WHAT’S AFTER LIFE?

I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend the rest of my life fearing the constructs of hell, or fearing the probability of heaven, even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, stand for, I think, the boredom of heaven would be even worse.

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The chief problem about death incidentally is the fear that there may be no afterlife – a depressing thought, particularly for those who bothered to shave. Also, there is fear that there is an afterlife but no one will know where it’s being held. On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done as easily as laying down. As for me, believing in the afterlife seems to have more to do with the egos of the living than the concerns about the dead.

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Moreover.. when this is over, it’s over. That you don’t look down from heaven and wait for your loved ones to join you or look up from hell, wishing that your enemies wouldn’t join you… Your molecules just continue and in due time become something else. Even if it did, it would be hell-of-a-ride down the abyss.

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When life is anyway cruel. Why should the afterlife be any different?

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@rajathkrajeev | Rajath K. Rajeev ©

WHEN BIRDS LEAVE THEIR NESTS…

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Protracted steps. Stretching past their time. Him strolling his legs, towards the paseo, through the side of the road. Slow soft steps. As she had exactly been. To him, it felt like he was tracing the bread-crumbs she’d once left behind, for him, to find his way. As he walked past the crowd, in opposite direction, he noticed the walls, above which thorny bunches of bougainvillaea sprung, out of place. Unkempt. So, lifeless like paper. Yet, there seemed to be a ray of life, left in them. Like art, that makes its’ way outside of that paper, when the instrument of hope is nigh.

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Scarlet roses left hanging in bunches. Out of those very walls. As if he knew they’d, he stroked them softly, leaving it to yearn for more. And his soft steps stopped. Like a heartbeat.

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He went past the part where the paved stones end. As he walked past the pavement, he came near the gate. Not of purgatory, but of remnant desires. He reminisced of what she said the last time they were here. To push one of them, and to pull the other – the best way to escape the unpleasant creaks, that came out of the eerily cold and rusty railings. Though he never knew, that he could still remember what she used to say, he didn’t pay heed to them, and strides ahead, ready to take the next step.

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When one says that he didn’t know, that he could still remember the memories he had with her, it was certain. For memories were not his friends. Nor his enemy. But more like a ‘long-forgotten’ acquaintance. Like a ‘loose-end’. A ‘loose’ contact. A ‘lost’ contact, would indeed be the right word.

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He could see the pink-paints oozing out of the pillars that kept them standing. Windows, wide open. And the doors too, as if they were waiting for the right time. Except for that one little window, over the attic, was left shut. Once home to the ‘little’ dame. Yes, he remembers that phrase too. Now, more than ever. Of how she was his ‘little’ dame. A good one, of course. With a lovely pony-tail – reminiscent of a fountain. A fountain went wrong. Flowing backwards. And her dark dimples. Deep like an abyss. How could he ever forget them?

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Sure, these references didn’t make any sense, if related to a bird. But, he still knew, deep down, that though it weren’t for a dame, she was still a ‘little’ too much for him. Flashes going past him. Of how the dame used to throw her head back, laughing hard. And harder, yet again. Pressing her stomach. Dilating pupils, ready to pop out of their places. The dimples, turning a shade darker. He could see them, too well. As if it were from yesterday.

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The home (now, merely a house), seemed like it was in mourning. Arrant stillness. Utter silence. Was the house really mourning?

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He knew the place like the back of his spine. Carefully he swifts across the courtyard. On to the stairway to heaven. He went around and came back again, this time, far above, through the countless dozens of swirling stairs, outside of the house. Leading him straight to the door. The door to her room. The room with the windows shut.

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The room was something else, altogether. It reeked of colours. Of rosy sweetness. Of reddish madness. Of greenish stupidities. Of that ‘slack-ish’, I mean, ‘blackish’ insecurities. After all, who else could own a room like this, other than the ‘little’ dame? Oh, sorry, I got it all wrong! I’ll repeat that again, “After all, who else could have owned a room like this. “Owned”. Past tense.

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To make himself comfortable, he went to the other end of the room. He pushed open the window. It felt like the window didn’t want to open. It carried with itself the irreparable knit-work of cobwebs. Not the ones, made by those six-legged. But the ones made by thy mind.

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With the window open, he could now see the snake-like procession, moving past him, into the far end. They seemed like an army of informally dressed ants, carrying that piece of cookie, which just fell from up above. It was her. The ‘little’ dame. Inside four walls. Of the coffin. Of the room with the windows shut. But they were striding along, very slowly. Like there was no hurry. One step at a time. So slow, as if she mustn’t know where she was being taken to.

