Thursday, May 25, 2006

In Silence

She was enjoying it. She listened to the ripples of music sweetly brushing against her soul; she reached the peaks of harmony in variations of pitches and tones of the musician. She had always loved hearing those melodious timbres from times unknown. It’s been her greatest joy in life to walk through those theoretical time structures between sound and silence, that they fondly called music.

It was like a stride through her life. It carried all the beauty and pain of loneliness in which she was dwelling. She saw the stings that pricked her mind and the memoirs that evoked smiles. She saw the candles of timbre light up the beauty of conscience, lingering as a shadow behind the rhythm. At times she felt that she can rewrite her script to experience the wholesome harmony. She could see it all in music.

She has been carrying the pain with her. She was lacking something that most others had. She could sense the vibrations of loneliness all around her. She felt that she was singled out, that she was an object of sympathy. That’s when she started to hear those voices. She sometimes heard her own conscience weep in patterns, which she felt was musical. At some point of time, she started to harmonically chant sequences of voice in her mind. She freely wandered through the mountains and valleys of pitches and tones that she never anticipated to attain by herself. She had set herself on a magical journey. She blazed into the voyage that cut through the borders of tones and silence, of patterns and combinations, of culture and humanity, of melody and harmony, of rhythm and timbre, of tears and smiles, most importantly of conscience and pain. She wriggled into the space between tones and turned her back against solitude. She won her fight.

When she closed her eyes she traveled some years back and she heard the doctor tell her “There has been no other option but to perform total laryngectomy to remove the cancer. Without your vocal cords it will be difficult for you to talk again”. When she opened her eyes she had tears in her eyes, but a peaceful Mona Lisa smile sported her face as she alighted into her new world filled with beautiful notes. Her heart was so quiet to hear the music in the air around her, the music amongst the trees and mountains. She set her foot on a confident new journey, which was about to turn her life around.

How true are the words of Yehudi Menuhin, the great violinist - “Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous

- This article is dedicated to a person, who had achieved new heights in her small world of music, who had created a life for herself out of void when falling into that black hole was so likely, who inspired all of us who knew about her, who realized there was a music even in silence.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The long wait for the new Zeus

I stood in that gloomy valley, facing the magical beaming light which showered its golden rays across the horizon into my very enticed retina, which has not seen light for past thirty years. The light was so soothing - I acknowledged the new found warmth and freshness from it, the nice invigorating cold zephyr around me and I felt that this was it – I have attained what I was looking for. Destiny always finds you a bit late.

I had been idling in that dark valley for quite some time, and was waiting patiently for the better force to show me the way and take me with it. But HE had different ideas…It seemed as if HE knew the mission of my life and would not take me to the eternal bliss without letting me fulfill it. With that supernatural light fading, there was a torrent current in the air, the strong wind almost making me fall over, losing my balance. I could see a long rope being thrown at me, and through the darkness which still haunted one side of the valley, I could see four dark human shadows tied tight together at the other end of the rope. I strained my eyes to get a sight of their identity, but all I could see were four distinct figures taped tight in mysteriously black attires that hid their whole body. I could faintly recognize that they were wriggling in the tight bonds they were in, and their distant wails seemed to strike me hard. An unearthly voice whispered to me from eternity “Take them towards the sharp rock at the eastern tip of valley, which points to the unknown depths of grey gorges of suffering. Tie them to the rock and I will guide you from there.”

I was haunted by questions countless, as I pulled those distant voices to the east. I felt that I did not know who I was or what I was doing there, in that dark arena of mystery. I wondered if I was going to have a bout of nervous fits, but I realized that I was experiencing an unusually peaceful aura in mind. Although there were many a things that were unanswered around me, I was trying to be consciously edgy. I must have walked for ages, but I did trample down to my destination. The rock at the eastern tip shaped like a huge sharp nose, and there was an evil presence of the gorge, which seemed like a black hole sucking even the air around the rock. With a bit of difficulty, I managed to tie the four human figures to the rock. They kept on wailing and wriggling, even after being sealed strongly to the ropes. I slowly dropped off to a distance and got a resting place near the stream of sweet crystal clear water which I savored till it quenched my thirst, as I waited for that better power to guide me and take me further. My identity was still a mystery and I was hoping that I would be deprived of that pain as early as possible. I tried to look at the clear stream to see myself, but I was even dispossessed of reflections.

