NOVELLA

(After that short hiatus, I’m finally back!)

Parashakti filled the room with a swirling, terrifying storm of blackness.
Yashodha had hidden herself under the covers,  soundlessly sitting out the entrance of the horrifying spirit. The little girl’s mother also felt that the anger of all her lovers was coming back to haunt her too, their faces embroidered in twisted expressions across the fabric of the space which her mother dominated.Young men and women who wanted her heart so badly, but all she could give them was a single meaningless night of sex.

A few had hurt her cruelly, made her cry. Others, she had dominated with her iron fist.

The weight if the world was pushing poor Ishwari down. She’d heard of the execution of criminals, the imperial elephant being ordered to crush the worst offenders at times. Her mind clicked back to the sessions of stoning she’d heard of, the burning of offenders in great masses, the cruel tortures that every hell in her religion promised. “And all this in the city of the gods,” she hissed nastily, “and I don’t believe that a vile monster like you, could really exist here, where that damned temple looks down at everyone and into their minds. And we both worked there at some point.” Ishwari felt a strange smile crossing her face. “Irony,” she grunted in continuation.
“That’s the problem with having such convictions,” her mother nodded blankly in agreement, her demeanor now softened, “they rule your every action, or try to, at least. These gods that we worship are always perverted watchmen, aren’t they? Tradition is rubbish, daughter. Rubbish.”
Ishwari looked down at the floor unblinkingly, apparently spaced out. “Then maybe she and I are not that different. Neither of us was a stereotype…”

The shrill scream filled the room and she could hear even herself crying out as her earlier dim eyes grew brighter and brighter. Tears filled them no more’ she had wiped them away during her hit of realization, thankfully. That woman would never allow a daughter of hers to cry, that was for sure.

“Mother?”

Yashodha’s little voice was filled with worry and concern. What had the child seen during that moment? Had she been just as terrified to see the true soul of her mother? She just lay there in a helpless heap, clutching her sheets and sari to her chest, mouth open as gasps of breath escaped her. Her eyes were still staring unblinkingly at the floor.
“Yes my darling?” The words barely escaped her, flowing past like a soft, terrified whisper. Her mind was racing around, trying to tell herself that the darkness was, for a moment at least, gone. She sat on the bed, still wearing the same mask on her face. The room was so black now that she was blinded, lost in the vortex of pitch darkness. The space between the door and the bed was a huge mouth in her feeble comprehension, something that would close upon her if she tried to escape. That door was indeed her only escape…
The light that filled the room scared her, and Ishwari backed into a corner, crying, “Keep away from me!” but saw, to her relief, the young manservant coming in.
“Govind….” And she crashed onto the bed.

“Mistress, I heard you scream,” he said gently. This poor man of twenty-five was solemn as he looked at her with a gentle glance. “Those damned roadside thugs make a pass at you on the way back home, eh? I’ll put those bastards into the ground, by Shiva!”
“Language, please, my daughter’s here,” she hissed in controlled anger, “but no….it wasn’t….that…” Her hand ran down to the nape of her sweaty neck. Noticing Govind’s eyes on her, she smiled shyly. This fellow with the constantly torn dhoti-which, he made sure, left much to the imagination- looked nice and pleasant enough for someone who had been taken off the streets not long ago. Ishwari smiled at him as he sat down beside her. Her hand instantly went up to touch his stubble-bearded cheek, but stopped herself instantly when Yashodha appeared and curled up in her lap.
But Govind’s feelings got the better of him. “Your husband won’t be back for a while now, mistress. You know how he always takes those long walks to meet his old comrades….” he began to kiss her neck delicately. “My daughter is here!” she chided gently with a little giggle.
“Never stopped you before,” he replied, trying to reach for her lips, “plus you know how I feel about you, don’t you?”
“How dare you, you rotten little man? You can never have me and you know that!” Ishwari laughed at him, pushing him away, and rising up off the bed with Yashodha yawning in her arms. “My real beloved is somewhere in this city, and she still rejects me. She doesn’t know that we were meant to be together, no matter what other people would say. Now get dressed and go to her like you always do, go on…”

Govind got up as well.

“Like always?”
“Why else did I bring you in?”

NARCISSUS

(Because there is such a thing as loving yourself too much…)

(All photographs are the property of Yannis Belkhir; photographer/model-http://yayaartpop.deviantart.com/  http://instagram.com/yayasexdreams/ and will not be reproduced without the photographer’s prior permission)

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

The words shot around through his mind as he bared himself to it.
In this place he was a king, four walls closing his heart and organ unto none but himself. A vortex of pleasure spun about him as he ran through the words once more.