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As they left one by one, out of the prisoned frame of the window, he pulled back his eyes towards the innards of the room. The ‘little’ dame surely had forgotten to clean up before she left. Leaving behind a haystack of traces. Standing diagonally opposite to him was the arc-shaped balcony, which surely had so much to say about her. A quiet observer, all these years. It managed to stay so quiet that even when the ‘little’ dame ‘walked off’ of it, it stood there, reverberating the sound of silence.

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Moreover, everything the night she walked off the balcony, every living thing was still. All of them were. Even the ‘little’ dame was. No wonder.

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Leaning on to the balcony, he could see the shades of the day getting darker and sublime. The moon on its way to take up the wondrous tale. And the night, in melancholy, ready to repeat the story of her death, to the listening earth.

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He could see the birds flying back to their nests. The day coming to an end. But, he could never forget the fact that all the birds were now back to their homes, except one. The one with the lovely pony-tail. The one with those deep, dark dimples. She hasn’t returned back to earth, which’d probably be in walking distance if she wanted to make it back home.

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As he sighs out of tides of the day into the evening, he stamps on a piece of paper, bringing him back to reality. He picks it up, with high hopes. He opens the crumpled page, straightens it out. Of what’s legible from the scribble, he could make out that the ‘little’ dame, never left the room with windows shut, because she was never there in the first place. Instead, she had gone to a nest, with windows. Wide open. For her.

He sighed. Out of desperation? Or relief? No one would come to know.

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Author: @of.both.worlds |www.roshniravindrantheunsaid.blogspot.in

@rajathkrajeev | Rajath K. Rajeev ©

WINK OF THE EYE!

There is more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there? There is always another story. There’s always more than what you see, what you hear, what you taste and what you smell off of them. That’s how it has been and will be for all times to come.

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Unless, we can your mind, inside out. But, that never happens, does it? Everyone exists, nobody notices.

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If anyone had been paying attention to the signs, they would have realized that air turns white when things are about to change. These signs and wonders mean there’s more to what’s written on the page that meets the eye. You see, I’m more than what you see. You’re more than what you see yourself to be.

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Maybe, that’s what life is – a wink of the eye! And a bunch of twinkling stars.

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

KEYS?

 

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If we don’t have the key, we can’t open whatever we don’t have that it unlocks. So what purpose would be served in finding whatever needs to unlocked, which we don’t have in the first place, without having found the key which unlocks it?

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In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there, and the key will fall by itself, into your hands. Nobody on the face of the earth can give you either the key or the door to open it, except yourself.

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My mother always used to tell me. Always. “Nothing before its’ time,” which of course, I couldn’t fathom back then. Also because, I was far too impatient, in wishing for things to happen when I wanted them to. But I now see that, when one accepts the fact that things will happen in their own time, it takes a lot of pressure off of you. Freeing you to put in the necessary vigour and follow the path before you.

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Life, indeed, is a journey. And you hold the key to the wheels you drive, unless, you’ve passed it to your friend or beloved.

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

DIS-HONEST!

One is what one is. And the dishonesty of hiding behind a degree, or a title, or any manner or even a collection of words, is still exactly that – dishonest.

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That was how dishonesty and betrayal, as a form of deception started. Not in big lies, but in small secrets.

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Me, I am dishonest. When it comes to a dishonest man, you can always trust them to be dishonest. Honestly, it’s the honest ones you want to watch out for. Because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly stupid. And you won’t even know when time took its’ tides too seriously and slapped you in the face.

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See, that’s the thing, right?

Questions are only offensive to those who have something to hide.

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

“IT’S MY MOUSTACHE.”

Award-winning Malayalam short-story writer, S. Hareesh, withdraws recent novel, citing imminent threat from right-wing outfits, over social media.

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On Saturday, S. Hareesh told Mathrubhumi News that he’s choosing to withdraw from publishing new episodes, as part of his latest novel Meesha (meaning, ‘moustache’ in Malayalam), in Mathrubhumi Weekly – after constant threats on his personal social media handles over the past few weeks.

“I have decided to withdraw my novel, because of the threats and attacks against me, personally, and my family, too,” the author told Mathrubhumi News. He also added that, he was too weak to “take on against the people who rule the country” and that he has worked on this novel for the past five years.

