be discounted?"

"How can the current crisis be resolved without actual replacement of all the lenses?"

"What substance is causing this distortion, is it sabotage and conspiracy or is it fault?"

Tamasha meditated on these questions till he could feel clearly what had to be done and how resolution had to be sought.

Tamasha decided to operate on the content of sight itself. What if in the act of seeing itself, the pixels of vision as well as the grid for parsing that vision, both were to be received? What if there was no learnt component of vision? What if the process of evolution were to be negated and a real time vision system were to be formulated?

Tamasha infused himself into the world. Nature itself became a prototype for the new synthetic vision system. This vision system had no place for redundancy and familiarity. There was no active process of ageing anymore. Everything was always seen for the first time because abstractions were baked into the surface of the world itself. There was no code that also did not teach the onlooker how to decode it with the right tools and with sufficient time. These tools were purely a hardware specification and not experience or intelligence.

Everything had become ready to pop at a moment's notice. This popping was recursive and not a singular event. If pop is all and all is pop, depth is denied.


Chilli stings. It does to the taste palette what the pinch does to the skin. A moment of excoriating of the frontal layer of experience. Some people like chilli, some don't. Some actually valorise the consumption of bland food for spiritual reasons. There is only one thing to understand actually, all else is either fear or a lack of courage.

That thing is that chilli is Tamasha. Or to look at it another way, Tamasha is chilli (also).

In the moment that chilli stings, a disruption of experience occurs. A transition from track A to track B. This is valuable. In storytelling or rather experience, breaking out and breaking in are the biggest struggles. After this is done, cruising along itself is not so difficult.

Tamasha floods the buffer and breaks out. It always helps in the transition of experience if a given episode is truly a Tamasha and not a mimicry of one, nor a simulation.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We moved from knowing Tamasha as the name of a person to Tamasha as a kind of experience that dazzles. The word literally means something close to the meaning of spectacle. We did get carried away with this connection, between the name and its meaning. Forgetting for a moment that when a word is accepted as a name, it can't be read as a word with a meaning anymore. A name is an identifier. Identifiers are not semantic.

Let's go back.

Tamasha was sitting by the canal on a sunny patch of grass when a salesman with chilli-flakes came unto him and made an offer. Initially Tamasha was apprehensive, because in the cultural climate he had grown up in, he had heard only chauvinistic things about chilli. And chauvinism did not attract Tamasha, so he was not interested in chilli. But this salesman offered a new perspective.

He came from a very old school of chefs from Egypt and for him chilli was the root ingredient (and so the root taste) of liberation. He explained that eating chilli facilitated the lubrication of the mind. In a well-lubricated mind the theatre of the world has nothing to do with the theatre of the mind. Experience is an onanism.

When chilli is eaten, the channels communicating sensation to the mind explode. The mind is filled with the heat of the chilly-eating and every other phrase of thought gets disrupted. This radical disruption forces the channels to form again, and when anything is done again, it is done with some insight into the constraints and failure of the previous time.

When these channels are freshly formed, their capacity is expanded. This expanded capacity is like seeing more wavelengths of time than before, it is like thinking more the before. Any narrative is dangerous. Any continuity that implies a progression or a regression has the potential to be misread.

With this expanded capacity of perception the spectacle cannot be ignored anymore. This persistence of spectacle is called tamasha. And it is not a name, not a property, not another word that splits hair over a small detail with the words already in existence.

Chilli aids perception.

Time is slow. Intensity hastens the pace of time. This pace is all that registers. And any experience which alters the nature of this abstraction is effecting our experience. That is all that we are saying here.

How did I become a We? Voices make themselves evident and all singularities are busted. All singularities multiply. Stories become believable only when they become a jumble, a bunch of interwoven threads that they can no longer be seen as fiction.

Isolated threads of isolated stories are never absorbed.

The chilli of experience, the sting of time has to be taken head-on. Escape is not an endpoint. Tamasha knows that he is a critical force to be balanced for any experience to register. Any condition to consider for experience to be registered has to be in place already. There is no room for improvisation. There cannot be anything to do. Nothing is worth getting distracted from the haze of the runtime.

When we started tracking the analogy of chilli for the registration of experience, we realised the potential of fable. The spectacle is a maze which only has waypoints but no guides. There are waypoints for everything, the choice is made by the historicity of our experience. We are a pattern and a pattern that is growing on its own. Although everything is on auto-pilot, the accidental deviations need to be triggered. The triggers cannot be auto-produced in the narrative that the actors are present. The waypoints become the triggers.

Experience is a compilation of narrative and triggered episodes.

Tamasha acknowledges the role that chilli performs as a trigger.

He mandates chilli as an ingredient of all food.

Food cultures of the world reform to fulfil the mandate. People start eating as a way to manipulate their narrative instead of eating just to wallow in the taste.

A kind of reverse psychosis process was born. Chefs controlled the palette of experience that could be triggered by food. They became very powerful.

Chillies attained a currency value for exchange.

Sacks of chilli were sacks of money. Chefs acted like bankers to control this value.

One day, Tamasha was on a journey around the land and it was late at night. He was so hungry that he could not wait to go back home to eat.

He knocked on a random door on the highway and asked for food. Now, the stranger who opened the door for Tamasha didn't know what to say. The first thing that Tamasha said when he saw the stranger's face was, "I am hungry." Tamasha assumed that everyone must know the symbolic reference system within which they lay suspended. Tamasha assumed that the myths that actualised life were known.

But Tamasha was wrong. This stranger who opened the door for him that night did not know anything. He did not recognise Tamasha from the tingling that was produced in his skin by Tamasha's presence. This tingling was the same as the resonant frequency of his dreams. But he was not aware.

He did not offer food to a Tamasha. He refused.

Because Tamasha was dependent on chilli to moderate his experience, this event of denial was very harsh for him. A bigger blow to him was perhaps the failure of this stranger to recognise him as one of the mythical beings that inhabited his own dreams.

Tamasha was depressed that day.

So depressed that he gave up. He gave up his struggle to try and make things appear to be even-keyed and logical within a narrative system. He withdrew and succumbed to his slumber for a few hundred years.

The ages that actors spent in trying to unravel experience were wasted because Tamasha did not get enough chilli flakes.


When Tamasha met the woman, he was convinced. The woman in question was Climax and she was possessed by a dancer named Disaster.

Being possessed by a dancer meant that she was dancing all the time. If she was happy she danced and if she was not happy she danced too. Dance was Disaster's way of getting through. Because Climax was not a so-called cultured woman, she was allowed to be possessed by a spirit. Else she would just have to be bottled-up and sad. Because culture does not allow outlets. You cannot step out and you cannot plan for alternatives.

So she did not speculate. She just gave in to the moment (not that giving in is a choice, but the theatre of resistance offers more agony). She did not want to suffer so she danced. She did not know how to listen so she danced.

Voices have a property. They have a unique quality that registers. This registration cannot be denied, but cannot be specifically understood either. On possession, whatever an actor does is scripted by the voice. This is a direct correlation.

So Climax knew that she was possessed by Disaster.

Disaster herself had a long story. She died dancing. She was shot in the chest. She was dancing with her lover. But her lover was taboo. She was dancing with Shiva himself. Loving God was treacherous. It was not permitted.

Because of her taboo act, she was ostracised. Being ostracised is like death. You cannot speak to anyone and no one can speak to you. In this isolation, Disaster decided to haunt Climax.

Disaster started enjoying this so much that she started doing more of it, she started having a relationship of possession with multiple bodies. She understood herself more and more. She learnt about herself through the bodies which she haunted.

She didn't haunt just women but also men and children. Anyone could be Disaster. She glided through the bodies of people. She started connecting deeply with the desire to dance that lay buried deep in the fabric of people's personas.

Connection with these desires led to a unique opportunity for Disaster. As desire is a fragment of experience, through extrapolation, she could reverse engineer experience itself. This reverse engineering was so complete that the world in which Disaster existed became entirely self-referential. In this self-referential world, desire sometimes broke free from its trigger and became an illusory type of content, free floating and amorphous. These free floating elements, became distracting fragments of reality and set people off-course.

