QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 11

ELEVENTH EPOCH: THE ANSWERED QUESTION

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This realization (that writing is not the end in itself but rather, the spell to express my life in enchanting tones) lead me also, to the answer to the question that had previously buried me alive with suffocation.

I began to discern that my original perspective of my desire had not been flawed. I had been an artist and the charming craft of words had indeed mesmerized my mundane existence. Indeed it had lead me down the labyrinth of life to explore myriad, undiscovered haunts.

But things fell apart when I had began to use life as a chisel to sculpt my art rather than using art as a chisel to carve intricate meaning into my life.

That’s why, I had to know who I was and what life meant to me. Only if I weaved in my mind a vivid effigy of what I would carve would I be able to trace the chisel across the stone.

So for a while, I began to make a macrame of order inside my mind to knit one tapestry of life where everything I did fit in. Long days and unslept midnights I stayed brooding, little by little knitting my past desires and future aspirations together to find what lay common. In the end, I defined my destination, where I currently stood in life, and the path that I strove to saunter on.

Now I knew why I indulged in this phantasmagorical art and how it was important to my life.

My life would be my greatest masterpiece that I would leave behind in memory, past my time. That’s why, the strokes that I etch on my canvas must fall in proper order, in harmony with the soul of the entire painting. And writing is the vivid paints through which I would convey the mindscape of my life to the world’s gaze.

My mission is to make an art of my life. Then, this life of myself – the forgotten dancer – can be infused into the art of words to hold in its core.

Writing is not the end in itself, but rather, the spell to express my life in enchanting tones. This answer materialized at last from the tempestuous pits of pain; for that is the way of the world – answers emerge from the darkness. Incubation…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 10

TENTH EPOCH: FLOW AND FREEDOM

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It dawned on my that my relentless approach towards innovation was fundamentally flawed. At once I had been drenching the flow from a river of ideas without letting back the water to garner. Soon all had been quenched – the reservoir used up.

Armed with the freedom and vigor that a repose had kindled in me, I set out to confront and battle the problem I had once evaded. I began to seek the rotten heart of the quagmire – what ultimately fell amiss?

The new quest went beyond just the immediate problem – which was but a manifestation of a bigger infection. I decided that I did not just want to rise from this deep chasm I had fallen in but rather, pave my path up and discover the secret to ‘rising’ itself.

‘The next time I fall, though inevitable, could be tarried if I understand the nature of the boulders I stumbled on and avoid them,’ I decided. ‘ I’ll learn from this fall, what it is like to emerge a phoenix. The art of rising, I’ll master.’

With this, I set out to study the problem, which, as it turned out was overworking. My mind, I discovered, was so constrained to the masterpiece it was supposed to be working on that it grew soon, void and deprived of food and sleep and ultimately fell ill. The sickness of the contraction began to fester down my mental alleys and destroyed my ability, imprisoning my potential. Consequently, I had plunged into despair, because all the world that I had known had rotted.

I needed to redefine myself, reconsider my potential by releasing it from its bonds to writing alone and interact with the rest of the world as well. As much as I had to explore deep and innovate, I also had to drink in from the world and fare far and wide. The scales had tipped. From once being constrained with just the external world and its ways, I had now begun to focus on exploring the mines of my potential and interest, neglecting the brightness of reality. And mines… even though they house gold and diamonds, are dark and lonely places. A balance was required.

If I wanted to go back to exploring myself and extracting buried treasures, I would set out with a map that leads back to the world of light and men. To uncover the secret of this balance – which is a motley of relentless odysseys against weather and wear, and idyllic exhilarations of the moment without any expectation; the deep core of the Earth and the tranquil vastness of the sky. When the realm to walk on was this huge, the world was a colorful and dynamic place, I realized.

So this was the time I began to see the value of letting things go, relaxing and giving my mind space to breath. Passion can’t be chiseled. It has to be left unperturbed so that it could flow down forth its peaks and wet my soil to rich luxuriance.

