THE EMPEROR HAS ARRIVED……

The kids inside the bus froze to death as they heard it roar! It was a long distant wail, almost like an elephant’s trumpet, but more coarse and harsh. The cops around the bus froze in anticipation for what was to turn up. There was almost no visibility beyond the bridge due to smoke from the debris, but the cars at the end of the bridge could see it. It took the sea route heading for the bridge, the whole body submerged in, except the spikes on the back. The fighter jets around it had their positions ready to strike at a nod of their commander. The children inside the bus had all accumulated to the left side of the bus as to have a glimpse of the creature from the window. The creature glided its way through the water, its pace steady, as to keep up with its ginormous figure. The jet pilots had their thumbs on the fire buttons. The driver of the bus said a silent prayer, a prayer for the safety of his family, for the safety of the kids in the bus, for the safety of his kids.But just as the creature reached the bridge, it stopped. The pilots eyeing it from above winced with surprise. It didn’t break its way through the bridge, which it could’ve easily done, it just stopped. The pilots, then seizing the opportunity, pressed the buttons. Dozens of missiles made their way to the back of the massive demon and struck it, all at once. The creature wailed with annoyance as it led its giant tail out and threw it on the bridge almost breaking it. The driver of the bus, gazing at the gigantic tail in front of him, realized it was no ordinary creature. He hit his foot to the gas and made his way beside the tail, crashing the ‘CLOSED FOR SURVEILLANCE’ boards in its way. A few cops screamed for it to stop, but then realized maybe they had bigger problems to deal with. They took out the gun and fired at the tail in front of them. Just then, another volley of missiles struck the creature. Severely annoyed and flashing with temper now, the creature decided that he had been in for too long. It rose from the sea gradually and the tail now on the bridge rose as well. Just then, a missile hit the bridge in front of the bus. The driver stepped on the brakes so hard, the bus drifted towards the left, stopping only inches from the explosion. A cloud of smoke from the explosion had surrounded the bus. AND THEN, out of the smoke rose appeared GODZILLA. The 400 feet tall creature, somewhat like a dinosaur yet different, somewhat like a giant lizard, but more dreadful , stood its ground in front of the bridge. The kids in the bus stood flummoxed at its monstrosity as they go numb with the dread in their hearts. “Holy Mother of Jesus!” says the driver as his eyes witness the devil his book warned him about. The creature breaks the silence with a loud roar. A roar of anguish, a roar of anger, a roar proclaiming the arrival of the king. THE KING OF MONSTERS! The Emperor has arrived!

Monsters inside us…..

“Our integrity sells for so little but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, and within that inch….”- Valerie, V for Vendetta.

Its a weird life we live, and when I say this I mean the life we live, not the life we pretend we live. The life that only we know about, where moral justifications or personal integrity or principles or ethics or values are not defined. A life which is merely a delusion in this little head of ours. A life where everything is justified to our own personal narcissistic believes. Where actions are perceived without judgment. A life somewhere in our conscience, where all our demonic thoughts reside, where our vices dwell.

Some people cannot distinguish between the two lives, the conscience and the concealment. They end up being serial killers, or rapists, or sociopaths. The lines distinguishing right from wrong, good from evil, morality from sinfulness are diminished and they end up being another version of themselves. A version that had long been hidden since. Maybe it would’ve been some mental trauma, an unforeseen tragedy, a sad heartbreak that may have lead the concealment give way to the conscience.

But then concealment, in its own way is extremely necessary. Forging our morals, our character is in fact the only thing that stands in the way of us being something else entirely. Something we’re not. MONSTERS! I read this quote somewhere, “We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized they were inside us.” And if the only thing preventing me from being one, is to be someone I’m not, then maybe I’m ready to do that. For we, as humans, are capable of doing vicious things. Nuclear attacks, wars, homicides, RAPES! Its curious how small the measure of a life could be in our heads.

