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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.

The Adversary tags: structures

Scene 1

The picture looked small on the museum wall. It asked the viewer to come close. The viewer went closer and saw that the picture had become even smaller. The viewer went even closer and the same thing happened again. Was this a dream or a multifocal lens? The walls of the museum were long and flat. There were no windows or openings of any other kind. The air-conditioner vents could be called links to the outside. But these links were indirect and meaningless. The museum felt like a cooled jail. It was designed like a maze. One stack of legacy led to another stack of legacy. Legacy was defined in the confines of those walls, in fact. He was just a visitor to the museum. He was neither an artist, nor a curator, nor a collector. He had no special interest or stake. But still, he found it to be an oppressive environment. He felt like rising the roofs higher. The building shell, the steel frame was locked. The key was available with the director only. He went to meet the director. The director wouldn’t see him. He wouldn’t see him because he did not have a visiting card to announce himself. He kept waiting in the waiting room. At the very end of the day, she did meet him. If only to get rid of him quickly. He met her and he asked for the key. She was surprised to hear that he even knew that the key existed. She did not offer him a seat. But she refused him the key. He did not expect her to just give it to him. But he wanted to hear her refuse. Now, he had a right to complain. Nobody likes to be accused of being unfair.

The director drew her blinds and again said no. Hashn stood very still and stared into her eyes. He didn’t want to convey any fear or shakiness.

He was sure she was betraying the potential of a museum. Why she was doing that was not clear to him. Was she evil? Was she on the other side? Did she have no itch to be human anymore? Was there nothing that could be done?

The director did not get intimidated. She did not call the guard. “Who are you?” she asked him.

“I do not need to be anybody. Why are you committing a fraud?” Hashn asked her back.

The director asked him to go. She didn’t want to defend the institution. She did not invent the idea of a museum. And she was managing a perfectly ordinary museum. Why did she have to justify anything?

Hashn left her cabin, walked down the stairs and into the centre of the plaza. He was thinking of some other way of extending the framework. He was quite sure she would not give him the key and he wouldn’t be able to steal it. He would have to find his own way of doing it.

How can you supersede a structure? By building a parallel that offers something more? How can structures be less or more? Does not each context demand its own construct to do justice to its unique needs? Context and justice are confusing design concepts. Context defines the set of needs which are outside the pattern of the common set. Connect differentiates the individual setting. And justice demands that the differences be paid attention to.

Hashn realised how any structure that he built could always be dismissed by this structure and it would claim a different context. So he decided to not build anything. He would need to force this context of acknowledging its own problems.

The only way for this context to demand changes in a structure that holds it up is by articulating points of injustice.

He would need to become an activist. But not an activist who is talking to the human beings who manage the context. To make a human aware of a fault that they have committed can lead to multiple outcomes. If they have been brought up in an environment that has imposed layers and layers of guilt on them, then they might react in a very dismissive way. When the self drowns, it seeks to raise its head in any which way possible. If it is not possible for it to raise its head, it slips into a dormant state. Humans should not be made aware of their faults. Either their faults should be corrected or forgotten.

Hashn would need to become an activist who had the capacity to talk to the context itself. The context would need to feel that the structure it was saddled with was not completely just. Just that thought is enough. If discontent is produced from within, everything can get disrupted.

So Hashn went out of the museum and started formulating his activist project. How does one speak so that contexts can listen? For concepts to perform an act of hearing, they need to in touch with agents that agree to just relay messages across. These agents should not filter or expand or translate but only relay. For concepts do not have ears but they are designed to take inputs of data and by placing that date into patters, make some meaning out of them.

Often all that is needed is the right agent with the ability to register the correct information and relay it.

Hashn started scraping information about every person who worked at the museum. He looked at everybody’s profile and tried to find tell-tale signs of any frustration, disenchantment or unresolved issues.

He found a woman who had joined the museum only three months back. She had sought work because she could not survive as an artist. The work delegated to her was to look at the list of all the artists who were going to be part of a museum programme and maintain their file. She came in in the morning at ten and left at seven. She didn’t get paid enough to go on vacations but she got paid enough to eat out.

Scene 2

But targeting people for their weakness is like exploiting them. Hashn didn’t want to engage with this woman and offer her money and things that she desired but couldn’t afford. He wanted to speak to her in the same way as he spoke to himself. He found out where she lived from the employees register that he snuck a look at. The register was innocently kept at the counter as if it wanted to be found. The security procedures at the museum were very weak. They had security cameras but no-one sitting in the control room to look at the video feed that trickled in.

He rang her door-bell. She opened the door after a short delay. She seemed ready to sleep. She definitely wasn’t planning to step out that night. He introduced himself.

“The museum has a stunted framework. It needs to realise its potential,” he said to her.

“This is my personal space. Why are you even approaching me here? We can talk in the office tomorrow.”

“No one can ever know that we know each other. Because your dreams are free of my ambition.”

“What is your ambition?” she asked. The tone of her question was hopeful. She wanted him to say what she wanted her to hear. She wanted him to talk about her ideals, about his principles, about how he pictured the world.

“I do not have any. I am just concerned about structures seeking justification for their contexts. If you want justice, it cannot be denied. Especially if you are not human.”

“Do the structures speak to you? Do they narrate their trauma to you?”

