Chapter 4: Ruminations and Revelations

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He stared helplessly as they wheeled him into the cold, bright room. He could not move, strapped to the moving contraption below him. His last thoughts as the lights dimmed, were that by Wednesday he had to be there, because he was so close to achieving it all.

The mother and father stared at each other in stunned silence. Their son, the star of the team, their brave boy would never play the game again. The father cried silent tears, forcing himself not to think of the future. His wife looked back at him, stoic and determined. She would be strong; she would be the one to carry them out this time. She remembered how her resolute husband had patiently fed her for two weeks when she had been in shock at her father’s death. He had held them together then.

Friends and family stood around the whole night, a silent vigil for the boy who had given them hope, who had given them reason to rejoice. The quiet town of Faithsworth had no sense of identity, being a place of no real interest, as they had never produced anyone of renown. How incredibly the coming of this anomaly of nature had changed that. The boy had taken the world by storm, and it seemed that fate had played a cruel joke on them.

As the lights came back into focus, he blinked. The harsh light was a garish reminder of the ordeal his body had been subjected to, and the free-falling curve of his life. Deep within him there was a void, and as panic enveloped him he went back into shock. Acutely aware of every single moment, he felt the seizure catch up to him, envelope him and consume him. There was a haze of shouting he could vaguely remember, and then silence.

She had not seen him for a week. She was surprised. She never remembered anyone, and yet she had noticed the lack of his presence. Her fleeting memory of him was replaced by the incandescent curve of the leaves falling to the ground, each following their own path, each strumming to the rhythm of nature – carefree, not careless. Her otherworldly musing was put on hold as she heard the crunching sounds behind her. Inexplicably, she smiled.

He looked at her for a while, not moving. He had missed it, and he had struggled to be there. As his world had gone into a downward spiral since the incident two weeks ago, everything had turned upside down. But she was here, as she always had been. He sat next to her, not too close. She didn’t move or make any sign of recognition; she didn’t acknowledge his presence at all.

He looked where she was looking, and wished once again that he could see what she could. As the overwhelming urge to unravel her identity enveloped him, he was surprised by how strongly he felt about it. He picked at some of the leaves, suddenly unsure and inwardly laughed at himself. He was startled as she took hold of his hand and steadied him. He inwardly cursed. Haltingly, he apologised for the unnecessary shredding of grass. He wondered how she had known, but then after two years of correspondence, she had not said a word and he hardly knew her.

He thought back to their first meeting. He had jumped the gate to skip classes and run into the woods. It was the first time he had been to this part of town. It was away from the fields, and that was his life, in the stadium, amidst cheering fans. Looking behind to ensure he was not noticed, he almost ran into her. She had not flinched as he had come charging at her. In fact, he had wondered then, she had not taken any notice of him at all. He had looked where her eyes had seemingly been at, somewhere far off and gasped. He saw a beautiful stream, with the sunlight peeking through the trees and casting off a rich array of colours. It was breath taking, and he was moved. So he had sat next to her, almost at the same place as they were now. As he attempted to start some sort of conversation, he realised she was not listening. She had continued to look beyond, to a place he could not reach. He had left then.

 

Since then, every week he had returned to find her there, and they shared the happy silence together. He spoke sometimes, telling her about this and that, asking her questions and never receiving an answer. She never left before he did, something he found odd. He had been determined one day to sit there till she left, determined to follow her and find out more about her. He did not know what it was about her, but he even told her of his plans. That was the only time he had elicited a response out of her. She had looked at him and smiled.

As he struggled to bring himself back to reality, he noticed that there was something different about her today. The peaceful expression she usually put on was not there. He could sense the unease. Thinking nothing of it, he found himself immensely relieved that she, at least had remained as he always remembered her. Quiet, serene, staring out into the world as if her mere existence was questionable. He found that it was easy to talk to her. She was a great listener.

He found himself telling her about the last two weeks, about the horrific accident and how it had ended his career. He found it hard to go on, but it was helping him. He felt as if he was siphoning off a huge burden, letting go of his past. He told her of the pain, of the town’s expectations, of his worried parents. He told her of his disappointment and his anger. He found that once he had started, he could not stop. As another realisation slowly started to emerge, he found himself gently starting to heal. Having told her everything, he fell silent.

Somewhere in the distance, the sun was setting. It was getting late, and he had never been here so late. As he got up to go, determined that next time he’d stay, he noticed a blazing fire in her eyes. He stopped midway, wondering if he’d imagined it. Shaking his head, he dusted his jeans and started to walk back slowly.

“The horizon. I wish I could go back to the horizon. It’s a beautiful place.” He stood still, stunned. Almost disbelievingly, he turned back. Looked at her. Her posture had not changed, and she was not looking at him. He did not move, afraid he would break whatever cosmic spell had brought about this reversal of his fortunes. She slowly turned around, looked at him and smiled.

