Posted on Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Only in love are unity and duality not in conflict.― Rabindra Nath Tagore

Love ceases to be a pleasure when it ceases to be a secret.
― Aphra Behn

Love one another and you’ll be happy. It is as simple and as difficult as that.
― Michael Reunig

The more one judges, the less one loves.
― Honore de Balzac

More than kisses, letters mingle souls.
― John Donne

When a man is in love or in debt, someelse has the advantage.
― Bill Balance

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
― Peter Ustinov

People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.
― Ken Kesey

For love is immortality.
― Emily Dickinson

Love in its essence is spiritual fire.
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Love is metaphysical gravity.
― R. Buckminster Fuller

Forgiveness is the final form of love.
― Reinhold Niebuhr

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.
― Albert Einstein

At touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.
― Plato

Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.
― Thomas Fuller

Love is a smoke with the fume of sighs.
― William Shakespeare

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
― Oscar Wilde

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than hunger for bread.
― Mother Teresa

When love is not madness, it is not love.
― Petro Calderon de la Barca

In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.
― 
Erich Fromm


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Posted on Monday, 13 October 2014




There is more to life than increasing its speed.

All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.
 Andre Breton

Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.
 Sholom Aleichem

In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away
 Shing Xiong

A great attitude becomes a great day which becomes a great month which becomes a great year which becomes a great life.
 Mandy Hale


Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
 Dr. Seuss

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
 Joseph Campbell

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.
 Randall G Leighton

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.
 Soren Kierkegaard

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.
― Margaret Mitchell

At one point in your life, you will either have the thing you want or reasons why you don’t.
― Andy Roddick

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

Life is a succession of moments, to live each one is to succeed.
 Corita Kent

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
 Henry David Thoreau

Life is largely a matter of expectation.
 Horace


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Posted on Saturday, 11 October 2014






The only way to be friend is to be one.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
– Plutarch

Things are never quite as scary when you have a best friend.
 Bill Watterson

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself!
 
C.S. Lewis

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
 
Elbert Hubbard

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” 
 MarkTwain

That was what a best friend did: hold up a mirror and show you your heart. 
 Kristin Hannah

It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.
Marlene Dietrich

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
Aristotle

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
 
Friedrich Nietzsche

The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” 
 Bob Marley

True friendship is when you walk into their house and your WiFi connects automatically.
Author Unknown

True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.
– David Tyson Gentry

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.
– Samuel Butler

Friends are the family you choose.
– Jess C. Scott

There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.
― Jim Henson

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
Henry David Thoreau

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.
John Leonard

No road is long with good company.
Turkish Proverb

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.
― Helen Keller




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Posted on Thursday, 9 October 2014

continued from part 1part 2...

            

           ‘Prithvi Miyan.’ Qayoom bhai jolted me from the deep sleep I was in. It was later part of the morning till now. But the anxious look on the face of Qayoom bhai was not boding well for my future. ‘Agatha’, Qayoom bhai said with a sullen look; one that conveyed two things to me. One, that he was not sleeping last night, and second, that the morning was not as bright as I thought it would be, something was gravely wrong with Agatha.

‘What happened to her?’ I jumped off my bed immediately, running towards the bed of Agatha, looking all over the ward like a lunatic. She was not there in her bed. ‘Where the hell is she?’ A million swords of pain pierced through my heart as I jolted Qayoom bhai. My mind was sinking painfully down the darkest tunnel of everlasting misery as hundreds of ominous thoughts clouded my existence, threatening to tear it ruthlessly into the anarchy of hell. It appeared as the darkest horrors of time had braced themselves to unleash their ugliest face of vengeance upon me.

‘She had sudden violent attack of seizures this morning leading to unconsciousness’, Qayoom bhai explained, holding me by the shoulders. ‘She is currently in the ICU. Doctors say that she has gone into coma.’

‘Will she come back to consciousness?’ I asked him in despair.

‘Doctors aren’t very sure about that’, Qayoom bhai dropped his head as he said that, suggesting that opinion of doctors was far worse than he spoke.