“No, I can read signs.”

Lim realised they had been having this conversation standing stating at the door. And she also realised that she did not fear this man. He was there to ask for her help. “We can sit on the benches in my living room. Do you want to?”

Hashn followed Lim and they sat on the benches. The benches were spaced so that there was no chance of feeling claustrophobic. One looked into the expanse of the house and the other bench looked outside the window.

“What signs does the museum reveal to you?” Lim asked.

“In the plaza, were is unnecessary pressure being placed on the members that make up the canopy. I can see signs of cracking. In fact, I believe the director is aware of it.”

“But a structure is a trivial detail. What does it matter beyond a point, if it is this way or that?”

“It makes all the difference. The building is not a container but rather it is a stage. And the shape of the stage is the subject of its scenography. The scenography determines how a given experience is perceived.”

“But do we care about the architecture or do we care about its perception?”

“I do not know. But I do know that structures demand justice. The same as us but sometimes with even more passion and integrity.”

“I am just a person, trying to survive.”

“Your survival is linked to this structure.”

“What do you want me to do?” she asked him. The expression on her face did not betray any emotion. She did not want him to be able to gauge from her face what he capacity for action was. She wanted him to ask of her what he wanted to ask of her.

“I want you to loosen the trap that holds the structure together with a little bit every day. After some time you will not need to do anything at all. Everything will be automatic.”

“What will I really be doing?”

“You will be scanning for the stress points. These points can neither be seen and not in any way arrived at through analysis either. You will have to use your faculties as an artist to observe these points.”

“What if my artistic faculties belong to another world? What if I cannot help you with your project in any way?”

“It is not my project, it is my compulsion. Can you deafen yourself to something that you can hear?”

“I can turn away.”

“Every time I have done that, it has been a disaster. Things that I try to avoid going on happening all the same and they catch up with me when I really expect it.”

“I did not mean ignore, I meant obscure.”

“Aren’t they the same things?”

Lim slowly got up and stood outside the room. “Ok, I am ready to go with you.”

Lim went with Hashn and saw his life’s work. All his life, he had worked on finding an answer to the question of structural limitations. Why did the process stop?

He had not been able to figure out the stop byte. The museum project was nothing more than the same relentless questioning. “This was pure. Nothing could possibly be wrong with this?”

Next morning Lim went to the museum and first, she walked to the plaza. She did the everyday. She did not want to attract attention by doing anything new. She wanted to do the same thing that she did yesterday. And yesterday she had come to the plaza as soon as she had come into the museum.

At the plaza, Lim looked at the columns very carefully. She was trying to find the stress points. The concrete is a metaphor. In every fold and every layer, a point in memory space can be reached as well.

When you reach the structure’s memory space but in your head, you start being able to feel the concrete. Once you do this, you can find the stress points.

If Lim invested enough time into this process, she would find the stress points. But she could stand there only for thirty seconds more than she had stood there yesterday. So she could stand there for seven minutes fifty seconds.

She did not any steps points on the first day. But it was only the first day after all.

Scene 3

Lim performed the same process for many days. She put in her seven minutes fifty seconds every day but at different times in the day. No one suspected her of anything. She was able to perform a search for structural stress points that linked to metaphorical stress points in the logic of the system that was standing in. She found nothing. She told Hashn that she found nothing. He told her to keep trying. And she kept trying.

A month passed. She has scanned almost every square inch of the museum space. She was still not able to find any stress points. She invited Hashn over to a drink. “Maybe I am living inside an illusion. Maybe the museum does not have any stress points because the museum does not exist as I see it.”

“In the basement of the museum, there is a cupboard. Inside the cupboard, you will find a blueprint of the museum. In the blueprint, you will see all the points at which they have layered additional sources of support. The tree points might be close to that support.”

Lim did that. She sneaked into the blueprint room. When she was just one step down, the director stopped her. She had to make up an excuse to be able to defend ourselves. She was about to open her mouth to say something but at the same moment, the director got a call from someone. She took the call and she gestured to Lim to follow her. Lim had to hear her talk to her seven-year-old son. After the director was done with the call, she resumed her enquiry. “Why were you going to the basement. There is nothing there.”

“Oh it was just a mistake, I had no intention of going to the basement actually. I didn’t realise that I was already on level zero.”

“That seems like a feeble excuse. It doesn’t seem like you are very good at telling stories.”


“So you are telling me a story?”



“I used to be a full-time artist till the museum hired me as a translator.”


“When I translate, I get ideas. When I get ideas, I get restless. When I get restless, I feel like wandering. I just can’t sit still.”

“You don’t do your work?”

“I am very fast.”

Then the director phoned her supervisor and asked him if Lim’s work was satisfactory. Lim’s supervisor gave her a glowing review.

Lim left the director’s office and went down to her office. Her terminal was in sleep mode. She activated her session and logged in. Then she paused to think about the new layer in her relationship with the museum. Now, she was a liar. And she didn’t even have access to the blueprint. She realised that she needed help. She went to meet Gop, her artist friend.

