Library and Caffeine

Library and CaffineSherlock Holmes walked into the library. He had heard it was a nice place to hangout. A friend of his recently told him that it was a place for intellectuals. Sherlock knew he had to go.

‘Finally a place, when there is no case’. He thought. ‘Poem I should try’

The place was really nice. It was more than a library. He adjusted the collar and tilted the hat to cover his entire eyes and most of his face. He walked in wanting not to get recognized. If someone had recognize him that moment, then it should have been without seeing the face and just with the silhouette. Had that happened, Sherlock would have got a quarter of his regular dosage of pride. But sometimes people are not good at spotting other people.

He memorized the path he had to take, to get to the section with the nice table. He could see it from the entrance. It was visible, yet far from the entrance. There was a woman, whom he will not mention to Watson. He purposely did not read what section it was. It had beautiful cushion on the sofa-like chairs by the table and the woman on one of the chairs. He walked blind with the tilted hat. He was well aware of the memorized path.

The section had books on feminism. The woman had no need to read. She can write a book again on feminism. Actually she could do that (again) for any -ism. She was intellectual, beautiful, and uptight when she sat. Had so much degrees of education, which she always chose not to use or write behind her name anywhere. Everyone knew she hated to introduce people about the education she had had, and the prestigious institutions she obtained them from. And no one ever wondered how they knew every detail about the education she had had, and the prestigious institutions she obtained them from. She always introduced herself as a woman and nothing more, yet people always knew who and what she was. That was how it was in India.

The blind, well-informed and aware Sherlock, switched off his blindness by removing his hat. He sat opposite to the feminist. She was actually a lot of -ists.

“This is a nice chair. Fabric from Mumbai, and through Chennai and then to London, I deduce from the-” He was interrupted in the middle of his ice breaker.

And she did it with the with the words “You deduce it from…” and she completed his deduction in her voice. Holmes was shook, but serene outside. He instantly knew who she was, he had not caught a proper sight until then. He had not looked at her for effect. And when he did, he knew. She was the woman from the TV talk shows. She made men commit guilt-suicides, and women do push-ups crying.

‘What is she doing in this town? I am sure no one other than me streams Indian television. No one knows her here.’
Sherlock can act like he deduced everything, when he feeds her some of her own portfolio. Actually he could deduce, just by a look at her. And he chose to actually deduce. Only then he realized he did not need the knowledge first place. He broke down to the tiniest details just by a ten second observation.

And he finished his deductions “so that is you. And no I am not interested in the coffee you are going to offer.” And it seemed like he picked a random book from the rack behind. It was out-of-place. The positioning was a mistake by a reckless user. Sherlock chose not to think bad about the stranger. Because it read ‘The science of deduction’. That is why he chose the place. Not the girl, not the chair. He had not read the section’s name, but noticed the book on the shelf.

He had told everything about her. Not by the knowledge but by deduction alone. She should react the way everyone had done when they are deduce-profiled. And she did react, but a bit different.

“Wow! That is so cool. Do you know me? Are you a fan of my blog?” the big O in her happy mouth fixated. She was proud someone recognized her. And the someone was tall and looked strong and smart. She was happy. The someone was not even Indian. She was delighted. She did not know him. She was in pink clouds of heaven.

‘She does not know me’ he thought. He placed the book in front of her and told that he was the author, Sherlock Holmes. She had not given much notice to the book, or his words, or his name. Anyway she did not know Sherlock Holmes. She was not from London. He deduced her ignorance, and chose to explain.

“I deduced all those things I told about you from…” He continued. Talking about the shoes, the direction she faced, the mobile phone she held, the mark in her nose, the way her lips are, the tissue she reused, the section she sat, her confidence, the stare, the voice, the eyes. Everything contributed in deducing things about her. He had even praised her a little on the course of his explanation. His mind changed, he would take the coffee she is going to offer when he finished with the Science of deduction on her. She was beautiful, and a person like Sherlock can see more than what other people could see. Yet she remained beautiful.

