Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a moment of perfect clarity

I was driving - struggling - with the return traffic, an infinite vista of reddened brakelights stretching away on the highway, some RJ yammering away about potholes on the radio...
it faded.
I was... still there, in the car, but inside my head, looking out through my eyes... something apart, disengaged from the warm body actually at the wheel. I was looking around at the experiences stacked up around me, the shelves full of memories, and they all looked the same.
Day after day of the beach run, the mindless comedies, the commute and the work
Week after week of the movies, the malls, the grocery shopping
Month after month of the salary, the EMIs, credit card bills
Year after year of birthdays, appraisals

It's all the same. Nothing is changing anymore. All the files are the same size, sorted, categorized, tagged and labelled. Sometimes there are DVD folders with a neat index pasted to the spine.
As I walk down the passage, into the dimness and the dust, this changes. Now they're random, different colors, different sizes, stained, worn, crammed into piles.
And they're all stuffed to bursting. They're filled with photos, tickets, leaves, pebbles and sand, bottlecaps, napkins, handwritten notes, locks of hair, maps, lists, manuals... between the files there are books, comics, scratched CDs, ancient floppies, pizza boxes and balled-up t-shirts, wires trail between them and there are boxes filled with random, rusting junk. There are trophies, too; not the plaques and the framed certificates, but the scabs and the scars, bands and letters.

I turn around, and the road is exactly as I left it.
The newer shelves are silent, brightly lit and clean. The older ones crackle and buzz, drip and creak.

I want to stay here, but I can't see the road from here.
I can see my hands on the wheel. They're driving.
I pick up one, turn it to me. Fingers flex.

There is a decision hiding around the corner of reality, and the corner is close. I can hear it breathing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Too Late

i see it through your eyes tonight
and i understand the pain
why you said what you did that night
and why it all fell apart when
you did what you said you'll do

tonight, alone
i feel what you felt that day
i see what you saw
i understand now, and you're not here

and it's too late, too late for you, too late for me
too late for the us that never were
and never will be

and all i have is a bitter goodbye
whispered in the dark
tonight, when it's too late

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Convenient Kill

Since there's a snowstorm of debate, questions and conspiracy theories circulating already, let me add my 2 bits. 
Disclaimer - This is not fact, but a pure thought exercise - a what-if scenario, so don't take it any other way. 

2 days ago, The biggest news in the War On Terror since Sep 11 exploded across the world - Osama's death. After a decade-long manhunt, the Prince of Terror was reportedly found and killed, ending a chapter in world history started back in the seventies. 
But let's step a minute and look at this objectively. 

Fact: Osama was responsible for engineering the September 11 attack. 
Fact: He was also the most visible and famous face of fundamentalist terrorism globally. 
Fact: After 9/11, the US effectively invaded first Iraq and then Afghanistan, removing the existing regimes and instituting a Pax Americana that, for better or worse, establishes US control in the two countries. 
Fact: Osama was Saudi Arabian, had roots in Saudi and received most of his funding from there. 
Fact: Saudi Arabia is a critical player in the Middle East and OPEC. 
Fact: Saudi Arabia also holds tremendous economic and political lobbying power in the US. 
Fact: Communism, the last 'great evil' for the west, effectively ended a decade before 9/11 with the fall of the Soviet Union. 
Fact: Saddam Hussein was militarily one of the most powerful entities in the Middle East. 
Fact: Pakistan is a nuclear power, with weapons-grade resources, technology, and delivery mechanisms. 
Fact: The Al-Quaeda, the Taliban, multiple fundamentalist terror organizations, and Pakistan's ISI and military share a close relationship, including training, support and financing. 

Now, let's step a little further back, and see how these facts relate. 

During the Cold War, the American military machine had a carte blanche for resources, development, and power. During this period, American influence spread worldwide, with interests - either controlling or influencing, or at least monitoring - if practically every country. This allowed the US to access markets globally, turning it into an economic superpower for decades. 
That ended with glasnost, perestroika and the fall of the USSR. Communism and communist influence collapsed worldwide, opening up even more markets and territories for economic expansion. Unfortunately, it also meant a fall in world paranoia and threat levels... and in relative military freedom. 
At the same time, the OPEC gained influence and power directly proportional to the US's dependency on oil to power their civilization. A new target was needed...
...and sure enough, one came along. Coincidentally enough, a force originally created and empowered by the US itself - the Afghan mujahideen, once a weapon against the Soviets. Unexpectedly, and almost randomly, war was declared. 
But not on the immediate target. Obviously, Saudi Arabia was too entrenched politically and economically in the US State machinery. And Saudi faced a very visible threat from a loose cannon who had the capability of becoming an increasingly dangerous influence on the oil supply - Iraq, with it's massive military-industrial complex. 
The solution's obvious - remove the threat. Iraq was invaded, Saddam removed, a controlled government instituted. 
The other weapon - the fundamentalist groups - were now becoming extremely dangerous. Pakistan, with Chinese-supplied tech and materials, had become a nuclear state, and one that was perilously close with the Afghan terrorists. 
Afghanistan needed to be controlled. The War on Terror moved eastwards, bombing Afghanistan into oblivion and taking over. 
Consider this - Osama was an old man, who had already achieved the pinnacle of his career on that morning when the twin towers went down. He'd made history, changed the world. The only thing he could do to top it would have been nuclear terror - which didn't happen over the next decade. His appearances dwindled, messages faded, and he vanished. Chances are, somewhere in Tora Bora, he died in a cave, in hiding, either from illness, age, the satisfaction of a job well done, or ironically, accidental bombing. 
But, there was no proof. The War couldn't be called off. The US was increasingly convinced that he was gone - but without that one concrete proof, they couldn't stop, nor continue investing men and money in an increasingly unpopular war. They needed a PR coup, a justification of expenses, a reason to continue, and a critical need to prevent the scattered terror groups from getting their hands on the nuclear weaponry loosely guarded in an increasingly unstable Pakistan. 
Enter a top-secret, superfast mission where Osama is found, killed, and disposed of within the space of a few hours. Euphoria erupts at home, and all sins are forgiven. 
Note, the War on Terror isn't won yet. the enemy is still out there, headless, faceless, hiding in the shadows. The fact that 'Osama' was found and killed in Pakistan, the home of potential nuclear terror, is particularly telling. Who wants to bet that over the next few years, increasing proof of connections to terrorism, camps, sponsors are going to be identified there... leading to a gradual takeover, just for safety's sake, to prevent the nuclear machinery from being misused. 