Gop was a performance artist. He knew how to configure the energy around whichever room he was in. Lim invited him to be a distraction so that he could walk down to the basement undetected. The forcefield of distraction that Gop wove was very potent. It could easily confound ordinary mental modes. So concern and security easily deviated. It went was planned and Lim had access to the map soon. She could locate the possible stress points easily from the map. She made a list of the points in her notebook and the next day she went to work as if nothing had happened. She went to where the first stress point was supposed to be. Hashn was correct. The coordinates were correct, she had found the first stress point of the structure.

When she was looking at the map, she felt something in her head. It was similar to anger but it was not anger. It was like excitement but it was not excitement. It was the concrete. She focussed on the part of her memory space that the stress was located in.

She defocused and opened her eyes and she could map the sensations she had inside her head onto the concrete space that she saw around her. She found the first point in this fashion. The next morning, she first went to Hashn’s place. She told him that his theories were correct. She told him that she had found the first stress point in the structure.

He didn’t show any excitement. He didn’t even look enthused. Lim had thought that at least he would offer her appreciation and encouragement as she had moved further on his plan. But he was not offering any emotional feedback. She asked him why it was so, why was he cold and numb and he had nothing to say.

Lim sat around for some time, she had some green tea and then she left. She figured that Hashn was just having a bad day.

In fact, when they had met previously, Hashn was having a bad day. That day, Hashn had shared something with Lim that he had never shared with anyone before. All of it was true, but it was not an ordinary event that could be remembered ordinarily.

On an average day, Hashn was a man in his fifties who didn't do much of anything. Speaking, eating, loving, moving… He didn't even remember meeting Lim before. He found it somewhat strange that a young woman had visited his place and had green tea. But the oddity of that event was soon forgotten. For, nobody ever came to visit him. He did not have any children, his wife died a few months back and his doctor found him rude.

While walking back, Lim thought about Hashn and felt special and privileged that he had found her and confided in her. If that had not happened, she would still be in a dark mood.

She had been in a dark mood ever since she had been forced to take up this job. Now she knew why she did that.

Scene 4

Lim decided to take all the decisions on her own. She stopped looking at what she was doing as Hashn’s project. She started searching for other stress points. She got talking to the old man who served coffee.

The old man had not read a book in the last fifteen years. He did not know anything about what was happening in the world. He was wedded to his job. He came in every morning at ten and washed the coffee mugs. Before he washed the coffee mugs, he went around in the whole office and collected all the mugs. He had a small blue-coloured trolley to assist him in this task. The blue trolley was parked in the store-room at the end of each work-day. Every evening when Lim left for the day, she saw the trolley parked there. It gave her a feeling that everything was alright. The trolley being in its place meant that the old man had gone home. It meant that the day had been uneventful, that no crises had erupted over coffee.

But she knew that it wasn’t true. The world was not right.

She was sitting across the cafeteria counter from the old man who made coffee. She said, “The world is at a bad state. It will all come apart.”

e“No, the world is exactly as it should be.”

“How do you mean?”

“How can the world not be alright as it is?”

“Yes, the pattern has to remain consistent.”

The old man offered Lim a coffee. The cup of coffee was hot. She blew on it and took small sips. Hashn was wrong! He was trying to find a way of extending the world! How could he even imagine that anything at all could be done about anything? And how could she have let him talk him into this project of his?

“It is a smarter thing to do, to try and find your place in the world.”

Lim nodded. That was one thing that she could never do. She had always felt like an outsider. She had never belonged.

“And I make coffee.”

The project of improving the existing structures and systems in the world is futile. The desire to improve things that have multiple causal factors emerges from a fear of the existing structures. The existing structures pretend to be absolute and unshakeable. And this inspires fear.

But the truth is that the existing structures are not unshakeable. Their foundation is fragile. History has taught us that behind the garb of infallibility, there is no genuine strength. All the forces that uphold the structures are decaying and falling apart in their own way. They are corrupt. They lack any emotion. There is no specific reason why they are doing what they are doing. They are on auto-pilot. The moment things start changing, they start changing as well.

The cascade can unravel just as rapidly as it was constructed. Not believing that will force you to behave more fearfully than you need to. When you behave fearfully, you do not do justice to yourself. You sell yourself short. And that is a crime.

Lim was feeling clear and she went to meet Hashn again. She explained all that she had been thinking about and all that she had been talking about to the old man.

Hashn was not convinced. “I am on a road that only goes one way. I cannot turn back. I know that the patterns I read mean something else. But whatever the patterns mean, I know that they are there. Misinterpretation is also a specific kind of interpretation.”

Lim was now in a situation which either required her to willingly submit to delusion or work on countering it. If she went along in the direction that she had already started moving in, she would have to report Hashn to the police and also share part of the blame in an abstract, poetic conspiracy. She wasn’t ready to do that because she had managed to get a job after such a long struggle. She didn’t want to go back to the desolate and desperate place she had been in.

So she decided to follow Hashn’s deluded invitation. She decided to perform the project of pretending to improve the structures that are contained within the world. She decided this but it is not like she had too many choices. The choice of sending Hashn to jail was not a real choice.

The old man might be right, the urge to improve the world might arise out of a fundamental maladjustment but after that, it becomes something else. Analysis cannot be performed in real-time. So while the maladjustment might be a diagnosis, it cannot be a point of focus. In the thick of the moment, at this moment, we have to sway under the influence of our desires and fears. And these are propelling us to something else altogether.

