The Journey…

Written by : Abhisek Pattnaik
Pic Courtesy : http://www.aconsciousrethink.com

I had almost trekked for 6 hours on an uncharted path by now. And it reached to a meadow after a climb of some steep and some not so steep slopes. I was quite exhausted by now. I could see a big tree, the only standing tree by the end of it. I thought I’d reach this tree before bringing the ceremonial end to my summit. Uncharacteristic to the topography, it was huge with its branches extending to all directions more than its height and its broad leaves giving me an impression of a banyan tree. But it looked different; certainly it felt different. Without giving much thought to it anymore, I decided to take some rest under its welcoming shade. The lush green grass, the cool wind and the enthralling view from the top made me do something wild, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. I undressed myself and left everything behind before entering the abode of its shade and lied down on the grass stark naked.
“Never had I felt more free. Never had I been this comfortable before.”
I woke up from my short nap to find Brownie sitting in front, facing me. Seeing me wake up, she wiggled her nose, before taking her short steps forward.
My breathing fastened as the idea of finding her again after so many years was too much for me to cope with. Tears of joy started rolling from my eyes as I forwarded my index finger close to her nose. She paused a bit sniffing my hand before jumping in joy in all possible directions…

“Tick Tick” I called her to come close. And she came and sat next to me as I started scratching her in between her ears. She was always very fond of it and continues to be so as she closed her eyes as I did that.
Suddenly I got reminded of her departure from this world…
I closed my eyes to stop this thought.

But guess, it was too late by now.
And She was gone.

I started climbing down the mountain and somewhere in between in search for answers, I found a cave next to a spring. I drank some water from it and dared to enter it. A yogi sat in his yogic posture at the far end of the cave. I slowly but steadily approached him. He opened his eyes and he smiled at me as if he had measured and judged all my questions in that split second. I simply went close to him and sat there. We didn’t exchange any words nor it was meant to be exchanged. He brought his index finger forward towards my forehead as I closed my eyes.

“Silence finds it’s meaning only amidst the chaos. Sanity comes because we have all been insane before…
You saw there what you wished for…
Nothing was ever taken from you, nothing can ever be taken from you.”

Addendum:

… Brownie! ❤️

Love and Pain.

Acrylic Painting on Canvas(18″×24″) by Abhisek Pattnaik

Often we stand at crossroads, feeling dejected reflecting upon the mismatch between our expectations and what life has in store for us. But it is in these moments of extreme privacy, it becomes rather more important to sit back and reflect upon these as a result of one of the universal laws of nature. Love and Pain. Ironically we never think of them putting them in the same basket. But they always happen to chase each other… don’t they?  Sometimes even occurring at the same time.

“Aab kya karein janaab! Aas he to niraasa to hogi hi… par kabhi kabhi.” 🙂

Dichotomy!

Model J P Sartre (French Philosopher)
Acrylic on Canvas by Abhisek Pattnaik

Dichotomy : the nagging struggle with despair.

The incessant need of our personality to be intentional towards ‘the others’ ; infinite series of reflections and counter reflections utterly confusing things for some while creating beautiful patterns for others. At last the only abode that remains true or at least can remain true to our authentic nature are our thoughts but alas! If only we knew how to master them! 

The Departing…

‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch
Written by Abhisek Pattnaik

Seeing his helpless aunt and hearing the pitch of her cry gave in for the violent waves of emotions to engulf his face. Scratching his head in no less mannerism of a mad man he directed her towards the room where the dead body of his father was lying still and cold; surrounded by the howling members of the pack. The madness of uncertainty took over only for a few seconds though, for good or worse, before he came back to his stoic self and continued with his engagements in the corridor.

A chapter from the lands of Fosterganj.

