Chapter 1. The Box in the Cupboard

While he was sifting through the dusty contents of a cupboard in the storage room, he found a rectangular wooden box the size of his palm. It looked very old. He shook the box. No sound.

It had a key placed inside the keyhole. He turned the key, opened the lid and looked inside. A pair of curious brown eyes were looking back at him. They were his own. The bottom surface inside the box was a mirror. “It is just an ordinary box”, he thought, “I’d better get back to searching for the thing I’ve come here for.”

He turned the key to lock the box. The key turned but there was no audible ‘click’ that indicated the lock falling in place. “It’s probably broken”, he muttered to himself, while trying to see if he could still lift the lid. The lid opened without resistance and he peered inside. He staggered back while letting out a cry of surprise that was halfway between a scream and a gasp.

A pair of eyes were staring back at him. This time, they weren’t his. These eyes were green, there were tears running down them. He realised that there was a faint noise coming from the box. In a second, the noise became loud and clear as his momentarily panicked heart slowed and the blood thumping in his ears quietened.

The sound that was coming from the box was no noise. It was a song. The voice sounded weak and melancholic. Like those watery green eyes staring back at him.

“…. and I surrendered my heart,
When you said I was the inspiration behind your art,
The glorious murals you painted,
The marvelous sculptures you wrought.

You said it was my unrelenting love for you
That kept you from the addiction of draught,
The artist that you truly are in your heart,
You said only I saw it when no one else spared you a thought.

I’ve always revelled in your creations,
The knife that bled in your paintings,
I marvelled at the colour of blood and the glint in the steel,
While never realising it was a weapon you’d later use on me.

Hands shaking, he shut the box. He could no longer hear the song. He was not sure what just happened. Was it some sort of a music box? But what about those eyes? They were not his! How could a mirror show eyes that do not belong to the person looking into it?

He put the box back on the cupboard and wiped the sweat off his forehead. But curiosity is a peculiar thing. “Men have given in to curiosity in far more perilous situations than this”, he thought, giving in to curiosity. He picked the box up and turned the key to the left, trying to see if the lock would work the second time. There was no audible sound again. He gently lifted the top, preparing to see those green eyes and hear their sad song. Instead, he found a pair of bright, brown eyes of a little girl staring at him. There was innocent merriment in them. The song from the box felt different too. It was sweet and cheerful.

“… round and round and round he ran,
Chasing his own curly tail,
His ears majestically flapping,
His feet left the fallen autumn leaves rustling.

I called to him, “You cute stupid dog,
It’s your own tail you are running after,”
He stopped and looked at me as if he meant to say,
“You are just jealous because you don’t have a tail yourself.”

I fell down laughing,
As it got back to chasing its tail,
I think he had run around himself for a mile.
Aaah! What incredibly innocent and adorable creatures dogs are.

The soothing voice went on with its song. He stared into the eyes in the box. “How very different from the sorrowful eyes he saw earlier”, he mused, lifting the box up to examine it more closely.

He hadn’t seen any markings on the top or on the front of the box. He closed it, shutting out the song and turned it over.

On the bottom surface of the box were etched the following words:
“Vault of Unsung Songs”

Below these words were two letters:

It might be the signature of the box’s creator. The letters were so faintly carved that it was as if he or she was reluctant to claim this strange, magical box as their own creation.

Introvert In A Concert

Page was caught lying in the garden one fine morning. Now, Page was not a waste paper or a paper torn from some book. He was a 14 year old boy named Michael Page. And when I say he was caught lying in the garden, I don’t mean lying as in ‘he was rolling on the grass’. He was on his phone, talking to someone and apparently, lying about something.

“I really am sick. I have a running nose, fever and moreover I am feeling weak. I really can’t make it….. Yes, thanks for understanding.”

He ended the call and turned to go back inside. Only, he found himself staring at his father who had come out of the house while he was on the call.

“Why were you lying about being sick, Michael? And was it Andrea on the phone?”

“Errr. Yes.”

“Okay, but why were you lying about being sick?”