To rise back from the fall, I had to unfold my wings and fly rather than weep by the dry flakes of the faded river. It’s okay if I can’t do this. This failure can’t stymie the flow of my life. In the end, my aspirations soar beyond just words and art and the heart – it is life in itself. And I will exist, if not through expressions of art, through my unremitting flow that devours even hardened rocks that hinder its journey.

Flow and freedom – unfettered potential.

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 9

NINTH EPOCH: ESCAPE & METAMORPHOSIS

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‘My potential is infinite and I am what I want to be – whatever my heart desires. Nobody could etch in stone my definition – not even my own misguided mind – because I am always transforming to the whim of my passion.’ I breathed out.

I still remember, only about two months ago, I finally gave up.

Suddenly I could feel fiery wings unfolding from my spirit, blazing with enthusiasm to explore every crevice and ocean in this planet. Those wings throbbed to traverse through the multiverse – anywhere and nowhere – released. At the same time, a daunting shadow withdrew its grim claws from the sides of my vision – my eyes were once again mine own and fresh, ready to behold the world unfiltered. The ghosts of guilty words haunted my world no longer – for I owe them nothing, no longer did I belong to their beautifully pungent world.

Oh, how delightful that felt, to be able to hear the heart and mind in harmony again – to feel my mind exhale the stale air it had held so far and inhale freedom!

A fortnight faded in paradise of the release. To a man just stumbled from deep caves of darkness after years, even the glare or ordinary glow would blaze akin to the whole power of the sun. So this renewed light that had seeped into my days where so supreme that happiness descended down unbounded.

Those fifteen days I transitioned across a periphery from a constrained realm to one of wide vision and unrestrained reality. It was only by the end of the two weeks that I woke up to the change that had descended upon me, seemingly unseen.

It was like the blossoming of wild roses – when you force one into your lonely soil and shut it in dark chambers, tormenting it every moment with unemphatic request to grow… well, it pines. On the contrary, when left to the lacquered mercy of the sun and the untainted freshness of the air, to be fondled in soil that loves the roots and understands its burden of bearing the roses, the roses just blossom out unasked, blushing lips smiling wide.

The metamorphosis I noticed in my being was as fascinating as unexpected. Questions I had long slavered to uncover now revealed themselves…

…the dawn of the epoch of answers.

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 8

EPOCH 8: THE SUNKEN ANCHOR

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I didn’t know what to drape in exquisite jewels of words and consequently, my canvases remained hollow ornaments with no meaning enfolded in their arms. Soon, I developed an aversion towards what used to be once a most sacred practice for me.

Indeed, in the gone days, this form of art had been most scintillating to my spirit because I saw it as an enchanting means to express myself. But now, the rhythm of my heart had ceased to call from within my words and the practice had become a dreary obligation. Once a woodland with the arcane call of beings and the whisper of dew-coated blossoms where secrets were found, now became a fallow land where lingered naught but the parched memory of life, long evaporated.

‘I am a writer, I have to write because I like it,’ I would whisper to myself in unsympathetic tones. Then I began, without my knowing, to seek an escape. What was once freedom was now my fetters.

The world, in long gone days bore the invisible fragrance of words and poetry and stories infused into the smell of Earth. But now, all around me, wherever I fled, the ghost of guilty words unwritten chased me – just ghosts, for they had no soul to them.

‘My anchor!’ I would gasp, watching it sink into the sea of darkness amidst which I floundered, and each time I desperately forced in my breathe to grope the dark depths for that which has slipped away. I could have sailed away to find the golden blaze of sun elsewhere, yet I was fixated on the idea of writing being my anchor -my definition- that, in an attempt to find myself, I got lost.

Passion became an obligation and the pursuer began to flee. At last, suffocation crept in and the beautiful tessellation of artistic aspirations, carefully tendered all these years shattered.

‘I am not a writer anymore. I quit,’ I decided… 

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To be continued…

QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 7

EPOCH – 7: MIST, DARKNESS AND CHAOS

I can see still in my mind’s eye, that moment when I finished the last epoch – after binging on the entire recollection for about four days. At last, when the final period fell on the canvas, I sighed out, relieved of having cast down a precious burden onto surer shores from whence it won’t vanish. As ever, the first six epochs of writing had revealed even to me what abstract ideas I had, and reading out those words that I had unfettered in flow, I myself began to discover a lot about me.