Written by : Abhisek Pattnaik
Pic Courtesy : Unsplash.com

Mr Shyamalan came back from office at around seven in the evening; a tad later than his usual. In his late forties, he was quite famous in Fosterganj for his condescending demeanor. Though he carried his own stereotypes, he liked to showcase the world that he is a rational person. 
“Only a fool craves to be caged in the system of marriage” is what he used to proudly announce, having lost any hope for a possibility of marriage. So his house, the last building in the main lane of  Fosterganj, was left to the care of Ramu, Mr Shyamalan’s help. Ramu took care of anything and everything that Mr Shyamalan or his house demanded.
The evening hours on this particular day passed by like usual and Ramu left the house after leaving Mr Shyamalan a jug of water next to his bed post his dinner. Mr Shyamalan settled down in his bed and tuned into Vividh Bharati station in his age old Radio that he had received in ancestral property along with the house. In the times of modernity, you can say that Mr Shyamalan’s house was a world of its own that still resembled the old days of simple things. In fact the only new thing that he had bought for the house was the Air Conditioner for his bedroom the previous winter as last summer in Fosterganj was unbearable, even for Mr Shyamalan.
“Thud”.
Mr shyamalan was woken up suddenly by the sound of something falling all of a sudden as he was about to fall asleep. He thought he heard it coming from the living room. But finding everything at their own places neatly, he came to his bed surprised.
“Maybe it was a dream.”
And as he was about to settle down again in his bed, he heard something moving in the bushes next to his window. Being the last building in the lane, the plots next to his window were mostly left unattended and it looked like a mini forest with its wild creepers and bushes. Mr Shyamaln never used to sleep with his window open. He sensed something was wrong. He opened the window gathering some courage. Switching on the flashlight, he tried to inspect the bushes that his old eyes allowed him. The sound of crickets was filling up the air.
” Strange”, he thought as a sense of fear crawled in his head. He got reminded of the gossip in the market, of Mr Mehta seeing a ghost a couple of days ago. He closed the window as fast as he could. His show of rationality left him instantly in the face of something unfamiliar as the air felt colder all of a sudden. He hurried back to his bed and sat there under his quilt with wide open eyes for some time.
“Plop”. His heightened senses made this sound appear as something sudden, which was loud enough to break his trance as his body started to shiver. He gathered the last ounce of courage to check his bathroom.
Nothing there as well, as the taps were tightly closed and the floor was dry. He came back to his bed.
“Plop, plop”.
It seized his body with a sudden horror; his skin hair started bristling out of fear. He felt heavy as if he had lost control of the motor functions of his body. He sat still in his bed frightened to the core as he could hear his own heart beats even amidst the noisy crickets.
“Thud”.
The sound of it was not as loud as it appeared to Mr Shyamalan. The shock of a sudden sound was severe enough to push his heart pumping to the roof. Suddenly he was no more an atheist, as he started fervently praying every God he could possibly remember.
Maybe his prayers were answered as nothing unusual happened for sometime allowing him to fall asleep.
Ramu came the following morning at his usual timing.
“Oh, the rats. I have to do something about them”, he murmured seeing Saheb’s book lying on the floor in the living room.
He came to wake Mr Shyamalan with his morning tea. Mr Shyamalan sat a bit puzzled in his bed as the whole incident from the night before felt like a dream. As he was about to sip from his cup he heard,
“Plop… Plop…”
The daylight and the presence of Ramu in the house gave him enough courage to open the window again. He looked around.
“Plop…”
He looked up as the water drop gathered again at the AC outlet to fall. Sighing a long breath of relief, he was back in his characteristic condescending mode. Grandly he walked back to his bed and started sipping his tea.
Saheb…”
Mr Shyamalan looked up to find Ramu standing at the door.
“What is it?”
Saheb, I need some money.”
“What for”, Mr Shyamalan raised his eyebrows looking in Ramu’s direction.
“I had wished upon giving two coconuts at Jagmata temple if my son’s health improved…”
Mr Shyamalan cut Ramu in between.
“Ramu… how many times do I have to tell you! Gods and ghosts exist only in your head.”

The end

Transient Love

In this world…Where everything lasts only for a fleeting moment…
How important it is to capture that moment of purity… 
To simply adore it and come to this understanding of how lucky you’re to experience it.

So let me raise a toast…
Cheers to you, to me… to our transient love.

Created by : Abhisek Pattnaik

The ship of Theseus

Written by : Abhisek Pattnaik
Image courtesy : Freak’s shutter

What would you deduce of your life if it has come to this point where you take a leave from office for no particular reason at all or maybe because you had grown used to the paid holidays during lockdown period, only to find yourself attending office in your dream during the daytime nap that almost lasted for a day’s working hours. Too many layers, right!