I took off on my feet immediately, running towards the ICU as I hurled outside the ward, through the corridor as my heart threatened to burst out of my chest, tears rolled down my cheeks as my soul cried for justice.

I peered hurriedly through the glass pane as I reached outside the ICU. There she was, as calm as ever, sleeping in the lap of uncertainty without a tinge of worry on her face. Somehow, just seeing her through the window eased my pain drastically. The ever curious countenance that she possessed ensured me that wherever she was, she was alright.

Qayoom bhai came close to me as he placed his hand on my shoulders like an elder brother.

‘Do you think she loved me Qayoom bhai?’ I asked him as I peered at her beautiful face through the window.

‘From what I saw, it was nothing less than the hand of Allah himself. It couldn’t be anything other than love’ he said with a certainty that was missing from our lives for quite some time.

I hugged Qayoom bhai as tears kept on streaming. It wasn’t due to the pain only that the tears were rolling. It was something else that I couldn’t understand completely. Perhaps, it needed the perfect balance of one and a half expressions that Agatha had mastered to express what I was going through. And I was left handicapped without her.

*    *    *

  
I am Prithvi, and here I am, waiting for Agatha to come back to my life as I continue to love her in every moment that passes by. And giving me company as I sit beside her, are the three pearls that bejeweled the three hours of our togetherness. Therefore I have with me as I wait for her, a lifetime of love to give, the passion of hope to wait, and a promise that I never made!



*  A story by Deepak Kripal  *





Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.          -   E.E. Cummings



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continued from part 1

                     It was about the midnight when my sleep was disturbed as I felt someone brushing the hand on my chest. It got me scared like hell as I woke up immediately, throwing the veil of white sheet off my face in a flash.

‘I am not able to sleep. Can I talk to you?’ For my greatest surprise, it was the same crazy girl from the middle bed of the ward, asking me for a talk in the middle of the night.

‘What?’ I whispered with bewilderment as I looked around to see if anyone else was seeing. Humiliation was the last thing I was yearning for! Qayoom bhai was blessed with a death like sleep, and all I could hear in the dreadful silence of the ward was the snores that he was producing so effortlessly.

‘Please, I will go after sometime.’ She pleaded again, looking at me with those big enigmatic eyes of her.
‘Sister will go mad if she sees us talking in this hour of the night’, I reasoned to her, not able to work out myself whether that was a lead for a hesitant yes, or a courteous no.

‘I will slip under your bed sheet, and I’ll speak in low voice’, She said to me without any perceptible change of expressions.

‘What?’ All the residual fibers of sleep crawling leisurely across my disoriented brain dissolved at once. I clearly did not know what to say to that.

‘Please’, she arched her eyebrows just a wee bit as she requested me again.

‘Okay’, I was clueless about what was going on, and what should be done in such a situation. I conceded to her request nevertheless. I still don’t know what drove me to do so.

She immediately jumped on my bed from the left side which was towards the wall as she lay on the bed beside me under the cover of what I called as a predecessor of coffin, my white bed sheet! She was just far enough from me to manage not to touch me, but close enough to make me run for a zone of comfort.

‘Are your comfortable?’ She asked, lying in a side on position, and gazing straight into my eyes. I wasn’t sure if she mocked me by saying that, but she didn’t look like doing it.

‘I am comfortable’, I answered firmly, trying my situational best to sound as genuine as possible. I didn’t know whether she inquired about physical or mental discomfort, but as far as I was concerned, ‘no’ should have been the answer to both the questions. But for some remotely unknown reason, I did not say so. ‘What did you want to talk?’ I asked her gently.

‘What will you do if you get to know that you will die in few days?’

‘What?’ She surprised me yet again. Not that the question was alien to me, but it was just that I didn’t expect her to ask this so forthrightly. ‘You are not going to die. Are you?’ I said to her in order to avoid the question I had no answer for.

‘Of course I am’, she said with minimum fuss and absolutely no, what they call as, buildup!