Disaster grew fond of her passage through the fragmented landscapes of desire. She expressed this fondness back through dance also. The dance that she performed was whimsical and playful. It inspired images of a wrestling match with the self, a quagmire of conflict with one's own shadow. When she possessed Climax, she stopped caring for her own future. She had always had a bundle of empathy towards her own future. After a point she hoped to get her body back. She wanted to trick the cycle of life and death itself. The ethics of the cycle did not mean anything to her. What is the ethics of death? Death is an archival system. It keeps track of everyone who is not alive. But once you are a part of its index, there is no way of erasing your record. Because the past and the future are opposing forms of narrative, there is no possibility of reversal. Once a body leaves the perimeter of pragmatic reality and it is registered as a dead body, then either it disappears or it remains floating as an artefact of consciousness. The narrative point at which death strikes is decisive factor. Either the story matters or it doesn't. For Disaster, the story always mattered. And her story needed her to dance.

As a dancer, some of her best performances had been through Climax. Climax lived in a suspended state. She allowed Disaster to float in and out of her body. She allowed Disaster to do pretty much whatever she wanted to do. There was no script that she was trying to adhere to.

Climax lived at the margins of believable narrative. Sometimes she was like a soccer ball without air and sometimes she was a flute through which air was becoming music.

Climax was related to Tamasha in a rather oblique way. This relation was not known by people at large. But when Tamasha walked on the streets with his gang, playing the fool with subtlety and sobriety, people point fingers at him and said that, "there goes the dancer's parallel narrative."

Because of her proximity to the most popular story, she was seen as a privileged operator and was given the right of way. She didn't demand a preferential treatment, but it was offered to her nonetheless. This also meant that she was judged more than the average haunted body. When she stood in a queue at the temple, to take the umpteenth round of blessings which would supposedly cure her state of possession, she felt a very strong resistance to the idea of being cured. This resistance was a refusal of the return - going back to a life in which she could not dance. In which her limbs had actually frozen for some strange reason, they did not move no matter how much she cajoled them. When dance was not on her mind, she could move her limbs just fine. When it came to dance, she only knew what she had witnessed via Disaster's occupation of her body.

Disaster had become an inspiration to Crises. Both never spoke to each other, though. They never even had indirect conversations in which they addressed each other.

Tamasha knew of what was happening only through common friends, family and heresy. Tamasha knew of the high esteem in which Crises held Disaster and he was not very happy with it. One evening he came to meet Crises and told her everything that he knew about Disaster's weaknesses and how she had a history of maliciousness - especially towards her host. But instead of drawing Crises away from Disaster, it only drew her more towards her. She was stuck in a notion that dance is a magical state and that it cannot be scripted. She understood dance to be an expression of trauma, unhinged from all narrative and unkempt in every way.

Crises died the next day. Nobody knew why. Tamasha suspected that Disaster and Crises decided to part ways for some reason and Crises could no longer live without dance and so she died.


Batasha is a technical consultant for the company that runs the fleet of drones used for surveillance. He was on the other side of the fence. He knew Tamasha only as an outlaw, as an element of disturbance, distortion and percolation of the message.

Batasha, as well as others in the system saw their message as a pristine and distinct transmission from the control unit. Any change in the message was seen as opposition. Because this message was perfectly encoded to capture incident minds and bind them forever, any change in the message was seen as a weakness. The transmission media that the system used was transparent. Being transparent, the flood of light that fogged the channels became an aid in the training of the message to become tolerant to noise. This tolerance to noise allowed the transparent cables to gloss over the registration of any noise that was encountered. So material hiccups and the noise of vibration was largely ignored.

So Tamasha was seen as an outlaw of an order that was hellbent on control. There were numerous efforts to assassinate him, undermine him, malign him. But nothing worked. They could never get him. They remained in pursuit.

Tamasha was always in the eye of surveillance. Although all his actions are known, his motives were a mystery. Why did Tamasha court attention? Why did Tamasha not attempt to cover his tracks?

Batasha and his colleagues worked to keep things the same. They did not like change. And they did not like the spectacular events capturing attention in a way that the linearity of memory itself got disrupted. In a world which was not balanced, the balance between the forces in support and those in opposition balanced each other.

Batasha lived a very measured and disciplined life. He woke up at dawn, did physical exercises in the morning and had sex with an animal immediately afterwards. He did the latter because he followed tantrik teachings on regulating his sexual energy. Such regulation supposedly helped in regulating the potency of his presence and in the clarity of his thoughts. He powered himself with an unwavering rigidity that was inspiring and sensuous for the masses. He followed the progress of science and technology in the world and in a small basement lab, he had a collection of such objects. In his personal time, he played with these objects and imagined the glorious future of the world.

Tamasha was the only irritant. In his collection of objects, weapons which could kill abstract images with the same felicity as physical bodies were featured prominently. Day and night he thought of ways to exterminate Tamasha. There was no shortage of henchmen, but there was a fault in the process, there was something missing in the approach. Tamasha was not one individual with one vulnerable body, he was a catalyst of sorts. He was protected by all the bodies who basked in his light. To destroy him also meant destroying the Climax and destroying the dance she exhibited, so it also meant destroying Disaster. And these were all very difficult things.

So Batasha learnt to tolerate the corruption of the message that Tamasha represented. He talked his militant organisation to stop hunting for a flux that no one could put their finger on. A flux that was transient, light and unpredictable. As no one wanted to capture Tamasha anymore, he became a part of the construct that upheld the world. He came to symbolise the negative space of the message. Narrative that had no shape, density that had no form.

Batasha was the reward of disciplined narrative. This reward was accessible only by the actor who did not crave for adventure. In the absence of adventure lay only the predictability of the known and mapped. When Tamasha became institutionalised as the negative space of Batasha, a flitting in and out of the decorum of narrative became possible. There was room for manoeuvring.

Besides this, accommodating the actor's swiftly changing mood and the need to hide and drift away was addressed. The need to drift away is produced by numerous factors. For one, the commitment to fixed positions (the opposite of the urge to drift) is not so easy. Batasha has a tendency to be fragmented in his pattern of dispersal. This fragmentation is sometimes seen as having a bias for and sometimes against. A particular actor in the scene will sometimes feel that it is favoured and sometimes it will feel ignored. But the truth is that the dispersal of reward has nothing to do with the actor. The actor is inconsequential. The function of the inconsequential actor is to play its part relentlessly and not let its tempo break because of any perceived deficit. From the perspective of the Batasha, it did not matter who got the reward or who didn't. The rewarding process just needs to have a predictable pattern and that it has for sure. There was no problem that needed fixing.

This faultless state of affairs was the fixed narrative that actors drifted away from in their moment of restlessness. When Batasha woke up in the morning, he witnessed the world in a state of harmony. Everything seemed to be in its place and there seemed no cause for worry. All the restless elements gravitated naturally towards the wayward narrative. Towards Tamasha but only for some time. The harmony searched for a reward and the restlessness searched for spectacle.

In the pristine world of Batasha, there was no noise, and no echo. He had companions but they were idle and nothing much happened in their life. They offered only platitudes of dull, prosaic enactments and did not cater to any desire for entertainment.

These companions were Plateau and Tone. Plateau was known for blankly staring out at the world and Tone was known for making mundane sounds. When Plateau met anyone, he just looked through them. He was not excitable. He did not even register any event that happened around him. He glided through everything without being effected in any way.

Tone produced mundane sounds without betraying any emotion. He passed along the urban trails, absorbing everything but responding back only by monotonous, mundane sounds. He was like a sonic black hole. He did not betray any response.

The Reward

The reward that Batasha offers is not one that guarantees long-lasting peace and satisfaction. It is a temporary calm, a trailer of a higher order of experience. But then what is the real thing? What is the higher reward that is being signified everywhere? And can that higher reward be achieved within the idea of this mortal life?

What Batasha offers is like a brief buzz. It is like intoxication, a high. After every high is a low. After every low is a question about the state of the world. Batasha encourages questioning. Questioning takes people towards Tamasha. Questions help in scraping off the dry crust off the wound. The woulds inflicted as a result of living within a constrained narrative.