I was aware of the never settling debate of dualism in philosophy i.e. body and mind are two radically different entities and the debate of reality/identity based on it inclined on one of them over the other. It reminds me of the Ship of Theseus Paradox. The Greek historian Plutarch was the first to mention it in his works which goes like the following:

“During its long voyage as the planks of the ship of Theseus needed repair, it was replaced part by part, to a point where not a single part of the original ship remained in it, anymore. So the question arises, whether the now sailing ship still continues to be the same ship?” To this Thomas Hobbes later added another layer i.e. if all the discarded parts of the ship is collected and used to build another ship, which of the two should be called the real ship of Theseus.

Some argue that it is the body that goes over mind. But our cells die and according to some estimates every seven years we become a completely new individual, because in that time, every cell in our body gets replaced by a new one. But then, the identity of us continues to survive. 

And if we go by the narrative that it is the mind over the body, we do change how we think, how we perceive things as we age. I certainly would like to believe that we grow wiser with age. Then what is it that remains constant to continue to give us our identity?

Guess, I personally feel inclined to the analysis that says, the only thing that remains constant in us is change. Like ancient greek philosopher Heraclitus puts it, “We never step in the same river twice.” Our body changes, so does our mind and its faculties to allow us to see things differently. What remains constant to give us our continued identity is only the illusion of unity like the roll film where each frame is followed by another but it happens with such spontaneity that it appears as a single film.

But I’m a practical man and I can be accommodative. Coming back to my earlier question of what I should deduce from my dream is a topic for another day. “Mind over body” shall be my choice of reality when it comes to attending office, but only in my dreams.

Schrodinger’s Cat

Written by Abhisek Pattnaik
Pic courtesy : Artstation.com

Areté : (Greek), the act of living up to one’s full potential.

You know looking at my past, what haunts me the most? It’s simply the foregoing of the possibilities of what I could have become. No, don’t get me wrong. I’m neither judging my current state nor carry this notion that the world and its elements needs to be layered to make any sense. Given the support I have received from my family throughout my life, I’m yet to believe in the idea of economic determinism(ie it is economics/money that determines every course of action) like that of Karl Marx. So, I continue to live in my distant ideal world, staying an idealist(someone who envisions a world i.e. ought to be rather than the real one). Hence, the possibilities I have foregone have nothing to do with the social status or power hierarchy or the paychecks that we receive by the end of every month. But rather, the idea of experiencing them in their totality. I can’t simply pull a rickshaw for a day and become a rickshaw puller. Nor can I engage in active politics for a day and call myself a politician. I’ll simply remain myself. A selection of decisions/choices from among the infinite possibilities drawing a narrow path, which has become quite thin now to allow me to accommodate something else into it. And, this makes me think of the ‘many world’ hypothesis.

You must be aware of the thought experiment famous by the name of Schrodinger’s cat. It was given by physicist Erwin Schrodinger as an allegory to explain the complexities of quantum physics.

Imagine there is a sealed box with a cat in it. And there is a radioactive element and a vial containing poisonous gas to accompany it. The system is so designed that if the radioactive element decays within an hour, the hammer falls, breaking the vial and thus, killing the cat. But, the chances of decay of the element within an hour is 50/50. Hence, Schrodinger argues that the cat in the sealed box is simultaneously both dead and alive before the box is opened. According to him, since there is no one inside the box to witness the happenings, the cat exists in all its possibilities i.e. both dead as well as alive. This in a way gave way to the ‘many world’ hypothesis  by Hugh Everett later. According to it, all possible outcomes for any quantum event or decision are physically realized in some “world” or universe.

Okay! This is assuring, to know that infinite copies of me are living simultaneously in parallel worlds as the rest of the possibilities.
Me as a cricketer. Checked.
Me as a pilot. Checked.
Me as an artist. Checked.
Me as a billionaire. Checked.
Hah! But what about this copy of myself, that I’m getting to experience. How can I transgress this limitedness and become the rest of them simultaneously?

Like the Schrodinger’s cat, I derive my status, my identity from others. Don’t I? Certainly it depends on what and how the society perceives me. Hell, I can’t even tell the difference between what’s real and what’s forced in me now. I wonder what if I simply lock myself up in a box as a solution. Like the cat, I’ll be perceived by none. Shouldn’t it liberate me then; helping me to exist simultaneously in all my possibilities from here on; helping me achieve my Arete!

Graphite on Paper( Her eyes… )

“I looked into her eyes and saw the whole universe engaged therein, begging for a chance to be imprisoned within them… and I gradually realized that sometimes it is better to leave things as it is…”

Graphite on Paper Art by : Abhisek Pattnaik