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

He saw himself inside its glassy depths.
His form had drowned in it a thousand times, as had his wicked heart and his sinful soul. The mirror was now weeping for him, blinding itself for his beauty was too great even for the Lord of Truth.
For how long did he stare into it? What could he see within that he thought was so easy to love, that was so beautiful? Or was it mere passing habit to look upon a tall and smooth body that walked that fine line between masculine and feminine, icy blue eyes and brooding lips? Lips that could bring anyone to their knees with the faintest breath, or the slightest kiss.
The only one he could kiss now was himself.

The mirror.

He was drowning himself in it.

He was in the mirror.

His eyes blinked for a split second, eyelashes brushing past an intrusive housefly. The blue glacial spheres inside the flat glass had an inner glow to them. The perverse sunlight was eyeing him with joy, touching his bare back with its rays and feeling the length of his marble figure. Each touch however could not warm his soul. Both the one he looked at and the one in his body were now untouchable to the drifting gentle flame. A greater blaze was burning inside his body at the time, and his soul perspired with pleasure.  The eyes in the mirror had been fixed there as if by an adhesive, never to move away, never to cry. His would well up. His god’s eyes never would.

This was the sweetest truth in his young life.
Four concrete liars surrounded him, hissing under their breath at the writhing soft flesh beneath them. These walls had many patterns dancing across them, floating delicately across the solid canvas. To him they were solid dead behemoths with no souls. His soul was not there, his figure was not within it.
In this, he had seen whales course across the clouds and birds dart through the waves. A black sun, a technicolor moon.
False shapes and hues.
Two hours with a wall was unlike two hours with a mirror. He hated the wall. Why was he restrained in his own home? His deepest wish was to live in a hall of mirrors, to live with only his truth surrounding him. But he moved from mirror to wall. The odyssey from Altar of Truth to Walls of Falsity was hard on his heart and he paused to breathe, heart thundering inside. But the bed beneath him was the comfort he needed now to feel more  beautiful.

Silence reigned, except for his beating heart, a drum of creation and destruction of stimulating thoughts. Breaths pulsed through him.
His hands ran down his body, running from his chest down to the dimple of his navel and to the inside of his graceful, firm but soft thighs. His head spun out of focus in that instant, dizzy with heat and excitement. Drowning in the feel of his nude vulnerability was…

“I love you.”

The voice shook him violently, feeling like rusted steel scraped across his spine. He felt for blood on the sheets. Was he bleeding? No…But the feminine voice coils around him like a malign, bloodthirsty mist about to constrict him in its shapeless monstrosity.
“I love you.”
It was suffocating him and he gripped the bed, shivers rushing through his body. An anguished moan tore past his lips. His open palms flew up to his head, whacking against his skull with a resounding thud. Eyes looked up at the wall in horror as the venomous voice ripped through his veins. The untrue wall was now a wall of flesh, the girl who had run after him, a hungry beast in the body of a beauty. Beauty and beast all in one, just like him…but loving him too much. It was like a plague to her. A bane to him, the reddened lips only said, “I love you.”
Her eyes looked straight at him, sorrowful but gleaming with want, a goddess of famine about to put deep desire and hunger into his heart. She was making him want her more, but how could he touch her now? Why should he?
The words came back…

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

…but they were back in a meaningless wave. His sobs shook him as she pushed out of the wall, reaching towards him suddenly, grabbing at the air, screaming out her curse. “I love you! I love you!”
He attacked her in a blind rage. The blood rushed to his face, reddening his pale skin. His knuckles met her-met the wall-with a terrifying explosion of pain and anger as he roared through the process. Crying was all he could do, crying and clutching himself. Naked and small, he crouched before the rising succubus on the cold floor, and she advanced upon him, laying beside him, touching and kissing him-but was it himself?

The air in the bedroom felt like jelly, and he was seeing a bloodied blur swirling around him.
He had lost all sense of place…the gorgon’s breath was hot poison against his skin, melting him away….

It is dark.

He wakes up with a terrible scream. Drenched in sweat, spread out on the bed, slimy wetness clinging to his thighs, and sheets cast about him, this is his reality now. Nightmares are such strange things, it seems. Love is so strange too, so he muses. He has been created to feel the heat from himself and live within a world he has made for himself. Nothing else is for him. Thus he turns to the glass god, his salvation on the polished wooden altar. Inside the mirror he feels ripples, something rising up towards him to consume his body and soul…rising, rising up from the colorless waters…something would come, maybe SHE would, or maybe something else, something indescribable would.

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

Remembering our heroes

 Appeared in the nation newspaper’s Jeans magazine on May 18
Roadblocks. The scorching sun. Checking vehicle after vehicle. Rude drivers and passengers. Fear. Exhaustion.