It was a performance he realized. Which was usually more than enough for a human being to offer coffee. Science, statistics and history suggested the same. Also he was in his best shirt that day. Long time since he had coffee with an intellectual like her. He smiled at her when he finished, her face changed from sweetness and surprise to…

“Judgmental bastard” she said. “Stupid snap judgments on women you don’t even know about.”

Splash!

The great Sherlock had missed to notice the cup of cappuccino on the floor. He noticed the coffee only when it hit his face.

He wiped his face, did not look around and continued reading his own book. She had walked out. He drank the little coffee that was left in the cup. He began reading his own book. It was not snap judgment but deduction, and not a bit was wrong as he had his own memory of the newspaper articles and interviews he had seen, to compare it with. But she choose to give him some cappuccino and disgrace him for the alleged judgment. The worst curse word of the century. And if one reads a chapter, after wiping his face off thick frothy coffee, before getting up to leave, it is not seen as disgrace.

A chapter he read before he vanished from the library.

No one in London knew how he felt that day, or if it was one of the reasons he chose to make the fall, because this was just an urban legend. They just knew for sure that Sherlock stopped deducing random, intellectual, female strangers, since the visit to a library.

Engineering Accidents

Plane wingThe plane was going down. The angle made a few passengers to strap themselves in. It was not because the flight was landing, destinaiton was hours away. It was not because the pilot was almost dead, there was something wrong with the flight which made it go down and also made the pilot hit his head hard, when he was holding both hands to his chest in pain. The co-pilot was flying it alone, he did not hesitate to check a guide in the open as the pilot won’t see it now. The pilot was unconscious. The co-pilot did not know what was wrong, but he knew what could be. He knew that it could be solved if a person with good knowledge on aeronautics and flight, got ten minutes in the room below his feet. The room with wires and switches.

The problem, and the way to fix it was told to the air-hostess. Sandhya was the cutest air-hostess on earth. Her mother said it, she almost believed it. That was the reason she walked with so much confidence. Dusky, not so short, the perfect lip gloss from her sister, and she liked her uniform. Confidence radiated, so people whom she spoke to replied with clarity even in the crisis. They knew death was waiting but they spoke well.

People were asked questions. The pilot could be treated, but could not be made fit enough to take up the stick again. She found two doctors from the passengers’ list, and they went to work on the pilot. The doctors did not hesitate, ‘let him at least die treated, die healthy’ they thought in sync. So they worked hard, sweat more in work than in fear. Extreme risky measures were taken in the heart operation, and the pilot could now talk in vowels and he was also accepting the fate. The pilot even joked about the situation which the spectators found incomprehensible and very funny. They laughed their hearts out.

The air-hostess also found a pilot trainee. He was taken to the cockpit. He reminded the co-pilot of his wife, when the trainee picked his nose. They worked hard in the cockpit, the trainee was intelligent and calm. There was no interview when he walked in. He sat in the co-pilot’s seat and the co-pilot in the pilot’s. The pilot had requested his headphones to talk with the co-pilot. So the acting pilot also heard the joke, he understood it and laughed artificially. He was also getting there, the region of acceptance. Sandhya had no time to visit the cockpit. He did not need confidence, he had something much better.

Yesterday, his wife had called him intelligent. His daughter wanted to make wax dolls, she was heating paraffin over pan. It got to flames, they poured water, turned off the stove. Nothing stopped the flame. The co-pilot put a lid over it and explained, all that need to be done was to cut oxygen. There he was called intelligent. Morning the wife kissed him bye, and called him a clever husband.

That thought flooded in, he heard his wife’s voice ‘intelligent’ ‘clever’. Too much happiness to handle, the muscles could not help but curve the lips to a permanent smile. That was enough for him to think clear. Also he had the trainee who reminded him of his sweet wife. He did not need Sandhya to walk past or talk confident, like the passengers had needed. He and the trainee found a way to delay the death. The flight was now straight. But there was leaking fuel and no communication. Not a good situation, but death was as far as it was sure. Two hours was good time bought for an almost nose down flight.
Two hours to death. Everyone knew.