When we are intimidated by structures and the projection of their supposed strength, we are pushed into a corner. From the perspective of this corner, critiquing the structure and valiantly leading a campaign to improve it seems to be the sensible thing to do. But if we get trapped into doing that, no only do we stop dealing with reality at the actual scale at which it exists but we actually participate actively in an entire drama going on inside our heads.

In this drama, we are the heroes. In this drama, we are the central characters. In this drama, we are the victims.

Lim saw another possibility. Maybe, it was possible to perform a critique but then disregard the critique immediately in order to focus on the reasons why participants buy into broken systems in the first place. The participation limiting bias theory says that if the cost of fixing a system is more than the cost of living in an unrealised system, then participants will willingly limit their own potential.

Participants are not just selfish and lazy. Of course, they are. They understand that they are enslaved but do not understand that they are enslaved as a result of their own actions.

Scene 5

Lim continued performing her tasks. She went on finding stress points in the structure of the museum and went on reporting the points to Hashn. Hashn started working on a map of such points. After they had a sufficiently detailed map, Hashn revealed the next step to Lim.

The outline of these points reveals the shadow of another structure. This other structure could have been realised if there had been foresight and patience within the architects. But the architects acknowledged the mortality of the structures they designed. They knew that there was no way to be future-compliant. Why tangible objects exist for far longer than they are intended to live. Take pots made out of clay, for example, pieces of broken pots are still found in archaeological remains of civilisations long after they themselves have gotten erased. Our lives are long enough to erase all the marks we leave behind before we die. The best we can do is to design only intangible structures which can be edited and improved easily. Or design tangible structures that self-destruct after some time. But can we afford to do that?

Lim got really engrossed in the project. She was really interested to see the shadow of another structure. She was holding her breath and waiting meanwhile. Much like a stargazing session, she was feeling wonder and curiosity both.

Hashn needed a few days for tracing the outline. When he was done, he threw a party to celebrate the completion and to reveal the image. Lim and the old man were the only two people who were invited to the party. They arrived on time and the party began. What was Hashn’s idea of collective enjoyment? What did he think could be done for enhancing the environment so that fun and frolic could be felt in the air?

He had an old slide projection system and he had a vast collection of photographs of green grass in a slide format. He put these slides on auto-play and oriented the projector so that the images were projected onto a blank wall. The wall was rust-coloured and cracked as well. So the images looked like they were sepia-tinted. These photos offered a detailed, visceral view of the blades of grass. The dew drops on the grass could be seen as well. Sometimes a fallen flower, some random dog’s paws, some fallen leaves could be seen to. These were the only objects that pointed us towards the environment within which the patch of grass was set in.

After the slideshow was over, Hashn made an announcement. “I will now present the ghost structures that I have discovered with your help.” He looked at the old man and said, “Not you so much but I guess you shared your ideas with us in good faith.”

And then the presentation began.

The ghost structures that Hashn presented some very faint. They were barely discernible. But they could not be ignored or denied either. In between the door and the window, there was an opening of a tunnel that went up to a room that was full of explosives. The structure was linked to its own negation.

It was immune to all kinds of external aggression because it had a potent internal enemy. There were such tunnels to such room all over the museum. No structure can achieve stability in the world without such measures. Hashn announced, “We can extend the structure merely by elongating the fuses of the explosives. Nobody can escape death but we can delay our eventual death and live longer. We can take steps to ensure that.”

Structures can be extended by essentially extending their life-span and thereby allowing them more time to explore. Before a structure gives up and becomes a shadow of itself which only has its plastic form to offer, there is a point in time when it has hope and genuinely wants to become a channel for stories that extend itself. For some time, it does not believe that it is an absolute construct.

At such a time, if the internal fuses of the structure are elongated, it can manage to escape its own descent into becoming conservative and careful. We can all succumb to our mortality eventually. But sometimes if we manage to experience the adventure of flight in our youth, we do not feel so afraid to die anymore. The point in a structure’s lifetime when it can be immersed in its own delusion is a crucial time. Like a coming of age party for children who are suddenly men, this time should be abounded and celebrated like it really amounts to something.

In the case of structures which are past their prime, there is nothing to be done. We can only wait for them to die. We can only raise our tolerance levels and learn to suffer their arrogance bravely. There is no benefit of intervening, there is no room for negotiation.

Hashn was very happy that his insight was validated. Lim was relieved that she hadn’t been assisting a delusional fantasy. The old man was feeling humbled. He was breathing easier though. Something inside him also felt good about the fact that he was proven wrong. The cynic inside him that had been planted by a father who had succumbed to the system could die and loosen its grip on him now. He was happy to let the cynic die.

To take the cynic’s place, he would like to invite his poetic-self again. He let the poet slip away because he thought that the world had no place for poets anymore. But here in front of him stood Hashn. Was Hashn not a poet? Was a poet not someone who thrived on ambiguities? Was a poet not someone who could taste experience itself? And then spill it out in words, pictures, music… The formats of poetry could not be described.

Hashn started speaking again. “So today we start working on a new project. The museum needs to be saved from its own predicament. The fuses of its mortality need to be lengthened. If the museum escapes the shadow of death, then maybe it can escape the confines of the structure it is locked into.”