With every bit of crust that gets scraped off, a spectacle is arranged. With each scraping, there is a new influx of experience. Feelings never felt, thoughts never modelled. This novelty runs out of bounds for the sensorium and this running out of bounds is registered as a sensation, a tamasha.

Batasha likes to offer these temporary nuggets of experiences because a brief taste of the thrill is a good intoxicant and a good bait to capture the aspirations of those rewarded in this way.

The reward is like a trailer. It is a sampler.

This sampler always works. This guarantee might actually be against the idea of samplers but the statistics hold. It always works. This happens because of the way memory operates. Once an experience has been remembered as an exemplar, one that is fulfilling in every way, it is difficult to forget it. This permanent memory refuses to die away and this urge to remain fresh in conscious memory also disallows the formation of new templates of experiences. This disallowance forces people to slow down and set the frame-rate of experience really low. Low fame-rate changes the threshold of narrative. What never made sense before, now makes sense in a very intense way. Intensity is not the only rudder, things fluctuate with the winds of time, to the glory of attention and the tingling of eyes at the back of the neck.

A reward that fades is like no reward at all.

Rewards that fade are infected by the blitz of the graphologists. Graphologists wait for the inscriptions to happen on the surface of time and then once the inscriptions are done - they analyse the forms of the inscription and attempt to infer meaning from it.

Batasha was standing on the ground, wearing shorts, sports shoes and jogging in place as if warming up for the big play-off. The big game was about to start and there was excitement and cheer in the air. This was the game of charades. Each player in the game, eager to play a role. The players were conscious of the audience and want to put up a good show. This self-consciousness of the players is eating away into their joy. The players who are not joyful do not play optimally. Batasha knew this as the captain of the game, above both teams. He stood for the idea of a good game. The idea of the good game stated that both the sides would try their best at each point in the game to win. Any hesitation on that front immediately punctured the adventurous experience of watching a story unravel in real time.

This puncture was like breaking of the illusion. A rather violent and undesirable kind-of event.

So Batasha was very particular about breaking the trap of self-conscious emotion. The emotion prevented immersion in the present and had nothing but noise value. Like rust. Like creakiness in the machinery. This noise is deterrence to enjoyment. From a game if enjoyment of any kind is to be derived, it has to be played well. It is an all or none scenario. There is no scope for any middle-ground.

But what did he have in mind as a solution?

In a given game if you want to be unaware about the act of playing, you need to be absent from the scene. Only if you are absent, you will be oblivious to the layer of ongoing experience that has the tingling of self-conscious sensations embedded within it. How to be present and absent at the same time? How to manage sensitivity and hesitation at the same time?

This is the dilemma that Batasha is trying to resolve.

How to remain within the bounds of regulated narrative and be magically forthright at the same time?

How to be fluid and rigid at the same time?

This question is very important. It can help in perusing the resolution of the pragmatic model of dance itself. How would dance be represented in the form of linear equation?

Dance is a format of communication that requires both Tamasha and Batasha to collaborate and inscribe together. If they do not work together, then only part of the picture is known.

When Crises gets to know Disaster via dance, the music is being performed by Batasha. The rhythm is being counted by Batasha. This calculative tendency, this urge to complete the pattern and to constantly gather the strains of time into webbed canopies for narrative to nest itself in is Batasha's true virtue.

Batasha never manages to resolve the situation completely. The players of the game manage to lose self-consciousness. But they do not manage to keep sight of the fact that they have to play to win. They act like listless players, trapped in the bounds of narrative logic. Listless players float about the scene having no intent and no desire. These zombies are not decisive enough to change the momentum of the field but they are noisy enough to generate a hum. This hum is a sign of turmoil on the ground. When the ground is tumultuous, the movement of air and sentiments in the atmosphere is not consistent and air pockets begin to take shape that constrict the flow. This constriction remains the lingering flavour of the land of Batasha.


The reward only represents the nectar. Of course as culture survives on deprival, the nectar is inaccessible. What remains difficult to access, gets mythologised and spun into yarns.

These yarns are made up of material that is only an aggregate of bad guesses and assumptions. Nobody bothers to even attempt to verify.

That's exactly how loose the narrative has become.

Because of Batasha's monopoly on the reward and so on the nectar, people assume that they have to live in lack.

A musician discovered that there is another choice. The musician discovered that through performance, the same nectar can be realised without any need to negotiate the right of way with Batasha.

This musician was called Beej and he had discovered a way of producing music that allowed him to be continuously vigilant to his urge. With this vigilance, he responded to every episode of his urge that he could. And with this jurisprudence, he discovered that he had more time on his hands than he had assumed.

He was just making a lot of good music.

He was making so much good music that after a point he was only able to keep track of the movement of the melody and not its nature. Because of this he was able to respond to shifts in the pattern of emergence but not the matter that emerged.

This inability on his part led to a situation where he could not hear the music the he himself performed. Everyone else could hear the music. They could share the narratives of the music, memories of the music. But the musician still remained cut off from his own music. Now as Batasha was not interested in anyone being able to access the reward at all, he tried to bring interference into this casual spillover of sound. Batasha filtered the sound at source, he made sure that the pattern of melody had gotten distorted by the time it was heard by everyone else. He did not allow any safe passage. He was interested in doing this because in the spirit of automatically produced content is hidden the address of the nectar. If the naked song of the musician was heard by the people, they would have accessed the nectar. And know of the reward. And know that he had made it inaccessible. This was a secret and Batasha did not want the reward to be questioned and investigated. He did not want any extra attention or censure on his reward structures.

This noise that he added to the spontaneously emitted music was like encryption. It obscured the surface of the music. And through this obscurity, the musician as well as the the idle audience couldn't figure out anything. The musician's self-image was of a jingle maker, someone concerned with just catchy tunes and sound meant for easy listening. The musician has never understood his own value in the plot. So self-image is also a kind of fiction. It exerts a frictional force on experience. Experience is what is transpired in spite of who everyone thinks they are. The smoothest experience is for the actors who do not have any self-image, who at best only have a blurred impression of themselves.

In this environment the surgeon and the philosopher know only one thing and that is that nothing can be accepted at face-value. When the musician meets the philosopher and introduces himself as a jingle maker, the philosopher is naturally apprehensive. He counters this introduction by an attempt to listen to the musician's music as if it were classical in nature. Very patiently, letting long passages pass before he expected any repeat or a completion of a pattern. The philosopher found that mishearing the music yielded him some clues to what might be hidden. He figured that a decryption exercise and that too without any help from a computer and only processed through hearing would take a good long time.

He set out to perform this by first developing a long term memory. Pop is produced by two things, small phrasal repetitions in the rhythmic structure and a short-term memory. The short-term memory reads for the repetitive signals and if none exist it introduces the artefact of reading by reading ghost signals in the bitstream. The production of the phrasal repetitions is only marginally important.

So when the philosopher developed a long term memory and the patience to ignore all the short term signals and search only for longer pulses. This enhanced listening technique yields instant results for the philosopher. The results are instant and not long-term because in listening, only the first moment of patience is important. Once the ear of the philosopher trips into the first phrase of construction, instantly the elongated process of hearing starts. This breaks the stranglehold of Batasha's encryption. This shatters the spell of pop instantly.

The nectar is now exposed. It is available for mass access. And now the only narrative ploy that needs to unravel is the question of transmitting this access to everyone. And this is done through the demonstration of syrup. If the syrup is sweet, the nectar has been accessed. And a responsibility towards relentless access as well as a continuous theatre propagates the news of this breach, this accessing of the nectar in spite of Batasha's barricades, to everyone.

After a point people start wondering why everyone is so happy. And then they start investigating.

On investigation they figure out that the leak has sprung and now life can take on an entirely new form.

The nectar spread into the veins of civilisation then and and neutered the tide of disappointment and plainness.

Batasha had to accept defeat and retreated from the field for the moment. He decided to mount another attack at the pirates who had smuggled access to the precious nectar. Take anything valuable and make it available to everyone, it is not valuable anymore. The idea of value is based on scarcity.

Batasha started thinking of ways to control access to the nectar again. Ways to enforce the web of encryption again.