There was this movie I was watching the other day, ‘No one killed Jessica’, where a quote from the sister(Played by the formidable Vidya Balan) of the victim Jessica in an interview said, “The man killed my sister because uske paas usse dene ke liye ek drink nahi tha (She didn’t have a drink to give to the guy.) The man who in his egoistic rage thought her life was cheaper than a glass of drink of his.” The movie was based on a true story, the murder case of a girl named Jessica Lal, who was shot by the son of a politician, Manu Sharma in a party where she was the celebrity bar tender, when she refused to hand him a drink when the bar was closed. So devoured was he in his egoistic rage that he shot the girl on the spot.

And its not just one life, millions have been victim to the inhumanity of humans. Our history has been written over the dead carcasses of the many victims of wars and battles, it sings of the heroes who won many wars, killed many soldiers and raped many women.

Its always easy to give in to our conscience, what is difficult is to conceal. To endure. To battle the monsters inside of us. To know that the only thing that distinguishes us from them is the one thing we’re all made up of. It is the very last inch of us. Our Humanity.

DEAD OR ALIVE?

I spent 2 years of my life living in Kota, Rajasthan. Regarded as the mecca of IIT-JEE preparations, around 2-3 lakh students visit Kota every year in order to gain admissions in the most reputed engineering institute in the whole country, the IITs. A lot of coaching centres including Bansals, Vibrant, Resonance, Allen, etc have thus gained prominence all around the country and have established a whole business empire out of education for children. Not just the coaching classes, but even residential places for students to stay, including PGs and hostels have thus developed in the surrounding areas. Thousands of rupees are spent by parents on their ward in areas to coaching, lodging, food, etc.

Somewhere along the line, this creates immense pressure on the child’s mind. The IITs select just a few thousand students out of lakhs of applicants. The amount of competition is immense. Institutes therefore go with fatal teaching techniques, including tons of homework, tests and regular classes and revision. In the midst of all this, a child forgets he even has a life. Succumbed by the competition, they spend their days and nights behind those pile of books. Playtime is a sin. Meals make you slower. Friends are a distraction. You either go with the flow or you drop out. Those who drop out, find their solace in cigarettes and merry making, but then these are people who can actually afford to do so. For the rest, life is either constant struggle filled with a burden of guilt over failure.

Some people even decide to take the easy way out. They either hang themselves by a rope in the room or jump from the top of the building. The rest call them coward. I, just call them victims.

To me, the rest of them who are alive aren’t living either. They’re just breathing. Trying to exist. Zombies, you may call them. From classes, to books, to tests something out of these kids gets lost.

Maybe a life that could’ve been saved, or a childhood that could’ve been cherished. Maybe these were the times they could’ve experienced their first love, or maybe discovered 80s rock, or maybe learn to play the guitar , or watch ‘Casablanca’, but instead they just roam in the streets of Kota, dead.

A lot of people may object to former statements saying ‘You lose some in order to gain some’, and to them I’d say, “Yeah, but don’t you think the chances of losing something a teeny bit higher than gaining. More like, 5000 out 1000000!” Now I’m not targeting every individual when I write this. To each its own. Some people do aspire to become IITians and are actually ready to dedicate 2 years to it. I speak for the rest, people like me. People who had dreams that couldn’t surface and sunk under the ocean of books. People who could’ve been writers, photographers, artists, actors or people who actually wanted to find themselves. But most of all, I speak for the victims. People who succumbed to the pressure. I don’t know how many people will read this post, but to those who do, I want you to become a better generation. A generation who’ll let their kids decide for themselves. Who’d be as happy to see their child holding a guitar on stage, as they would be if he had bought his first paycheck from the office. Maybe in this way we would be able to save a life.

Maybe somewhere a childhood is still dying behind a pile of books. I just wish I could save him. I’d make him sit with me and watch the sunset by the beach. Maybe then he’d realise how beautiful this life actually is. Maybe then he’d realise that hes so much more then just a rat in this race.Maybe then he’d realise hes more than just an investment that would cash in someday. Maybe then he won’t think of letting go of something so precious as this life. For we only live once, right?