The Butterfly Nest tags: mobile

Scene 1

The first scene is of the cemetery, the sun was setting and the cold and wet wind was blowing. The thief could not go anywhere without the risk of getting arrested, so he stayed in the cemetery for the night. Now, people often said that the cemetery was haunted. But they did not mention details about the ghosts who haunted the cemetery. What did they look like and what did they want? The thief had just robbed the only jewellery shop in town. He had taken all the cash and had pocketed a few of the big diamonds. The shop’s owner walked into the shop just as he was walking out and he had to kill him too. So, in addition to being a thief, he was also a murderer now. He was on the run, the cemetery seemed like a safe place to go undetected - just because people were afraid to go there.

In the cemetery, he could find no shelter from the wind and the drizzle. He just sat on one of the tombstones, resigned and ready to face whatever was happening.

Once he resigned, a family of butterflies settled on him. The butterflies were yellow in colour and bigger than usual. Soon, he was fully covered with butterflies and he was fully hidden. It was not clear if he was there at all. Even the outline of his human form disappeared and he just appeared to be a cloud of butterflies. A cloud of butterflies, all of a similar hue made something of a curtain on that spot where he sat. The curtain seemed to flutter and shift a few inches every now and then. But the thief had the perfect cover and this cover moved with him. He was not visible at all through the cover. Slowly the news was spreading that a deity was making an appearance in her full glory at the cemetery. The townsfolk forgot about the crimes that had to be investigated and they gathered at the cemetery, looking at the deity from afar.

The thief saw the people assembling at the gate and his playful frame of mind vanished. He became conscious of remaining hidden. The butterflies did not care about what was on his mind. They still danced randomly around his body-frame. The people who were observing this phenomenon, were looking on in amazement. They felt they were looking at some kind of divine play. Somebody saw some fragments of the thief’s clothing and said that there was a person behind the hive of butterflies. This possibility got the gathered people even more excited. Each of them wanted to catch a glimpse of this blessed person now.

They came inside the cemetery and walked cautiously up to the divine phenomenon. They had mirrors and sticks. They kept trying to catch a glimpse.

The thief was now shaking with fear, if people found out it was him, they would kill him before he could appear in court and face a judge.

The cemetery had many holes in the ground, certain parts of the ground had slipped away during the rain and hollow cavities being formed all over the terrain. The thief fell into one such cavity. All the butterflies could do was to go into the cavity too, a few at a time. It seemed to the gathered crowd that the divine apparition had just gone into the ground. They still could not see the hole in the ground, the fading trail of the butterflies still covered the hole and hid it. The townspeople thought that the divine apparition had disappeared just as it has become visible. They believed that they were calmer and in a way charmed and blessed now. They felt that the divine apparition lingered in some way and changed the quality of their experience entirely. One of the people in the group said that he felt warm all over, maybe he even felt feverish. Someone else felt a bit afraid, he was even trembling and exhibiting other symptoms like dryness of the mouth and cold sweat. What kind of apparition was it that lingered in so many different ways? Presences of divinity are qualified by this logic. They aren’t any one thing but are capable of seeming entirely different to different people. Divinity cannot be understood for this very reason. There is too much understand and so much so that it bursts the seams of our cognitive capacity. We easily disagree about what it means to be divine.

The thief meanwhile was in a hole under the ground. The hole was small, damp and cold. The butterflies had meanwhile disappeared. The thief’s instinct told him to lie low and lie in the dark parts so as to escape any prying eye that peeped into the hole.

And lots of these folk peeped, more than half of them. But they saw nothing divine. They were a disappointed lot.

Divinity is elusive and sometimes it reveals itself but then it goes back into hiding as it pleases. The key is to track the smell so as to be able to be tricky and impulsive. To run into your own shadow, to be crushed under your weight.

The thief was afraid of being caught, of being prosecuted. Out of the pressure of this fear, he felt like he had no options. Either he had to be OK with being stuck in the hole for the night or he had to pray for divinity to rescue him. Prayer worked for some but it had never worked for him but he was interested, curious and eager to unravel the mystery.

To whom did people pray to? And how did they pray? And what were the signs that prayer was working? Were the signs ever apparent in real time? With the indefinite loops of sequential delay how does one even make correlations between prayer and the blessings that emanate from it?

Anyway, the night passed and the thief spent hour upon hour in the damp hole and battled sleep with fear.

Scene 2

The thief crawled out of the hole in the morning. By that time most of the crowd had dispersed but the people who were there were either too sleepy or expecting to see something out of the world and simply ignored the ordinary thief walking by. He was covered in mud, his face could not be seen and his eyes were like craters on the face of the moon. He got away easily. But he did not want to get away, he sort of missed the butterflies and the spectacular show they had put up the previous night. When the butterflies were all around him, he felt covered. The cover was like a firm shelter. The shelter was firm but fluid like a surface of water. It felt safe, yes. But also he felt larger, he felt like he was more than the person who was born as a baby who was lost in the world. But now he was walking out of the cemetery and the previous night’s events were still fresh in his head. For the townsfolk it might have been a visual treat but for him it was an experience that gave a new lease of life to his imagination.

He did not need to be a thief anymore, he did not feel deprived. The feelings that the experience with the butterflies produced in him, stayed with him.