“She called to ask me if I could tag along with a few friends to some concert she bought tickets for.”

“Well, that sounds like a good idea. Common, Michael. It is a weekend, go out with your friends and have some fun.”

“Hehe! Dad, you know me. You know how I feel about going out with friends. I can handle it if it is just 4 or 5 of us. But any group bigger than that, it makes me anxious, nervous and irritable. I don’t enjoy such gatherings. It has also something to do with the shit people talk when they get together. Utter non-sense and unimportant shit!” Continue reading “Introvert In A Concert”

The Illusion Of Ocean’s Calm

troubled mind lured by,
illusion of ocean’s calm,
peace, a tragic quest

This week’s prompt at Haiku Horizons is calm.

Sometimes, when my mind is troubled, I feel like running away into wilderness, away from the everyday things and people that make my heart race with anxiety and doubt, emptiness and anger. My mind wanders off into thoughts about how restless I am. How unsettled I am. How every time I long for peace, it feels like my mind is just trying to grasp some figments of imagination that never existed. Sometimes, while I think about wilderness and isolation, my mind often reaches into the memory for an image of a calm ocean. I can think why such an image comes to mind spontaneously, but it can’t be more deceptive. The ocean’s  calm is a great illusion. But maybe I am wrong! Whoever said ocean’s calm means a plain surface with no ripples. Maybe, once a man ventures into the ocean and has lived long enough in it, all the thundering storms and towering tides that rage the waters become the definition of calm. Peace is as simple as the smile that slowly grows, unwrinkling the frown on the face while sitting in a tranquil garden, the only sound coming is the music of the wind and dance of the leaves. But, sigh! Peace is also not as simple as that.

Why I gave my blog the name I did?

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All About Me.”

Well, mine is a black and white heart, so there’s that.

I remember vaguely the time when I was contemplating on starting a blog to write down the multitude of feelings that I had a hard time accepting and living with. Not to mention the act of putting up a smile, when your mind and heart are raging and being torn apart, just so that you don’t show it in the face lest your family thinks there’s something wrong. The tides of emotions, the low ebb and the high ebb, they are all part of the experience of life for everyone, on a daily-basis for some, now I realized.

So, anyway, I remember trying to think up a catchy, and well, impressive name for my blog. I looked up at some of the well known blog names and thought, damn! I am never going to think up something that catchy. But I soon realized that’s not how I should be searching a name for my blog. I realized I should give my blog an honest name, even if it isn’t catchy, something that captures the big picture of my reason to write and the nature of the content I will be writing.

My favorite color has always been black, I cannot recall when or why it has become so. When I look at someone wearing a combination of black and white, or something(non-living thing) black and white like graphics on a car, I cannot help but appreciate how good black and white look together. That doesn’t mean that I’d like anything and everything that’s black and white. How would it look if someone was wearing glasses that has one rim in black and the other in white? I’d think that person has gone bonkers!

So, anyway, I wondered, white could also be my favorite color. but if I say that to someone who asked what my favorite color was, they would surely retort saying the answer must be only one color, since their question was “what is your favorite color?” not ‘colors’. 

I relate the color black to void and oblivion, because it kind of fits. Absence of all colors is black. And the combination of all colors is white. (Something that I never learned in my 16 years of education, and I have successfully become an engineer. I learned that thing about black and white when trying to pick up a color from the color picker tool in Photoshop). And I suspect the idea of ying-yang  and the symbol that found its place in my head during my childhood must have something to do with the reason I came up with this name for my blog. You see, I was going through so much during that time, I was in what it’s called an existential crisis. I allowed many, many existential questions to hover in my mind, they were like a constant buzz in the distance that didn’t go away. I wanted to know where that sound was coming from. It felt like it was neither possible to investigate about the origins of that buzz nor to ignore it and move on like its nothing. My heart was in a state of turmoil and my mind was showing no signs of wavering. I would never call it depression, that would be disrespect to my mind. Because I always thought, and still do, that such existential questions are essential, they give a reason for retrospection and introspection. I I am sure they are good things. They make us stop and think about our actions. We cannot be evil in the one life we have.

