On Gandhi

(A ridiculously long essay about a man I think is overratedFirst written in October, 2018 by Sidharth Vardhanas a review of ‘My Experiemnts with Truth’ or ‘An Autobiography”by M.K. Gandhi.) Gandhi is hands down one of the most overrated people in the world. It might be true for most people tagged as ‘great’ but the way people in India obsesses for Gandhi either considering him really great or awesome on one hand or calling him wicked on other without being willing to see any shades of grey in him is really too much. To be honest there are two Gandhis – one is the real Gandhi and the other is the idea of him that is attached to an almost ridiculous faithfulness to non-violence and truth which features in movies like ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’. The idea Gandhi is more popular of course, I wonder how many of us have ever imagined Gandhi as a young man, This later idea Gandhi is something I like because it doesn’t have to suffer from limitations of the original person who is, after all, a human. Gandhi The God The problem is that, even in his own time, this idea Gandhi raised him

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 7

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 151. Pain Letters – 5Why did you hurt me? You knowingly, repeatedly hurt me. Most of the times it was redundant. At others time in doing something that could be done in a better way. You are not a bad person, are you? I don’t think so though I can’t be sure. I want to keep asking you this same question repeatedly knowing no answer that you might give will satisfy me. I want the ability to hurt you so that you should know how much you have been hurting me. Perhaps that is why I was so rude, so rough to you – was a sadist in that little illusion you left me with. You will never understand and I have stopped trying to show… At least I have stopped trying to show you. I hope this time my effort won’t fail. 152.I am not a very easy approachable person – well, more like I am not a very attractive person. Neither looks nor personality. If I have a few friends, then that is because everyone seems to believe that I am a perfect patience stone. I have to admit that I

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 6

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 126.Shakespeare is right, ignorance is bliss. It is true the other way around too. Bliss is ignorance. Unfortunately, ignorance can’t be regrown from where it is once unrooted by the weeds of wisdom. And thus happiness too once lost, can’t be regained. 127.I don’t think of youStopped it when you cut the callIn anger but no, Nah,You didn’t even feel thatNothing that is what you feelI don’t think of youBecause you don’t think of me.I don’t need you, I need nothingI don’t feel anything for you, I feel nothingI write this song try to pass that timeWhen, no, not, nahwhen I can’t help thinking about youIt is not thatI don’t know what it isBut it is not thatI don’t think about youIn fact, I don’t remember who you are 128.I am no romantic and do not hold any fancy ideas about my misery – it is a terrible thing and must be cured for sure if such a cure was possible. But I am alive and I am afraid of those mind doctors and other well-wishers who wish to reduce my misery to a chemical imbalance in my mind or a bad

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 5

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 101.I return to these notes guilty as I have yet again failed to kill myself. Guilty as I have humiliated both myself and these notes, which are my best endeavor, to be honest. I won’t make any excuses. After all, to whom I am to make them. The whole point of talking to a paper is knowing that the paper understands. 102.There was a time when, after considering how much pain I am always in, I thought I would make a great artist. I mean think Van Gogh with his anxiety attacks, Proust with ridiculous sensitiveness, Woolf with her secret wings of imagination that she could not use to fly because she didn’t have a room of her own, Dostoevsky with his epileptic attacks, Kafka with his fear of never understood, Passoa with his self-imposed loneliness. I believed that everything beautiful must be born of a touch of a suffering hand. The mothers going through extreme pain give birth to children. A lover’s teardrops must surely have dropped, as that Sufi poet claimed, where flowers bloom now. But then I realized all of us are suffering to some extent – all seven

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 4

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 8, 2018)) 76.Apparently, I now have got a job. I look at people around me who have been working at this place for years – most of them angry at employers, yet no one leaves. Nine and half hours (it is 12 for labor) of work and another of transition in a day for six days a week – it seems as though their day revolves around work – which is keeping records of movements of things as dead as records. I, my self, have joined them. I, too, sit glued to a computer, gazing at things no one except machines should ever care about. I don’t like to work. I am just doing it to be finally self-sufficient. It seems that to earn living one must die a few hours every day (except on weekends). To stay human, one must become a machine for a certain number of hours every week. I don’t like these temporary deaths. I have always preferred more permanent solutions. 77.Now that I have a job, I have to put an alarm. The clock symbol which shows that alarm is on in my mobile states back at me every