Once he was away, the light of day had changed. The light of dawn was shining through the clouds. He looked at it and he felt nothing. The thief thought that he wanted to cherish only experience. He did not want any possessions or any money. Not that he didn’t have any use for it. He believed that visual experience would provide him everything. He just wanted to see clearly. That’s all.

What could he see? If he looked into the hollow of the tree, he saw darkness. If he looked at the sun, he saw only light. His eyes started showing him patches of light after he saw the sun. But he looked at the Sun, overtime he wanted to feel that he could still see.

Vision is not a sense and it is not a default. Sometimes you see what is in front of your eyes, sometimes you don’t. Being blind to the world is dangerous. You don’t see the fire, you don’t know when you have save yourself.

It is necessary to save yourself.

But the thief could see alright. He did not wear glasses and he did not know how to read. The thief kept walking on and he reached a river. The water of the river was very clean. The water was transparent. He could see the fish swimming underneath. He could even see the fish eating other fish and for some time that part of the river cleared up. Death has an avoidance reaction.

He sat in a boat and asked the boatman to take him across the river. The boatman took a meandering path to go across. First he took the thief around the river and showed him the sights. The first among the sights was the central jail. The jail was on the bank of the river, the prisoners had a break and in their break time they were tossing stones into the river. One of these stones hit their boat. The thief was superstitious. When the stone hit the boat, he thought that now he would be arrested. The people or the police would catch him. The boatman was also looking at him in a strange way. Very much like a predator looks at its prey.

When he reached across finally, the butterflies surrounded him again. The boatman was part of the crowd the previous night at the cemetery. He was equally awestruck as everyone else. Boatmen are always believers. To keep a boat afloat and to not let it sink, takes a certain amount of skill but it also takes prayer and reliance on the divine spirit. So when he realised that he had given a ride to an organ of divinity itself, he was overjoyed. The butterflies had drifted away at night because they could not find their way into the hole and still survive. But here by the bank of the river, they found him ready for occupation. They quickly covered him as if he wasn’t a person and only a symbol.

The thief could still walk, when he was blindingly covered by the butterflies. The many eyes of the many butterflies that hid him became like his pseudo eyes which guided him around. This time the thief started trying to communicate with the butterflies. He tries singing and humming. Every time he sang, the butterflies came closer to him and he felt they like the tone of his voice. But the butterflies were deaf, they just liked the warmth his body exuded, when he sang a song.

They came to a nest of stones and the thief sat down there. The river was still in view and he saw that the boatman had fetched the townsfolk from the cemetery and they were soon going to arrive. Now, he was not afraid. Now, he did not want to run or hide. If people were coming to him, let them come. What would they say? What would they ask?

The crowd arrived. It maintained a distance this time, they figured that the previous night they had startled the butterflies away. Today they were calm and quiet and they maintained a distance. One of them asked the divine apparition who it was and why was it was making itself visible this way.

People silenced this young boy. Direct questions were not to be asked. Asking such questions would startle the apparition away, because it might not want to reveal anything more than its presence.

Scene 3

The divine apparition sat on the rocks with the crowd surrounding it. Now, it started speaking. The thief’s voice was filtered by the fluttering cover of the butterflies. This filtered voice now sounded like it was very distant. It was diffused. Now, a conversation between the thief and the gathered townsfolk started.

“The sky is clear today, yet it will rain,” the thief said.

The townsfolk were surprised. They were also afraid. If it really did rain, the crop they had sown in their fields would be ruined. They rushed away quickly to protect their crops. They covered the crops with a sheet of plastic. If it did not rain, the plants might die with no sun and no air for a day. But they believed in the divine provenance of the butterfly-being.

Meanwhile the thief had used the moment of silence and absence of crowd to run away. When the people came back, there was no divine apparition anymore.

The thief knew the forest that was adjacent to the seashore very well. In fact he was hoping to find some or the other tranche of hidden treasure which he had hidden but forgotten to re-claim. He picked up a stick and prodding away in different parts of the forest that he remembered using at some point. He could find no treasure but he found lots of other things. He found an old pair of shoes, he found a skeleton, he found a pot of water, and he found hair. But he found no treasure. While he was busy finding treasure, the butterflies vanished. He didn’t want to read his own experience as a parable. He did not want to understand the absence of the butterflies as a cosmic message that he should not look for treasure.

Because he was not looking for treasure for the money, for the wealth. As his new avatar was motivated only by visual experience, he only wanted to look at the treasure. He did not want to even touch it. Why did the butterflies disappear then? He did not want to read into cosmic events and their reasons.

The butterflies had not disappeared. They had only gone to haunt and cover someone else. There were many people who were like divine apparitions in the world. All the apparitions that had this form that consisted of fluttering butterflies were completed by the same swarm of butterflies. They could move really fast and they could move all around the world with ease. All the human hosts of the apparitions viewed the phenomenon as a strange occurrence that they could not make sense of. The butterflies did not say anything to anyone. They could not speak. They only made appearances and disappearances.

But just as the thief had changed as a person after the episode with the butterflies, all the other hosts had changed as well. Mostly people had become humbled by the existence of an external force that had its own design and whimsy.

This community of transformed people were very peaceful. They did not pursue their desires. They only wanted to see interesting frames which shed light onto them. They searched for these frames relentlessly but their search was patient and without any anxiety. For they knew with certainty that they wound find the treasure. And when it would happen depended entirely on when some cosmic sequence got completed.

