In The Silence Of My Solitude - A Novel

Sunday, 10 November 2013 0 comments

In The Silence Of My Solitude - A Novel

A Novel By +Vamsee Kamana 


Chapter 1 : A Review with prejudice.

Airports, especially American airports are boring places as they are devoid of drama, comedy or romance, unlike other places like Indian railway stations or even greyhound bus terminals. I feel like a robot arriving and departing;arriving, departing and security checked; departing, arriving and waiting for the lost baggage.
I spent three valuable years of my life in airports.
Take your shoes off, take your belt off, no metals, "sir, follow me please", "sir, whats in your pocket",

The worst is laguardia.The special security checkers hands goes to unknown places.
"what is this, sir"
"thats my ****"
"sorry about that"
"its okay"
"really sorry about that"
"dont mention it"
I hate airports.

But, I couldnt avoid them. I thought as I was watching CNN at the Keneddy international airport in New York.Wolf blitzer, as usual, was emotionless.
"This is it", I said to myself and then mentally reviewed the movie I had seen for last 9 years.After all,I read Roger Ebert for 8 yrs.
America is not a land of opportunity, it is a quagmire which sucks you in slow motion. It is the ultimate padmavuhum.You have to sell your soul to Adam Smith to pay the dolla for the heat. If this is model country to any developing countries, then hell is waiting for them.In a country like america, no one is a citizen. Everyone is a consumer...and that gives an illusion of equality.We have only one earth to consume, consumers.Only one earth. There is no other earth in savings account. There is no earth for credit.
America is a beautiful ad and the greatness of America is all in that ad. People flock to this country looking at this ad.70% of Mexicans dream to come to America. They try to cross the border illegally, and some people die in the process. What they get in return? One more ad...and then one more ad.
America will not make you a millionaire. Please take that idea out of your mind. You need to understand the system, get exploited by the system, and then game the system...or just wait for the next boom. Everyone gets rich during that boom...only to get busted later.
It is a dog eat dog world. This is the real animal planet. National geographic is focusing their cameras at wrong places.
America is NOT a rich country demographically. It’s a lower-middle-class country. American corporations need foreigners to come to this country..not only to exploit the cheap labour but also to make them consumers.
Advertisement is one of the basic unit of a greed based system.If people collectively stop watching advertisements; the system would collapse in a week. I bet on it. In order to feel cool, you gotta buy that jeans, u gotta buy that iphone, u gotta have that shit..this shit.Fuck that shit. The govt literally gave tax credit to make people spend it.Sexy woman dont fuck you if you are not cool..right? The ads of corporation makes you feel shitty and then offer a solution.Voila! We all are courtesans of corporations.
The world didnt become a global village. It became a global market. People are not those friendly villagers you can smile to..but are all consuming robots..stuffing Kfc and MCd junk in their mouths..

Now, its all over. Its not that I wont be back. I will be back, but no way I am going to settle down here. I cannot settle in a country which touts itself as 'super power'.Every super power needs to wage wars and kill people to maintain its statusquo. I believe I am a citizen of this world, but somehow, super powers are not so super for me.
"I got one negative mind", I thought.
How about its universities, libraries, movies,music,art,chomsky,npr,weather,roads,clean air,muti-culture,sexy woman, hippies and rebels. May pagan goddess bless them! America is great only because of these.I was able to bear it only because of those movies, books, art and women. All the banks,insurance companies, payday shops, walmarts,walstreet,body shoppers,pimps, politicians, capital punishment,pro-life war mongers,desi exploiters, credit cards, car dealers, bouncers,muggers,pushers,cops,racists,main stream media can go to hell.
Yes. I loove america. Except for weather and clean air, you can access every good thing about america remotely. You dont need to live in america. Trust me. The distance between you and Bob dylan is always same..wherever you are.
"Enough", said my mind.
Gotta listen to my mind. It is my first love and gives me lot of entertainment. I can never escape it.I run sometimes, or drive fast or drive to reach that peak in Albuquerque, just to escape from it or to set it right. But,its always there. It is the fucking vinayaka of my life.
My mind abhors boredom. It goes on looking for drama and excitment.
I went back. Flash back.
My mother was beautiful. I dont remember much about her..other than few vague scenes. She was sitting on a chair before a mirror..applying kaatuka..and singing a song..I think it was from 'Bobby'. I saw her eyes in close-up and they were beautiful. I remember her telling me stories, feeding me rice and curry and yogurt, showing me the moon. During that time, mother was everything. She was even my pillow, blanket and bed. 
Then, suddenly she was gone. I didnt know where.I felt abondoned and hated her.I hated my dad and his silence. I went from relative to relative, crying, and asking them, " Where is my amma?".Silence.That terrible silence. I hated that silence.The violence of silence which saw the blood of my heart. 
And then, it was all over. Time doesn’t heal shit. It just buries the wound. Layer by layer it buried it.I moved on. School, college and disappointments. Sex and erotica. Movies and Music. Love and heartbreak. friendships and backstabbings. Wars and bars. Alcohol and selfrespect.religion and caste.Ambedkar and gandhi.Reservations and anger.Boredom and red buses. Lessons learnt and unlearnt. F1 and H1. cigaretess and asthma.relationships and ex's. Histrionics and borderlines. black,brown,white,yellow pussies. Masters and slaves. Mushrooms and Marijuana.programming,physics,psychology,philosophy and sleep.ADD and meds.Beds and bugs.