The world was already corrupted. Batasha was not sufficient any more to balance Tamasha. So the world was in a state of imbalance. The imbalance offered the world an opportunity to shuffle things around and change the position of things. This possibility was a moment of play for the suppressed elements. These elements now occupied places that they had never imagined that they could occupy. They occupied these positions of power with a certain discomfort. They knew that they were too rough to easily carry off the sophisticated images that they were wearing. But there was impatience and stubbornness in the air.

This mood did not change. Imagine a swarm of monkeys clamouring for attention but still escaping on approach. Hold on to this imagination. It will help you approximate the mood of the suppressed elements.

Who were these suppressed elements?

What were their aspirations?

These suppressed elements were the actors consumed by anger. These angry actors were turned away by the calm and polished actors. They were turned away many many times. Turned away from the dinner table, from the feast, from the public celebration, from the public display of faith.

Being rejected so often led to a certain angst. This angst dictated that when they would finally be able to lay a stake on their place in the sun, they would set this record straight.

So now in the disturbed world, in the confusion they captured the podium. On the podium they first declared supremacy of their ilk. They ridiculed and discredited the self-delusional aristocrats and the poets, dreamers and other fine-folk. They tried to root out all the support bases of imagination and narrative drift and offered a lens of pragmatic benefit to weigh the importance of everything.

This lens showed the capacity of pragmatic contribution as value and the webs of self-obsessed fantasy as a wasteful burden on the nation's economy. Of course the economy is only a programme with quantifiable attributes and it does not reflect the quality of people's lives. The economy is only an umbrella concept which falsifies the state of the field by offering data that reflects a configurable model of the world. This model of the world is essentially a leak. It offers us only a fraction of what all there is. Thinking of the economy and making connections with factors that impact it is essentially an exercise in witchcraft. The economy is an abstraction. The transition of the economy cannot be attributed to anything. Abstractions are only meant to be points of reference.

So when the suppressed elements took over, and when they ridiculed the bodies with an obscure vision of the world based on their contribution to the economy, they essentially engaged in mindless violence. This mindless violence was vengeful. But vengefulness was to be expected. That is not a narrative element that is special. This element is mentioned here only because the vengefulness that erupted here went on to develop into an emotion that led Aba to fall in love with Kua.

How did that happen?

The distaste with which the suppressed elements ticked off the juvenile delinquents of propriety was indeed very violent. But it brought together very odd sets of people. It shuffled up the narrow confines of social cliques and communes and essentially destroyed the notion of the class which knows. There was no more anything like an intellectual circuit powering society. The bringing together, the shuffle punctured all the bubbles.

In the outhouse of the city, huddled together by a mistake or a chance were Aba and Kua. Now, Aba and Kua would normally have never met each other. Aba was a professor's son and Kua was an activist's granddaughter. But Aba was trying to break free of the ropes that held him together and Kua was trying to find a scaffolding that would hold her firm. In the sequence of narrative justice they were a perfect match. Aba and Kua managed to escape the duality of for and against, the enclosed and the forsaken. They went their own way. They lived like primitive apes at the edge of civilisation and they died in each other's arms. But they had a reason to be thankful to the new order. They would never have met each other if the old world had continued. The earlier narrative had to end for a new one to begin. In the years that they lived they celebrated the new order. But that was not enough to allow them back in the folds of the world. Their eyes still reflected the smoke of dreams and the mischief of laughter. They were ostracised.

This jumbling up of the world was celebrated by the outsiders of the earlier circuit too. They felt that now that the bubble had burst, no one would be able to bask in the glory of controlled fireworks anymore. The envy of the community that had to stand outside the glass door and stare in reflected in the witch-hunt that ensued. They became converts, turncoats for whom the nihilism was as pleasuring as it was for the new overlords. They became the inadvertent trophies of the regime - "We have so many painters of diffused sunsets on our side, those who are criticising us are either dead or biased or both. We do not have any shades of black in our persona. We are angel dust."

Thus the long tradition of thinking was broken. Those in power changed the way education worked across the country. Liberal ideas and principles were replaced with a vacuum. The capacity to see anything from a distance, see its ramifications modelled as a story and do the needful was lost. Pragmatism ruled and became the single most important pillar of logic.

In a way which cannot be called anything but funny, the disturbance and chaos that had allowed the suppressed elements to take control subsided because of this cloud of pragmatism. The power of these elements subsided. When the memory of failure stares into the face of success, the momentum of angst gives away.

Again the world was at the brink of disaffection, and no amount of the politics of fear, confusion, doubt helped. People turned away from the rabble rousing bastions of progress. They figured that with everything else being alright now, they needed some song and dance. They went on a desperate hunt for the dreamers, for the farmers of night soil. But they found only corpses. They found only hollow, exhausted bodies. They found only spent hope and extinguished vision.

In that moment they realised what the progress that they were celebrating was at the cost of. They shed tears, but it did not help. They mourned, but it did not help. They could not turn back time and they had to live for a long time without any cheer.


The void is the bracket of inconsolable time in which Tamasha and Batasha both lost their way. When their inability to counter each other ushered in the new order that stripped the world of lyric and melody, they resigned their positions. They decided to rift and drift. They could not balance the polarities of the world and hold it in balance anymore.

When both of them got lost, they started spending a lot of time together. They got united. The world in which Tamasha and Batasha were united was very confused. Confusion is a short-circuiting, a unity of polarities.

In this confused world, the delusion that led everyone astray was that of emptiness. Everything seemed to be hollow, there was no mass, no content, no containment in anything. In this empty world, people were sad. They were nostalgic of the times when figures and concepts occupied the emptiness. The time when the voids were filled.

A sadness hung in the air then. This sadness mourned the loss of content and volume. But this mourning was not very intense because everyone knew that they had to come back to the cold shoulder of a void. There was no point in getting lost in grief, if there was no possibility of recovery anymore. The new production that transpired evaporated immediately. It did not stick. It did not enter the course of narrative and history. The void was very divisive. It was like a non-stick pan. There was no possibility of any emergence anymore. Because emergence happens out of stacks of accumulation and accumulation is constructed from a layering of material. And layering had stopped.

The stark flatness of the void was almost blinding.

With the blinding nature of the environment, no vision remained anymore. Every perspective went bust.

A monopoly of the narratives of the world took over. This monopoly was clear and sparse as it was isolated and singular. In its singularity it could offer only what the world already had. And that was the emptiness.

This daze filled the air and all the pores of the world. Out of this daze, a monotonous hum sounded out. From this hum rose up an entirely new world.

Because the source was empty, even if the new world had semblances of content, they all added up to nothing. It was a zero sum. And this zero was just a reflection of the void again.

In this world what mattered was the facility of illusion. How can emptiness hide itself? How can the virtualisation of content be achieved in a form that neither the sign nor the signified have any possibility of being realised?

As Tamasha and Batasha had already gone wayward and resigned their positions, this new world was modelled without any polarities. It did not have any directional forces acting on its apparitions, it did not have any hemispheres. In this plain spherical world, even gravity was a deceit. It was only a rule that was followed because there was no other choice. The new world was a hall of mirrors filled with illusory bodies.

In this world it was very easy to do anything. The facade of illusion and the simulated world that it led to meant that to reflect and suggest served as disinhibiting zones and there was more free speech and spontaneous action than we can imagine. This made the world believable.

The shadows which called themselves people in this new world felt very free. They were productive and transparent and never hampered in style. And this free-flow of delirium and content filled the world. The aggregate of the world was zero but still the illusory shadows of the world immersed themselves in the content. The content couldn't possibly amount to anything because amounting to something would have disturbed the stability and stillness of the zero.

Zero held the world captive.

Culture which developed out of this hollow simulated content was shallow and without any density or potential but it still had the trappings of mystique, message and validity. This dichotomy was easy to understand but invisible from everyone.

The only way for zero to move to a one was the reconciliation of Tamasha and Batasha and their willingness to resume the assumption of polarities.

And this was a very difficult task because there was no one to do the job.

As far as Tamasha and Batasha went, they were just waiting for someone to ask them to come back. They were feeling ignored and awkward.