This all explain the ‘black and white’ part of the name. And I think the concept of heart is that we have souls, that we have another dimension to our mundane bodies. I like that, I like to believe that. And seeming that all I wanted to write were feelings that originated at heart, later to be developed, polished and proof-read by the brain, I thought it felt apt to name my blog black and white heart.

Even I am not convinced with the reasons I am giving for coming up with that name. But I am sure these played their little parts in influencing my choice of the blog name. And I think it’s a general logic. Every action we do, even if it is a spur-of-the-moment decision, there is something deep-rooted within our hearts and minds that silently prods us to act or decide like we eventually do.

And regarding the oblivion, I recently read The Fault In Our Stars and I liked what Hazel Grace says after Augustus Waters admits to being afraid of oblivion.

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”  – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars.

But I cannot agree, although I wished if it were that simple. Sigh!

Christmas On The 26th

a shiny red present . . .
joy! the kid tears it open.
shouts in merriment.

~ ~ ~

a crumpled red wrapper . . .
the ragged kid picks up from bin.
christmas on twenty sixth.

~ ~ ~

‘Christmas on the 26th’ relates to the ragged kid picking up the crumpled wrapper from the trash the morning after Christmas.

~ ~ ~

Written for the prompt Gifts at Haiku Heights. Please find Haiku from other writers on that link.

~ ~ ~

Fate of A Desolate Love

He was elated when he realized that their hearts had a special connection. He was so happy that his heart was part of a resonance pair. A string will swing at its maximum when the two ends are held at a particular distance. And he was petrified out of terror, the terror of fate, when he found out that the distance that makes their connection the strongest was so large that it might break the connection altogether. What choice did he have but to walk away to that far place, because he felt that one moment of the strongest connection between them was worth everything than a lifelong bond that knows not its true extent or purpose. It is so easy to call him a fool, which he really is.

Time and What We Know As Life

Sometimes you encounter forces so great and abusive, far beyond what is human and explainable, that you are confused whether you have to accept your imminent defeat or if you have to put all doubts about the reality of comparative strengths, and fight against the perceived injustice, which, for all we know, seems to drag on till the end, the end of either hope, or of breath. Without you knowing, you become a coward by persisting to be brave. Without you realizing, the principles you lived-by form a death trap you are destined to step on. Without you feeling, you become empty of the very emotions that once defined everything for you. Just when you realize you are too tired and cannot fight, the force pushes you down an abyss that you believed cannot go any deeper than where you already are. You are overridden with rage, that even in the moments that you believe are your last ones, the force still expects you to put up a fight. The rage helps you recover some sanity, and strength, and fight a little longer before everything circles back to your waning hope and tiring soul. It is as if the force throws you down a very deep abyss and the only way out is that you, a human, must grow wings to get out of the darkness and gloom. All the poems you wrote about flying don’t really mean anything, unless of course you find someone who makes you believe that you are not actually falling, but flying. Well, that again brings everything to the great and abusive force that snatches your only light, and the whole things repeats till the end, the end of either hope, or breath.

When Does He Choose To Rape?

It is so depressing and enraging to see women being exploited in countless way, All day, all over the world. And India seems to lead the charts, which is even more depressing considering the fact that many Indians believe in goddesses, female gods and yet, and yet we abuse women. Before going into the heart of the problem, I would like you to watch the below video. Know Your Star is starting a campaign called Dwar – door for transforming the lives of women and to create awareness and expect at least small changes in the attitude of people, men and women alike. It is great to see people overcoming their anger and disappointment with men and coming up with  innovative and inspiring ideas to contribute to a cause. This is the first of a series of videos they are to release to 1. state the problem at hand 2. to offer us all with ideas that can change, at whatever possible level and magnitude, the way men treat women. 