Known for his humorous approach, often dark, and narrative storytelling – his works resemble that of V. K. N. and M. P. Narayana Pillai. Noted for dealing with the core aspects of life and ‘relationship’-ical intensities, doing justice to content-driven humour, which is arguably hard to find, currently in the country. By raising his pen, standing besides downright ‘political critique’ and ‘historical insight’, he’s been constantly successful in running parallels between ‘milestones from the past’ and the contemporary scenarios one faces in the state of Kerala.

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ADAM

His short-story collection ‘Adam’ received the award for Best Short Story, at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award, 2018. It was announced recently that one of the stories from ‘Adam’ would be adapted into a full-length feature film, by film-director Lijo Jose Pellissery, who’s been in recent news for his exemplary work in the movie ‘Ee. Ma. Yau.’. His other notable works include ‘Rasavidhyayude Charithram’, Modasthanayi Vasippu Malamele’. He’s been recently working on a couple of films, too – ‘Aedan’ and ‘Jallikkattu’. Least to say, he surely knows his deal.

His debut novel, Meesha’, was being serially published in Mathrubhumi Weekly, starting a couple of weeks ago. Two episodes down, the novel, set half-a-century ago, deals with the social life in Kerala. With only three chapters published so far, it had already raised the hackles of Sangh Parivar outfits on social media and otherwise, who found portions of a dialogue between two of the characters in the novel, as objectionable. The outfits apparently had taken offence at the character’s sarcastic comment on the ban of women entering temples during menstruation.

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MEESHA

A group of people, suspected to be from the Hindu Aikya Vedi, recently disrupted a book exhibition of the Mathrubhumi group held at Thripunithura, Kochi as a mark of protest against the novel.

Certain right-wing factions have also allegedly abused and threatened him and members of his family through social media platforms. The author received a series of abuse, on his Facebook wall, with the offended parties calling it as an utter insult to Hinduism. The Facebook comments included threats to his family and to the writer, personally. There were also alleged threats to attack him the way poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar was, in February 2018. Others suggested that the author’s hands be chopped off, so he doesn’t write again, obviously.

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Why it all went frenzy is because the two characters in the novel, suggests that women dressing up to go visit temples are subconsciously making a declaration to themselves and those who can notice that, they’re ready for sexual endeavours. One of the characters also mentions that when women don’t visit temples, for over a week in a month, is to make it clear that they’re not ready to have sex, on these days. Thus, the whole fiasco of frenzy factions accusing the novelist of tarnishing the apparently ‘holy’ image of Hindu women, in the country.

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What was supposed to be merely a open and “artistic expression of the oppression, gone unseen, in the lives of the Dalits (for the lack of a better word) and other backward communities of Southern Kerala, and what they faced emotionally half-a-century ago,” according to Kamal Ram Sajeev, editor of Mathrubhumi Weekly; extrapolated into “a controversy, of deliberate and unreasonable proportions,” pointed out the renowned poet K. Satchidanandan. He also added that Hareesh’s decision to refrain from continuing his episodes in the weekly was “unfortunate” and that “the whole literary fraternity – except, maybe a select few – stands with him, strongly.”

Dalit writer and renowned social activist, Rekha Raj stated that “it is indeed because of all the threats, one in particular – which says that his family would be attacked!” She posted that, “S. Hareesh has withdrawn his novel ‘Meesha’. Why are we still alive?” She also added that “It is dangerous to have a situation where foolish attackers and anti-socials have the liberty to do anything they see fit.” As a solution, she points out that “one should resist this through literature, art and by coming down to the streets.”

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Indian National Congress leader and Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – Shashi Tharoor, tweeted on the same and reminded the twitterati about the emergence of a “Hindutva Taliban.” He also evidently pointed out the outrageous comments Hareesh has faced, referring to the threat “to chop off his hands”.

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S. Hareesh, a government clerk working at the Village Office in Neendoor, Kottayam was not immediately available for comment, but his colleagues in the literary circle told The Hindu that he was under severe stress following threats to his family members.

However, a reliable source told The News Minute, that the author has not killed his novel and intends to bring it out at a time when society is ready to accept it. “He was very depressed when he did not get any sort of support or protection of any kind, even from parties that were secular,” stated the source.

The writer was unavailable for comment and there is no confirmation whether he had lodged any police complaint regarding the alleged threats.

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Hareesh is not the first writer to have been bullied and threatened into withdrawing a work of fiction. In 2015, Tamil novelist, Perumal Murugan declared that “Author Perumal Murugan has died” after he was hounded by members of the Hindu Munnani and other right-wing groups for his novel Madhorubagan’. However, following multiple criminal complaints against Perumal Murugan, in 2016 the Madras High Court finally quashed all proceedings against the book and the writer.