‘What?’ She kept on playing with my, what I believed as, sane mind. ‘How do you know?’

‘I heard doctors speaking to each other.’

‘How long you got?’ I was counting my life on my fingers myself, so that was always going to be a relevant question as far as I was concerned. When you are dying, somehow, you get better at Math’s!

‘Doctors aren’t sure themselves, due to the complicated and unknown nature of my disease. One of them proposes a six to eight months prediction’, she said in her usual straight faced demeanor.

‘What about others?’ I don’t know why I would ask that!

‘They don’t guarantee a six days life with conviction.’
I was puzzled to see the ease with which she spoke her mind, free from any shackles of fear. ‘Aren’t you scared?’ I asked her out of my own curiosity, which I suppose was far less in magnitude than she was endowed with.

‘How do you get scared?’ She asked wearing the expressions of wonder, the only ones she had.

‘Oh my God!’ I heaved a deep breath. Predictability was the last thing one could associate with her. She continued to shake me to the core, reminding me simultaneously that I was talking to the furniture, with just one layer of expression painted on its surface - curiosity, bordered by a bit of wonder. ‘You must be wary of being dead’, I rephrased my question to her, with the hope that she will pick the clue.

‘Oh, I am absolutely looking forward to it’, she said. There was this childlike twinkle in those big curious eyes of hers, and I would be lying if I say that I was not falling for them.

‘What?’ She shocked me with every single word she said. A beautiful girl sleeping beside me, uttering the most inexplicable things of life with minimal set of expressions; I couldn’t believe it was happening indeed.  ‘What did you say you are looking forward to?’ I asked her yet again, just in case I heard it wrong!

‘Death’, she was as certain as the product she was talking about. The simplicity and ease with which she said that turned my life upside down. I asked myself whether it was the same thing that I feared every single moment of my life from the time I was diagnosed. I begun to question my life, rather than my death as was the case till now. Was I using the rest of my life to mourn my death? I didn’t have the answers.

‘Why you look forward to it?’ I asked her curiously, trying to search my own answers within the range of one and a half expressions that she possessed. My uneasiness had gone. She had jolted me with her simplicity, however pathologic it was.

‘Why?’ I asked restlessly. I couldn’t wait to hear. It was like God had come to me Himself.

‘To know’, she replied instantly. The two words she said seemed to be the goal of her life. It was puzzling why there was this unmistakable certainty in the way she was uncertain about things!

‘What is to know about it?’ I could only wonder.

‘What happens thereafter? I want to know that. I wonder if there is another life, may be of a different kind, or I may get a chance to sit beside God, or to meet my Mom, make friends with the angels, or I might be able to feel there. I keep wondering when I think about the possibilities that seem to be endless.’
It was not what she said per se, but the way that she said it struck me like a thunderbolt. It was beyond doubt that she actually believed in those so called endless possibilities. Though I didn’t believe in her, but looking into those big black eyes of her, I couldn’t resist the temptation of wanting to believe in her. There was something about her that was so mesmerizingly convincing.

‘Will you make me fall in love?’ She said with the same gentle ease and candour, not even caring to blink those big eyes.

‘What do you mean?’ I was shocked! It was getting beyond my mind now, as it had begun to churn my soul. It was strange, as real like a nightmare, and as unreal like a dream! There was only one thing I was sure about, the more I talked to her, the less I knew of her.

‘I have come to know during my life time that love is the closest it can get to being blessed. I want to feel the love before I die and get blessings from the God.’
‘How can I do that?’ I wondered. ‘Doctors say you can’t feel anything.’

‘Please.’ She placed her left hand on my shoulder as she tried to peer deep into my eyes. There was such unadulterated innocence and honesty in her touch that it not only stirred the length and breadth of my body with the whole array of its emotions, but it thoroughly melted my heart with its omnipotent whirlwind, cleansing my scars with its love, washing my soul with its exemplary warmth. It was strange how the touch of someone who could not feel more than one and a half emotions stormed me with a tornado of emotions.

