अनिल एकलव्य ⇔ Anil Eklavya

January 9, 2011

One Suggestion for the Possible

At the beginning of this new year of a new decade of a new century, once again there is a cry from parts of the progressive left that what we need is some suggestion of the possible, rather than the ‘religious’ prophetic cry of ‘woe’ from the margins. So here is my brief attempt at the same.

Every sensible person now knows that there are two worlds, one which has all the resources and the power, and another that has close to nothing. The citizens of this have-world are few in number as most of the humanity belongs to the have-not-world. Mountains of evidence is available in favour of this ‘theory’. All the documentation is there. All the empirical evidence is there. And logic does not contradict it either. So this is as much of an established fact as any fact can be.

And the distance between the two worlds is growing.

How is it then that the have-world is able to maintain its hold over the vastly larger have-not-world? All logic seems to contradict such a possibility, but it is there.

The answer, not very original, is that there is something wrong with the binary division of the world between the haves and the have-nots. We know that this division has always been there. It has only become sharper in recent times.

For maintaining their stronghold over the world, the haves have always been promoting some of the have-nots such that another world is created. This is the world of the have-somes. You could call it the Middle Class, but that should be done only for the purpose of convenience, not as a technical term as used conventionally. It consists of managers, professionals, scientists, experts, intellectuals, artists, small businessmen (or whatever remains of them), doctors, security officers, bureaucrats and so on.

This second world, the world of the have-somes, the Middle World, serves the purpose of a buffer zone between the Top World and Bottom World. It does so very much in the sense Empires or even Great Powers talk of buffer zones between themselves and their enemies. It not just protects the Top World from the discontent and possible rebellion of the Bottom World through the passive act of just being there. It also actively manages the Empire of the Three Worlds on behalf of the Top World, with little concern for the Bottom World. It administers this Empire, it provides the security infrastructure. It curbs the tendencies for insurrections. It also looks after the Moral Affairs, which are very important if it has to carry out its complete brief. It keeps the Hope alive among the citizens of the Bottom World. Hope that is based on thin air. If all this doesn’t work, it can, perhaps with a heavy heart – perhaps not – resort to brutal violence against those who have little protection except the elements (where still available) or pure chance. It can create mythologies of fear to justify that violence, regardless of the comparative amounts of violence by those in whose names the mythologies are created and its own violence.

Note that I am talking as if it is the Middle World’s violence, whereas the consensus seems to be that it is the Top World’s violence. The violence (in all its forms, not just of the blood and gore variety) is indeed carried out on behalf the Top World, but the one that actually carries it out is the Middle World. No doubts about it. Are there? Well, there is a little imprecision here. At the ground level, much of the violence is carried out by citizens of the Bottom World – against their own brothers (if we can still talk in terms of the brotherhood of men) and also against the ‘bad citizens’ of the Middle World who refuse to accept the role they are supposed to play.

But these citizens of the Bottom World, agents of the Middle World, acting ultimately on behalf on the Top World, are acting just as drones. As humanoid robots. That’s what they have been reduced to. Being that seems to them the only way to a decent life. Hopefully.

The first question, then, is this. Why do the citizens of the Middle World accept this degrading role for themselves? The second question is, how are they able to manipulate the Bottom World for the benefit of the Top World?

The answer, again not very original, is that in return they get comfortable lives (to varying degrees), they get security, they get relatively satisfying work to do. But above all, they always have the golden carrot ahead of them. The chance to leapfrog into the Top World, either temporarily or permanently. This last one is the clincher.

But the last one is a bit of a lie. It’s basically the lottery system that can work both ways – the Calcutta Derby way and the Shirley Jackson way. Even the first part should cause at least some resentment. It does. Except that it is kept within manageable limits.

So how does this management of the Middle World itself happen? It mainly happens through the mediation of what is called the Media. By which we can now only mean the Corporate Media. Well, there are other aspects, but this one seems to me to be of prime importance. And I am only going to talk about one suggestion of the possible.

