Saturday, August 4, 2012

Let The Stranger Alone IV

The villagers looked at the house with suspicion but were too afraid of the Englishman. The house meanwhile would occasionally erupt in bizarre spectacle. Strong ritualistic happenings added to its already formidable aura of horror. Dogs wouldn’t bark around the house, the goats would stop in their gait stand still in terror. Then one wing of the house burned down completely. The villagers rushed to help with water but the ghostly Englishman came out with gun, fired in air and frightened them off. Thereafter the house was remained completely inert. It is now more than fifty years, nobody knows if the Englishman or his wife is still alive, no one saw any corpse taken out of the house. .. ..

Some villagers reported sighting of a pale and weak Englishman walking through the riverbed a gun slung over his shoulder at the dead of night. Once he disappears, a short exotic woman follows his footstep some distance then disappears. But this could be imagination of these excitable villagers.

This summer E Babu was in the village. He had come here earlier as an immature young man, an immensely gullible fellow. Then stories of mystery house excited him as well as terrified him. Now equipped with his knowledge of the world and as a rational thinker he rejected the mystery about the house with utter scorn. For him it was just an abandoned house; the spic and span condition of house was imagination of the villagers. During the evening gossiping, the matter of the mystery house came up for discussion at which E Babu silenced them with declaration, I will visit the house at the dead of night and settle the mystery once for all”.

Everyone looked at him shocked silence. An old fellow from the village counseled, “teri mat to nahiN maari gai hai!” which E Babu ignored.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Buddha Was Right And Wrong

 Once we are born and acquire some sense of life, our focus remains fixed on survival. Once survival becomes trivial then focus shifts to preserving life but when this also becomes trivial we move to other objectives in life like deviations into succeeding in our chosen vocation or in commerce, art, philosophy and through them peer recognition. One spin-off of this endeavor is acquiring the fittest companion for mating in a competitive society. But at more mature age we look at death critically and try to think of ways to deal with it. Death appears to us as a frightening eventuality since it undoes everything we have done all our life; it simply kills all our devices to keep the life going.  Death appears to us as a dark mystery we know nothing about with our first hand knowledge therefore the horror it evokes. Everything about it is speculative though some of the wisdom coming from sources we hold in very high esteem; it still is not firsthand knowledge. Most of us are lazy enough to accept the handed down wisdom coming from religion about meaning of life. But, is the faith in this wisdom enough convincing? I think we do not have unshakable conviction in our faith, if we do, the thought will penetrate our subconscious and kill the mystery of death. After all mystery of death is creation of our subconscious.

Buddha for instance was not satisfied with the accepted view of his time therefore embarked on a quest to unravel meaning of life so that he can understand death. Buddha found an explanation for life and his conviction about it was deep. So deep that it penetrated his subconscious therefore death appeared no more mysterious. Buddha was right in finding a meaning for his life but he was wrong in prescribing the same meaning to everyone. It doesn’t work; we are individuals and have our own subconscious that creates a spell around death. To penetrate that spell we have to find our meaning, a powerful meaning so convincing that it penetrates our subconscious and breaks the spell cast by it. Once we can do that we will be at peace. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Let The Stranger Alone III

The mysterious Englishman wouldn’t interact with the villagers. There was no point; the villagers wouldn’t have understood him. The man remained aloof but respected village ethos, would not intrude in temple activity. The disinterest suited the villagers, who were anyway in no condition to challenge him. Only once he came to the temple, watched the deity curiously for a long time, then walked away without bothering to look at the worshippers. Once he came out of the house and fired from his gun in anger when villagers were performing some noisy ‘Puja’. Gun shots quietened them. Thereafter the villagers were careful not to make too much noise in their celebrations. Villagers always had fanciful stories about the white man mostly painting him in bad light. But the woman, the Bakki, wouldn’t come out of house. She was the butt of their ire yet evoked a sense terror being a clairvoyant. The mysterious woman remained aloof, talked only to Madan Bhai. Some years after the Englishman’s marriage the villagers began to hear noise of violent quarrels emanating from the mystery house. Much they would have liked to hear the details but the fear of the English man kept them away from the house. Then the quarrels stopped altogether instead complete silence greeted them.
       The Englishman came out one afternoon. He was a changed man, a poor copy of old self; a mere skeleton around which a layer of skin was grafted, eyes sunken into its sockets altogether a ghostly image. He briefly walked around the house then disappeared into the house.

Then children from villages began to disappear……………

Will be contd.