Their faces are rarely brightened by a smile. They sometimes make a joke, but only to keep away the fear. To feel like they live normal lives. Not ones that could end at any given moment.
Just a few years ago, our country was at war. We heard of explosions, shootings, death after death. It was a scary time to live in. Children were taken away, they were given weapons and uniforms. Stories about child soldiers brought fear to the hearts of parents. Just a few years ago, we couldn’t walk on the roads as we do now. Everywhere we looked were men in uniforms. They carried guns and looked at everyone as if they were the enemy.
You lived in the part of our not distant history when war was a word heard too often. You may not remember it all too well, but there are people who know nothing but the war. In 2009, just five years ago, that war came to an end. And who do we have to thank? Men who go about in big vehicles? Men who add title after title to their names?

The thinkers, the plan makers and decision makers played a huge role in ending the war. However, Victory Day isn’t for them. It’s for those who carried out their orders, who fearlessly fought for peace. And for what?  So that we can forget what they have sacrificed?
You don’t need to remember how many died, how many survived, and how many barely did. You don’t need to remember where the fighting took place, where the leaders lived and who the good guys were. It’s good if you do. It’s part of our history, our story, regardless of how dark those times were. However, what’s more important to remember is that each one of those soldiers fought for you. They sacrificed their lives so you could live a relatively safe life. They did what many couldn’t, and shot bullet after bullet at those who weren’t their own enemy so that you could go to school, have fun and live a good life.
After all, those battles, some won, others lost, what do they get? One day in a 365 day calendar where some remember to not forget them? We often curse the parades. We consider it all a waste of money and a waste of time. We think the war is given too much attention and we don’t see the point of talking about it, five years since its end.

There are many war-related sites in the Northern Province. Just after the war ended, many flocked to see where this leader lived or that leader died. There were young men of the armed forces giving visitors information about these sites. And as they described the war, even though those same words were uttered several times, their voices cracked as they described the last few battles, which resulted in so many deaths and so much damage. These were men who didn’t just drive past houses that were covered in bullet holes. They camped in those broken down houses, hoping they won’t be caught. They spent night and day hoping these power hungry leaders would solve their problems without dragging innocent men into this seemingly never ending war.

These are not exaggerated stories or feelings. These men aren’t pretending to be tired and hurt. They had no say when they lost a limb or two. They never willingly or happily stepped on a land mine.
Decades from now, the soldiers who survived will also be dead. Their graves will be visited by family only. The story of the war will be told by those who planned it, instead of those who fought it. And what’s your duty? To forget these men and women who sacrificed everything for a country whose people aren’t at war with each other?
Remember them. Remember what they did. Remember their fearless dedication to their nation. Remember them because that’s all they can ask from you. Remember them, and never forget.

Roadblocks. The scorching sun. Checking vehicle after vehicle. Rude drivers and passengers. Fear. Exhaustion.
Their faces are rarely brightened by a smile. They sometimes make a joke, but only to keep away the fear. To feel like they live normal lives. Not ones that could end at any given moment.
Just a few years ago, our country was at war. We heard of explosions, shootings, death after death. It was a scary time to live in. Children were taken away, they were given weapons and uniforms. Stories about child soldiers brought fear to the hearts of parents. Just a few years ago, we couldn’t walk on the roads as we do now. Everywhere we looked were men in uniforms. They carried guns and looked at everyone as if they were the enemy.
You lived in the part of our not distant history when war was a word heard too often. You may not remember it all too well, but there are people who know nothing but the war. In 2009, just five years ago, that war came to an end. And who do we have to thank? Men who go about in big vehicles? Men who add title after title to their names?
The thinkers, the plan makers and decision makers played a huge role in ending the war. However, Victory Day isn’t for them. It’s for those who carried out their orders, who fearlessly fought for peace. And for what?  So that we can forget what they have sacrificed?
You don’t need to remember how many died, how many survived, and how many barely did. You don’t need to remember where the fighting took place, where the leaders lived and who the good guys were. It’s good if you do. It’s part of our history, our story, regardless of how dark those times were. However, what’s more important to remember is that each one of those soldiers fought for you. They sacrificed their lives so you could live a relatively safe life. They did what many couldn’t, and shot bullet after bullet at those who weren’t their own enemy so that you could go to school, have fun and live a good life.
After all, those battles, some won, others lost, what do they get? One day in a 365 day calendar where some remember to not forget them? We often curse the parades. We consider it all a waste of money and a waste of time. We think the war is given too much attention and we don’t see the point of talking about it, five years since its end
There are many war-related sites in the Northern Province. Just after the war ended, many flocked to see where this leader lived or that leader died. There were young men of the armed forces giving visitors information about these sites. And as they described the war, even though those same words were uttered several times, their voices cracked as they described the last few battles, which resulted in so many deaths and so much damage. These were men who didn’t just drive past houses that were covered in bullet holes. They camped in those broken down houses, hoping they won’t be caught. They spent night and day hoping these power hungry leaders would solve their problems without dragging innocent men into this seemingly never ending war.
These are not exaggerated stories or feelings. These men aren’t pretending to be tired and hurt. They had no say when they lost a limb or two. They never willingly or happily stepped on a land mine.
Decades from now, the soldiers who survived will also be dead. Their graves will be visited by family only. The story of the war will be told by those who planned it, instead of those who fought it. And what’s your duty? To forget these men and women who sacrificed everything for a country whose people aren’t at war with each other?
Remember them. Remember what they did. Remember their fearless dedication to their nation. Remember them because that’s all they can ask from you. Remember them, and never forget.
– See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/jeans/item/29174-remembering-our-heroes.html#sthash.m7qwPg9s.dpuf