The journey, with all its unexpected turns, gradual revealing and sudden epiphanies had been colorful. Now, as I laid staring at the completed script, I wandered a little into the dark alleys of imagination which fenced the future – from here, where will I go? How would the journey ahead diverge? What will I find? Where in a few months time will I find myself?

I shot arrows of guesses, but they always vanished into the thickets of darkness, never again seen. I couldn’t possibly conceive how the voyage ahead would feel.

Now, six moths later, it is marvelous how unexpected the path that carried me had been – one that I couldn’t have, back then, imagined. At that point, I had brought to order, all the vague chaos of ideas in my mind, answered with integrity that elusive questions I had long evaded. With all bewilderment so far banished, the road ahead seemed clear and straight ahead – no unexpected bends that hadn’t been brought to the light….yet.

‘Yet’- but I didn’t know that then. In time, deeper doubts began to plague my mind. I lost once more, all vision of why I write. I knew at once that it was a sacred art that wrought me with its force that was beyond trifles; I knew that it was an expression – a reflection of life’s beauty – which helped me find myself; my mind whispered that writing was akin to creating – that dazzling miracles, empires, and timeless characters could be spun from invisible imagination; my heart serenaded about the immortality that burnished in the core of the arts – the timelessness of classic literature – as, ever had I been fascinated by anything that transcended time.

But-

‘What do you write about?’ people asked me. ‘I don’t know, a lot of things,’ I would say”, because I didn’t know, really – I didn’t know what the answer would sound like when armed with words, I didn’t know what form the answer takes – I have never seen it. Yet, the answer to their question lay somewhere deep beyond. It wasn’t ‘just a lot of things’ at random – but there was some center to all that I write that inspired those verses to be born. Some forgotten purpose that was struggling to express itself.

But without that core, everything I wrote seemed like sundered strings drifting in thin air. I began to loose the feeling of sacredness – the excitement of the exploration – because I didn’t know why I was writing what I was writing. Was I really just scribbling out just about anything for the sake of it? For yes, that luxuriance and charm that once emanated from my passion had dwindled down to desperate streams of scribbles – a stream that had began to choke and dry, till it almost vanished. The journey had so meandered that my spirit now was a wasteland where no art could flourish; passion had fled, the light was doused,and mere hollow corpses of words remained.

Mist, darkness and chaos – the time had come for my greatest fall yet…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 6

SIXTH EPOCH: THE QUEST TO THE END OF THE BOTTOMLESS

At this point, I am talking about the moment I am experiencing now, even as I am writing this. Having just entered into this new epoch, I grope in the darkness that comes in the absence of the dawn of any truth. I am, but again, an infant, newborn into this world, and yet to learn to manoeuvre my way through its labyrinthine passages. At the moment, I am unaware of where the exit door to this maze lies, and whence this stage of my writing journey leads to. I don’t know how many more worlds hide in the darkness of my ignorance yet, that I must one day, consequentially cross through, in this quest to reach the heart of this art- to dive to the bottom root of something as bottomless as time.

The infinitely long journey ahead is, at the moment, in the land of thick white mist that only uncertain moments in the future could clear.

I have seen but the little tip of an iceberg. And now begins this journey, to the bottom of the bottomless; to trace along the massive form of the concealed iceberg beyond the depths of my imagination. And there lies in the darkness, the mysteries of life, truth and secrets, that are to be discerned with the descent of every layer…

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The end… for now.

31 March 2019

It has been rather long indeed – half a year – since I wrote the last part of this series. Now, after a long chasm of silence, I return. Mostly, I am here to clear my own vague memories of my writing history – to sketch down the abstruse crosses that cleave the map of my sojourn so far across the lands of writing, so as to see for myself the paths I have walked – the mountains of realisation I had climbed, the valleys of despair and anxiety I had fallen into, and the plateaus of stagnation I had been buried beneath.