The Corporate Media ensures that the Middle World functions properly. That is because it lives in the in-between-world, with one foot in the Top World and the other in the Middle World. It is the buffer between the Top World and Middle World. Using a heady mixture of technology, psychology, language and images, it controls the minds of the people of the Middle World and to some extent even of the Bottom World. Control where control matters for its purposes. Where it doesn’t, the minds can be allowed to be free, thus causing the illusion of being completely free.

Yes, the above picture is a bit simplified. But I use it to lead up to a suggestion for the possible. You can take it as the idealization step of the scientific method.

The suggestion of the possible is to work for dismantling this crucial link, clearing up this buffer zone between the Top World and Middle World.

Work to get rid of the Corporate Media.

It is not as difficult as it seems. At least it is not so now, with the technology that CAN allow people to join together in REAL solidarity, even if all kinds of barriers have been put by the loyal (you know to who) citizens of the Middle World.

If we can get rid of the Corporate Media or any of its avatar, possibly the Top World will have serious problems managing the Middle World. And possibly the Middle World will not be so inclined to manage the Bottom World for the Top World.

It may not happen.

But it is possible.

However, to be able to achieve this, we need to change our ways too. One of hallmarks of the left has been its divisiveness, which was hilariously portrayed by the Monty Pythons in the Life of Brian (and that is just one example).

We can disagree with each other. We can criticize each other, sometimes severely. We can even fight each other sometimes. But we should stop being enemies. That’s the bare minimum. Otherwise everything is doomed.

It is already happening to some extent, but can we take it to its logical conclusion?

‘We’ specifically here refers to the little dissident ‘medias’ that we are involved in. In general, it can mean all the left. Or why just that? It could mean all decent human beings who believe in the Romance of Justice, more than they believe in the Romance of the Plunder.

We have to associate with each other (or is it ‘one another’: this is always a grammatical puzzle for me). In spite of our differences. We have build alliances. We have use each other’s work. We have contribute to each other’s work. We have to recognize each other’s work. We have to come to defend each other whenever it is needed.

We have to come out of our false (pardon a little exaggeration) but comforting little solidarities and form a big REAL solidarity. A solidarity that may not even require one to physically ever face another. It will be the solidarity of the mind. It will be a moral solidarity.

It may not, and sometimes it may, be a solidarity of everyday social relations. Can you be in solidarity with one who may or may not be willing to meet and talk to you in physical proximity or to have dinner with you, but who is willing to participate with you, work with you?

Can you now?

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October 21, 2010

कवि परीक्षा

एक बार जब हमने कुछ कविताएँ लिख डाली थीं तो हुआ ये कि एक दिन हमें उनमें से कुछ को दुबारा पढ़ते हुए लगा कि हिन्दी की तमाम साहित्यिक पत्रिकाओं और बहुत सी किताबों में भी जो कविताएँ छपा करती हैं उनसे ये कुछ बुरी तो नहीं हैं। बल्कि हमें ईमानदारी से लगा कि उनमें से अधिकतर से तो अच्छी ही हैं। तो साहब हमने सोचा कि इन्हें खुद ही पढ़-पढ़ कर कैसे चलेगा, क्यों ना इन्हें छपवाने की कोशिश की जाए। फिर क्या था, हमने उनकी एक-एक कॉपी निकाल कर एक फ़ाइल में सजाया जैसे नौकरी का उम्मीदवार अपनी डिग्रियाँ, मार्कशीट और प्रमाणपत्र सजाता है। इस फ़ाइल को एक अच्छे से बैग में, जो मुफ़्त में कहीं से कभी मिला था, रख कर पहुँच गए एक प्रकाशक के दफ़्तर।