Actually, its funny people use the word  mankind but not womankind when they are collectively speaking about the entire race of humans. It is just one of many trivial things that the world has gotten used to believing in, where the womankind are trampled and ill-treated with a sense of authority. But such trivial things are only tip of the iceberg. Today, we are looking at incidents that shows the shocking, evil and the most cruelest of attitudes, and the magnitude of it, towards a gender we must all be thanking, for they carried us in their wombs for 9 long months and yet wipe away the pain calling it bliss. Mothers. Sisters. Wives. Daughters. Women. 

The type of abuse and crimes against women are multitude and many of them are yet not globally recognized as abusive behaviors. Rape is only one of the horrendous crimes, there are thousands of women who fall victim to lust-driven men. You can understand the magnitude of lust prevalent in men when you look at cases of 4-year old and 5-year old girls being raped. Domestic violence is equally criminal, but it is one of the least reported forms of abuse women face in this world.

But I come to the most important point(from my perspective). Where does this all start? I mean, what leads to a man choosing to rape his friend/cousin/stranger? Is it a momentous lust? Or is it the kind of thing that is pent up in his perverted mind through this teenage and youth? Where does he find the switch to turn himself into a beast and feed on the mother gender for pleasure? And I have always said to myself, the teenage and youth. I am 21 myself and I really know what kind of talks boys have. How they comment(I prefer to refer to it as a verbal rape) about a girl passing by. It is really down to how us men look and treat women, even strangers. My hope after watching the video is that if people continue to make things like these, urging for change in our ways, we will one day look at men who respect and value every woman. But, I shouldn’t let optimism make mirages and empty dreams of a kind world where all mankind treats womankind with respect. The problem is a lot more complicated than what it looks like. I will try to come up stats and more ‘simple’ expressions of my emotions in further blogposts.

You too can write a blogpost on your website about women empowerment and the concerned issues and link it back to Know Your Star campaign page.

Daily Prompt: Back to School

Daily Prompt: Back to School

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be? Photographers, artists, poets: show us MASTERY.

Magic, of course. 

When I published this post, the above line was my answer for today’s prompt. I said to myself, clever. But surely, I know this would dawn on me, I was ridden with guilt. To tell you the truth, the first thing that got to my mind when reading the prompt was – bullies. I wanted to write about going back to school and mastering how to face and answer the bullies. I don’t remember specific incidents or anything that happened with me, but I’ve always been someone who loathed bullying and the people who bully. The consequences of bullying are too naked for me to not feel agitated by it. The mere possibilities of the ways in which bullying can affect the victims, especially the kids, and what their hurt minds can do, scares the living hell out of me and brings up an anger equally intense. But writing about it seemed exhausting because I have to go through those emotions again and again until I finish the post. So, I just hit my head with a hammer and, being a complete Harry Potter freak, magic came to my mind. That I chose to write something else for a little peace within me, rather than writing about something that concerns a live social problem did not seem right. So, I added this little text.


Remembering Humans

Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist

It’s the year 2113. A major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was in 2013. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say? Photographers, artists, poets: show us RETROSPECTIVE.

I guess I’d rather ‘show it’. When I say ‘the world begged its doom’, it meant that our current ways lead us to doom. For example, read this post by Kenton Lewis, a fellow blogger. I was stunned reading at what he wrote, it was so true and I couldn’t translate my angst into such words that might help a few see the wrong in the present. Here, please read this: Agree Or Disagree, They Called It Art | The Jittery Goat.


That was fun doing it, I used Adobe Photoshop.

Read a few more posts from other bloggers for today’s prompt:

  1. To Know Me | clarior e tenebris
  2. From the Collection of the Artist | Geek Ergo Sum
  3. Retrospective Views | Books, Music and Movies : my best friends
  4. All Roads lead to Metro Manila | Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist | likereadingontrains
  5. Dog food. Cat bowl. | weliveinaflat
  6. 24 July Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist | Family, Photos, Food and Craft
  7. Remembering Humans | Black and White Heart
  8. Agree Or Disagree, They Called It Art | The Jittery Goat
  9. Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist | George and Nigel
  10. Or, Well, Was, Is | Good2begone
  11. Conflict And Change | Tony’s Texts
  12. History of Mankind: A Tour in 2113 | it writes itself
  13. Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist | The Daily Post « The Blogging Path
  14. Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist | Welcome to Joshua Montrell Woodard’s Blog Site!
  15. Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

‘Cooking Me’ For Dummies

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Pinch of You

This week, we want a window into the complexity that is you. We want the recipe for all the bits and pieces and quirks and foibles and loves that make you you.