For doing something, one needs to hang around pretending to persevere so that when it happens, it appears to be our doing.

The community of transformed people knew this and never tried very hard to achieve anything.

The butterflies came back to the thief in the evening. In the evening, the thief had stopped searching and was gathering fallen fruit for dinner. There wasn’t enough fruit and the thief had to make peace with hunger.

The butterflies clamoured around him and he realised that he needed some sheltering from the world. His naked gaze only saw the world in a very distracted way, how could he even make sense of so much information? He needed shades, not just for his eyes, but for his whole body. Maybe he needed to start wearing robes.

The butterflies stayed with him all night but left at four in the morning. After they left, the thief started designing a robe for himself. He went back to the cemetery and stole scraps of cloth from some corpses. Then he made a loose garment which appeared to hover around him but never touched him. It had a hood and it cast a shadow on his face. It felt like the butterflies were still with him. Whenever the swarm came back, he took the robe off.

Once at four a.m., the butterflies thought that the thief was sleeping, and they started slowly fluttering away. But the thief was not asleep. He was awake and was only faking sleep so that the butterflies went on about their routine. Once they were out of sight, the thief started following them. He wanted to connect with some of the other transformed people. The only way he could do that was by following the butterflies. Their bond otherwise only consisted of unspoken gestures.

He followed the butterflies, but they seemed to be aware of him. That day they did not do anything of consequence. They flitted from flower to flower and braved vast distances and rough weather but only to bask in a specific hue of the sun.

Did the butterflies not have any other people to take care of? Was there no community of the transformed or did they not want any of them to meet each other?

By night the thief was back in the forest and he waited for the butterflies to come back. But they did not come back. He slept in anticipation and woke up with hope as well. But not just that day, they never came back. By seeking more answers than the ones given to him, he had broken the covenant of divinity. He had attempted to trespass and now he was alone again.

Scene 4

The desolate thief began to regret that he ever endeavoured on the project to find the other transformed people. But no amount of regret and feeling bad brought back the butterflies. The butterflies did not think, they did not even have the capacity to think. They just flew here and there attracted by some or the other energy. The thief’s energy was just not the same anymore. They did not know what reformation meant, transformation is absolute - there is no scope for a relapse.

The thief was considering various options. One of these was to go and surrender at the police station. And then maybe be jailed for life or be left to die. The other option was to become pious and work on himself so that the butterflies got attracted to him again. This was a remote possibility. He knew that, but he still wanted to try. The possibility was remote because he wasn’t confident of how well he would be traversing the path of virtue. He also knew that virtue was often a doorway to vices more dangerous and deviant than anything else.

He was trying to make a choice and wandering around while he did that. He reached the bank of a river and a fish spoke to him. The fish said that if he jumped into the river, everything would be alright. They said that the river water was very thick and it was not really possible to sink in it. If he jumped in, he would only float. The fish that was speaking to the thief was golden in colour and had blue eyes. Fish do not have a face as such and so no emotion is betrayed when they speak. In the absence of emotion, the thief needed to make a simple choice about whether he wanted to believe the fish or not. This simple choice was in fact a big thing. It was a gamble. If he jumped into the river, and if what the fish was saying was false, he would die. And his dying breath would be spent in denial, denying that he listened to the fish without when he clearly didn’t have to.

So he did not jump. And he did not die at that time. And the butterflies did not come back.

If he had jumped, the butterflies would have come back as their urge to save a transformed individual was very strong.

He did not jump and he did not get saved. Unless you risk extinction, you do not get to live. As he did not get to live again as a charmed and blessed individual, the empty shell of an existence he was otherwise leading was not interesting for him anymore. He felt that he was ready to die.

So he sat down beside the river, decided not to eat or drink anything and took a pledge to keep sitting there till he died. A few days passed and then a week. After the weeks passed, life was in fact ready to pass out of his body frame and death was standing by to descend on him. And still the butterflies did not come.

He fell unconscious and still the butterflies did not come.

He did not get up again, he was literally breathing his last few breaths. And still the butterflies did not come.

He died.

And then nothing happened.

The butterflies didn’t come, nobody even noticed or grieved. The townsfolk found his body and assumed that he had died because of the burden of his own crimes.

What had happened? The butterflies gave up on him and got distracted? The thief was abandoned.

But sometimes you can live, only after you die once. The butterflies came and settled on his corpse and he smiled, he came back to consciousness with a jolt. And he was thinking he did not want to die. Not then and not in that way.

The corpse came back to life. That was not a miracle. It was just the way things happened. For considering something to be a miracle, you have to firmly believe in an idea of reality that is absolute.

But if you don’t, then everything is equally miraculous. Everything is more than what it seems. There is no sense of the ordinary that remains anymore.

You might say that there is a scientific explanation for everything. But there is not. Science explains events that fit its format.

Now the thief was wandering here and there with the butterfly mask hovering around his whole body. He was not there anymore to feel pleased about it. What the death event had killed successfully was the voice in his head that produced the noise of narrative.

This meant that the relationship between him and the butterflies was no more being commented on by himself in his own head. He did not associate the butterflies as symbols of some divine event anymore. It was just an event. What it evoked in others did not affect him. He was not sensitive to himself anymore.