Sometimes wounds bury wounds. Sometimes, everything looks like a wound.
30 is a terrible number. It is the time when 25 yr old aunties call you, 'Old'. There is no 99.9 thing with age. You add up 20 and 50 starts staring right at you.what did I do all these years? My sex life was just 8 yrs old...that too intermittent. My black friend tuan started it at age of 13..and tendulkar would be jealous of his centuries.But, he became old as fast. A father at the age of 20 is not something I dream about. I didnt yet conquer the world. The world conquered me instead, and kept its nike das boot on my neck and having victorious laugh.Well, not exactly.But, dramatic though.
30 is also time for introspection. A look back at the past you. The different persons you went through. The different personalities in you, which died a million times. You dig up the layers...one by one,facing the wounds..and sometimes finding gold. You dig furthur and find the mother of all wounds - your mother or rather lack of her or rather the question what happend to her? If questions are not answered, they will come back at you ferociously, just like karan thapar interviews.
I slept well. I hate domestic flights, but international flights are cool, especially when u fly during night. I love these night journeys.Looked like recession worked as I spread all the three seats out, took off my shoes and slept like a baby.I never gave a fuck about eitquete.The hum gave the white noise.


Chapter 2 :  Reality

There are no seas in hyderabad..except seas of humanity. A fucked up city. I love it and hate it. I spent all my adult life in this city.The city does have a character, which needs a hightly qualified shrink.It is as screwed as new york..except it doesnt have lower east side.May be it was just the jet lag...I was not sure.
My dad became old, kids became adults, babies became teenagers, and the city became Jr.Bad America. If you take all the bad things about America including its reality shows and shit, and add pollution and dirt, it becomes the new hyderabad.I became depressed as hell..the couple of dollas I brought had no value at all.The TV's were blasting advertisements which were soo cleverly preying on the sentiments of the people.I thought I escaped America, but I fell right through the chimney into pizza oven...and facing the mini me of Dr.evil. The world became circular. I felt claustrophobic, suffocated by the heat, trampled by the people, half-assembled robots. Rich became richer and poor became poorer. The middle-class thought it became rich, but it didn’t. The rising cost of everything, cost of bribes, was killing everyone. The caste system still intact.Hindu-muslims still like narcissist-borderline couple. Everything changed and nothing changed. The papaji dhabha at abids still served the best ginger chicken.But, just reaching it became a nightmare.
I came back.My generation stayed back in America. The new generation went again to america. I need to find people like me.There must be people like me. That must be difficult, as I became a quarter americano. one-thirtieth canadian..one-hundredth australian.... and I guess, half human.



Chapter 3 : Family Drama

Not surprisingly, it didnt take much time for my dad and relatives to piss me off. It is the story of my life.The concept of close-knit families and societies is a double edge sword. How could any person have his own privacy and solitude with all these 'guardian angels' hovering over his head. It’s not as if they really care about me, they are programmed robots which gives free advice at the drop of a rupee. My dad lives for society and that is the biggest problem for me. He judges me from the eyes of the society. Its as if he just reads the reviews and judge the movie, instead of watching it. That always used to piss me off because; I really wanted him to be proud of me. A person feels victorious only when he gets approval from his parents.Ever saw 'Mother India'?
So, the farce started.
" I think its time for you to get married", he started. That meant he already rehearsed all the dialogues in this farce.