दफ़्तर कोई शानदार नहीं था, लेकिन हिन्दी, वो भी साहित्य, का प्रकाशन दफ़्तर होने के लिहाज से बुरा भी नहीं था। लगता था यहाँ कुछ पाठ्यपुस्तकें या कॉफ़ी टेबल टाइप की किताबें भी छपती होंगी। हो सकता है धार्मिक पुस्तकें भी छपती हों। लगा शायद कविता छपने का कुछ मानदेय भी मिल सकता है। और तो और, एक रिसेप्शनिस्ट भी थी। उसी ने दफ़्तर की हिन्दी-सापेक्ष शान से ध्यान हटा कर पूछा कि क्या चाहिए। गलत मत समझिए, पूछा ऐसे शब्दों में ही था जैसे शब्दों में कोई रिसेप्शनिस्ट पूछती है, पर हमें ऐसे शब्द ठीक से याद नहीं रह पाते।

उद्देश्य बताने पर उसने एक फ़ॉर्म जैसा पकड़ा दिया। पूछा तो बताया कि ये कुछ सवालों की लिस्ट है जिनके जवाब देने के बाद ही संपादक से मिल कर कविता के बारे में बात हो सकती है। सवाल कुछ ऐसे ही थे जैसे किसी झटपट परीक्षा में पूछे जाते हैँ। अब हमने इतनी और ऐसी-ऐसी परीक्षाएँ दी हैं कि कुछ सोचे बिना ही सवाल मुँह से निकल पड़ा कि इस परीक्षा में पास मार्क्स कितने हैं। रिसेप्शनिस्ट ने नाराज़ सा होकर कहा कि पास मार्क्स क्या मतलब, यह साहित्य प्रकाशन का दफ़्तर है। फिर बोली कि वैसे कम से कम तैंतीस प्रतिशत सवालों के जवाब सही होने पर ही कविता छापने की संभावना पर गौर किया जाएगा। जब हमने पूछा कि ये क्या कोई नया इंतज़ाम है, तो बोली कि नहीं ऐसा तो न जाने कब से हो रहा है। कमाल की बात है, हम अपने-आप को साहित्य का बड़ा तगड़ा जानकार समझते थे और हमें ये बात पता ही नहीं थी।

उन सवालों में से जितने याद पड़ते हैं, उन्हें नीचे दिया जाता है। भाषा के बारे में जो ऊपर कहा गया उसे ध्यान में रखा जाए। सवालों का क्रम बिगड़ा हुआ हो सकता है।