It was clearly party time. A couple kissed in front of everyone. They did not even hold hands in the flight till then. A stand-up comedian, whom Sandhya and an old man recognized was requested to perform and he did. A bartender from the list, and all the alcohol and juice from the pantry and the cargo, it became a legit party. The smuggler did not take out the cocaine out of his tummy, he felt that god won’t accept him into heaven if he helped in intoxication, a sin, before death. But Sandhya called him, he was astonished how an air-hostess found what the army of security at the airport missed. He forgot he was a psychology student. He was asked to talk with the children. He accepted to do it, god is going to love him. Doors to heaven inside the man’s head opened wide open when the kids were made to stand around him with ice cream cones in hand.

Every professional, or pursuer of profession had work. They were the best on earth for the couple of hours.
He was watching it all. He was an Aeronautical engineer, the kind which deals with flights and rooms inside flights with wires and switches. He felt guilty for not volunteering to help. Half hour since the technical failure. He had not spoken a word. He had the only unhappy, painful heart in the flight. He overheard the co-pilot talk with the pilot trainee after the flight was put to autopilot and they joined the party. All that needed to be done was to have an appropriate engineer in the room for ten minutes. After that the flight can be made to land in the nearest airport.
His guilt, engineering college ID card and doubt was killing him. The former two teamed up and so he called Sandhya. He was about to accept that he was an engineering final year student. He was ready to take up the responsibility, to try fix the plane. She walked to him, smiling. To the student it looked like she knew what he was about to declare.

“Yes, I know. We have an hour now. I do not want to risk making it short giving you the room.” she said. So she really knew.

It hurt, but did not hurt his ego. He had company of millions. Students who don’t exactly know what they study. His feelings showed on his face. Now Sandhya was hurt.

“Are you single? Men’s college right?” she looked at the ID card which he had waved to call her.
He had replied positive, and also added he had always been.

“I love you. I mean it. You did not fight, but accepted the ignorance, and let people live. I am your girlfriend. If we survive, I will marry you in two years.” She patted him and walked away to the children. There were no parachutes, they were all damaged at the beginning of the problem. Also he cannot just try fix two for a marriage.

It was enough, dying with his love. Which was the initial concern when the problem was announced, dying single. She had been loving and caring. The beautiful glances she gave was enough to prove it. He also began to smile. He plugged in earphones and created a romantic playlist and listened to it. The first playlist on his mobile. He was happy.

Only regret, he was an engineering student. He could have helped in some way had he studied something else, or just gave up the idea of education in an institution after school.

When it was one hour fifty minutes since the announcement, Sandhya sat beside him and held his hands for twenty days. The first eleven minutes of the twenty days they were alive.

MORALS OF THE STORY:

  1. It is not easy to become a doctor. Requires too much marks in schools and lot of money. So the number is less and most of them are good.
  2. Most other professions do not need the kind of dexterity and precision.
  3. An engineer needs the above and more, but there are too many engineers to trust one (many do not trust themselves), especially a student. Not all engineering students become engineers. Actually very less do. Most work in IT, sales, marketing, media and arts.
  4. Everyone knows this but few realize it at the right time.
  5. Take right choices and prevent accidents.

Easy God

Clasped handsIt is that time. You do not know him/her. Actually you don’t even know the language proper. You are not judged if you do not use the respectful plural for singular, when you address the elders. The karma points are not taken seriously, at least by the people around you. At this point you would have already been introduced to him/her. Then you are taken to school.

Now at this age (today), when you read random articles like this one, you might (or, I apologize and make myself clear inside these holy brackets ‘You choose not to’) realize this introduction was very peculiar than the other introductions you ever had. Ranging from people, the idea of mermaids, to complex school of thoughts that make you blink twice, really hard, or serious (worse) buy a book.

This one was different because you don’t know how you got acquainted. It was a simple process. That much you know. You were asked to believe, and you did. There was not any serious fight, because there was no harm. Believing anything never hurt, except some beliefs make legs liquid in the dark. So you might have nodded when people like parents, people who are the sole reason you can walk, talk, convey or comprehend, ask you to do such a simple thing.