" that time is the time when I am ready", I said.

I knew what was going to come out of his mouth -- the dirty "30" word. 

" You are already 30 ".

" I conquered the fear of poverty, fear of failure, fear of insecurity, fear of being a loser and now you want me to be afraid of a number?"

“You will never change, you never listens to me..you are the same kid..", said my unimaginative dad.
I walked out, before that scene transformed into some boring drama. I practiced the art of walkouts. They are non-confrontational and non-violent. That didnt mean that I was running away from the problem. On the contrary, I was running towards it. The solution is always in my solitude and peace.
It is a common misconception that parents wants their kids to be happy. Parents simulate the life of their kids in their mind which runs software worthy of DOS systems.Age old software programmed for age old systems. The result of that simulation is always 'their' happiness looking at their kid’s 'to be' lives and 'to be' happiness. They never want to lose that happiness, and society already constructed a huge library of 'guilt trips', 'threats’,’ emotional dialogues' for the parents to retain it. Guilt trips are powerful, they can transform a tiger in to a cat...just in minutes.It is a psychological warfare..pure and simple.

My dad was a veteran in those wars. 

Chapter 4 :  Grave Digger.

Year : 1982.
place: a small town in Telugu nadu, formerly known as Andhra pradesh.
The first ever story you heard must always be from your mother. So was mine. I was 3 and at that time she was also my TV and a book.She told me the story of "The Roots" which I listened with horror. I took my first step in the book world; thru a story about slavery, misery, blood, violence and inhumanity.
That terrified me for some time and interesting to note that, that might be the reason why I was more attracted to african-american culture, when my peers turned out to be closet racists.
It is difficult to remember the scenes of your childhood, but you get one or two images and then fill the gaps with the knowledge you earned as you grew up.I just want to say this because I dont want anyone of you to come to me as say that its impossible to remember and all that 'critic' crap.
My mother had a perfect life: perfect husband, perfect family, enough money to save, radio to listen, me, good friends etc. I dont remember any fights or controversies or even any disgrunts in the family. She used to meet her parents  pretty regularly and no in-laws to fight and harass. What else would a 1982 middle class moderately educated married telugu indian woman want? She had everything.
So, it kind of surprised me when I woke up, during the middle of the night, as I felt some wetness on my cheek. My mother was crying silently. The silent cry -- the cry only for herself, not for attention. That was the first time I saw my mother crying and it wasn’t the last. I think I went back to sleep again.
From the next day onwards, I noticed kind of dramatic change in her.Earlier, she used to take care of her looks, and she used to wear beautiful saris, used to spend lot of time before the mirror. She was in love with her own beauty. But, looked like everything changed. She became a shadow of her former self. The glow and brightness was gone.She ate less and less..
She started hugging me and kissing me and crying..more and more.She appeared more afraid and fearful. A child spends most of the time with its mother..and the change in her would  definitely effect it.

This went on for a month or so..and then one night...
I still remember the night.She woke me up in the middle of the night..and took me out to the front porch. It was dark outside and the sound of horny crickets was the only sound. She put me in her lap and started swaying me..crying uncontrollably. 
 " I love u ra kanna..I love you more than my life"

 " amma, why r u saying that?"

She cried more..kissing me..and the tears tasted salty. I was confused..and I cried too.

" what is happening?", I asked her.
No response. She was in her world of sadness.She looked at me with her beautiful eyes..as if she wanted to capture the image of my face.

It frightened me a bit..and then she started swaying me as if she wanted me to sleep. I didnt know that would be the last time I would see her.So, I slept.

Mothers lap ..the best bed in the whole world.
The next morning, all hell broke loose. My mother went missing.
Police came, people started visiting my father..it was the drama the bored society was looking for.

They looked at me sympathetically. But, who would understand my agony? The agony of abandonment, losing your best friend, the only person in the world.
she was the world for me. 
The time became my worst enemy in short-term and became be my best friend in longterm.Time itself has no emotions and sympathy. It is cold.