  1. आप कला से हैं या विज्ञान से?
  2. आप कोई मंत्री, अफ़सर या कम-से-कम प्रोफ़ेसर हैं?
  3. आपकी कविताओं में से कितनी प्रकृति-प्रेम की कविताएँ है?
  4. आपकी कविताओं में से कितनी प्रेम कविताएँ है?
  5. आपकी कविता से कभी कोई लड़की पटी है?
  6. आपकी कविता पढ़ कर कभी किसी हसीना ने आपको ख़ुतूत लिखे हैं?
  7. माफ़ करें, लेकिन क्या आप खुद हसीना हैं?
  8. आपने कभी याराने-दोस्ताने पर कोई कविता लिखी है?
  9. आपके दोस्तों की संख्या कितनी है?
  10. क्या आपकी कोई प्रेमिका है?
  11. क्या आप शादी-शुदा हैं?
  12. क्या आप अपनी घरवाली से प्रेम करते हैं?
  13. आपकी कविताओं में से कितनी वीर रस की कविताएँ हैं?
  14. आपकी कविताओं को कोई गाता-वाता है?
  15. आपकी कविताओं में से कितनी गाने लायक हैं?
  16. आपके कवि-गुरू कौन थे?
  17. क्या आपने उनकी जितना हो सका सेवा की?
  18. आप कवियों की संगत में रहे हैं?
  19. क्या आपने काफ़ी समय कॉफ़ी हाउस में बहस करते हुए गुज़ारा है?
  20. आप किसी कवि से सिफ़ारिश पत्र ला सकते हैं?
  21. आप किसी भी बड़े आदमी से सिफ़ारिश पत्र ला सकते हैं?
  22. आप किसी से भी सिफ़ारिश पत्र ला सकते हैं?
  23. आपने जो कविताएँ अभी लिखी हैं, उन्हें ब्लॉग वगैरह पर तो नहीं डाल रखा?
  24. आप ब्लॉग लेखक तो नहीं हैं?
  25. आपने कोई महाकाव्य लिखा है?
  26. आपने कोई खंडकाव्य लिखा है?
  27. आपने कोई लंबी कविता लिखी है?
  28. आपने किसी कवि-सम्मेलन या मुशायरे में कविता पढ़ी है?
  29. आपकी कविता कभी किसी फ़िल्म में शामिल हुई है?
  30. आपकी कविता कभी किसी नाटक में शामिल हुई है?
  31. आपको कविता लिखने के लिए कभी कोई फेलोशिप आदि मिली है?
  32. आप हिन्दी साहित्य के किसी गुट के सधे हुए सदस्य हैं?
  33. अगर हम आपकी कविताओं का संग्रह छाप दें तो क्या आप उसकी एक हज़ार या अधिक प्रतियाँ खरीदने के लिए तैयार हैं?
  34. क्या आपके ऐसे संबंध हैं कि आप अपने कविता संग्रह को कहीं पाठ्यपुस्तक बनवा सकें?
  35. क्या आपके ऐसे संबंध हैं कि आप हमारे अन्य प्रकाशनों को विज्ञापन दिलवा सकें?
  36. क्या आप खुद हमारे अन्य प्रकाशनों को विज्ञापन दिलवा सकते हैं?
  37. क्या आप धार्मिक कविताएँ लिखते हैं?
  38. क्या आप राष्ट्रवादी कविताएँ लिखते हैं?
  39. क्या आपकी कविताओं की राजनीति पाठकों के किसी खास समूह को एक साथ आकर्षित कर सकती है?
  40. क्या आपकी कविताएँ किसी प्रतिष्ठित परंपरा की हैं?
  41. क्या आप कविता की किसी नई परंपरा के प्रवर्तन का दावा करते हैं?
  42. क्या आप समझते हैं कि आपके जैसी कविताएँ आजकल फ़ैशन में हैं?
  43. क्या आपकी कविताएँ पहले कहीं छपी हैं?
  44. आपके ही नाम वाला कोई कवि पहले से तो मौजूद नहीं है?
  45. आप पहले से दूसरों की कविताओं के अनुवादक तो नहीं हैं?

इतना तो हमें मालूम है कि नौकरी के उम्मीदवार को, खास तौर से अगर वो नया हो, अक्सर कहाँ पता होता है कि उसकी डिग्रियाँ, मार्कशीट और प्रमाणपत्र किसी खास काम के नहीं हैं। उनकी ज़रूरत सिर्फ़ उम्मीदवारों (कैसा बढ़िया शब्द है!) की भीड़ का आकार नियंत्रण में रखने के लिए होती है। पर यहाँ तो पता चला कि मामले का प्रमाणपत्र तक पहुँचना ही दूर की बात है।

अपन तो चुपके से भाग आए वहाँ से। बेस्ती हो जाती। आज तक कभी डबल ज़ीरो नहीं आया।

October 14, 2010

खुश हुआ खुश हुआ

[ये श्री अनिल एकलव्य जी के एक विद्वतापूर्ण शोधपरक लेख का खड़ी बोली कविता में अनुवाद है। मूल लेख बिजली के खेल में हुए हार्ड डिस्क क्रैश के कारण खो गया है। उसे रिकवर करने की कोशिश चल रही है। तब तक यही सही।]

जंगल-जंगल पता चला है
धोती पहन के मोगैंबो खिला है
पगड़ी पहन के गब्बर सिंह सजा है

पिछली बार जो लठैतों-डकैतों ने
तोड़ा-फोड़ी और पिटाई की वो याद ही है तुम्हें
तो ये मसला अब बहुत लंबा खिंच गया है
जज साहिबान, अब इसे लॉक किया जाए

अबकी अगर शामत न आई हो
तो समझ से काम लो और चुप बैठो
हमने रियायत कर दी है तुम्हारे साथ
पर लठैत-डकैत अभी संत नहीं हो लिए हैं

