I used to know a man who had a nook in his paddy field that made him feel he belongs. When he sat there and listened to his favorite rock songs in his head, he felt that he was part of the world under the great dome of blue. This man loved the color blue. And when he lay back on the wild grass and closed his eyes against the glaring sky he saw pictures on his retina. Inside his head a customized version of VH1 played all the while without any commercial breaks or distinctions between one video to another, the whole transmission blending into one long uninterrupted music video.

Well, I don’t remember who that man was. I don’t even remember any anecdotes about him. But I do know about his grandfather. This man is dead now. But I know about him when he was alive. He was not a good man. A coarse, vulgar and insensitive creature that used to cry out aloud because he was afraid to die. He knew that he had messed with every mortal and immortal thing that he came across and he had not paid any price for it. So he was afraid that when death came all this would be compounded and the pain of his soul leaving his body would be too great to bear.

Five years before he died he had felt it coming. For five years he would lie awake in bed unable to sleep calling out to the god who he knew was there but had not taken seriously till now. In the wee hours of the morning lying in his dirty room with beedi stubs and clothes smelling of old age and disregard he would fold his palms over his chest in supplications and in a tone of a beggar would say, “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…”.One day he died in what was said to be a calm death, he died in his sleep. I don’t know what happened to him after that. I guess he had suffered all the pain he required to suffer with the nagging fear of death in the five years prior to his death.

Some people say that life is funny. They are humorists I guess. I don’t find anything funny, though I think it would be nice to see that everything is funny, maybe then you wouldn’t feel too bad about feeling like you are a speck of fish food in huge goldfish bowl. (If this is indeed true then the goldfish bowl is definitely kept in a blue room.)

I am thirty years old by my passport and when I checked out this quiz about what age you are I realized that I was 73. This didn’t come as a shock to me because when you are seventy three you have seen enough in life to get surprised by such a thing. In my 19th year if life something happened to me, much like what happens to a dog when he is 1 year old.(When a dog reaches 1 year of age he matures and becomes what is equivalent of a human being of 21.) I was taken to a couple of psychoanalysts and one teenage counselor. Unfortunately none of them thought I require to be institutionalized. They just said that I was a bit ill-adjusted and that I will get alright.

Then my family tried to take me a rehab sort of place fearing that my character was owing to some kind of substance abuse. But my ex-hippie uncle who was the only man to have sold LSD in my town correctly diagnosed I didn’t need to go to rehab and make friends with dopeys who would turn me into one of them. He took me to a clinical psychiatrist who prescribed me some drug called loxapine. I don’t know what the heck that drug did to me but suddenly I lost contact with myself and started to float away, it was as if my soul was detached from my body and it hung around the body because it didn’t know where else to go. There was some fun to be had here.

If this qualifies as life then life is definitely funny. You see my soul cannot talk and my body cannot hear. My body has nothing to say and my soul needed someone to listen, to talk with and kind of get its bearings. Obviously none of that happened. Over and beyond all this was another sensation which is what writes. This sentient thing was very distraught about all this and didn’t know what to do about this stupid body and soul, and didn’t even know why the three of them had to be together so much. What perplexed it the most was that people saw it as a well defined human being who was a composite of all this.

This was way beyond what he could deal with. Besides people were watching them all the time, waiting for another excuse to take them through more shrinks and counselors and assorted father figures to drum sense unto what they thought was a fledgling and awry human being. By now the subject in question here was tired of having to undergo psychological evaluations and having things to say about an inkblot. It’s around that time that this creature suddenly shed its soul and dumb-ed down helped along by loxapine to turn into whatever it is that is writing this. The less said about it the better unless you want to delve into boring po-mo-hyper-existentialism.

I used to know a boy who had a dog babysit it for the first 5 years of its life. He was kind of like Mowgli just that human beings didn’t scare him much, though he had a similar disregard for them as Tarzan. It was not so much disregard as equity of feelings for humans and what humans referred to as animals. The thing is while other kids would be mean to dogs and cats and insect types he was mean to people. When he was 3 and half and had started running about a lot, his pregnant aunt took him out to pluck mangos and the fucker damn near caused a miscarriage when he pushed her down a slope. That’s what I mean by being mean to humans. Anyways the aunt went on and gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy cousin who grew up to be a network engineer in CISCO who never missed an opportunity to ridicule our Mowgli who drives an auto-rickshaw.

But Mowgli managed to stay happy, he had mended his ways and joined the human hordes though he still flinches inside when he sees dogs being treated like shit. His dog died when he was 15 and he has felt orphaned ever since. Like all violent kids who make it past adolescence he grew up to be a very calm quiet type of adult. This guy and his dog were friends with a gray cow. The three of them would hang out in the meadow, the cow would graze the dog would sit taking the breeze in his fur and the boy would snooze the most peaceful snooze man has known. This sight was pure kitsch, a profound season’s greetings card. Mowgli eventually found a girl who loved cats to fall in love with, but more about that later.

My soul has met all these people in what we purely sentient entities call a soup kitchen. It’s a place where emaciated or destitute souls appear for meager nourishment that is offered. Jim used to sing there, he had one particular song I always connect with that place called Soul Kitchen, notice how he deftly plays with alphabets changing a p for an l. He was quiet good at that sort of thing. Now a days he has found employment there dishing out the watery char that passes for soup. What the heck it’s for free, I shouldn’t complain.