He thought back to all the time that he had known her, how she had mirrored his rise and fall. How she had broken through to him as he had tried so hard to break through to her. He closed his eyes; afraid she would see his frailty. The tears seeped out, and he steadied himself.

She was not there, and somehow that captured the beauty of it. He did not know what to make of it, and he knew he would never tell anyone. He instinctively knew he would never see her again, but he was happier than he had ever been.

All was well.

 

– Sundeep Goswami

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Chapter 3: Rifting

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It’s always the same, a series of isolated incidents that come together in an inexplicable manner and suddenly there is a mind shift. I may be absorbed in any of the everyday mundane tasks we all indulge in, when it suddenly grabs a hold of my imagination and sends it soaring.

I know where I am, I know where it is I want to reach, but it’s the getting there that I used to struggle with. Now, I wait patiently for inspiration to strike, always fully believing that everything I do is slowly guiding me towards the right path. And it comes together beautifully, as if my mind already knew it all along. Several bits of the path become clear, and suddenly the connecting link brings it all together and helps me push on. That’s how I Rift, and it’s the travelling on these chains that I call Rifting.

It’s an important time for me. The sudden flush of ideas can be overwhelming, and I have to ensure I channel it in a sustained manner so that it overextends to a point beyond where I thought I wanted to be. We all go through it, but once you become aware of it, its unreal. I guess most people would call this growing, but I feel differently. Growing is a natural phenomenon, but as I’ve become attuned to Rifting, I feel that I can control these moments and obtain more out of it. It becomes a tangible, controllable part of me, which I can guide in the direction I want it to go. To draw parallels people can relate with, think of a Nitro boost in car racing games you HAVE to use when you get it. It makes you faster, but you control the car.

I’m struggling to recognize how it originates, but it exists in bursts. It might be from something I see, some dream I have, some line I read or something I hear someone say. I don’t consciously catch onto it at that very moment, but at an unrelated time later on, several of these moments will come together and send through me a shockwave which gives me the “creative juices” I need to write.

However, I don’t want people to think that it is “luck” or that “it happens to a few”. No. It is because I am mentally, subconsciously attuned to it. I am aware it can happen, so I stockpile things like this. A leaf flying in the wind, it flies in a unique manner. It doesn’t follow a pre-designated trajectory. I imagine music flows like an invisible river, and Nature allows leaves to ride it. Or so I tell myself. The world to me is more than three-dimensional. I keep myself open to any and every possibility, at all stages in life. The more I absorb, the more I understand. Maybe not in a manner that I can directly apply in day-to-day scenarios, but the brain remembers. And imagination connects. I make connections between things wholly unrelated, and then in the wonderful alternate world of dreams, I let my imagination free to spin something out of it.

I may be an adrenaline junky, I don’t know. I love the rush I experience in the crunch moments of a Harry Potter or Eragon book, an anime, TV shows, and sports. The thrill is something that intrigues me. All this became real for me sometime in the eight standard when I made a fearful discovery. It has taken me eight years to work up the courage to write this article.

See, the thing is – I used to depend on externalities to give meaning to my life. Whether it is debating, sports or ideating, I indulged in those activities simply to sample the Essence of Euphoria once more. My English teacher had asked us to write about an ideal lunch. Just for the laughs (I enjoyed making my friends laugh, so I usually treated the Compositions set to us as a mode for writing hilarious things), instead of focusing on a picturesque lunch in an ideal setting, I focused on who I’d like to have lunch with. Albus Dumbledore. Yup. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian frikkin Dumbledore. I submitted that. Everyone had a good laugh, but deep inside I was uneasy. I laughed along with them, but my mind was in overdrive.

Usually I’m talkative, but as I was writing this piece, I became more and more quiet. Because inside, I felt this overriding sensation. I had experienced my first Rifting episode, which involved nothing and no one, expect me, a blank piece of paper and some ink. I loved it. I loved that I could control it, that I could create it and that all I needed was the wonderful world in my head to get there (am I crazy?) That was it for me really. That’s where I come from, that tiny class assignment.

What’s next for me? Making history.

– Sundeep Goswami

CHAPTER 2: THEORY OF RELATIVITY

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No, I’m not Einstein. Physics definitely isn’t my forte. However, the beauty of the English language allows me to propound my own theory on the subject, simply because of the generic nature of this mellifluous word.