ज़रूरत पड़ी तो जो कहा गया था
वही होगा
तलवारें निकल आएंगी म्यान से
और जो भी करेगा विरोध
वो जाएगा जान से

हाँ, ये ठीक है – अबकी कोई शोर नहीं
बड़ा डिग्नीफ़ाइड रिस्पौंस रहा है
लगे रहो, जमे रहो, सीख जाओगे

खुश हुआ, मोगैंबो खुश हुआ
गब्बर सिंह को ये शरीफ़ाना नाच
ब-हु-त पसंद आया
ये परिवार के साथ देखने लायक है

परिवार समझते हो ना?
क्या करें
आजकल के बच्चे परिवार संस्कार
सब भूलते जा रहे हैं

उसके बारे में भी कुछ करेंगे
सर्च एंजिन वालों से भी बात चलाई है
पर फिलहाल तो इस फिल्म को
अगले साल ऑस्कर में भेजेंगे

[कविता में किए इस अनुवाद में घटिया फ़िल्मों का ज़िक्र आने का ऐसा है कि अनुवादक बेचारा खुद एक भयंकर घटिया फ़िल्म में एक ऐक्स्ट्रा है। दुआ कीजिए कि इस नई फ़िल्म को ऑस्कर मिल जाए। तब शायद अनुवादक को भी इनाम में माफ़ी मिल सके।]

July 27, 2010

पनहद

मैंने सोचा था
कमीनेपन की
कोई तो हद
होती होगी

इसका उल्टा जानने की
मेरी कोई इच्छा नहीं थी

पर कोई मेरे घर
आकर और खाकर
ज़बरदस्ती बता गया
कि नहीं होती
एकदम नहीं होती

July 23, 2010

It Could Happen to You Too

If it doesn’t, perhaps it should.

The third person pronoun used repeatedly above refers to this. A short quote:

Ocampo’s view of the timing of the arrest warrant in 2008, which applies just as much today, was that as any prosecutor, with such evidence in his hand, had a duty to act and did not have “the luxury to look away.” Ocampo, who also believes that he has a duty to contribute to the prevention of international crimes, has pointed out that every day which Bashir remains free enables him to engage in the commission of additional hostilities and abuses.

Sounds familiar?

And the second person pronoun in the title? Is it just one person? Is it hard to guess the candidates?

About the title itself? Well, the sub-editors have been following the local version of the Truman show and they got mighty inspired.

July 21, 2010

भाव खाना

कुछ लोगों को भवसागर में आने से लेकर
भवसागर पार हो जाने तक लगातार
बहुत चाव से भाव खिलाया जाता है
यहाँ तक कि कभी-कभी तो उनको
भाव ही बहुत सस्ता लगने लगता है

कुछ और लोग होते हैं जो आने के बाद
कभी, कहीं, किसी तरह दूसरे लोगों से
भाव खाने का हक हासिल कर लेते हैं

ऐसे लोगों की तो गिनती ही नहीं है जो
बावर्दी या मुफ़्ती, तलवार से या मीठी छुरी से
बहुतों से बहुत सा भाव छीनने के एवज में
अपने लिए भी और अपनों के लिए भी
अपने और अपनों के सपनों के लिए भी
जितना हो सके भाव का इनाम पा लेते हैं

ऐसे भी होते हैं जिन्हें घूमते-घामते ही
हालात का चक्का बिना किसी कारण
औरों से भाव खाने का परमिट दे जाता है

बाकी रहे वो जिन्हें काव-काव करके
अपनी ज़बान तमाम जला डालने
या मुँह ही सिलने-सिलवा-लेने पर भी
कोई रत्ती भर भाव देने को राज़ी नहीं होता

उन्हें तहज़ीब को ऊपर ताक पर रख कर
पालथी मार कर और हाथ धो-धाकर
जो भी जितना भी जैसा भी और जब भी जुटे
रोकर हँस कर या बुद्धं शरणं सा भाव धर कर
खुद ही खुद को भाव खिलाना पड़ता है

July 5, 2010

The (Not So) Secret Logo of India Inc.