They had had enough of being lost and wanted to come back into prominence and disturb the control of zero.

The right person for this job was hidden within the tumultuous personas of Tamasha and Batasha. This hidden person was not a person to be taken lightly just because he had no body. The ghost was complete without a body. It was in a perfect state of balance. There was nothing lacking.

This ghost was the only link between the polar opposites of Tamasha and Batasha. When something in Tamasha's mind moved Batasha felt the twitch too because of this ghostly connection.

As if consciously programmed, both Tamasha and Batasha simultaneously rose and came back to assume their positions. Because of their ghost-assisted synchronous action, the world slowly came back to its base state. The simulated sequence that had emerged from the zero vanished.

Everything seemed to be the same as it was before. But the dynamics between the two poles had changed. Instead of role-playing the hunter and the hunted they became aware of their inter-dependence and learnt to collaborate. Polarities do not necessarily need to be opposite; they can also be a part of a tactical plan to balance a force. It can be seen as the delegation of responsibility also.

In the world that was balanced anew, there was no flip side. Stories did not have to carry around the mirror opposite of their narrative. No balance needed to be struck because there was collaboration across the board. There was no absolute anymore, everything was realised to be a dirty shade of grey.

The Rise of Hoja Asli tags: snake sshop

The Key

The sky was thick with clouds. Colour was distorted in the grey light, the blue seemed to be green and the green seemed to be yellow. With the shift in colours, perspective was tilted. Nothing could be recognised perfectly anymore. People went about their business as mere bodies and they wore their faces only when someone managed to recognise them correctly. The world was a nameless, shapeless mass. There was neither any fixed idea of beauty nor any fixed address of personhood.

The shift of colour disfigured vision in unforeseen ways. Today we might think that colour and form are perceived as separate layers of the world but this is only because we have not experienced the fragmentation of that time, and we witness what seems to be a unity in form and colour.

In that world, fog was seen as a state of matter that could absorb other entities into itself. On the day that this story starts, there was fog all over. It covered the empty spaces and hovered above the bridges and the empty houses. It hung - still and motionless alongside the canopies of the dry trees.

The trees had dried in the season of carnage. Contrary to what the historians narrate, the season of carnage was not just stifling and bloody, but it was also intensely hot. Heat was generated in the moments of the unfolding of the carnage. The heat was such that the trees dried up. This heat was generated from the friction produced by the encounter of the violence and the silence. The frictional heat was immense. The event of the drying of the trees did not contain it, the surplus heat just leaked into the air, as it knew not what else to do.

This heat wave hit S as she was walking over the Pickaxe Bridge. From her fingers the key slipped off and fell into the water. She leaned over the side of the bridge and saw it falling into the water with a splash. This effectively locked her out from her house. She did not like being locked-out and she did not like accidents. Accidents were exceptional and out of the way events which made her want to turn time back. But then that was impossible. Even if she could magically figure out how to do that, it would get complex. Would turning time back rewind time back just for her or would it take back the whole world to which she belonged? Was she an individual or was she a member of a landscape?

She walked round and round on the streets till she tired. It was night time then and all the shops were closed. Her feet as they tapped on the pavement made an erratic sound, she was not sure how fast or how slow she wanted to walk. She was going nowhere and she knew it.

She was walking around her block of apartments. She was wearing slippers, an old faded dress and an impatient will. She passed a garbage dump on her way. It stank. But she could hear a baby crying. She went and picked up the baby, and cleaned its body. It was a baby girl. As soon as the baby snuggled in comfortably in her arms, it growled at her. It was a human baby but it growled like she was a cub. Or maybe it was just pent up anger. How can so much anger accrue in such a short time?

The events which led to the infant retaining such potent anger can never be revealed. But in an encoded way, I can lead you to discover what happened on your own.

I will lead you to this moment of discovery in a dramatised way.

A boat was cruising in the canal. Which canal? The canal made from the ice melting from the himalayan passes. The ice melted because of the heat of the infant's anger. So ferocious, so radiant was the anger that heat waves spread in the atmosphere as if the Sun itself had died and before dying had decided to expel a last desperate load of heat into the universe.

A man and a dog stood atop the boat that floated on the angry water. The man had a crude bomb in his hand. They passed a church and he hurled it. The church burst into flames and the dog barked passionately.

The church that had gone up in flames was the Church of High-resolution Prediction. Over the course of the last few centuries, this church had become the most important authority on the future. Everything was known before it happened. Prior-knowledge of everything existed. Manic depression ruled the roost. The minds of people had become grey and senile because they were underemployed and perpetually exhibiting a false form of surprise. There was nothing to look forward to and there was nothing to look back at. Circumstance had become a source of constant bad news because the delusion of free will had disappeared.

A boy stood pissing into the canal. The canal overflowed and the boy drowned in his own urine.

A massive funeral was planned for performing the last rites of the boy. Only one person besides the pall-bearers turned up for the ritual. This person did not even know the boy, he just came because his heart was filled with infinite grief and he offered condolence to the world every chance he got. These condolences were not empty but they were not sentimental either. If consciousness is singular, then the death of any conscious being is the death of everything. All deaths need to be mourned, all births need to be celebrated. There is no way for us to discriminate and demarcate. But if consciousness is not singular then we have multiple problems, one of which is our social situation being a nest for aliens from around the galaxy co-inhabiting together. Obviously the second option is not viable.

This person turned up to perform the last rites of a boy he did not know, a boy who expressed his anger so transparently that he himself got engulfed in it.

The canal eventually subsided. But it retained the scent of urine forever after. This scent was so strong that all the fish living in the canal died. The canal became a burial ground. When people went sailing in their boats, spending their leisurely weekends casting out their nets and lines for fish in the canal, they came back empty handed. No one caught any fish. Because all the fish was dead.

The boy's brother did come to the rescue though. He knew that his dead brother's urine was very acidic. He was the mirror opposite of his brother in every way. Even his urine was basic and not acidic at all. He came and urinated into the canal too and the effect of his brother's urine on the chemical properties of the water got nullified. The water was again a life-sustaining resource. Fish thrived again. People got something to do on their weekends again.

This guy had a secret agenda though. Although he was the mirror opposite of his dead brother, they also had a lot of similarities. They had the same relationship with the world. A relationship which was defined through angst. His dead brother attacked, but he entrapped. He wanted people to go out fishing in the supposedly neutral water, he wanted them to wade their hands and feet in the water and be immersed in the plastic beauty of the scene. And then he would suddenly seize control. The popular idea of neutrality is a cloak. Behind the cloak lurks a toxin which can affect the active area of the human mind in a fatal way. The toxin that neutrality hides kills desire. Neutrality is a machine. A machine can flip either way if a pattern for making a choice does not exist. This randomness reflects the tossing of a coin. The absence of culture and the cultivation of the neutral is a sure-shot way to diffuse sentient beings and render them as simple-minded dolls.

A two-lane bridge arched over the canal and on both the ends of the bridge stood a tower which cast a shadow onto the water. When neutrality unhinged the minds of people, they jumped into the water in troves. Splashing about excitedly, it seemed like they were celebrating their own undoing. Inside each witness, a critic can hide and puncture innocence with the lust for truth. With all the people wading in the water, the pressure that the water exerted on the sides increased dramatically. The sides came loose and the brick towers fell into the water. People clung on to the debris from the bridge as if they were lifebuoys. As their intellects were already diffused, they did not sense any catastrophe in the event and perceived it as a playful happening, engineered for their entertainment.


This town had a windmill and a stock market. It pretty much had nothing else. The stock broker was like a head priest. And the hit-man was like a farmer. The crop had to be tended, some plants deserved to live and some had to go. The crop had to be tended because growth was a surplus and only on being tended by a farmer it became something that could be celebrated.

One day, the farmer received a letter (with currency notes stapled to it) to tend to the broker. During the monsoon, the broker had invested the money entrusted to him more zealously than needed. So now in the winter the situation was that there was more money in the system than ever. No one knew what to do with the money. It was so much money that neither could it be spent nor could it be invested or employed in some other way.

Now the investors were asking the farmer to tend to the broker. Tending regulated the growth and that is exactly what was needed to make the surplus into something accountable. The farmer was assigned the murder of the broker.

