Thursday, March 11, 2010

You say alpha, i say omega.

When I woke up, I saw grey. Lots of grey. This was new, even for me, and I'd had my share of waking up in strange places. Zeppelin crooned a classic in the back of my head.

When she gets there she knows.....

The walls were grey too. It was as if this room had been designed to depress people to the point of suicide. I sighed and tried to get up. The earphones from my iPod pulled at the bottom of my ears, scratching the surface, the wire from them trapped firmly beneath my arm.
So the music wasn't in my head after all.

I pulled the earphones out and stood up. The silence that surrounded me was eerie. Never has silence been this monotonous, it was nearly deafening.

'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings....

Why was song still playing? I ran my finger over my ear. No earphones. I looked at the floor where I'd been lying. Still no earphones , or an iPod, for that matter.
The whole started to scare me. Thousands of questions chased themselves in circles in my head. What was I doing here? Who brought me here? More importantly, where is 'here'?

"Hello, Tony."

The voice turned down the volume on the song.

"Who is it?", I replied, and laughed at my own sentence. I was talking to a strange voice in a room which, in all probability, could have been the room from Saw. 'Who is it?' is something you shout when you want to know who needs to use the loo when you're still fulfilling your morning obligations.

"It's me", the voice replied.

"God?". Brilliant, Tony, I thought to myself, could've said something a little more probable. Dad, Mr. Sharma from the office, Amitabh Bachhan. But you guess god, the one thing in the world that, under no possible circumstances, could ever......


I staggered a little. When you wake up a strange, empty grey room, you pretty much tend to believe whatever the deep, commanding voice from nowhere tells you.

"It's me, Tony Gupta of N-253, Greater Kailash 1. Do you know where you are?"

"Am I supposed to?"

"You were top of your class at LSE. Think about this a bit. You wake up hungover in an empty grey room with a never ending soundtrack and disappearing mp3 players. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out."

I knew the answer before the words even left my lips. "Heaven?"

God sighed. Memories of my ninth grade biology teacher looking up at the ceiling in prolonged self-doubt, trying to teach me how plants reproduce came flooding back to me.

"What do you know of heaven, Tony?"

I thought long and hard. When you believe you're talking to the man who created the universe, you try not to mess things up.

"Heaven is this place, see? When you die, and you've been good, and done, like, good shit all your life, you get to go there. Everything in heaven is perfect. But if you've been bad, you go to the other place, where you are tortured over and over again for all eternity and put through loads of fucking agonizing pain."

Smart move genius, cuss in front of god. That'll get you straight to the high rollers' table.

"You don't understand anything about me, nobody does. I created you in my Image, Tony. Every single one of you. Judging you would be judging my own creation and, circuitously, myself.
Why would I put you through that?"

"That was always something that messed me up.", I said," If you made us, and you control everything that happens to us, why would you judge us for our actions? I mean, if we do something bad, aren't YOU the one responsible?"

"Let's start from the top", said the voice, except now it no longer boomed in echo across the room. It was more real, more human. In fact, it was right behind me.

I turned around to see god in all his beauty staring at me with all three heads. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The holy trinity.

So much for all those years of "God doesn't live in a statue".

"So it's true", I managed to say. "The one true god IS hindu"

"I am whatever you want me to be. You lived your entire life trying to think of me as one, omnipresent power without a face or a name. Yet, whenever you heard god, at the back of your head, you drew a picture of an elephant with kind, forgiving eyes. If your friend Joe from college showed up, he'd be talking to a faceless voice, because he believe what you only tried to follow"

It had always been true, I realized. I had never really bought into all that "Spiritual, not religious, non-sense. God was still Ganpati, and mice were still were a perfectly acceptable mode of transportation.

"What about...", I started to ask.

"Atheists? They wouldn't be here. To them, for all intents and purposes, I don't exist. I'm only as real as you believe me to be, Tony."

I swallowed. God was deep. Then again, he did create the heavens and the earth, and you'd hardly expect a hillbilly with a shotgun and two missing teeth to pull that off.

"Now, about what you said. Let's start from the top. I didn't create you. You are the creation of your mother, your father, a honeymoon in the Bahamas and a very low capacity for alcohol. I created the earth. I created your galaxy and I created this vast expanse of nothingness you chose to call the Universe. All of my creations created you, so I'm only a passive participant in your existence. Think of it this way, what do I look like to you, right now? Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The holy trinity. The creator, the preserver and the destroyer. That is all I do, tony. I did make you, in a way, but what you do during the period for which I choose to preserve you on my green earth is a result of your own free will. I can judge you and do with you whatever I see fit. I won't, though, but you already know that.
Lastly, these places you either eagerly await or pray never to be a part of, the realms of heaven and hell. I'd hate to be the one to break it to you, kid, but there is no such thing."