In the time that lapsed twixt the last epoch and now, much has changed, including mayhaps, the tone of my writing. Yet, here I am again, with much-transformed vigor to continue the story from where I dropped it.

Also, now that I see it unwind this way, I have decided that this series perhaps will remain my diary – of sorts!

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 5

FIFTH EPOCH: THE SONGBIRDS OF SILENCE.

It had been a gradual unveiling, the essence of what I mustn’t serve. But then, the question still burnishes as bright as before – What is it that my heart could haemorrhage in the form of verses?

Even at the beginning of this epoch of my writing journey, I had been, but blind, to the concrete form of this idea of an intangible, invisible language of hearts, I was deprived of the means to delve into the different subjects that sculpted this old language. This eternal feeling was only a silhouette then, giving but a vague glimpse, a wild guess, about what miracles the daylight of understanding would reveal in the shadows intricate folds. My heart was asleep to the magic touch that would arouse its spirits, to give wings to the restless wisps of bodyless thoughts that prowled my mind.

And I was unaware of such a need – of my imperative requirement of some magical arrow released by the songbirds of the language of silence that would be delivered to stir the heart. And in vain, I did what foolish deed I did best – to wander amorously, wide around the world, trying to drench out goblets of essence from many a book; and most often than not, I only found seducingly scented wisps of air that would diffuse and disappear in days.

But at the end came my stumble across a book – one more of only a couple I had discovered from that class of rich rarity – a classic work of Nathaniel Hawthorne. And in the profound moonlight of my already plaguing guilt about not uncaging enough words, and a mind soaked in the draught of the essence drenched out of every book I had held so far, the deep flames of profoundness that burned from within the dull pages of this old book transformed into something new.

A flock of sleeping songbirds that serenaded only the songs of silence woke. And from their eyes, shone a new realm, that, having existed timelessly, had never once been beheld by my eyes – nay, even my heart. But suddenly, I was awake to sympathies and feelings that were unique to the deep human heart. I could have called it a moment’s awakening. And the silhouette that had, for quite some time then, been acquiring a faint color from my new fascination with imagining a magic within mundane objects and the mystery of nature, suddenly sparkled with a richness of hue. The vague idea of the matters of human hearts acquired a crystallinity, and the sudden urge to release the songbirds from within my heart took over me.

And in this sombre mood illumined by another internal glimpse, my so far feebly stirring passion – a.k.a writing- took the form of a soldier in chains, wanting to aggressively fight his way out of his confines and into the broad sunshine of people’s world…

And this was the end of another epoch and the beginning of this story…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 4

FOURTH EPOCH: WHERE WAS THE OCEAN?

Back when I used to think of writing as just yet another profession, I would often wonder what I would write about. Which subject must I garb in elegant draperies of words?

Most other writers, I had noticed, wrote of things the things that made the ‘today’ – the vogue. Of that class of ideas that enthral and hold in its center, the entire world’s admiration for a span, before completely vanishing into the air. And many an artistic pen-bearer left ink trails of the path trodden by every sheep in the flock,  wasting their passions over the little things that scented the day’s air, wanting to write of what the other wrote.

But even when people urged me to invest in the glamorous genre that bought readers of my time, something felt wrong about draining such sacred a wealth on something as inconsequential as to be fleeting.

There were other writers who wanted to catch the tide, the hugely rising wave of interest that magnetically compels the artists and other men alike to become its part in touching the sky before its fall. I waited though. Tides were of a nature to pass; to rise and fall. In the end, it is the ocean that remains – the ancient depth that often conceals its timeless beauty beneath the ephemeral waves that dance bright today. But where was the ocean?

It couldn’t see the ocean, but I thought I could feel it in my heart when I held the waters of the ocean in my hand – as opposed to, say, from a passing lake or stream. A lingering trace of a whisper from within my heart would throw its tempestuous tantrum would I write about anything but those words that carried heavy in their wombs, a depth of undying meaning, as of the ocean.