The (Not So) Secret Logo India Inc.

A Trophy of the Operation Green Hunt

June 4, 2010

Shooting Oneself in the Foot

A few years ago I had received some feedback from someone about a research paper that I was going to submit to a major conference. Paraphrasing the feedback (repeating the exact words, even with the reference, will be copying: won’t it?), I was told that there was something that I had put in the paper, which, if I insisted on retaining, might make the reviewer look at my paper in a negative light. So, if I didn’t remove that part, I would be shooting myself in the foot.

This is beside the point, but I thought what I had added was correct and so I retained it. The paper was rejected, but I would like to believe that the reason for rejection was not that I had shot myself in the foot.

Getting back to the point, this is an expression that I have come across innumerable times, mostly directed at others, but sometimes directed at me. As a person who claims to be a writer, translator as well as a researcher in a language related discipline (among other things), I can’t help obsessing about how such expressions are used and what they mean, what they show and what they hide.

But I am not interested in writing an academic paper about that. So I write something here. And you are not supposed to review this piece when I submit the next Computational Linguistics paper which might come to you for review. (See the comment functionality below?).

Recently, Chomsky used this expression in a speech, saying ‘those who are being harmed are shooting themselves in the foot’. Now, most of the time that I have come across this expression, I have thought it was being used cynically to show something which wasn’t there and to hide something that was there. Or for some other questionable purposes. However, the people using this expression were mostly respectable well meaning people. Most probably they hadn’t thought about this expression in the way that I had done. May be because if they were to do it, they would be shooting themselves in the foot.

But when Chomsky uses this expression, I can’t but believe that he is using it to mean something sensible, not cynical (if this last part looks strange to you, look up the meanings and histories of these two words, especially the second one).

I do believe that what Chomsky said was basically correct. That is, there are some people who are being harmed and they are indeed shooting themselves in the foot (I am not sure whether I am one of them or not).

The reason I am writing this is that I also believe (based on evidence, not on faith) that such people are (relatively) so few that ridiculing them or offering them advice is hardly going to matter. I must add here that Chomsky did actually caution against ridiculing such people (who have realized that they are being systematically harmed). He only expressed his disappointment that instead of doing something to stop this systematic harming, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

You see, there are also people who are being harmed and are shooting themselves in the head (or ‘consuming pesticide’). You might say that they belong to the same category because the expression is metaphorically wide enough to cover them. That might be true. But then there are also a far larger number of people who are being harmed and they are doing something very different.

They are not shooting themselves in the foot (or in the head). They are shooting others (who are also being harmed) in the foot*. Often they are also shooting others (who are also being harmed) in the head. Sometimes they are doing it for a few extra peanuts, sometimes just for the fun of it and sometimes because they have been led to believe that these targets are their enemies (or the enemies of the nation, or the enemies of the society, or of the religion, or of the community etc.). And since doing it openly is a bit problematic (not cool anymore, baby!), they often have to make it appear as if their target shot himself in the foot (or in the head), whether deliberately or accidentally.

* Perhaps they are programmed in Concurrent Euclid.

So, my take on the matter is that we should be talking about people who are being harmed and who are (literally or metaphorically) shooting others who are also being harmed, whether in the foot or in the head. Because without them, the whole shooting machinery probably won’t be able to operate. In fact, to visualize a grisly scenario, if all such people stopped shooting others (who are being harmed) and started only to shoot themselves in the foot, even then the shooting machinery will probably become dysfunctional. Fortunately, most of the people will not be interested in shooting themselves in the foot (or in the head) if they are just able to find any feasible alternative. Unfortunately, no one from above can tell a person what such an alternative means in practical terms in that person’s circumstances and it’s very hard to find it out for oneself. It’s very hard to even be sure that such an alternative exists. If it does, it’s very hard to translate it into any meaningful action. Compared to a a few decades earlier, it is infinitely harder now, given the extraordinary consolidation of the global power structure (going far beyond what Foucault had studied up to his time), to a great extent due to the techno-administrative ‘advances’ (mostly in the name of security).