The Orphan Argument

(First written sometime in 2015) In dark abysmal nights, an infant – not more than a few minutes into the world was crying; crying for his mother who died giving birth to him. It weeps, cries, requests, prays for his mother, his little hands outstretched to be taken into her arms. The world trembles and wounded human hearts are trying what they may to comfort him. And yet who can take his mother’s place for an infant. Nothing could comfort him but the as yet unknown face attached to that womb which this far was his home. No, it weeps and continues to ask for his mother – his requests in his innocence are appeal to all, the whole universe, including, if he or they exist, your God or gods. You say pray, he is praying in as much his innocence allows him to. You say pray with all your heart and you will get, yet what other prayers were made with all one’s heart. You say you shall get what you deserve, then can you claim an infant’s right to his mother? You say ‘pray and you shall get if you come with clean hands. Can anyone else claim to

Worth Killing

(First written sometime in 2014) X:“it is the cost you have to pay, a sacrifice you have to make in order to save your beliefs. Y:“But they were innocents.” X:“So they were but you can’t help it if the belief of many will cost the lives of a few.” Y:“but they didn’t volunteer to do so.” X:“That’s doesn’t matter.” Y: (after some thinking)“Tell me something, how many people must believe in something, to make it worthwhile taking the life of one unwilling innocent?” X: “I don’t understand your question?” Y: (points to a little kid playing in the lawn) “Tell me something, if I was to suddenly start believing in a new God but that kid somehow threatens my belief merely by being there. Would it be okay for me to kill that kid?” X: “of course not, you could just be excusing yourself. The belief of one person isn’t it enough.” Y: “but if say ten people were to believe in this new god?” X: “No, of course not. Still not enough.” Y: “If say a hundred people were to believe, the idea of my personal type of god, would then it be okay to kill that kid against

Comfort Objects Part II The Prince or the dragon?

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanFebruary 17, 2018The story of patient’s sister which is mentioned in the beginning of this story can be found here. ) 1. “You, psychologists, are rather patient people – or perhaps you aren’t even listening. For here I am talking about my sister and her comfort object when this is supposed to be about myself.” “My purpose? So you want to say that you think I have a purpose behind telling you about my sister and her need for her comfort toy to be able to sleep? You are right. There are poets in spirts who never wrote poems because they lacked the necessary language skills to translate the poems in their heart. I, sometimes, have the vanity to feel that way – and I feel the key to my being here – the reason of my trying to kill myself is so nice parabled in my sister’s need for her comfort object. I spend a lot of time psychoanalyzing myself – you see, that is habit one develops when one is a literature professor and, I have lately reached the conclusion that what we call love is, in my case at least, a need

The Driver’s Seat – a SPARKling thriller

(A review by Sidharth Vardhan of ‘The Driver’s seat’ (1970) by Muriel SparkFirst wrtten on August 16, 2018[usr 5]) A kind of novella that spends more time in your mind than on the page. Spark does it brilliantly by working under-the-hood. It is no spoiler that it is all about Lise executing her plan to kill herself. And so it is “it’s a whydunnit in q-sharp major and it has a message: never talk to the sort of girls that you wouldn’t leave lying about in your drawing-room for the servants to pick up.” – the lines Lise used to describe the last book she read. But the why never gets answered clearly. By the end, we get clear clues that she must have suffered some psychological problems. And mental illness can describe her problems and one can easily dismiss it at that, but from Shakespeare to Plath to Gogol to Grass to Han Kang, writers have long held habit of putting methods in madness. I will forward two theories, not mutually exclusive. Suicides, especially those who have been planning to kill themselves for a long time, tend to be dramatic (think ’13 reasons why’), knowing you are going to die