The first thing for the farmer to do was pick a weapon of his choice. The weapon of choice in this case was an axe. Axe is a very traditional weapon but for a farmer it is also the most appropriate weapon. In the context of regulating a surplus, it was also a weapon with teeth. Appendages could be chopped off. Entire areas of outgrowth could be dealt with firmly and inactive limbs could be turned into blobs of dead flesh.

So after the farmer had selected a weapon of his choice, the time had come for the encounter between the farmer and the broker. The encounter was planned spontaneously. The farmer was moving about the market, and he saw the broker in his peripheral vision. He hurled the axe at that point of witnessing and the axe hit its mark. Because it was a weapon chosen specifically to settle scores with the broker, it found its victim. The broker lay on the ground with the axe embedded in his chest, dead. The wound bled foamy bubbles and not blood. The bubbles rose up in the air and at a specific height, caught the sunlight. With the sunlight shining through, a smudged rainbow was produced by the bubble. And then the bubble burst.

1977 was a time when telephones were still terrestrial and telephone networks still had manual exchanges in India. There was a huge margin for error. This specific phone operator was prone to mistakes. She once connected a hungry teenager to a solicitous hooker and was promptly suspended on being pilloried in the media. But she came back. She always came back. She always came back and she always made mistakes. Some mistakes led to controversies and massive blunders and some mistakes led to a genuinely fateful connections. No one ever reported the good news. It did not make sense to do so. We do not want the joy in the system to be regulated. All joy is produced by mistakes.

So this phone operator had never learnt her job. She worked randomly and speedily because all she had to do was anything. There was no bar of quality to meet and there was no pattern to perform.

One morning she produced a situation with a very disruptive potential. She made a cross-connection between Deng and Hem. Deng's husband had just been murdered. And Hem had just murdered somebody who happened to be Deng's husband. He knew that the moment she spoke because they lived in a beautiful and remote hilly community and not many people were murdered there. And also when he killed Deng's husband, Deng was there and her shriek still rang in his ears. When she said hello, he figured it was the same woman and was defensive from the beginning. But then she became an absorptive surface for all of Hem's fear and guilt. She agreed that he did the right thing, that it was the only thing to do.

Deng's husband was a kleptomaniac and he had an insatiable hunger for possessions. Possessions that he did not even use. Possessions that got exhausted just in being desired. He stole Hem's perspective. And with the stolen perspective he wrote many books and became a very well-known writer. He was universally praised for his vision and for his discernment. Hem was not jealous and he did not grudge the thief his prize but he was upset that he went overboard. Saka, which is what Deng's husband was called, enshrined his stolen perspective by installing a huge statue of himself in his village. This statue was hollow and people could climb it from the inside. Once they climbed it, they could look out of the eyes of the statue and experience Saka's perspective. And because Saka's perspective was stolen, seeing through the eyes of his statue did not mean anything. Saka believed in his own mythology so much that he forgot that he didn't have anything to offer to begin with and he forgot to even keep up appearances. He did not work on the piece of glass that made the statue's eye.

So when people looked through, they saw no difference. They felt that they were the same as Saka. They started deluding themselves with thoughts of grandeur. But equivalence with Saka was actually true as Saka had stolen his own perspective from Hem. So, the mean level of delusion was running very high. There were more bubbles in the air than there was ever space for.

At this time Hem decided to kill Saka.

After hearing Hem's story, Deng agreed with him. There was no other way to wipe the slate clean. Saka had to be killed. He had become cushioned in too many layers of untruth. He was too close to the edge.

Deng respected him for doing it. It is not easy to kill. And that he could muster enough anger to kill Saka, was in itself a great thing. For Saka was a very sweet man and it was very easy to love him. To remain angry with him for long enough to conspire to kill him was indeed admirable.

So, because of the clumsy telephone operator, Deng got to speak to Hem and could understand his perspective well enough to forgive him.

Fa was a truck-driver. Fa was constantly on the move and drove very fast. He knew the roads very well.

One morning he was driving on his usual route and he crashed into a milkman. All the milk was spilt on the road and the smell of the milk spread into the neighbourhood. The smell was so strong that all the animals in the vicinity were excited and salivated. They were at their jumpiest and wanted to rush and lick the milk off before it dried.

But they could not escape and as the sun rose, and it became hotter, all the milk dried off.

These deprived animals developed a complex because of the intense emotion they had to exhibit and experience. This complex created a trauma within them. They could not eat or drink anything and fell ill. After a few days of starving, they died.

Suddenly all the animals living on a street, where a milkman died because he was hit by a truck, died.

This made news. Many big newspapers picked up this news and people started visiting the street themselves to meet the people and ask them if the story was true. Even after verifying the story, there was suspicion around the story and it remained shrouded in disbelief.

One of the children who heard of the story was only four years old. The child heard the story from his elder brother and was very taken aback. He was at the same time excited and afraid. He thought that as children are very similar to animals, if another milkman has an accident with a truck and if the milk is spilt on the road and the smell of the spilt milk reaches the noses of the children in the vicinity, then they would also die. He was afraid because he did not know what lay after death and he was excited because he did not know what lay after death.

This fear-struck child fell sick because of the constant stress he experienced. Because he fell sick, he did not feel like eating and drinking much. He became weak because he did not eat and drink well. Because he was weak, he became easily prone to infections and allergies. He picked up an allergy that did not allow him to think straight. Everything that he attempted to think about got deviated into some other line of thought. He became jaded. He got so jaded that he became disinterested in his own fears. Now, on reading the story about the dead animals, he did not feel anything.


Lenses are particles of glass bonded together to form a surface. These surfaces offer a portal of experience that can only be imagined without it. When you look through a lens, you see somethings and you don't see somethings. What you don't see becomes the invisible. The invisible becomes the content of dreams.

An ostrich pulls its head out of the sand. This ostrich is in the middle of a desert in Africa. This is Somalia. A mini-war is playing out. The reason is something small. Somebody spent too much money on a toothbrush. The legions have their loyalty under a cloud. Should they protect a mistake or should they go against their own.

They decide to abandon hierarchy. They go for each other. The base-line is very low. Anything goes. In this brutal environment, this ostrich does what it does best. It buries its head into the ground. Above ground all hell has broken loose but below the ground it is as serene as the inside of the ostrich's body. A few inches under the ground makes all the difference. It is not like ear plugs, it is like being in a soundproof room.

And in the silence, the ostrich's mind conjures images of a parallel sequence of events. The conjured images narrate an entirely different sequence of events. The ostrich was in a different world, playing a different visual, providing an avenue for escape. The parallel narrative was as engrossing and encoded as a dream. It offered a deeply woven landscape that was seen in a specific light that rendered it magical. The degree of immersion was such that the ostrich did not need to prioritise either the parallel narrative or the muted one. And this situation lingered for many years. It lingered for so long that the count of measuring the intervals was lost and a dullness arose. This dullness was outside the reach of measurable time. This dullness was not just a passing blip on the horizon of the ostrich's mind, it was the pervading state. In this dullness, all curiosity about the state of the world outside it disappeared.

Around the ostrich, people were dying but that did not change the rhythm of the bird. Much like flight is to birds that can fly, being absent is being to ostriches. They disappear any way they can and the way this ostrich did it was by tuning into her dullness and coming up only for air.

She still needed to come up for air.

So there was a risk of the events of the world pushing through her dullness. But this risk did not play out. In a swift stroke similar to a diver hurtling his head up and down quickly, the ostrich came up for air and went down again. The experience of violence was a blur and all that got registered was noise. This noise did not have any seed of content. Noise is empty in a way and the emptiness betrays itself. It offers the delusion of closure. And in this delusion lives the possibility for the ostrich. The ostrich sways to its own internal rhythm and remain oblivious to the war.

At the spot where the ostrich is, if you dug a hole through the centre of the Earth and emerged at the other end, you would reach a highway. A highway that was next to a sea. We do not know anything further.

A car stops there.

