Thursday, July 21, 2005

A house in dreams

Father of the family had already travelled a million miles and he thought about the house he was going to build:

The house is where I would find the moorings at the end of a hard day. At nights, it takes the form of a ship anchored alongside the wharf and leans on to the expanding shine of ocean. The balmy breeze across the yard would unfurl the mast's sails to go for a few more knots.

I want the entrance of the house to have cathedral ceiling, glass windows abound and a den in front to get a peek into the storms and lightning passing by. The dwellers of my Ark would hold onto each other until the morning breaks and then I can let them fly away in the bluest sky. I think I need a longer vision glass to see far enough.

Shrugging away the captain's apprehensions, daughter was thinking:

My house begins from the attic where I have a bird's eye view of the landscape beyond the fence, where I can listen to the rain rattling on the roof and then feel the moist nights ticking away with water dripping from the drain and then let the sunshine flutter its mosaic over the slanted windows. I want to walk down the stairs to the living room where the family is assembled. This house of my dream is grand old and I can sense a dejavu of being transported to a timeless time.

Son loathed his sister's morbid optimism and thought to himself:

The idea of basement came from human fear of death and an expectation for bad things to happen. A dingy crawl space would have been preferable. I always felt the house is like a mausoleum built upon a basement like this. I know the trusses and the walls are going to crumble some day and there would be an onslaught of dust and everyone in the house would turn ghostly. The laughters, sobs and voices trapped in the air columns would die a natural death and I want to go far away. I want to smudge every trace of my foot prints too.

Mother thought of her dream of constancy every time she packed their belongings from rented apartments and hit the road:

This house is a refuge and a boundary drawn for the melancholic world. A refuge for a displaced and broken human spirit to restore its body, mind and soul. The house should have a dining area adjacent to the living room to welcome and nourish those who come home battered and bruised and then the soft light in the bedrooms would heal them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

war against terrorism: the frontlines

Your walk along the sidewalks of Manhattan with a camera, your patient pointless stare at the door in the tube midway to destination London, your ricochets and vaults in a hurtling train in Mumbai and a countless other insignificant political moments in time have been called the frontline of a war now: the war against terror.

You feel feverish, angry and powerless at the cold silence of the unseen predator and revulsed at the swearing lords of the land. Didn't they know, those dead were just passing a momentary crosswalk of their lives as they did the day before. They had plans, bills to pay, kids to come back home, trivial and personal fights to continue ...Yet painfully, this was not a surprise.

You registered the metaphors from the eve of terror and the voice of Christian Amanpour to your collective psyche. The drizzle and dim lights, the police lines, the emergency vehicles, the silent passers by and the muted TV screen reeling off gore and blood - It has become all too familiar for you now and you are not surprised anymore, and hopefully you won't be afraid anymore as well.

I remember Luis Bunuel's last *film about a woman who drives a man to distractions of frustrated desire and portrayal of his preoccupation with the connection between lust and violence. The film secretly pursued another obscure object of desire: the terrorism which surfaces in various forms (moral, social, cultural, economic, psychological, and political), ranging from the bomb outrages that accompany the protagonist in his sexual odyssey down to the financial pressures he exerts in order to have his way.

The fits of callous cowards find expression in terrorism. They use their neurotic hate and fear to gain control. I reject them, am on my way to work and they will never have their way as I step into the subway train.

* That Obscure Object of Desire

Saving the World!

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