Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ordinary

You are a waster of time
A taker of space
You are a thinker of things
A forgetter of names

You are older than yesterday
Younger than tomorrow
Taller than your standing
Smaller than your ego

You are a maker of sound
A crasher of gates
You are a flipper of coins
A feeler of pain

You are harder than cloth
Heavier than light
Better than your worst
Faster than your stride

You are a soaker of sun
A watcher of waves
You are a breather of air
A catcher of rain

You are this and that
You are one or another

The only thing you are not, however,
Is ordinary

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Umbrella

It was a night like this. As thunder and lighting laid desperate claim to the sky, I remember we shared an umbrella. We pitched it in my living room and crawled into its welcome shelter. It wasn't big by any measure but neither were we. It was home to you and a cave to me. We lit a fire and took turns shivering. I stuck my hand out to catch pretend raindrops while you cooked a make-believe meal for our make-believe family of three.

Two decades have passed, leaving us our own halves of that long forgotten picture. You have a little mouth to feed, a child infinitely more beautiful, and I presume hungrier, than the one you imagined that night. And I'm caught in the rain, sticking my hand out from under the umbrella.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Maybe

‘Maybe’ is a fascinating word.

In fact, I’ll go as far as to say ‘maybe’ just may-fucking-be the second
most interesting word after, well, ‘fuck’.

‘Maybe’ is better than ‘or’, and not because it’s three letters or a syllable heavier.
Come to think of it, ‘or’ is barely a word. Actually, it’s barely a sound, much like
a half-swallowed hiccup. Fundamentally, ‘or’ is dependent on the two choices
it needs to fit snugly between; in or out, soup or salad, your place or mine.
‘Maybe’, on the other hand, is a brand new choice altogether.

‘Maybe’ is shorter and sweeter than its overtly sophisticated cousin ‘perhaps’.
Perhaps, you’d disagree. See what I mean? ‘Maybe’ is easy on the tongue,
you can drop it at will, like a hydrogen bomb, which brings me to my next point.

Wielded well, ‘maybe’ is a potent weapon in the power hungry control-freak’s
(you, if you’re wondering) arsenal. Allow me to illustrate.

--

‘Do you love me?’

‘Yes.’

‘That was easy.’

‘Yes’ is acknowledgement, and although it presents the subject with success,
the feeling is short-lived. It’s precisely one chest thump, two fist bumps, three calls,
four social media posts or five eventful nights long. You can’t keep replaying
a single glorious instant for an eternity, can you?

Outcome: Power forfeited.

--

‘Do you love me?’

‘No.’

‘Bite me.’

‘No’ is outright rejection, a slap in the face, it’ll make the subject reel momentarily
but recover nonetheless. It’s a wake-up call, and some of us need more than one.
It puts the universe into perspective, and the jilted on an entirely disconnected
intellectual plane.

Outcome: Subject forfeited.

--

‘Do you love me?’

‘Maybe.’

‘What? How? Why? Okay.’

‘Maybe’ feeds both curiosity and hope in the precise measure required to place
the aggressor in a position of power. Even though the odds of approval and rejection
stand equally divided, it is human nature to disregard the latter. After all, hope sells
harder than sex ever did. And, while a part of the subject’s mind devotes itself to
optimism-laced flights of fancy, another dissects the response, probing desperately
for arguments that aggravate the former.

Simply put, when blind hope gets boring, one turns to curiosity to discover worthy
justification. A valid justification strengthens hope and the cycle completes its first,
but far from final, revolution.

Outcome: Power and subject retained.

--

‘Maybe’ is the grey in a world of black and white. It is the convenient middle path
between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. Do I sense Buddha frowning? ‘Maybe’ is nonchalant,
noncommittal, nonconformist even. It has a certain air of suspense working for it.
It’s Bond-like, yet catty. It’s a veiled insult, yet sometimes pretty darn straight.
It’s absolute, yet throws open a world of countless probabilities and analyses.
It’s the answer to the question you weren’t seeking an answer to. It keeps you on
the prowl and your victims on their toes.

‘Maybe’ is a drug. Use it before you lose it, because you’re eventually going
to lose it anyway.

Well, maybe.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Yes

It was quite simple, really.

If you said ‘Yes’, I’d take your dog on a walk so you could sneak in an hour of sleep,
and get back in time to watch the sight of your eyes adjusting to the light as the first
sip of freshly brewed tea kissed your lips. I’d make you breakfast.