A creature gets out of the car. The creature looks like a mix of an overgrown snail and an overgrown trumpet. It had green eyes and red tentacles. The tentacles were constantly twitching. The creature stands in the middle of the road and started playing music. The sound was produced by its trumpet shaped nose and its sea-shell shaped ears. As the creature played music, water gushed out of the faucet-like mouth of the creature. The gushing out was not like a fountain but like a tap. Looking at this creature in mid-performance, you would question the location of the mid-road tap and feel perplexed. But it was not architecture, it was not construction, it was a life form.

This life form and the music that it emanated along with the fluid generated from the surplus music-seeds expressed through a flow of water stood in the middle of the road for a while.

The undefined span of time for which the life-form stood there was a whole era for the microbes that were born, lived and thrived in the water stream. These microbes performed very limited functions. The functions they performed were just enough for them to be considered life-forms. One of these functions was to vibrate at a constant rate in a rhythm. This vibration produced music. This music clashed with the music played by the creature.

The microbes and the creature started contesting for supremacy - will the microbe's music be heard or the creature's. The microbes tried very hard to disrupt the creature's state of production. They flew here and there, tried to break the shape of the water's fall. But for the microbes, the column of water was the world and they couldn't step out of it. Their competitive relationship with the creature was like an out-of-the-world conflict. It required a resolute belief on the part of the microbes to believe in the creature at all.

This belief had taken on dimensions of a faith-based system but because the creature could be sensed clearly enough the belief extended itself to have the microbes believe that they were living in mythological times.

This whole scene was rigged with so much emotion! It felt like being in the throes of a music concert, experiencing the climax of theatrical production and meeting your father after a very long time, all at the same time.

Some children emerged out of nowhere and started contributing to the music. They wanted to sing, they wanted to dance and they wanted to add to the ambience in a meaningful way. They had models of the world in their hand. They started smashing these models down on the ground. These models were made of glass and the sound of glass crashing on the ground added to the music. The children were enjoying that and they started thinking of themselves as proto-musicians with sensibility enough to make piecemeal contributions to meta-realities and still be able to keep track.

A lady appears. She was beautiful in the sense that she was perfectly symmetrical and with a pleasant, harmless face. Some might even say that her face reflected the grace of royalty, the grace of the knowledge of horizons, of living in a frame. Smashing this bubble of a reality held sacred, a monstrous head rose up from her torso. This head brought with it an extremely cruel sensibility. The head started eating the children making music by toying with models of the world. The children saw the lady's body and the monstrous head as a part of the same unit. They were super frightened because they saw the lady as a kind of shape-shifting monster. She was just the victim of an outgrowth, there was nothing that she could do. When the platitude of beauty is referenced, the polar mirror of monstrosity also emerges. There is nothing singular in the world, everything is in couples. See-saw, yin-yang, plus-minus.

The monstrous head is gobbling one child at a time. From this consumption, blood is dripping down on the ground. This dripping blood is forming puddles which are caking up to form lenses. These bloody lenses offer tinted perspectives of the world that offer their own scope of meaning. These lenses gather around them auras of fear and inhibition that frighten everyone from looking through them. This fear and inhibition makes these lenses powerful objects that are attractive and repulsive at the same time.

A dog comes and looks through this lens and sees a dog-circus.

On seeing the dog-circus, the dog starts wagging its tail. The dog-circus has dog-like spirits do all kinds of acrobatics and tricks that seem to mimic what humans used to perform as a circus. Trapeze-artists and clowns and giants and dwarfs performing in all earnestness. This dog-circus could only be seen through the lens.

It starts raining. The stream of falling water disappears into the rain. The microbes die and the music stops. The creature swims away. The monster-headed lady swims away. The children have already been consumed.

The sun sets.

The dog tries to shake off the rain water falling down on it. The rain and the dog continuously trying to shake off the rain forms a looped sequence. This looped sequence conveys an eerie image. Into this eeriness you can imagine all kinds of shadow-play. Into this eeriness all the memories of music disappear and leave nothing back. When you access the history of this moment, you only see an eeriness that has an appetite for all the evil in the world. You do not see what is in the heart of this darkness, you do not see the blur of the circus in the shadows and in the black-on-black.

The umbrella

When I think, I think about the person who changed the operating principles of thought itself. This was an individual who was able to do this by ceaselessly posting identical copies of himself everywhere. This posting of copies was so ceaseless that communicating with him was not possible anymore. It was almost impossible to figure out whether a given body was him or a copy. Because once a copy spawned, it went on developing in a direction determined only by the series of experiences that it had. Over a period of time perfectly valid copies, identical with the source became individuals with nothing more then a similarity to each other. These individuals referred to each other with a different name, remembered each other as different people but still there was a shadow of doubt in their heads. They were afraid that they didn't really exist, that their individuality was nothing more than a self-delusional fantasy.

This fear caught them and wouldn't leave them. This fear made them act in a way that reflected defensiveness. They were unsure of themselves and this lack of confidence meant that they could not make big demands of themselves. They couldn't do anything that amounted to anything. They were stuck with having to live the plain and ordinary life.

They were a bored lot. They were so bored with their lives that if you gave them a choice between watching a bad film and dying, they would die. They just couldn't take it anymore.

Was this all a game plan of the one individual who had planted copies of himself everywhere? Why did this individual do that? What was at stake?

This individual wanted to take over the minds of the people. Colonising the public creative impulse, or the urge to think was important to him. But who was this guy? And where did he come from?

This guy's name was Peela Khargosh. Peela Khargosh was called by this name because he reported recurrent dreams of fluorescent yellow rabbits. This dream could never be analysed and decoded. It remained a cultural enigma, a riddle. Unresolved and unrepentant. It attained a symbolic reference for people.

He was born in the hills in a family of shepherds and he grew up tending his flock of sheep and while he did that he figured that he had ample to do something else by the side. He started making copies of himself at a time when he had nothing else to do and the act quickly got out of hand. If you call a rock a copy, either you are a rock or the rock is you. Both possibilities are plausible. If you are a rock, nothing is lost. If the rock is you, nothing is lost. These copies once rendered were set free and over time they wandered away and seeded an epidemic.

The world knew Peela as the origin, as the person who first volunteered his persona to be made the light fodder of exchanges. The world knew Peela as the focal point of the unsettling force unleashed onto the surface of the world. The act of copying redeemed Peela from his dreams. But not really. He still saw dreams of yellow rabbits. The only difference was that because now that everyone else was dreaming of yellow rabbits too (being perfect copies of his own self, they were dreaming the same dreams as him), Peela Khargosh did not feel traumatised with memories of this dream anymore. Peela's trauma had been the socialisation of his dream as a bizarre event. Now it subsided.

In a story there can either be a plus or minus, but no equilibrium. Stories do not stand still. The moment stillness envelopes a story, it dies. Peela Khargosh had become known as the source in a world of copies. And reaching the source is always more difficult than reaching a copy. This difficulty is not because of some special location that the source occupies. It is difficult because the source is not interested in being found. There is nothing that the source is interested in receiving. There is only transmission. A cat and mouse game was at play. Anyone who recognised him in others was quickly distracted and set off-course. Peela became so powerful (there was someone thinking of him all the time) that he came to replace the idea of consciousness itself. In the world at that time, the source was known (if only vaguely). Like a partly remembered dream, on the margins of the mind but very much there.

As more and more copies floated around in the system, Peela became very dumbed down. He became opaque to society and became insulated from other presences. From this dumbed down, opaque, insulated self was born a copy that called itself Hoja Asli. Because of these specific characteristics, Hoja developed his magic.

Hoja Asli was a magician.

He had the capacity to make anything real. Whatever he experienced was real. He was the catalyst of experience. And he realised it. The magic was of a kind that did not immediately make itself felt. An onlooker had to map the patterns of everything that was unraveling the present and then take account of what Hoja perceived, and then perform the mapping again. The percentage of change from the before and after map revealed the degree of magic. Once an experience has become a part of the past, it is directly responsible for the present and once this has happened, it is impossible to even be aware of it. Once the story that we live has changed, that is all we know, we cannot look at it as a outcome of a process.