MINIMALISM

(I heard about stories of this sort, tiny short stories that present the smallest slice of life. I wondered, what if I write to write one of these? They’re open to interpretation by anyone at all)

1. A mirror. A knife.
I see myself.
Blood splashes against it.
2. A screaming sound in the air.
Flash of light, thunderous boom.
Destruction.
3. Moonlight.
Quietness. A man runs fast.
An empty house, inhabitants all asleep.
(That was the first one. Tell  me what you think. And tell me whether you can decide upon good titles. Thanks. That’s be all for now!)

VESAK

May…

The fleet of metal dragons roars overhead. They circle the wild, tangled hinterland around the little suburban town…

He was the only person who even thought of stepping outside that night before the celebration. The moon began, slowly, to show itself to him. A pale ghost upon thousands of miles of inky space, it threw fleeting, floating shadows onto the ground at his feet. Visages of mighty, ancient trees, a display of shadow puppets with no strings around him; strange, misleading, harbingers of lunacy.
Warmer lights blink and flicker, tiny orange eyes peeking delicately out of darkened corners that would be otherwise engulfed by endless night.
A celebration.
His family had been preparing themselves, the whole town wanted to pour its heart out today in the watchful shadow of the ancient, inconstant moon. Rosy paper lotuses of light frame floated across the ground as if on a pond, golden lights glowing within their hearts. The vibrancy and spectacles of glowing reds, blues and yellows coming from the forest-buckets of shimmery cellophane which had replaced nightly white jasmines.
Octagonal frames with string hanging down, lights softly glowing behind crisp, tissue paper skin.
A festival of light and beauty.
A celebration in a small place, watched by the holiest of beings in the vault of the Six Heavens. His was a town where every day in the month of May, voices rang out into the sky in proclamation of the Threefold Miracle. Song-like verses and chants rumbled from beneath the roofs of every home here. More village than town perhaps? Still large enough to be lit from head to toe, multicolored stars affixed to wires crisscrossing every home, pole and tree.

Even his parents.
The mighty white concrete dome is clothed in striped flags and banners of warm colors, with string upon string of lights wrapped around from base to apex. A welcoming giant of the gentlest order, it beckoned the devoted crowd hither. Always it was a welcoming sight, the most beautiful sight. This was a special night. The chorus of verses and prayed was louder tonight, the shining heads of monks in saffron robes now multiplied as if by magic.
His parents too were here, lost among the faithful. But the faithless would taint and tarnish this day, writing its history in rotten blood.
The prayers began and ended again and again, a celebration to be heard by the gods.

A  blast of sound!
Fast as lightning, loud as thunder echoes through the chilly night air. It is coming now, a dark goliath and his vicious pack blackening the weeping, helpless moon. They drift in lower.
He and his parents haven’t the slightest clue that the ominous cloak is being draped across the heavens. The thunder of prayer is deafening still…then the flash of light blinds them…
He feels the force…

The thunder grows in tone, the fire spreads across the town in a tsunami of heat and light, a raging wall from hell’s maw that sweeps across the verdant lands of mortals! Roars from the aerial marauders! Hundreds of blood-curdling screams of people being swept away, picked up from the charred earth by claws of flame, or burned in their sleep. They are washed away by this tidal wave of flame, hundreds of faces wiped clean off the slate they call their country, merely tiny figures, living dolls nameless before the god of this apocalypse!
His parents are running, it is a marathon almost. They are retreating from the blaze that creeps ever closer, a fiery tiger stalking menacingly its innocent prey. Another man is consumed, overwhelmed by the ever-advancing wall of death…
His mother is next, picked screaming off her feet, skin melted away by the cruel, swirling vortex-and her husband has his flesh flung away and his bones turned to horrible imitations of firewood. The infernal dogs have ravaged the land! They howl into the air, breaths of ash in a mushroom cloud that keeps spreading on forever it seems, a blanket that the sky cannot drape itself it but has no choice. The moon hides behind its cloudy sheet in terror.