And a new day will dawn, for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter...

In a second, my world, or whatever was left of it, came crashing down. There is no heaven. The words "Gigantic waste of my time and effort" came to mind.

"No heaven? That makes no sense, sir. What do you do with those who lead sinful lives."

"You still don't get it", god replied, calm as ever. "I didn't decide what sins are. You did. Churches, Masses, Jihaad and judgement day are just a way for you to try and understand what I really want from you."

"And that is?"

"Nothing. That is precisely the point, Tony. I want you to be born, live and die. Everything else is what YOU want. At the end of it, all that awaits you is death, the sudden, but imperative, passage into nothingness. Your disappearance. Why would you want heaven anyway?"

This was easy. "Like I said, heaven is perfect, so those who deserve to exist in a perfect world for all of eternity get to spend it in a place which is perfect in every way".

"And the fact that you have to live in it for an infinite length of time doesn't bother you one bit?"

"Not really". I replied "It's prefect, so if anything, I'd be better off than when I was alive"

"Let me put it you in a language you understand. What do you love eating most in the world? What satisfies your need to eat more than anything else in the world, leaving you content and happy?"

I thought about this, longer than I thought about any of the other questions god had asked me. It was, after all, a question about food.

"Dal Makhani and Tandoori Rotis", I finally answered.

"Now, if I were to give you Dal Makhani and Tandoori Rotis every single day, how long do you think it will be before you can't eat anymore?"

"A couple of weeks?"

"If I know you, and i do, It'd be sooner. Now think of heaven as that one perfect place that satisfies every need you have ever had, quenches every craving you ever experienced. After a while, you start getting annoyed with the monotony of the whole situation, not unlike........"

God ended on a high note. He expected an answer. The silence was pregnant with expectation.

God raised an eyebrow.

Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.....

"My favorite food item" I ventured.

God smiled. I smiled back.

I stood there in awe of God. In a a single analogy, he made me realize the absurdity of everything i'd ever believed in. In less than a minute, he showed me how the thing I'd eventually detest the most was the one thing that I'd looked forward to all my life. In a swift little monologue, God had changed the way I felt about myself and everything around me.

If god were in Human Resources, employee turnover would be an urban legend.

In a flash, I was brought back to reality, or wherever I was, by the dawning of the fact that I still didn't know what I was doing here.

"How did I get here, anyway?"

God chuckled. When three heads chuckle at once, the resultant sound is something you expect your car to sound like with something stuck in the works.

"You came in last night. You got Drunk at Joe's and, in a move displaying both your lack of intelligence and capacity, decided to drive home. You were in an accident. It was quite funny, really. You drove about 40 kilometers before driving into a speeding truck about thirty feet from your house."

You had to hand it to god. The man had a sense of humour, alright. Sure, I'd just died a horribly painful death as a result of my own stupid decisions, but there was no reason he couldn't have a laugh about it.

There was silence, then somebody turned the volume back up.

And if you listen very hard, the truth will come to you at last....

"It's time", god said

I started to ask he meant, but already I could feel myself blurring into vacuum.

So this was it. In a few moments, I'd no longer exist.

And she's buying....

"Wait. Why'd you tell me all this, if I'm going to cease to exist momentarily anyway?"

"You seemed like a guy I could talk to, and there was stuff I needed to get off my chest".

The stairway....

Suddenly, god seemed a lot more human. I could almost feel him, if only I could reach out my hand.

There was of, course, no hand hand to reach out with. I was fading away. My time had come to an end.

In a moment of enlightenment, it all became clear to me. Nobody goes to hell, regardless of how they lead their relatively short and seemingly insignificant lives. That perfect place we dream of, that place is nothingness, for only in complete disappearance does one feel content. Till you exist, you consistently strive to move and reach out for more.

I was going to the place I had long awaited my entire life. I was going to where there was no suffering and no pain, just as promised. i was going into nihility.

Smiling with the knowledge of what had now dawned over me, I moved...... heaven.


  1. Beautifully written, you have a wonderful command over the language and the ability to picturize through the written word. I could not hold back my grin at the three headed-GOD laughing with all his heads.
    Keep it up, looking forward to more stuff from you :-)

  2. Thank you KayKap.
    I don't write too frequently, there seems to be a lack of inspiration in my life recently.
    Will keep you posted though.

  3. for me writing, expressing oneself comes from pain. i wonder what would be inspiring u next...hmmm...u seem to have found the key to not feel anything anymore...:)

  4. Nice read but one apparent flaw that I see is about perfection. One cannot be bored by something that is perfect else it ceases to be perfect. So one would ALWAYS enjoy eating the perfect food no matter how often he/she has eaten it before.