I was woken up by the cry of vultures from horizon. In the pale mysterious light that was peeping from the west, I could see the shadows of a number of vultures fast approaching. The scavengers neared within seconds, and headed straight towards the rocks. Hiding behind the trees, I looked at the horrible sight of the vultures hungrily devouring parts of flesh from the bodies of the four figures tied tightly to the rocks. I could hear the loud clear screams of pain that was endured by them, I could see the dark red color of flesh all around and I was engulfed by the nauseating smell of fresh blood in the air. I could see the vultures tearing off warm meat from the body and faces of the poor sufferers, and all I could do was stand helpless hoping that they would die faster void of all the pain they were suffering. The faint magical light started to fade out, and strangely, the vultures quit their cruel task and flew back towards the light. Life had not left the preys, and they were wailing from the pain they were enduring. I wanted to offer some water to them, but I could feel myself being tied down near the stream, unable to walk, unable to tender some helping words. They might have suffered for more than a day from that never ending pain, but never fell unconscious as if some mysterious force wanted them to suffer. By nightfall, the magical beam of light appeared above the rock and before I could get up it showered its rays on the victims and disappeared. I noticed that the wounds of the victims had healed up and the deep wailings of pain had stopped. I heard the healthy breathing as they fell asleep after giving some deep sighs of relief having been acquitted of all the pain. Before I could even think about the meaning of the drama I was seeing, I noticed the vultures arriving from the horizon yet again. Their cries of evil hunger woke up their preys at the rock, and they started screaming, knowing the dark fate that awaited them. Same trauma awaited them, and by the time the vultures left the same old chaotic atmosphere had sworn itself into power around me. These might have continued for days altogether. All of it looked like the story of Prometheus, who was destined for similar fate by Zeus, the god of gods. My thoughts became even hazier. Seeing the sufferings endured by them, tears started flowing from my eyes and as I wiped them off I could realize that my face was old with lots of wrinkles on it. I cried aloud for the magical force to come and take me – I had seen enough of these cruel sights, I had been hit hard by them. I prayed for my identity, I wanted to wipe off that mystery and the destiny that made me to see these people suffer.

Out of the blue, a bright sunlight engulfed the valley and I saw the rocky terrain lighted for the first time. I eagerly looked in the stream to see who I was. I saw myself – A strong old man, with sharp pointed eyes with lots of depth in them, determination radiating from each miniscule of the face, grit and strength written all over the psyche. I recognized myself – I was the father of Rajan, who died mercilessly in police custody around 30 years back – I am the professor who had advised words of wisdom and knowledge to generations of students – I am the man who suffered endlessly in the hands of tyrants, I am the man who endured the worst of fears, the worst of pains – I am the man who had been pricked by a thousand needles falling on me in the rain, when I heard the cries of my son who has been calling for me in the pain for past 30 years. Yes, I am the same helpless man, who fought years for justice, for bringing out the truth to public, for creating a new dawn in the place I was born – all as the last rites for my son. I am Professor Eachara Varier - I was pushed into dark by some heartless forces. They gave me a dead son, a mentally ill wife and an even darker 30 years to live. But I had the rage, I had the spirit to shout against the advent of dark….I, being an old man, needed an outstretched hand at times, but was deprived of that too. But, I fought. I fought hard with vigor, with verve.

The mystery about my self was solved, when I saw my face in the bright light. I turned back towards the rock and I saw the faces of the people who were enduring all that pain. The same people for whom I was sympathizing while wondering about the heinous crimes they did to get so much pain that was mounted on them. I could clearly see the visage of each person. The same faces that were pricking my consciousness for ages. The same faces which made me, wonder whether I can ever forgive them. The same faces that created doubts in this old man’s mind whether I had tiny droplets of vengeance in me. They were

Mr. KK, a well-known bureaucrat in Kerala who believes that every evil that he did in his holy life can be wiped out by visiting a holy temple. The state home minister during the time of emergency, who fought vigorously for injustice to prevail.

Mr. JP, Deputy Inspector General of Crime Branch - who personally orchestrated the sadistic entertainment of implementing heights of physical torture. The man who proved to the world that such nazist treatment can be implemented as a part of democracy as well, at the well-known Kakkayam camp, where Rajan was brutally murdered.