If you said ‘Yes’, I’d ride you to work, buy you a croissant to go, even though
I secretly know you prefer muffins but are watching your sugar intake. I’d pick up
your dry cleaning, I’d offer to drop you home and hang on to every word
you said along the way.

I’d like every status update you put up just to let you know I read it. I’d make you
put up status updates just so I could like them.

I’d cover your head when it rained, wrap my jacket around you when it was cold,
hold your hand when we crossed the street, hold your hand as we weaved through
a crowd, hold your hand for no reason whatsoever and squeeze it gently
before letting go.

I’d take you to exhibitions, plays, films, festivals, concerts and carnivals.
I’d probably take you shopping. No, I would take you shopping.

I’d stay by your side when you were sick, make sure you took your medication
on time, never on an empty stomach, and take you to the doctor
if your condition worsened. I’d nurse you back to health even though it meant
I could fall ill the moment you recovered.

I’d write you a poem and ten songs to go with it. I’d sing you those songs
on days you needed to be told how beautiful you are. 

If you said ‘Yes’, I’d revel in your success, brush away your failures, push you
to try harder and give you a million reasons to refrain from entertaining the thought
of giving up. I’d be a partner to your crimes, an audience to your expression,
and the wall you often crave between you and the world.  

If you said ‘Yes’, I would do all of this and so much more, in the right amount
of moderation, so you never felt you owed me anything but always had just cause
to light up that smile. I would write a thesis about that smile.

But, you never said ‘Yes’. 

Because, I never asked.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Home

Every person is a place. Some are bus-stops, others coffee shops. Some dark alleys, others sun-kissed beaches. Every day, we shuttle in and out and around music stores, art galleries, libraries, restaurants, broadcast stations, cinema theatres, photo studios, motorcycle workshops, football academies, lofty bars with empty stools, ATMs without withdrawal limits, employment exchanges and technology hubs erected in skin and bone. Long, short, under construction, under repair, broken, one-way, two-way or toll-free, there are many roads to the same place. And, some of them aren’t places at all. They are bridges we must cross to get somewhere new. Or tunnels we must emerge from to keep our purpose true. We spend each day traveling from person to person. And when we’ve spent many hours wandering, discovering, visiting, frequenting and deserting life’s many venues, some of us just want to go home.

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Fame Paradox

The light never dies on a person of greatness. It burns immortal, a warm glow that reminds us of the stature they once occupied, and still do. The same light burns brighter for their progeny. But, not in quite the same mellow timbre

For the young of a colossus, the light is deafening. An inescapable reality, it stares them in the face from the moment their eyes open. Through night and day, it is their unrelenting Sun, a cruel reminder of life’s sole purpose. To live up to the name they’re deemed fortunate to be born with. While the rest waltz through existence in the search for meaning and a higher calling, theirs is predefined. Their benchmarks etched in the sky, finish lines drawn before they learn to say ‘go’. The light teases and taunts them at every turn, as society prods them to follow in hallowed footsteps and occupy the circle it casts

From the dawn of time, the children of famous parents have been expected to outshine them. We can observe, barring the odd exception, that famous men and women seldom come from famous parents or give birth to children who grow to become equally if not more famed.

Most of us have wondered what it would be like to be born to titans. Lives in place, world at our feet, a sizeable serving of success and its many privileges without having to raise a finger. But, we’ve overlooked the heat that is always on. And feeling it up close, the gargantuan obligation to go one better, as we squirm under the shadow of a giant we’re always being compared to, can get suffocating. For us world is no stage, it’s a rancid lot of hecklers watching our every step, waiting for us to fall, and ultimately fail.

About time I made my point?

It’s simple, and becomes evident shortly. By chasing fame and achieving it, are we building or derailing the lives of our children? Are we landing them the luxury of a struggle-free upbringing or substituting it for the greater struggle of rising to, and hopefully besting our stature? Are we securing a precipice for future generations to look down at creation from, or are we preparing them for an untimely roaring leap off the edge? Is our quest noble or is it the veneer of our vanity, our constant need for power and the recognition it begets? Does ‘I’m doing it for myself.’ have more truth in it than we imagine? Do we go for gold or settle for scraps so our children can swap silver spoons for blank slates? Are we who started with blank slates obliged to leave blank slates for those to follow? If we forsake our thirst for glory, will our children do the same for our grandchildren? Should we be grateful to our parents for underachieving (achievement is subjective, but you get the drift) or prepare to face an impending outburst from our children against the pressure we have already begun piling on them? Is it better to be born to a legend or to raise one?

I don’t have the answers. Do you?