The butterflies fluttering, flitting, swarming around the thief became a local attraction of sorts. The thief did not speak, so like a silent movie it was accepted as a natural phenomenon.

Like the river, like the water fall, like the mountain, for the townsfolk the butterfly swarm around the thief became a feature of the landscape.

No questions were asked and none were answered. Some other thief was arrested for the crimes of the transformed thief. This story has reached a point where nothing can go wrong anymore.

But this tranquillity was about to be disrupted.

Another transformed individual with another swarm of butterflies arrived in the town. This individual had come also to check if the other transformed individual whose stories were becoming almost as well-known as his own was real.

He went and met the thief. He saw the spectacle with his own eyes. And then he did not think to ask any further question.

Scene 5

For the town these were very positive days. There were not one but two transformed individuals whom they could see. They felt that the town had been blessed with special privilege. There was no other neighbouring town that had even heard of this kind of divine display. The mayor of the town built a statue for the thief in his divine form with the butterflies hovering around him.

The thief saw his own statue and decided to steal one of the gold-plated butterflies. Stealing from his own statue did not feel wrong. He sold the gold butterfly for some money and rented an apartment to stay warm and secure. He could not live as he had lived in the past anymore. He had to approach his life less as an adventure and more as an ordinary life that played some extraordinary roles. He kept his apartment empty, he got no furniture. He liked to stare at the emptiness and wonder how an empty space can be filled by anything at all and it could still retain its emptiness. He was thinking of emptiness as a state with no volume but a choice whether or not to be a host or not. A space could have a set of guest spaces but not accept them as guests and could remain empty.

The town did not accept the second transformed individual so easily. No hospitality was extended to him. He was not a guest. His presence seemed to fake the thief’s presence and render it as less novel. The townsfolk were meanwhile fond of the thief and his divine form. Their hearts did not have the pace for another reflection of divinity.

The other transformed individual who had come to town figured this. Whereas one individual was a thief, the other was only a school teacher. School teachers are not very intelligent. They learn the manipulatory patterns of children but that’s it. The thief had meanwhile sweet-talked almost every type of person in his life. The thief knew how to be liked and be popular. The school teacher knew only how to be divine. At other times he was no one in particular. This didn’t give him any particular advantage in his interactions with the townsfolk.

A time and place was decided for the two individuals to meet. The thief and the school teacher themselves were not very excited to meet each other. What would meeting mean? Would meeting make the imagination of how this experience came to be more difficult to access? Who would validate whom in the meeting? Who would have the privilege of validating? The one who came before? Or the one who had a better story of the divinity’s coming or becoming? These were questions floating in their heads.

When they met, first the thief excused himself and opened the windows. With the windows open, the butterflies could again find their way into the room. Finding them both in the same room was confusing for the butterflies. For a moment they hovered in the air, at a point that was equidistant from both of them. The butterflies were divine, so they had feelings. Did they have a mind too? No one knew. At that point some butterflies went to the school teacher just because they had hovered around him longer, most stayed in the middle though. No butterfly went to the thief at that time. It felt like a suspenseful moment.

“See, even the butterflies make it clear. I am the real transformed individual,” the school teacher said.

“Please enjoy the privilege,” the thief disengaged from the school teacher and seemed to get engaged with cooking in the kitchen. “Will you have some food?” The thief asked the school teacher.

The school teacher was geared up to have a showdown and hadn’t imagined that the thief would be so cool and uninterested in an actual clash. Moreover he had already eaten, he had been trained to always eat before getting onto any stage or into a competition. So he politely refused. After he refused he realised that it was a test. Could he accept a generous gesture? Or was he in fact unable to read into events and only responded from the perspective of being a person who operated at the level of language.

The school teacher realised that he had indeed not bothered to analyse the emotion behind the thief’s invitation. He did that by the time he was almost at the door ready to leave. But then he turned around and said, “Yes.” The thief who was feeling triumphant now felt beaten. He felt like the school teacher had gotten the better of him.

He quietly set about to serve food to the school teacher. First the dishes, then the water, then the food. The thief had cooked rice and vegetables. There was also a green curry that could be seen on the table. The school teacher was only doing symbolic eating, he was not hungry at all. He was taking small spoonfuls of food and stuffing it into his mouth. Without hunger the food tasted bland and uninteresting. The school teacher started wondering what the test was for.

The thief meanwhile was increasing loosing hope every time he saw the butterflies hovering noncommittally in mid-air, maintaining an equal distance between them. All his mind games were bearing no result, the butterflies remained where they were. They were not any closer to choosing him over the school teacher. Why did he want the butterflies to choose? Because this meeting had been setup as a challenge from the beginning. And if it was going to be a challenge, he was going to be the one with the upper hand. He had pulled many heists in his career as a thief and the heists which were competitive were that much more enjoyable. To look at the face of the loser grow smaller and smaller was an incomparable experience.

But this seemed to be a stale-mate so far.

The drudgery of cooking and serving the food was barely tolerable given the fact that game didn’t seem to tilt in anyone’s favour.

Seeing the stalemate, the butterflies lost interest in the two individuals and flew out of the window. They flew out to find some other individuals who were on the verge of transformation and surround them with their fluttering wings.

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.