The court observed, “If you do not like a book, throw it away. There is no compulsion to read a book. Literary tastes may vary – what is right and acceptable to one may not be so to others. Yet, the right to write is unhindered, as is the right to read.”

The judgement was hailed as a victory for freedom of expression.

Will this find the same fate? Or would it be buried deep in the ground, being spit to the grave, all because, few found it to be objectionable or even, offensive? Time will tell.

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

LIFE OUT OF THE BOX!

I’ve always tried to eat ‘life’ out of the big box everyone keeps talking about. I rather believe that thinking outside the box is unnecessary when there are no boxes to compartmentalize your imaginations. I support the fact that thinking outside the box, keeps you away from suffocating inside of one, but is that all that ‘thinking’ is about?

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When my conscience tries to stop me from moving ahead with probably the stupidest idea, I might have inside my head, I say to him –

“Shut the fuck up! Let me fall! Let me climb!”

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There’s always a moment where your fears and dreams must collide. If I ‘think’ about a problem, but limit my thoughts to certain definite dimensions – then I’m not ‘thinking’ in the first place. Comfort surely is a well-worn pair of shoes, everyone borrows and lends from each other. And definitely, this happens most of the time. We restrict ourselves to this circle or sphere of force and keep a tab on how often we should get out of it. It’s, as if, I’ve created a task-force with the figments of my false knowledge, to keep myself in the loop with the tides of societal conditioning.

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But, the second the strap of these pair of shoes break apart, what was not meant to be contained in the first place, seeps out of it in a gush. Like a flood exiting a narrow hallway.

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We humans, as a species, are not meant to be contained. And neither are our thoughts, for that matter. I’d only like to remind everyone who’s restricting their own flow, that the box is already full with pungent bullshit that they better start thinking outside of it. At first, people will come questioning the act – “Why you did it?” Later, they will surely make it a point to ask – “How you did it?” It’s upon each one of you to choose whether to be the one who asks the former or to be the one who replies to the latter.

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

A DEED UNDONE.

I do not forget any good deed done to me, and I do not carry the grudge for a bad one, either.

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A good deed here, a good deed there!

A good thought here, a good comment there, all added up into my life – one way or the another.

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And I writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of this very demand. I had not yet learned that if you do one good deed, your reward usually is to do another, and, this time – harder and better.

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That’s when it all went down on me. I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do. Not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed because it supposedly helps someone, or that’s an evil one because it hurts them.

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Don’t you think, that people are too complicated to have simple labels?

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

‘AUNTY’-NATIONAL!

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Do you know?

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Do you know what people get here when they demand the truth? The ‘truth’ they’ve type-casted into the phrase ‘Truth Prevails’. What do they get? They get terror!

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I almost think that we’re ghosts. It is not only what we have inherited from our father and mother, that ‘walks’ in us. It is all sorts of dead ideas. And lifeless old beliefs, and so forth.

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They have no vitality, but they cling to us – all the same, and we cannot shake them off. Whenever I take a newspaper in my hands, all I see are ghosts gliding between the lines I can barely read. There must be ghosts, all over the country, as thick as the sands of the sea. And then, we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.

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One never really understands another person, until they consider things from their point of view – until you climb inside of their skin and walk around in it. That’s the thing with democracy – men dreaming of utopias, but forever prey to shibboleths.

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©

A GLASS OF MELANCHOLY, PLEASE!

I’ve heard this phrase, quite often, at times, more often than I should. That, even a blind squirrel finds a nut, once in a while. I know I’m not a squirrel. I’m not blind too. Still, I’ve been up to no good at figuring out what is it, what’s happening to my memories.

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As if they’re sneaking out of my eyes. Rolling down through my cheeks. I’m starting to miss them, nowadays. The memories, I mean. Not the people in them.

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I vividly remember the last time, they went past me. A light wind blew through here. It carried with it the scents of sadness and loss, with unrecognizable odours. But, those smells – that correspond to nothing – chimerical fragrances. That’s what I don’t happen to receive anymore. That’s what makes me miss them, in the first place.

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Everyone yells, ‘Don’t forget to breathe!’ But, I don’t see anybody really breathing. I guess, everyone’s busy with their own lives, to even stop by for a moment, and breathe. To inhale. To exhale. To just be there. But, who’s to argue. ‘To each, his own!’ Right?

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@rajathkrajeevRajath K. Rajeev ©