He is the only one alive.

The dying blaze cleans the festival grounds, a pair of terrible jaws scraping the earth of life with tongue of flame.
He runs.
He is ALIVE.
Thunder boils the air above him as the leaves of the forest shiver in fear. The blast radius is immense. His hometown in now wiped away from the face of the earth. He is too young to know of the monsters who soared past just a while ago. Why is he here? Is it the faithful or the faithless who died? Why is he safe? Who saved him? Is he faithless or faithful? He has not one answer. He never will. The black sky is painted red with the blood of the dead. The devil has eaten off a chunk of his world; never will the earth here be good for humanity; it will always be that haunted graveyard, nameless men and women, their life-strings torn away by some dastardly puppeteer.
This inferno is not the seven-circled nightmare of Dante. It is hell on earth.
All he knows is that the forest beckons him.
The black maw is comfort now. He does not know where he will go. All he knows is, he will go on, he will have to go on…

May…

The fleet of metal dragons roars overhead. They circle the wild, tangled hinterland around the little suburban town…

A disgrace to something sacred

I don’t admit to being a hugely “Lankanized” Sri Lankan. I openly admit that I’m alright with living absolutely anywhere, but since I was born here and my friends and family are here, I will still feel tied down to the country one way or another. My tie was apparently greater than I’d anticipated. So, with the use of a picture that I’d already used before, here is an opinion from me, something that’s extremely rare in these parts. Yet the blogosphere needs to know this.

We all have ways of showing off our “Lankanness”, what with all the tea we drink, the rice we cook in milk and eat with spicy red-hot onions and the constant games of cricket we all jump up and down to. Plus the memories of the last three decades of war against an elite terrorist organization. All of those are the markers of the stereotypical Sri Lankan, aren’t they? Well I’m not a great connoisseur of tea, milk rice makes me sick to my stomach and I’m dead clueless about cricket. Yet I am alive and well, having lived through a monster tsunami plus said war against terrorism. So maybe my way of showing my “Lankanness” is just plain different.
If anything though, it’s not waving a little flag in my hand and howling like a lunatic.
The reason for this post was something or the other my mother told me a few days ago. Or at least, told herself, she’s extremely old-fashioned when it comes to matters of respect and whatnot. Her complaint was one, a marathon in the middle of the road and two, a statement regarding rules about disgracing the flag and showing some respect to it. The marathon was being run by the common young men and boys you see lounging around on a common Sri Lankan suburban or rural road: Tall to medium-size, talking loudly, maybe sharing a smoke.

Their peers in this situation though, were doing that common Lankan hooligan trademark call: Th hoot. All the time while swinging about small copies of the national flag.

Now, a country’s national flag is always flown at full size, at ceremonies or major events that actually commemorate something important that happened in our nation or to our nation. And a road race in the middle of the day is definitely not something worthwhile. In fact it’s not even close.
But here comes the double-edged sword.
These kids probably were doing their best to show off their “Lankanness” to the world. Maybe this was the only practical way they could think of at the moment. Of course we know all about the modern youth. This species is not crazy. Speaking in evolutionary terms the teen is a creative, knowledgeable, inquisitive and powerful breed of human who would gladly challenge those geezers who call themselves “superiors” and “elders” with great wisdom.
Then comes the other edge of the sword. These old coots had lived through a time that these bucks and blades could hardly imagine.
I couldn’t live in a world with no Internet!
And all that Generation X and before had to keep itself from going mad during those long nights, was to pray and read. They prayed for the good of others, and they prayed for the country most importantly. Why they call it the “good old days” and gripe so much is still beyond me-I hate them for doing that but at this time the sword seems to be swinging in quite a…well, strange direction.

I didn’t think about it much until a later musing on the topic.

The national flag is a symbol of Sri Lanka and the literally leonine might of the Sri Lankan peoples as a whole. It is thus a glimpse of what we are and it’s there in the database for the whole world to see. It isn’t party decor, it isn’t something to be waved from a motorcycle by young lunatics. So at the end of what would have ordinarily been a productive day for me, was a display of selfishness and disregard for others’ feelings-especially those of motorists in a hurry to get home or go to wherever they had planned on going.