Here was the idea behind that – any object that thought itself strong enough to fight back the erosion of time, so as to become, one long day hence, an ancient testimony to immortality, must learn to speak in the tongue of the undying ocean and not at all the mortal language of the ephemeral tides, that was heard so loud in the murmur of every mortal citizen.

And that was a language, made not merely of words, but of deep truths that were born with the birth of time, and rose along with the earliest dust of this Earth. A language of the heart and silence alike, that are felt in the ears of those few seeking seafarers who dare to sail beyond the mundane tides and into the vast, unfathomable ocean to seek an ancient miracle superior to passing mediocrity. And the language lives, asleep in lesser hearts, but alive, even yet, in every heart, and watches while other human languages are given birth and life, and death alike. For, this was the language of hearts that never died.

And by now, although I knew not about what to write, I knew the answer to a larger question – how to write. And-

A God, as I considered my divine art, it could only be given to this Earth in its native language of truth…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 3

THIRD EPOCH: THE SACRED FORCE.

Sure I never reached the point of pride or arrogance. I knew well, that I had long leagues to fare ‘fore I could master it, and that I was but yet beginning to embark on that journey. Yet so, it is always imperative to see the fall before it comes. For pride and haughtiness are a quicksand – with a powerful gravity to suck us in and bury us beneath the dust. And what more, it is a quicksand garbed as an enticing mirage, that draws us forth from even far and yonder away, without us knowing!

And that’s why the traveler must always ask himself the humble question to save himself from falling into a path astray. And even yet so, the vigilance is never mastered. Even for a second, must the man yield to the temptations of repose from this watch, he may be lured into the quicksand, like a sin to the doom.

At about this time, a speech I heard one day carved its deep imprint inside my mind- awakening a new torch in which’s light I now saw newly this unknown art I had so long pursued. The light discerned to me, the fact, that the art was a separate entity, although blessing my soul by taking it for its shelter. Any preternatural epitaph that I might have weaved with words were not, in fact, my own brilliance, but a gift from a force more sacred.

I began to see something more powerful that I served for, a sacred element that required reverence and worship. Here was something beyond me, something that I had to realize was holy, and couldn’t hence take lightly, to my disposition. It seemed to my mind now, that I was a practitioner of a divine, eternal art and not some master of some skill.

And art, in reality, is God, is to be revered and worshipped so that its intricate fineries can be understood even at the surface. My entire world dazzled in the glow radiated by a new conception now; like the places very much seen every day made beautiful by the touch of the tender moonlight.

In those times of communion, I was no more a mere ephemeral being. I had intertwined with a sacred spirit and become a part of something else; something greater…

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To be continued…

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QUEST WITH AN UNANSWERED QUESTION- 2

SECOND EPOCH: THE ART UNKNOWN

There’s this peculiar quality of greatness in God’s heart. For god, who is the force behind art himself, seeks to donate enormously to the beggar who wants but a coin or two. And while I had asked to walk the circumstance of the Globe, the heavenly force (as I must needs call the power of art) had decided a different journey for my footsteps to embark on. A man’s mind would know only to see the life on his planet; but when a greater force merges with his spirit, suddenly, the universe dances in a variety within his kaleidoscope.

And then, the art of writing had decided to teach its student – although only so poor a student, that she would even fail to sense that a force as such existed, leave alone as a teacher.

This was the time when I had begun to read novels with a conscious sympathy for the art behind the story. I woke to the verses inscribed in the world around me, and felt suddenly, the invisible fragrance of words and poetry and stories infused into the smell of Earth.

I began to breathe in the art, trying to learn all I could to hone my diaphanous skill. And before I knew, it was starting to become a definition of mine. And I felt at long last, that I had earned, through earnest dedication, the early acquaintance with the art of writing, and was now ready to set forth into the long quest of mastering it.

But, heavens! could I have been more wrong?

‘Up in the misty land of clouds’ could often be a desperate cue to descend; and I was forced to remind myself- pride cometh before a fall…

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To be continued…

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