Chapter 5 : A Shouting Match

I now have too much time in my hands. Preemptive walkouts helped with the pests pestering me about marriage
 Chapter in Progress


Chapter 6 : The Mind Game


After that argument with my Dad, I went into a kind of mini depression. Part of the problem is that, I was left alone in the house, and this usually leads me into boredom…unless  I have a good movie to watch or a good book to read. 
Time said 7pm.
Dad lived in the same small town and in the same house all his post-marriage life. I grew up in this same town till I was 12.
So, I knew how this town works. 7pm is the time when people come home to work and mosquitoes come out of their homes for work. It is the time TV’s starts blasting with ridiculous sound and mosquito’s starts sucking your blood, the same mosquitoes which gave me malaria when I was a kid.No matter what they do, somehow, people weren't able to solve the problem. They even dropped some exotic fish into the drainage system, for the fish to eat the larvae. It didn’t work out. I used to think that someone ate those fish. 
So, 7pm it was. I was watching TV9 news when the first mosquito bit me and ended my embargo against blood donation to non-humans. It pissed me off to no end. Was it possible that mosquitoes became resistant to mosquito coils? God knows.
I got up and went to the front porch. The sun already set, but the red hue was still there. That scene always used to give me anxiety, as if the day was over, and as if one more day closer to death. Not only that, it makes me think about the all the creative ways I came up with to waste the day, while all the humanity is working hard in the farms and offices. Shit. It was shitty inside and shitty outside. I get crazy ideas during these times. I got one. I wanted to go back to my past and dig up stuff, this time the physical stuff like my notes, books and photos.I think, this decision turned out to be the turning point in life, the source of my obsession for the next one year. The decision opened a Pandora box of questions and mysteries, which almost swallowed by soul. I swear to you, nothing about what I am going to say is a fabrication, even though; it might look fantastic at first glance.I will try to narrate the story with as much less drama as possible and as straight as possible.
Now, I gotta tell you, my dad was not a hoarder. But, he had this tendency (he still do) of not throwing away some stuff. He keeps most of the junk, including the age-old Hindu news papers. I was sure my dad would have saved all my stuff. The usual place all the stuff goes was our ‘ataka’, a huge concrete closet built under the ceiling. I got a torch light and with extreme difficulty, climbed it. Everything was neatly placed in their respective places.

I went to the heart of the ataka, a huge iron box in which we all store our stuff. I opened it and found many of my photos and other childhood home work books. I also a found a note book which contained a love letter (book) I wrote to a girl once. I was ecstatic, as I was digging into memories, both psychologically and physically. Each one triggered other one. I found some letters, my toy train, some old magazines and also some of my tin tin books. Then I found the treasure of my childhood – The penguin series complete Sherlock holmes. As I lifted that huge book, I found another crumpled small note book under it. Obviously, it must have been printed almost 30 years back. I didn't care much about that book, as I was completely absorbed in Sherlock Holmes . I was shifting throw the Sherlock holmes, but my gaze went back to the crumpled note book. 
Tv9 started their ridiculous, but highly popular program, which reenact real murders, intercepted with real putrefied dead bodies. I love to hate that program and so the re-sound irritated me a bit. But the joy of finding my Sherlock Holmes was too much. I shifted through the big four and then came the Hound of Baskerville. But, again my gaze instinctively shifted to that old crumpled note book. It was begging for my attention. The torch light was focused on Sherlock, so I focused it on that crumpled note book and kind of zoomed in my eyes. I saw a small name printed on that book, and it was mother’s name, the same mother who left us. Then I instinctively reached that book and then suddenly, out of no where, I heard a noise, and felt a small movement. The torch was still focused on that notebook, and I stood still. Not even a single movement, including my gaze. I believe that I am a rational person and that too an atheist. So, ghosts and gods are out of question. I knew that must most probably be some rats, like they show in the ‘bow’ shots at the beginning of B-grade horror movies. I am a movie buff and I have seen thousands of movies and most of the horror movies. But, very few times I felt that, such and such horrible thing would happen to me. That is one of the attractions of the mainstream horror movies.It is like that Airplane accident you heard, but never believed that such thing could ever happen to you. The fact of the matter is – even the person on that plane, on that fateful day, would have never thought in million years that he was going to die on that day. His only thought would be, ‘Shit! This is not happening to me” . That was my Japanese horror moment.
The problem is the darkness. The darkness, which produced terror in human beings, but at the same time a very natural phenomena for all the animals. Fear comes from the imaginative mind of the man. The problem is not in the darkness, if you dig deeper.It is in the question -- “what lies in that darkness?”. The fear of losing your job, love, life  are all those imaginative, probably non-existing simulations of that dark corner in your mind.  A person like David lynch or Kafka or del tero, may give you some hint of what might lie in that darkness, if you for some unfortunate reason ask them that question, and I guarantee you that their answers would make you ponder about  suicide . If you appreciate me and my philosophy, then please don’t go any further as I don’t deserve that. One of the reason is that, practicals are all together a different system from the theory, and at that moment, I was standing at the center of reality and practicality,and my theory was of no use except to impress some bimbos or to feel that ‘I know all shit’ kind of self-importance and exaggerated self –esteem.
  