He set about on a series of adventures. He played all kinds of mind games. Even his dream world sprouted parallel universes in moments of idle fantasy. He did not think of anything unless he wanted the thought to come real. He lived like an automaton. He lived like a wind-up clock, like the fountainhead of ceaseless production. His politics was very simple. He did not have any hangups. He wanted the world to be like he saw it. This was true in a literal as well as a figuratively cyclical way. He saw what he saw, he liked what he saw and what he saw became the only accessible version of the common story we call reality. There was no differentiation between desire, manipulation and revision. These three states being equal for Hoja, he engaged ceaselessly in narrating the world as a story authored by him.

Hoja Asli became not just the name of a flux that can twist the world in any direction, but it also became the name of an agent going on a narrative stroll.

Although there was no way to find him, he did not leave any path open, he did not leave any puzzle solvable. He only communicated through the people who had entered into a channeling arrangement with him. And even these people were passive receptacles, they had no way of knowing who he was or where he was. They just heard him and did whatever he wanted them to do.

But Hoja Asli was not a monk. He did not like the isolation that he he had to live in and he decided to make friends. Friends always knew him as someone else. They were never be able to get past the distance. But they were still companions.

Companionship was valuable for Hoja. He went out of his way to make friends. He thought about the companion that he would like to have and then he saw this thought. Magically this companion became real, without ever knowing that Hoja was their point of origin. She somehow just felt an irrational passion for Hoja, a passion that was equal parts familial and mysterious. There was no plasticity in this companion because no copy was faithful to its image, there was noise embedded in the process of copying that transformed the image into a seed. This seed on being copied followed its own rules of growth to flower into a full person, parts of which new even for Hoja. There was nothing in Hoja's control and there was nothing to defend.


Logic is a garment. It can be woven in intricate ways, but the most complex weave will still be just a construction. For a companion born out of Hoja's perspective, there was no loss of detail. Things in the foreground and things in the background both got registered and both contributed to the companion's malady. Hoja's companion's name was Yer. He kept running to her like a moth to the fire. The slightest twitch on Yer's face had him worried. Because of the nature of this bond, Yer became responsible for Hoja's liberation.

Hoja was a magician and he could do anything. But this did not mean that he could operate upon himself. He could not manipulate himself and a little bit of manipulation is necessary for magic to work.

Hoja's memory was mortal. As things faded from his memory, things that he had brought into being started disappearing too. Because Hoja's mind was not stable, the world was slipping away. This slipping away was not time bound, some things slipped away into oblivion quickly and some things lingered on for a very long time. Hoja's memories degraded gradually. And this gradated decay led to a gradated world with gradated presences. Some people had a very intensive presence and some people had a very light presence. Some people were there and some already gone. Some people could be felt in the depth of their engagement and some people could only be accessed superficially.

Yer helped Hoja become stable. When Hoja became stable, the decay in his memory stopped. People and things once born remained in existence till their mortal cycle was over. There was no gradated death anymore. Everyone was equally present.

Yer did this by breaking his heart. She shunned the delicacy of the sentiments that Hoja showered on her and allowed herself to be pragmatically decisive about him. She stopped treating him as a fragile, demented moth who could jump into her and die at anytime. Instead she treated him like a magician with a rotting memory.

Hoja was at his most vulnerable with Yer and this treatment had its immediate effect.

When Yer snapped at him, the first thought that Hoja had was to bring another companion into existence. To go beyond Yer. But this he could not do. Because Yer was all he could have ever wanted in a companion and all his dreams were dreams of her. He could not manipulate himself. So he had to give up. There was nothing to be done. He accepted Yer's treatment gracefully. He became stable in an instant. It did not take him time to achieve stability. He just collapsed and his collapsed form was stable.

Now the world started adjusting itself to this change in him. And this change meant that entities born out of Hoja's mortal memory had no way of being in existence anymore. These entities had to go back to the source and recompile. It was like a massive moment of reset. In this reset, all the fragile entities disappeared. These were the last traces of synthetic mortality left in the world, after this every living entity followed its own life-cycle, Hoja just influenced their coming or going from the world. Their moment of inception and the moment of their consummation. Because magical influence still follows the rules of narrative. In a narrative, inceptions can only take seed. They then take a shape only through the actors acting on instincts which have developed from the seed. From a magical reality, Hoja Asli made peace with living in a narrative reality. In this reality his magic produced the seeds, but the expression of those seeds was produced by the complex intermesh of multiple characters acting under different desires.

So, when Yer disappeared, Hoja was crushed. In his travels around the world, he kept searching for fragments of her. Somebody smiled like her, somebody's voice was like her, somebody walked like her. Hoja tried to implant the seed of Yer's persona into an unborn child of unsuspecting parents. The seed was similar to the seed he had brought into being magically many years back. And because of this similarity Hoja expected similar outcomes.

The implantation worked.

But when Yer was born, although she looked the same and was the same in every respect there seemed to be some major shift. The grown up Yer now had an insurmountable anger, which had devastating effects on her behaviour. This anger was directed only at Hoja. On returning to source, the bundle of cosmic energy that identified as Yer had merged into the common pool and experienced a playful episode. She was angry now because Hoja's implantation had pulled her out of that process and again entrapped her in the cesspool of narrative. A pool with no clear flow. Stagnant.

When the grown up Yer met Hoja Asli for the first time, she tried to kill him with an axe. She repeatedly tried to kill him. It was only because Hoja could at the right time become a fleeting breath of Yer herself, that he was saved. But Yer helped Hoja complete his healing process. Hoja Asli had healed from his unfulfilled companionship. He decided to not intervene and interfere into the dogma of narrative anymore. He decided to become a journalist.

As an archetypal journalist, he was committed only to the reception and documentation of experiences. He rendered himself into the mode of a reader, with no capacity to write or contribute anymore. Because of his backstory, he resigned from the role of content production and committed himself to the guardianship of narrative.

A worm crawls up a hole in the ground and gnaws on a slipper. The slipper wailed loudly and expressed its pain in the loudest and most jarring of tones. Out of the recesses of the slipper's joints and holes, a kind of blood oozed out. Not only did this blood stink, but it also had a sparkle that immediately caught attention.

The stinky slipper blood collected in a pool on the ground and a swarm of flies hovered around it. These flies were short-sighted, from afar they saw the pool of blood as a pool of orange crush suspended within layers of ice. On approaching the pool of course the flies realised that the pool was of blood. The smell made the realisation easier. The smell of this blood was incriminating and it invited the flies to crown themselves in the pool. The day ended with the flies hovering above the pool in indecision. To give in or not? That was the question they were attempting to resolve.

At night, immersed in darkness, only the smells remained. The scene was immersed in absolute darkness.

On a paper, a pencil is floating in the air is writing a word without a meaning.

This word is a chant that on being read will bring upon an apocalypse. But there is no one there to read the word aloud and it remains unread. The word remains suspended in the aura of the unspoken and remains at the cusp of speech. This cusp did not get crossed and disaster does not strike.

The world did not understand whom to express gratitude towards for this loaded gun that was not fired. Someone must really be happy! Somebody must really like the world to have prevented that word from being read aloud!

In the event of that word not being read aloud, the pencil punctures the sheet and shows a bucket full of eyes. The eyes have trapped within them things seen but not accepted, held ransom to meaning. All the potential words without meaning, all the sentiments that could never find a clear enough language to express themselves.

This bucket full of eyes was not like some relic from a torture chamber which plucked out the eyes of innocent people, but rather it was like a montage of abstraction. Each eye in the bucket was animated and alive as if it were still sitting inside someone's head. Call it animism, a supernatural charm or whatever else. The bucket sat there, regardless. The eyes were restless, anxious and disturbed on being discovered liked that. By a simple pencil prick.

A tortured dog with its tail on fire jumps into a lake. On hitting the water, the dog howls. It is winter and the water is icy in a sharp way. But the fire goes out and the dog starts swimming to the shore again. Half-burnt, it is much uglier than before.

The icy lake doesn't have ripples ringing through it after the dog manages to escape. Ice maintains a plastic surface throughout. The lake seems set in its serenity as if nothing ever happened.

Ants run around frantically and rest in their tracks as a boulder crashes down on the ground. The boulder raises the dry dust into the air.