And I just helplessly gave in to her. That was the moment! A moment I realized that my life was no longer mine, it belonged to her. I was touched by a power that could not be human. It had to be something more powerful; may be love, for it felt no less than a blessing.

‘Let me tell you a story’, I said to her, turning my body to her side, caressing my hands through her forehead. It did not feel like the first time to me. She felt so much of my own, like it was just another night that I was talking to her. All the doubts clouding my mind had been drenched away. I was never so sure about my life, never so happy with myself, and death, it was no longer a threat to me.

I did not know how I will ever make her feel my love. So I began my pursuit with the one and a half feelings that she could feel, a world of curiosity mixed with a bit of wonder. The night was not dark to me anymore, for I was shimmering with an unknown yet definite brightness. I was ready for a journey that was so full of life, beginning from this very moment. And I started telling her all the interesting stories that I had ever heard, looking deep into her eyes as they grew in wonder, appreciating the faintest of changes in expressions, brushing my hand gently across her cheek, pampering her like a child of mine, wondering if she could feel even a single drop of the ocean that had taken my life for the ride of a lifetime.
She endured for two or three of my stories before she went deep into the realm of sleep. I kept watching her as she slept beside me, with her hand still placed firmly on my shoulder, and my love for her grew only larger by the night, evoking hundreds of smiles that continued to defy all the reasons I never cared to think about.

I gently placed her on her bed before the first ray of light could strike the world. It was a new life that was about to begin for me. So I lay on my bed with a content smile, immersed in the swirling tempest of love, driving my way to my newly found dream world with the first stroke of sunlight.

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The Curious Girl: Chapter 3
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                              I was never very fond of the shades they used in the hospitals to create the so called ‘soothing influence’ on the psyche of the patients. The influence it ever left on me was anything but calming. Air tight enclosed wards flooded with air conditioners choked my very desire to breathe. The extremes of cleanliness all over the place threatened to erase every single memory of my childhood in a flash. ‘White’ was a symbol a peace for me before they incarcerated me into the confines of oil painted, well polished white walls they brazenly called as hospital ward.

The ‘white’ did not limit itself to the walls; the uniform they wore, the bed sheets they so warmly provided us with, the paint they used on the iron rods of the minimally designed bed, the equipments they stuffed in our throats or pierced our skin with. It was hard to see a thing bereft of white, the shade they devotedly called as the colour of compassion. Though only purpose it served was reminding repeatedly to me that death was ever so near, denying me the access to even a single moment of what normal people called as hope. But for all their obsession with white, they installed those green coloured curtains everywhere, shutting off every single window with precision, stifling every single urge that originated in some isolated dark corner of my heart trying to make me feel that I am like other normal individuals. And amid all this, the sky blue uniform they gave us to wear found itself wretchedly helpless to convey anything but ‘white’!

Anyway, I am Prithvi, a 28 year old man, a patient at a premier government psychiatric hospital. I have lung cancer. Smoking is not as cool anymore as it appeared 10 years ago.  Doctors say I might not be able to see this Christmas; not that I am very religious! Well, it's January at present. Quite a pleasant month for many; not for me! I am not in a psychiatric ward for cancer of course. It is due to the darkness so graciously associated with my life that I am here. Darkness has been my favorite shade for quite some time now, for it mingles with my life with ridiculous ease. They call it depression, the doctors.

It’s a small five bed ward they have confined me to. My bed is on the leftmost side of the room, with four other beds on my right giving way to the large white coloured door of the ward. The two patients on rightmost two beds didn’t talk to anyone. Sisters told me that one of them was having this delusion of persecution making him to suspect every person’s intentions as suspicious. Any sane person would have labeled him as the most suspicious in the lot. But then, it was not meant to be a place for sane people! One could always question the definition of sanity, if they had any. Anyway, the other one she told me was supposedly a patient of obsessive compulsive disorder. He was relatively happy in the neat and clean environs of the ward, but he did not care to spare a moment for a talk. I wasn’t keen to talk to anyone either. So, that was perfectly okay to me.