At the same instance, I noticed a peculiar smell, which I had no record of; in the database of smells in my brain.The smell was not a stinker though. It had a tinge of sweet sour mix. I knew my mind was playing games with me and my logical brain wanted me to search for the source of that noise and smell.  Then, my neurons fired and I remembered a scene from one of the best horror movies ever made, ‘The others’. Once that scene crossed my mind, the man in me became a hybrid chicken. The problem changed a bit and it was not the darkness, but it was the light. If I didn’t have a light, I wouldn’t see anything. Problem solved. That was my chicken scared shit logic.
Then, I did something I wouldn’t confess even to my closest friends. It was shameful. I switched off the light…counted… 1..2….3 and then took that crumpled book and jumped down, and ran to the hall. At the exact instance I touched that book; I noticed a certain kind of wetness on my wrist.  I sat in the hall, with my heart beating super fast, and looked at my wrist and I got the last glimpse of  the wetness becoming dry.   I took slow deep breaths and after 5 minutes, calmed down.
Then I started laughing like crazy. Here I was; a rational, brave, and intelligent man; ran away like some scared chicken, because my mind played games on me. My ears lied, my skin lied and finally my eyes lied; only because of my over imaginative brain. I gotta tell you, that this imagination is double edged topaz blade. That was the first time I learned that walking is not same as talking.
I started reading random pages in that crumpled note book, and all I saw was some hanuman chalisas and some other Hindu devotional lyrics. What a disappointment! All this drama, for what? Nothing. I thought.

But, the book looked valuable to me, not for its contents, but, as an item of my mother’s.
I was in a good mood though. The thought of reading “The Hound of Baskerville” in the night, made me giddy, just like a kid.
I went out for a walk, as I needed fresh air.

Chapter 7 : The Mysteries of the Night Sky

When I came back, my dad was already there, waiting for me. He tried to sniff any trace of cigarettes or alcohol smells coming from me. He does such things, not openly, but taking great care so that I wouldn’t notice that. But, I always notice it and that shit is not subtle.
He brought 2 packets of excellently made chicken biryani and we ate it , while discussing the then current political shit of a system. His final words about it were always, “Not even god can reform this system”.
Dad is an early to sleep and early to rise kind of a person. Before retiring to bed,

He said, “Promise me something”

“Shit..not again”, I thought, and replied,”what?”.

“Promise me first”

“how can I promise If I don’t know what you are talking about”

“No. promise me first”
If he started the scene with such kind of dramatic statements, then it must be something important.

“Okay”, I replied, as I won some medals in the dept of ‘Not keeping promises'

“Please sleep early”

“That’s it?”

“ya, that’s it”, he curtly replied and left to his room.
I broke in to smile with relief and said to myself, “Getting old, I guess”. He looked fitter than me though.

He still refuses to accept that I inherited lot of traits from my mother’s side.

We are less of a human beings and more of a nosferatus – we get activated in the night.
After catching some national geographic midnight masala with horny lions, while eating a can of tutty frutti; I went to bed with my “Sherlock Holmes” and started reading The hound.
It didn’t age at all, as suspenseful and taut as before. It was 2 am when I finished it.
I felt suffocated a bit and bored; so I took a torch light, cigs and my mother’s book and went upstairs.
The cool breeze refreshed me. The crickets were crying like crazy. The sky was beautiful with all its stars and no trace of the moon. I sat down and looked at the stars. I remembered my childhood, spending hours looking at the moon less night sky admiring its beauty and mysteries behind it.
“Back to base”, I muttered.
Then I lit up the gold flake king size, and lay down on my back, and started watching the sky.

To Be Continued....

Novel By +Vamsee Kamana 
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