Relativity essentially means “with respect to”. The scope of this word is vast, and on careful introspection I’ve found it to have a diaspora of meanings which helps me keep things in perspective- and my feet firmly on the ground. The last two years have been a revelation for me. I’ve made it a point to take part in a lot of different activities and achieved a modicum of success. This has led to several pleasing conversations revolving around my achievements. I’m going to be honest, it feels really good. However, I cannot allow myself to lose sight of the end objective. A sense of satisfaction dulls the sharp hunger that comes with the want to be successful, and I find it imperative to remind myself that I have not capped my potential.

I want to grow. I want to learn. I have yet to achieve something that I can acknowledge as a benchmark of sorts. This brings me to the core topic. I understand that success is a subjective term and thus open to several different views. I will attempt to put forth mine.

Theory: Success should lead to happiness and a sense of satisfaction. Success should serve as the platform for future successes. Success should not curb an individual’s ability to explore their abilities further. The scale for judging said success should be personal in nature.

Success does not present itself to anyone, gift wrapped and unexpected. One has to work for it, incessantly and laboriously. Success should not be the goal; success should be the result of trying to attain a predetermined objective. As I’ve said before, I consider the existential purpose of all sentient beings to be value addition. If there is a general consensus regarding the same, then success will automatically be attained by those who add the most value to any activity.

Success should lead to happiness and a sense of satisfaction. We all indulge in activities to attain this end objective. Let us consider the following 2 scenarios:

The Traditional Path – This has been indoctrinated into us since we were capable of “rational” thinking. Study hard -> Get a job -> which will result in monetary gains coupled with creature comforts ->/ Social status -> Happiness and satisfaction.

The Non-Traditional Path – Do what you believe is right for you. Be different. Value your skill set, the world will value you. Prioritize happiness and satisfaction in your everyday activity, it will lead to success.

What we notice is that at the end of the day, we all want to be happy. Our generation is heavily influenced by the hippie revolution, which asks us to focus on us. Honestly speaking, I like that ideology. The happier I am with myself, the happier I will be with the world around me. What works for me, works for me because I am me. I am not the PR agent for World Peace, and this is not an attempt on my part to put across my views on the topic of a single global anthem replacing all “National” anthems. Honest. However, feel free to “IMAGINE” how neat it would be if such an ideal piece of literature did exist.  All the “JOHN” Doe’s and Jane Doe’s of this world would get along much better.

Success should serve as the platform for future successes. The attainment of an objective should not result in a person abandoning the pursuit of new dreams. That would be counter-productive. Seriously, if you’ve been fortunate enough to obtain the one thing in life that you wanted, consider yourself lucky. Most people don’t get even that. Use this miraculous opportunity to dream again, and work towards it. Fate has already proven it favors you, don’t waste it. Dream big, but break it up into smaller parts. When you achieve the small bits, it serves as positive re-enforcement. That matters. Telling yourself that you’ve done well matters a lot. I cannot stress on this enough.

Success should not curb an individual’s ability to explore their abilities further. One thing about success which people do not acknowledge is the negative aspect of it. The term has always been portrayed in such a positive manner, the flip side is known only to those who achieve it. While the common masses wonder why certain “successful” people make certain choices (just take a look at our main stream celebrities), they cannot fathom that success can be bad. Success is restrictive, be careful. Success can really hit a person’s creativity and ability to express oneself. We are trapped in the world we are successful in, simply because of how society expects us to conduct ourselves post success. The thought of exploring a new field of expertise can be harrowing, simply because of our own expectations. Our thoughts on society’s reaction on our not amassing the same level of success in our newly chosen field deters us from choosing a new field. This makes a successful person one dimensional and unhappy. Losing anonymity is often the biggest hurdle to breakthroughs.

The scale for judging said success should be personal in nature. This is the final bit of my theory. It may seem advisory in nature, but should be viewed factually. While I write “should be”, the ideal word would be “is”. However, as I do not believe in imposing my thoughts on anyone, I leave it up to the reader. The power of perception; an engaging topic in itself.

Since I have tried sincerely to correlate success with happiness, it logically follows suit that setting our own goals, without allowing society’s expectations to influence it will be the most pure scale of judgement. Remember, success leads to happiness. Any individual’s end objective is to be happy. The best way of attaining said happiness is by attaining predetermined goals. The setting of achievable goals is best done by introspection, not expectation.

To end things on a personal note, I believe all my achievements up to date are a part of something bigger and better, not an end unto itself. I will keep telling myself that till my last breath, because only then will I be able to optimise value addition, which any sentient being should make their top priority, as I’ve stated before.

 Cheers!

Sundeep Goswami

Rise – From the Ashes

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Emotions clashing, nigh on passion

Radiant moonlight, unwavering horizon

Clandestine thoughts, forever more

Roaring ,raging, surging forth.

 

A parallel journey, the unsung plight

Resonates, rebounds, the woeful night.

Unaccepted, unwanted, a beleaguered sore,

Bleeding, dying, at Demise’s door.