By the way, just to get off-topic for a minute, who are the other powerful military states that also happen to be totalitarian, and uncontrolled? Libya and Egypt. Heard of them in the news recently? 

China's simply too big, too militarily and economically powerful to take on - now. India's also big, but already culturally pro-US, democratic, liberal, and not an immediate threat - and too large a market to lose by alienating. So is Japan, the other economic contender, whose economy just got washed back by ten years. Africa and North Asia are useful dumping grounds for obsolete technology, until they reach a point where they can be useful markets. Australia and Europe's already a close ally. And I don't know enough about South American politics to comment. 

It's interesting to see how history unfolds, if you take the long view. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


some things can't translate into words. I've been trying for the last hour, three drafts written and deleted.
doesn't feel right.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Truth... is a rock.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that I'm very close to understanding something. Something all around us, everywhere, yet maddeningly out of sight, out of reach. Every time I reach out, I can feel it there, yet there's so many things that come in the way, stop me. 
Truth is... not pretty. It's not smooth, polished, sharp, it's not a made thing. It just is. It's old, shattered, rough-edged. Hold it too tight, it hurts you, makes your hands bleed. Throw it out at someone, it knocks them senseless, kills them. Embrace it too hard, and share the same fate. 
Truth can't be held too long if you're not strong enough; it's heavy. Your hands will start shaking, and you will start dropping everything else just to hold on. You'll sweat, tremble. One by one, all the other things in your life - all the dross, the unnecessary things, the extras, will fall away. Still you hold on, and more precious things will fall, too. Friends.Family. Beliefs. Soon the Truth will be all you have left, and now you're tired, and yet still, you hold on. It will kill you. Slowly. Painfully. 
Lies... are not like this. They're smooth, polished, beautifully engineered artifices. They can slide gently, imperceptibly into the narrowest crack, are light as air, look good on you and are easy to carry. They're soft and comforting. They grow, too. Slowly, gently, imperceptibly, they spread out in all directions, gently intermingling with one another until it's impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. They cover everything, saturate everything, except the rock of Truth. 
Lies are soft and fragile. You can easily cut through them, with hardly any effort; keep cutting, cutting, slashing away, until they lie in tatters, yet there are more, all around, seeping back. You can slash through a soft, enveloping jungle with a sword, keep at it, until you fall in exhaustion and the roots and vines gently grow back over your corpse until it's as if you never existed. 
Shape a truth, and it stays forever. Shatter one, and it never heals. 
You can cut through Lies, but only go around Truth. It can't be obliterated, just hidden, enveloped in a soft, swaddling cocoon of Lies. And there it remains, until the time comes for it to emerge again. 
That's why the Truth makes us all so uncomfortable. Humanity is not flawed; we're artifices ourselves, soft flesh and liquid blood, thoughts and feelings, wetware, vaporware. We can't handle something so rigid, so rough, so alien. It hurts us. We seek refuge in the Lie, because it's like us, soft, understanding, comforting, fragile, impermanent. Truth lies all around us, but we ignore it, shield our dazzled eyes from it's brilliance, slip on our Raybans and our chamois-skin gloves, cap the sharp points with rubber pellets and rough surfaces with Teflon, raise it up upon a pedestal and out of the way so we can get on with our lives. Yet pedestals crumble, and there it comes down, shattering it's encumbrances, smashing back into our world and shocking us into a stone's silence. Then our chatter begins again, slowly, hushed, tentatively, gathering courage, until we can hide it away again. 
That is what it is, and this is what we are. We cannot be Truth, even our ancient calcified bones crumble to powder. All we can do is look upon it, try to understand it, what it is, what it says. 
Even a small shard of Truth is a potent weapon, a powerful instrument. It can change your life. Greater truths require greater men to wield them; lesser ones stumble under the weight, flail about blindly, smashing all around them, laying waste the land in their struggle for control until they fall - either crushed beneath their ambition or stumbling up shamefacedly beside, quickly walking away, covering their tracks. 
Look at the world around you, and you will know this is true. This is reality, this is fact. You will know this briefly, not now, not when you read this, but once in your lifetime. Once in your lifetime you will experience that moment of clarity, of blinding light that sweeps away everything else, shows all for what it is, has been and will be. 
The only question that remains unanswered then is - what will you do, reader, when you experience that? Will you walk away filled with that light, that clarity of thought and purpose, your life become that immovable, unbreakable rock, at the cost of all the softness, the style, the artificiality, the Lies? Or will you forget, wake up the next morning with a hangover and a vague, faint sense of loss, vanishing in the first coffee, the first phone call, the first step into the world outside, yet never completely gone, emerging as a bittersweet, nostalgic discomfort on the lonely dawns the rest of your life? 
Nobody can say. Not me, not them, not you. 
We'll just have to wait and see. 
Or remember.