This is going to be long, brace yourself.

Although my recipethe medoes has flesh as one of its large number of ingredients, it is vegetarian. So, you can expect to find a  , somewhere on my body, although I’d highly recommend that you don’t go searching for it. I simply can’t seem to make a list of all the ingredients that make the recipe. Even the thought of making such an effort is sucking away all the vitamins from me.

*Suddenly, a magnet enters the creation room*
Oh! No! Stop! Stop! Noooo!!! Not my iron, nooooo!
*Magnet escapes with the loot*
Why me! Why is the world so cruel and unfair!

Low on iron, the recipe was going to end up being tall and skinny, being able to both reach for the high apple in the garden of Eden and being blown away by a quiet breeze right before I pluck it. Darn! Someone added fate without my knowledge and I hardly know what effect it will have on the final recipe. Who was it? Is he the one who sent the magnet? Why? 

Later, by a happy accident, philosophy slipped into the cauldron in which raw good and evil were getting cooked at such high temperatures, the solution looked redder than what lava would look like if it was blushing. Although at first it did seem like a happy accident, I soon realized that it would have been better if it happened, maybe, 10 years later. The cauldron has been on flame for only 17 years, that poor thing exploded after philosophy got mixed into it, it was like a burden from then on. I looked at the world with disbelief, the stark diversity of a man’s actions, swinging from extreme evil to extreme godliness.

I needed to heal my wounds after that explosion, which kind of caused people to discriminate me, like an untouchable, although not in the complete literal sense. To be precise, the explosion made me an introvert. I added analytical and factual reasoning to my reality, the science of deduction, as Sherlock Holmes would call it. I saw people make choices, I saw what led to their choices, what the choices made them.  It all made sense. I saw people abuse power, I saw humble people crumble to dust. I saw a writing on the wall. But I am only 20, it all weighed too much upon me. I needed to vent these fumes of restlessness, rage and realization. I needed another world.

And I then added love, faith, hope and trust. This helped the ticking bomb in me stay dormant. Nature was always a part of the recipe, what fellow humans couldn’t contribute to my recipe, nature did and with love. Although, sometimes, her fury would scare the crap out of every living thing. But hey, she is not angry for no reason, she has us humans to deal with. Just beside this cauldron was a kettle in which a mixture of experiences was being boiled. The kettle started rattling fervently. Gosh! What is wrong now. Maybe I have to get some experiences off my heart. So I took out a cup of the contents from the kettle and poured it into a mold called writing. It conjured interesting shapes and patterns, and that gave a little peace to my mind in midst of such a buzzing ambiance.

Writing gave my recipe a new dimension, and only then did I realize how much I needed it. Even before my recipe(the me) was complete, which is going to take 40-60 years depending on the course of action humans take to counter the growing insensitivity in humans and the global warming triggered by them, I was able to visit new worlds through imagination and other manifestations of the burning need to express. So, I soon kind of learned the craft of multitasking. I faded in and out of all these worlds, all the same trying to continue completing my recipe in this world. But sometimes I am lost in thought, wondering if I have to regret not taking the orthodox path to cooking. The general approach of the youth in this world, that seems to have so much energy and fun in it. But the reasons why I chose the path I am currently on quickly surface back to the fore and I continue stirring. But my recipe would be incomplete, no matter how much mastery I learn, if all coal became ashes, if all the water is evaporated and if all the fire was dead. What am I saying? That I need help. Love. Trust. Faith. Freedom. They make up the air I breathe and in their absence, I move to my end quickly.

If you made it this far, visitor, then I bow to you and thank you.