There are, surely, people who are being harmed but are not shooting others (being harmed or not being harmed). I won’t say anything about them right now.

(To academic busybodies and surface-style junkies: don’t bother to count the number of times the said expression has been used in this short piece: it has been done very deliberately. Perhaps the author was trying to shoot …).

 

 

For having read the above, here is a bonus link: Fascism then. Fascism now?

March 3, 2010

Howard Zinn

Another man done gone. But just the body. The Howard Zinn I knew (even if only slightly and not personally) and lot of others knew, is not going to die so easily, in spite of the manufactured consent and the manufactured dissent (of the Caine and Melnyk kind, not the Michael Moore kind).

I am not mad about meeting people, even great ones, but I wish I could have met him and told him that I have translated one of his articles in Hindi.

Still, I might translate more.

In case you don’t know anything about him, his is the book to find out about the American (US) History: A People’s History of the United States. But he didn’t just write. He participated in as many movements for justice as he could and faced beatings and arrests. He could do that because he didn’t have to juggle for maintaining a privileged place in the establishment and also a place as an acceptable honorable dissenter. Some of you might be disappointed now if I mention that he served as a bombardier in World War II and was no loony hippie.

Here is one of his recent interviews and below is another:

(It seems to have suddenly become unavailable here, though all other videos are working. You can still read the transcript here)

And you might also be able to watch, or rather listen to (unless that too suddenly becomes unavailable) readings from parts of The People’s History of the United States by Matt Damon. I am adding the first part below, from which you can navigate to the other parts:

February 18, 2010

Street to Worridor-Morridor

There was a window on my right
And there was a window on my left
I was walking in a narrow corridor
There seemed to be a similar one on my right
Just as there was one on my left
Someone was walking in the right corridor
At my pace, almost in step with me
Someone was walking in the left one too

The windows were only a few feet wide
They were as high as the tallest man
And they started out from the very floor
One was followed by another
And was preceded by one too
On either side of me

But I could see only a few windows ahead
And a few behind
I just couldn’t see further

As I walked past a pair
Another pair came into the view ahead
Just as one disappeared behind me
There were windows but no doors

I couldn’t remember what building I was in
Its front door, the path leading to it
I couldn’t remember how I got there, or why
The last thing I could remember
Was that I was walking on an open street
People were walking on my left
And they were also there on my right

The most that my memory seemed to be saying
Was that the open street had simply
Become the narrow corridor
And I felt as if I had a part in this
And I desperately wanted to say
That I had resisted, that I did

I couldn’t see the end of the corridor
I turned back, but I couldn’t see the entrance
I turned several times to make sure
But then I realized I had forgotten
Even the direction I was walking in
Whichever side I turned
The people on the right
As well as the people on the left
Were facing the same way as me

I looked up at the ceiling
And I looked down at the floor
They seemed quite ordinary and stable
But I noticed small holes in both
One hole per pair of windows
I bent down and tried to look
Through the one on the floor
There was something below
But I couldn’t make out what
I could see shapes and figures
I could see some movement
But I didn’t know what it meant
Still, one side of my mind
Continuously kept telling me
That I knew everything
About what was below

The ceiling was too high for me to try
But the same side of my mind was telling me
That I knew something about
What was above too

I walked in the corridor for a long time
Long as long can be
Going past windows past windows past windows
Then I started noticing some sounds
It took me a while to recognize them

One was like a loud splash
Another was that of a sudden snap
One was intense, condensed and explosive
Another was of total suffocation
One sounded like a painful gargle
But I couldn’t recognize them all

With each of these sounds was an empty window
One sound and one empty window
On my left as well as on my right
One after the other and another after that one

The head whirled for a while
Then all became very quiet
The windows were no longer empty
But there was something odd
I could see myself on my right
And so could I on my left

The windows had all become mirrors
And all I could think of doing
Was to wait for a sound
But I couldn’t help hoping
That it would be something different

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