Mr. PN, the duty officer who supposedly kicked the life out of Rajan’s body on the nod of Mr. JP. From the descriptions of the fellow students in the camp, Rajan was pleading for his life when Mr. PN kicked him. I saw the images of Rajan’s young face begging for some more years in this earth, all nights for last 30 years. Will Mr. PN ever know what I lost?

Ms. IG, the mastermind behind hundreds of brutal deaths like these. Under the pretext of securing the country from danger, a single leader who was the Prime minister of India then brought in emergency which stayed from June 22, 1975 till March 21, 1977. Just before she had declared emergency, she was defeated in elections. She filed election petitions, filed cases in different courts of law, in vain. There comes declaration of emergency, and the darkest age of Indian democracy has come into existence as a result of the search for power from one tyrant person.

These were the people who contributed most for ruining my life. These were the people who killed my only son. Now, I can hear their cries closely. I see the pain that they are going through. I see their red tears flowing down their facade. I see their open flesh being torn apart by vultures. I should be happy. I should be celebrating. But….But, I am in a vacuum - I don’t know whether this is what I sought for. I am not a person who believes that counter sufferings would open the world for me. All I was looking out was for confession – Blunt confession for all the sins that this world has done to me.

Then, I saw the magical light again. I knew that the better power had written this verdict for them. I knew that HE wanted me to accompany him only after my destiny was fulfilled. I walked with HIM, hand to hand. I whispered “Free them. Let them learn”. I saw the smile in HIS face as we walked, and I heard the four mouths chanting confessions aloud from behind. We kept walking. When we neared the golden forest ahead of us, the chanting ceased and I turned back. There was no nose-shaped rock facing the evil dark gorges of the east. It had fallen. It fell to the depths of the valley where darkness of anguish lurked. I turned back. As I walked into tunnel of light with him, I had tears in my eyes. “Please let them learn. Let them have a chance, which they never gave my Rajan. I rest my case”. HE smiled at me again. At the very end of that tunnel of light I saw the shadowed silhouette of a young man with open arms welcoming me. He looked happy to see me, after 30 years. He brought hope in my mind, after 30 years. I….I realize that it’s the end of my journey. I smiled…with tears in my eyes, as he held me.


Since the moment I finished reading "Memories of a Father" - The autobiography by Prof Eachara Varier, I have been disturbed. I think I dreamt about it that night when I slept. I saw those vultures flying in, and I was happy. That's when I thought even more deeply about the professor and his life. The above reflections are my fiction and not a part of the book. Please use the link at the end of the article to see the book.

I remember Achan narrating the horrible incidents that happened during emergency (some of them in which he also suffered) during our long talks in the terrace. Although I had heard lots of stories about emergency from him and his books, I did not possess much info about Rajan murder case, until our dear Dhanush (Thanks to you!) passed the autobiography of Sri. Eachara Varier - ‘Memories of a Father’ (Translation to English by Neelan). I started the book at 1 am after I reached back home from work, and finished it by around 3 am, with a heavy heart. The pain and suffering that Sri Eachara Varier had undergone is beyond comprehension. If I had read this book before, I am sure that I would have given a visit to this great person before he passed away. Let there be more people like him who grace and touch the heart of our God’s own country. Let there be more warriors who are embodiments of mental strength and spirit. Let there be more people like Adv. Ramkumar (who was with Sri Varier from beginning till end, as an ace support in the fight for justice), Mr. Appukkuttan Vallikkunnu (the journalist who brought the inside story of Rajan case), Adv Eeswara Iyer (who took the case in court), Mr. Vahabudeen (the then, principal of REC, Calicut who assisted Sri. Varier for finding the truth). Let there be more people who can impart some change. Let there be more of us with open eyes and warm heart.

As has been mentioned by the translator (Neelan – An amazing job of translation by him), when we finish the book we feel that we are drenched in a rain. We feel that there is much more to be done to make ourselves more beautiful. It takes a lot to do something which can make our mind feel lighter and better. Let me stand in this rain for some more time, searching….yes…searching for a new Zeus, who can bind these dark forces to the rocks….I am waiting, with water in my eyes. It’s still raining and the horizon is dark and cloudy for me, with no magical ray of light or hope in the vicinity. Let it rain, let us drown in it.– Get the book from here.