The bed on my immediate right was occupied by Qayoom Siddique whom I called as Qayoom bhai, a middle aged individual who was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after he witnessed a violent riot in his home town some two months ago. He looked quite normal to me now. He was the ‘only’ person who would talk to me, well, before something happened!

A girl was transferred to my ward two days ago. Her name was Agatha. She was about my age or thereabout. Long face, fair complexion, big eyes, shoulder length dense black straight hair, thick voluminous perfectly carved out lips, she had everything an average Indian girl would ever strive for, barring one thing, expressions. Her facial expressions communicated very little, if any, about her ongoing mental state. It was amazing how her face expressed the lack of expressions so profoundly!

She had a cancer of mysterious origin. Doctors opined that she was a case of multiple mutations. They assumed that the origin of her cancer lay in her genes, supposedly due to mutations in some crucial segments of her genetic wiring. It was complicated, to say the least. There was something strange about her. She did not feel anything, neither good nor bad. Doctors said that it might be due to the anomaly that she had in her genetic chip. They were trying to find out the exact reason behind her strange behavior. They called her 'The Curious Girl', for she didn't feel either negative or positive about things. She didn't love or hate. She just remained curious. Patients in the ward thought that she was just another crazy girl. I wasn’t entirely sure if they were wrong!

She came to me on the very first evening as she asked the reason for my hospitalization. ‘It was due to the darkness that surrounds me’ I said.

'Darkness amazes me too’, she replied in her gentle, slow and soothing voice. ‘The other day I was sleeping and I woke up due to some noise. I tried to find out where it was coming from. Suddenly a rat bustled from a dark corner of the room towards the window and the bright rays of moonlight coming from the window fell on it. And there it was. I found the reason behind the disturbing noise’, she said with the curiosity of a child, at least that was one expression she could flaunt. ‘But I could not sleep for the rest of the night’, she continued. ‘I was taken by the magic of darkness. It is amazing how darkness absorbs the existence of things and turns them to nothingness. I wonder if darkness is as powerful as brightness. I kept on thinking about it the whole night and couldn't stop wondering why. I still wonder.' 

I was awestruck, taken aback completely by her weird observation. Of course it did not conform to mine by a large distance, but she had stirred my clogged cognitive facilities with her strikingly strange thought process.

I didn’t say a thing to her after that, just kept on looking on those big eyes of her, wondering why they saw things so differently. She looked back into my eyes with a deep rooted curiosity that defied every logic I ever knew of, and definitely the social norms laid down by our ‘sane’ society regarding first meeting with anyone stranger. Qayoom bhai looked at us while we were staring into each other’s eyes like lunatics, justifying our presence in the attendance registers of the mental ward. He broke the continuity and alignment of my gaze as he coughed a couple of times, not even pretending to suggest that it was natural. I broke the eye contact immediately that was threatening to hypnotize me. She turned around immediately without saying another word, making her way to the middle bed of the ward, on the righter side of Qayoom bhai, preparing to go to sleep.

‘Prithvi Miyan, what was happening there?’ Qayoom bhai couldn’t resist his temptation to ask as he whispered to me.

‘I don’t know.’ I replied him politely.

‘Stay away from the girl’, Qayoom bhai muttered ever so slightly. ‘Either she is a crazy girl or a witch’, he warned me with the authority of an elder brother, wearing some fine lines of unambiguous suspicion on his lean, wrinkled and well shaven face.
‘Yes, I will’, I said to him with utmost respect.

‘Time for talking is over. It’s time to sleep’, one of the sisters, who was doing the rounds of the ward said to us with her flashy smile as she caught us whispering to each other. It was hard to differentiate between a hospital ward and a prison. Both snatched away the freedom in the name of welfare. Meanwhile, both of us obliged her without delay, not that we had a choice!  We prepared to sleep, instantly pushing the fettered envelopes of white bed sheets across our deserted faces.

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The Curious Girl: Chapter 2
The Curious Girl: Chapter 3
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