Nod, ‘yes’, palms together closed eyes, knees on floor and bent-back, clasped hand and sharp glare, folded hands and heads up, the holy words which subtitles read out as  indistinctive murmur, daily bath, good deeds, indulgence on threads and people with more threads, company of books that won’t fetch marks but points, belief that all this will get one more close to the old acquaintance, the God(s).

Now, we can say we believe in god, at this point. He/she with no doubt is the most powerful entity ever known. No matter what word you use to praise or describe with awe, there will be people who will tap your shoulders to correct you with a better word. Some less powerful might pop bullets inside your skull, then you will know the right word.

The sad part is, god like Gandhi crosses a phase in every individual’s life. Gandhi? You like him, you think you are big you don’t like him, then you become really big to like him again, or you stay the same (disliking or/and not so big). Anyway he was an influential person, and still is. So is god in this matter, influencer, supporter and sometimes a resort. But he/she suffers a similar but only rougher phase in people’s lives. His/her very existence is suddenly doubted. You see things happen and you had attributed it to god, now you look back and remove god from the equation, because you have more time and no one calls you to play gully cricket. The simulation gears go work and you see the thing still happen just fine without god in it. You repeat it for several instances and you see things work anyway, without the god factor. God has not even been the sugar that you can manage without in a coffee, he/she was the bird you missed to see which flew as you sipped your coffee. The bird that did not even turn coffee into the tea you like. And of course no water to wine, so you begin to doubt, but then again you don’t have the time to think long.

Then phase two of the original phase. Reading now can never be considered time waste. You read about evolution. Survival of the fittest. Now you do the fitting. You fit the fact that god does everything that no one else did by accident or by purpose. So evolution becomes god’s act. Some deny, but that is what happened you argue. Animals died because they were not taller, killed and preyed upon for not being the right colour, starved to death because they shouted different. Natural selection the book calls it. You say nature is god, and you think one should hate god for this. You still love nature, grass and stars. So now denied existence in your heart and then got accused, god waits (you think).

The aftermath. It is exam, game, or a loved one in hospital. The almost 18 to 20 year old practice tries to drive you to a place of worship or tries to make you do the single sided conversation. It is dilemma time, you and your conscience have immense ego. So you can neither deny nor accept god now. You may pay for the taxi that people take to temple you decide. Later this becomes routine. Denial, doubt, dilemma, eat, not pray and love. Terrible cycle to deal with, and yet you choose this.

Now what follows are not facts and do not employ fact checkers to confirm or deny. Call it preaching if you want to be hard on me. Or just read. Just being the keyword here.

God was created to solve issues and to attribute the unknown to something. We still follow the same, we call god particle by the name ‘God particle’ because it is not understood yet. What is not understood is god. It is not in school text books. When you cannot define something in a textbook it becomes god. God is contextual. A dead man’s god is not a living man’s god. A child’s god is not the same as an old woman’s. If something cannot be done then it is left for god. Not for solving always, but sometimes for easy closure. Most people want good to happen when things are at the worst, when life is at the rock bottom. And many try to contact god wishing good to happen. So god is something that people relate with so much good and positivity. And by people, we are counting in billions.

I do not find it easy to quote Dawkins or Indian exports. So I quote from the subtitles of one of the best movies on earth ‘Om Shanthi Om’

If you want something from the bottom of your heart, then the whole universe conspires to get it to you.

So if you want something, just want it. Not need, yearn or ask, just want it. It might sound bad English but it should work. Mind you, Shahrukh Khan is the lead actor of the movie ‘Om Shanthi Om’ and the italics is his dialogue in the movie. But it is difficult to believe, and more difficult to keep believing that you will get what you want. It is tiresome to keep ‘wanting’ something when you doubt the result.

This is when god comes into play. Many ask god for it. Now you know for a fact that god is a belief of billions wanting things to be alright and they are always associating god with good. Don’t do complex maths, let me make it easy for you. It is just a big mountain of positivity. God after this realization, or acceptance will seem larger than life, interesting and trustworthy. The problem now boils down to just asking and waiting, because now a bigger force is working. It is convenient and it is free.

