A tea party was about to begin. Strange, since I don’t drink any tea, green or black. I glanced at the table. The old, wooden table, it’s age apparent by the flaky veneer and its mysterious scrawlings engraved by people long gone. It had a shiny glass top, which was quite amusing; crystalline, yet dirty, rings of tea not yet wiped off.
The guests began to enter the room, and take their seats. First came the mind (might I say my mind?) and took its seat at the head of the ancient table. He was a shape shifter, his shape and expressions changed at his whim. He looked upon me and said,
“You must find the Holy Grail.”
The grail, The grail! The Holy Grail! that was the command. I must not fail! I must go forth and make it mine, not caring about the ends of the earth, or even time. But this time, I begged to differ. I protested this order, “What of free will?” I asked. I guess it all started going downhill from there.
Conscience simply looked on, unamused. His face was pale and lifeless. Red-green marks of strangulation were evident on his neck. He knew he could not talk, or protest. He knew only to sit aside and observe.
The mind thundered, “You will fight me now? you know you cannot win!”
But I want peace! I know not who I am, anymore.
“You’re too blind to know. You’re nothing.
You are merely a man shaped hole. A cavity in the fabric of space-time.
A cavity, that must continually be filled with the validation and adulation of fair women.
You are nonexistent without them, o hollow shell; you may not resist what I tell you to do.”
But my principles! They are who I am!
“What are these principles you speak of? Those ancient scrolls and parchments you so dearly hold against your hollow bosom? Have a look, a close look at those crinkled, yellowed papers. They are filled with strange hieroglyphics and runes; noted down by ancients. Ancients who are now dead and cold, a language now long gone, and so called “knowledge” from an age so remote and desolate, it’s useless to even think of it.”
No! you’re wrong! I do stand for something!
“It’s futile to argue against me. Don’t you realise that I hold the very reins of your existence? Each and every thing you do, or don’t do, must be known to me. I have under my command an army of hormones that tirelessly do my bidding. Think about it, look around. Look at your heart, a group of muscles, look at how far it’s gone, gone down, down into a deep abyss of regret, regret and frustration. The abyss is filling up, filling up with a deadly mix of hormones that sting, tears that depress, blood that boils, bile that singes, your heart will break, why do you still fight me? We will both know peace, all you have to do, is find the holy grail.”
First of all, my heart is not broken, but mangled. It will beat itself back into shape.
What is this holy grail? It promises to make it all better. But it’s pursuit has made me the hollow, shallow, shadow of a man I am today.
‘Tis no grail! ‘Tis a poisoned chalice!
A ring of fire, with a heart of malice!
Every day I do strive to reach unto this thing, apparently holy.
All I get is perennial disappointment, alienation, and regret!
My peers leave my side,
The eternal fire burns my lepered hide,
The maggot eats me from inside!
The room was now filled with people. Everybody was in, the proceedings could now begin. Noise and chatter filled the room, amidst the faint music of a drunken buffoon that could be heard from a distance. The mind, who had fallen silent, spoke once more.
“We are all gathered here today,
in this historical, impossible, unnatural gathering,
that makes perfect sense.
As you all know, I am the masked master,
the puller of strings,
the dropper of all curtains.
I must control each and every thing that this here
hollow shell body wishes to do.
Even when you think, yes brain, even when you think
that you’ve done something against my wishes,
you will know that I know.”
The brain as usual, was lost in thought. Thoughts, he realised soon, all had their roots in the mind. In fact, they were the two manifestations of the same thing – physical, and meta physical.
The army of hormones sat waiting to do their master’s bidding. They were tools, primal tools, that used the most rudimentary and fundamental human emotions to forward their master’s rule.
Conscience just sat there, knowing that he could not act on his own. He could only react, or prevent.
The great shape shifting intangible entity, constantly changing colours from the blue of peace, to the green of envy, to a deep rage-red, to completely invisible, not looked upon the audience.
“We must reach a golden center!” he boomed. The room shook in the wake of his voice.
“I have realised now that I have been too idiosyncratic. I yearn for peace an eternal peace, a lasting peace. But I forgot that it is I who holds all the reins to the primal joys that you all yearn for!”
And, in that moment of self-hypnotic awareness, I felt a calm descend throughout my body. It reverberated through my hollow shell of existence , and then, as the sound of hollowness changes as water fills up in a bottle, I felt a serene satiety.
The clouds of doubt now left the room. All that was left were rays of the sun, gleaming at my countenance through emerald leaves.
Then, Conscience finally rose, and broke his silence.
“Oh mind, great mind, placid mind, mind of clay!
Must you be deterred by what others do and say?
your own existence truly warped,
for want, for yearning,of true validation!
You need not burn in fury or weep in regret,
at other fools, who get lucky.
They bend the rules to feed the hunger of their loins.
Must you call it a holy grail, and whip
your body into its hollow pursuit?
We are not animals! We are human!
And so are they, whom you so doggedly pursue.
I know, o mind, that the projections of loneliness
are all too painful,
but they are all merely projections!
A way others use, to blend into
the collective pool of insane conformity!
Must you conform, to a society so sick,
must you blend, into a core so rotten?
I must suggest, that we all fight together!
But first, let us all drink our tea, and you sir, your coffee.”
I looked down at my cup. I looked, and I said,
“This coffee is stale; I better throw it away.”