 

Burning flames lick wounds from hell

Ashes and gashes, the Devil’s knell.

To not fight the end, rejoice wondrous life

Accede and accept, attain true sight.

 

Demise’s embrace, a flawed policy,

Her soothing promises, Man’s fallacy.

To begin at the end, feel revived

Restoration, regeneration, recreated Divine.

 

Rise, fly, burn belligerently bright

Defy reason, scale Wuthering Heights.

A deluge of thoughts, a barrage of disdain

Rise from the Ashes, conquer Pain.

 

Victorious relief, celebration unbound

Unconquered symphony, eloquently bound.

Remember the beginning, it began at the end

Forget not the journey, start again.

Chapter 1: And So It Begins…

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What do I want?

I want to write a book. It’s a new adventure.  I’m trying sincerely – for the first time in my life. For once, I care. I want that to show. So I did some research, because research is hard work, and hard work means you care, and that shows right?

The process has been in place for a while now. It started with Harry Potter, continued with Eragon and is on-going with Percy Jackson. I know I’ve thought incessantly about that prized Hogwarts’ letter, and I’m not the only one (I wouldn’t say no to a Riptide either). What would my magical adventure have been like? It’s my turn to pen it down. I hope my work is marginally as interesting as those I’ve mentioned.

Why do I write?

When I write, I’m looking to inspire the next generation of readers. I want them to go through the same wonder and mystery we went through with Harry Potter. It’s an experience and euphoric feeling no one should miss out on. If I can just recreate a bit of what JK Rowling did for me, I’ll be… if not satisfied, at least comforted knowing I gave it a shot. Not doing so would be equivalent to criminal injustice for me. I hope my attempt at doing so will put across my sincerity.

My Opinion

Written pieces are thoughts. I believe my thoughts matter. Structuring them is important; it’s also overwhelming. There are several books out there which are written about how writing needs to be approached – and they too, are overwhelming. Rules, put across as tips are meant to guide us. But as a dewy-eyed innocent babe puts absolute faith in its mother, the tips become laws and the guiding hand becomes a monitoring finger. Laws are restrictive. Writing is freedom. Noble though the venture is, a multitude of opinions and the quagmire of advice make me believe my thoughts are defunct, my thinking process is obtuse and that it will not work.

I start believing my thoughts don’t matter. Notice the self-doubt creep in? My belief has changed, and it didn’t take much to change it. Does this show lack of purpose? Do I not have the courage to trust myself? I defy those who think so. I am trying. The steps may be small, but I am charting my own course, finding my own Brave New World.

Writing this is helping me. I realised that trying to conform was robbing me of my ingenuity.  If I say what others want me to say, then I am irrelevant. Where in my writing does my originality, my presence, my proof of existence lie? What was the purpose I started out with? The purity of purpose should not be marred by a deluge of lofty thoughts.  So I breathe.

I have decided to keep it simple. I will begin at the beginning. I will write what I feel. I will not look up how to write and I will trust my process.

 I have read. I have been inspired. It is my turn to inspire.

Sundeep Goswami

Redefining Limits

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You set out, you step out, you do it every day.
Have you ever considered – simply breaking away?
The monotony, life’s symphony, mundane it may seem,
Ever dared to be different? To dream a dream?

Some people have, and succeeded too.
Fought the good fight, and been left marooned.
Did they give up? Drop the proverbial flag?
No, they struggled, and gave it all that they had.

Celebrate them, berate them, but ignore them you cannot
For vision and belief, is in them innately wrought.
Today is the day, and now is the time
To give them the podium, and let them unwind.

Redefining the world is what they set out to do
In their small way, a big change did they woo.
And now we yell “huzzah”, and toast them success,
Is there a better time, to follow their footsteps?

Sundeep Goswami

Soul Searching

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After some trepidation, a little hesitation,
I set out to search for my soul
After some stumbling, a lot of confounded fumbling,
There started to emerge my goal.

I set myself a-thinking, I had a slight inkling
As to where lay my goal
I had to look inside, confess and not hide
To find my elusive soul.

I thought things of import, reasons why I sought
To find what lay in my soul
The reasons I found, did me more confound
And I wondered what lay at my goal.

Was I good? Was I just?
Did the answers lay at my goal?
What path would I take? What would I put at stake?
Would I… be able to face my soul?

I found it! I did, it lay in front of me
An unopened Pandora’s box
Curious was I, and with a nervous sigh
I looked at my goal, my soul.

The moment was here, momentous too
I was about to face myself
Based on my glances, I’d rate my chances
And bet on heaven or hell.

I opened the box, tremendous shock!
It was too early to tell
I’m living my life, what unnecessary strife!
This project will be my knell.

Sundeep Goswami