Whatever a person wants, is sent as something like a cellphone signal into the universe. One needs to keep letting the universe know that he/she still wants it and hence, help the universe help oneself. With god this process becomes easy. All they do is get a token rather than carry the heaviness around.

So this is why people choose to believe. And I believe that they need not be converted to a non-believer, or convinced that god does not exist. Let them believe, if you find it convenient you do too. The thought is simple, gives relief, and takes out steam off the brain and heart.

Going to a place of worship is also something similar. The non-science is also very relatable. Imagine you are going to an important place, filled with important people, and you need to present yourself the best. Will you take the short route of high traffic, garbage in narrow lanes, and urinating Indians, or will you take the cleaner longer road where you have a high chance of a person greeting you a nice day? Let us assume you have a lot of time to get there. Yes, you will take the longer route. Convenient and the waver maybe good looking. You will take the loud laughing room than the weird scorning room with an air conditioner. So people visit places of worship because no one makes them uncomfortable there and no one is. On top of that, it is a place filled with similar people (not the religion, the less judging believers. Less judging at least in this context.)

The objective is simple, mine. Let people be what they are unless they harm others. No one is stupid, don’t look at anyone that way because you have a big library or an E book reader with earphones. Maybe gently nudge when some think that god asked them to kill a lot, or when they think there was a calling to produce more babies despite the buses and trains overflowing, and economy bad, because they think god asked them to create more of what follows their way of living. More than that, your interfering kind heart will seem a big ugly nose.

Many do better after the belief phase. Works well in sports and money, but most scientist and writers still make a good living bashing the big man/lady. Just saying. And I am sorry if the words seemed preaching, never meant to.

‘He/she’ because my sister is a feminist, and I respect and fear Amir Khan. I really can tolerate a male god actually.

Last Words

Holding hands

My wife’s last words may not be for me. She might be cursing her killer. She might be screaming through her fall, and the last distinguishable words could have been It is 5.30, smiling. An illness, if it decides to take her, and it gets to her head too, the words could be incoherent and meaningless. It could be a shriek, There is a truck. In her sleep she might go as she wishes, and the last words forgotten. If death decides to do it in the hospital with a person holding her hands, she will be talking to her mother.

The mother might not even be in the hospital. I might be the messenger, holding hands.

***

My wife is alive and healthy and loving. I don’t mind she loving her mother more than me.

Last word directed towards me, I don’t consider them trophies. The old man, my neighbour, his were “Oh, you have come too” and he smiled, and he died. I won envying relatives who surrounded the death-bed. To me it was not special. I would have graciously, let the son take my position when the smiling dad of his died. Yes, I liked it, but it was not a life event for me. It made (makes) no difference if people speak to me or not, as they die. I never believe in ghosts.

My father hence had no obligation when I was holding his hands. Not that I have told him, but he knows me well. Father he is, treated like one too. Yet, the healthy built, fragile gentleman tried hard to focus on me. He gave up. He was forced to settle on just looking in my direction.

“Trust god always” his eyes did focus as he finished. Took too much of his breath. All of it.

Last words always do that.

***

It is today. I am in the green kurta that my wife got me. My son is walking slow, backwards, looking up the hole in the thatched roof, through which the pillar shoots up. He wants to see the top of the pillar with copper leaves, that my wife had described to him, moments earlier. He is wearing a green kurta. She got two. She told him that wishes come true when he catches those copper leaves sway in the air, making the copper bells in them toll.

Almost all the temples have these pillars. Pillars with copper leaves and bells. I never knew this significance, I still doubt it. I am not asking her if it was just a distraction to the bored kid. She wants to lean on my shoulder. This is a temple, so she is not leaning. I don’t like the reason. I cannot tolerate my son taking what my wife just said, serious. He is seven. I am not voicing my question, my dislike or my intolerance.

Today is four years after my father’s death.

I like the place, the peace that surrounds me, and the air that I breathe in. The air that I breathe out won’t disrupt peace.

After all she will lean on my shoulder in the cab home. We will change, and our family won’t be in this green uniform once we get home. It is beautiful how my son is walking backwards in little steps.

So I smile.